During his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers "sanctified sinners" - people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good, to "fake saints", people who are more concerned with appearing saintly than doing good. Pope Francis was reflecting on the first reading from Isaiah, which he described as an "invitation and an imperative" that comes directly from God - "Cease to do evil, learn to do good"- defending orphans and widows, namely "those who no one remembers".
Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Bishops' Conference Office for Migration Policy has welcomed a new report on the detention of migrants. In a statement, Bishops Lynch said: "I welcome the report and recommendations put forward by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and Migration. Now, I sincerely hope that the findings will be translated into humane immigration policies for those who need protection and support from the state." The report, from a cross-party group of MPs and Peers, has recommended that the next government
There are just a few days left before FLAME 2 - the biggest Catholic Youth Event ever in the UK - which takes place at Wembley Arena this Saturday, 7 March 2015. More than 10,000 young people from all over the country will be taking part. With music led by Grammy award winning artist Matt Redman, the day of prayer of prayer, reflection and celebration will include talks by Cardinal Luis Tagle, who has frequently spoken to many thousands at the Los Angeles RE Congress - this is a rare visit to the UK; Baroness Sheila Hollins,
Renowned portrait painter Andrew Festing PRP MBE has been Caritas Anchor House in East London this week, and painting some of its residents at his London studio. Over the course of his career, Festing has painted over 750 portraits and his artworks hang in the Royal Collections, the National Portrait Gallery, The Palace of Westminster and many of the major private and public collections in Britain. The paintings of Sharon and Thomas, who each spent two days this week sitting for their portraits, will join a portfolio that includes
In October 2104 the Little Sisters of the Poor announced, that due to a shortage of vocations they could no longer continue their mission at the Wellburn Care Home in Dundee, bringing to an end 152 years of caring lovingly for the vulnerable elderly in Dundee. On 27 February 2015, the Little Sisters verbally accepted an offer from the Diocese of Dunkeld to continue the vital mission of care and support for the infirm elderly at Wellburn, by allowing the Diocese to take over the Home. The legal and practical arrangements for the transfer of mission
The Christian environment charity, Operation Noah, will be hosting an ecumenical climate service before the ‘Time to Act’ national climate march this Saturday, 7 March, at St Mary le Strand Church, starting at 11.30am. As party leaders make pledges to tackle climate change ahead of the election in May, civil society – including the Christian community – is marching to demand action not words. The welcome and blessing at the service will be given by Fr Peter Hughes, head of the Columban JPIC team,
Read More ... Ellen Teague - Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 3:21 pm
A panel of parliamentarians, including members of the three largest Westminster parties, is publishing a report into the use of immigration detention in the United Kingdom. The members of the panel hold very diverse views about the immigration system as a whole and cover a wide political spectrum. They have come together to carry out an inquiry into the use of immigration detention, the first time a group of parliamentarians has looked at depth at the issue. A cross-party group of MPs and Peers has recommended
It was a 6.30am start for some members of Pax Christi on Monday as they joined others at the North Gate into AWE Burghfield this morning, to play their part in the all-day blockade of the atomic warhead factory. For more than 10 hours two entry gates to Burghfield were closed by protesters and the third was partially closed. Despite a huge police presence there were no arrests - a tribute to the nonviolent nature of the actions. AWE Burghfield is one of two factories involved in the loading of nuclear warheads.
Yesterday, Israeli Border Police arrested two Christian Peacemaker Team members while they were walking Palestinian children from kindergarten just after noon. The CPTers were taken to the police station near the Ibrahimi Mosque, then moved to a police station in the Givat Havot settlement, and finally released at 5.20pm. Israeli police did not press formal charges. For several weeks, members of CPT Palestine have accompanied children from the Al Saraya Kindergarten,
It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the chapel of at Casa Santa Marta. The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that "we are all sinners" - not "in theory" but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is "a Christian virtue, indeed more than a virtue", it is the first step for those who want to be Christian.
Rugby World Cup 2003 winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward OBE, has been appointed Visiting Professor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, joining the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science. Sir Clive will start his role at St Mary’s next month to support high profile research projects related to rugby and to broaden the international appeal of the University’s online courses. The appointment comes as the UK’s largest Catholic University celebrates its 165th anniversary and plays host to several teams taking part in Rugby World Cup 2015.
The extremist group Islamic State has now released some of the Christian hostages it seized in north-east Syria last week. According to London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, today, 19 captives have been released – 18 were from the village of Tel Goran, one of the Assyrian Christian villages in Hassake governorate captured on 23 February, The other captive is not thought to have been seized during these attacks. All 19 were reported to have arrived safely at St Mary’s Church in the town of Hassake.
Terrorist group Islamic State has started killing hostages seized after it took Assyrian Christian villages in Syria’s Hassake governorate – with reports that around 15 are dead. In a message sent to Catholic agencies working in the region, including Aid to the Church in Need. Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana passed on news of the executions from a contact in Hassake city on Friday, and said the number still being held exceeds 350. Archimandrite Youkhana, who supports persecuted Christians in the Middle East, said: “Around 15 young Assyrians are martyred. Many of them were fighting to defend and protect the villages and families.”
