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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Francis Visits Russian Patriarch, Lutherans Receive Communion, Francis' FanGirls, & Turkson Environmentalist Puppet

Francis Visits Russian Patriarch, Lutherans Receive Communion, Francis' FanGirls & Turkson the Environmentalist Puppet

In Historic Move, "Pope" to Meet With Leader of Russian Orthodox Church

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will travel to Cuba on Feb. 12 for a historic meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first meeting between a pope and the Russian patriarch, the Vatican announced on Friday.
For Francis, the meeting is the result of delicate and sustained diplomacy, some of which began decades ago under Pope John Paul II, and it is another milestone in his efforts to reconcile the Roman Catholic Church with Eastern Orthodox churches. The Western and Eastern branches of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago.

The breakthrough also highlights Francis’s ties to Cuba, as President Raúl Castro “was involved in organizing the meeting,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said at a news conference.
“The encounter has been under preparation for a long time — it wasn’t improvised,” Father Lombardi said.
He said discussions had been underway “for at least two years,” and the fact that both leaders planned to be in Latin America created the possibility of a “neutral place” for a meeting.

Francis was already planning to travel to Mexico next Friday for a six-day visit. Now, his plane will stop at José Martí International Airport in Havana, where the pope and Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, are expected to hold a private, two-hour meeting.
The two men will then release a joint declaration before Francis continues to Mexico City. Patriarch Kirill was already scheduled to be in Cuba for an official visit.
The pace of reconciliation between Russia, the largest country in the world, and the Vatican, the smallest, has been swift. The two agreed to establish formal diplomatic relations only at the end of 2009, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met Francis in June 2015, in what was seen as a break of Russia’s isolation from the West over the Ukraine crisis..
Since the beginning of his papacy in 2013, Francis has worked to reconcile divisions in Christianity that trace to the Great Schism of 1054, which formally divided the Eastern Orthodox and Western churches. Francis already has ties to other Orthodox leaders, especially with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, considered the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.
But the Russian Orthodox Church has long resisted overtures from the Vatican. John Paul II tried but failed to arrange a meeting with its leaders, and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, also did not meet the patriarch.

Patriarch Kirill I in Moscow last month. The Russian Orthodox Church has long resisted overtures from the Vatican. Credit Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

Much of the friction seems to have been the product of a territorial dispute, as Russian Orthodox leaders have accused the Roman Catholic Church of proselytizing in Russia and Ukraine, effectively encroaching on Orthodox turf. Even in announcing the meeting, the Russian Patriarchate said in a statement on its website that differences over church policy in Ukraine remained a “bleeding wound.”
A separate statement, issued jointly by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See, expressed delight over the meeting, calling it “an important stage in relations between the two churches.” Both parties hoped the event would be seen as “a sign of hope for all people,” the statement said.
The Russian church also cited in its statement the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa as an incentive to try to heal past divisions.
“It is necessary to put aside internal disagreements and unite efforts for saving Christianity in the regions where it is subjected to the most severe persecution,” the statement read.
Alberto Melloni, a Vatican historian, also noted that the Cuba meeting has meaningful geopolitical implications, because it comes at a time when the United States and Europe diplomats are working to isolate Russia.

The Russian church is closely aligned with the Russian government, Mr. Melloni said, and the meeting with the pope would have required permission from Mr. Putin. Signing off on the meeting allows the Russian president to show the different avenues he can use to avoid isolation, Mr. Melloni said.
“For Putin, it is a good result,” he said. “It is very geopolitical.”
Francis is proving to be an ambitious, diplomatic actor on the world stage. He helped broker the reconciliation between the United States and Cuba, and won the regard of Mr. Castro, the Cuban president. Mr. Castro, in turn, helped arrange plans for the meeting next week.
Francis is also moving aggressively to complete another long-held Vatican goal — the restoration of diplomatic ties with China. Francis has spoken of his desire to become the first pope to visit mainland China.
This week, Francis used an interview with Asia Times, an English-language online publication in Hong Kong, to convey his greetings for the Lunar New Year and to offer reassurances that a rising China should not be regarded as a threat.
“For me, China has always been a reference point of greatness,” Francis said in the interview. “A great country. But more than a country, a great culture, with an inexhaustible wisdom.”

