Tag Archives: Pope Francis

‘Our Father’ sung at Pope Francis’ mass at UST

‘Our Father’ sung at Pope Francis’ mass at UST

With my heartfelt thanks. May the love of Christ always guide the American people! #GodBlessAmerica — Pope Francis


Pope Francis prays at Western Wall, leaving note for peace

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Pope Francis prays at Western Wall, leaving note for peace
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Pope Francis: Beware the ‘false peace’ that comes from the devil

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peters Square before the Wed. general audience April 16, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peters Square before the Wed. general audience April 16, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Aug 7, 2015 / 07:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Friday told a group of youth that the greatest challenge in his vocation so far has been finding true peace, and encouraged them to learn how to discern between this peace and the one offered by the devil.

“I would say finding peace in the Lord. That peace that only Jesus can give, in work and chores,” the Pope said Aug. 7. in response to the question, posed by one of the youth he met with in audience that day.

“The key is finding that peace which means that the Lord is with you and helps you,” he said.

Francis then stressed the importance of knowing how to tell the difference between peace from God, and the false peace offered by the devil.

True peace, he said, always comes from Jesus, and is sometimes “wrapped” in the cross, while the other, false peace that only makes you “kind of happy” comes from the devil.

“We have to ask for this grace to distinguish, to know true peace,” the Pope said, explaining that while on the outside we might think everything is ok and that we’re doing good, “way down inside is the devil.”

“The devil always destroys. He tells you this is the way and then leaves you alone,” he continued, adding that the devil is “a poor payer; he always rips you off.”

A sign of this peace, Francis said, is joy, because true joy is something that only Jesus can give.

The challenge for both them and himself “is to find the peace of Jesus, also in difficult moments, to find Jesus’ peace and to recognize that peace which has make-up on it,” the Pope said.

He made his comments during an audience with more than 1500 members of the International Eucharistic Youth Movement. They are meeting in Rome from Aug. 4-10 in honor of the 100th anniversary of their founding in 1915. The theme for the gathering is “Joy be with you.”

Six of the youth present, from Italy, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan, and France got to meet the Pope personally and ask him questions on things that affect their daily life.

Among the topics discussed were tensions and conflicts within families and society, the discernment between true and false peace, signs of hope in the world and deepening one’s relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist.

In his response to the question on conflict, Pope Francis noted how there are many conflicts present in the world, and said that we should neither be afraid of them nor seek them out. Some conflicts, he said, can be good and help us to understand differences.

One problem with the world’s current conflicts is that “one culture doesn’t tolerate another,” he said, and pointed to the Rohingya as an example.

Rohingya people are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group largely from the Rakhine state of Burma, in west Myanmar. Since clashes began in 2012 between the state’s Buddhist community and the long-oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority, more than 100,000 Rohingya’s have fled Myanmar by sea, according to the U.N.

In order to escape forced segregation from the rest of the population inside rural ghettos, many of the Rohingya – who are not recognized by the government as a legitimate ethnic group or as citizens or Myanmar – have made the perilous journey at sea in hopes of evading persecution.

In May Pope Francis spoke out after a number of Rohingya people – estimated to be in the thousands – were stranded at sea in boats with dwindling supplies while Southeastern nations such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia refused to take them in.

This, he told the youth, “is called killing. It’s true. If I have a conflict with you and I kill you, its war.”

Conflict is normal when so many different cultures exist in one country, the Pope observed, but emphasized that there must be mutual respect in order for these conflicts to be resolved.

He said that dialogue is the best resolution to the great social problems of today, and pointed to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as an example of when one culture doesn’t respect the identity or faith of another.

Yesterday Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem S.B. Fouwad Toual for the Aug. 8 anniversary of the first arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

In his letter, the Pope thanked Jordan for welcoming the refugees, saying their actions bear witness to Christ’s resurrection.

He also noted how these refugees are “victims of fanaticism and intolerance, often under the eyes and silence of all,” and called on the international community to step up their efforts in putting an end to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.

In his speech to the youth, Francis said that even if you disagree with another culture’s practice, “Respect. Look for the good in it. Respect. In this way, conflicts are resolved with respect for the identity of others. Conflicts are resolved with dialogue.”

Another question posed to the Pope was if he sees true signs of joy in amid the problems of the 21st century.

Pope Francis responded by saying that the signs are there, and that one of them is seeing so many youth gathered together who believe that Jesus is truly in the Eucharist.

He also pointed to the family, noting that right now there are many strong tensions between generations.

Often when we speak of generations, parents and children come to mind, but grandparents are frequently left out, Francis observed.

“Grandparents are the great forgotten of this time,” he said, and encouraged the youth to speak to their grandparents, who are sources of wisdom due to the memory they have of life, tensions, conflicts and faith.

“Always when you meet your grandparents you find a surprise. They are patient, they know how to listen…don’t forget grandparents, understand?”

The last question the Pope answered, posed by a youth named Maradona, was what he would say to young people so that they might discover the depth of the Eucharist.

Francis immediately turned to the Last Supper, where Jesus gave us his body and blood for our salvation.

“The memory of Jesus…is there. The memory of the gesture of Jesus who then went to the Mount of Olives to start his Passion,” which is a personal act of love for each individual, he said.

The Pope stressed that Mass is not a ritual or a ceremony like what we see in the military or cultural celebration. Instead, going to Mass means going to Calvary with Jesus, where he gave his life for us, the Pope said.

In order to deepen in the mystery of the Eucharist, Francis suggested remembering St. Paul’s invitation to “remember Jesus Christ. When they are there at the table, he is giving his life for me. And so you deepen in the mystery.”

