Browsing News Entries

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 7

(Vatican Radio) Monday 12 Oct. Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, spokesman for the Holy See, was accompanied by Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB and two couples - Pedro & Ketty De Rezende from Brazil and Ishwar & Penny Bajaj from India - at the daily press briefing for the Synod on the Family. 

Click below to hear the report by Fr. Russell Pollitt SJ

It would be a welcome innovation if there was a proposal to the bishops of the world to ensure much more formation and accompaniment of couples was in place before, during and after marriage, said Mr & Mrs De Renzende, a couple attending the Synod on the Family as delegates from Brazil. The formation of couples for marriage and their accompaniment after marriage was spoken about extensively, Fr. Federico Lombardi told the daily press conference.

Fr. Lombardi said that the Synod delegates would be working in small groups on Monday and Tuesday discussing the second part of Instrumentum Laboris. The groups will report back on Wednesday morning to the plenary.

On Monday morning Cardinals Vingt-Tois and Scola said that they did not sign an alleged letter to the Pope expressing concern about the Synod. Fr. Lombardi said that he knew nothing of such a letter and - if there was one - it was not a public letter.

Lombardi also clarified issues around the process of the Synod. There will be a final report presented to the Holy Father but what he decides to do with the report has not yet been made clear. “He may release immediately or he may study it first before he releases it, we are waiting to understand that too,” he said.

Admission to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried as well as those married under civil law only was debated by the Synod participants. They did not speak solely about access to the Eucharist but all the sacraments. Some participants suggested that the Synod was an opportunity that should not be missed, an opportunity for the Church to be merciful. It was also reiterated that the Church needs to teach the truth about Christian marriage but lovingly accompany those who are hurting. There was an intervention which encouraged the Church to go back and look at the historical development of theology, doctrine and the sacraments so that there is a deeper consciousness of them, Fr. Lombardi explained.

Fr. Rosica told the media that one intervention stated that it was the “mission of the Church to make disciples but that culture was often more successful at unmaking them.” He said that one of the Fathers said that often ministers of the Church operate within two extremes: truth in public and mercy in private. It was acknowledged by the bishops that this was not helpful. The Parable of the Prodigal Son had been referred to many times in the interventions. Fr Rosica explained that families "in all their forms" had been acknowledeged to be "in the midst of the Church". He said that the delegates had agreed that pastoral strategies need to be developed taking into account the diverse situations which are reflected in family life today.  

Mr. De Rezende told the briefing that he is surprised at what he reads in media reports about the Synod. "Many, many times it does not reflect what is said in there." He added that there were no discussions about changing doctrines but that "pastoral attitudes had to go through revisions".

Mrs. Bajaj said that she was deeply moved by the compassion and empathy of the Synod Fathers who understand the struggles of family life. She said that she saw their great love, concern and hope for families.

There was also an intervention on the formation of conscience in the context of Humane Vitae. There should be a concerted effort to form the consciences of God’s people.

At the end of the briefing the two married couples said that they found the atmosphere and quality of the interventions in the plenary session and small groups to be good. They also said that they had made many interventions in the groups and felt that they were really listened to by the bishops. 

(from Vatican Radio)

Catholic schools gather for Children’s Rosary Pilgrimage

Second-grader Jazmine Sombai and kindergartner Lizzy Churchill pray during the Children's Rosary Pilgrimage

Pope to missionaries: "learn to look like Jesus"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has encouraged missionaries in Argentina to continue communicating the joy of the Gospel and building the Church.

The Pope sent his greetings and feelings of participation to some 2.200 participants in the Fourth National Missionary Congress, which concludes on Monday in the city of Santiago del Estero in Argentina.

The theme of the encounter this year is “Mission, a style of life”.

In his message Pope Francis urged the missionaries to always remember that “we cannot show others what we ourselves have not seen or heard”.

Therefore, he said, before being able to announce the Good News, you must walk with Jesus in your daily lives offering solidarity and offering help to those in difficulty.

He reminded his brothers never to forget their call, their first encounter with Jesus, the joy with which they received their vocations.

And he urged them to always pray for one another, to support each other and to be like Jesus whom “through you, despite your weaknesses, brings love to people”.

“Let us look at Jesus, but also learn to look like Jesus. A look of tenderness, understanding and compassion that leads us to touch the wounds of the Lord in the flesh of our brothers in need” he said.

Pope Francis concluded his message with words of encouragement to continue building a church that reaches outward with solidarity and the joy of the Gospel: “this joy that God has placed in our hearts”.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope to Climate Change forum: "follow fair and integral ecology"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged participants at an international Climate Change Conference to be guided by the “principles of a fair and integral ecology” that takes people into account.

In a message signed on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope expressed his encouragement for the initiative and sent greetings to the organizers and participants of the Second World Conference on Climate Change taking place in the Bolivian city of Tiquipaya.

The 3-day conference ends on Monday, October 12.

It was convened by Bolivian President Evo Morales to collect the contributions of social movements on the issue of climate change, and it will make known its findings at the XXI World Summit of the United Nations on Climate Change (cop21), to be held in Paris in December. 

The World Conference sees the participation of some 6,000 people from 5 continents. United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was present to deliver one of the key addresses.


(from Vatican Radio)

To the Missionary Groups of Argentina: continue to build an outgoing Church

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in the Fourth National Meeting of Missionary Groups, which took place in Santiago del Estero, Argentina from 10 to 12 October, examining the theme “Mission, a way of life”.

