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Posted on 10/21/2017 11:47 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 21, 2017 / 04:47 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday Pope Francis issued a harsh condemnation of the underlying eugenic mentality in society that leads many to abort children who are are disabled, saying the Church must be a place of acceptance and welcome for all who are vulnerable.
While great strides have been made in recent years in terms of recognizing the dignity of every person, especially the weakest and most vulnerable, “at the cultural level there are still expressions that undermine the dignity of these people for the prevalence of a false conception of life,” the Pope said Oct. 21.
“An often narcissistic and utilitarian vision unfortunately leads not a few to consider people with disabilities as marginal, without perceiving in them the multifaceted human and spiritual wealth,” he said.
Far too prevalent in common thought is also “an attitude of rejection” toward people with disabilities, as if their handicap “impedes them from being happy and fully realizing themselves,” he said.
“This is proven by the eugenic tendency to suppress the unborn who have some form of imperfection.”
An example of this “eugenics” mentality is a recent article in CBS News claiming that Iceland has come close to being the first country to “eradicate” Downs Syndrome, meaning they are aborting every unborn child found to have the condition.
Pope Francis offered his comments to participants in a Vatican-sponsored conference dedicated to catechesis for those with intellectual disabilities, titled “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.”
Taking place Oct. 20-22 at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome, the conference drew over 420 people who work in catechesis from professions and countries all over the world, as well as disabled people themselves.
Among the participants is Bridget Brown, a young actress, speaker and prolife advocate with Downs Syndrome. In a letter written to the Pope, Brown said her heart breaks to think that “I might be the last generation of people with Downs Syndrome.”
“The world will never again benefit from our gifts,” she said, explaining that she does not “suffer” from the condition, but is “filled with joy” to be alive.
Referring to German dictator Adlof Hitler and the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. commemorating the thousands of people who died under the Nazi regime, Brown noted how people with disabilities were often the first to be killed.
“It seems to me we are doing the same thing to children with disabilities today in our country,” she said. However, despite being discouraged, Brown said she has hope for people with disabilities, and prays for people “who think we don't have the right to live.”
In his speech, Pope Francis said the response to this “eugenic tendency” must be one of love. “Not the false, clever and pious kind,” he said, “but the one that is true, concrete and respectful.”
To the extent that people with disabilities are “welcomed, loved, included in the community and accompanied to look to the future with confidence,” a true path of life develops and “lasting happiness is experienced.”
This goes for everyone, but even more so the most fragile, he said, adding that faith is “a great companion” which allows these people to feel God's presence closely, no matter their condition.
Francis said that as far as the Church goes, she cannot be “voiceless” or “out of tune” in the defense and promotion of people with disabilities.
“Her closeness to families helps them to overcome the loneliness which they often risk closing themselves into due to a lack of attention and support,” he said, adding that to have this closeness is even more important for those who form others in the Christian life.
Neither words nor gestures can be missing for “the encounter and welcome of people with disabilities,” especially in the liturgy, he said, because this encounter with the Lord and the community is a source of “hope and courage” on a path that isn't easy.
Catechesis, then, “is called to discover and experience coherent forms so that each person, with their gifts, their limits and their disabilities, even serious ones, is able to encounter Jesus on their path and abandon themselves to him in faith.”
“No physical or psychological limit can ever be an impediment to this encounter, because the face of Christ is shown in the intimacy of every person,” the Pope said, stressing that everyone, but especially ministers of the Church, must be careful “not to fall into the neo-pelagian error of not recognizing the need for the strength of grace which comes from the Sacraments of Christian initiation.”
The Church and her ministers must learn to “intelligently 'invent' adequate instruments” of catechesis to ensure that no one lacks “the support of grace,” he said.
Catechists must be formed, “first of all by example,” who are “increasingly able to accompany these people so that they grow in faith and give their genuine and unique contribution to the Church,” he said.
Pope Francis closed his address voicing hope that within the Christian community, people with disabilities can themselves increasingly “be catechists, even with their testimony, to transmit the faith in a more effective way.”
Though his speech was little over 10 minutes long, the Pope stayed with the group for more than an hour, personally shaking hands with participants.
Posted on 10/20/2017 21:43 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 20, 2017 / 02:43 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis met Friday with leaders in business and civil society, telling them not to get carried away by wealth and the demands of the global market, but rather to promote justice by eliminating the root causes of inequality.
