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Category: Global

Pope urges Myanmar’s religions to build peace and unity amidst differences ?

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with  17 leaders of Myanmar’s religious communities Tuesday morning, exhorting them that peace consists in unity in diversity, not in uniformity.  The Pope met leaders of Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Catholic and other Christian communities at the Archbishop’s House in Yangon, at the start of his first full day of his Nov. 27-30 apostolic visit to Myanmar.
The Holy See’s spokesman, Greg Burke said that the during his 40-minute meeting with them, the Pope urged them to work together to rebuild the country and that if they argue, they should argue like brothers, who reconcile afterwards.  
Unity is not uniformity
After various leaders spoke, Pope Francis spoke off-hand in Spanish helped by an interpreter.  Alluding to the Psalms, he said, “ How beautiful it is to see brothers united!”   He explained that being united does not mean being equal.  “Unity is not uniformity, even within a religious community.  Each one has his values, his riches as also shortcomings,” the Pope said, adding, “we are all different.”  Each confession has its riches and traditions to give and share .  And this can happen only if all live in peace.  “ Peace ,” the Pope stressed, “consists in a chorus of differences .”  “Unity comes about in differences.”
Uniformity kills
“Peace is harmony,” the Pope said, noting that there is a trend in the world towards uniformity to make everybody equal.  But he denounced this as a “cultural colonization” that “kills humanity.”    He said religious leaders should understand the richness of our differences – ethnic, religious or popular – and what results from these differences is dialogue.  “As brothers, we can learn from these differences,” the Pope stressed, exhorting the religious leaders to “build the country, which is so rich and diverse even geographically.” 
Nature in Myanmar is very rich in differences, the Pope said, urging them not be afraid of differences. “Since we have one Father and we are all brothers , let us be brothers,” the Pope urged.  And if they have to debate among themselves, let it be as brothers, which will soon bring about reconciliation and peace.   “Build peace without allowing yourselves be made uniform by the colonization of cultures,” the Pope appealed.  “One builds true divine harmony through differences.  Differences are a richness for peace ,” the Pope added. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope at Angelus: We will be judged on love

(Vatican Radio) In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the last judgement , the subject of the day’s Gospel reading. He noted that this is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the day on which the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe . Christ’s kingship, he said, is one “of guidance and service, but it is also a kingship that at the end of time will be asserted in judgement.” The vision of the second coming of Christ, presented in the Gospel, introduces the final judgment, when all of humanity will appear before Him, and Jesus, exercising His authority, will separate one from another, “as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Pope Francis recalled the criteria that Jesus says will be the foundation of His judgment: “What you did for the least of my brothers, that you did on to me.” This sentence, the Pope said, “never fails to strike us, because it reveals to us” the end to which God is willing to go on account of His love for us. God goes so far as to identify Himself with us, not when we are “happy and healthy, but when we are in need.” Thus, the Pope said, “Jesus reveals the decisive criteria of His judgment, that is, the concrete love for our neighbour in difficulty.” Likewise, those who cursed, in the Gospel account, are judged for failing to aid their brothers and sisters in their need. Pope Francis repeated, “At the end of our life we will be judged on love, that is, on our concrete commitment to love and to serve Jesus in our smallest and most needy brothers.” The Holy Father reminds us that Jesus will come at the end of time to judge all nations ; but He also “ comes to us every day , in so many ways, and asks us to welcome Him.” The Pope concluded his reflection with the prayer that “the Virgin Mary might help us to encounter Him and to receive Him in His Word and in the Eucharist , and at the same time in our brothers and in our sisters who suffer hunger, illness, oppression, injustice. May our hearts be able to welcome Him in the ‘today’ of our life, so that we might be welcomed by Him into the eternity of His Kingdom of light and of peace.” Listen: 

(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope: Pastoral Consolation, the goal of new matrimonial norms

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday addressed the participants of a training course for clerics and laity held by the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
In his prepared remarks, Pope Francis focused on new matrimonial norms and Super Rato procedures .
In particular the Pope said, “it is necessary to give greater attention and proper analysis to the two recent motu proprios: Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et misericors Iesus , in order to apply the new procedures that have been established.”
Spirit of the Synod
These two measures, he said arose “from a synodal context, and are the expression of a synodal path.” The Pope explained that the Synod had the purpose of promoting and defending marriage and the Christian family.
Listen to the report: 

Pope Francis also urged those gathered to strive to be missionaries and witnesses of the spirit of the Synod when they return to their communities. He stressed the importance of “pastoral consolation ,” which is the goal of the new matrimonial norms.
“Let that synodal spirit,” he said, “become the basis of your action in the Church, especially in such a delicate field as marriage and the family.”
The Pope told the participants, that they were called “ to be close to the loneliness and suffering of the faithful waiting for ecclesial justice and to provide the help needed to regain the peace of their consciences and the will of God on readmission to the Eucharist.”
Role of Diocesan Bishop
During his discourse Pope Francis said he had decided to definitively clarify some of the fundamental aspects of the two recent motu proprios, in particular the role of the diocesan bishop.
In a series of points the Holy Father said the diocesan bishop was the natural judge in the new “shorter process.” He added that the shorter process was not simply another option that the Bishop may choose; rather, it is an obligation that comes from his consecration and the mission that has been entrusted to him.
The Pope also underlined several fundamental criteria for the shorter process: mercy, in the first place, and closeness and gratuity , which the Holy Father said “are the two pearls the poor need, and which the Church must love above all else.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope sends telegramme of condolence following terror attacks in Egypt

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolence for Friday’s attack on a mosque in Egypt, saying he was “profoundly grieved to learn of the great loss of life caused by the terrorist attacks on Rawda mosque in North Sinai”.

