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Day: September 4, 2015

Fr. Ayuso: dialogue to defeat violence in name of religion

(Vatican Radio) The Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Fr. Miguel Ayuso, addressed members of the diplomatic corps present at a reception given for them in connection with a major international conference, “United Against Violence in the Name of Religion” organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the KAICIID international dialogue center (KAICIID) under the auspices of the Greek foreign ministry. Please find the full text of Fr. Ayuso’s prepared remarks in English below
Rev. Fr. Miguel Ángel AYUSO GUIXOT
Secretary Pontifical Council
for Interreligious Dialogue
Vatican City
Distinguished Participants,
It is a honour for me to speak to you today on behalf of the Holy See, as Founding Observer of the International Dialogue Center (KAICIID), at this reception in the International Conference for dialogue between Christians and Muslims with the theme “United Against Violence in the Name of Religion”, as organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the International Dialogue Center (KAICIID) and under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Based on the experience and knowledge we have regarding the reality of today’s world, we now know how wounded humanity is in the Middle East as well as other parts of the world.
I hope, therefore, that this International Conference brings forth both effective and positive content and answers in light of this very reality.
I am hopeful as well, that the international community, as so often expressed by Pope Francis, is able to find effective means and appropriate political solutions to end the suffering of so many people from different religions and cultures. Pope Francis has made this plea:  “I renew the hope that the international community not remain silent and inert in front of these intolerable crimes, which constitute an alarming decline of the most essential human rights and impede the richness of cohabitation among peoples, cultures and faiths.” (Pope Francis, Letter addressed to H.E. Bishop Lahham, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem for the Latins, Vicar Patriarchate for Jordan , 6 August 2015).
The times in which we are living render interreligious dialogue more than ever necessary. We know that many of the conflicts which exist today, though purported to be based in religious differences, cannot be justified as religious. Thus there can be only one answer for us: to join as believers who are united to counter violence unjustly done in the name of religion.
Let us together respond to the latest appeal by Pope Francis when he invites all, “legislators and government leaders to insure religious freedom everywhere; and to the international community to put an end to violence and oppression “( Angelus , 30 August 2015).
It is my hope and prayer that our International Conference be a contribution to this much-needed building of peaceful coexistence among peoples.
Excellencies, Distinguished Participants,
Let me convey my gratitude for the invitation, and wish you success in the noble aim of promoting intercultural and interreligious and intercultural dialogue for the good of humanity.
Thank you very much.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: Doctrine must never be apart from pastoral context

(Vatican Radio) Church doctrine must never be isolated from a practical pastoral context. That theme was at the heart of a video message that Pope Francis sent to participants at an International Theological Congress taking place at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) in the capital Buenos Aires this week.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report: 

Speaking in his native Spanish, the Pope said a theologian is above all a child of his or her people, who knows the tradition of the Church and encounters the personal stories of individuals. A theologian, he continued, is a believer, who has discovered he or she cannot live without Christ in their lives. And the theologian is a prophet, he said, who reflects the tradition of the past, while creating a bridge to the present and future.
In the message marking the centenary of the University’s theology faculty and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis stressed the importance of recapturing the memory of God’s presence in the life of the Church. We cannot have isolated individual Churches, he stressed, which claim to possess a unique interpretation of our reality and of the action of the Holy Spirit. In the same way, he went on, we cannot have a universal Church which ignores or denies the reality of the local Churches. Our tradition, he said, is like a living river which springs from our origins of faith and flows towards the future, irrigating and giving life to the various parts of our world.
The role of the theologian, Pope Francis said, is to discern and reflect on what it means to be a Christian today. A Christian in Argentina now, he explained, is not the same as a hundred years ago, and it’s not the same as a Christian in India, Canada or Rome. Theological research must provide answers to the great challenges of our day, he said, avoiding the two great temptations of being either too conservative and rejecting anything new, or embracing every novelty without the wisdom of the past.
In this context, the Pope concluded, doctrine can never be separated from the pastoral context. He pointed to the great fathers of the Church, like Irenaeus, Augustine, Basil or Ambrose, who were great theologians because they were great pastors too. Encountering families, the poor and those who live on the margins of society, he said, is the path to a better understanding of our faith.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: Sowing divisions is a sickness in the Church

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says sowing divisions and discord is a sickness within the Church and described a person who indulges in gossip as like a terrorist who throws bombs. His comments came during his homily at his Friday (4th September) Mass in the Santa Marta residence. 
Taking his inspiration from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians where the Apostle spoke of how Christ was sent by God to sow reconciliation and peace among humanity, Pope Francis’s homily was a reflection on the need to sow peace rather than discord in our daily lives.
Do I sow peace or do I sow discord?
He said without Jesus no peace or reconciliation is possible and our task is to be men and women of peace and reconciliation in the midst of news about war and hatred, even within families.
“We’d do well to ask ourselves: Do I sow peace?  For example, when I speak, do I sow peace or do I sow discord?  How many times have we heard this said about a person: He or she has a serpent’s tongue! This is because that person is always doing what the serpent did with Adam and Eve, namely destroying peace. And this is an evil, this is a sickness within our Church: sowing divisions, sowing hatred, not sowing peace. So this is a question that we should ask ourselves every day:  ‘Did I sow peace or did I sow discord today?” ‘But sometimes, we have to say things because he or she….’: But with an attitude like this, what are you sowing?”
Who brings peace is a saint, who gossips is like a terrorist
Christians, the Pope continued, are called therefore to be like Jesus who came among us to bring peace and reconciliation.
“If a person during his or her life does nothing else but reconcile and bring peace that person can be canonized: that person is a saint. But we need to grow that way, we need to have a conversion: never a word that divides, never, never a word that brings war, small wars, never gossip.  I’m thinking: what is gossip?  Oh it’s nothing- just saying words against another person or telling tales: ‘This person did…’  No!  Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and runs away, destroying: with their tongue they are destroying and not making peace. But this person is cunning, right? He is not a suicide bomber, no, no, he takes good care of himself.”
Biting our tongue
Pope Francis concluded his homily by repeating a suggestion for Christians to bite their tongues rather than indulge in malicious gossip.
“Every day that I get the urge to say something that sows discord and division, to say bad things about another person… Bite your tongue!  I can assure you. If you do this and bite your tongue instead of sowing discord, the first few times the wound will cause your tongue to swell because the devil helps us do this because that’s his work, his job: to divide.”
Therefore, my final prayer: “Lord, you gave your life, give me the grace to bring peace and reconciliation. You shed your blood, but what does it matter to me if my tongue gets swollen if I bite it before speaking badly about other people.” 
(from Vatican Radio)…