Tag Archives: catholic church

Angelus Message: Immaculate Conception fruit of God’s love.

(Vatican Radio) The Immaculate Conception of Mary is “inscribed in God’s plan; it is the fruit of God’s love which saves the world.” These were Pope Francis’ comments during his weekly Angelus address for the second Sunday of Advent which coincides with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

On this Feast, the Holy Father said, our gaze turns to the “beauty of the Mother of Jesus, our Mother!” It is with great joy, he continued, that the Church contemplates the words of Saint Luke “full of grace” (Lk 1:28). Mary, moreover, guides us as we journey towards Christmas, teaching us “how to live this time of Advent waiting for the Lord.” Pope Francis went on to say that the Immaculate Conception was inscribed in God’s plan; it was the fruit of God’s love whereby the world was saved.

After leading the crowds in Saint Peter’s Square in praying the Angelus, the Pope expressed spiritual closeness to the Church in North America, which is celebrating the 350th anniversary of its first parish: Notre-Dame de Québec.

The Holy Father concluded his Angelus address by wishing everyone a happy feast of Our Lady, and a good lunch.

from Vatican Radio

Council of Cardinals meets; reform of Roman Curia on agenda

This morning, 3 December, Pope Francis met with the Council of Cardinals, the group of eight cardinals assisting in the governance of the universal Church and examining a revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia. Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, announced this in a briefing with journalists to explain the second session of the Cardinal’s meetings which will be taking place at the Vatican until Thursday, 5 December. The cardinals’ first session was held from 1 to 3 October. On the day’s agenda was “a thorough examination of the Roman Curia, which began with a reflection on the dicasteries”, starting with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Fr Lombardi pointed out that “it will be a matter of readjusting: we want to go in depth. This is not a marginal improvement, but a substantial revision” of Pastor bonus in order to reach a new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia. After having concelebrated at morning Mass with the Pope in the Chapel of Santa Marta, the small group, along with their secretary Bishop Marcello Semeraro, met in a room near the chapel. The agenda includes morning sessions from 9 am to 12:30 pm and from 4 to 7 pm. Fr Lombardi said that the tasks have been divided among the Cardinals based on personal experience, but the responsibility of making decisions is considered to be common and shared. Since the October session, the eight cardinals have collected extensive documentation and gathered other points of view, participating in meetings of their bishops’ conferences.

L’Osservatore Romano

Pope speaks out about clergy sex abuse

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In his clearest public reference as pope to the subject of clerical sex abuse, Pope Francis urged bishops to support abuse victims while also reaching out to priests who have “fallen short of their commitments.”

Read more from Catholic News Service

Pope: allow the Lord to encounter us in preparation for Christmas

(Vatican Radio) Preparing for Christmas through prayer, charity and exhaltation. With this hope, Pope Francis called on the faithful Monday to open their hearts and allow themselves to encounter the Lord who renews all. Read more.

Church ban on Communion for divorced and remarried upheld by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In a lengthy statement published in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has strongly affirmed the Church’s teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried may not receive Communion.

Following the announcement that an extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops will be held in 2014 to discuss pastoral care for families, there has been widespread speculation that the Synod might make a change in the Church’s rule withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and remarried. But in a statement made public on October 22, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller observed that the Church’s teaching is not subject to change.

L’Osservatore Romano published the “extensive contribution” by Archbishop Müller in its entirety, giving unusual prominence to the statement. The Vatican newspaper explained that public question on “this pressing subject” called for explanation of the Church’s stand.

Archbishop Müller, too, acknowledged the keen interest in the topic. He said at the start of his statement that the “increasing number of persons affected in countries of ancient Christian tradition” had made the pastoral care for Catholics who are divorced and remarried a matter of urgent pastoral priority.

The CDF leader observed that both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have called for new efforts to provide spiritual support for Catholics who are divorced and remarried. However, he said, “the care of remarried divorcees must not be reduced to the question of receiving the Eucharist.”

Archbishop Müller insisted that the care for divorced/remarried Catholics “must be explored in a manner that is consistent with Catholic doctrine on marriage.” He noted that the Church has clearly and consistently taught that the bond of Christian marriage is indissoluble. “It designates a reality that comes from God and is therefore no longer at man’s disposal,” the CDF prefect wrote.

Examining the issue in light of Scripture and Tradition, the archbishop explains that unless a marriage has been found to be null by an ecclesiastical tribunal, divorced and remarried Catholics are obliged to refrain from receiving Communion. The single exception allowed by pastoral practice, he said, comes when a 2nd marital union cannot be ended (perhaps for the sake of children), and the partners make a commitment to live as brother and sister.

Archbishop Müller explicitly rejected the suggestion that divorced/remarried Catholics should make their own decision on whether they should receive Communion. That argument, he noted, “based on a problematical concept of ‘conscience,’ was rejected by a document of the CDF in 1994.” Similarly he rejected the policies of Orthodox churches allowing for divorce in some cases. “This practice cannot be reconciled with God’s will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus’ sayings about the indissolubility of marriage,” he wrote. Throughout his statement Archbishop Müller strongly emphasized the Christian understanding of marriage as a sacrament. “If marriage is secularized or regarded as a purely natural reality, its sacrament character is obscured,” he remarked.

The archbishop did offer one argument that might be pursued by the 2014 Synod, suggesting that many Christians are not entering into valid sacramental marriages. He explained:

Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith. Therefore assessment of the validity of marriage is important and can help to solve problems.

