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Pope at Mass: Christian life is a continuous battle against the devil

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis described Christian life as a continuous battle being waged against Satan, the world and the passions of the flesh. His comments came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence. He stressed that the devil exists and we must fight against him with the armour of truth.

Listen to this report by Susy Hodges: 

Pope Francis's reflections during his homily were taken from the words of St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where the apostle urged Christians to put on the full armour of God in order to resist Satan’s temptations.  A Christian life, he said, has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. It’s a continuous battle against the three main enemies of Christian life which are the devil, the world and the passions of the flesh.

“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do?  Pauls tells us to put on God’s full armour, meaning that God acts as a defence, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations.  Is this clear?  No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without  putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us.”

Saint Paul, continued the Pope, underlines that our battle is not against little things but against the principalities and the ruling forces, in other words against the devil and his followers.   

“But in this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him.  Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this.  But we’re not all convinced of this.  And then Paul describes God’s armour and which are the different types that make up this great armour of God.  And he says: ‘So stand your ground,  with truth a belt around your waist.’  The truth is God’s armour.”

By contrast, said Pope Francis, the devil is a liar and the father of liars and in order to fight him we must have truth on our side.  He also underlined the importance of always having our faith in God, like a shield, when fighting this battle against the devil, who, he noted, doesn't throw flowers at us but instead burning arrows.

“Life is a military endeavour.  Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle, because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness: the joy that the Lord is the victor within us, with his free gift of salvation.  But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us!  But don’t get discouraged.  Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope receives President of the European Parliament

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, in private audience in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni

The meeting between Pope Francis and President Schultz was an occasion for the two men to look ahead to the Pope’s journey to Strasbourg scheduled to take place next month.

They had already met here in the Vatican exactly one year ago when Schultz’s visit coincided  with the publication of an essay written by him to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Saint Pope John II’s visit to the European Parliament back  in 1988.

“It would be a great honour” – Schultz wrote in an editorial at the time – to hear again the message of the Holy Father, his words of foresight, solidarity and hope”. And it was in that occasion that he invited Pope Francis to address the plenary yet again, something he will do in the morning of November 25 before going on to give another address to members of the Council of Europe.

After his first audience with the Pope, President Schulz released a statement on his visit saying there are many issues on which the two men share similar views and on which – he said – we can join forces: like “the protection of refugees in the Mediterranean, the fight against poverty and social exclusion or improving the prospects of young people both within and outside the EU”.

During a brief encounter with a few journalists after the meeting, President Schultz told me that today details of the visit to Strasbourg  were further defined…

"We prepared the visit of the Pope to the European Parliament which I think is an exceptional moment for the European Parliament and we talked about the circumstances and the political framework the Pope will find when he delivers his address".

Obviously, he didn’t give too much away, but he did tell me that European Parliamentarians - across the spectrum - are preparing to give Pope Francis a unanimous warm and enthusiastic welcome.

 

I’m lb

(from Vatican Radio)

Audience with a delegation of the Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Union of Utrecht- Unity begins with a change of heart

“The path towards unity begins with a change of heart, an interior conversion”. Pope Francis emphasized this when he met with a delegation of the Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Union of Utrecht. He referred to the “increasing distance between us on matters of ministry and ethical discernment”. The Pope also reflected on “our shared ecumenical journey” which demonstrates the need for “convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel” in a Europe which is “ so confused about its own identity and vocation” and thirsty for God. The following is the English text of the Holy Father's address.

Your Grace,

Your Excellencies,

I am pleased to welcome you, the members of the Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Union of Utrecht, as your visit offers us a valuable opportunity to reflect on our shared ecumenical journey.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, which inaugurated a new era of ecumenical dialogue and expressed the enduring commitment of the Catholic Church to seek the unity of Christ’s disciples. For all of us, the International Roman Catholic/Old Catholic Dialogue Commission plays a significant role in seeking ever greater fidelity to the Lord’s prayer, “that all may be one” (cf. Jn 17:21). It has been possible to build new bridges of a more profound mutual understanding and practical co-operation. Convergences and consensus have been found, and differences have been better identified and set in new contexts.

While we rejoice whenever we take steps towards a stronger communion in faith and life, we are also saddened when we recognize that in the course of time new disagreements between us have emerged. The theological and ecclesiological questions that arose during our separation are now more difficult to overcome due to the increasing distance between us on matters of ministry and ethical discernment.

