Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Adoration of evil can’t replace the adoration of God, Pope says

During his day visit to Calabria the Pope calls us to renounce evil with vigor, to reject the devil in all his works. The Holy Father address his words not only to the Calabrian mafia –though they are clearly the center of the remarks– but to all Christians to reject a posture of  “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

Pope Francis added: “Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.”

One of the things I find interesting about Pope Francis is his willingness to focus our attention to the place of evil in life. I don’t think I’ve heard much about the devil and evil as much from the papal lips as now with Francis.

Our adoration of God, if we are true to our dignity of being called Christian, can not be exchanged for the sins of attachment to money, power, and fame.

Vatican Radio has a report here.

Pius XII defended by Pope Francis

Pope Francis is comfortable speaking to the press as we know. Today, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published their interview with Pope Francis, who spoke about the legacy of Pope Pius XII and murder of the Jews, among other things. The Holy See has been increasingly working to restore the good name of Pius who has been maligned for his seeming lack of concern for the Jews during WWII. Historical evidence, however, shows that in fact, Pius did do much to assist the welfare of the Jews fighting for their freedom and dignity. Here is a translation of the interview. Notice how direct, some say strong, Pope Francis is…

[La Vanguardia:] One of your projects is to open up the Vatican archives on the Holocaust.

[Pope:] They will bring out much light.

[La Vanguardia:] Are you concerned with what may be found?

[Pope:] In this theme, what concerns me is the figure of Pius XII, the pope who led the Church during the Second World War. Everything has been thrown upon poor Pius XII! But it has to be recalled that, before, he was seen as the great defender of the Jews. He hid many in the convents of Rome and of other Italian cities, and also in the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. There, in the Pope’s room, on his very bed, 42 babies were born, Jewish children and of other persecuted people who were sheltered there. I do not mean to say that Pius XII did not make mistakes – I myself make many – but his role must be viewed according to the context of the time. Was it better, for example, that he did not speak so that more Jews would not be killed, or that he did? I also want to say that at times I feel a kind of existential rash [urticaria existencial] when I see that all gather together against the Church and Pius XII, and they forget the great powers [United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom]. Did you know that they knew perfectly well the rail network used by the Nazis to take the Jews to the concentration camps? They had the photographs. But they did not bomb these rail lines. Why? It would be good if we spoke a little bit about everything.

Certainty about God in our life

Today’s quote from Pope Francis: “I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can – you must – try to seek God in every human life.”

Nicea III for 2025 pope and patriarch announce

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew made the VERY bold proposal that in 2025 the Churches ought to meet in an ecumenical synod (meeting). This is not Vatican III, depending on the scope of the Church’s heads, it is likely to be bigger than that. This event, this gathering, could be a considerable groundbreaking event for the universal CHURCH, east and west.

The 1964 meeting with Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem –which was just feted for being 50 years old– now has an identifiable fruit: a fuller understanding of announcing Jesus Christ as a fact and that His embrace is for all people.

A worldwide meeting of this type will not simply be a commemoration of the Council of Nicea (AD 325) nor merely an administrative session to figure out how to promulgate decrees. It is a step, in my opinion, toward uniting Christians from East and West, small yet deliberative gestures are a good thing. Hence, it is premature to say that this is a meeting leading to definitive eucharistic unity.

AsiaNews is reporting that His All Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, wants an ecumenical “gathering” to be held in Nicea (now Iznik, 130 km south- east of Istanbul) in 2025.

Speaking exclusively with AsiaNews, Bartholomew says that together with Pope Francis “we agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated.”

The exact nature of the meeting is unknown at present. In fact, there has been no formal announcement of, or a decree convoking of an official gathering of bishops by the Vatican. Hence, It is very early to jump to conclusions that such an Ecumenical Council involving bishops from both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches would take place.The Orthodox Patriarch did say last week that “a meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Commission  will be held hosted by the Greek Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III. It is a long journey in which we all must be committed without hypocrisy.”

