Pope Francis praised the work of the UN food agency and the World Health Organisation for getting delegates at the conference to adopt a "Rome Declaration on Nutrition" and "Framework for Action".
Friday, November 21, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent November 20, 2014
ROME — So far, Pope Francis’ most significant internal opposition has come from conservative Catholics alarmed over what they see as playing fast-and-loose with Catholic doctrine. This week, however, an all-star lineup of conservatives gathered in Rome has come to the pope’s defense.
“I am a conservative politically,” said Princeton University law professor Robert P. George, considered one of America’s most prominent Catholic commentators. “But I’m a Pope Francis Catholic, which is simply to say that I’m a Catholic.”
Harvard law professor and former US Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon echoed the point.
Saying she dislikes ideological labels, Glendon nonetheless acknowledged that she fits the spectrum of “conservative,” yet said she’s never doubted for a minute Pope Francis and where he’s leading the Church.
“He’s said from the beginning, ‘I’m a son of the Church’. I believe he’s a very honest man who speaks from the heart,” Glendon said. “And his heart is in the right place. What you see is what you get.”
Glendon was named to a supervisory board for the Vatican bank by Pope Francis.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, usually recognized as a strong conservative leader who also attended the Rome conference, told Crux that the problem isn’t the pope, but those interpreting him.
“It’s misinterpretation, but there’s also baiting by people on the other side,” he said.
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According to Chaput, who will host the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September with Pope Francis in attendance, one side of the ideological spectrum is accusing the other of not loving the pope enough.
“They want to make it a problem,” he said.
Chaput said the only political perspective that ought to matter is “the ideology Pope Francis has spoken about, the ideology of the Gospel.”
As for the pontiff’s visit to the United States next year, Chaput said it will be an extraordinary moment of grace.
“We [in the States] always say that we desire to live in the shadow or shade of St. Peter, and the pope is the successor of Peter,” he said. “When he comes, he brings that grace with him.”
The key idea of the three-day colloquium at the Vatican’s Synod Hall was “complementarity,” meaning the distinct roles that men and women have, which complement one another in the family, married life, and the Church.
The term comes up frequently in Catholic circles as part of the intellectual basis for opposing same-sex marriage, on the grounds that the natural differences between men and women reflect the divine plan for marriage as a union between the two sexes.
As a result, the colloquium has been labeled a conservative meeting.
When asked about that label, Glendon called it ridiculous. “This has been a meeting about how marriages and child-raising families are indeed the remedy for the spiritual and moral and material devastation that has afflicted the poor, women, and children,” she said.
Picking up on the pontiffs’ address to the conference on Monday, George said that family isn’t a conservative or liberal problem.
“It’s a force in itself, and it’s something we should come together for,” he said.
For the Princeton scholar, marriage shouldn’t be oriented simply for the satisfaction of the adults, but for the welfare of the children.
“They are the ones who are suffering from the fragmentation of families,” he said.
Paraphrasing Francis, George referred to the crisis of the family and its relationship with the culture of disposability, one of the pontiffs’ recurrent expressions. He believes marriages are being tossed aside as though they were old clothes or tissues.
“The pope is a profound witness of treating marriage as disposable,” George said. “Why? Not because he has an abstract belief in marriage, but because he has a concrete experience as a pastor of what happens to men, women, and especially children, but really the whole of society when marriage is treated as disposable.”
George also underlined the interreligious aspect of the conference, with people of faith coming together “across the historic line of religious divisions to bear witness to the common belief that marriage is the union of man and woman open to life.”
It was a running joke during the gathering that the non-Catholic speakers were the most powerful ones, with speeches from former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks, and the Rev. Richard Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church.
Both received standing ovations.
Anthony Fisher, the newly appointed bishop of Sydney, Australia, who attended the gathering and described it as the best Vatican-organized conference he has attended in the past 15 years, saw truth in the joke.
“The Jews and the Evangelicals were the best, they spoke very inspiringly, but that’s good for us, it’s like an injection of hope,” he said.
