Too many children are denied the most fundamental right to life. Prenatal selection eliminates babies suspected to have disabilities and female children simply because of their sex. Many children lack sufficient food and housing. In many countries they have no access to medicines. They are sold to traffickers, sexually exploited, recruited into irregular armies, uprooted by forced displacements, or compelled into debilitating work,” the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York told a committee on the Rights of the Child at the UN on Friday.
The 14th Extraordinary Synod of Bishops Final Report, released on 18 October 2014, fails significantly to reflect the welcoming and pastorally sensitive discussions which took place during the first week of the Synod. These were summarised in the Relatio, published on 13 October, and although not having official status as a formal working document, this interim document signposted ways in which Synod participants, bishops, priests, and laity were approaching a range of sensitive issues, not least the concerns of lesbian and gay people, their parents and families.
What does the final report of the Synod on the Family mean for the church? Fr James Martin SJ wrote in America Magazine yesterday: Essentially, the “relatio” (or report) published today, at the close of the Synod, will serve as a starting point for future discussion. It was also presented with great transparency, including even sections that did not win the necessary votes for complete approval. Before we look at five things the synod did, it’s important to understand the unique “form” of this unusual final document. Pope Francis asked to have all of the paragraphs
The centenary of the birth of Sir Alec Guinness was celebrated on Friday, 16 October with a special Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, followed by 'Two Halves of Guinness' a one-man show performed by Trevor Littledale telling the life story of the great actor. For many years Alec Guinness lead the Catholic Stage Guild (now the Catholic Association of Performing Arts - CAPA) and often popped into Corpus Christi. During the Mass, Fr Alan Robinson, Chaplain to the Association said members of the acting profession have a vocation, to "to show us ourselves".
Read More ... Jo Siedlecka - Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2014 11:40 pm
The Archbishop of Dublin has welcomed the publication of the final text at the closing of the Synod of Bishops in Rome this evening. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the text must be read in the context of Pope Francis’ extraordinary final remarks to the Synod, after which the Pope received a five minute standing ovation from those present. Pope Francis warned Bishops of the temptation to a hostile rigidity that forces people to lock themselves into the letter of the law, he also criticised the temptation to “come down from the cross to please people
Thousands of refugees who fled from ISIS in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain to refugee camps in Iraq are now enduring violent storms and floods. Since Wednesday 16 October, torrential rains have hit camps in Erbil and Ankawa, the predominantly Christian suburb of the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Chaldean archdiocese together with humanitarian agencies involved in the rescue of refugees, have launched an appeal to the local authorities and the international community to help those in critical conditions. There are at least a thousand tents scattered in Ankawa.
Huge crowds gathered in St Peter's Square today for the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, celebrated by Pope Francis. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified on of his predecessors, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.” We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21).
At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis addressed the assembled Fathers, thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to continue to journey.... With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit...I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.” and like every journey
Today vast numbers of people still do not know Jesus Christ. For this reason, the mission ad gentes continues to be most urgent. All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born "to go forth". World Mission Day is a privileged moment when the faithful of various continents engage in prayer and concrete gestures of solidarity in support of the young Churches in mission lands. It is a celebration of grace and joy. A celebration of grace, because the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
Bishops attending the Synod on the Family on Saturday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a concluding message that was drawn up to reflect the substance of their two weeks of discussions in the Vatican....“We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.
When I am in a reflective mood, there are times when I wonder if I am a hypocrite like those Jesus mentions in Matthew's Gospel today. In various ways a hypocrite seeks to deceive others by showing a different external side of themselves from the truthful inner reality. Being a priest, and because people expect quite a lot from me, I am aware that my words and actions as somebody with a particular pastoral role, does not always match up with what I really think or believe or do. That’s always a problem with those in public life, we have to
For those of us who live in a faith community where saints form part of the cycle of our liturgical calendar, it is a delight when we find that one of them captures not just the imagination but one’s soul. In spiritual terms we connect with them at a deep level, difficult to describe but very real in practice, and for us and others like us, across time and eternity a glimmer of friendship sparks, hinting not only at the transitory and pilgrimage road of earthly life but also a sense of companionship on our way with those who have already travelled the route.
Read More ... Fr Robin Gibbons - Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 11:10 am
The Holy Spirit is the 'seal' of light with which God has placed Heaven in Christians’ hands. Often, however, we avoid this light in preference of a life spent in the shadows, or worse still, in a false light, that sparkles with hypocrisy - Pope Francis explained during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning. Following the First Reading from St Paul, who tell the Christians of Ephesus that in believing in the Gospel they have received 'the seal of the Holy Spirit' the Pope said: "With this gift, God not only chose us" but gave us a style, "a way of life,
It was a blessing and privilege for me to participate in the Rome opening of celebrations to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death of St Columban. The Irish saint is the patron of the Missionary Society of St Columban. There were four major events. They started on Friday 10 October with ecumenical vespers at 5pm at the Basilica of San Clemente. The church was full of pilgrims from different places in Europe. It was a very moving celebration as people gathered of many cultures and Christian denominations,
Read More ... Rose Basada - Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 10:38 am
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has instructed law firm Leigh Day to pursue an application for judicial review to challenge the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) decision not to suspend or revoke 12 existing licences for the export of arms/components to Israel. The decision followed a review that was overseen by Vince Cable MP and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and identified 12 licences for components that could be part of equipment used by the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza.