Pope Francis concluded by saying that although “we are at war” and there are so many conflicts, there are also many good and beautiful things, such as the hidden everyday saints among the people of God.

“God is present and there are so many reasons to be joyful. Take courage and go forward!” he finished.


2015-08-06 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appealed to the international community to take action against the continuing persecution of Christians and religious minorities.

In a letter addressed to the Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem and Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan, Maroun Lahham, Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Jordan who have fled persecution describing them as the martyrs of today.

Upon the invitation of Archbishop Lahham and of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouwad Toual, the Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Nunzio Galantino is currently visiting Jordan to mark the 1st anniversary of the arrival of Iraqi refugees in the nation.

During his visit, Archbishop Galantino will participate in a number of meetings and events and will visit some refugee camps.

Please find below Vatican Radio’s translation of the Pope’s letter:

Your Excellency Mons. Lahham

Dear brother, I take advantage of the visit to Jordan of His Excellency Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, Secretary General of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, to reach with a word of hope so many people who oppressed by violence, have been forced to abandon their homes and their land.

Time and time again I have wished to give voice to the atrocious, inhuman and inexplicable persecutions of those, who in many parts of the world – and especially amongst Christians – are victims of fanaticism and intolerance, often under the eyes and in the silence of all. They are the martyrs of today, humiliated and discriminated against for their faith in the Gospel.

My words, which appeal for solidarity, are the sign of a Church that does not forget and that does not abandon her children who have been exiled on account of their faith: they must know that a daily prayer is raised for them, and that we are grateful for the witness they offer.

My thoughts also go to the Communities that have not looked away and are taking care of these brothers of ours. You proclaim the resurrection of Christ by sharing the pain and by giving help to hundreds of thousands of refugees. Bowing before the misery that risks stifling their hope, your fraternal service illuminates the dark moments of their existence.

May the Lord reward you as only He can, with an abundance of gifts.

And may world opinion be more attentive, sensitive and sympathetic before the persecutions carried out against Christians, and in general, against religious minorities.

I renew my hope that the international community will not assist in silence without taking action in the face of this unacceptable crime, a crime that constitutes an alarming drift from the most basic of human rights which prevents a rich cohabitation between peoples, cultures and faiths.   

Please, I ask you to pray for me.
May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you. 


(from Vatican Radio)

The Papacy Through History: Popes of the Catholic Church

Popes of the Catholic Church

 - (Public Domain)The Papacy Through History

With the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis in 2013, there have been 266 popes in the history of the Catholic Church. The pope is the spiritual leader of Catholicism and the visible head of the Catholic Church. He is the successor to Saint Peter, the first among the apostles and the first pope of Rome. Taken together, the following articles provide a comprehensive list of all the popes of the Catholic Church, divided up by historical era, as well as the years that they reigned.

Biographies of the popes will be linked off of each article; check back often to see which biographies have been added.

Pope to Paraguay’s poor: faith without solidarity is dead|CNA (“SOLIDARITY IS THE MESSAGE OF THE ENTIRE CITY”)

Pope Francis waves to the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Wednesday General Audience on May 27, 2015. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/Catholic News Agency

Pope to Paraguay’s poor: faith without solidarity is dead

.- On his final day in South America Pope Francis visited the poorest neighborhood in Paraguay’s capitol, encouraging residents to practice solidarity, because without it one’s faith is either hypocritical or dead.

“Jesus didn’t have any problem with lowering, humbling himself unto death for each one of us out of this solidarity among brothers, this love that his Father had for each one of us,” the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks July 12.

“Remember; when a faith doesn’t have solidarity, it’s weak, it’s ill or it’s dead. It’s not the faith of Jesus.”

He said that faith makes us aware of our commitment and solidarity, with others, which he said is “a human and Christian virtue that many, many, including ourselves, need to understand. A faith which does not draw us into solidarity is a faith which is dead, or which lies.”

The strongest witness their community can give is one of solidarity, he said, explaining that the devil will try to cause division, and if that happens “he breaks you and steals your faith. Solidarity among brothers and sisters. This solidarity is the message for the whole city.”

On the final day of his July 5-13 tour of South America Pope Francis stopped to visit the Bañado Norte neighborhood in Paraguay’s capital Asunciòn, where roughly 100,000 of the poorest of the poor live. Before coming to Paraguay, the Pope visited the nations of Ecuador and Bolivia.

Before giving his speech, the Pope heard testimonies from two residents, who spoke out against the abuse of human rights, the low economy and poor living conditions in the neighborhood.

Angélica Viveros, a member of Bañado Norte’s Saint Philip and James parish, told the Pope that “in the sickness, death, uncertainty, hunger and now the floods forcing thousands of families to abandon our home, we feel the strength, the protection and the closeness of God our Father and Mary our Mother.”

For them to be a part of the Church, she said, means “to feel and touch the suffering flesh of Jesus in the poor who live excluded, in the child on the street, in the Father of the family without work, in the women who are victims of violence, in the youth without horizons due to a lack of opportunity to study and work.”

She said that this is part of their prayers, as well as for residents to participate in fostering unity and solidarity so that everyone lives a dignified live, and they “stop being manipulated by political opportunists who exploit our needs.”

María García, another resident and coordinator of the “Organizations of the Bañados,” lamented how high land and housing prices, low incomes and destruction of indigenous habitats cause the forced displacement of many people and the shantytowns to grow.

The state, she said, “isn’t concerned about us and doesn’t look at us with good eyes. We are not see as subjects with rights, but we are, as we often say, their ‘social liability.’ We are a problem to be solved.”

