(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has given a wide-ranging interview to an Italian magazine run by homeless persons. The interview was published on 28 February in the magazine called “Scarp de’ tenis” (“Sneakers”).
The magazine also functions as a social project, as most of the staff is homeless, suffers difficult personal situations or forms of social exclusion. For most contributors, the magazine is an important source of income. “Scarp de’ tenis” entered into partnership with the Italian arm of the Vatican’s charity organization, Caritas, in 2008.
In the interview, Pope Francis was asked to explain his recent initiatives for refugees, such as providing accommodation in the Vatican. In his reply, the Pope explained how the initiative to welcome the homeless had inspired parishes throughout Rome to join the effort.
“Here in the Vatican there are two parishes, and both are housing Syrian families. Many parishes in Rome have also opened their doors and others, which don’t have a house for priests, have offered to pay rent for families in need, for a full year” he said.
Throughout the interview the Pope often referred to the idea of walking in each others shoes. According to the Pope, to walk in the other’s shoes is a way to escape our own egoism: “In the shoes of the other, we learn to have a great capacity for understanding, for getting to know difficult situations.”
The Pope maintains that words alone are not enough, what is needed, he said, is the “Greatness” to walk in the shoes of the other: “How often I have met a person who, after having searched for Christian comfort, be they a layman, a priest, a sister or a bishop, they tell me ‘they listened to me, but didn’t understand me.’”
During the interview, the Pope also joked about people’s attitudes concerning giving money to those who live on the streets. “There are many arguments which justify why we should not give these alms: ‘I give money and he just spends it on a glass of wine!’ A glass of wine is his only happiness in life!” joked Pope Francis.
There was also a lesson in generosity within the interview. The Pope told a story from his time in Buenos Aires, of a mother with five children. While the father was at work and the rest of the family ate lunch, a homeless man called in to ask for food. Rather than letting the children give away their father’s dinner for that evening, the mother taught the children to give away some of their own food: “If we wish to give, we must give what is ours!” insisted the Pope.
Regarding the question of limiting numbers of refugee and migrants who arrive in a particular place, the Pope first reminded his readers that many of those arriving are fleeing from war or hunger. All of us in this world, says the Pope, are part of this situation and need to find ways to help and benefit those around us. According to him, this responsibility is especially true of governments and the Pope used the example of the work of the Saint Egidio community (that has established humanitarian corridors for groups of vulnerable migrants) in order to make his point. Regarding the 13 refugees who arrived from Lesbos, the Pope pointed out that the families have integrated well into society, with the children being enrolled in schools and their parents having found work. This, according to Pope Francis, is an example of immigrants wanting to fit into and contribute to a new country, and achieving that desire.
To further underline his point, the Pope highlighted the case of Sweden, where almost 10% of the population, including the Minister for Culture, are immigrants. During his own life, in the difficult years of the military dictatorship in Argentina, the Pope often looked to the Swedish as a positive example of integration.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) As we head into the Lenten season, Pope Francis has invited the faithful to reflect on the relationship between God and money.He was speaking on Tuesday during morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta .
We cannot serve two masters so we must choose between God and money. Speaking about the message of the Gospel readings in these days leading up to the beginning of Lent, Pope Francis said we are called to reflect on the relationship between God and money. In Monday’s reading, he noted, the rich young man wanted to follow the Lord, but his wealth led him to follow money instead.
Jesus’ words in this story worry the disciples, as he tells them it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In today’s reading from St Mark’s Gospel, the Pope said, we see Peter asking the Lord what will happen to them as they have given up everything to follow him. “It’s almost as if Peter is passing Jesus the bill,” Pope Francis exclaimed.
Peter didn’t know what to say: the young man has gone his way, but what about us? Pope Francis said Jesus’ reply is clear: I tell you there is no-one who has given up everything and has not received everything. You will receive everything, with that overflowing measure with which God gives his gifts.
The Pope repeats the Gospel words: “there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come”.
The Lord is incapable of giving less than everything, the Pope said: when he gives us something, he gives all of himself.
Yet there is a word in this reading, he continued, which gives us cause for reflection: in this present age we receive a hundred times more houses and brothers, together with persecutions. The Pope said this means entering into a different way of thinking, a different way of behaving. Jesus gives everything of himself, because the fullness of God is a fullness emptied out on the Cross.
