True wealth is found in Jesus Christ, not money, Pope Francis says

True wealth is found in Jesus Christ, not money, Pope Francis says

By Hannah Brockhaus/CNA

Pope Francis Wednesday criticized those who give more consideration to money than the sacraments or helping others find true wealth – a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“How many times do I think of this when I see some parishes where it is thought that money is more important than the sacraments! Please! A poor Church: let us ask the Lord for this,” the pope said Aug. 7.
The Gospel teaches to not put trust in financial resources, but in “the true wealth” that is a relationship with Jesus Christ, he said. “We are indeed – as St. Paul would say – ‘poor, but capable of enriching many; as people who have nothing and instead possess everything.’”
“And we, each of us, what do we own? What is our wealth, our treasure? What can we make others rich with?” he asked.
“Our all is the Gospel, which manifests the power of the name of Jesus who performs wonders.”
“Here the portrait of the Church appears, which sees those in difficulty, does not close its eyes, knows how to look humanity in the face to create meaningful relationships, bridges of friendship and solidarity instead of barriers,” he said.
After a month-long break from general audiences, Pope Francis resumed his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, reflecting on the book’s first account of disciples performing a miraculous healing.
In the episode, Peter and John are going to the temple to pray when they encounter a crippled man who had been carried to sit outside the gate called “the Beautiful Gate” to beg for alms.
Francis explained that at that time, people with physical disabilities were not allowed to offer sacrifices inside the temple, or even to enter, because it was believed their infirmity was due to their sin or sins of their parents.
As Peter and John entered the temple, they saw the man and Peter said, “look at us.” The crippled man looked back at the disciples, then Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.”
Then Peter took him by the hand and raised him up. The man, crippled from birth, “leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.”
“This is the ‘art of accompaniment,’” Pope Francis said. “This [is what] the two disciples do with the cripple. They see him, they say look at us, they give a hand, they help him rise, and they heal him.”
“This is what Jesus does for all of us,” he added. “When we are in bad moments, in moments of sin, in moments of sadness. We say to Jesus: Look at me. I am here. And we take Jesus’ hand and we let ourselves be raised.”
The goal should be a Church “which knows how to take by the hand and accompany to lift, not to condemn,” he said, adding that “Jesus always, always holds out his hand, always trying to lift, to make people heal, to be happy, to meet God.”

Pope encourages priests disheartened by sex abuse fallout

Pope encourages priests disheartened by sex abuse fallout

Photo: Pope Francis prays for the dead and injured of the three U.S. mass shootings, during the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly Angelus blessing Sunday that ”I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, striking defenseless people.” Gregorio Borgia AP Photo

Pope Francis on Sunday sent a new letter to priests worldwide offering encouragement in light of the global sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church.

In a nearly 5,000-word letter sent on the feast day of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, the pope on Sunday acknowledged the “pain” of priests who “feel themselves attacked and blamed for crimes they did not commit.”

The pontiff said that priests have shared with him “their outrage at what happened, and their frustration that ‘for all their hard work, they have to face the damage that was one, the suspicion and uncertainty to which it has given rise, and the doubts, fears and disheartenment felt by more than a few.'”

Francis said “without denying or dismissing the harm” caused by the scandals, “it would be unfair not to express our gratitude” to priests who have fulfilled their duties “faithfully and generously.”

Francis said the Church is “fully committed” to reforms to ensure “that the culture of abuse will have no time to develop, much less continue.” He added that “if in the past, omission may itself have been a kind of response, today we desire conversion, transparency, sincerity and solidarity with the victims.”

The pope last August issued a letter to Catholics around the world condemning the “crime” of priestly sexual abuse and cover-up, and demanding accountability, in response to revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church. In the letter, the pope also begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by the victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any efforts to root out abuse and cover-up.

Pope prays for migrants killed in Libyan detention center

Pope prays for migrants killed in Libyan detention center

Pope Francis prays for the migrants killed this week by an air strike on a detention center in Libya, and recalls the many victims of massacres in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him in prayer for the “poor, unarmed people who were killed or injured by an air strike on a detention center for migrants in Libya”.

