(Vatican Radio) One cannot be silent in the face of an “unscrupulous materialism” that marks the alliance between economy and technology, and that treats life as a resource to be exploited or discarded by power and profit. “Unfortunately men, women and children the world over are experiencing the bitterness and pain of the “illusory promises” of this “technocratic materialism” , said Pope Francis on Thursday.
He was speaking to the members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) at the start of their 2-day general assembly in Rome. The Oct. 5-6 meeting is holding a workshop on the theme “Accompanying Life: New Responsibilities in the Technological Era.”
Technology against person and life
In the face of the effects of recent technological developments in life sciences and the power of biotechnologies that permit extensive manipulation of life, unthinkable until recently, Pope Francis urged for a behavior that is consistent with the dignity of the human person and of life and its meaning and value. The Pope observed that contrary to the welfare promised by this “technocratic materialism” with the expansion of the market, what we are witnessing is widening territories of poverty, conflict, waste and abandonment , resentment and despair. Instead, he said, authentic scientific and technological progress should inspire more humane policies.
In this regard, the Holy Father said, Christian faith and the Church’s rich tradition of enlightened minds can inspire today’s believers repair the “fracture between generations” that interrupts the transmission of life . The life of fathers and mothers in advanced age wants to be honoured for what they have generously given, and not be discarded for what they don’t have any more, he said.
Neutralizing sexual differences is not a right
In this initiative, the Word of God sheds light on the origin of life and it destiny, the Pope said. The narrative of creation should be read as God’s act of love that entrusts creation and history to the alliance between man and woman . But neither of them can alone assume this responsibility, because they were created together in their blessed difference. In this regard, the Pope said, recent effort to assert the dignity of a person by radically neutralizing sexual differences and the understanding of man and woman is not right. He said, the utopia of the “neuter”, removes both the human dignity of the sexually different constitution as well as the personal quality of the ”generative transmission of life”.
Generating and caring for life
The generative alliance of man and woman is a defence for the worldwide humanism of men and women, not a handicap, the Pope said warning, “if we reject this, our history will not be renewed.” The passion for accompanying and caring for life, along the entire arch of its individual and social history, calls for a revival of an ethos of compassion or tenderness for the generation and regeneration of the human being in its distinction. The Pope thus called for reviving sensitivity for the various stages of life, especially for children and the elderly in all their fragility, vulnerability and corruptibility.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. In remarks to the faithful following the Readings of the Day, the Holy Father reflected on the importance of keeping tethered to our roots – especially our spiritual roots – and avoiding what he called “psychological self-exile”.
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Taking as his starting point the reading from the Book of Nehemiah , in which the prophet recounts Ezra ’s reading of the law to the whole assembly of the people before their re-entrance into the holy city, Jerusalem, after some seventy years of Babylonian captivity, Pope Francis recalled the nostalgic tears of Nehemiah – who was cup-bearer to the Persian king, Ataxerxes, at Babylon.
Then Pope Francis recalled the verse of Psalm 137, which says, “Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion[.]”
The Pope also reflected on the “nostalgia of migrants,” those who are, “far from home and want to return.”
On the shores of Babylon – real and spiritual
After so many years of exile, the roots “had weakened” but were not lost. Recovering the roots “means recovering the [sense of] belonging of a people,” Pope Francis said. “Without roots,” he continued, “we cannot live: a people without roots or at risk of losing roots, is a sick people”:
“A person without roots, who has forgotten his roots, is sick. Finding, rediscovering their roots and taking the strength to go forward, the strength to flourish and, as the poet says, ‘the power to flourish because – he says – what the tree has borne in fruit comes from what he has buried.’ Just that relationship between the root and the good we can do.”
Along this journey of recovery, however, the Pope noted, there has been “so much resistance”:
“Resistance comes from those who prefer exile, and when there is no physical exile, psychological exile: self-exile from the community, from society, from those who prefer to be uprooted people, without roots. We must think of this psychological self-exile as a disease: it does so much harm. It takes away the roots. It takes away our belonging.”
Recovering the roots
The people, however, go forward, and achieve the day on which they are finally to rebuild their city. The people rally to “restore the roots,” that is to say, to hear the Word of God, which the scribe Ezra read – and the people were weeping once more, but this time their tears were not those shed on Babylonian shores: “It was the weeping of joy, the encounter with their roots, the encounter with their belonging [to God and to one another].” After reading, Nehemiah invites them to feast. This is the joy of those who have found their roots:
“The man and woman who find their roots, who are faithful to their membership, are a man and a woman in joy – joy – and this joy is their strength. From the weeping of sadness to tears of joy: from the weeping of weakness at being far from their roots, far from their people, to the cry of belonging; ‘I’m home’. I am at home.”
