Vatican news

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  1. Vatican City, May 19, 2019 / 05:56 am (CNA).- The boundless love with which Jesus Christ loves each and every person is the same love Catholics are compelled to show their “enemies,” Pope Francis said Sunday.

    Speaking during his address before the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer May 19, the pope asked people to answer a question in their hearts: “Am I capable of loving my enemies?”

    “We all have people – I do not know if they are enemies – but that do not agree with us, who are ‘on the other side,’” he said.

    “Or does anyone have people who hurt them,” he added, urging people to ask themselves: “Am I capable of loving those people? That man, that woman who hurt me, who offended me? Am I able to forgive him?”

    It is the love of Jesus for us that makes the act of loving and forgiving others possible, he said, reflecting on the moment at the Last Supper, when, after washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus gives them a “new” commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

    “Jesus loved us first,” Pope Francis said. “He loved us despite our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who made us become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends.”

    “The love that is manifested in the cross of Christ and that He calls us to live is the only force that transforms our heart of stone into a heart of flesh,” he stated. “The only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we also love with this love.”

    “And this love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended us.”

    Francis noted that the commandment to love one another, when Jesus gave it, was not novel, but that what made it “new” was the part which says, “as I have loved you.”

    Speaking shortly before his Crucifixion and death, Jesus showed his disciples the origin and example of the kind of love people are called to give.

    “The novelty is all in the love of Jesus Christ, the one with which he gave his life for us. It is a question of the love of God, universal, without conditions and without limits, which finds its apex on the cross.”

    “In that moment of extreme lowering, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God has shown and given to the world the fullness of love,” he said.

    May the Virgin Mary, the pope prayed, “help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome from her Son Jesus the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.”

     

  2. Vatican City, May 18, 2019 / 10:16 am (CNA).- In a meeting with members of the Federation of European Food Banks Saturday, Pope Francis warned against food waste, which he said shows a lack of concern for others.

    “Fighting against the terrible scourge of hunger means also fighting waste. Waste reveals an indifference towards things and towards those who go without. Wastefulness is the crudest form of discarding,” he said May 18.

    “To throw food away means to throw people away,” the pope added. “It is scandalous today not to notice how precious food is as a good, and how so much good ends up so badly.”

    Francis noted that in today’s complex world, it is also important that the good done by charitable organizations is “done well,” and is not “the fruit of improvisation.”

    Doing good “requires intelligence, the capacity for planning and continuity. It needs an integrated vision, of persons who stand together: it is difficult to do good while not caring for each other,” he said.

    Even good initiatives guided by good intentions can get trapped by “extended bureaucracy, excessive administrative costs, or become forms of welfare that do not lead to authentic development,” he noted. “Wasting what is good is a nasty habit that can insinuate itself anywhere, even in charitable works.”

    The pope also emphasized the importance of actions over words: “It is always easy to speak about others; it is much harder to give to others, and yet this is what matters.”

    Food banks, he said, are good at taking what is “thrown into the vicious cycle of waste” and inserting it into a “virtuous circle” of good use instead.

    The pope went on to speak about the economy, which he said has a “profound need” of working to the advantage of all, and especially those who are disadvantaged.

    “It is good to see languages, beliefs, traditions and different approaches converging, not for self-interest, but rather to give dignity to others,” he said.

    Noting the modern world’s connectivity and rapid pace, he decried the “frenetic scramble for money” which leaves people with an increasing interior frailty, disorientation, and loss of meaning. He added: “What I care about is an economy that is more humane, that has a soul, and not a reckless machine that crushes human beings.”

    “We must find a cure,” he urged, by “supporting what is good and taking up paths of solidarity, being constructive.”

    “We must come together to relaunch what is good, knowing full well that, even if evil is at large in the world, with God’s help and the good will of so many like yourselves, the world can be a better place,” he said.
     