At today’s General Audience Francis talked about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “God’s mercy, which works through Baptism, is stronger than our divisions”
A small Muslim delegation has officially invited Pope Francis to visit the Great Mosque of Rome. The news about the invitation was announced a few days ago but was official presented to the Pope this morning, during a brief 10-minute audience in the Paul VI Hall study. The audience took place prior to the Pope’s meeting with a group of bishops from Sudan and South Sudan and before the weekly General Audience in the audience hall.

The Vatican has not issued any further information as yet. According to information obtained from circles within the Islamic community, the five-member delegation included, amongst others, the Imam Yahya Pallavicini of COREIS (Islamic Religious Community), Abdellah Redouane, director of the Italian Islamic Cultural Centre, which runs the mosque, a representative of the Great Mosque’s administrative council and some ambassadors. The presumed date for the Pope’s visit is 27 January but this has not yet been confirmed. In this context, it is important to note that next week the Pope will be receiving Iran’s President Hassan Rohani in the Vatican.

Bergoglio would be the first Pope to visit the Great Mosque of Rome, the construction of which began in 1974 with the approval of the city council. The project, which was directed by the architect Paolo Portoghesi, was inaugurated in 1995. Years later, Giulio Andreotti, a former Prime Minister of Italy, described some of the details surrounding the lengthy project: We talked about this initiative with King Faisal Saudi Arabia, when he came to visit in 1973 (I was at the end of my mandate). I was in a position to tell him straight away that there would be no hindrance from the State or the Church. And indeed there was none, both during Paul VI’s pontificate and under the current pontificate (John Paul II’s, Ed.). Muslims greatly appreciated a speech the latter gave in Casablanca, in which he talked about faith “in the same God” and identified a number of common values. This symbolises the efforts of all religious consciences to study and understand before judging and fighting. Through reciprocity is desirable, it cannot be a preliminary condition. Italy is a great example of enlightened freedom.” As a sign of respect for Rome’s skyline, the height of the mosque’s minaret – located in Rome’s Acqua Acetosa area – does not exceed that of St. Peter’s dome. The papal visit would take place in the context of the Jubilee, during which Francis intends to involve the other Abrahamic religions, focusing on the common value of mercy.

In recent days, when the news about the Pope’s visit to the mosque spread, shortly after his visit to Rome’s Synagogue, the President of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations of Italy (UCOII), the Florentine Imam Izzedin ElZir, told Italian Catholic television network TV2000 and Catholic radio station Radio InBlu loud and clear that it would constitute “an important gesture”, “showing that religions engage in dialogue, discuss and visit their respective places of worship. Those who use the name of God as a pretext to kill their own brother have nothing to do with religion, only political and power interests lie behind such acts.” “It is no coincidence,” ElZir continued, that the Pope “chose the name Francis, which for us is representative of poverty as well as great dialogue with the Islamic world”.

Today, the Pope continued his series of catecheses on mercy, dedicating today’s audience to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January). The meditations for this event have been prepared by an ecumenical group from Latvia. Francis mentioned this, recalling that the baptismal font in Riga’s 12th century cathedral, “is an eloquent sign of the origins of the faith recognised by all Latvian Christians, Catholics, Lutherans and Orthodox alike. Said origins are our common Baptism. The Second Vatican Council affirms that ‘Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn’.”

As such, “when we Christians state that we share in one Baptism, we confirm that we – Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox faithful – share the experience of being called from the harsh and alienating shadows to the meeting with the living and merciful God. Unfortunately, in fact, all of us experience the feeling of selfishness which sparks division, closed-mindedness and disdain. Starting afresh with the Baptism means finding the source of mercy, source of hope for everyone, because nobody is excluded from the mercy of God. By sharing this grace, we Christians form an indissoluble bond, so that thanks to the Baptism, we can truly consider ourselves brothers and sisters. We really are God’s holy people, despite the fact that due to our sins, we are not yet fully united among ourselves. God’s mercy, which woks through Baptism, is stronger than our divisions. It is stronger. Depending on the extent to which we embrace the gift of mercy, we increasingly fulfil our identity as God’s people and we also become able to proclaim his wonderful work to everyone, starting with a simple fraternal testimony of unity. We Christians can proclaim the power of the Gospel to everyone, striving to share the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. This is a concrete testimony of unity among us Christians: Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics alike.” 