The Holy Father, who spiritually joins with the missionaries, writes: “Let us always remember that we cannot show to others what we ourselves have not seen or heard. Therefore, to be a missionary, before announcing and communicating, it is necessary to see. To see that Jesus, who made Himself small to experience our weakness, who assumed our mortal flesh, to clothe it in His immortality and Who comes forward to meet us every day, to walk with us and to offer us His hand of friendship when we are in difficulty”.

“Never forget the call, your first encounter with Jesus, the joy with which you heard that first proclamation, perhaps from your parents, your grandparents, your catechists or teachers”, said the Holy Father. “And do not neglect to pray, to pray for each other, to support each other with prayer, so that Jesus, through you, and in spite of your weakness, may work wonders before all peoples”.

“Neither must you forget that the mission, as well as being a passion for Jesus, is a passion for His people. Let us look to Jesus, but let us also learn how to look as Jesus does. A look of tenderness, understanding and mercy that leads us to touch the wounds of the Lord in the flesh of our brothers in need. To see Jesus in others purifies the heart, freeing it from selfishness, from any underhand intention, any worldly desire”.

“I hope that these brief reflections will encourage you to continue building an outgoing Church, a fraternal group that works to communicate this joy that the Lord has placed in our hearts”, concluded the bishop of Rome.

Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors holds plenary

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has completed its second plenary assembly, focusing on formation of candidate for priesthood and religious life,  the use of forensic assessments for people accused of sex abuse crimes and the use of liturgical support materials for the pastoral care of survivors.

The Commission met in Rome from October 9th to 11th, beginning their plenary with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in his Santa Marta residence. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.

Please find below the full press statement from the Commission:

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors gathered in Plenary Assembly, October 9-11, 2015 in Rome.  It is the second time that the full Commission has gathered together.

The Plenary Assembly began with Mass with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in Santa Marta. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.

These Working Groups cover key areas of the mission that has been entrusted to the Commission by the Holy Father, namely to advise him, his collaborators and the local church on the protection of minors.  The Working Groups are:

•          Guidelines for the safeguarding and protection of minors;

•          Healing and care for victims, survivors and their families;

•          Formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life and the education of Church leadership;

•          Education of families and communities;

•          Theology and spirituality;

•          Canonical and civil norms. 

Particular areas of focus of these working groups include research into the assessment and ongoing formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life; the use of forensic assessments with people accused of a crime; the provision of liturgical support materials for the pastoral care of victims, survivors and communities. The Commission does not address individual cases, it does not exercise oversight, and is not a decision-making body.

Since its establishment, the Commission for the Protection of Minors has been invited by Church leaders to place the inter-disciplinary expertise of its members at the service of Church in various parts of the world.

Commission members have taken part in workshops, conferences and seminars on the protection of minors in Ireland, the UK, France, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and recently in the Philippines, where 76 bishops attended.  Next month, Commission members will also address all of the bishops of Central America.

Very positive feedback has been received from our participation in these initiatives.  The Commission’s contribution has been seen as a resource for the local Church worldwide as Bishops’ Conferences continue to develop sound and culturally effective guidelines that reflect the local reality.

The Commission plans to hold its next Plenary Assembly in February, 2016.

Commission members in attendance:

Cardinal Seán O'MALLEY, OFM Cap. (United States), President; Mons. Robert OLIVER (United States), Secretary; Rev. Luis Manuel ALI HERRERA (Colombia); Catherine BONNET (France); Marie COLLINS (Ireland); Gabriel DY-LIACCO (Philippines); Sheila BARONESS HOLLINS (United Kingdom); Bill KILGALLON (New Zealand); Sr. Kayula LESA, RSC (Zambia); Sr. Hermenegild MAKORO, CPS (South Africa); Kathleen McCORMACK (Australia); Claudio PAPALE (Italy); Peter SAUNDERS (United Kingdom); Hanna SUCHOCKA (Poland); Krysten WINTER-GREEN (United States); Rev. Humberto Miguel YÁÑEZ, SJ (Argentina) and Rev. Hans ZOLLNER, SJ (Germany).

(from Vatican Radio)

German archbishop: Church’s stance on divorce makes people ‘doubt God’

(NCR Online) One of Germany’s representatives at the worldwide meeting of Catholic prelates on family has pointedly told the gathering that church teaching preventing divorced and remarried persons from receiving the Eucharist makes people “doubt God.” Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch […]

The post German archbishop: Church’s stance on divorce makes people ‘doubt God’ appeared first on CathNewsUSA.

Pope Francis the pastor

(NCR Online) Much attention was given to what Pope Francis had to say about public policy issues while he was in the United States (see “Pope Francis the prophet”), but the pope also had words to say about the life […]

The post Pope Francis the pastor appeared first on CathNewsUSA.

Seize this moment of encounter

(NCR Online) Now we have the project, Catholics in particular, of discerning and acting on the meaning of Pope Francis’ U.S. visit — six days, three cities, endless throngs, Masses and prayer services, and 18 public talks. Perhaps it is […]

The post Seize this moment of encounter appeared first on CathNewsUSA.

Synod expresses differing thoughts on mercy, marriage indissolubility

(NCR Online) The worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on family has reportedly begun discussing two of the issues expected to be among the most debated by the prelates: the role of mercy towards those not following church teaching and the […]

The post Synod expresses differing thoughts on mercy, marriage indissolubility appeared first on CathNewsUSA.