“I’d really like for those Jews and Evangelicals to be at the next synod [on the family, scheduled for October 2015],” Fisher said.
Inés San Martín is the Vatican correspondent for Crux, stationed in Rome. More
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Mehmet Ali Ağca wrote to the Vatican to welcome the pope to Turkey when he visits the country for the first time later in November
- AFP in Istanbul
- theguardian.com, Thursday 20 November 2014 05.07 AEST
The Turkish man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II more than three decades ago has asked the Vatican for permission to meet Pope Francis when he visits Turkey next week, local media reported on Wednesday.
The pope is due to visit Turkey for the first time from 28-30 November, during which time he will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
In a statement published by Turkish media, Mehmet Ali Ağca requested a meeting with Pope Francis. “Pope Francis, who seeks to boost peace and brotherhood at a time the world is going through a political, economic and humanitarian crisis, is welcome to Turkey,” Ağca said.
“I am Mehmet Ali Ağca and I would like to meet the pope during this visit,” the statement said, accompanied by a photo of Pope John Paul II visiting Ağca in a Rome prison in 1983 to forgive his attacker.
John Paul II nearly died in the assassination attempt in 1981 when Ağca shot him at close range in St Peter’s Square. One bullet went through his abdomen and another narrowly missed his heart.
The motive for the attack, which landed Ağca in an Italian prison, remains a mystery.
Ağca, believed by many to be mentally disturbed, was released from a Turkish prison in 2010 after serving nearly three decades behind bars.
He was a 23-year-old militant of the notorious far-right Grey Wolves movement, on the run from Turkish justice, when he shot Pope John Paul II.
Extradited to Turkey in 2000 after Italy pardoned him, Ağca was convicted of the murder of prominent journalist Abdi Ipekci, two armed robberies and escaping from prison, crimes all dating back to the 1970s.
Taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/19/mehmet-ali-agca-shot-john-paul-ii-requests-meeting-with-pope-francis
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
November 12, 2014 - 2:51PM
Judith Ireland, Tom Allard
Pope Francis has written to Tony Abbott, calling for the G20 to not forget the world's poor. Photo: Getty ImagesPope Francis has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott ahead of the G20, calling for the leaders' summit to focus on poor families and inequality as well as economic figures.
In a letter dated November 6, the Pope has asked Mr Abbott and his fellow heads of government "not to forget that many lives are at stake" behind the political and technical discussions of the G20 weekend.
"It would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle," Pope Francis wrote.
"There are far too many women and men suffering severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increate in social exclusion, which can lead to criminal activity, and even the recruitment of terrorists."
The Pope also warned there were "constant assaults" on the environment as a result of "unbridled consumerism".In calling for consensus among world leaders, he said he hoped that assessment of the G20's results "will not be restricted to global indicies, but will take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality".
The Pope also used his letter to call on all G20 member states to be "examples of generosity" in meeting the needs of victims of conflict, "especially [those] of refugees".
The Prime Minister's office has been contacted for comment.
The letter comes as the community arm of the G20 calls on world leaders to set a growth target that would boost incomes for the poorest 20 per cent of households around the world.
In a paper released on Wednesday, the C20 argued that G20's two per cent growth target will not address the widening gap between rich and poor.
The current target is projected to boost world GDP by $US2 trillion over the next five years, but the C20 has questioned where the money will go, asking "will it go to those who need it most?"
Instead, the C20 is pushing for a target that would see the bottom 20 per cent of households in each G20 country increase their incomes by at least two per cent. By 2018, this would see around 950 million people with an average increased income of $US800.
C20 chair Tim Costello said the G20 had previously recognised the importance of inclusive growth at the 2013 St Petersburg Summit, but it had slipped off the agenda in 2014.
"Across the world, people are talking about the threat posed to economic stability by poverty and increasing inequality," he said.
A new analysis by Oxfam has also revealed that inequality has grown significantly among G20 nations in the past year, with the richest 1 per cent of people enjoying an extraordinary $US6.2 trillion boost to their wealth, or 36 per cent of the total generated
The study by Oxfam found 15 of 19 G20 members (not including the European Union, a G20 member) saw inequality widen, based on assessment of how much wealth has been accrued by the top 1 per cent of people in each country.
