Sadness not a Christian attitude – Pope

Sadness not a Christian attitude – Pope

Pope Francis says “sadness is not a Christian attitude”. Speaking to the faithful at morning Mass he commented on how it is possible to overcome the difficulties of life with the support and closeness of the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis reflected on the Holy Spirit, the protagonist, he said, of the Gospel passage of the day. He was speaking during his homily at Mass on Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta

Remarking on Jesus’ farewell speech to the disciples before going to Heaven, the Pope said He gives us a true catechesis on the Holy Spirit.

The disciples, he noted, are sad to hear that their Master will soon leave them, but Jesus reproaches them pointing out that although “grief has filled your hearts, (…) it is better for you that I go”.

“But how can one not be sad?” he continued, and said that “to counter sadness, we pray to the Lord to keep the renewed youth of the spirit within us”.

It is the Holy Spirit, the Pope said, who ensures that we continue to be renewed and youthful in our faith.

Christians must not be sad:

The Holy Spirit, Pope Francis explained, gives us the capacity to carry our crosses. He reflected on the reading from the Acts of the Apostles that tells of how Paul and Silas, who had been stripped, beaten, chained and imprisoned, sang hymns to God.  

The Holy Spirit, he said, renews everything. The Holy Spirit accompanies us in life and sustains us. And calling the Spirit the ‘Paraclete’, the Pope explained the meaning of this “strange” word – which – he said, refers to “He who is near me and supports me so that I don’t fall, so I keep my spirit youthful”.

“A Christian is always young,” the Pope continued, and when the heart of a Christian begins to age, so does his Christian vocation.

“Either you are young in heart and soul, or you are not fully Christian” he said.

Daily dialogue with the Spirit allows us to go forward:

The Pope said that there is sorrow and pain in all of our lives, but he highlighted the example of Paul and Silas who were beaten and were suffering, and yet, he said “they were full of joy, they sang…”

He explained that this is where the “youthful” part comes in as youth looks ahead with hope. But to be able to have this youthful attitude, he added, we need a daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit, who is always with us.

“It is the great gift that Jesus left us: this support, which allows us to go forward” he said.

Sin makes the soul grow old, the Spirit keeps it young:

Pope Francis concluded his homily with words of encouragement and hope saying that even if we are sinners, the Spirit helps us to repent and look ahead: “speak to the Spirit who will give you support and restore your youthfulness”.

Sin, on the other hand, he said ages one: “the soul ages, everything ages”.

In life there are difficult moments, but in these moments “we feel that the Spirit helps us to move forward (…) and to overcome difficulties. Even martyrdom,” he said.

“Let us ask the Lord not to lose this renewed youthfulness, not to be Christians who have retired and have lost their joy,” he said: “a Christian never retires, a Christian lives because he is young – when he is a true Christian”.

Pope to canonize Newman and four others on 13 October

Pope to canonize Newman and four others on 13 October

The Vatican announces the date of the canonization of Blessed John Henry Newman along with four others on the third Sunday of October 2019.

At a Consistory of cardinals on Monday, Pope Francis formally approved Blessed John Henry Newman’s canonisation along with that of Sister Mariam Thresia, of GiuseppinaVannini, of Dulce Lopes Pontes and of Margarita Bays.

In February, the Pope signed a decree recognising a second miracle attributed to Blessed John Henry Newman, the inexplicable healing of a woman with a “life-threatening pregnancy”.

Blessed John Henry Newman was one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism from Anglicanism of the 19th century. He was already an esteemed Anglican theologian when he founded the Oxford Movement to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots, before himself converting to the Catholic faith. He was renowned as a brilliant thinker and was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. He died in Birmingham in 1890, aged 89, after founding the Birmingham Oratory.

Sister Mariam Thresia of India is the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family.

Italian Sister GiuseppinaVannini is the founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus.

Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.Marguerite Bays of Switzerland, of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Pope Francis seeks more freedom in theology, dialogue with Islam

Pope Francis seeks more freedom in theology, dialogue with Islam

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Camerino, Italy, Sunday, June 16, 2019.

Pope Francis called Friday for a reform of the way theology is taught in Catholic schools, saying students must learn about dialogue with Judaism and Islam, and that overall there must be greater freedom in theological research and academic pursuits.

The Jesuit pope made the call during a speech at the Jesuit-run theology university in Naples. It follows his outreach this year to the Muslim world with the signing of a joint statement with the imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar, the seat of Sunni learning, establishing the relationship between Catholics and Muslims as brothers, with a common mission to promote peace.

In his speech, Francis said dialogue and partnership with the Muslim world is necessary “to build a peaceful existence, even when there are the troublesome episodes by fanatic enemies of dialogue.”

Catholic theology students must learn the culture, language and way of thinking of Jews and Muslims, he said, “to better understand and live out our relationship.”

After the theologically doctrinaire papacies of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Francis has stressed instead the need to “walk together” with interfaith partners, often joking that theologians should ruminate on a deserted island while religious leaders press ahead with dialogue on the ground. He has also called for a more pastoral, merciful and conscience-driven approach to sticky theological problems, such as Communion for the civilly remarried.

Pope to aviation chaplains: Missionary spirit must inspire your ministry

Pope to aviation chaplains: Missionary spirit must inspire your ministry

Pope Francis on Monday addressed members of Catholic Airport Chaplaincies who are meeting in Rome for a seminar dedicated to their “Catholic civil aviation chaplains and members of the airport chaplaincy at the service of integral human development. The 17th International Seminar is being promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

In ministering to the millions of people who travel by air each day, Pope Francis told pastoral workers “you are called to bring the message and presence of Christ… and to bring to everyone, whether Christian or not, the Good News of God’s tender love, hope, and peace”.