“We must ask the market not only to be efficient in the production of wealth and in the assurance of sustainable growth, but also to be at the service of integral human development,” the Pope said Oct. 20.
“We cannot sacrifice on the altar of efficiency – the 'golden calf' of our times – fundamental values such as democracy, justice, freedom, the family, and creation,” he said, explaining that instead, “we must seek to 'civilize the market' with a view to an ethic friendly to man and his environment.”
Pope Francis spoke to members of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, who are gathered in Rome for an Oct. 19-21 conference on “Changing Relations Among Market, State and Civil Society.”
In his speech, the Pope spoke on the need to develop “new models of cooperation” among the market, the state, and civil society that more accurately respond to the challenges of our time.
Pointing to two primary causes which he said “nourish the exclusion of the existential peripheries,” Francis said the sharp levels of inequality today are caused in large part by the exploitation of the planet and the lack of opportunity for dignified work.
The first cause, he said, “is the endemic and systemic increase of inequalities and of the exploitation of the planet, which is greater than the increase in income and wealth.”
Both inequality and exploitation depend, aside from individual behaviors, on the economic rules “that a society decides to give themselves,” he said, and pointed to energy production, the labor market, the banking system, the welfare system, the tax system, and the school sector as examples.
The more these are projected, the more they have consequences “on the way in which income and wealth are divided among those who have competed to produce them,” he said. “If the aim of profit prevails, democracy tends to become a plutocracy in which inequalities and the exploitation of the planet grow.”
Neither of these phenomena are inevitable or a historic constant, he said, asserting that “there are periods in which, in some countries, inequalities diminish and the environment is better protected.”
Turning to what he said is another key cause of exclusion, the Pope focused on work “unworthy of the human person.”
“Yesteryear, in the age of Rerum novarum, 'just wages for workers' were demanded. Today, beyond this sacrosanct exigency, we also ask ourselves why it has not yet been possible to translate into practice what is written in the Constitution Gaudium et spes: 'The entire process of productive work, therefore, must be adapted to the needs of the person and to his way of life'.”
To this can be added, he said, respect for creation, referring to his 2015 encyclical Laudato si'.
In creating new opportunities for work “open and enterprising people, people of fraternal relations, of research and investment in the development of clean energy to resolve the challenges of climate change” are needed, he said, adding that this is concretely possible today.
He said it's also necessary “to get rid of the pressures of public and private lobbyists that defend sectoral interests,” and stressed the need to “overcome forms of spiritual laziness.”
“It is necessary for political action to be placed truly at the service of the human person, of the common good and of respect for nature.”
The explained that the challenge to meet “is to strive with courage to go beyond the prevailing model of social order prevalent today, transforming it from within,” such that the market will serve integral human development, as well as the production of wealth.
He also addressed “the rethinking of the figure and the role of the nation-state in a new context which is that of globalization, which has profoundly modified the previous international order,” the Pope said, explaining that the state “cannot understand itself as the sole and exclusive holder of the common good by not allowing intermediate bodies of society to express, in freedom, their full potential.”
To do this, he added, “would be a violation of the principle of subsidiarity which, combined with solidarity, is a cornerstone of the Church’s social doctrine.”
The role of society, then, can be summed up with an image used by French poet Charles Peguy, who described the virtue of hope as the “younger sister” in the middle of the other theological virtues: faith and charity.
“Hope then moves, taking them by the hand and pulling them forward. This is how the position of civil society seems to me: 'pulling' the state and the market forward so that they can rethink their reason for being and how they operate.”
Posted on 10/19/2017 18:00 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 19, 2017 / 11:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis told a group of students studying finance Thursday not to let themselves get taken in by the charm of money, but to instead work toward building a better future based on justice and the common good.
“It is essential that, until now and in your future professional life, you will learn to be free from the allure of money, from the slavery in which money closes those who worship it,” the Pope said Oct. 19.
It's also essential that students “acquire the strength and the courage not to blindly obey the invisible hand of the market,” he said, and encouraged them to take advantage of their study time, learning “to become promoters and defenders of a growth in equity, to become craftsman of a just and adequate administration of our common home, which is the world.”
Pope Francis spoke to students enrolled in the Chartreux Institute of Lyon. Established in 1825, the school is a private Carthusian educational institution linked to the French state school system.
The institute takes students from grade school all the way through high school, and also offers courses in higher education, with a specialization in the fields of finance, business, and accounting.
