Pope meets Italian mayors, municipalities

(Vatican Radio)  The image of a city that the New Jerusalem evokes is one of a human society that is based on true solidarity, whereas where envy, unbridled ambitions and spirit of adversity grow, it condemns itself to the violence of chaos.

The common good

Pope Francis made the point on Saturday while addressing some 300 members of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) in the Vatican.   The model of the city or town that the Pope proposed to them is one that “does not permit a one-way traffic of exasperated individualism,” that does not tolerate the “blind alleys of corruption” that breeds disintegration, and where there are no “walls of the privatization of public spaces, where the “us” is but a rhetoric ploy that “masks the interest of a few.”

The Pope urged the town and city officials to have “the passion for the common good” that grants each one and his family the possibility to realize themselves and open themselves in communion with others

Solidarity and human brotherhood

Speaking about areas that lack quality services he said it is where new “pockets of poverty and marginalization” breed.  “This,” he said, “is where the city moves on a double lane.”  “On the one hand there is a highway of those who are overly cared for and on the other there are the “bottlenecks of the poor and unemployed, the numerous families and immigrants who have no one to count on.”  “We must not accept these plans that divide and make the life of one be the death of the other,” the Pope said, adding, “the struggle itself ends up destroying any sense of solidarity and human brotherhood.”

Learn from the poor

The Pope thus urged the city and town administrations to visit the urban, social and existential peripheries under them, saying the “point of view of the least is the best school that will make us understand the true needs”  and their solutions.  While making us feel the “pulse of injustice” they will also show us the way to eliminate it and create a community where each one is recognized as a person and citizen with rights and duties.   The Pope said that if a mayor is close to his people, things go well always.

Migrants, refugees

Speaking about the issue of Italy’s massive problem with migrants and refugees, the Pope said he can well understand the difficulties of the nation grappling with an economic crisis, local communities’ unpreparedness and inadequate measures to deal with the emergencies.  He said this difficulty can be overcome by offering spaces for personal encounter and knowledge of one another

He commended initiatives that “promote the culture of encounter, mutual exchange of artistic and cultural riches, and the knowledge of the places and communities of origin of the new arrivals.”  Pope Francis expressed satisfaction that many city and town administrations have adopted the “the good practice of welcome and integration, with encouraging results” which he said should be spread wide. 

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope to focus on “fake news” in message for World Communications Day 2018‎

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will focus on the harmful effects of fake news against journalism for peace, in his message for peace for World Communications Day next year.  ““The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace,” the Pope announced with a post on Twitter (@Pontifex) on Friday.

World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican ‎Council ‎‎(“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of ‎the ‎world, on the Sunday before Pentecost, which in 2018 will fall on May 13.  In some countries, the day is marked as the solemnity of Ascension.

The announcement of the ‎theme is traditionally made on Sept. 29, the feast of the Archangels Michael, ‎Raphael and Gabriel, with ‎Gabriel being designated the patron saint of telecommunications

The Holy ‎Father’s message for World ‎Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with January ‎‎24, feast of St. Francis de ‎Sales, patron of journalists, to allow bishops’ conferences, diocesan offices and ‎communications ‎organizations sufficient time to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national ‎and local ‎celebrations. ‎ ‎

The first World Communications Day was observed on May 7, 1967, under the pontificate of Blessed Pope Paul VI, who wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.  Next year’s observance will the 52nd edition.

Church’s contribution

Commenting on the theme of next year’s World Communications Day, the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication said that false information contributes to creating and fueling strong polarization of opinions. This often consists in distortion of facts, with possible “repercussions on individual ‎and collective behaviours.”  In a situation in which social media groups, institutions and the political world are reacting to this phenomenon, the Secretariat said, “the Church would like make its contribution by proposing a ‎reflection on the causes, logic and consequences of misinformation in the media and helping to promote ‎professional journalism, always seeking the truth, and thus a journalism of peace that promotes ‎understanding among people.‎”  

(from Vatican Radio)

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Mons Viganò: Radio an antidote to fake news

(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Mons Dario Edoardo Viganò on Thursday addressed a workshop in Milan entitled “Journalism in the age of Fake News. The frontier of radio “.

Facts versus fiction

In remarks prepared for the occasion,  Mons Viganò began by stressing the importance of fact and source checking in this era of fake news, saying that it was “worth remembering that the verification of sources is the primary rule of journalism, adding that, in the age of contemporary information truth runs the risk of becoming a secondary aspect.”