For the state, she said, the problem is not their needs and wants, but it is “us, our very existence.”

She demanded a “genuine recognition” of being an inseparable part of humanity as a whole, and called for regularized land tenure at affordable costs, that they have the means to improve the land that they already have, and for the possibility of health care and a dignified education.

In his speech, Pope Francis told the residents of Bañado Norte to think about how Mary and Joseph were also left with nothing when they were forced to leave their homes, family and friends in order to a place where they had nothing and knew no one.

“That was when that young couple had Jesus. That was how they gave us Jesus. They were alone, in a strange land, just the three of them,” he said.

However, soon shepherds began to arrive, people just like them who had to leave their homes to find better opportunities for their families, the Pope observed, noting that their lives were also affected by both harsh weather many other hardships.

(But) when they heard that Jesus had been born, they went to see him. They became neighbors. In an instant, they became a family to Mary and Joseph. The family of Jesus.”

This is what happens when Jesus enters into our lives, Francis continued, explaining that faith brings us closer and makes us neighbors to each other. It also awakens a commitment of solidarity, he said.

“A faith which does not draw us into solidarity is a faith which is dead. It is a faith without Christ, a faith without God, a faith without brothers and sisters.”

The first to show this solidarity was Jesus Christ, he said, explaining that “God came in the midst of this people that he elected to accompany them, and he sent his son to this people to save them, to help them…Jesus had solidarity with this people.”

“When faith doesn’t have solidarity, it’s weak, it’s ill or it’s dead. It’s not the faith of Jesus.”

Pope Francis told residents that he, like the shepherds, wants to be their neighbor and to bless their faith and communities. He said that the faith which Jesus awakens in us is what allows us to dream about the future, and to work for it even in the present moment.

He encouraged them to be missionaries, and “to keep spreading the faith in these streets and alleys. Be neighbors above all to the young and the elderly. Be a support for young families and all families which are experiencing difficulty.”

Francis concluded his speech by commending each of the residents and their families to the care of the Holy Family, praying that the witness of Jesus, Mary and Joseph would be light for their path and an encouragement in times of difficulty.

“May the Holy Family always help us to be shepherds who can accompany, support and encourage our families,” he said, and asked the residents to keep him in their prayers.

Tags: Pope Francis, Serving the poor, Pope in South America, Pope in Paraguay

Via Pope to Paraguay’s poor: faith without solidarity is dead|CNA

From Radio Vatican: 01/07/2015 15:25: The Pope expresses his closeness to Greece in time of crisis

Pope Francis \ Activities

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews, brothers and friends


Pope Francis \ Activities

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews, brothers and friends

Pope Francis on Tuesday met with members of the International Council of Christians and Jews. – OSS_ROM

30/06/2015 12:34
(Vatican Radio) This week members of the International Council of Christians and Jews have been meeting to discuss “The 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate: The Past, Present, and Future of the Christian-Jewish Relationship”, and it was on this theme that Pope Francis addressed the participants on Tuesday in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican.

He told them that Nostra Aetate represented a definitive “yes” to the Jewish roots of Christianity and an irrevocable “no” to anti-Semitism adding, that both faith traditions were no longer strangers, but friends and brothers.

Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report

The Holy Father said that in celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of this document,  “we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue.  He then added, “ in this way, we can express our thanks to God for all the good which has been realized in terms of friendship and mutual understanding these past fifty years.”

The Pope underlined that despite different perspectives, both Christians and Jews confess one God, Creator of the Universe and Lord of history.  And he, Pope Francis continued, “in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue.”

Elaborating further, the Holy Father explained that both faith traditions, “find their foundation in the One God, the God of the Covenant, who reveals himself through his Word.”  “In seeking a right attitude towards God”, he Pope said, “Christians turn to Christ as the fount of new life, and Jews to the teaching of the Torah.  This pattern of theological reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity arises precisely from Nostra Aetate and upon this solid basis, he noted, can be developed yet further.  

In conclusion, Pope Francis stressed the importance the Holy See places on relations with the Jewish community and praised the International Council of Christians and Jews’ annual meetings, which he said, offer a notable contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue.  

The Pope in Sarajevo – Holy Mass 2015.06.06: Starts at 10.40 am

The Pope in Sarajevo – Holy Mass 2015.06.06

this pressed: Think you’re important because you have money? Think again, Pope says :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

PHOTO:  Pope Francis celebrates Mass with new cardinals Feb. 15, 2015. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

Vatican City, May 26, 2015 / 08:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily Tuesday Pope Francis cautioned against the “counter-witness” of those who seek to follow both Jesus and worldly temptations, saying that to follow Christ means denying oneself and serving others.

“There are three things, three steps that take us away from Jesus: wealth, vanity and pride,” the Pope told attendees of his May 26 Mass in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse.

Riches, he said, are dangerous “because they immediately make you vain and you think you are important. And when you think you are important, you build your head up and then you lose it.”

Francis took his cue from the day’s Mark Chapter 10 Gospel reading in which Peter asks Jesus what the disciples will get in return for following him. The scene takes place right after Jesus had told the rich young man to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor.

Instead of talking about wealth, the Lord gives an unexpected answer when he says that the disciples will gain the Kingdom of Heaven, but only “with persecution, with the cross.”

“When a Christian is attached to (worldly) things, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: (both) heaven and earth,” the Pope said, explaining that that the daily cross of denying ourselves is the remedy.