....'How do people in slums in Africa feel when they watch TV and see our lifestyle? Would this inequality not challenge your faith that the Lord is near to all? Is God not closest to the better-off? Or what if you pray every day to the Lord, but precisely for that reason others want to kill you and your family, as it’s happening in Iraq? Or when people in the name of God start to be aggressive and to declare war over others in the name of God? Is the Lord near to them? In all these circumstances, we may struggle to perceive the presence of The Lord. Where is He?
Read More ... Fr Augusto Zampini - Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 1:00 am
The film, Two Days, One Night, starring Marion Cotillard as Belgium factory worker Sandra will have struck a chord with many workers today. Sandra is told she will be made redundant unless she can persuade her fellow workers to give up their bonuses. She goes one to one seeking to persuade the different individuals of her cause. In the end she succeeds in converting half the workforce to her cause. This is not enough but the boss is impressed at her fortitude and says she can have a job when one of the other workers is released.
Read More ... Paul Donovan - Posted: Friday, October 17, 2014 4:40 pm
Million Minutes is embarking on an exciting journey to find new ways to inspire and equip local parishes to unleash their huge potential to serve the young people in their neighbourhoods. Over the next two years Courtyard will be piloted in three parishes. It is a youth project designed to develop a fresh approach to equipping parishes to engage and support young people at risk of exclusion in their local communities. To support this, Million Minutes are seeking three part time youth workers, with a passion for young people and
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) calls on the Supreme Court of Pakistan to expedite a hearing in the case of Asiya Bibi, following yesterday’s ruling by the Lahore High Court to uphold her 2010 death sentence for blasphemy. CSW also calls for her security and wellbeing to be guaranteed in the interim. The Lahore High Court rejected Asiya Bibi’s appeal against her death sentence for blasphemy on 16 October in the presence of the complainant cleric Qari Saleem and representatives from Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD), the political wing of
It’s easy to ask God for something, it’s far more difficult to pray in praise of the Lord - but this is the prayer of true joy, said Pope Francis at Mass on Thursday morning in the chapel of Santa Marta. Reflecting on St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, which joyfully elevates a prayer of blessing to God, the Pope noted that this is something “we don’t normally do”: Instead giving "praise to God is pure gratuity" and in doing so we enter into "a great joy".
The director of the Vatican Museums, Professor Antonio Paolucci, has announced the international congress 'The Sistine Chapel, twenty years on: new breath, new light', which will take place from 30 to 31 October. The congress coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Sistine Chapel by St John Paul II following the restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes by the experts Fabrizio Mancinelli and Gianluigi Colalucci, and with the 450th anniversary of the death of celebrated artist.
... Firstly, some perplexity was voiced regarding to the publication, although legitimate, of the RPD since, it was said, this is a working document that does not express an opinion shared univocally by all the Synod Fathers. Therefore, after expressing their appreciation of the work involved in drawing up the text and regarding its structure, the Small Groups presented their suggestions. It was first underlined that in the RPD there is a focus on the concerns of families in crisis, without broader reference to the positive message of the Gospel of the family
The Lahore High Court rejected an appeal and confirmed Asia Bibi's death sentence on Thursday morning. During the four hour morning hearing, before a panel chaired by Judge Anwar ul Haq, the defense submitted its written arguments that demolish the prosecution framework, exposing the witnesses lack of credibility and the obvious false accusations. Defence lawyer Naeem Shakir said: "The judge held the allegations of the two Muslim women, who witnessed the alleged blasphemy committed by Asia, valid and credible."
Attacks on Roman Catholic priests in Mexico have increased by 80% over the past two years, according to a new report released by the Mexican Catholic Multimedia Centre (CCM). CCM reports that six priests have been killed and three others have been the victims of forced disappearances since President Enrique Pena Nieto came into power two years ago. The CCM Investigative Unit called on the Mexican government “to provide security in areas with a significant presence of organized crime.”
Fr Paul Lum Dau, a Catholic priest serving the Church in war-torn Kachin State in northern Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), will visit London to mark World Mission Sunday (19 October). Fr Paul is representing the Bishop of Myitkyina, Bishop Francis Daw Tang, as Missio’s guest for World Mission Sunday. He will meet with Missio supporters on 18 October in Westminster Cathedral Hall and will celebrate Mass in the Cathedral on 19 October. Myitkyina diocese is home to thousands of displaced people, many of whom are Christians, living in temporary camps