Pope encourages religious to be architects of a new society

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed appreciation for the opening of the 20th Renovabis Congress taking place in Freising, Germany.

The event, from  31 August to  2 September focusses on the theme “Witnessing to the Gospel – Shaping the World. The Role of Religious Orders in Central and Eastern Europe”.

A message from the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, on behalf of Pope Francis highlights his profound belief that the Lord’s call to bring peace and mercy to mankind continues to be an urgent and significant one in today’s world.

This – the message continues – is especially true for missionaries who leave the safety of their homelands to bring the light of the Gospel and the solidarity of the Church to the ends of the earth.  

To respond to the Lord’s call in this way, the message says, is a constant witness of God’s love for each creature.

The message of good wishes to the participants of the congress concludes with the wish that this kind of testimony may contribute to the building of a society based on dignity  and social responsibility, and that they may become the ‘architects of a new society’.    
 
As explained on the website of the congress itself:  “The role and the activities of orders within today’s Central and Eastern European societies will be focal points during the congress. In addition to a short introduction concerning the development of the life of religious orders during the 20th century, especially related to the awakening or restart after the political-societal upheavals 25 years ago, the congress will also deal with the commitment of individual religious orders in the fields of school, caritas, pastoral aid and refugee relief. In addition to that, several workshops and a ‘Market of Possibilities’ will illustrate the variety of the religious life in the 21st century. Another important subject will be the perspectives of religious orders within the following decades”.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis: dicourse to cardiology congress

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday addressed the World Congress of the European Society of Cardiology, which has been meeting in Rome since August 27th to explore the role of teamwork caring for patients with cardiovascular illness. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks

****************************************

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!  I was pleased to accept the invitation of the Executive Committee of the European Society of Cardiology to meet with you on the occasion of this World Congress which brings together cardiologists from various countries.  I am particularly grateful to Professor Fausto Pinto for his kind words and, through him, I thank each of you for the scientific work in these days of study and discussion, but above all for your dedication to so many who are sick.

You look after the heart.  How much symbolism is enshrined in this word!  How many hopes are contained in this human organ!  In your hands you hold the beating core of the human body, and as such your responsibility is very great!  I am sure that as you find yourselves before this book of life with its many pages yet to be discovered, you are filled with trepidation and awe.

The Magisterium of the Church has always affirmed the importance of scientific research for human life and health.  The Church not only accompanies you along this demanding path, but also promotes your cause and wishes to support you.  The Church understands that efforts directed to the authentic good of the person are actions always inspired by God.  Nature, in all its complexity, and the human mind, are created by God; their richness must be studied by skilled men and women, in the knowledge that the advancement of the philosophical and empirical sciences, as well as professional care in favour of the weakest and most infirm, is a service that is part of God’s plan.  Openness to the grace of God, an openness which comes through faith, does not weaken human reason, but rather leads it towards knowledge of a truth which is wider and of greater benefit to humanity.

At the same time, we know that the scientist, in his or her research, is never neutral, in as much as each one has their own history, their way of being and of thinking.  Every scientist requires, in a sense, a purification; through this process, the toxins which poison the mind’s pursuit of truth and certainty are removed, and this enables a more incisive understanding of the meaning of things.  We cannot deny that our knowledge, even our most precise and scientific knowledge, needs to progress by asking questions and finding answers concerning the origin, meaning and finality of reality; and this includes man.  The sciences alone, however, whether natural or physical, are not sufficient to understand the mystery contained within each person.  When man is viewed in his totality – allow me to emphasize this point – we are able to have a profound understanding of the poorest, those most in need, and the marginalized.  In this way, they will benefit from your care and the support and assistance offered by the public and private health sectors.

By means of your invaluable work, you contribute to the healing of physical illness and are able to perceive that there are laws engraved within human nature that no one can tamper with, but rather must be “discovered, respected and cooperated with” so that life may correspond ever more to the designs of the Creator (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 36).  For this reason, it is important that men and women of science, as they examine themselves in the light of that great mystery of human existence, do not give in to the temptation to suppress the truth (cf. Rom 1:18).

With these sentiments, I renew my appreciation for your work.  I ask the Lord to bless your research and medical care, so that everyone may receive relief from their suffering, a greater quality of life and an increasing sense of hope.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis pleased over finalization of peace talks in Colombia

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is “pleased” that negotiations between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been finalized after four years of peace talks.

