Monthly Archives: July 2013

News Briefs, July 31

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their News Briefs for Wednesday, July 31.

The Concho Padre

Pope Francis: once a Jesuit always a Jesuit?

(Vatican Radio) Wednesday 31st of July the Church remembers Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. To mark this occasion, Francis the first Jesuit Pope in history, crossed the Tiber River to meet with his fellow Jesuits…

Read more from Vatican Radio.

News Briefs, July 30

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here are their News Briefs for Tuesday, July 30.

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola – Wednesday, July 31

Today’s Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. St. Ignatius lived about 400 years ago, a time when a lot of people were not being obedient to God and to His Church.

Ignatius was a soldier from the country of Spain. During a battle, he was hit by a cannonball, which shattered his leg. So of course he had to spend a lot of time in the hospital to recover. He liked to read adventure books, but the people in charge couldn’t find any books like that, so they gave him a book of the lives of the saints to read instead. And as Ignatius read that book, he found the lives of the saints more interesting than his own life, and he realized that up until then, he had not been obedient to God. Ignatius realized that God had a certain plan for him to follow.

Much later, after spending many years in prayer by himself, and many years studying in schools all around Europe, Ignatius felt that he was ready to begin doing special work for God. He founded a new religious order called the Society of Jesus, whose members, called Jesuits, made a special promise to God. They made four promises to God, and the fourth promise was a promise to be obedient to the Holy Father, the pope, doing whatever he asked them to do.

Immediately the pope asked the Jesuits to begin traveling throughout the world to teach the Catholic faith, and this is what they did. Today, there are Catholics in many parts of the world who were first taught the Faith by the Jesuits, and Jesuits today continue to have a special job in schools all over the world of teaching the Faith that Jesus gave us, and that the pope and the bishops of the world explain to us

News Briefs, July 29

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their News Briefs for July 29.

Tuesday of the 17th week in ordinary time

Click here to see today’s readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

In today’s Gospel passage Jesus offers a point-by-point explanation of the parable that He preached in the passage proclaimed in the cycle of Ordinary Time weekdays two days earlier. The evangelists rarely offer us examples of Jesus explaining one of His parables, so today’s passage is insightful not only in terms of the content of this specific parable, but also in terms of Jesus’ method of using parables.

We might wonder, to start with, what the significance is of the evangelist telling us that it’s after “Jesus dismissed the crowds” that “His disciples approached Him” to ask for an explanation of the parable. This is an important distinction that the evangelist didn’t have to note for Jesus’ explanation to make sense. Perhaps the evangelist is highlighting the importance of petitioning God for deeper insight into His revealed Word.

Jesus explains the meanings of seven persons or things from the parable. This allegorical explanation of the parable is important because it’s in accord with the method of interpreting Jesus’ parables commonly found in the writings of the saints in the patristic and medieval periods of Church history. This method is often rejected today by scholars who offer their own theories about the interpretation of parables. It’s important to note that among those whom modern scholars criticize are not only canonized saints whose holiness is proven, but also—as we hear today—Our Lord Himself!

Pope distinguishes between homosexual orientation, gay lobby

Pope Francis has said that he does not judge homosexuals, including homosexual priests. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” the Pope said.

The Pope added that a homosexual orientation “is not the problem.” He called for charitable treatment of homosexuals, saying that they should not be marginalized.

The Pope’s remarks– made during a long and candid exchange with reporters who accompanied him on his return flight to Rome after a visit to Brazil for World Youth Day—were widely interpreted by reporters as an acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood. But in fact the Pope’s comments were addressed to different questions.

The Pope had been answering questions from reporters on two sensitive topics: the reported existence of a “gay lobby” at the Vatican, and reports that the newly appointed prelate of the Vatican bank, Msgr. Battista Ricca, had been involved in past homosexual scandals.

The Pope said that although there have been many reports about a “gay lobby,” there is no clearly identifiable group. He joked that he had “never seen it on a Vatican ID card.” In that context, the Pope said that it is important to distinguish between a homosexual orientation and active participation in a “lobby” within the Vatican. “The problem isn’t the orientation,” he said. “The problem is having a lobby.”

Regarding Msgr. Ricca, the Pope disclosed that he had conducted an investigation into charges of misconduct, and “there was nothing.” He went on to say that it is “dangerous” to probe into the past sins of others. People can sin, repent, and accept God’s forgiveness, the Pope said. “The Lord both forgives and forgets. We don’t have the right not to forget.”

Thus the Pope did not address the issue of whether homosexuals should be ordained to the priesthood. He did not contradict the existing Vatican policy, set forth in a 2005 instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education, stipulating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained.

Nor did the Pope dismiss concerns about a “gay lobby” at the Vatican. On the contrary Pope Francis acknowledged– as he has in the past– that the existence of a lobby is a problem to be addressed.


Pope Francis: ‘The Best Instrument to Evangelize Young People is Other Young People’

On Sunday evening Pope Francis ended his apostolic journey to Brazil and the World Youth Day. Nostalgia gives way to hope for a better future with the seed sown on good soil: the life of young people. Read more.

