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Day: October 22, 2015

Pope Francis announces the establishment of a new Dicastery

Today, at the beginning of the afternoon
General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy Father made the
following announcement:
“I have decided to establish a new
Dicastery with competency for Laity, Family and Life, that will replace the
Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the
Family. The Pontifical
Academy for Life will be
joined to the new Dicastery.
To this end, I have constituted a special
commission that will prepare a text delineating canonically the competencies of
the new Dicastery. The text will be presented for discussion to the Council of
Caridnals at their next meeting in December.”…

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 15

(Vatican Radio) Thursday 22 Oct. The Church’s youngest Cardinal, Soane Mafi, was a guest at the daily press briefing for the Synod on the Family. He was joined by Cardinal Oswald Gracious from India (who is on the Synod’s drafting committee) and Archbishop José H.Gómez from the United States of America.
Cardinal Gracious told the briefing that a way forward – for the divorced and civilly re-married – needs to be further explored and could be referred to in the final document which is going to be presented to the Holy Father on Saturday.
Click below to listen to a report by Fr. Russell Pollitt SJ

At the beginning of the briefing Holy See Press Spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, was again asked about the health of the Holy Father. He assured the media that the Pope is in good health. The three prelates affirmed this.
Cardinal Soane told the media that this was the first Synod he had attended and that it was “exciting.” He said that he is apprehensive as he awaits the outcome. Soane told the briefing that although Oceania is a small isolated island, families there are also affected by global problems. He said that the extended family was important but that many young people were leaving the island looking for a better life. He spoke of the challenges of individualism and materialism.
Archbishop Gómez said that the Synod was wonderful and that it was an experience of listening, learning and talking about the reality of people’s lives. He said that it was important that the Church challenged families to really live their mission of family and for other families.
Gómez lamented that there was not enough time to discuss some issues; he referred specifically to migration and the world’s economic crisis. He said that it was essential that the Church helped people to reach their potential in all aspects of their lives.
Cardinal Gracious was asked many questions about the final document and process. He said that the drafting committee had voted unanimously to accept the first draft that will be presented to the bishops on Thursday afternoon. He said that the bishops would be addressed on the procedural aspects of the next few days by the General Secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. After this the General Relator, Cardinal Peter Erdo, will relate the important parts of the draft. The bishops will be given a copy of the text to go and study overnight.
The plenary will resume Friday morning for any comments on the draft. The necessary changes will then be made and, on Saturday, the bishops will meet to hear the final draft and vote on the document paragraph by paragraph. There will also be a vote on the document as a whole. Thereafter the document will be presented to Pope Francis. Gracious reminded the media that this document is intended for the Pope, to help and advise him. It is not being written for the world.
Gracious was asked for his thoughts on “healthy decentralisation.” He said that the Church is one universal body but this also means that there are diverse circumstances in this body. He said that the Church had to deal concretely with situations. It would therefore be appropriate for Episcopal Conference’s to study behaviours which occur in their context, he thought. He used polygamy as an example. He said that this was not an issue in India but was in Africa so it would be fitting for the African Church to investigate this. He added that bishops would need to have the right training and assistance theologically and canonically.
He also said that the drafting committee received between 700-800 “modi” or “comments” for the final text. They were given to experts to be sorted into various different areas. They were looked at by the drafting committee then given to the writers.
The Cardinal was asked about Familiaris Consortio #84 (the document from the 1980 Synod on the Family). In this document St. John Paul II said that the divorced and civilly re-married could not be admitted to the Eucharist. He was asked if the drafting committee would raise this issue in the final document because it had been spoken of often at this Synod. Gracious said that a number of issues were similar but that circumstances have changed. He pointed out that in Familiaris Consortio it also stated that cases should be looked at carefully. He said that St. John Paul II, in that paragraph, stated that we must not put everyone in the same category. The Cardinal said that we cannot treat all people in the same manner. The one who broke up a marital bond is different to another who did not want that to happen and tried by all means to keep it. Gracious said, “to be honest, we don’t have a solution.” He said that there needs to be a study of scripture, moral theology, doctrine, tradition and, hopefully, as understanding is deepened, so too will a way forward emerge.
Cardinal Gracious added that there are divergent views but it is important that a key text is produced which can offer pastoral direction at this time.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: our effort opens the door to the Holy Spirit