He was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer.

A UN assessment of the attack reported that 53 people were killed in the strike, including 6 children, and that 130 others were injured.  

It also said “there are reports that following the first impact, some refugees and migrants were fired upon by guards as they tried to escape.”

“The international community, the Pope added, must not tolerate such serious events”.

He then went on to express his hope that “humanitarian corridors may be opened in an organized and concerted manner for the migrants who are most in need”.

Finally, the Pope said he wished to remember “all the victims of the recent massacres in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger,” and before saying goodbye to the faithful he had a special greeting for the Eritrean community in Rome to whom he said: “I pray for your people!”

Pope Francis expresses sadness over image of drowned father, child

Pope Francis expresses sadness over image of drowned father, child

Photo: (Julia Le Duc | AP Photo) The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto MartínezRamírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter, Valeria, lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Pope Franc is “profoundly saddened by their death, and is praying for them and for all migrants who have lost their lives while seeking to flee war and misery.”

Pope Francis expressed sadness over the fate of the father and young daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to cross into the United States.

“With immense sadness, the Holy Father has seen the images of the father and his baby daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande River while trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States,” the Vatican’s interim spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, said in a statement.

“The pope is profoundly saddened by their death, and is praying for them and for all migrants who have lost their lives while seeking to flee war and misery.”

Photographs, which have been widely published around the world, show the bodies of a father and his 23-month-old daughter face down along the banks of the Rio Grande near Matamoros, Mexico, across the river from Brownsville, Texas.

Earlier, in off-the-cuff comments during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff complimented the people of Mexico for being “so welcoming to migrants. God bless you.” A group of Mexicans attending the audience cheered and waved a Mexican flag in response.

Francis has frequently been vocal in his support of Mexico’s efforts to help migrants and critical of the U.S. for blocking them at the border. During a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2016, he criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, suggesting that anyone who wanted to build a wall along the border was “not a Christian.”

In April, the pontiff donated $500,000 to help migrants in Mexico, offering assistance to local projects that provide food, lodging and basic necessities.

Pope Defends Migrants after Clashes between Italy and Rescue Ships

Pope Defends Migrants after Clashes between Italy and Rescue Ships

Photo: Pope Francis blesses a child after celebrating a Mass for migrants on the sixth anniversary of his trip to the island of Lampedusa, in the Vatican July 8, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis said on Monday that “no one is exempt” from helping migrants, in an indirect rebuke of Italy’s hardline interior minister MatteoSalvini who has tried to shut the country’s ports to non-governmental migrant rescue ships.

Francis celebrated a closed-door Mass especially for migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica on the sixth anniversary of his trip to Lampedusa, the southern island where tens of thousands of migrants from north Africa have arrived in recent years. Thousands have died at sea trying to make it there.

“These least ones (among us) are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,” said Francis.

The Mass was broadcast on television but journalists and the general public were not allowed to attend in order to preserve the intimacy of the occasion. It was attended by some 250 people, including migrants, volunteers and representatives of Church groups and other organizations that help migrants.

Italy last month adopted new rules threatening NGO ships entering territorial waters without permission with large fines and the impounding of vessels. One captain was arrested.

The migration policy has led to clashes between NGOs and the authorities. Italy’s coalition government, which includes Salvini’s right-wing League, has also accused other European countries of leaving it alone to deal with sea arrivals.

More migrants came ashore on Sunday from a rescue boat that had breached for the second time in a week Salvini’s ban.

“The weakest and most vulnerable must be helped,” the pope said in his homily on Monday.

“This is a tremendous responsibility, from which no one is exempt if we wish to fulfil the mission of salvation and liberation, in which the Lord himself has called us to cooperate.”

In what appeared to be a reference to the recent stand-off between the Italian government and the charity ships, a prayer read by one of the participants said: “Lord Jesus, bless the rescuers in the Mediterranean Sea, and make grow in each of us the courage of truth and respect for every human life.”

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”.