    “We need to support those who wish to change things for the better; we need to encourage models of growth based on social equality, on the dignity of human persons, on families, on the future of young people, on respect for the environment.”

  3. Vatican City, May 18, 2019 / 07:08 am (CNA).- Pope Francis told journalists Saturday that their profession has a great responsibility, the foundation of which should be humility.

    “Humility is an essential virtue for spiritual life; but I would say that it can also be a fundamental element of your profession,” the pope said May 18.

    He affirmed that there are other important qualities of a journalist, such as professionalism, writing skill, and ability to investigate and ask the right questions, but added that, “still, humility can be the cornerstone of your activity.”

    “Yours is an indispensable role, and this also gives you a great responsibility,” he continued. “It asks of you a particular care for the words you use in your articles, for the images you transmit in your services, for everything you share on social media.”

    Pope Francis added that, “humble journalists does not mean mediocre, but rather aware that through an article, a tweet, a live television or radio program, you can do good, but also, if you are not careful and scrupulous, evil to others and sometimes to entire communities.”

    The pope spoke about humility in journalism during a meeting with around 400 members of the Association of Foreign Press in Italy, at the end of which he gave out copies of the book, “Comunicare il Bene,” (“Communicate the good”) which compiles some of his words to journalists over the last six years.

    In his speech the pope acknowledged “how difficult and how much humility the search for truth requires,” saying, “I therefore urge you to work according to truth and justice, so that communication is really a tool to build, not to destroy...”

    He also gave advice on the importance of humility, showing in what ways it helps a journalist to do his or her job well. For example, he said it is humility which drives someone to look deeper than the first, easy solution to a question.

    If a mistake is made, it should always be rectified, he advised, especially in a time when, through the internet, false information is easily spread. He also warned media professionals to resist the temptation to publish something which has been insufficiently verified.

    Humility, he continued, also helps journalists to not be slaves to haste, but to take the necessary time to understand something well.

    Another quality of a humble journalist is seeking to know all the facts before relating them or commenting on them, he said, and as St. Francis de Sales once said, to use words carefully, “as the surgeon uses the scalpel.”

    Pope Francis also urged those in media to work to bring to light the circumstances of those who have been rejected, excluded, and discriminated against.

    “You and your work are needed to help not to forget many situations of suffering, which often do not have the light of the spotlight, or they have it for a moment and then return to the darkness of indifference,” he said.

    Thanking journalists for their work, which if done in service, “becomes a mission,” the pope said they help people to not forget the lives “suffocated before they are even born” or those that, when born, suffer from hunger, hardship, war, persecution, or abuse.

    He encouraged journalists to tell those stories, but to also tell the stories of people who sacrifice themselves, even heroically, to help others.

    “Please continue to tell even that part of reality that thanks to God is still the most widespread: the reality of those who do not surrender to indifference, of those who do not flee before injustice, but build patiently in silence,” he said.

    Pope Francis called these stories “a submerged ocean of good that deserves to be known and that gives strength to our hope.”

    He assured the journalists, many of whom are secular, of the Church’s esteem for them, “even when you put your finger in the wound, and perhaps the wound is in the ecclesial community.”

    He also quoted Pope St. John Paul II in a meeting with the same association in 1988, when he said: “The Church is on your side. Be Christian or not, in the Church you will always find the right esteem for your work and the recognition of freedom of the press.”

  4. Vatican City, May 17, 2019 / 03:30 pm (CNA).- The Vatican announced Friday that a former Curial official accused of sexual solicitation in the confessional was found not guilty after a penal process at the Church’s highest canonical court. Previous reports had indicated that the allegations were investigated by the Vatican, but had not indicated that the matter was resolved by a formal judicial process.

    Fr. Hermann Geissler, 53, is a member of Familia spiritualis Opus (FSO), informally known as “Das Werk.” The priest served as an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1993 until Jan. 29.