In his speech, Pope Francis said he was glad to learn that alongside their education in finances, students also receive a solid foundation in “human, philosophical and spiritual” studies.
To take courses in Rome, he said, allows the students to be immersed in the history “which has so strongly marked European nations.”
“Admiring what the genius of men and the hopes they cultivated were able to accomplish, also you must have it at heart to leave your mark in history,” he said, stressing in off-the-cuff comments that “you have the ability to decide your future.”
Francis told the students to take responsibility not only for the world, but “for the life of every man,” and urged them remember that “every injustice against a poor man is an open wound, and belittles your own dignity.”
Even though the world will expect them to strive for success above all else, the Pope told them to put the time and the means into going forward on “the path of brotherhood,” so that they will be able “to build bridges between men rather than walls, to add your stones to the building of a more just and human society.”
Noting how his audience was composed of both Christians and non-Christians, Pope Francis urged the Christians to stay united with the Lord in prayer, and to learn “to entrust everything to God, and so not give in to the temptation of discouragement and desperation.”
For those who are not Christians, the Pope greeted them with “respect and affection,” telling them to keep they eyes focused on others.
He closed his speech by encouraging all of the students “to work for the good, to become humble seeds of a new world,” and prayed that they would be able to “cultivate the culture of encounter and sharing within the single human family.
Posted on 10/19/2017 14:29 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 19, 2017 / 07:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Marking 50 years of Catholic-Methodist dialogue, Pope Francis on Thursday told members of both traditions that when it comes to future relations, simply speaking about reconciliation is not enough – we must actually pray and work for it.
“This is the journey that awaits us in the new phase of the dialogue, devoted to reconciliation: we cannot speak of prayer and charity unless together we pray and work for reconciliation and full communion,” the Pope said Oct. 19.
Pope Francis met with a delegation of around 50 members of the World Methodist Council on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of theological dialogue between Catholics and Methodists.
In his address, Francis said that looking toward the future, as well as back over the last 50 years, it is clear that to grow in holiness we must also grow in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.
“As a call to life in communion with God, the call to holiness is necessarily a call to communion with others too,” he said. “Faith becomes tangible above all when it takes concrete form in love, particularly in service to the poor and the marginalized.”
And this service to others, he pointed out, can be a source of communion between Catholics and Methodists.
“When, as Catholics and Methodists, we join in assisting and comforting the weak and the marginalized – those who in the midst of our societies feel distant, foreign and alienated – we are responding to the Lord’s summons,” he said.
Discussions between the two churches can be a gift not just for their members, but also for our communities and our world, he noted, pointing out that the discussion could be an incentive to Christians everywhere to be “ministers of reconciliation.”
He explained how it is the Holy Spirit that brings about unity, and this is always done in his own way and his own time, just like at Pentecost, where the Spirit awakened “a variety of charisms,” creating unity without uniformity.
“We need then, to remain together,” he said, “like the disciples awaiting the Spirit, as brothers and sisters on a shared journey.”
Francis said that after a long separation, we are like brothers and sisters who are happy to once more meet and learn about one another, moving forward “with open hearts.”
“So let us advance together, knowing that our journey is blessed by the Lord. It began from him, and it leads to him.”
As encouraged by the Second Vatican Council, dialogue enables Christians of different creeds to continue growing in knowledge and esteem, the Pope continued, saying that “true dialogue gives us the courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity, in an effort to learn from one another, and in a spirit of honesty and integrity.”
Francis expressed his gratitude to the Catholic-Methodist Dialogue Commission and to the World Methodist Council for their work, both past and present.
A lot has been learned over the past 50 years, but the work is not finished, he said, saying we must look forward to that day when we can finally unite in the “breaking of the bread.”
Concluding the audience by praying the ‘Our Father,’ the Pope invited those present to pray for reconciliation as well as the daily bread that sustains us “along the way.”
Posted on 10/18/2017 12:08 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 18, 2017 / 05:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that Joseph M. Siegel, until now auxiliary bishop of Joliet, Illinois, will be taking the reins in the diocese of Evansville, Indiana, which has been vacant for several months.
Siegel's appointment was announced in an Oct. 18 communique from the Vatican, and comes just four months after the previous Bishop of Evansville, Charles C. Thompson, was reassigned to Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
The youngest of nine children, Seigel was born in Lockport Township July 18, 1963, and attended Catholic school.