At least 235 people were killed as they gathered for Friday prayers at the al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed.​
​Witnesses said dozens of gunmen arrived in off-road vehicles and bombed the mosque before opening fire on people as they attempted to flee.
Signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the telegramme says, “In expressing his solidarity with the Egyptian people at this hour of national mourning, [Pope Francis] commends the victims to the mercy of the Most High God and invokes divine blessings of consolation and peace upon their families.”
The Pope ​also ​ renewed “his firm condemnation of this wanton act of brutality directed at innocent civilians gathered in prayer”.
Finally, Pope Francis said he joins “all people of good will in imploring that hearts hardened by hatred will learn to renounce the way of violence that leads to such great suffering, and embrace the way of peace.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope meets dialogue Commission with Assyrian Church of the East

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday received in audience the members of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.
In greetings to the Commission, the Pope thanked God “for today’s signing of the Joint Declaration.”
“We can now look to the future with even greater confidence and I ask the Lord that your continuing work may help bring about that blessed and long-awaited day when we will have the joy of celebrating, at the same altar, our full communion in Christ’s Church,” he said.
The full text of the Pope’s address is below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I extend a warm welcome to all of you. I thank you for your visit and Metropolitan Meelis Zaia for his kind words on your behalf. Through you I convey my fraternal greeting in the Lord to His Holiness Mar Gewargis III, recalling with joy our cordial meeting a year ago, which marked a further step on our journey towards deeper growth in mutual solidarity and communion.
Our meeting today offers us the opportunity to look with gratitude upon the progress made by the Joint Commission, established following the historic signing of the Common Christological Declaration here in Rome in 1994. After professing the same faith in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Commission planned two phases of dialogue: one on sacramental theology and one on the constitution of the Church. I join you in thanking the Lord for today’s signing of the Joint Declaration which brings to a happy conclusion the phase regarding sacramental life. We can now look to the future with even greater confidence and I ask the Lord that your continuing work may help bring about that blessed and long-awaited day when we will have the joy of celebrating, at the same altar, our full communion in Christ’s Church.
I would like to emphasize one aspect of the new Joint Declaration, where the sign of the cross is referred to as “an explicit symbol of unity among all sacramental celebrations”. Some authors of the Assyrian Church of the East have included the sign of the cross among the sacred mysteries, convinced that every sacramental celebration depends precisely on the Pasch of the Lord’s death and resurrection. This is a beautiful insight, because the Crucified and Risen One is our salvation and our life. Hope and peace come from his glorious cross, and from the cross flows the unity of the sacred mysteries we celebrate, as well as our own unity, for we were baptized into the same death and resurrection of the Lord (cf. Rom 6:4).
When we look at the cross, or make the sign of the cross, we are also invited to remember sacrifices endured in union with Jesus and to remain close to those who today bear a heavy cross upon their shoulders. The Assyrian Church of the East, along with other Churches and many of our brothers and sisters in the region, is afflicted by persecution, and is a witness to brutal acts of violence perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist extremism. Situations of such tragic suffering take root more easily in contexts of great poverty, injustice and social exclusion, largely caused by instability, often fuelled by external interests, and by conflicts that have also led in recent times to situations of dire need, giving rise to real cultural and spiritual deserts, within which it becomes easy to manipulate people and incite them to hatred. Such suffering has recently been exacerbated by the tragedy of the violent earthquake on the border between Iraq, the homeland of your Church, and Iran, where your communities have also long been established, as well as in Syria, Lebanon and India.
As a result, particularly during periods of greater suffering and deprivation, large numbers of the faithful have had to leave their lands and emigrate to other countries, thus increasing the diaspora community, with the many trials it faces. Arriving in some societies, émigrés encounter challenges stemming from an often difficult integration, and a marked secularization, which can hinder their efforts to preserve the spiritual riches of their traditions, and even prevent their witness of faith.
In all of this, the constant repetition of the sign of the cross is a reminder that the Lord of mercy never abandons his brothers and sisters, but embraces their wounds within his own. By making the sign of the cross we recall Christ’s wounds, which the Resurrection did not eliminate but rather filled with light. So too the wounds of Christians, including those still open, become radiant when they are filled with the living presence of Jesus and his love, and thus become signs of Easter light in a world enveloped by so much darkness.
With these sentiments, both heartfelt and hope-filled, I invite you to keep journeying, trusting in the help of many of our brothers and sisters who gave their lives in following the Crucified Christ. They, who are already fully united in heaven, are the heralds and patrons of our visible communion on earth. Through their intercession, I also pray to the Lord that the Christians of your lands may continue to labour in peace and in full respect for all, in the patient work of reconstruction after so much devastation.
In the Syriac tradition, Christ on the cross is represented as the Good Physician and Medicine of life. I pray that He will completely heal our wounds of the past as well as the many wounds that continue to be caused by the havoc of violence and war. Dear brothers and sisters, let us continue together on the pilgrimage of reconciliation and peace, on which the Lord Himself has set us! With gratitude for your commitment, I invoke the Lord’s blessing upon all of you, along with the loving protection of His Mother and ours. And I ask you, please, also to remember to pray for me.
(from Vatican Radio)…