The courage to weep
The Pope went on to invite all those at Mass to read the whole of the eighth chapter of Nehemiah, from which the First Reading of the Day was drawn, and to ask whether they have not themselves “let fail the memory of the Lord,” and if they have, whether they are ready start a journey to recover their roots, or whether they prefer to be closed in on themselves in the soul’s self-imposed exile. Finally, Pope Francis said that if you are “afraid of crying,” you will have, “fear of laughing,” because, after one weeps with sadness, there come tears of joy. We must therefore ask for the grace of the “repentant cry,” the weeping of those who are “sad for their sins,” but also for the weeping of joy, because the Lord “forgave us and has done in our lives what He did with his people.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged leaders of the Chaldean Church to be builders of unity, favouring dialogue and collaboration between all actors of Iraqi society.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :
The Pope was addressing bishops in Rome for the Synod of the Chaldeans , taking place from 4 to 8 October . The Chaldean Church is headed by Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, Archbishop of Baghdad.
Amongst the main topics of discussion are the Kurdish referendum and the return of Christian refugees in the Nineveh Plain.
A time of hope for the region
Noting that this meeting comes at a time of need and of hope for the region, Pope Francis said together with all Iraqis, religious leaders are called to face issues such as the forced migration of Christians, the reconstruction of villages, the return of many displaced people as well as liturgical and pastoral issues.
“This is an occasion for me, the Pope said, to send my greetings to the sorely tested faithful of the beloved Iraqi nation” and to share the hope that stems from the resumption of life and activity “in regions and cities that were subjected to painful and violent oppression”.
While a tragic page of history has been concluded, he said, there remains much to do.
Builders of unity
“I exhort you to work tirelessly as builders of unity” he said.
He spoke of the need for unity within the Chaldean Church and with pastors of other Churches, and of the need to favour dialogue and collaboration in a concerted effort to facilitate the return of the displaced and heal divisions and contrasts between brothers.
Commenting on a situation of uncertainty for the future, Francis talked of the need for a national reconciliation process and for a joint effort on the part of all components of society to work out solutions for the good of the entire nation.
Reflecting on the historical significance of the region as a land of ancient evangelization, of civilization, encounter and dialogue, he exhorted the bishops never to be discouraged in the face of inevitable difficulties, and he highlighted the importance of unity between Christians in the promotion of respectful relationships and interreligious dialogue.
Ecclesial and liturgical concerns
On a different note, the Pope gave directions to the bishops regarding the need for accompaniment and formation of priests and seminarians, whom, he said, must be well grounded in four different dimensions: the human one, the spiritual one, the pastoral one and the intellectual one.
He spoke of his concern for the theme of the Diaspora which, he said, must be ‘rethought’ taking into consideration the situations in which ecclesial communities find themselves, both from a numerical and a religious freedom point of view.
“Everything possible must be done in order to bring the aims of the Second Vatican Council into effect, facilitating pastoral care in those regions where Oriental communities are well established, and promoting communion and fraternity with Latin Rite communities in order to provide the faithful with good witness and avoid protracting divisions and contrasts” he said.
Need for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue
Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, he noted, must be rooted in Catholic unity and communion: “the Congregation for Oriental Churches will support you in this.”
Pope Francis concluded his speech expressing his hope that this Synod may provide a time of fruitful debate and fraternal reflection for the beloved Chaldean Church.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received a delegation from the Church Relations Committee of the United Bible Societies telling them that “the word of God enlightens, protects, defends, heals and frees.”
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Speaking to the delegation Pope Francis began by highlighting the role they play in making “the Bible more easily accessible in diverse languages and in today’s wide variety of communication media.”
He told them that, “we are servants of the word of salvation, which, he added, never returns to the Lord empty.” The Holy Father also underlined the importance of, as he called it, nourishing ourselves “at the table of the word by reading, listening, studying and bearing witness with our lives.”
Proclaiming the Gospel
The Pope stressed to those gathered how vital it is that the Church today goes out to proclaim the Gospel to all, “in all places, on all occasions, without delay, reluctance or fear. We do so, he continued, in obedience to the Lord’s missionary mandate, certain of his presence among us until the end of the world.”
Testimonies of faith
Recalling the many people who are in prison on account of the word, and the many more who have shed their blood as a testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Father said as Christians, “we are servants of the powerful word of God that enlightens, protects, defends, heals and frees.”
In conclusion, and quoting from Bible passages, the Pope said, “Let us walk together to spread the word. Let us pray together, that the Father’s will be done. Let us work together, that what the Lord has said may be accomplished in us.”
(from Vatican Radio)…