A statement issued by the Secretariat of State said the Holy Father “reiterates his support for the goal of attaining the peace and reconciliation of the entire Colombian people, in light of human rights and Christian values, which are at the heart of Latin American culture.”

The conflict between the government and the Marxist rebels has lasted over 50 years, and killed over 200,000 people.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday called a plebiscite for 2 October to ratify the agreement.

 

The full statement is below

 

Statement of the Secretariat of State

 

The Holy Father was pleased to learn that negotiations have been finalized between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, concluding an intense process that took place over the last several years.  He reiterates his support for the goal of attaining the peace and reconciliation of the entire Colombian people, in light of human rights and Christian values, which are at the heart of Latin American culture.

                On 12 August last, His Holiness received the invitation to appoint a representative to participate in the committee that selects the judges who will comprise the Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (Special Jurisdiction for Peace).  However, bearing in mind the universal vocation of the Church and the mission of the Successor of Peter as Pastor of the People of God, it would be more appropriate that the said task be entrusted to other parties. 

              Pope Francis commends the peace process in Colombia to the maternal protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, Queen of Peace, and he invokes the gift of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the hearts and minds of those who are called to promote the common good of the Colombian nation.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Migrants and refugees at the heart of Pope’s new ‘Motu Proprio’

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has created a new Dicastery to better minister to the needs of the men and women the Church is called to serve.

The new “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development” was instituted in a Motu Proprio published on Wednesday in the Osservatore Romano

It will come into effect as from 1 January 2017 and will be especially “competent in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture”.

On that same date, four Pontifical Councils dedicated to charity and to the promotion of human development will cease to exist and effectively be encompassed in the new institution.

The Pope has appointed Cardinal Peter Turkson as Prefect of the new dicastery. Turkson is the current President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace – one of those destined to be suppressed.      

As Pope Francis highlights in the Motu Proprio: ‘the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel’, thus the Successor of Peter must ‘continuously adapt the institutions which collaborate with him.’ 

One of the sections of the new dicastery is an expression of the Pope’s particular concern for refugees and migrants and of his deep belief that in today’s world integral human development cannot be promoted without special attention for the phenomenon of migration. For this reason, this particular section is placed ad tempus beneath the direct jurisdiction of the Pope.

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio:  

Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio
by the Supreme Pontiff Francis
instituting the DICASTERY FOR PROMOTING INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

In all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel.  This development takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation.  The Successor of the Apostle Peter, in his work of affirming these values, is continuously adapting the institutions which collaborate with him, so that they may better meet the needs of the men and women whom they are called to serve.
So that the Holy See may be solicitous in these areas, as well as in those regarding health and charitable works, I institute the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.  This Dicastery will be competent particularly in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.
In the new Dicastery, governed by the Statutes that today I approve ad experimentum, the competences of the following Pontifical Councils will be merged, as of 1 January 2017: the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.  On that date these four Dicasteries will cease exercising their functions and will be suppressed, and articles 142-153 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus will be abrogated.  
I decree that what has been set out in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio have the force of law, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, and that it be promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, therefore published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, entering into force on 1 January 2017.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 17 August 2016, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Fourth Year of my Pontificate.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

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Cardinal Turkson: Address to the Christian Social Congress

(Vatican Radio) The President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, on Wednesday said “human beings risk turning into robots, into mere cogs in a worldwide machine.” He was addressing the Christian Social Congress taking place in taking place in Doorn, in the Netherlands.

“Against this threat, Christians need to marshal and explain their reasons for their faith in humanity,” Cardinal Turkson said.

“On the one hand, grounded in our religious vision of the world, our conception of freedom allows us to think independently about the world rather than constantly join the crowd,” – he continued – “On the other hand, this religious vision also makes sense of the movement of history due to its confident expectation that, eventually and actually, we will all be gathered together, reconciled in God through Christ.”

Pope Francis also sent a message to the participants of the Congress.

 

The full text of Cardinal Turkson’s address is below

 

Current challenges for the Christian Social Movement

in the light of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ of Pope Francis[1]

 

Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson

Christian Social Congress, Doorn, 31 August 2016

 

Thank you for inviting me to speak to this important and inspiring conference. I say “inspiring” because I realize that your Christian Social Movement had its first conference 125 years ago, in Amsterdam. Our Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace will be a more modest 50 years old next January 6th, so you see why I am impressed.

Of course, 1891 was also the year that Rerum novarum appeared: a truly revolutionary teaching, in its time and still today. It resolutely inserted the Church into some of the most pressing social issues of the day, such as the impacts of industrialization on individuals and families.