The challenge for Catholics and Old Catholics, then, is to persevere in substantive theological dialogue and to walk together, to pray together and to work together in a deeper spirit of conversion towards all that Christ intends for his Church. In this separation there have been, on the part of both sides, grave sins and human faults. In a spirit of mutual forgiveness and humble repentance, we need now to strengthen our desire for reconciliation and peace. The path towards unity begins with a change of heart, an interior conversion (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 4). It is a spiritual journey from encounter to friendship, from friendship to brotherhood, from brotherhood to communion. Along the way, change is inevitable. We must always be willing to listen to and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13).

In the meantime, in the heart of Europe, which is so confused about its own identity and vocation, there are many areas in which Catholics and Old Catholics can collaborate in meeting the profound spiritual crisis affecting individuals and societies. There is a thirst for God. There is a profound desire to recover a sense of purpose in life. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel. In this we can support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities. In fact, the soul of ecumenism lies in a “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 8). In prayer for and with one another our differences are taken up and overcome in fidelity to the Lord and his Gospel.

I am always aware that “the holy task of reconciling all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ transcends human energies and abilities” (Ibid, 24). Our hope is rooted in the prayer of Christ himself for the Church. Let us immerse ourselves evermore in that prayer so that our efforts may always be sustained and guided by divine grace. 

The Holy See at the UN General Assembly: lasting peace based on mutual trust, beyond the logic of nuclear deterrent

Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – On 14 October, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, spoke during the General Debate of the UNGA First Committee held in New York. “The past year has seen progress on the elimination of chemical weapons”, he affirmed; “yet reports of the continued use of chemical weapons, including chlorine gas, reminds the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate once and for all chemical weapons and any use as a weapon of dual-use chemicals”.

“With regard to nuclear weapons, the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which will be held in December in Vienna, Austria, is a sobering reminder of the deep frustration of the international community at the lack of speedy progress on nuclear disarmament, and of the inhuman and immoral consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction”. He remarked that the ninth Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference will take place very soon in New York, and that nearly all the States represented in the room are parties to the treaty. “The NPT’s central promise of nuclear weapons States to gradually disarm in exchange for non-nuclear-weapon States to refrain from acquiring nuclear arms remains at an impasse”.

As a consequence, he continued, the Holy See delegation “urges this Committee and the preparation for the ninth NPT Review Conference to focus on the need to move beyond nuclear deterrence, and work toward the establishment of lasting peace founded on mutual trust, rather than a state of mere non-belligerence founded on the logic of mutual destruction. In this regard, the Holy See urges all states to sign and/or ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without further delay, because it is a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime”, adding that the establishment of weapons of mass destruction free zones, in the opinion of the Holy See delegation, “would be a big step in the right direction, as it would demonstrate we can indeed move toward a universal agreement to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction”.

The archbishop concluded by emphasising that the Holy See “welcomes the progress, however modest, in the areas of conventional weapons”, but remains “deeply concerned that the flow of conventional arms continues to exacerbate conflicts around the globe”. He expressed the delegation’s hope that “this year’s session will respond to this challenge, and recognise the grave consequences of the proliferation and use of conventional weapons on human life throughout the world”.

Pope meets with leaders of Old Catholic Bishops Conference

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met for the first time on Thursday with a delegation of the Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Union of Utrecht, reflecting on the shared ecumenical journey since the group broke away from Rome in the 18th century over questions of papal authority. The group was led by the Archbishop of Utrecht Dr Joris Vercammen, president of the International Old Catholic Bishops Conference.

Philippa Hitchen reports

Noting that the International Dialogue Commission between Rome and the Old Catholic Church has helped build “new bridges” of mutual understanding and practical co-operation, Pope Francis said convergences and consensus have been found, and differences between the two groups have been more clearly identified. At the same time though, he said we are also saddened when we recognize “new disagreements” that have emerged on matters of ministry and ethical discernment, making the theological and ecclesiological questions harder to overcome.