From a human perspective following Jesus “is not a good deal” because it means serving others, he said. If the Lord gives you the opportunity to be first you have to act like the one in last place, and the same goes for wealth, he continued.

Pope Francis also indicated the Gospel passage in Matthew when the mother of James and John asks Jesus to secure a place for her sons at his side.

By essentially telling Jesus to “make this one prime minister for me, (and) this one, the minister of the economy,” the disciples’ mother took the worldly path in following Jesus, the Pope noted.

When a person wants to be “with both Jesus and with the world, with both poverty and with riches…this is a half-way Christianity that desires material gain. It is the spirit of worldliness,” he warned.

To follow the Lord freely, he said, “is the answer to the gratuitousness of love and salvation that Jesus gives us.”

Francis observed how the frequently the attitude of worldliness prevails in the Church itself, saying that “it’s sad” to see Christians – laypersons, priests and bishops included – who strive after both heavenly and worldly things.

“(It) is a counter-witness and furthers people from Jesus,” he said, and encouraged attendees to ask the Lord to teach them the “science of service,” which provides a lesson in humility and in placing ourselves last so as to serve our brothers and sisters in the Church.

The Pope closed his homily by telling those present to continue the Mass with both Peter’s question and Jesus’ answer in mind.

“The recompense that (Jesus) will give us is resemblance to Him. This will be our ‘recompense;’ to be like Jesus!”

Tags: Vatican, Pope Francis, Humility, Wealth

via Think you’re important because you have money? Think again, Pope says :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

via CNA Armenian genocide beckons for a new start in Turkey, historian says


Credit: Kema Keur via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Credit: Kema Keur via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).


via CNA Armenian genocide beckons for a new start in Turkey, historian says

.- On the day marking 100 years since the systematic killing of over a million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman authorities, a Catholic historian insists that peaceful coexistence is possible today in Turkey.

“It is very important today to celebrate the centenary of the Armenian genocide because history has shown without doubt that this genocide happened,” Marco Impagliazzo told CNA April 23.

However, from the memory of this dark point in history “we can start to build a new future in Turkey between Turkish and other Christian minorities. This genocide doesn’t divide us, but is a new step,” he said.

The Ottoman Empire was a strong example of “cohabitation, coexistence between people, religions and ethnicities,” before the rise in Turkish nationalism produced the racist attitudes which led to the slaughter of the Armenians in 1915, he said.

However, this “cohabitation” is not something of the past, but can still be an example of peaceful coexistence today.

Impagliazzo is a full time professor of Contemporary History at the University for Foreigners of Perugia and president of the Community of Sant’Egidio. He is also a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

He recently authored a book entitled “The Martyrdom of the Armenians,” and spoke alongside the founder of the Sant’Egidio Community, Andrea Riccardi, at an April 23 event commemorating the “Armenian Martyrdom.”
Organized by the Sant’Egidio Community, the event also celebrated the publication of Impagliazzo’s book, as well as a volume written by Riccardi entitled “The Massacre of Christians,” which was published simultaneously with that of Impagliazzo.

Both of the books provide a historical account of what is commonly known as the Armenian genocide, the centenary of which is celebrated today.

Also referred to as the Armenian Holocaust, the genocide took place in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire systematically exterminated its historic minority Armenian population who called Turkey their homeland, most of whom were Christians. Roughly 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives.

Turkey has repeatedly denied that the slaughter was a genocide, saying that the number of deaths was much smaller, and came as a result of conflict surrounding World War I. The country holds that many ethnic Turks also lost their lives in the event.

However, most non-Turkish scholars refer to the episode as a genocide. Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are among the 22 nations that formally recognize the massacre as a genocide.

Today Germany added also added itself to that list during an April 24 parliamentary session, making itself the 23rd country to recognize the massacre as a genocide.

Speaker Norbert Lammert told parliament that “we Germans cannot lecture anyone about dealing with their past, but we can through our own experiences encourage others to confront their history, even when it hurts,” the Associated Press reports.

The agency reports that Lammert made his comments at the beginning of a non-binding motion to recognize the Armenians’ fate as “exemplary for the history of mass destruction, ethnic cleansing, expulsions and genocides by which the 20th century is marked.”

Yesterday German President Joachim Gauck also referred to the slaughter as a genocide, which signaled a shift in his country’s stance on the subject, as previous officials have avoided using the term.

In their speeches for the commemorative event, both Impagliazzo and Riccardi stressed that the use of the term genocide in the case of the Armenian massacre is not a word of hatred, but one of truth.

“As St. Paul said, the truth will set you free. So now we have this freedom of knowledge of our past, to be more free to build a new future together,” Impagliazzo said in his comments to CNA.

He said it’s important for both sides to recognize what took place during the massacre, and that Turkey “(has) to know as we have to know, what happened in order to build a new future.”

The professor recalled Pope Francis’ own use of the term “genocide” during his April 12 liturgy for Divine Mercy Sunday, which he offered for faithful of the Armenian rite in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the tragic event.

In his homily for the Mass, Francis noted that “in the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation.”

The Pope’s words, Impagliazzo said, were “very important” and showed the freedom he had “to speak, not to accuse the Turkish people or the Turkish government, absolutely not.”

Francis, he said, “is aware of this fact, of these massacres, (and) he spoke as a free man, a free man that wants a new consideration of the facts in order to establish a new story.”

The professor expressed his belief that there is already a movement of reconciliation going on within Turkey, which he said was largely inspired by Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered in 2007 and was a prominent member of the Armenian community.

Dink was the editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, and had been outspoken in advocating for reconciliation for Turkey and Armenia, as well as for human and minority rights in Turkey.