Read More ... John Newton - Posted: Monday, March 2, 2015 6:51 pm
At the request of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Congregation for The Clergy has appointed Canon Philip Gillespie, a priest of the Archdiocese of Liverpool and currently Dean of the Catholic community on the Isle of Man, as Rector of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome. He succeeds Monsignor Roderick Strange of the Diocese of Shrewsbury who after nearly 17 years, will return to England to take up a position at Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.
A priest in DR Congo was killed in an apparent attempted robbery on 25 February. Father Jean-Paul Kakule Kyalembera, was treasurer of the parish of Mweso. Mgr Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka, Bishop of Goma, said: "The priest was closing the doors of the church when he discovered one or more gunmen who were hiding somewhere. The criminals fired without hesitation, hitting him in the abdomen and head. Fr Kakule died immediately". Mgr Kaboy added that "three suspects have been arrested and are being questioned. The body of Fr Kakule
On 7 March 1965, Blessed Paul VI, celebrated the first-ever Mass in Italian in the parish of Ognissanti (All Saints), Rome. “Today we inaugurate the new form of Liturgy in all the parishes and churches of the world, for all the Masses followed by the people. It is a great event, that shall be remembered as the beginning of a flourishing spiritual life, as a new effort to participate in the great dialogue between God and man”. 50 years on, to commemorate this historic date, Pope Francis will preside at a Eucharistic celebration next Saturday, in the same parish.
The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has responded critically to the McClure Report on Australia's welfare system, and has called on the federal government to address the causes of unemployment rather than try to cut social expenditure. Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said: “What we are looking for is a plan for jobs. What we are left with is a long-term attempt to reduce social spending. The people who use the social security system in Australia are people we should be investing in and supporting. Poverty is not a personal choice. Neither is unemployment. The people who are unemployed are not the problem.
A live musical event, run by the Archdiocese of Dublin for teenagers, has seen demand for participation increase so much that it now runs for three days and nights instead of one. Emmanuel is a live concert series where over 2,000 young people from schools all over Dublin learn new and old Church music and hymns and then perform live with an orchestra in front of large audiences in Dublin’s Helix. The series includes a liturgical 'Voice-type competition which sees teenage girls and boys getting
A fashion show with a difference at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire later this week will be supporting school students in Zimbabwe. Some of the Jesuit college’s students will be ‘upcycling’ clothes donated by Stonyhurst staff to create original and inventive new outfits; the results of their creative talents will then be modelled by students later in the term. Messalina Morley and Karla Jansen have cleverly combined contrasting textures from over 50 donated garments,
The Bishops of Venezuela have asked Venezuelan authorities to stop violence and not to resort to "methods or weapons that are contrary to the law", making clear reference to the death of the 14-year-old Kluiverth Roa, who was killed by a policeman. "We urge civil authorities, military and police not to employ methods or weapons in contrast with the law and the dignity of human beings", said the statement signed on February 26, by Mgr Mario Moronta, Bishop of San Cristobal, the city where the boy was murdered.
In October 2014, bishops and other delegates from around the world met with Pope Francis in Rome for a special gathering called a Synod. The theme for discussion was the Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelisation. A further Synod will take place in October 2015 and the focus then will be on the theme of The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World. In this time between these two Synods, our Holy Father has asked us to spend time reflecting on these themes
When he first became parish priest, he used to ring his parishioners to wish them a happy birthday - averaging seven phone calls a day. Since his installation as leader of the Diocese of Gary, Indiana, on 5 January this year, Bishop Donald Hying, has been on a whirlwind tour in his VW Beetle, visiting parishes, schools and institutions to meet every priest and parishioner in his care. Since the collapse of the steel industry in the area, the population of this city in the 'rust belt', 40 km south west of Chicago has declined by more than 50 per cent and large areas are derelict.
I have a big problem with the story of Abraham’s sacrifice on Mount Moriah, and I know I am not alone. Richard Dawkins for one calls it a ‘disgraceful story’ with overtones of abuse. Soren Kierkegaard in his work ‘Fear and Trembling’ tackles the tale by imagining four ways in which Abraham experiences the event, including the kind of perpetual trauma and unease he would have about his understanding of God forever after, and what about poor Isaac? But even Kierkegaard does not understand Abraham, he says he can only admire him!
Pope Francis held an audience with 7,000 members of the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane (confederation of Italian co-operatives) today. During the meeting he gave them five practical suggestions for their mission in the context of the current "throwaway culture". First, the Holy Father said, co-operatives must continue to be “the motor that uplifts and develops the weakest parts of our local communities and civil society.” Their first priority is to establish new co-ops, while developing existing ones, so as to create new employment opportunities, especially among youth,
Archbishop Eamon Martin opened the First National Safeguarding Conference in Athlone today. The text of his introductory address follows:... 'The first National Safeguarding Conference hosted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland marks a significant milestone on our journey. I use the words 'milestone' and 'journey' very deliberately.... Our discussions this weekend should be rooted in a promise that we are now doing everything possible to ensure that the terrible things which happened them in the past shall not happen again