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Michael Novak, noted theologian, philosopher and author, dies at 83

Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher, theologian and author who was highly regarded for his religious scholarship and intellectual independence, died Feb. 17 at his home in Washington. He was 83.

Pope’s tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn’t like you

A practical first step toward holiness -- as well as for assuring peace in one's family and in the world -- is to pray for a person who has caused offense or harm, Pope Francis said.

Pope visits parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesù

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis travelled across Rome Sunday afternoon for a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus (It: Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesù) in the suburb of Castelverde. It’s the Pope’s thirteenth visit to a Roman parish.

The Pope was welcomed at the parish by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini; the auxiliary bishop for the eastern part of the city, Bishop Giuseppe Marciante, and by the pastor, Fr Francesco Rondinelli.

As is usual, Pope Francis had an encounter with children and young people in the parish, followed by visits with sick persons and the elderly, married couples who have had children baptized recently; families assisted by Caritas, and workers in the parish.

Following the meetings with parishioners, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the parish church, where he delivered an off-the-cuff homily. 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: Christ's law of love overcomes law of retaliation

(Vatican Radio) During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said the day’s Gospel – part of the Sermon on the Mount, from the Gospel of Saint Matthew – is one of the Biblical passages that best expresses the Christian “revolution.”

In the day’s Gospel reading, he said, “Christ shows the path of true justice, through the law of love that overcomes that of retaliation, that is, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.” Jesus, he continued, does not ask His disciples simply to bear evils patiently, but to return good for evil: “Only in this way can the chains of evil be broken, and things can truly change.”

Pope Francis notes that for Jesus, the refusal to return evil for evil goes so far as to sometimes involve giving up a legitimate right: turning the other cheek, or giving up one’s cloak, or making other sacrifices. But, he said, “this renunciation doesn’t mean that the needs of justice should be ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which is manifested in a special way in mercy, represents a superior realization of justice.”

Jesus, the Pope said, wants to teach us the distinction between justice and vengeance: “We are allowed to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. On the other hand, we are forbidden to revenge ourselves or to encourage vengeance in any way, insofar as it is an expression of hatred or of violence.”

In fact, Christ’s law of love calls on us to love even our enemies. This, Pope Francis said, should not be seen as an approval of their wicked actions, but as “an invitation to a higher perspective, like that of the heavenly Father, who makes His sun to rise on the wicked and the good.” Even our enemies, the Pope explained, are human persons, created in the image of God – even if that image is sometimes obscured by evil acts. Christ calls us to respond to our enemies with goodness, inspired by love.

Before leading the traditional Angelus prayer, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary might help us follow “this demanding path” set out by Jesus, “which truly exalts human dignity, and makes us live as children of our Father Who is in heaven.” The Holy Father prayed that Mary might help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and to be artisans of communion and of fraternity in our daily life.”

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope prays for victims of violence in DR Congo and Pakistan

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis led the crowds gathered for the Sunday Angelus in a prayer for the victims of violence in Africa and around the world. In particular, he prayed for those affected by violence in the region of the Kasaï Central province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I suffer deeply for the victims, especially for so many children ripped from their families and their schools to be used as soldiers.”

The Holy Father renewed his “heartfelt appeal to the consciences and the responsibility of the national authorities and the international community, that they might take adequate and timely decisions to assist these our brothers and sisters.”

In praying for victims of violence in the world, the Pope turned his thoughts in particular to “the dear peoples of Pakistan and of Iraq, struck in recent days by cruel acts of terrorism.”

Pope Francis prayed for all victims of violence, those who have died and those who have been injured, as well as for their families. “Let us pray ardently,” he concluded “for every heart hardened by hatred, that they might be converted to peace, according to the will of God.” Then, following a moment of silent prayer, he led the crowd in the recitation of the “Hail Mary”. 

(from Vatican Radio)

At new Smithsonian African-American history and culture museum, Catholic stories emerge

(NCR Online) It was 1841, and a “war of the pews” was erupting in New Orleans. French hatmaker Claude Tremé had divided his plantation and sold vast plots to free blacks. In 1834, Jeanne Marie Aliquot, a French woman, bought part of the property from the city. Aliquot, as Mary Bernard Deggs tells the story […]

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Dorothy Day, Pope Francis ‘kindred spirits,’ speaker says

(NCR Online) Dorothy Day and Pope Francis are “kindred spirits,” the editor of Day’s diaries and letters told a symposium about the Catholic Worker co-founder, noting similarities in her “revolution of the heart” and his “revolution of kindness.” “Despite their differences, they both obviously read the same Gospels — and read them through a Franciscan […]

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‘Unbreakable’: World Meeting for justice opens in California

(NCR Online) In a message to an assembly here of nearly 700 community organizers and social justice advocates, Pope Francis called on all people to become Samaritans and resist the “grave danger” in this moment to disown our neighbors amid a culture of indifference. “Do not classify others in order to see who is a […]

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Charismatic Renewal marks 50th anniversary of founding

(CNS) For the past 50 years, Patti Gallagher Mansfield has kept the Champion Wiremaster stenographer’s notebook, 5-by-8 inches, safely tucked away among her most cherished, sacred items in her dresser drawer. The notebook has 80 ruled pages. It cost 25 cents. One was given to each of the 25 students from Duquesne University and La […]

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Racism denounced at Vatican-sponsored inequality conference

(AP) Speakers at a Vatican-sponsored conference in Northern California – including an archbishop – denounced President Donald Trump’s orders on immigration and travel and vowed to fight them at a meeting Friday. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said President Barack Obama deported a high number of people, but the harsh tone and cruelty coming out […]

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