The challenge for Catholics and Old Catholics, Pope Francis said, is to persevere in dialogue and to walk,  pray and work together in a deeper spirit of conversion.  Noting that there have been “grave sins” on the part of both sides, the Pope said in a spirit of mutual forgiveness and humble repentance, we need now to strengthen our desire for reconciliation and peace.  The path towards unity begins with a change of heart,  he stressed and on the spiritual journey from encounter to friendship, from friendship to brotherhood, from brotherhood to communion, change is inevitable if we are willing to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

In the meantime, the Pope said, there are many areas in which Catholics and Old Catholics can collaborate in tackling the profound spiritual crisis affecting individuals and societies, especially in Europe which is “so confused about its identity and vocation”. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel, he said and in this we can support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities. The soul of ecumenism, Pope Francis said, lies in a “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians.” 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope at Mass: Christian life is a continuous battle against the devil

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis described Christian life as a continuous battle being waged against Satan, the world and the passions of the flesh. His comments came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence. He stressed that the devil exists and we must fight against him with the armour of truth.

Pope Francis's reflections during his homily were taken from the words of St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where the apostle urged Christians to put on the full armour of God in order to resist Satan’s temptations.  A Christian life, he said, has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. It’s a continuous battle against the three main enemies of Christian life which are the devil, the world and the passions of the flesh.

“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do?  Pauls tells us to put on God’s full armour, meaning that God acts as a defence, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations.  Is this clear?  No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without  putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us.”

Saint Paul, continued the Pope, underlines that our battle is not against little things but against the principalities and the ruling forces, in other words against the devil and his followers.   

“But in this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him.  Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this.  But we’re not all convinced of this.  And then Paul describes God’s armour and which are the different types that make up this great armour of God.  And he says: ‘So stand your ground,  with truth a belt around your waist.’  The truth is God’s armour.”

By contrast, said Pope Francis, the devil is a liar and the father of liars and in order to fight him we must have truth on our side.  He also underlined the importance of always having our faith in God, like a shield, when fighting this battle against the devil, who, he noted, doesn't throw flowers at us but instead burning arrows.

“Life is a military endeavour.  Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle, because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness: the joy that the Lord is the victor within us, with his free gift of salvation.  But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us!  But don’t get discouraged.  Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”

(from Vatican Radio)

The Sistine Chapel: New breath, new light

(Vatican Radio) A two day conference marking the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel opened on Thursday in Rome.

The event organised by the Vatican Museums is entitled “The Sistine Chapel 20 years later: New breath, new light.”

The conference will examine the current state of frescoes, as well as new methods being taken to protect the priceless artistic treasure.

On Wednesday evening in the Sistine Chapel the world’s media was invited to view the new lighting and air systems that have been installed, in order show the frescos off to their best advantage and protect the Chapel against humidity.

Lydia O'Kane was in the Sistine Chapel to see the result and spoke to Michel Grabon, Director of AdvanTE3C SC, Carrier HVAC Europe. Listen 

According to the Director of the Vatican Museums the new lighting system is meant to provide a gentle but total illumination to the frescos but at the same time is non-invasive thus respecting the stylistic and historic reality of the Sistine Chapel.

The US-based company CARRIER has provided a state-of-the-art heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for the Chapel, specially designed to address the challenges of protecting Michelangelo’s masterpieces against deterioration.

“…the system was extremely advanced, advanced in the sense that we have applied very very advanced technology, we have invented some of the technology to be able to fulfill very very complex requirements”, said Michel Grabon, Director of AdvanTE3C SC, Carrier HVAC Europe, who was in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday evening and who worked on the project.

He went on to stress the importance on maintaining stable operating conditions inside the Chapel. “You can have 100 people, 2000 people inside, you know in a few minutes it can change, so it is extremely important to be able to respond to the change of the load in a very very quick time.”

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009.

The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received from Nicolas Ollivant, the chairman of the Friends of the Ordinariate, a charity set up to support the Ordinariate's work.

Mr. Ollivant’s letter also included information on the Ordinariate's central church in London, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, on Warwick Street.  It is the site of the former chapel to the Bavarian embassy to England, which greatly pleased the Pope Emeritus.

 

The full text of the letter (translated into English on the Ordinariate’s website) is below

 

Since I know that you read the German language without difficulty, I may answer your friendly letter of 1 September in my mother tongue, since my English would not quite suffice to do so.

Your thanks for the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has greatly moved me, and I ask you to convey my thanks to all its members. Naturally, I am particularly glad that the former Bavarian Chapel has now become your Ordinariate's church, and serves such an important role in the whole Church of God. It has been a long time since I have heard news of this holy place, and it was therefore with all the more interest and gratitude that I read the description with which you accompanied your letter.

Once more, many thanks, and may God bless you all.