A presence of availability

He described their activity as “primarily a presence of availability”, representing “God’s ever-present love” to all they meet. “Your witness, and the message you communicate in that particular moment, can leave a life-long impression”.

Photo: Pope Francis receives civil aviation chaplains and pastoral agents, calling on them to “carry out [their] ministry with commitment and enthusiasm”.

The Holy Father said he was pleased to see their focus on integral human development, which “embraces a variety of particular concerns”. “I urge you to carry out your ministry with commitment and enthusiasm”, he said, “gazing with the heart of Christ upon the thousands of faces passing by, so that everyone can sense God’s presence”.

A space to encounter God

He also urged pastoral concern for pilots and cabin crew, as well as speaking about the importance of providing opportunities in airports for people to have an “encounter” with God “in prayer and in the sacraments.” Pope Francis also spoke out in favour of migrants and refugees who pass through airports, highlighting the necessity for pastoral workers to ensure their “human dignity”, and that their rights might be “safeguarded”.

Noting that the many commitments of civil aviation chaplains “can prove physically and spiritually draining”, the encouraged chaplains “to involve others”, and especially lay people, in their mission.

Missionary spirit

“Missionary spirit must be the inspiration and guide to all our activity”, Pope Francis said in conclusion, before entrusting them all to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of “Our Lady of Loreto, Patroness of Civil Aviation”.

By Christopher Wells

Church must learn how to speak to young people – Pope Francis

Church must learn how to speak to young people – Pope Francis

Too often when Catholics try to talk to young people about vocational discernment, “it’s as if we were speaking Esperanto to them, because they don’t understand a thing,” Pope Francis said.

Bishops, pastors, religious and other adults must learn to speak young people’s language and must avoid exercising undue pressure on young men and women to enter a seminary or join a religious order, the pope said June 6 at a gathering of people doing vocations work in Europe.

With the advent of new technologies and social media, he added, young people today know how to contact others, “but they do not communicate.”

“Communicating is perhaps the challenge that we have with young people,” the pope said. “Communication; communion; we must teach them that computers are good, yes; to have some form of contact, but this isn’t language. This is a ‘gaseous’ language. The true language is to communicate, to speak.”

Participants in the Congress for the Pastoral Care of Vocations in Europe were in Rome to study ways to implement the recommendations made during the Synod of Bishops on young people and vocational discernment in October.

Departing from his prepared speech, the pope said he preferred to speak “a bit off the cuff with what comes from my heart.”

Citing the words of Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said the “church grows through attraction, not proselytism” and recalled a time when several Italian religious orders went to the Philippines in the early 1990s to search for vocations to bring back to Italy.

Seeking vocations “isn’t about looking where to take people like those nuns” who would “go there and brought girls here,” he said. “I wanted to clear this up because the spirit of proselytism hurts us.”

Instead, the church must help young people learn how “to dialogue with the Lord” and how to ask him, ‘What do you want from me?'”

“This is important, it is not an intellectual conviction,” the pope said. “No, the choice of a vocation must be born from dialogue with the Lord, no matter what their vocation is.”

Young people, he said, must be helped to get to the point where they can say, “The Lord inspires me to go forward this way in life, on this path.”

Pope Francis said helping young people discern their vocation is tiring work and requires “so much patience and a great capacity to listen.” “It isn’t easy, it isn’t easy, but you can’t go forward with preconceived notions or purely doctrinal impositions, in the good sense of the word: ‘You must do this!'” the pope said. “No, you must accompany, guide and help so that the encounter with the makes them see what their path in life is.”

Pope Francis draws strength from relationship with Benedict XVI

Pope Francis draws strength from relationship with Benedict XVI

Pope Francis said Sunday that his relationship with Benedict XVI gives him strength and reminds him of the living tradition of the Church.

“When I hear him speak, I become strong. I hear this story of the Church,” Pope Francis said of Benedict in an in-flight press conference June 2.

Speaking aboard the papal flight returning from Romania, Francis said that each time he visits the pope emeritus, he feels more like family.

“Every time I go to visit him I feel like that, I take his hand and get him to talk. He speaks little, slowly, but with the same depth, as always — because Benedict’s problem is his knees, not his head,” he said.

“He has a great lucidity, as always,” Francis added.

Pope Francis commented that Benedict XVI reminds him that “the tradition of the Church is always in motion.” He compared tradition to “a tree that grows, flourishes, and bears fruit.”

“Tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the keeper of the ashes. It’s not a museum,” he said, paraphrasing a quote from composer Gustav Mahler.

Pope Francis also commented on the future of Europe following the European Parliament elections on May 26.

“Europe must talk … If Europe does not look well at future challenges, Europe will wither, it will be withered,” he said.

“Please do not let Europe be overcome by pessimism and ideologies,” he said. “Because Europe is attacked not with cannons or bombs, but with ideologies. Ideologies that are not European, that come from outside and are born in small groups in Europe.”

“Pray for Europe,” Pope Francis said. “Pray for Europe, for unity, for the Lord give us the grace.”

Pope Francis commented that Romania has not suffered from a demographic winter seen in other countries in Europe, but has had “an impressive level of births.”

During his apostolic visit to Romania May 31 – June 2, Pope Francis traveled to the cities of Bucharest, Sumuleu-Ciuc, Iași, and Blaj. He celebrated Mass at a Marian pilgrimage site in Transylvania, and presided over the beatification of seven martyred Greek-Catholic bishops in a Greek-Catholic Divine Liturgy.

Due to poor weather conditions, Pope Francis had to travel by car rather than by helicopter as scheduled. Francis said that the unexpected storm was “a grace from God” because he was able to see the “beautiful landscape.” “I have crossed the whole of Transylvania. It is beautiful and I have never seen anything like it,” he said.