    Geissler stepped down from his position after a former member of “Das Werk,” Doris Wagner, claimed last year in a lengthy piece in the German newspaper DIE ZIET that she had been sexually harassed in the confessional by a member of the religious community she then belonged to, identified in the article as “Hermann G.”

    Geissler has maintained his innocence since the allegations first . The solicitation of a sin against the sixth commandment within the context of confession is considered in the Church law to be a “grave delict,” or offense, for which a priest can be dismissed from the clerical state.

    A communique issued May 17 by the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura said that after an administrative penal process, a five-judge panel “issued the decree of acquittal of the accused,” because the allegation was not “proven with due moral certainty.”

    That release clarifies a May 16 release from Geissler’s religious community, which said that a decision was made at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, “after a preliminary investigation according to Canon 1717,” that the “above-mentioned case does not constitute a delict.”

    The “preliminary investigation” is the canonical process that precedes a formal trial. An administrative penal process, by contrast, is a kind of expedited canonical trial, at which judges hear evidence and arguments regarding an allegation, without all of the formal requirements of an ordinary trial. The Signatura’s release clarifies that Geisler was in fact subject to formal charges, for which he was found not guilty.

    The administrative penal process is the same canonical procedure that was used earlier this year to try former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick was found guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults, and of sexual solicitation in the sacrament of penance.

    Geissler is well known as a theologian and a scholar of Bl. John Henry Newman. His religious community has not yet announced what next he will do.

  5. Vatican City, May 17, 2019 / 03:05 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis spoke to African-based missionaries gathered at the Vatican on Friday, applauding their efforts to show compassion to the continent’s most vulnerable.

    The Society of African Missions was received by the pope at the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

    The order has been in Rome for its General Chapter, taking place at the Vatican from April 30 to May 24. The theme of this year’s meeting is “A family faithful to its missionary charism in today’s complex and changing context.”

    The pope commended the order’s dedication to its communal life, which he said leads to greater acts of charity toward the suffering victims on the “peripheries” of society, especially in the rural populations where the Christian faith is fragile.

    “Faithful to your roots, you are called, as a family and since you are a family, to bear witness to the risen Christ through the love that unites you to one another, and with the radiant joy of an authentic fraternal life,” he said.

    “Evangelization is always carried out by a community that acts ‘by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others,’” he further added, quoting Evangelii gaudium.

    The Society of African Missions was founded in 1856 by Servant of God Melchior de Marion Brésillac and its first superior general Fr. Augustin Planque. The order seeks to provide the people of Africa with spiritual and physical nourishment including education, interreligious dialogue, and aid to displaced people.

    The pope applauded the order for continuing to follow in the footsteps of its founders, with members even placing themselves in dangerous situations to advance the Gospel.

    He pointed to the example of an Italian priest, a member of the order, who was kidnapped last September by unknown gunmen in Niger. The pope promised to pray for the priest, who is still believed to be in captivity.

    “I would like to join in your prayer for your brother Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, kidnapped for several months in Niger, and to assure the concern and attention of the Holy See regarding this worrying situation.”

    He challenged the members to undergo greater conversion, immersing themselves into charitable works, reflections on scripture, and the sacraments. This dedication to the spiritual life will lead its members to find Christ in the work they do and further embrace their commitment to the vulnerable, he said.

    “I also encourage you to persevere in your commitment, in close collaboration with members of other religions and institutions, at the service of children and the most fragile people, victims of war, disease, and human trafficking,” he said.

    “Because the option for the least, for those that society rejects and sets aside, is a sign that concretely manifests the presence and solicitude of the merciful Christ.”

    Concluding his address, Pope Francis invoked the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the group may witness the faith with a renewed zeal, listening to the Holy Spirit for opportunities to extend beyond the familiar and to new paths of evangelization.

    “I encourage you to persevere, with renewed enthusiasm and dynamism, on the path travelled by the Society of African Missions and which has produced many fruits of conversion to Christ,” he said.

    “With this hope, I entrust your missionary family to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, asking her to support your efforts.”

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