By Divine Providence, we too are living such a kairos moment. For the astonishing encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, has resonated strongly all over the world, and still resonates 15 months later, because of a similar revolutionary force. We can read it as the Rerum Novarum of the 21st century. It offers guidance and guidelines for a different way of relating to each other and to Creation.

During these opening moments of your Conference, let the key question of globalization be raised with the inspiration of earlier prophets and of the epochal Council Vatican II. We can then consider changes and new forces, initially as threats but surely as challenging opportunities. And so we look forward to your deliberations, invoking God’s blessing.

The question of globalization

With the interconnectedness of today’s world, and with the quick distribution of information and images, anyone with the slightest interest will instantly realize that the challenges for humanity – the challenges to be fully human – occur at every scale, from the global to the most intimate. The summary label for this highly powerful and ambiguous phenomenon is globalization. There are several forces nowadays that converge to make globalization an unprecedented threat to human progress. I am speaking here of the economic, financial, political and technological forces that raise the ominous spectre of the progressive robotization of men, women and children, in their outlooks and behaviour.

The haunting question is this: are we inescapably in the grip of these forces, powerless to control our destiny? Or can humanity shape and guide these forces? The Christian Social Movement affirms resoundingly that we can and must take charge. This is the perspective and spirit with which your conference raises its central concern: how to humanize globalization?

Prophets before us

Thank God we are not the first to face daunting questions. It is with deep satisfaction that I recall the history of Christian social engagement in the Netherlands. It reflects two sides of Christian participation in social life: it is both intellectual and practical.

Your compatriots of past decades have provided some very important, diverse expressions of the vision of Christ in the actual social order. I am speaking of Mr. Jos Serrarens, Monsignor Wiel Nolens and Cardinal Bernard Affrink.

As Secretary-General of the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions, Jos Serrarens brought together Catholic and Protestant workers at the conclusion of the First World War in order to engage Christians in consolidating peace through social justice. Monsignor Nolens as Head of the Catholic Party played a major role on both the national and international stage to insert your nation in the world-wide effort to construct peace; this was just one of his achievements. And in the years after the Second World War, Cardinal Bernard Affrink, then President of Pax Christi International, launched the first initiatives that made Christians aware of the changes, or even the upheavals, that the world had begun to experience in this epoch due to human mastery of the forces of nature.

These outstanding names, along with many others, helped to define the past century through their ability to respond to the challenges of their time.

Vocation

Christians today are called to continue the witness of the eminent prophets we honour. We recall them because of their resolute insertion into the major challenges of their time, and they did so as a necessary expression and application of their religious faith. This is the path of faith and action united, as the Second Vatican Council taught with all its authority. The pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et spes, opens with a resounding embrace of the lived realities of humankind: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (GS §1). And to truly follow Christ, we must accept our “earthly responsibilities”. The followers of Christ understand that their faith is incarnated in the world: “by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties, each according to his proper vocation.” Conversely, it is entirely erroneous for people to “imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life” (GS §43.1). The only true path is that which unites faith and action.

First, the natural history of the world derives its meaning and direction from the supernatural history that Christ initiated. Christ gives world history an end, a goal, a telos and an Omega. Christ is our peace; he it is who makes reconciliation possible.

Second, it is the vocation of Christians in every era to translate Christ’s global vision into the hic et nunc, into the here-and-now. This is why we find such diversity in how Christians have engaged in society through the ages: the here and now in each situation differ from others, earlier or later, here or elsewhere. Thus it is that there is one consistent vision which finds expression in many different forms of social engagement.

Threatening changes

Let me highlight two of the upheavals that face us as we put our faith into action. First, the unipolar world has disappeared. The world today is multipolar. This is a radical change. Too much social science and the derivative social policy make the mistake of reducing this change to an excessively quantitative matter, whereas in truth it is qualitative, cultural, spiritual. Until the 1980s and early 1990s, the world was dominated by the Cold War and the East-West confrontation. But following the policies of détente of President Reagan and Chairman Gorbachev – policies that were supported by Christian leaders such as Blessed Pope Paul VI, Cardinals Agostino Casaroli and Barnard Affrink – the international equilibrium of power began to shift. New forces were let loose, and their priorities diverged from those of the West where spiritual strength was drained away by hedonism.