Often critical of both the Turkish denial of the genocide as well as the Armenian push for its international recognition, Dink was killed in Istanbul in 2007 by a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist named Ogin Samast.

At his funeral, large numbers of both Turkish and Armenian citizens marched together “to demonstrate to the Turkish people that we don’t have to fear memory,” Impagliazzo said.

Even if an official recognition of the genocide could help in the process of reconciliation, “I don’t think it’s a legal step that will solve this situation, but a new mutual understanding between people, based on the truth of the history,” he said.

Tags: Persecuted Christians, Armenian genocide


Pope: Christians must protect marriage |from CNA

Pope: Christians must protect marriage

Christianity – Faith: Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

By Ann Scheinble

Pope Francis prays with journalists on the papal flight en route to South Korea, August 14, 2014. Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA


Vatican City, Apr 19, 2015 / 08:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis led a moment of prayerful silence on Sunday for the hundreds of migrants killed off the coast of Lampedusa, saying they were like us in their search for happiness.

“They are men and women like us, our brothers who seek a better life: hungry, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war,” the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks. “They were looking for happiness.”

The Pope was speaking during his weekly Regina Caeli address to the crowds in Saint Peter’s Square, some twelve hours following the accident.

Hundreds of people are feared dead after the boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the Italian coastguard.

The BBC reports that the ship went down at around midnight local time south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, a major entry point for migrants from northern Africa.

“I express my deepest sorrow in the face of such a tragedy, and assure my remembrance in prayer for the lost and their families,” Pope Francis said in his Apr. 19 address.

He invited those in the crowd to take a moment of prayerful silence for those killed in last night’s boat accident before leading the crowds in praying the Hail Mary.

The pontiff then made a “heartfelt appeal” to the international community to act “decisively and promptly”, in order to prevent similar tragedies from being repeated.

Thousands have made their way to Lampedusa from Africa over the years, with scores of migrants dying en route, often due to factors such as overcrowding on the boats.

Today’s tragedy comes less than two years after a boat carrying 500 migrants sank off coast of Lampedusa, killing at least 300.

Pope Francis had visited the island a few months earlier, in July 2013, praying for the migrants, both living and those who perished en route.

The BBC reports that some 900 migrants are believed to have died since the beginning of 2015 trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Before leading the crowds in reciting the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis reflected on the readings for the Third Sunday of Easter, centering his address on the theme of “witness.”

In the first reading, Pope Francis cited the words of St. Peter: “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:14-15).

Turning to the Gospel, the Pope reflected on Jesus telling the disciples that they were “witnesses” of His death and resurrection.

“Every baptized person is called to give witness, with (his) words and life, that Jesus is risen, that Jesus is alive and present among us.”

The identity and mission of the witness, Pope Francis said, is summarized into three words: to see, to remember, and to recount.

“The content of the Christian witness is not a theory, not an ideology, or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions or a moralism,” the pontiff said.

Rather: “It is a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a Person: It is Christ risen, living, and only savior of everyone.”

The witness of a Christian is “all the more credible,” when it shines through a way of living that is “evangelical, courageous, gentle, peaceful, merciful.”

On the other hand, a Christian who seeks comfort, vanity, selfishness, while becoming “deaf and blind the question of ‘resurrection’”, Pope Francis asked, “how can he communicate the living Jesus,” the “liberating power of Jesus alive and his infinite tenderness?”

Pope Francis concluded his Regina Caeli address by asking Mary’s intercession to help Christians become “witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection, carrying to the persons who we encounter the Easter gifts of Joy and Peace.”

Tags: Pope Francis, Regina Caeli, Migrants, Witness

via Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).


Pope recalls slaughter of Armenians in ‘first genocide of the 20th century’ (““Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”):: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

by Elise Harris

by Elise Harris

.- Pope Francis today referred to the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 as a “genocide,” prompting the Turkish government to summon the Vatican’s ambassador for questioning.

“In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation,” the Pope said April 12.

Francis’ reference to the genocide was taken from a common declaration signed by both Pope Saint John Paull II and Supreme Armenian Patriarch Karekin II in 2001.

His comments took place before celebrating Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, which is a feast instituted by St. John Paul II and is celebrated on the Second Sunday of the Church’s liturgical Easter season.

Francis offered the Mass for faithful of the Armenian rite in commemoration of the centenary of the “Metz Yeghern,” or Armenian “martyrdom.” April 24 is recognized in Armenia as the official date honoring the start of the event.

Many faithful and members of the Armenian rite were present for Sunday’s Mass, including Armenian president Serz Azati Sargsyan, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II, Catholicos Aram I and Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX.

The Pope has kept strong ties with the Armenian community since his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, and a group of Argentinian Armenians were among those gathered for the Mass.

During the Mass Francis also proclaimed Armenian-rite Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church, making the 10th century priest, monk, mystic, and poet the first Armenian to receive the title.

Widely referred to as a genocide, the mass killings took place in 1915-1916 when the Ottoman Empire systematically exterminated its historic minority Armenian population who called Turkey their homeland, most of whom were Christians. Roughly 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives.

Reports have circulated saying that the Turkish government summoned the Vatican’s papal nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, for questioning after the Pope’s genocide comment.

When CNA phoned the Turkish embassy to the Holy See they declined to comment, however the apostolic nunciature in Ankara responded by saying that the nuncio had in fact been called.

After Francis made his comments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing their “great disappointment and sadness” at the Pope’s remarks. They said the words signaled a loss of trust and contradicted his message of peace, the Associated Press reports.