Lutherans receive Communion at Vatican after meeting with Pope: report 

ROME, January 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of Finnish Lutherans were offered Holy Communion by priests at a mass held in St. Peter's Basilica following a meeting with Pope Francis on January 15, according to a report by the Finnish periodical Kotimaa 24.
Lutheran bishop Samuel Salmi was visiting the Vatican as the head of a delegation that included a youth choir that was to perform there. Salmi says he met privately with Pope Francis.
After the personal audience with the pope, the delegation was present at a celebration of the Catholic mass. According to Salmi, at the time of communion the non-Catholics placed their right hands on their left shoulders, a traditional way of indicating that they were ineligible to receive the Eucharist. However, the celebrating priests insisted on giving them communion.
Salmi told Kotimaa 24 that “I myself accepted it [Holy Communion].” He added that “this was not a coincidence,” and nor was it a coincidence when last year the pope seemed to accept the notion of a Lutheran woman receiving communion with her Catholic husband. The original article, written in Finnish, was translated for LifeSiteNews by Voice of the Family's Maria Madise.

RELATED: Pope’s advice to Lutheran woman: A clue to how he’ll rule on Communion for the ‘remarried’?

At that time the pope acknowledged that “explanations and interpretations” of communion may differ between Catholics and Lutherans, but “life is bigger than explanations and interpretations.” He advised the woman to “Talk to the Lord and then go forward.”
“At the root of this there is, without a doubt, the ecumenical attitude of a new Vatican,” Salmi told Kotimaa 24. “The pope was not here at the mass, but his strategic intention is to carry out a mission of love and unity. There are also theological adversaries in the Vatican, for which reason it is difficult to assess how much he can say, but he can permit practical gestures.”
The visit took place just three days before an annual ecumenical delegation to Rome on the part of Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran Finns to celebrate the feast day of St. Henry of Uppsala, who is credited with the evangelization of Finland in the 12th century.
In his remarks to the Finnish delegation on the January 18, Francis seems to hint at the movement towards intercommunion when he tells the ecumenical delegation, “Your dialogue is making promising progress towards a shared understanding, on the sacramental level, of Church, Eucharist and Ministry. These steps forward, made together, lay a solid basis for a growing communion of life in faith and spirituality, as your relations develop in a spirit of serene discussion and fraternal sharing.”
Canon 844 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law normally only permits the Eucharist to be given to Catholics in the state of grace (that is, not in a state of grave sin), except in cases of members of Churches which have been approved by the Holy See. In danger of death or other cases of "grave necessity" the Eucharist may be given to other non-Catholic Christians who share the same faith as Catholics regarding Holy Communion. In recent dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics some agreement has been reached regarding Eucharistic doctrine, but differences remain.
In addition to its implications for Catholic-Lutheran relations, the event may also represent the pope’s liberal inclinations regarding the giving of communion to other groups, such as those who are divorced and civilly remarried without having received an annulment of their previous marriage.
Francis has repeatedly insinuated that he wants to change the practice of refusing communion to the divorced and remarried, speaking warmly of Catholic theologians – such as Cardinal Walter Kasper – who advocate such an approach. However, he has yet to announce any decision on the matter.
The pope’s Prefect of Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah, has expressed profound concerns about the pontiff’s tendency to open communion to those whose beliefs or behavior are inconsistent with the Catholic faith.
“It’s not that I have to talk to the Lord in order to know if I should go to Communion,” he told Aleteia reporter Diane Montagna in late November. “No, I have to know if I’m in accord with the rule of the Church.”
“It’s not a personal desire or a personal dialogue with Jesus that determines if I can receive Communion in the Catholic Church,” he added. “How can I know that the Lord has really said: ‘Come and receive My Body.’ No. A person cannot decide if he is able to receive Communion. He has to have the rule of the Church: i.e., being a Catholic, being in a state of grace, properly married [if married].”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Bishop Salmi and his delegation visited with the ecumenical delegation from Finland on January 18. Salmi's visit occurred three days earlier, on January 15.