Those 15 nations, on average, saw its richest citizens share of wealth increase by 3 per cent, led by rises of 7 per cent and 3.9 per cent in Indonesia and Russia, respectively.
The only nations to experience a decrease were Canada, Japan and the US (all down 0.1 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (down 1.6 per cent).
Overall, the wealthiest 1 per cent living in each G20 country snared $US6.2 trillion of the $US17 trillion created between 2013 and 2014, some 36 per cent of the total increase.
Oxfam Australia chief executive Helen Szoke welcomed the aggregate increase in the number of people being lifted out of poverty around the world in recent decades, but said it was disturbing to find that, nonetheless, income disparity is rising.
"It is vital that the G20 doesn't just look at growth but shows it is serious about tackling inequality," she said.
Like Mr Costello, Dr Szoke said it was deeply worrying that the draft final G20 communique that has been circulated does not include a commitment to "inclusive growth", a term that was inserted into the declaration by leaders after the St Petersburg Summit.
Instead, the favoured phrase appears to be "strong, sustainable and balanced" growth.
"This is beyond semantics," said Dr Szoke. "The reason is was included [in St Petersburg] was to show the G20 would address rising inequality and that growth needed to include all people".
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/pope-francis-writes-to-tony-abbott-calls-for-g20-not-to-forget-poor-20141112-11l00c.html#ixzz3ItkbosDV
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Francis cautions against Pagan Christians during a morning Mass, Friday at Vatican City.
Pope Francis warned there are too many people who live their lives as Christians in name only, and that such 'false' Christians are merely Pagans and “enemies of the Cross."
During a morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta in Vatican City on Friday, the Pontiff went on to cite Revelations 3:16 against mediocre believers, declaring that, “because you are lukewarm (Christians) I vomit you from my mouth."
According to Francis, there are only two types of Christians-- those who advance the faith and those who behave as “enemies” of Christ. These “enemies,” are "Pagans with two strokes of Christian paint, in order to appear as Christians."
He said true believers must be careful not to fall into the trap of Paganism. Believers must check in on their intentions, and make sure that they are not too focused on material concerns. Asking oneself questions such as, “Do I like to brag? Do I like money? Do I like my pride, my arrogance? Where are my roots, and where is my citizenship? In heaven or on earth?” can be helpful, according to the Pope.
It is often difficult to distinguish Pagan Christians from true Christians, as both go to church together, praise the Lord and call themselves Christian, the Pontiff stated. The difference, he added, is Pagan Christians are too concerned with worldly desires and hopes and “act like enemies of the Cross of Christ! Christians' enemies of the Cross of Christ.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent November 5, 2014
ROME — Walking in the footsteps of both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis will travel to the Italian city of Turin on June 21 to venerate its famous shroud, traditionally regarded as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
The shroud will be placed on display in the Turin cathedral from April 19 to June 24, marking one of the rare occasions when the revered but controversial cloth will be available for public viewing.
On the same trip, Francis also will pay tribute to Italian St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesian religious order, on the bicentennial of his birth. “Don Bosco,” as he was known, dedicated his life to helping and educating street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth.
The Shroud of Turin is a piece of linen cloth that, according to Catholic tradition, was used to wrap the body of Christ after his death on the Cross. It contains a full-length photo-negative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion.
To date there’s no scientific consensus on how the image was created. Skeptics regard it as a later forgery, while devotees believe it was burned into the cloth at the time of Christ’s resurrection.
All three recent popes have been careful not to pronounce definitively on the authenticity of the shroud, generally referring to it as an “icon” that inspires genuine faith regardless of its historical origins.
“The pope comes as a pilgrim of faith and of love,” said Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, papal custodian of the Shroud, during a Vatican news conference Wednesday to announce the pope’s trip next June.
“Like his predecessors did, Pope Francis confirms the devotion to the shroud that millions of pilgrims recognize as a sign of the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord,” Nosiglia said.