The foreign ministry also held that Francis’ words were discriminatory, because he only mentioned the pain suffered by Christians, and not Muslims or any other religious group.

Turkey has repeatedly denied that the slaughter was a genocide, saying that the number of deaths was much smaller, and came as a result of conflict surrounding World War I. The country holds that many ethnic Turks also lost their lives in the event.

However, most non-Turkish scholars refer to the episode as a genocide. Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are among the states that formally recognize the massacre as such.

In his greeting ahead of Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis noted how “bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered” in the 1915 massacre, which targeted Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks.

Francis also called to mind other tragic events of the 20th century, including the violence perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism, as well as other mass killings carried out in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia.

“It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood (and) has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror,” he said, noting that the enthusiasm to end such violence that came at the end of the Second World War seems to be “disappearing.”

By the “complicit silence of others who simply stand by,” the agenda of those who seek to eliminate others continues, the Pope said.

“Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: ‘What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?’

It’s both necessary and a duty to honor the centenary of the “immense and senseless slaughter” the Armenians had to endure, Pope Francis said, because when memories fade evil can enter and make old wounds fester.

“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!” he said, and stressed that evil is never something that comes from God.

In a message given to the Armenian community after the celebration, Pope Francis said that to remember the event is not only the responsibility of Americans, but of the whole world, the Pope said, so that it can serve as a warning not to repeat similar “horrors” in the future.

He expressed his hope that Turkey and Armenia would work toward a greater reconciliation, and prayed that the Mass and proclamation of St. Gregory as a Doctor of the Church would be an occasion for all Christians to unite in prayer.

At the close of the Mass, Catholicos Karekin II spoke in English, saying that the Armenian genocide is “an unforgettable and undeniable fact of history.”

The genocide is deeply engrained into the consciousness of the Armenian people, the patriarch said, therefore “any attempt to erase it from history and from our common memory is doomed to fail.”

Karekin observed that according to international law a genocide is crime against humanity that closely intertwines condemnation, recognition and repatriation for the act, so therefore the Armenian cause is one of “justice.”

In the years after the genocide the Armenian Church has never forgotten “the continuous concern, assistance and solidarity of the Church of Rome toward Armenians,” he said.

The patriarch then expressed his “deep gratitude” to Pope Francis, praying that he would be strengthened in body and spirit so as to continue his ministry “with renewed dynamism and spiritual courage.”

Tags: Pope Francis, Divine Mercy, Armenian genocide

For Pope Francis, Good Friday shrouded in grief over persecuted Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Pope Francis at Good Friday liturgy held at St. Peter’s Basilica on April 3, 2015. Credit: Bohumil Petrek/CNA

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2015 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Both Pope Francis’ Good Friday service at the Vatican and the Stations of the Cross held at the Colosseum later in the day zeroed-in on the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

“In you, Divine Love, we see again today our persecuted brethren: beheaded, crucified, for their faith in you, beneath our eyes, or often with our complicit silence,” he said in a brief reflection April 3 following the Way of the Cross.

The Pope’s remarks come one day after the massacre of 147 students – mostly Christian, separated from their Muslim colleagues at the start of the attack – at Kenya’s Garissa University College at the hands of Somalian Al Shebaab gunmen.

Earlier today, Pope Francis condemned “this act of senseless brutality,” in a letter of condolence to the Kenyan Bishop’s conference, praying “for a change of heart among its perpetrators.”

According to the letter which was signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father called on authorities to increase their efforts in bringing an end to violence, promoting justice and peace.

Earlier in the day, during celebrations for the Passion of Our Lord in Saint Peter’s Basilica, papal preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa also touched on the Kenya massacre, and other recent examples of Christian persecution.

Speaking also of the 21 Coptic Christians killed by ISIS last February, Fr. Cantalamessa said Christ gave them “the strength to die whispering the name of Jesus.”

Pope Francis has spoken out repeatedly on Christian martyrs of today. He has stressed that there are more persecuted Christians throughout the world now than there were in the early centuries of Christianity.

At the conclusion of the Way of the Cross – or Via Crucis – Pope Francis reflected on the suffering which Christ endured during His Passion.

“In the cruelty of your Passion, we see the cruelty in our heart, and of our actions,” he said.

“Oh Victorious Christ Crucified, your Way of the Cross is the synthesis of your life, the icon of your obedience to the will of the Father, and the realization of your infinite love for us, who are sinners.”

Pope Francis also spoke of those who, like Christ during his passion, feel abandoned, “disfigured by our negligence, and our indifference.”

The pontiff concluded his address by asking God to “teach us that the Cross is the Way toward the Resurrection,” and that “Good Friday is the path toward the Easter of Light.”

“Teach us that God never forgets any of his children, and never tires of forgiving us and embracing us with his infinite mercy. But also teach us to never be tired of asking for forgiveness, and believing in mercy, without limit, from the Father.”

Tags: Persecuted Christians, Pope Francis, Holy Week, Good Friday

via For Pope Francis, Good Friday shrouded in grief over persecuted Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION, March 19, 2015: Feast of St. Joseph

Lumen Fidei_Holy Father Francis' First Encyclical

Lumen Fidei_Holy Father Francis’ First Encyclical (click to access NEWS.VA)


Feast of St. Joseph

“In Saint Joseph’s heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength”

Pope Francis, Homily, March 19, 2015

“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church. […]

How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. […]

In him… we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation! The vocation of being a “protector”… means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. […]

Caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!