Please keep in prayer for conversions out of the Vatican II Novus Ordo Religion 

At the Vatican There Is a “Seismograph” That Is Setting Off Tremors

The latest incident is on how Francis interprets and implements Vatican Council II. The “school of Bologna” is chanting victory. But two letters from the pope say the opposite

by Sandro Magister

 The Catholic Church traditionally stands behind the death penalty wilst the Novus Ordo Religion does not.....but perhaps soon will seek our heads on the guillotines!

Still fighting the death penalty, Sister Prejean gets pope’s blessing

VATICAN CITY — Two decades after her anti-death penalty work was transformed into an Oscar-winning movie, “Dead Man Walking,” Sister Helen Prejean’s campaign continues with the backing of Pope Francis.
Sister Prejean met with the pope Thursday to deliver a thank-you letter from Richard Glossip, whose execution in the United States was halted in September after intervention from the pontiff.
But her celebratory meeting with the pontiff came just hours after another death row inmate, Richard Masterson, was put to death in Texas.
“I said, ‘They killed him.’ And he (Francis) lowered his eyes and said, ‘I pray, I pray.’ He really feels for people on death row,” Sister Prejean recalled.
Masterson was convicted for killing Darin Honeycutt in 2001, although the defense team argued that the victim died of a heart attack during consensual sexual relations.
The pope had been following the case closely, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn said on Monday.
Francis voiced his opposition to capital punishment while addressing Congress in September. “Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty,” he said. “Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation,” Francis told lawmakers.
Sister Prejean remains hopeful in the case of Glossip, convicted of hiring a man to kill a motel owner. His execution was indefinitely postponed after it was discovered that the wrong drug had been presented for the lethal injection.
The execution was stayed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who received a letter from the Vatican’s top US diplomat, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, urging her to save Glossip’s life on behalf of the pope.
“I sensed his innocence from the beginning,” Sister Prejean said. “I’m with the seventh person on death row; three of the seven have been innocent — that’s how broken the [system] is.”
More than 150 people have been released from death row since 1973, following evidence of their innocence, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Executions are disproportionately high in Southern states, and people are more likely to be sentenced to death if their victim is white.
Campaigning equally for those who are guilty and innocent, Sister Prejean argued that those on death row feel deep remorse and should not be executed for one act. Discussing a particular case, she said a man asked for forgiveness and admitted to being so high on drugs he had no memory of the crime.

The nun’s fight against capital punishment began in the 1980s, when she became a spiritual adviser to Patrick Sonnier, who was put to death in Louisiana. Sister Prejean presented the pope with a Spanish copy of the book based on her experiences, “Dead Man Walking,” which was turned into a film for which Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for her role as Sister Helen.
Sister Prejean said she felt compelled to act after witnessing Sonnier’s execution and realized the US public could not see the reality of the death chamber.
“I came out and I vomited. I’d never watched a human being be killed, that I knew, and I remember thinking it was very clear: People are never going to get close to this.”

Before discussing capital punishment it is important to talk to people about the crime scene itself, she said.
“If you don’t go to that place and let them know you feel the outrage, too, they’ll never be able to come over with you finally to the place where they can have compassion for the person (convicted).”
Sister Prejean said Francis’ influence and support are never far away.
“The pope’s like a little lighthouse, and he keeps sending out that beam — this is what it’s about.”

This change to the Church’s rules has been made official in a decree signed by the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah. All of God’s people can now be chosen for the washing of the feet rite, which is no longer limited to “men or boys”

Francis has decided to open the Holy Thursday foot-washing rite to women as well as to men and boys. The rite is carried out during the In Coena Domini mass and marks the start of the Paschal Triduum, commemorating the Institution of the Eucharist. “All members of the People of God”. The rite - in which the celebrant repeats the gesture Jesus carried out on the apostles, washing the feet of 12 men – was restored by Pius XII in 1955, as part of the Holy Week reform. 
In a letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Pope Francis states that in order “to improve[e] the way in which [the rite] is performed” and in order to “express more fully the meaning of Jesus’ gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity,” he has decided to alter the Roman Missal which limits the washing of the feet to men.