The Concho Padre

Reflections from Pope Francis for the Church in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 28, 2013 (

On Saturday in Rio, Pope Francis met with the bishops of Brazil, telling them that more than a formal address, he wanted to share with them some reflections.

Below are some of the highlights of those reflections:

— In the context of a consideration of the discovery of Our Lady of Aparecida, the Pope said this: “The fishermen do not dismiss the mystery encountered in the river, even if it is a mystery which seems incomplete. They do not throw away the pieces of the mystery. They await its completion. And this does not take long to come. There is a wisdom here that we need to learn. There are pieces of the mystery, like the stones of a mosaic, which we encounter, which we see. We are impatient, anxious to see the whole picture, but God lets us see things slowly, quietly. The Church also has to learn how to wait.”

— Reflecting on lessons from the disciples of Emmaus, he offered this: “Here we have to face the difficult mystery of those people who leave the Church, who, under the illusion of alternative ideas, now think that the Church – their Jerusalem – can no longer offer them anything meaningful and important. So they set off on the road alone, with their disappointment. Perhaps the Church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions; perhaps the Church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age.4 It is a fact that nowadays there are many people like the two disciples of Emmaus; not only those looking for answers in the new religious groups that are sprouting up, but also those who already seem godless, both in theory and in practice.
Faced with this situation, what are we to do?

We need a Church unafraid of going forth into their night. We need a Church capable of meeting them on their way. We need a Church capable of entering into their conversation. We need a Church able to dialogue with those disciples who, having left Jerusalem behind, are wandering aimlessly, alone, with their own disappointment, disillusioned by a Christianity now considered barren, fruitless soil, incapable of generating meaning.”

— “I would like all of us to ask ourselves today: are we still a Church capable of warming hearts? A Church capable of leading people back to Jerusalem? Of bringing them home? Jerusalem is where our roots are: Scripture, catechesis, sacraments, community, friendship with the Lord, Mary and the apostles… Are we still able to speak of these roots in a way that will revive a sense of wonder at their beauty?
Many people have left because they were promised something more lofty, more powerful, and faster.
But what is more lofty than the love revealed in Jerusalem? Nothing is more lofty than the abasement of the Cross, since there we truly approach the height of love! Are we still capable of demonstrating this truth to those who think that the apex of life is to be found elsewhere?”

— Regarding challenges facing the Church in Brazil, he made these comments: “Formation as a priority: Bishops, priests, religious, laity

Dear brothers, unless we train ministers capable of warming people’s hearts, of walking with them in the night, of dialoguing with their hopes and disappointments, of mending their brokenness, what hope can we have for our present and future journey? It isn’t true that God’s presence has been dimmed in them. Let us learn to look at things more deeply. What is missing is someone to warm their heart, as was the case with the disciples of Emmaus”

— “What is needed is a solid human, cultural, effective, spiritual and doctrinal formation.6 Dear brother Bishops, courage is needed to undertake a profound review of the structures in place for the formation and preparation of the clergy and the laity of the Church in Brazil. It is not enough that formation be considered a vague priority, either in documents or at meetings. What is needed is the practical wisdom to set up lasting educational structures on the local, regional and national levels and to take them to heart as Bishops, without sparing energy, concern and personal interest. The present situation calls for quality formation at every level. Bishops may not delegate this task. You cannot delegate this task, but must embrace it as something fundamental for the journey of your Churches.”

— “Concerning mission, we need to remember that its urgency derives from its inner motivation; in other words, it is about handing on a legacy. As for method, it is essential to realize that a legacy is about witness, it is like the baton in a relay race: you don’t throw it up in the air for whoever is able to catch it, so that anyone who doesn’t catch it has to manage without. In order to transmit a legacy, one needs to hand it over personally, to touch the one to whom one wants to give, to relay, this inheritance.”

— “Concerning pastoral conversion, I would like to recall that ‘pastoral care’ is nothing other than the exercise of the Church’s motherhood. She gives birth, suckles, gives growth, corrects, nourishes and leads by the hand … So we need a Church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy. Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of ‘wounded’ persons in need of understanding, forgiveness, love.”

— Regarding the Church in society, Francis said: “In the context of society, there is only one thing which the Church quite clearly demands: the freedom to proclaim


Pope safely home in Rome, stops to visit St. Mary Major Basilica

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport this morning, marking his return from World Youth Day 2013.
The 12-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro marks the end of Pope Francis’ first overseas Apostolic Voyage.
The weeklong youth event ended Sunday with Mass on Rio’s famous Copacabana beach, an liturgy attended by approximately three million people.
After his arrival at Ciampino airport, the Holy Father chose to stop at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to offer a brief prayer to the Blessed Virgin for World Youth Day.
Seeing the Pope as he entered the Basilica, a group of young people approached him and offered him a T-shirt and a ball. Pope Francis later offered the gifts to the Madonna.

Vatican Radio