Category: Vatican


Cardinals Discuss Role of Women

Meeting in the Vatican, Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals agreed on the need to listen to the “the feminine aspect” of the Church, especially at the local level, “so that processes of reflection and decision making can benefit from the irreplaceable contribution of women.”


Pope Francis to Attend Cop28 in Dubai

Pope Francis is going to attend the Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai that will run from November 30 to December 12. “Yes, I will go to Dubai. I think I will leave December 1 until December 3.


Alliance To Fight Trafficking

Despite the best endeavors of so many in so many countries, modern slavery and human trafficking continue to expand. Victims are hidden away: in places of prostitution, in factories and farms, on fishing boats, and illegal establishments, in private homes behind locked doors and in many other places in cities, villages and slums, in the world’s richest nations and poorest nations.

Korean Martyrs’ Cause For Sainthood Approved

In a decree on Feb. 7, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to promulgate the causes of these Catholics in the various stages of the canonization process.


‘Evangelii Gaudium’ Amounts To Francis’ ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech

Dreams can be powerful things, especially when articulated by leaders with the realistic capacity to translate them into action. That was the case 50 years ago with Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and it also seems to be the ambition of Pope Francis’ bold new apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.”

The Light Of Faith: The Two Popes’ Encyclical

 Thumbing through the pages, however, it is evident in the text – a relatively short text, 91 pages composed of 58 paragraphs – that the dominant hand is that of the German pontiff. And not just because the encyclical on faith concludes the triptych on the theological virtues starting with Deus Caritas Est on charity and followed by Spe Salvi on hope. The layout of the text, the frequent references to philosophers and live debates in the German culture of the ’60s, the insistence on some issues, and even the comparison between faith and Gothic cathedrals, where “the light comes from the sky through the windows where it represents the sacred history,” all testify that Pope Francis has decided to respect and accept the work of his predecessor.  Francis explicitly expresses in paragraph 7 of the Encyclical: “These considerations on faith – in continuity with all that the Church’s magisterium has pronounced on this theological virtue – are meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical letters on charity and hope. He himself had almost completed the first draft of an encyclical on faith. For this, I am deeply grateful to him and, as his brother in Christ, I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own.”  The title of the Encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) summarizes the fundamental dynamic which moves in line with the text: the tradition of the Church has always associated faith being the light that dispels the darkness and illuminates the path. “In modernity, that light might have been considered sufficient for societies of old, but was felt to be of no use for new times, for a humanity that has come of age, proud of its rationality and anxious to explore the future in novel ways. Faith thus appeared to some as an illusory light, preventing mankind from boldly setting out in quest of knowledge.”  The text cites Nietzsche, one of the constant reference points – even if negative – of Ratzinger’s thought, for which “belief would be incompatible with seeking. But in recent decades,” he adds, “it was discovered that the light of autonomous reason is not enough to illumine the future. As a result, humanity renounced the search for a great light, Truth itself, in order to be content with smaller lights which illumine the fleeting moment. For this, in today’s world, “there is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light,” discovering that only the light that comes from believing in God is “capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.”  The road to the discovery of this bright character of faith happens naturally with the encounter with Christ and by His love. “Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment and that a vision of the future opens up before us.”  After the introduction, the Encyclical, in four chapters, traces

Shape Of Things To Come

The Pope’s intention appears to be to translate into action the Second Vatican Council’s desire for a realignment of forces within the Church that has remained largely theoretical over the last half–century. So far, most of Pope Francis’ actions have been symbolic of his much less grandiose interpretation of the personal role of the papacy than all recent popes have followed, and he has now given that style of approach some embryonic structural shape.  The new team of eight will not meet as such until the autumn, though it is said the Pope began consulting them individually immediately. What is more significant is that they have been carefully chosen so that, virtually, every part of the world is represented and, in most cases, by men who have themselves been selected for leadership positions by their episcopal colleagues. Thus, the European representative is the German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who is president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community and hence can speak for the Catholic hierarchies of Europe. Similar qualifications – and a similar democratic mandate – apply to most of the others.  This shifts the balance of power in the Church in favor of national or regional conferences of bishops. They have hitherto suffered from lack of status as a result of the ruling by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that episcopal conferences “had no theological significance.” They were mere collections of bishops, and their theological weight was merely the sum of their parts. If they have now been recognized as key components in the Church’s new architecture, that may go a long way to incorporating the idea of episcopal collegiality at the heart of the Church. The Vatican II decree Lumen Gentium declared that the primary responsibility for the government of the Church lay with the college of bishops, with the Pope as its head. Hence, the Curia’s role should be as a civil service answering to the college of bishops headed by the Pope, not to govern the bishops on behalf of the Pope – which has been the pattern so far. This is where putting together a team of eight to advise him, and reforming the Curia, are two parts of the same project. If the team is really the beginning of Cabinet government under a “constitutional papacy,” particularly if the principle of subsidiarity is also to be followed, then the Curia will have to be reshaped and scaled back to provide appropriate structures. Clearly a period of upheaval has begun in Rome, with implications worldwide.  