Yet our present world is already so different from the heady days when the Berlin Wall came down and formerly repressed populations found a new freedom. Indeed, in some cases, that freedom allowed them to indulge in consumerism and hedonistic interests that had been unavailable or forbidden. But nowadays, with all-pervasive computer tools, worldwide communication and social media, people risk being lost amid noise and triviality. Pope Francis worries greatly about information overload and neglect of direct human relationship.

“True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and gener­ous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventu­ally leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature” (LS §47).

New technologies of communication bring me to the second upheaval. As I said earlier, human beings risk turning into robots, into mere cogs in a worldwide machine. Against this threat, Christians need to marshal and explain their reasons for their faith in humanity. How do we regard the world today and its various trends? On the one hand, grounded in our religious vision of the world, our conception of freedom allows us to think independently about the world rather than constantly join the crowd. On the other hand, this religious vision also makes sense of the movement of history due to its confident expectation that, eventually and actually, we will all be gathered together, reconciled in God through Christ. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Col 3:11). Christ, and his authentic disciples, exercise authority as service for others. “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28.

Opportunities of dialogue

As you pursue your studies and discussions here, I urge you to embrace dialogue: dialogue among yourselves here, and dialogue in the work you do in the world. Pope Francis puts his faith and hope in dialogue “as the only way to confront the problems of our world and to seek solutions that are truly effective”.[2] Authentic dialogue is “open and respectful”; it requires “patience, self-discipline and generosity” (LS §201). It insists on open negotiation based on the principles which the social teachings of the Church vigorously promote: solidarity, subsidiarity, working for the common good, universal destination of goods, and preferential option for the poor and for the earth.

Pope Francis applies these principles, after briefly interpreting the story of Cain and Abel, to our real relationships. “Disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbour, for whose care and custo­dy I am responsible, ruins my relationship with my own self, with others, with God and with the earth” (LS §70). On the contrary, “The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures” (LS §240). This is the rich, integrated vision of the encyclical that you are about to study.

Let me give an example of new technologies at the service of networking for politics and democracy in action. Avaaz is an online network founded almost ten years ago; today Avaaz counts about 44 million members.[3] Using online petitions, it organizes citizens of all nations to close the gap between what exists and the world most people everywhere want. Avaaz and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace collaborated on activities around Laudato si’, the Pope’s visit to USA last September, and the COP21 climate change meetings last December in Paris. Now just as Avaaz brings people of all backgrounds to discover shared concerns and undertake common action, so your Christian Social Movement has brought together people of good will of diverse backgrounds. The invitation, I suggest, is to open ourselves to the potential for good in the new tools that are available, even as we take a prudent or critical attitude towards excesses.

Your deliberations

As this Conference gets underway, it makes me happy to know that you intend to pose “slow questions in swampy ground”.[4] To do this patiently and properly “rooted and grounded”, you re-read the Imitatio Christi in a contemporary, social key. This lived spirituality of encounter, as Pope Francis would say, sustains dialogue or conversation with various partners about current social issues very much on our agenda. Allow me please to remind you of the five great questions which will surely serve to focus this Conference as well as subsequent policy and action:

  1. How can we give priority to responsive forms of the economy that are an answer to the needs of society instead of the wants of the individual (Chapter 4)?
  2. How can we make room for vulnerability, imperfection, and improvisational skills, thus countering the push to perfection and uniformity and strengthening the vitality and quality of life in society (See chapter 5)?
  3. How can we give priority to forms of inclusive politics which are, instead of just recurrent polling, a conversation, thus enhancing engagement by citizens in arranging their own life (Chapter 6)?
  4. How can we cultivate forms of growth in quality, thus reducing the emphasis on quantitative growth, numbers and procedures (Chapter 7)?
  5. How can we establish a culture of gratitude, reverence, and involvement, thus countering indifference, the throw-away culture, and cynicism (Chapter 8)?[5]

Conclusion

In conclusion, I wish to share an overall observation about Laudato si’. Pope Francis has brought together a huge canvas, an immense landscape of topics, in his text. He wants to help people of goodwill of all backgrounds to clearly acknowledge the world’s most pressing issues, and to embark on effective responses to them. People can do this if they embrace a transcendent understanding of the world’s movement towards reconciliation, and if they accept the humble, generous, loving parameters of dialogue for working together. He commits the Church to accompany every level of decision-making, every form of governance, that is willing to pursue the common good. Thus, with this new Rerum novarum, the Church is manifestly willing to go out into the whole social order and accompany humankind as we urgently take stock and make decisions and re-tool. You can count on the Church as you work for justice and peace in your immediate neighbourhood, your country, across Europe and throughout the planet! In a complementary way, the Church counts on you to live out her vocation in the modern world.