This Pressed for your reflection: “Abandonment is the greatest suffering of the elderly”, Pope says :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

By Elise Harris

Vatican City, Mar 5, 2015 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis said Thursday that when it comes to caring for the elderly, palliative care is necessary because it counters a mentality of utility that often leaves elderly persons marginalized and alone.

“Abandonment is the most serious ‘illness’ of the elderly, and also the greatest injustice they can suffer: those who helped us to grow must not be abandoned when they need our help, our love and our tenderness,” the Pope said March 5.

With its emphasis on alleviating the suffering of the sick and accompanying them with tenderness for the duration of their illness, palliative care serves as a crucial support for the elderly, “who, for reasons of age, often receive less attention from curative medicine, and are often abandoned.”

The Pope’s words came in an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who are gathered in Rome March 5-6 for their annual assembly, which this year reflected on the theme: “Assisting the elderly and palliative care.”

What palliative care offers as a unique and essential element in the medical field is the recognition of “the value of the person,” Francis said.

He noted that many elderly are either “left to die or made to die” due to their physical or social condition, and stressed that all types of medicine have the societal responsibility to bear witness to the honor due not only to elderly persons, but to each and every human being.

All medical knowledge, Francis said, “is truly science, in its most noble sense, only if it finds its place as a help in view of the good of man, a good that is never achieved by going ‘against’ his life and dignity.”

The Pope also emphasized that the criteria governing the actions of doctors must not be limited to medical evidence and efficiency, nor to the rules of heath care systems and economic profit.

“A state cannot think of making a profit with medicine. On the contrary, there is no more important duty for a society than safeguarding the human person.”

Palliative care then, bears witness to the fact that the human person always has value, even when suffering from age and illness, the Pope continued.

The human person, he said, “is a good in and of himself and for others, and is loved by God. For this reason, when life becomes very fragile and the end of earthly existence approaches, we feel the responsibility to assist and accompany the person in the best way.”

Francis then praised the efforts made on the part of those who work in the field of palliative care, and encouraged both professionals and students to specialize in the topic.

Although this type of care is not geared toward saving lives, it centers on the equally important recognition of the value of the human person, he said, and encouraged those working in the field to carry out their tasks with an attitude of service.

“It is this capacity for service to the life and dignity of the sick, even when they are old, that is the measure of the true progress of medicine, and of all society,” the Pope observed, and repeated an appeal made by St. John Paul II to “Respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life!”

However, while palliative care is necessary, it does not remove the need for the family in caring for the elderly, Francis added.

“The elderly, first of all, need the care of family members – whose affection cannot be replaced by the most efficient structures or the most competent and charitable healthcare workers,” he said.

When family members are not able to offer the needed care, or if the illness of their elderly loved one is advanced or terminal, then the “truly human” assistance offered by palliative care is a good option so long as it “supplements and supports” the care already provided by family members, he said.

Pope Francis closed his speech by encouraging those present to continue advancing in their studies and research, so that “the work of the promotion and defense of life might be ever more efficacious and fruitful.”

via Abandonment is the greatest suffering of the elderly, Pope says :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

If you care about God’s handiwork you’ll protect nature, Pope says

If you care about God‘s handiwork you’ll protect nature, Pope says
Lake Mountain Mist Nature (CC0 1.0).

By Ann Schneible

.- Set to finish his encyclical on the environment next month, Pope Francis said during his daily Mass at the Vatican on Monday that Christians who fail to safeguard nature do not care about God’s handiwork.

“A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not allow it to grow, is a Christian who does not care about God’s labors” which are borne out of God’s love for us, the Pope said Feb. 9.

His remarks were based in part on the day’s first reading from Genesis 1:1-19, comparing God’s creation of the universe with the Jesus’ “re-creation” of that which “had been ruined by sin.”

Pope Francis announced to journalists on his way to the Philippines last month that plans to have his much-anticipated encyclical on man’s relationship with creation finished in March. 

More here

#PopeFrancis leads a #Candlemas procession in the Vatican — Catholic News Agency

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, January 27th, 2015: St. Angela Merici

Pope Encourages Breastfeeding in Sistine Chapel

Pope Encourages Breastfeeding in Sistine Chapel

During a baptism ceremony for 33 fussy infants in the Sistine Chapel last weekend, Pope Francis broke from his prepared homily to encourage mothers to breastfeed their children in the chapel if necessary. Addressing the mothers directly, he used the Italian term for “breastfeed,” which was not part of his prepared remarks. The pope used the occasion to remind the congregation of the many children around the world who do not have enough food. More… Discuss

CRUX: 2014: The year in review in Catholicism

2014 snapshot


Large families are schools of solidarity and sharing, Francis affirms

Pope Francis greets pilgrims during the General Audience held Jan. 8, 2014. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims during the General Audience held Jan. 8, 2014. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA

Large families are schools of solidarity and sharing, Francis affirms

Credit for this message of Hope and Peace >>  here <<

.- In an address on Sunday to Italy’s National Numerous Family Association, Pope Francis thanked the members of large families for their cultivation of virtues that benefit society at large, as well as themselves.

“The fact of having brothers and sisters is good for you,” he said Dec. 28 to the children among the some 7,000 members of large families from across Italy at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

“The sons and daughters of large families are more inclined to fraternal communion from early childhood. In a world that is frequently marred by selfishness, a large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and these attitudes are of benefit to all society.”

The audience was on the occasion of the association’s tenth anniversary, and marked the feast of the Holy Family.