What does the proposed 2025 meeting in Nicea mean right now? It shows a clear commitment of the heads of two churches to the process of concrete dialogue. Theological and fraternal conversation is an act of competent theologians taking the needed time to allow certain pieces of data to mature. The work of dialogue doesn’t often lead to immediate action like sharing the altar, but it does lessen tensions wiping away misunderstanding. Dialogue does not mean a compromise in dogma and doctrine as there has to be internal coherence of belief.

Looking down the road a bit, I doubt that Francis and Bartholomew will be the heads of their respective Churches. They’ll likely age-out.

Pope Francis offers Mass in the Cenacle

 The Mass was offered in the Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper, the Upper Room with the  Ordinaries of the Holy Land, those of the papal delegation, and those who safeguard the holy sights –the places of redemption. Can you image the profundity and supreme intimacy of this experience with the Lord! The Mass was offered in private due to the size of the room. It is here that Jesus instituted the sacraments of the Eucharist, the priesthood, Confirmation and Confession. Please pray with the Pope’s homily, and keep in mind this line: the events that happened at the Upper Room: the feet washing, the Last Supper, the Pentecost –represent service, sacrifice, conversion and the promise of a new life. The Upper Room is a particular sign of the Lord’s friendship. In the days before we celebrate the Ascension and Pentecost, this homily is an excellent reminder of what it means to a Christian.

Pope Francis in the cenacle 2014It is a great gift that the Lord has given us by bringing us together here in the Upper Room for the celebration of the Eucharist.  Here, where Jesus shared the Last Supper with the apostles; where, after his resurrection, he appeared in their midst; where the Holy Spirit descended with power upon Mary and the disciples. Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.  From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart.

In the Upper Room, the risen Jesus, sent by the Father, bestowed upon the apostles his own Spirit and with this power he sent them forth to renew the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104:30).

To go forth, to set out, does not mean to forget. The Church, in her going forth, preserves the memory of what took place here; the Spirit, the Paraclete, reminds her of every word and every action, and reveals their true meaning.

The Upper Room speaks to us of service, of Jesus giving the disciples an example by washing their feet.  Washing one another’s feet signifies welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another.  It means serving the poor, the sick and the outcast.

The Upper Room reminds us, through the Eucharist, of sacrifice.  In every Eucharistic celebration Jesus offers himself for us to the Father, so that we too can be united with him, offering to God our lives, our work, our joys and our sorrows… offering everything as a spiritual sacrifice.

The Upper Room reminds us of friendship.  “No longer do I call you servants – Jesus said to the Twelve – but I have called you friends” (Jn 15:15).  The Lord makes us his friends, he reveals God’s will to us and he gives us his very self.  This is the most beautiful part of being a Christian and, especially, of being a priest: becoming a friend of the Lord Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of the Teacher’s farewell and his promise to return to his friends: “When I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:3).  Jesus does not leave us, nor does he ever abandon us; he precedes us to the house of the Father, where he desires to bring us as well.

The Upper Room, however, also reminds us of pettiness, of curiosity – “Who is the traitor?” – and of betrayal.  We ourselves, and not just others, can reawaken those attitudes whenever we look at our brother or sister with contempt, whenever we judge them, whenever by our sins we betray Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of sharing, fraternity, harmony and peace among ourselves.  How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room!  How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent.  All the saints drew from this source; and hence the great river of the Church’s holiness continues to flow: from the Heart of Christ, from the Eucharist and from the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, the Upper Room reminds us of the birth of the new family, the Church, established by the risen Jesus; a family that has a Mother, the Virgin Mary.  Christian families belong to this great family, and in it they find the light and strength to press on and be renewed, amid the challenges and difficulties of life.  All God’s children, of every people and language, are invited and called to be part of this great family, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the one Father in heaven.

These horizons are opened up by the Upper Room, the horizons of the Risen Lord and his Church.

From here the Church goes forth, impelled by the life-giving breath of the Spirit.  Gathered in prayer with the Mother of Jesus, the Church lives in constant expectation of a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Send forth your Spirit, Lord, and renew the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104:30)!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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