After graduating from St. Charles Borromeo High School, he entered the local seminary where he completed his college education, and was eventually sent to study at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
He completed his theological studies there, also taking courses at the Pontifical Gregorian and Angelicum Universities.
Siegel was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Joliet March 4, 1988, and assigned to the St. Isidore Parish in Bloomingdale. While serving at the parish, he completed a Licentiate degree in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.
Other parish assignments the bishop held include St. Mary Immaculate in Plainfield, St. Mary Nativity in Joliet and the Cathedral of St. Raymond, where he also served as the diocesan Master of Ceremonies. In 2004, Siegel was named pastor of Visitation Parish in Elmhurst.
He served as a member of the diocese's Presbyteral Council for nine years, including three as chairman, and was also appointed to the diocesan Board of Consultors. He also held the role of director of the Continuing Formation for Priests and was a member of the diocesan Vocation Board, the Priest Personnel Board and was the Dean of Eastern Will County.
Within the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Siegel served as a priest-representative on the Executive Committee and was also chairman of the Catholics for Life Department. During the diocesan celebration of the Year of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Congress in Joliet, he chaired the Steering Committee.
Siegel was also a member of the Bishops’ Respect Life Advisory Board, and is a fourth degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
He was named auxiliary bishop of Joliet by Benedict XVI in 2009, and received his episcopal ordination in January 2010.
A year later, in December 2010, the bishop was named Apostolic Administrator of Joliet when the previous bishop, J. Peter Sartain, was reassigned to the Archdiocese of Seattle. When Joliet's current bishop, R. Daniel Conlon, was appointed in 2011, Siegel was named the diocese's Vicar General.
In addition to English, the bishop also speaks Spanish and Italian.
Posted on 10/18/2017 11:43 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 18, 2017 / 04:43 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, Pope Francis offered prayers for the more than 300 victims of a terrorist bombing in the African country of Somalia, one of the most lethal attacks to take place anywhere in the world in recent years.
“I would like to express my sorrow for the massacre that occurred a few days ago in Mogadishu, Somalia,” the Pope said Oct. 18. “This terrorist act deserves the most firm censure, because it ravages a population that has already been so tried.”
The attack took place Oct. 14 when a truck packed with explosives blew up in front of a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds, including children.
Responsibility for the bombing has yet to be claimed by any group, though some Somalis have reacted to the attack by condemning al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group associated with al-Qaeda.
In his appeal, Pope Francis said he prays “for the dead and the wounded, for their family members and for all the people of Somalia,” and also offered prayers “for the conversion of the violent.” He also encouraged “those who, with great difficulty, work for peace in that tortured land.”
Pope Francis made his appeal at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. In his address, the Pope spoke about the inevitability of death, saying it’s good to meditate on our eventual passing.
As a piece of advice, he told pilgrims to recite Psalm 90, which asks to be taught how “to count our days and acquire a wise heart.”
These words help to give us a “healthy realism, casting off the delusions of omnipotence,” he said, asking: “What are we? We are ‘almost nothing,’ says another psalm; our days are running fast.”
He noted how many times he has heard older people speak about their life, saying it “passed like a breath.” Death brings our life into focus, showing how all our pride, anger and hatred is ultimately vanity, he said.
“We realize with regret that we have not loved enough and did not look for what was essential. And, on the contrary, we see what we have really sowed: the affections for which we have sacrificed ourselves and who now hold our hand.”
But faith gives us hope, he said, explaining that “we are all small and helpless in front of the mystery of death. However, what a grace if we keep the flame of faith in our hearts!”
Francis noted that Jesus, by his life and death, illuminated the mystery that is death. As an example, he pointed to the New Testament, when Jesus weeps after learning of the death of his dear friend Lazarus, showing us that it is okay to mourn the loss of a friend.
But then Jesus prays to the Father, the source of life, and orders Lazarus to leave the tomb: “and so it happens.”
This is a source of Christian hope, he said: that though death is a part of life and is present in creation, it is “an affront to the design of God's love, and the Savior wants it to be healed.”
In another Gospel episode, there is a father with a very sick daughter who addresses Jesus with faith, asking him to save her, the Pope recalled. But then, someone comes out from the man's house to tell him it is too late, his daughter has died.