“From now on the Pastors of the Church may choose the participants in the rite from among all the members of the People of God. I also recommend that an adequate explanation of the rite itself be provided to those who are chosen”. The Congregation’s decree, which was published today, states that in performing this rite “bishops and priests are invited to conform intimately to Christ who ’came not to be served but to serve’ and, driven by a love ’to the end’, to give His life for the salvation of all humankind”. To manifest the full meaning of the rite to those who participate in it, the Holy Father Francis has seen fit to change the rule by in the Roman Missal (p.300, No. 11) according to which the chosen men are accompanied by the ministers, which must therefore be modified as follows: ’Those chosen from among the People of God are accompanied by the ministers…’.”

This way, the decree goes on to say, pastors may choose “a group of faithful representing the variety and unity of every part of the People of God. This group may consist of men and women, and ideally of the young and the old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated persons and laypeople.”

A note on the decree, which carries the signature of the Congregation’s secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche, recalls that “the rite traditionally has a dual meaning: it imitates Jesus’ gesture in the cenacle, when he washed the feet of the apostles and it is symbolic of the giving of oneself inherent in this servile gesture…The commandment about fraternal love is binding for all of Jesus’ disciples, with no distinction or exception.”

The Missale Romanum of 1970 simplified certain aspects following Pius XII’s reform, omitting the number 12 but limiting the rite to men only in imitation of Jesus’ gesture. “The latest change,” Roche observes, “requires participants to be chosen from among all the members of the People of God. By now, the meaning lies more in the significance of what Jesus did and the universal reach of his act than in the external imitation of what Jesus did,” Roche observes.

“In the In Coena Domini Missal,” the secretary of the dicastery for Divine Worship says, “the washing of the feet is not compulsory. It is the Pastors of the Church who shall decide, based on pastoral circumstances and requirements, ensuring that it does not turn into an automatic or an artificial process, devoid of meaning and reduced to a show. Neither should it become so important that it draws attention away from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.”

So it is up to the pastors, Archbishop Roche concludes, to choose a group of faithful that represents the variety and unity of every part of the People of God – young, elderly, healthy people, sick people, clerics, consecrated persons and laypeople – not just one section. It is up to the chosen ones to make themselves available in a simple way.

Readers will recall that during the first Holy Thursday Mass of his pontificate which he celebrated on 28 March 2013, Pope Francis visited the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre, where he washed the feet of a number of young people including two girls, a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic.