In 1978, a detailed examination carried out by a team of American scientists found no evidence of how the image was produced.
A radiocarbon dating test performed in 1988 over small samples of the icon by three laboratories, at the universities of Oxford and Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, concurred that the samples they tested dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390.
Other scientists, however, believe those results could be off by centuries, pointing to the possibility of bacterial contamination of the cloth. They note, for instance, that burial shrouds for Egyptian pharaohs sometimes test to centuries later than their known age for precisely that reason.
Despite the controversies, Pope Benedict XVI visited the shroud during its last public exhibition in 2010, and St. John Paul II did so three times: in 1998, in 1980, and in 1978, months before the conclave that elected him pope.
During the first days of his pontificate, Francis referred to the disfigured face depicted in the Holy Shroud as “all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest …”
The message was made public on March 30, 2013, hours before footage of the icon was shown on TV for the first time in four decades.
During the press conference, organizers of the exhibition announced that more than 1 million people from all over the world are expected in Turin to venerate the icon.
The visit to the display in the city’s cathedral will be free, but to regulate the massive flow of visitors, mandatory reservations should be made through the official website.
Inés San Martín is the Vatican correspondent for Crux, stationed in Rome. More
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
For AMAIC'S views on Creationists, see e.g. our:
The following has been taken from: http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/571662/20141104/pope-francis-criticsm-big-bang-theory-evolution.htm#.VFlHh2aKB9B
By Athena Yenko | November 4, 2014 4:50 PM EST
Some creationists expressed their strong opinions about Pope Francis' declaration that Big Bang and Evolution theories "are not incompatible" with the existence of a Creator. John Ransom, a Finance Editor for Townhall Finance, likened the Pope to a drunk driver. Kent Ham, the leader of the Christian group Answers in Genesis alleged Pope Francis is putting man's words above God's words. Michael Snyder from Right Side news said Pope just wants to recruit new people to the Catholic faith by embracing a progressive view of how the Earth was created.
REUTERS/Alessandro BianchiPope Francis sprinkles holy water with an aspergillum as a blessing during the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican April 13, 2014.
Pope Francis, "lane-wise, seems like a drunk driver," Ransom wrote. He said he agrees with the Pope saying that the scientific theories of creation are not incompatible with how it was written in the Bible. However, with Pope Francis' "desperation to be relevant," he made use of words that "will hurt Catholics" who had been loyal to the faith, Ransom stated.
In Ransom's opinion, the Pope's statement that "God is not a magician" is tantamount in saying that God is not divine. "I don't know how I can support a pope - or church- that says that God is not divine," Ransom highlighted.
Ransom thinks Pope Francis is bargaining too much to balance the scientific beliefs of men and the teachings of the church. With this, he is sacrificing the divinity of "our Creator" and succumbing to the worldly caprices of men, Ransom said. He noted that Pope Francis has the same attitude in handling homosexuality and other moral issues. If the Pope continues to adopt this approach, "those on the Left will seize upon the Pope's words to demoralize and degrade believers in the Christina Church," Ransom believes.
For Ham, Pope Francis makes no difference with many religious leaders who is putting man's word above the words of God. He found it particularly shocking that Pope Francis compares God to a magician with a magic wand. He said the comparison is tantamount in saying that only a man with the capacity of a magician had created the universe. For Ham, the Pope's statement shows he does not understand "who Scripture claims God is." Ham is appealing for people to pray that church leaders, including Pope Francis, repent for their unacceptable views about God.
" I encourage you to pray that church leaders like these will realise that they are placing man's opinions above God's Word and that they will repent and trust God's Word, beginning in Genesis," Ham wrote.
For Snyder, Pope Francis's has an agenda when he made his controversial speech. It seemed that the Pope wants to create "a religion that almost everyone would love." He said the changes that Pope Francis is bringing to the table are aimed at drawing lots of new people to the Catholic faith. In his interpretation, Pope's statement made it obvious that he "does not believe what the Bible literally says about the how the world was created and about how humanity came to be."