(from Vatican Radio)

Holy See to United Nations: Right to Life "foundation" of human rights

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has told the United Nations that the right to life is at the foundation of human rights.

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, was speaking on Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly Committee Meeting on Human Rights in New York.

“The right to life as enshrined in natural law and protected by international human rights laws lies at the foundation of all human rights,” he said.  “The Holy See reaffirms that all life must be fully protected in all its stages from conception until natural death.”

Archbishop Auza added with the right to life, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion continues to face serious challenges around the world.

“In some regions, violations against religious freedom have multiplied and intensified in their brutality, in particular against religious minorities,” he said. “My delegation insists that these ruthless violations must not only be seen as violence against ethnic and religious minorities, but first and foremost must be condemned as blatant violations of fundamental human rights, and must be dealt with accordingly.”

 

The full text of Archbishop Auza’s remarks are below:

 

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza

Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations

at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Third Committee, Agenda Item 68 (b and c): Human Rights

New York, 29 October 2014

 

Madam Chair,

I would like to thank the various Special Rapporteurs and Special Mandate holders for their reports and work during the past year. Today’s discussion brings to light a great number of serious challenges to human rights around the world, and reminds us of the need to rebuild trust in the human rights system in upholding fundamental human rights.

The right to life as enshrined in natural law and protected by international human rights laws lies at the foundation of all human rights. The Holy See reaffirms that all life must be fully protected in all its stages from conception until natural death.

In this regard, my delegation welcomes the reduction in the last two years of the recourse to the death penalty around the globe. As Pope Francis affirmed before representatives of the Association of International Penal Law, received in the Vatican last October 23, “it is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples’ lives from an unjust aggression." The Pope also recommends the abolition of life imprisonment, which he defines as “a hidden death penalty” because, like the death penalty, it excludes all possibilities of redemption and recuperation. He warned against “penal populism” that privileges punishment to solve society’s ills, rather than a more rigorous pursuit of social justice and preventative measures. This is especially important when it comes to juvenile delinquency and crimes committed by the elderly. Pope Francis called on all people of goodwill to struggle also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of prisoners, so many of whom, in so many countries of the world, have been detained for long periods without trial.

Along with the right to life, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion continues to face serious challenges around the world. In some regions, violations against religious freedom have multiplied and intensified in their brutality, in particular against religious minorities. My delegation insists that these ruthless violations must not only be seen as violence against ethnic and religious minorities, but first and foremost must be condemned as blatant violations of fundamental human rights, and must be dealt with accordingly.

In other parts of the world, religious freedom faces legal barriers put by public authorities and experiences condescending if not outright discriminatory behavior of some in society. Some authorities seek to restrict religious observance to the private realm and impose legal obligations that conflict with personal conscience and religious beliefs. Given this misconstrued understanding of religious freedom and similar misconceptions still existing today, my delegation wishes to note that the struggle for religious freedom was at the origins of certain nations. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is an inalienable fundamental human right; thus, it has always been and will always be at the core of the struggle for the recognition and free exercise of fundamental human rights.

In this context, my delegation welcomes the Interim Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (A/69/261), which, inter alia, identifies measures of “reasonable accommodation” to overcome discrimination and violation of this fundamental human right in the workplace. Indeed, a world that truly respects religious freedom must move beyond mere toleration. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments explicitly affirm that the right to freedom of religion or belief includes the right of all to practice their faith alone or in community, in public or private, and the right to change his or her religion or belief.

In order to address these challenges, we must strengthen the international human rights system. My delegation hopes that the resolution on Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system (A/RES/68/268) translates into meaningful reform towards greater observance of treaties (Pacta sunt servanda) and their faithful and objective, not political or ideological, monitoring.

Madam Chair,

With lessons learned from our failure to stop massive violations of fundamental human rights – including and most especially religious freedom- and of international humanitarian law, the time is for courageous decisions. My delegation looks forward to working with all delegations during this session to reinvigorate respect and appreciation for fundamental human rights around the world.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

(from Vatican Radio)

Don’t be bad Christians, people may think atheism is better, pope says

(CNS) — The way Christians behave can either help and inspire others, or turn them away from ever following Jesus, Pope Francis said. “How many times we’ve heard in our neighborhoods, ‘Oh that person over there always goes to church, […]

The post Don’t be bad Christians, people may think atheism is better, pope says appeared first on CathNewsUSA.