Catholic World News

Pope: guard against the deceit of the devil

(Vatican Radio) Christians must always guard against the deceit of the devil, said Pope Francis at Friday’s morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The Pope underlined that Christians cannot follow the victory of Jesus over evil “halfway”, nor confuse or relativize truth in the battle against the devil.
Jesus casts out demons, and then someone offers explanations “to diminish the power of the Lord,” he said. The Pope focused his homily on the day’s Gospel and immediately underlined that there is always the temptation to want to diminish the figure of Jesus, as if he were “a healer at most” and so as not to take him “so seriously”. It is an attitude, he observed, that has “reached our present day”. Read more

Pope: solidarity for Lampedusa migrants

(Vatican Radio) In his homily at Monday morning’s mass in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about the Samaritan “who saw and was moved with compassion”, keeping his heart open to humanity and thus bringing himself closer to God. Read more.

Angelus message: faith through prayer

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis took a moment of silent prayer on Sunday during his Angelus address for the victims of the tragic shipwreck off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.
More than a hundred people are confirmed dead and hundreds more are missing after a ship carrying African migrants sank on Thursday.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s square, the Holy Father began his address by acknowledging what a gift it was to make his first visit to Assisi on the feast of Saint Francis on October 4, and gave thanks for the warm welcome he received there.

Reflecting on the Gospel reading for the day, the Pope spoke on the power of faith, inviting the crowds in the square to repeat several times after him: “Lord, increase our faith!” He spoke of those who are simple and humble, or who are experiencing difficulties in their lives, who nonetheless are able to do great things, and maintain a certain serenity, because of their faith. Pope Francis recalled how the month of October is dedicated in a particular way to missionaries, especially those who proclaim the Gospel despite great obstacles. He said, however, that each and every one of us, “in our own lives, every day, can give witness to Christ, with the strength of God, the strength of faith.”

This strength is attained through prayer. “Prayer is the breath of faith,” the Pope said. In a relationship where there is trust and love, he continued, there needs to be dialogue. “Prayer is the dialogue of the soul with God.”The Holy Father said the month of October is also the month of the Rosary, noting how it is the tradition on the first Sunday of this month to pray to the Madonna of Pompeii, the blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary. Pope Francis said that the Rosary is “a school of prayer,” and “a school of faith!”

Following the recitation of the Angleus prayer, Pope Francis spoke of Rolando Rivi, a 14 year old seminarian martyred for the faith in 1945, who was declared Blessed on Saturday in Modena. The Pope spoke of how this young man is a great example for the youth of today. “He knew where he had to go… knew the love of Jesus in his heart, and gave his life for Him.” Pope Francis concluded his post-Angelus address by wishing everyone a good Sunday, and a good lunch.

Vatican Radio

Council of Cardinals to meet again

The Council of Cardinals, which concluded a 3-day series of meetings with Pope Francis on October 4, will convene again in early December, the Vatican has announced.

The Vatican’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, had earlier speculated that the Council of Cardinals would hold its next series of meetings early in 2014. But the group chose to schedule its next sessions for December 3-5, with another set of meetings to take place in February 2014. “This will enable the work of the Council… to proceed at a rapid pace,” the Vatican press office announced.

Although the Vatican is not issuing formal announcements about the discussions of the 8 cardinals chosen by the Pontiff as his special advisers, Father Lombardi has disclosed that the group is planning a thorough overhaul of the structure of the Roman Curia.

Catholic World News

Pope makes new key appointments to Roman Curia

Vatican City (CWN)

The Vatican announced a series of key appointments in the Roman Curia on September 21, as Pope Francis began assembling his own Vatican leadership team.

The Pope confirmed the prefects of two Vatican congregations: Archbishop Gerhard Müller at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Fernando Filoni at the Congregation for Evangelization. Shortly after his election the Pope had announced that the leaders of the Roman Curia should remain at their posts donec aliter provideatur–until other provisions are made. The appointments of these two prefects are no longer provisional.

The Pope transferred Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who had been the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, to a new role as head of the Apostolic Penitentiary. This appointment could raise some eyebrows, since the prefect of a major congregation has considerably more influence over everyday Vatican policies than the Major Penitentiary. The Apostolic Penitentiary is the Vatican tribunal with jurisdiction over matters involving the “internal forum”–the relationships involving matters of conscience between a penitent and confessor, or an individual and his spiritual director. Cardinal Piacenza replaces Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, who is retiring at the age of 75.

To replace Cardinal Piacenza, the Pope named Archbishop Benjamin Stella, who has been head of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (the training place for Vatican diplomats), the new prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. And to fill the opening created at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy he named Bishop Giampiero Gloder, a ranking official of the Secretariat of State.

In perhaps the most interesting change, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, who has been the secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, as Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. He replaces Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, who is being sent to Germany to be apostolic nuncio there—again, a transfer that could be perceived as a demotion. Pope Francis has spoken of his desire to give the Synod of Bishops a more prominent role; he evidently chose Archbishop Baldisseri as his personal choice to carry out that role.

The Pope confirmed the secretaries, members, and consultors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Evangelization, leaving those two offices essentially intact. He did, however, make minor changes. Bishop Protase Rugambwa, who had been an official at the Congregation for Evangelization, is now the adjunct secretary. And Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, who was vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, will now be an assistant secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The latter change could be significant, although Archbishop Di Noia was already working with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Pope Benedict XVI had named the American Dominican as vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei commission last year, in an evident attempt to reinvigorate dialogue with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). By detaching him (at least formally) from the Ecclesia Dei commission, Pope Francis may be signaling that the talks with the SSPX are no longer a high priority.

From catholicculture.org