(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked World Food Day this week with a visit to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where he called on world leaders and policymakers to work for a concrete, practical consensus to prevent the most tragic effects of climate change hitting the weakest and most defenseless.
“We need to change our lifestyles, the use of resources, production and consumption patterns,” the Pope said, and he decried what he described as the “negligence” that is damaging the “delicate balances of the ecosystems” and the “arrogance of manipulating and controlling” the planet.
Hosting the Pope at FAO’s Headquarters in Rome was FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva , who immediately afterwards spoke to Vatican Radio:
Da Silva points out that the Vatican has Permanent Observer Status at FAO but most important, he says, as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church he represents values that FAO shares: solidarity, dignity, and hope in a better world.
“We share those values in FAO and Pope Francis is a continuing inspiration for us, and not only through ‘Laudato Sì’ where he approaches the issue of climate change – a very important common global value” he says.
He says that Pope Francis is one of those rare people who have dedicated their entire lives to promoting important values: “these people are indispensable”.
“I think that Pope Francis is one of those people who have worked hard all of their lives and that he is one of the few indispensable people in the world today” he says.
Before addressing his audience at FAO, da Silva says he had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis personally about some of the programmes his organization shares with the Vatican.
“We discussed particularly the need to concentrate our efforts in Africa and to stop the conflicts, and also to deal with the impact of climate change” he says.
Da Silva also revealed that Pope Francis promised to send a special message for the meeting that FAO is organizing during the African Union Summit that FAO is organizing next January 2018 in Addis Ababa.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Methodist and Catholic theologians are meeting just outside Rome this week, marking the 50th anniversary of the first ecumenical dialogue group following the Second Vatican Council. That first session of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission was held in the hill town of Ariccia in October 1967.
Pope Francis met with members of the current Commission on Thursday, together with leaders of the World Methodist Council, saying that half a century of dialogue has set us free from estrangement and suspicion and helped us to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
South African Bishop Ivan Abrahams is General Secretary of the World Methodist Council. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the concrete fruits of this ecumenical journey….
He says two of the key ingredients that have marked this “50 year pilgrimage or journey” are the love and trust that has been built up and that are reflected in the seven joint reports that have been produced thus far.
One of the great challenges, he says, is to let the fruits of this dialogue “ percolate to the local level and we need to see how we can do that much more effectively”.
‘That they may be one’
He notes that the latest dialogue report entitled ‘ A Call to Holiness: from glory to glory ’ stresses that working for unity is “a fundamental part of our mission and our witness to the world, to see that Jesus’ high priestly prayer is made reality”.
Speaking about the situation in his native South Africa, Abrahams says that as he saw the demise of apartheid in his lifetime, “I’d hoped to see the reality of “that they may be one” in my lifetime”.
Autonomy in mission and witness
Talking about the Methodist model of governance, he says there’s no compromise on key issues of faith, but “we don’t apply the ‘one size fits all’ model”, leaving the various conferences autonomy to make their own decisions about mission and witness.
Asked about Pope Francis’ efforts to give local Catholic bishops’ conferences with more autonomy over pastoral decision making, Abrahams says “I think that it is really the only way to go, if we speak about the integrity of the Gospel, because every cultural context is uniquely different ”.
Pope Francis embodies unity
While practical cooperation on issues like migration, refugees or climate change are important, he says, consensus in the theological dialogue remains crucial because “we need to clarify so we can walk together ”.
Finally Bishop Abrahams praises Pope Francis’ way of reaching out to young generations, saying he is “ a beacon of hope ” and “somebody who embodies the unity that we’re seeking to live”.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday urged students of a French Catholic School to watch out against the lure and slavery of money, and train themselves to be promoters and defenders of equality and justice in the world.
Some 80 students and staff of Institution des Chartreux of Lyons , in Rome as part of their semester, met the Pope in the Vatican. Known commonly as Les Chartreux, the private school is managed by the Carthusians.
Lure and slavery of money
The Pope expressed satisfaction that while they were preparing themselves to enter the big commercial schools to pursue professional careers in the world of finance, their current academic formation at Les Chartreux was providing them a strong human, philosophical and cultural dimension. “It is essential,” he said, “that from now on and in your future professional life you learn to be free from the ‘lure of money’, from the slavery into which money shuts those who worship it.” He said it is also important that they have the “strength and courage not to blindly obey the invisible hand of the market.” “Hence,” he said, “I encourage you to make the best of your study time to train yourselves to become promoters and defenders of growth in equity , and artisans of an upright and adequate administration of our common home, the world.”
Just and humane world
Pope Francis further exhorted them to become responsible for this world and for the life of every man, never forgetting that “every injustice against a poor person is an open wound and belittles your very dignity.” He told the students to find the means and the time to take on the path of brotherhood to create bridges rather than walls among men in order to add their stone to building a more just and humane society. He concluded encouraging them to work for good and be a humble seed of a new world.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) A global conference will open in Rome on Friday looking at best practices to help people with disabilities fully engage in the life of the Church.
The event entitled “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church”, is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and partnered by The Kairos Forum , a UK based organization that focuses on the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.
Over the course of the three day gathering 450 experts from around the world will share their insights.
Lydia O’Kane spoke to Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, about the goals of the conference.
Listen to the interview:
Speaking about how the conference came about, Mons Sylva said, “this international conference is the fruit that was sewn during the Jubilee (of Mercy) with all the other discussions that took place afterwards.”
He underlined that, “the aim and the goal is for us as a Church and for this Pontifical Council to really learn what are the best practices that are already taking place throughout the world in catechizing people with special needs …”
The Church and Disability
But, Mons. Sylva also added that, what this conference is also meant to do is to “highlight the responsibility that we have as a Church to take into account the special needs for each of the baptized, so that we can present to him or her the catechism, the catechesis of our Church in a way that they can receive it; they can grasp the elements of it .”
The global conference, “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church”, will run from the 20th to the 22nd of October at the Urbaniana University in Rome.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with leaders of the World Methodist Council on Thursday, celebrating fifty years of dialogue between the two Churches.
Noting that in the Old Testament, a golden jubilee was a moment to set slaves free, the pope said “we too have been freed from the slavery of estrangement and mutual suspicion”.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:
After fifty years of patient dialogue, he said, “we are no longer strangers” but rather, through our shared Baptism, “members of the household of God”.
True dialogue, the pope continued, gives us courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity” as we seek to learn from each other.
Wesley’s example of holiness
Speaking about the 18th century preacher John Wesley, who, with his brother Charles founded the Methodist movement, Pope Francis said his words and his example of holiness brought many people to Christ. When we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in other Christian confessions, he said, “we cannot fail to rejoice”, as they can “also help us grow closer to the Lord”.
Serving the poor together
The pope also noted how our faith becomes tangible when it takes the concrete form of love and service to the poor and marginalized. As Methodists and Catholics together, when we assist those who are alienated or in need, he said, we are responding to the Lord’s summons.
Become ministers of reconciliation
We cannot grow in holiness without growing in communion, Pope Francis concluded. As you begin a new phase of dialogue devoted to reconciliation, may your discussions be a gift for Christians everywhere to become ministers of reconciliation. Let us prepare ourselves with humble hope and concrete efforts, he said, for that full recognition which will enable us to join one another in the breaking of bread together.
(from Vatican Radio)…