20 Catholic Colleges Sponsor Chapters of Pro-Abort Amnesty International

Although known for its long history of fighting human rights abuses, Amnesty International has become a world leader in pushing for legalized abortion and gay marriage, establishing themselves as an opponent of the Catholic Church. But research conducted by The Cardinal Newman Society found that 20 Catholic colleges and six Catholic law schools sponsor active student chapters of Amnesty International despite the organization’s anti-Catholic activism worldwide.
“While there is still much ignorance about Amnesty International’s radical swing toward abortion advocacy, we are informing Catholic educators and urging them to refrain from any cooperation with the organization,” said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.
Historically, Amnesty International (AI) maintained a neutral stance on abortion, but in 2007 the group’s executive board announced that the organization would support abortion in certain situations. Following the organization’s decision to support abortion as a human right, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace urged Catholics to end funding and support for Amnesty International.
“I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission,” Cardinal Renato Martino, then-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told the National Catholic Register in a 2007 interview. Through its new stance on abortion, the organization “betrayed all of its faithful supporters throughout the years,” Cardinal Martino continued, “who have trusted AI for its integral mission of promoting and protecting human rights.”
In 2007, the Newman Society urged Catholic colleges to end affiliations with AI due to its support for abortion in a letter sent to the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities in the U.S. “If your institution has an AI chapter, The Cardinal Newman Society urges you to work with your students to reorganize the club and continue its important work promoting human rights without an Amnesty International affiliation,” wrote the Newman Society’s vice president, Tom Mead.
But many Catholic colleges continue to sponsor chapters of the pro-abortion organization.
Using Amnesty International USA’s “Find a Group” search tool, the Newman Society identified 58 Catholic colleges listed as sponsoring a student chapter. The Society then attempted to verify the existence of these chapters by reviewing each college website, and contacting administrators. Information documenting Amnesty International’s worldwide push for legalized abortion was also sent to administrators with requests for comment to justify their continued sponsorship of AI chapters.
Following verification efforts, the Newman Society identified 20 Catholic colleges and six Catholic law schools with active AI student chapters:
-Boston College and Boston College Law School in Mass.;
-The College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minn.;
-Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.;
-DePaul University in Chicago;
-Dominican University in River Forest, Ill.;
-Edgewood College in Madison, Wis;
-Fordham University and Fordham University School of Law in the Bronx;
-Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.;
-Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.;
-Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif.;
-Loyola University Chicago;
-Loyola University New Orleans School of Law;
-Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.;
-Marygrove College in Detroit;
-Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.;
-Providence College in Rhode Island;
-Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas;
-Saint Louis University in St. Louis;
-Santa Clara University Law School in California;
-Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J.;
-University of Detroit Mercy Law School in Michigan;
-University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas;
-Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
– See more at: www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4636/SPECIAL-REPORT-20-Catholic-Colleges-Sponsor-Chapters-of-Pro-Abortion-Amnesty-International.aspx#sthash.mxPj1yOy.dpuf

A reading from the koran at Christmas Mass

This man is a priest. His name is don Giusto della Valle.

His parish is San Martino di Rebbio (Como), Italy.

Don della Valle is a lover of the Islamic faith.  Like Francis, della Valle also has a big soft spot for “refugees” whether they come from Africa, the Middle East, or Asia.  Want to practice your heretical faith but don't have a building?  Don Giusto will make an arrangement with you.  Not only does he fast during Ramadan with moslems he also celebrated Eid al-Fitr.  He has even coined a term for doing this and calls himself a “Ramadan Catholic”.  In 2011 he requested the city of Como to, “reopen the mosque”.  He feels he is correct and has said in the past,  

“that Christmas should be a time of meeting between people, between the representatives of different religions in full mutual respect.They can build bridges of dialogue freely between people and religions, using a time that you could use to create peace in our surroundings.”  

After all don Guisto sees an ally in Francis,

“It seems to me that the lines of Pope Francis on integration indicate exactly which path to follow.”

Don Giusto della Valle in 2012 spending the Christmas season with Turkish Moslems.
He is on the left eating from a plate between the women

On the blog for the Parish of St. Martin of Rebbio - Como there is post for Christmas Day titled,
un Buon Natale speciale alla comunità di Rebbio, nel segno del dialogo interreligioso.  Below we translate the introduction to the post and then cover some of what was said.

A special Merry Christmas to the community of Rebbio, under the banner of interreligious dialogue

This morning at the end at the end of the celebration of Christmas Mass of 10am, the parish community of Rebbio upheld the cultural association  Assirat (COMO), Associazione Culturale that takes care of the Lebanese Shiite Muslim community in Italy.

It was, in my opinion, thanks to the work carried out by don Giusto in recent years, a great moment of dialogue with his eyes on the horizon always directed towards peace, very important in this period of religious misunderstandings. (Ed. opinion of Marco Ponte)

Nour Fayed reading from the koran from the pulpit.

Nour Fayad read this:
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
When the angels said: "O Mary, Allah gives you good tidings of a Word from Him: his name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the hereafter, and one of the closest.
Holy Quran 3-45

Abdul Aziz giving a speech from the pulpit.