Tourism Must Respect Biodiversity

“Biodiversity,” notes a statement released by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People on the occasion of World Tourism Day (20th of September), “refers to the great wealth of beings that live on Earth, as well as the delicate equilibrium of interdependence and interaction that exists between them and the physical environment that hosts and conditions them. This biodiversity is translated into different ecosystems, of which examples can be found in forests, wetlands, savannah, jungles, deserts, coral reefs, mountains, seas and polar zones.” The message warns: “There are three imminent and grave dangers to them that require an urgent solution: climate change, desertification and the loss of biodiversity. The latter has been developing in recent years at an unprecedented rate. Recent studies indicate that, on a worldwide level, 22% of mammals, 31% of amphibians, 13.6% of bird life and 27% of reefs are threatened or in danger of extinction.” “There are numerous areas of human activity that largely contribute to these changes, and one of them is, without a doubt, tourism, which is among those activities that have experienced great and rapid growth,” the statement adds. And comments: “Tourists must be conscious that their presence in a place is not always positive. With this end, they must be informed of the real benefits that the conservation of biodiversity brings with it, and be educated in methods of sustainable tourism. Likewise, tourist should demand tourist business proposals that truly contribute to the development of the place. In no case, neither the land nor the historical-cultural heritage of the destination should be damaged in favor of the tourist, adapting itself to their tastes and desires. A major effort, in a special way the pastoral care of tourism, that must be realized is the education in contemplation to help tourists have the ability to discover the sign of God in the great wealth of biodiversity.” The international community has been seriously concerned with this problem. On several occasions, governments and leaders have made statements on the matter. The Church joins theirs, in accordance with her role, starting from the conviction that she has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must, above all, protect mankind from self-destruction. Without entering into the question of concrete technical solutions that would go beyond her competency, the Church concerns herself with drawing attention to the relationship between the Creator, the human being and creation. Church teaching reiterates insistently the responsibility of the human being in the preservation of an integral and healthy environment for all, from the conviction that the “care for the environment represents a challenge for all of humanity. It is a matter of a common and universal duty, that of respecting a common good.” Conversely, the tourist sector must “conceive, develop and conduct their businesses minimizing negative effects on, and positively

Religious Freedom, The Path To Peace

Anything which is opposed to the dignity of the human person is opposed to the search for the truth, and can never be regarded as religious freedom, the message says. And continues: “Today, there are many areas of the world in which forms of restrictions and limitations to religious freedom persist, both where communities of believers are a minority, and where communities of believers are not a minority, and where more sophisticated forms of discrimination and marginalization exist, on the cultural level and in the spheres of public, civil and political participation.” In his address to the Assembly of the United Nations on 18 April 2008, Benedict XVI stated: “It is inconceivable that believers should have to suppress a part of themselves – their faith – in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one’s rights. The rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature.”  

New Saint Champions Women And The Youth

In the Philippines alone, where Blessed Candida’s congregation, the Hijas de Jesus, first arrived in 1932, there are over 10,000 students currently enrolled in nine schools and almost 6,000 children and youth benefiting from catechetical instruction outside the school. All over the world, innumerable individuals and communities likewise benefit from the congregation’s apostolic and pastoral work in 17 countries, mostly in Asia, Latin America and Africa where the need is greatest. “We dedicate ourselves to education in its multiple forms,” says Sr. Emelinda “Lynn” Falsis, FI, directress and principal of Manresa School in Parañaque. “Education is our means of proclaiming to all the Good News, moved by the desire to help people as Jesus did. Mother Foundress’ spirit can be felt in the instructional methods and activities that are always in light of the school’s vision-mission, which is seeing to it that the gospel values are integrated, deepened and lived by the students in their daily life experiences.” One of the most shining examples of God’s astonishing work in her life is in how Blessed Candida was able to establish a congregation of Christian educators when she herself was practically illiterate. She was first known to the world as Juana Josefa Cipitria y Bariola, born in the Basque province of Guipuzoa, Spain, on May 31, 1845. To help support her impoverished family, the young Juanita left home at the age of 17 to work as a domestic helper for a wealthy family in Burgos. Despite her humble stature, Juanita displayed extraordinary piety and compassion for those even more destitute than herself.  On April 2, 1869, while praying in the chapel of Rosarillo, she received an inspired message from the Blessed Virgin to found a religious order of women to be known as the “Hijas de Jesus.” Her spiritual director, a Jesuit named Fr. Miguel Herranz, immediately confirmed her vision, having received a similar message himself. Through his patient mentoring, Juanita learned to read, write and speak Castilian at the age of 24, hurriedly preparing her for her imminent role as foundress of a teaching congregation. The Hijas de Jesus embodied Mother Candida’s vision of using education for uplifting those who were poor and powerless. She was a pioneer of social justice and women’s rights in 19th century Spain, opening schools for girls of all social backgrounds at a time when over 80% of the female population could barely read or write. Mother Candida died in Salamanca, Spain, on August 9, 1912. At the moment of death, she declared: “In my 40 years of religious life, I could not recall a single moment that did not belong to God alone.”  Beatified on May 12, 1996, no less than Pope John Paul II described Blessed Candida as a “visionary” who was “blessed with a prophetic view of the modern world.” And explained: “Her deep experience of God’s love for each of His creatures led her to respond with generosity and dedication. She concretely expressed her love of others by founding the congregation

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