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 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.
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,
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.”
Last Sunday, Cardinal Seán Brady, retired archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, was the Principal Celebrant at a Mass at the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, marking the 1400th anniversary of the death of Saint Columbanus. The Irish missionary saint, also known as 'Columban', died in Bobbio in northern Italy, on 23 November 615. He is the patron saint of the Missionary Society of St Columban, formally established in 1918. Here is the homily of Cardinal Brady:
Militiamen from the self-proclaimed 'Islamic Caliphate' have removed the crosses and burned ancient manuscripts in the historic Monastery of Mar Behnam, ten minutes from the city of Qaraqosh, that they have occupied since last July. Confirmation of the desecration came from a former village chief who lives near the monastery. He told Syriac Catholic priest Fr Charbel Issa, who was in charge of the Monastery until three years ago. "Anything can happen with the terrorists of the Islamic State.
Christian hope is not simply an optimistic desire, it is based on the fact that one day the people of God will be reunited with God, Pope Francis explained. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope’s catechesis focused on the fulfilment of God’s promises in the coming of Christ at the end of time. Recalling the words of St Paul who comforted the Christian community of Thessalonica that was asking what were they to expect, Pope Francis said his words “Thus we will be with the Lord forever”
The Holy Father has sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the birth of St Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is celebrated today. In his letter, Pope Francis mentions the joy the saint often spoke of “in encountering the suffering of work and pain”, and how she affirmed that “the Gospel is not a bag of lead that trails heavily behind us, but rather a source of joy that leads the heart to God and urges us to serve our brethren”. St Teresa emphasised the importance of cheerful perseverance and prayer.
The death of James Foley two months ago was a tragedy felt across the world. To members of the Jesuit network here in the United States, we lost one of our own: a proud alumnus of Marquette University whose love for and pride in his alma mater is seen in his widely-read piece, “Phone Call Home.” Foley’s death at the hands of ISIS is a stark reminder that life is precious and that our prayers for peace are needed now more than ever. This weekend, when Foley would have celebrated his 41st birthday on Saturday, 18 October,
Asia Bibi's lawyers are working on the final "statement of defense" that will be presented at the Lahore High Court on 16 October, a date that – unless there are more surprises - may be the last and decisive hearing of the appeal process for the Christian woman and mother sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy. Lawyer Naeem Shakir, a member of the defense team, said: "we will try to demonstrate the existence of a conspiracy against this woman, who has endured many challenges during the process and paid, so far, a very high price.. However, Asia has remained and continues
New York's Russian Catholic community attended a special Vespers last Tuesday evening led by the Rt Rev Economos Roman Russo at the Russian Catholic Chapel of the Holy Archangel Michael in New York City for the Feast of the Protection of the Holy Theotokos and particularly for persecuted Christians and the suffering Churches in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Middle East. This Feast dates to the 12th Century and commemorates the 10th Century apparition at Blachernae, a suburb of Constantinople.
Faith is not a 'cosmetic' matter, but one of active charity - Pope Francis said during his homily at the Tuesday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, in which St Luke recounts the story of Our Lord’s visit to the house of a Pharisee who shocked when he omits the ritual ablutions before dinner. “Jesus condemns this cosmetic spirituality" the Pope said.".. look good, beautiful – but the truth inside is something else. Jesus condemns the people of good manners but of bad habits, those habits that are not seen,
The mid-term report, issued by bishops at the Synod on Monday is a 'work in progress' and not a definitive document of Church teaching on family life. That was the message given by two Synod Fathers joining the head of the Holy See press office, Fr Federico Lombardi at the daily briefing for journalists on Tuesday. The two Synod spokesmen were South African Cardinal Wilfred Napier, representing one of the English speaking language groups, and Italian Cardinal Fernando Filoni, head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
The necessity for UK Christians and non-Christians alike to stand in solidarity with persecuted and oppressed Christians throughout the world was emphasised at events in Motherwell, near Glasgow, and London, organised by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Each of the events – the first in Motherwell Cathedral last Thursday, and the other one two days later in Westminster – attracted about 250 people. The keynote speaker at both ACN events was Maronite Archbishop Elias Nassar of Saida, Lebanon.