The Prefect went on to say that, “because of a continuous technological evolution, it is difficult to use the conceptual categories of the past,” and he noted the role of the internet and Social Media which have played their part in changing the media boundaries that people have become accustomed to.

Mons Viganò said that what was required in this era of fake news was “to reiterate the need to recover the foundations of ethics and the ethics of the journalistic profession that are based precisely on the verification of sources as well as on other principles.” He also commented that there was a need for critical thinking on the part of social media users who often share information on their own profiles without paying too much attention to the text.

Radio and Fake news

Turning his attention to Radio, the Prefect, said that in this age of fake news  “…Radio is a strategic key to ‘anti fake news’,” which can not only counteract this phenomenon but can facilitate an opposing logic.

By exploiting the new media, he said, “Radio has strengthened its identity at all times and has kept its appeal intact both in terms of audience, advertising and economic investments.”

Mons Viganò underlined, that Radio enjoys consistent credibility among young people who put it in pole position among the traditional media, such as TV and newspapers.

In short, the Prefect said, Radio involves an extraordinary narrative immediacy that has a fundamental value.

Mons Viganò was participating at the workshop ahead of the 69th edition of Gran Prix Italia, the Rai International Competition dedicated to innovative radio and TV programs and high-quality cultural and artistic programs.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis at Mass: ‘Remorse is sign of salvation’

(Vatican Radio)  Be not afraid of “speaking the truth about our life”, by recognizing our sins and confessing them to the Lord. That was Pope Francis message at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.

Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:

Reflecting in his homily on the day’s Gospel about Herod’s response to Jesus’ preaching, Pope Francis noted that some people associated Jesus with John the Baptist, Elijah, or a prophet.

Herod, he said, did not know what to think about Jesus, but “he felt” something within. This was not a mere curiosity, the Pope said, but “remorse in his soul and heart”. Herod sought to see Jesus “to calm himself”.

The Holy Father said Herod wanted to see the Christ perform a miracle, but Jesus refused to hold “a circus before him”, so Herod handed him over to Pontius Pilate. And Jesus paid for his refusal with his life.

In so doing, the Pope said, Herod covered “one crime with another” and “one remorse of conscience with another crime”, like one “who kills out of fear”.

Remorse, he said, is therefore not “simply remembering something” but “an open wound”.

“It is an open wound, which, when we have done something wrong in our life, pains us. But it is a hidden wound, unseen even by me, because I get used to carrying it around and anesthetizing it. It is there and some touch it, but it remains within. When it hurts, we feel remorse. I am not only aware of having done evil, but I also feel it in my body, in my soul, and in my life. And so I feel the temptation to cover it and not feel it anymore.”

Pope Francis went on to say it is “a grace to feel our conscience accuse us”. However, he said none of us is a saint, so we are all tempted to notice the sins of the others, instead of our own.

“We must, if I may say so, ‘baptize’ this open wound, that is, give it a name… And if you ask, ‘Father, how can I remove it?’ First of all, pray: ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ And then examine your life… And ask someone to help you to identify the wound and to give it a name, saying ‘I feel remorse because I did this concrete act.’ This is true humility before God.”

The Pope said this act of being concrete with remorse is necessary for healing.

“We must learn the science and wisdom of accusing ourselves… I accuse myself, feel the pain caused by the wound, learn where it has come from, and then indict myself regarding it. Do not be afraid of remorse, for it is a sign of salvation.”

Finally, Pope Francis invited all to pray for the grace “to have courage to accuse ourselves”, in order to journey along the path towards salvation.

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope invites all to ‘Share the Journey’ of migrants and refugees

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has loudly and clearly welcomed migrants, refugees and asylum seekers while expressing his support and gratitude for the Caritas Internationalis‘ “Share the Journey” campaign.

Speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the Pope  also had special words of welcome for Caritas representatives gathered to officially launch the two-year campaign aimed at activism and awareness-raising about the plight of migrants,

The campaign encourages people to actually meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as mere numbers and statistics imbued with negative stereotypes.

Opening his arms wide in a powerfully symbolic gesture, Francis said “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace”.

And pointing to the beautiful Bernini colonnade that encircles St. Peter’s Square, he said our embrace of migrants should mimic the colonnade “which represents mother Church who embraces everyone by sharing in our common journey”.

The Pope thanked Caritas members and other Church organizations for their constant commitment in favour of migrants saying that they are the sign of an “open, inclusive and welcoming Church.”  