“Jesus knows that man is tempted to react with anger and despair because of the child's death, and advises him to guard the small flame that is lit in his heart: faith.”
“Do not be afraid, only have faith,” Jesus says to the father, telling him that when he arrives at home, he will find the child alive.
Also in his words to Martha, as she weeps for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus teaches us that he is “the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.”
These words are repeated to us every time death comes in order “to tear the fabric of life and affections,” Francis said, adding that “all our existence is played out here, between the side of faith and the precipice of fear.”
Jesus is the resurrection and the life, the Pope said, asking pilgrims: “do you believe this?” He then invited those present in St. Peter's Square to close their eyes and think of the moment of their death.
Think of your death and imagine the moment when Jesus will take you by the hand and say, “come, come with me, get up,” he said. Jesus will come to each of us, taking us by the hand “with his tenderness, his mildness, his love.”
“This is our hope before death,” he concluded. “For whoever believes, it is a door that opens wide completely; for those who doubt it is a glimmer of light that seeps out of a door that has not closed completely.”
“But for all of us it will be a grace when this light illuminates us.”
Posted on 10/17/2017 22:49 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 17, 2017 / 03:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a preface to a new book of interviews, Pope Francis outlined his approach to speaking with journalists, explaining that he thinks interviews should be like a conversation and this is why he doesn’t prepare answers in advance.
“For me interviews are a dialogue, not a lesson,” the Pope wrote.
“I do not prepare for this,” he said, stating that he usually declines to read the questions when they are sent in advance, instead opting to answer organically, as he would in an actual conversation.
“Yes, I am still afraid of being interpreted badly,” he clarified, while adding that as a pastor, it’s a risk he’s willing to take.
“Everything that I do has pastoral value, in one way or in another,” he said. “If I did not trust this, I would not allow interviews: for me it is clear. It's a manner of communicating my ministry.”
Pope Francis gave his thoughts on interviews, and why and how he gives them, in a preface written for a book called Now Ask Your Questions.
The book, a a collection of both new and old interviews with Pope Francis, was compiled by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica. It will be presented Oct. 21.
In the preface, Francis explained that for him, giving an interview is not like ascending “a pulpit” to preach, but is a meeting between him and the journalist: “I need to meet the people and look them in the eyes,” he wrote.
He said he likes to speak with people from both small magazines and popular newspapers, because he feels “even more comfortable.”
“In fact, in those cases I really listen to the questions and concerns of ordinary people,” trying to answer “spontaneously” and in a “simple, popular language,” he explained.
He takes the same approach in press conferences aboard the papal plane when returning from apostolic visits, he said, though he sometimes imagines beforehand what questions journalists may ask.
He knows he must be prudent, he said, and he always prays to the Holy Spirit before listening to the questions and responding.
Historically however, Francis wasn’t fond of giving interviews. I may be “tough,” the Pope said, but I'm also shy, stating that as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was a little afraid of journalists, though one eventually persuaded him.
“I've always been worried about bad interpretations of what I say,” he wrote. As with interviews in the past, he said he was hesitant to accept Spadaro’s request, though eventually he did and gave two long interviews, both which make up part of the book.
The compilation also includes various conversations with fellow Jesuits, which Francis said are the moments he usually feels the most comfortable and free to speak.
“I'm glad they've been included in this collection,” he said, since he feels like he is speaking among family members, and thus doesn’t fear being misunderstood.
Included in the book “are also two conversations with the superior generals of religious groups. I have always requested a real dialogue for them. I never wanted to give speeches and not have to listen to them,” he said.
“To me, to converse always felt the best way for us to really meet each other.”
In his meeting with Polish Jesuits, for example, the Pope said he spoke about discernment, strongly underlining the specific mission of the Society of Jesus today, “that is also a very important mission of the Church for our times.”
“I have a real need of this direct communication with people,” he said.
These conversations, which take place in meetings and interviews, are united in form to how he delivers his daily homilies at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta every morning, what is sort of his “parish,” he pointed out.
“I need this communication with people. There, four days a week, they go to find me, 25 people of a Roman parish, together with others.”
“I want a Church that knows how to get involved in people's conversations, that knows how to dialogue,” he said.
“It is the Church of Emmaus, in which the Lord ‘interviews’ the disciples who are walking, discouraged. For me, an interview is part of this conversation of the Church with the people of today.”