“You have come here with the most beautiful fruits of your love,” he said to the parents of the families. “Maternity and paternity are gifts from God, but your task is to receive this gift, to be amazed by its beauty and to let it shine in society. Each of your children is a unique creation that will never be repeated in the history of humanity. When we understand this, that each person is willed by God, we are astonished by the great miracle that is a child! A child changes your life!”

We have all seen, he reminded them, men and women who have profoundly changed “when a child arrives,” adding that a child is “the unique fruit of love,” coming from and growing in love.

“You, children and young people, are the fruit of the tree that is the family: you are good fruit when the tree has good roots – grandparents – and a good trunk – the parents,” Pope Francis said. “The great human family is like a forest, in which the trees bear solidarity, communion, fidelity, support, security, happy moderation, friendship. The presence of large families is a hope for society.”

This, he said, “is why the presence of grandparents is very important: a valuable presence both in terms of practical assistance, but above all for their contribution to education. Grandparents conserve the values of a people, of a family, and they help parents transmit them to their children. Throughout the last century, in many countries in Europe, it was the grandparents who transmitted the faith.”

“Dear parents, thank you for your example of love for life that you protect from conception to its natural end, in spite of all the difficulties and burdens of life, that unfortunately public institutions do not always help you to bear.”

He lamented that while the Italian constitution calls for particular regard for large families, this is only “words” and is “not adequately reflected in the facts.”

Considering Italy’s low birth rate, he voiced hope that it’s politicians and public administrators would give large families “all due support.”

“Every family is a cell of society, but the large family is a richer, more vital cell, and the state has much to gain by investing in it.”

In light of this, he affirmed the National Numerous Family Association, and groups like it, for advocating for large families in the European nations, and for being “present and visible in society and in politics.”

He concluded by praying in particular “for those families most affected by the economic crisis, those in which the mother or father have lost their jobs and in which the young are unable to find work, and those families in which the closest relationships are marked by suffering and who are tempted to give in to loneliness and separation.”

Pope Francis Leads Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican: from NBC News (they are not afraid of Christmas like other news agencies are: I’d say good for them!)

Pope Francis Leads Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican

Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve with a late-night Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Wednesday, after placing a phone call to Iraqi refugees forced to flee their homes by Muslim militants. Francis told refugees at the tent camp in Ankawa, a suburb of Irbil in northern Iraq, that they were like Jesus, forced to flee because there was no place for them. For Christians, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus in a Bethlehem barn manger, chosen because there was no room for his parents at an inn.

Vatican-Christmas Mass - 2014

Vatican-Christmas Mass – 2014 (Click to access the Mass at NBC News)

This pressed for our Faith: PopeinTurkey beginning mass now in Istanbul’s Holy Spirit Cathedral – it’s packed!

#Pope Francis has just arrived at the Sultan Ahmet (Blue) Mosque in Istanbul in a Renault Symbol. — Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA)

this Pressed: Pope Francis: People and not money create development §RV— Vatican – news (@news_va_en)

Pope to G20 Summit: “Many lives are at stake behind your political discussions”

Pope to G20 Summit: Many lives are at stake behind your political discussions

quotation: Don’t put money before everything else -Pope Francis



“Don’t put money before everything else”  -Pope Francis


Pope Francis General Audience 2014.10.15


Pope Francis General Audience 2014.10.15

Pope Francis, the Eucharist, and the Culture of Mate | First Thoughts | First Things

mate2In the midst of political, religious, national, and personal battles, there is one thing that unites all Argentines: Mate.

Mate (pronounced máh-teh), despite what you may have heard, is not an herbal green tea. That makes it sound sissy. It is a tea-like drink made from a green-colored yerba (herb), but it is much more robust than tea. For Argentines,

via Pope Francis, the Eucharist, and the Culture of Mate | First Thoughts | First Things.

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The Tenets of Sikhism

The Tenets of Sikhism

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded in northern India when the guru Nanak broke from orthodox Hinduism in the 16th century. Thus, though the religions have commonalities—for example, both believe in a cycle of reincarnation that is impacted by one’s actions—Sikhism rejects certain Hindu beliefs, like caste distinctions and asceticism. Nanak’s doctrine also stipulates that meditation must be inward and devoid of external aids. What are the “Five Thieves” that Sikhs are obliged to conquer? More… Discuss

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Pope Francis leads the Way of the Cross at Rome\’s Colosseum


A worker and a businessman carried the Cross, as well as the sick, children and the homeless.

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Pope Francis: Jesus asked us to always be at the service of others


Pope Francis: Jesus asked us to always be at the service of others

On Holy Thursday Mass, he tenderly washed the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people. Pope Francis celebrated one of the most important ceremonies of the year surrounded by the sick. His Holy Thursday Mass took place at the St. Mary of Providence Center, for the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation.

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The Walk to Canossa: Pope Lifts Holy Roman Emperor’s Excommunication (1077)

The papacy and German nobility were enjoying widespread power when Henry IV became German king and then holy Roman emperor. As Henry tried to reclaim control, he clashed with Pope Gregory and was excommunicated. The nobility sided with Gregory and refused to recognize Henry’s kingship unless he sought absolution. To do so, Henry crossed the Alps in the dead of winter and allegedly stood three days barefoot in the snow at the castle at Canossa before being absolved. How did the nobles respond? More…Discuss


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Pope Francis sends a message to Davos elites — they’d do well to listen – Business & Economics – Catholic Online

Pope Francis has called for the world's wealth to serve man, rather than for man to serve wealth.

Pope Francis has called for the world’s wealth to serve man, rather than for man to serve wealth.

via Pope Francis sends a message to Davos elites — they’d do well to listen – Business & Economics – Catholic Online.


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