The campaign launched  on Wednesday aims to challenge negative myths and perceptions regarding migrants through websites featuring the stories of individuals, the true impact of immigration and  explanations of Church teaching on the culture of encounter. 

Caritas Internationalis is asking Catholics to take public action in support of migrants, posting pro-immigrant messages on social media and participating in programmes where they can meet migrants and refugees. 

In his greetings to all those who work to support and advocate for migrants and refugees the Pope also welcomed a petition which is vying for new legislation on migration “which is more pertinent to the current context.”

After the Audience Pope Francis personally greeted a group of some 50 refugees who were in the Square for the occasion.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope invites all to ‘Share the Journey’ of migrants and refugees

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has loudly and clearly welcomed migrants, refugees and asylum seekers while expressing his support and gratitude for the Caritas Internationalis‘ “Share the Journey” campaign.

Speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the Pope  also had special words of welcome for Caritas representatives gathered to officially launch the two-year campaign aimed at activism and awareness-raising about the plight of migrants,

The campaign encourages people to actually meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as mere numbers and statistics imbued with negative stereotypes.

Opening his arms wide in a powerfully symbolic gesture, Francis said “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace”.

And pointing to the beautiful Bernini colonnade that encircles St. Peter’s Square, he said our embrace of migrants should mimic the colonnade “which represents mother Church who embraces everyone by sharing in our common journey”.

The Pope thanked Caritas members and other Church organizations for their constant commitment in favour of migrants saying that they are the sign of an “open, inclusive and welcoming Church.”  

The campaign launched  on Wednesday aims to challenge negative myths and perceptions regarding migrants through websites featuring the stories of individuals, the true impact of immigration and  explanations of Church teaching on the culture of encounter. 

Caritas Internationalis is asking Catholics to take public action in support of migrants, posting pro-immigrant messages on social media and participating in programmes where they can meet migrants and refugees. 

After the Audience Pope Francis personally greeted a group of some 50 refugees who were in the Square for the occasion.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope urges governments and individuals to welcome migrants with open arms

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday urged governments and all men and women of goodwill to welcome migrants with open arms and share in their plight as Jesus did.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope launched a 2-year campaign of action and awareness raising that aims to promote a culture of encounter and to encourage people to receive migrants and refugees with open hearts and minds.

The campaign, entitled “Share the Journey” is promoted by Caritas Internationalis

“Brothers, don’t be afraid of sharing the journey. Don’t be afraid of sharing hope” Pope Francis said.

His appeal to replace prejudice with tolerance was enmeshed in his continuing catechesis on Christian hope during which he reflected on the importance of combatting all that threatens our hope.  

And pointing out that it is hope itself that motivates so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, Francis said that hope is especially the virtue of the poor.

“God came into this  world among the poor, to bring the good news of our salvation” he said.

And appealing to Christians to never allow themselves to be robbed of hope, he said that hope is also the virtue of the young who risk being deprived of it by an often soulless and materialist society.

Pope Francis concluded reminding the faithful that we are not alone in our fight against desperation and spiritual emptiness: “if God is with us no one will rob us of that virtue which is necessary to look to the future: no one will rob us of hope”.     

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope Francis: General Audience English Summary

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday continued his catechesis on Christian hope and invited all Christians to welcome so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life.

Launching Caritas Internationalis’ “Share the Journey” campaign, the Pope pointed out that no one deserves to be robbed of hope by a soulless and materialist society.

He was speaking to crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience.

Please find below the official translation of the Pope’s Catechesis:   

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to reflect on the importance of combatting all that threatens our hope.  As the ancient story of Pandora’s box teaches us, hope remains as the treasure enabling mankind to face with trust in God’s providence every evil let loose in this world.  In our own day, hope motivates so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, but also those who welcome them, “sharing the journey” with them and trusting in a better tomorrow.  Hope is especially the virtue of the poor.  As the mystery of Christmas teaches us, God came into this world among the poor, to bring the good news of our salvation.  Hope is also the virtue of the young, who deserve not to be robbed of it by an often soulless and materialist society.  Hope’s greatest enemy is spiritual emptiness, the “noon-day devil” that tempts us to stop fighting and to yield to discouragement.  Let us ask the Lord for the grace to hope more firmly in his promises, confident that his victory over the world will fill our hearts with joy as we face the future and all that it has in store for us.

(from Vatican Radio)

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