Posted on 10/17/2017 21:34 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 17, 2017 / 02:34 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Among the most lasting aspects of a Pope’s leadership is his appointment of bishops. To understand a Pope, it’s important to understand how he makes decisions about episcopal leadership.
With that in mind, Pope Francis’ approach to the selection and appointment of bishops is worth considering.
When diocesan and auxiliary bishops turn 75 years old, they are required to submit a letter of resignation to the Pope, which he can accept immediately or at any time going forward.
At present, there are seven key posts in the world waiting for a new bishop. While it can take more than a year before a bishop’s resignation is accepted, many analysts anticipate a flurry of significant episcopal appointments over the next several months.
Bishops who recently submitted a letter of resignation to Pope Francis include Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC; Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo); Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban (South Africa); Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa (Honduras); Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City; Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris; and Archbishop Peter Okada of Tokyo.
What will Pope Francis’ criteria be in appointing new bishops to these significant dioceses?
Some recent appointments may shed light on his priorities.
Pope Francis recently appointed Mario Delpini, 66, to serve as Archbishop of Milan, succeeding Cardinal Angelo Scola. Delpini served as Milan’s auxiliary bishop for a decade before being appointed archbishop.
Archbishop Delpini had been a collaborator with the three previous archbishops of Milan, Cardinals Martini, Tettamanzi and Scola. Unlike his predecessors, however, all of his priestly life took place in the Archdiocese of Milan.
Pope Francis also recently appointed a Vicar of Rome, the title used for the functional head of the Diocese of Rome. To replace Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope picked Bishop Angelo De Donatis, 63, who preached the 2014 Lenten spiritual exercises to the Roman Curia, and was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Rome in 2015.
Archbishops Delpini and De Donatis have several things in common. They both have extensive pastoral experience, both are considered ideologically moderate, and both were already connected to the dioceses they’d been appointed to lead. These are said to be key criteria in the episcopal appointments of Pope Francis.
In fact, the Pope’s apparent criteria were a factor in many of his other notable appointments.
In 2014, the Pope chose Cardinal Reinhard Woelki as Archbishop of Cologne, moving him from his post in Berlin. Cardinal Woelki’s move to Cologne was a return to his hometown. When he was appointed, he was noted for his human touch, his pastoral work and simple style of life – television news pieces featured him washing his clothes personally and cooking at his home.
The same year, the Pope picked Carlos Osoro Sierra as the Archbishop of Madrid, and later named him a cardinal. Cardinal Osoro Sierra is known as the “little Francis” in Spain, largely because of his pastoral gifts and his missionary impulse, which have been a transformational factor for the Church in Spain.
Given these four examples, what is the Pope going to do with the Church in the U.S.?
Over the past year, Pope Francis has appointed 16 U.S. bishops, most of them in smaller dioceses or as auxiliaries. The major pending question is that of the successor of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. Cardinal Wuerl is already 76 years old, more than a year beyond the normal retirement age.
The post in Washington, D.C. is a key post, as it involves both pastoral care and institutional relations with the U.S. political establishment. What will Pope Francis do?
An insistent rumor says that Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego might be at the top of the list.
Bishop McElroy recently grabbed headlines for jumping into the discussion on LGBT issues that followed Fr. James Martin’s book, “Building a Bridge.” Bishop McElroy has defended the book, and Martin, in the face of criticisms of his work.
He also recently took part in a Boston College conference on Amoris Laetitia, hosted by Cardinal Blase Cupich and Father James Keenan, SJ. During the conference, Bishop McElroy reported on the diocesan synod he launched on Amoris Laetitia, and said that Catholic teaching must take seriously the complexity of adult moral life.
Among observers, he is considered a figure similar to Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was personally chosen by Pope Francis in 2014 to lead the Archdiocese of Chicago. This seems to suggest that he is a fit for Pope Francis’ model of episcopal leadership.
Of course, his appointment is simply a rumor, just as another rumor in Rome says that the Pope will soon call Cardinal Cupich to lead an important Vatican office in Rome.
There are no confirmation of rumors, and sometimes gossip is just a way to test possible reactions to an appointment. Such rumors are typical in such a moment of transition.
It’s worth noting that Pope Francis might also be reconsidering the selection process for bishops.
During the June 12-14 meeting of the Council of Cardinals, a new procedure for the appointment of bishops was discussed. It was not the first time the cardinals who advise Pope Francis have addressed this issue.