May our Lord smile on your deliberations and guide you to continue the great work of Christian social movements: to redeem and build positive relationships among all peoples and with all of creation in a globalization of ever-increasing reconciliation and human fulfilment!

 

 

 

 


[1] In the preparation of this address, I would like gratefully to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Fr. Joseph Joblin S.J., Professor emeritus of Social Sciences, Pontifical Gregorian University, and of Mr. Robert Czerny, editor and translator, Ottawa.

[2] Pope Francis, Address on Environmental Justice and Climate Change, 11.09.15.

[4] Piet Hazenbosch, De kracht van verbondenheid: Perspectieven in een netwerksamenleving: Naar een visie voor het Christelijk-Sociaal Congres 2016, Stichting Christelijk-Sociaal Congres, 2016, p.185.

[5] De kracht van verbondenheid, pp. 186-187.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis: Social systems should serve the needs of all people

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday sent greetings to the Christian Social Congress taking place in Doorn, in the Netherlands.

In a message sent through the Secretary of State, the Pope encouraged the participants “to promote a greater awareness of the particular dignity of human relationships, which inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others.”

It continued by stating Pope Francis “prays that those gathered will give particular attention to the concerns of the poor and marginalized, so that every economic, political and social system may serve the needs and advancement of all peoples, and protect the created world which God has entrusted to humanity’s stewardship.”

The President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, also addressed the Congress.

 

The full text of the message is below

 

His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to learn of the conference sponsored by the Dutch Christian Social Congress, to begin on 31 August 2016, and he sends cordial greetings to all gathered for this important event. As participants reflect on the primacy of the human person in a globalized world, His Holiness encourages them to promote a greater awareness of the particular dignity of human relationships, which “inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others” (Laudato Si’, 119). In this way, their discussion of the pressing societal issues of our day will be guided by a “humanism capable of bringing together the different fields of knowledge, including economics, in the service of a more integral and integrating vision” (no. 141). In this regard, Pope Francis prays that those gathered will give particular attention to the concerns of the poor and marginalized, so that every economic, political and social system may serve the needs and advancement of all peoples, and protect the created world which God has entrusted to humanity’s stewardship. With the assurance of his prayerful good wishes, His Holiness invokes upon those gathered the abundant divine blessings of peace and strength.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis tells Arab Christians to “keep flame of their faith”

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told Christians in the Arab-speaking world to “keep the flame of their faith,” despite the darkness of the trial.” The Holy Father was speaking during his General Audience to Arab-speaking pilgrims from Iraq, Jordan, and the Middle East.

“The healing accomplished today by Jesus [of the woman with the hemorrhage Mt 9:20-22] assures us that when human hope disappears and everything seems impossible, the sun of Divine hope rises again for those who, despite the darkness of the trial, keep the flame of their faith!” – Pope Francis said – “The Lord bless you all and protect you from the evil one!”

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Audience: English summary

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday. In his catechesis, the Holy Father relflected on St Matthew’s Gospel account of the cure of a woman suffering from haemorrhages.

Below, please find the official English language summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis for the General Audience for 31 August 2016:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider Jesus’ cure of the woman suffering from haemorrhages (cf. Mt 9:20-22).  This unnamed woman, considered impure according to the Law (cf. Lev 15:29-30), trusted in Jesus’ mercy and saving power to free her from her illness and isolation.  Filled with deep faith, she reached out and touched his garment.  In Hebrew religious tradition, wearing such a garment was a symbol of being clothed with the divine Law, the source of blessing.  The woman’s gesture of touching his garment is thus a form of quiet prayer and a sign of hope.  Jesus responds by looking upon her with tenderness and acknowledges her dignity.  He treats her with love and heals her of her affliction.  Faith in Christ brings salvation; it offers healing, restores right relationships between people and affirms our inviolable dignity.  Jesus asks all of us to trust in his word and, having experienced his mercy, to be a leaven of that mercy in our world.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Ireland, Malta, the Philippines, Vietnam, the US Virgin Islands and the United States of America.  May your stay in the Eternal City confirm you in love for our Lord, and may he make you his missionaries of mercy, especially for all those who feel distant from God.  May God bless you all!

(from Vatican Radio)

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