(Vatican Radio) The efforts of Christians are aimed at opening the door of the heart to the Holy Spirit. That was the message of Pope Francis during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The Pope emphasized that conversion, for the Christian, a daily task that leads us to the encounter with Jesus. As an example of this, Francis told the story of a mother suffering from cancer, who gives her all to overcome the illness.
For the Christian, “conversion is a duty” a job we must work at every day. Pope Francis commented on the reading from St Paul to the Romans to emphasize that in order to pass from a life of iniquity to a life of sanctity, we must work at it every day.
We are not fakirs, our efforts lead to sanctification
Saint Paul, the Pope said, uses the image of the athlete, the man who “trains in order to prepare himself for game, and makes a great effort.” This is what an athlete does to win a match; but what about us, who should be striving to win that great victory of Heaven? What should we do? Saint Paul, the Pope said, “exhorts us to go forward with this effort”:
“Ah, Father, are we able to think that sanctification comes through the effort I make, like the victory that comes to sportsmen comes through training? No. The efforts we make, this daily work of serving the Lord with our soul, with our heart, with our body, with our whole life only opens the door to the Holy Spirit. It is He who enters into us and saves us! He is the gift in Jesus Christ! Otherwise, we would make ourselves like: No, we are not fakirs. We, with our efforts, open the door.”
Going forward, not falling back in the face of temptation
Pope Francis acknowledged that this is a difficult task, “because our weakness, original sin, the devil” are always trying to get us to turn back. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews, he said, “warns us against this temptation to turn back”; he warns us “not to go back, not to fall.” We need to continue to go forward, he said, “a little bit each day,” even “when there is great difficulty”:
“A few months ago, I met a woman. Young, the mother of a family – a beautiful family – who had cancer. An ugly cancer. But she moved with happiness, she acted like she was healthy. And speaking about this attitude, she told me, “Father, I would do anything to beat the cancer!” It’s that way with the Christian. We have received this gift in Jesus Christ and we have passed from sin, from the life of iniquity to the life of the gift in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, we must do the same. Every day a step. Every day a step.”
Let us seek the grace to be strong in training ourselves for life
Pope Francis pointed out some temptations – such as the “desire to gossip” about others. And in that case, he said, you need to make the effort to be silent. Otherwise, if we don’t work to overcome temptations, “there comes a little bit of slumber,” and we won’t have the “will to pray,” but then we try to pray a little bit. These small efforts, the Pope said, “help us not to fall, not to go back, not to return to iniquity but to go forward toward this gift, this promise of Jesus Christ which is precisely the encounter with Him. Let us ask this grace from the Lord: to be strong, to be strong in this training of life towards the encounter, that we might receive the gift of justification, the gift of grace, the gift of the Spirit in Christ Jesus.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope’s message to international congress on Fr. Matteo Ricci

Vatican City, October 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father Francis to the bishop of Macerata, Nazzareno Marconi, on the occasion of the international congress on the Jesuit Fr. Matteo Ricci, organised by the University of Macerata, Italy, and the Confucius Institute (founded by the “Hanban” Office of the Chinese Ministry of Education, for teaching the Chinese language and culture), and held from 21 to 23 October.
In his text, the Pope expresses his appreciation for the initiative, intended to facilitate detailed study of the missionary work and cultural activity carried out by Fr. Ricci, born in Macerata and a “friend of the dear Chinese people”. The Holy Father also hopes that “the memory of such a zealous man of the Church, attentive to social changes and committed to interweaving relations between the European and Chinese cultures, may reaffirm the importance of dialogue between cultures and religions in a climate of mutual respect and with a view to the common good”.
The congress “New perspectives in the study of Fr. Matteo Ricci”, an initiative suggested by the president of Hanban and Chinese deputy minister of education Xu Lin during his official visit to the Confucius Institute of Macerata in 2013, is one of the most important on the figure of the Italian Jesuit who lived from 1552 to 1610.
Three themes will be considered, regarding little known aspects of the life and activity of Fr. Matteo Ricci. The first relates to work carried out in private and public archives in China on unpublished documents in Chinese regarding Matteo Ricci and his interlocutors, especially his Chinese correspondence.
Secondly, the conference will propose new models of analysis of Ricci’s work, studying hitherto little explored themes or works that have not been adequately understood. In particular, there will be two presentations on Michele Ruggeri and Matteo Ricci’s Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, as well as analyses using the tools of linguistics, semiology, rhetoric and intercultural comparativism. There will also be a discussion on the importance of cartography in the experience of Ricci and the Jesuits in China, Japan and Korea.
The third theme regards Europe’s reflection on itself in the light of the image of Chinese civilisation transmitted by Ricci, the Jesuits and other religious orders, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The reactions of the European Enlightenment to the image of China will be considered, along with the repercussions of Chinese philosophy for Jesuits in the history of European philosophy and finally, the relationship between Ricci’s quotation and interpretations of the Analects of Confucius and the first translations of the work by the Jesuits….