In particular, the Holy See Press Office explained that the consultation before the appointment of a new bishop might involve more local priests and laity. In the end, a bishop’s appointment is always a Pope’s appointment. However, the Pope receives suggestions – usually in the form of a set of three – from the local nuncios of each country, who consult broadly, and “interview” a number of people before suggesting any name to the Pope.
The idea being suggested is to emphasize the local level, rather than the nuncio’s suggestions. One of the issues apparently of concern is the way that nuncios gather information, as the standard questionnaire they deliver is said to be too dated.
Posted on 10/17/2017 18:52 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 17, 2017 / 11:52 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has rejected reports that the former pontiff is nearing death.
Rumors of Benedict XVI being close to death circulated on social media following a quote attributed to Ganswein, which reads, “Pope Benedict is like a candle that fades slowly. He is serene, at peace with God, with himself and the world. He can no longer walk without help and can no longer celebrate Mass.”
However, Archbishop Ganswein called this quote “pure invention.”
“It is false and wrong! I would like to know who the author of this is,” he said, according to German media outlet kath.net.
“I have received in the last two days many messages that refer to this phrase, and people are worried,” he said.
Last week, Ratzinger’s brother was at the Vatican to visit, and he has now returned home, Ganswein confirmed, adding, “Both had a good time.”
Posted on 10/16/2017 18:00 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Oct 16, 2017 / 11:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With tensions between Christians and Hindu nationalists in India increasingly on the rise, the Vatican sent a message marking the Hindu feast of Diwali, urging members of both religions to go beyond mere tolerance of one another, and to foster a genuine mutual respect.
Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights, and is being celebrated this year on Oct. 19.
“May this festival of lights illumine your minds and lives, bring joy to your hearts and homes, and strengthen your families and communities,” read a greeting to Hindus sent Oct. 16 by the Pontifical Council for Interreligous Dialogue. The message was signed by the council's president, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and its secretary, Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot.
In their message, titled “Christians and Hindus: Beyond Tolerance,” Tauron and Ayuso acknowledged that there are many good things happening in the world for which to be grateful, but said there are also difficulties that “deeply concern us.”
They said, “the growth of intolerance, spawning violence in many parts of the world,” is one of these challenges.
In India this intolerance has been acutely felt with an increase in violence against minorities in the country, including Christians and Muslims. While there is no state religion in India, nearly 80 percent of its population is Hindu.
“On this occasion,” the Vatican officials wrote, “we wish to reflect on how Christians and Hindus can together foster mutual respect among people – and go beyond tolerance, in order to usher in a more peaceful and harmonious era for every society.”
“Tolerance certainly means being open and patient with others, recognizing their presence in our midst. If we are to work for lasting peace and true harmony, however, tolerance is not enough. What is also needed is genuine respect and appreciation for the diversity of cultures and customs within our communities, which in turn contribute to the health and unity of society as a whole,” the letter read.
They wrote that “to see pluralism and diversity as a threat to unity leads tragically to intolerance and violence.”
“Respect for others is an important antidote to intolerance since it entails authentic appreciation for the human person, and his or her inherent dignity.”
This respect encourages mutual esteem for different social, cultural and religious practices, while at the same time recognizing the inalienable rights of others, “such as the right to life and the right to profess and practice the religion of one’s choice,” they said.
In order for diverse communities to move forward, then, the path must be one “marked by respect,” they said: “While tolerance merely protects the other, respect goes further: it favors peaceful coexistence and harmony for all.”
“Respect creates space for every person, and nurtures within us a sense of 'feeling at home' with others,” and rather than dividing and isolating, “respect allows us to see our differences as a sign of the diversity and richness of the one human family.”
The Vatican officials then urged members of different religious traditions to “go beyond the confines of tolerance by showing respect to all individuals and communities, for everyone desires and deserves to be valued according to his or her innate dignity. This calls for the building of a true culture of respect, one capable of promoting conflict resolution, peace-making and harmonious living.”
“Grounded in our own spiritual traditions and in our shared concern for the unity and welfare of all people, may we Christians and Hindus, together with other believers and people of good will, encourage, in our families and communities, and through our religious teachings and communication media, respect for every person, especially for those in our midst whose cultures and beliefs are different from our own.”
Thus, they concluded, “we will move beyond tolerance to build a society that is harmonious and peaceful, where all are respected and encouraged to contribute to the unity of the human family by making their own unique contribution.”