This is the gift of God, the Pope insisted, a fullness which is emptied out. This is also the Christian’s way of being, to seek and receive a fullness which is emptied out and to follow on that path, which is not easy, he stressed. How to we recognize that we are following this path of giving everything in order to receive everything, he asked? The words of the first reading of the day tell us to “pay homage to the Lord, and do not spare your freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy”. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.
A cheerful face and eyes full of joy, the Pope said, these are the signs that we’re following this path of all and nothing, of fullness emptied out. The rich young man’s face fell and he became very sad, because he was not capable of receiving and welcoming this fullness emptied out, but the saints and Peter were able to receive it. Amid all their trials and difficulties, they had cheerful faces and hearts full of joy.
Pope concluded by recalling the Chilean saint Alberto Hurtado who worked with the poor amidst such difficulty, persecution and suffering, yet his words were ’I’m happy, Lord, I’m happy’. May he teach us to follow this difficult path of all and nothing, of Christ’s fullness emptied out and to be able to say at all times ’I’m happy, Lord, I’m happy’
(from Vatican Radio)…
On Monday, Pope Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes: MARTYRDOM – Servant of God Tito Zeman, Slovakian professed priest of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco (1915-1969). HEROIC VIRTUES – Servant of God Octavio Ortiz Arrieta, Peruvian bishop, of the Salesians of St. John Bosco (1878-1958); – Servant of God Antonio Provolo, Italian diocesan priest, founder of the Society of Mary for the Education of the Deaf-Mutes, and the Sisters of the Society of Mary for the Education of the Deaf-Mute (1801-1842); – Servant of God Antonio Repiso Martínez de Orbe, Mexican professed priest of the Society of Jesus, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Shepherd (1856-1929); – Servant of God María de las Mercedes Cabezas Terrera, Spanish founder of the Missionary Workers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1911-1993); – Servant of God Lucia of the Immaculate Conception (née Maria Ripamonti), Italian professed religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity (1909-1954); – Servant of God Pedro Herrero Rubio, Spanish layperson (1904-1978); – Servant of God Vittorio Trancanelli, Italian layperson and father (1944-1998). (from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has said his staff is “studying the possibility” of a visit to South Sudan.
He said the reason was that “the Anglican, Presbyterian, and Catholic” bishops of South Sudan had come to ask him: “Please, come to South Sudan, even for a day, but don’t come alone, come with Justin Welby”, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.
“We are looking at whether it is possible, or if the situation down there is too dangerous. But we have to do it, because they – the three [Christian communities] – together desire peace, and they are working together for peace.”
The Holy Father’s words came during his Sunday visit to Rome’s All Saints Anglican Church in a question-and-answer session.
He was responding to a question from an Anglican seminarian from Nigeria, who had asked the Pope about the vitality of churches in the Southern Hemisphere.
Pope Francis said those churches are young and therefore have a certain vitality due to their youthfulness.
He also told an anecdote about Blessed Paul VI to show that “ecumenism is often easier in young churches”.
“When Blessed Paul VI beatified the Ugandan martyrs – a young Church – among the martyrs were catechists, all were young, while some were Catholics and others Anglican, and all were martyred by the same king in hate for the faith, because they refused to follow the dirty proposals of the king. And Paul VI was embarrassed, saying: ‘I should beatify both groups; they are both martyrs.’ But in that moment of the Catholic Church, such a thing was not possible.”
Responding to another question about ecumenical relations between the churches, Pope Francis said, “The relationship between Catholics and Anglicans today is good; we care for each other like brothers!”
He then gave two examples of common ground: saints and the monastic life.
“We have a common tradition of the saints… Never, never in the two Churches, have the two traditions renounced the saints: Christians who lived the Christian witness until that point. This is important.”
“There is another thing that has kept up a strong connection between our religious traditions: [male and female] monks, monasteries. And monks, both Catholic and Anglican, are a great spiritual strength of our traditions.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has paid a visit to All Saints Anglican Church in the heart of Rome. This afternoon the Pope presided over an evensong service with the bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe Robert Innes.
Whilst at the Church the Holy Father also answered questions from the congregation. Responding to one question the Holy Father said a visit to South Sudan was being studied at the moment. He also said there was the possiblity that he would be accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
The Pope also blessed a newly commissioned icon of Christ the Saviour.
It’s the first time a pope has visited an Anglican church in Rome and it comes as part of All Saints’ 200th anniversary celebrations.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen followed events and spoke to Lydia O’Kane from All Saints Church.
(from Vatican Radio)…