Nour Fayad was followed by Abdul Aziz who gave a speech. Excerpts below:

[...]This year the date of his birth coincides with that of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

In recent times all conflicts in the world have brought division and mistrust between peoples and religions. But God willed that these holy days coincided to make it a symbol of closeness and brotherhood and to indicate to us that there is no distance or difference in the way to God.
I come from Lebanon ... the land of the cedars, the village of Cana, where Jesus did the first miracle, where there have been miraculous transformations, and we hope for a prominent appearance of the Messiah to this world to transform the whole 'hatred into love and enmity in brotherhood,

I am honored to be with you, as a Muslim, in this church to homage on the occasion of this holy celebration, because we are brothers in creation.

[...]And as God Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an: "Take hold together to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves ...". (Qur'an 3-103)

We cling to the rope of God and from there proclaim our message that there is no compulsion in religion and that religion of God on earth is love, coexistence and peace.

Who says he has no other religion.

Accepting our presence between you, your party, it's a sign that, God willing, we all cling to His rope, and we set off together on His straight path.

Thank you, don Giusto for over three years ago he opens the doors of this parish to celebrate the events and cultural rituals of our faith and for giving me a chance to be here to bring our message...

source for the words spoken by Nour Fayed & Abdul Aziz: un Buon Natale speciale alla comunità di Rebbio, nel segno del dialogo interreligioso

So is don della Valle correct in saying he believes he is following Francis on the path he set?  We at Call Me Jorge... would have to say yes.  In Francis’ apostolic letter, Misericordiae Vultus, in section 23 one reads:

23. There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the Church. It relates us to Judaism and Islam, both of which consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes. Israel was the first to receive this revelation which continues in history as the source of an inexhaustible  richness meant to be shared with all mankind. As we have seen, the pages of the Old Testament are steeped in mercy, because they narrate the works that the Lord performed in favour of his people at the most trying moments of their history. Among the privileged names that Islam attributes to the Creator are “Merciful and Kind”. This invocation is often on the lips of faithful Muslims who feel themselves accompanied and sustained by mercy in their daily weakness. They too believe that no one can place a limit on divine mercy because its doors are always open. 
I trust that this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with these religions and with other noble religious traditions; may it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination.

500 years after reformation, Pope knocks on Lutherans' door

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by attending an ecumenical service in Sweden as a guest of the Lutheran church, the Vatican said Monday.
In a highly symbolic act of reconciliation that would even recently have been unthinkable for a Catholic pontiff, Francis will visit the Swedish city of Lund on October 31 for a commemoration jointly organised by his own inter-faith agency and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
The surprise move will see the head of the world's Catholics worship alongside the heirs to a religious tradition founded in opposition to the church of Rome and which once regarded the pope as the anti-Christ.
The modern-day Lutheran church in Sweden continues to uphold principles that are anathema to all but the most radical Catholic theologians: it has had a female archbishop, Antje Jackelen, since 2013; has ordained women pastors since 1960 and embraces homosexuality to the point of having both lesbian and gay bishops.
Jackelen said Monday she hoped the commemoration would "contribute to Christian unity in our country and throughout the world."
In a joint statement, the two churches said the event would "highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans."
The event may nevertheless raise eyebrows among some conservatives on both sides -- Francis came under fire in November for suggesting a Lutheran could take communion from a Catholic priest.
At a service Monday in Rome, Francis asked forgiveness for the way Catholics had treated other Christian believers over the years, and also invited Catholics to pardon those who had persecuted them.
"We cannot undo what happened but we cannot allow the weight of the mistakes of the past to poison our relations," he said.
The service in Lund will take place exactly one year before the 500th anniversary of German monk Martin Luther nailing his famous written protest against the Church's abuses of its power to the door of a church in Wittenberg.
The act of defiance of papal authority resulted in Luther being excommunicated and declared an outlaw by Rome.
The posting of the "95 theses" is considered the starting point of the Reformation -- a dissenting movement that created a religious and political schism in Europe which took centuries to fully unfold and featured many violent chapters before Protestant churches became dominant across most of northern Europe.
- No to papal infallibility -
The numerous conflicts and waves of repression related to the Reformation left a legacy of deep mistrust between the Catholic and Protestant wings of Christianity which has only subsided in the last half-century.
Martin Junge, the LWF general secretary, said such divisions belonged to the past.
"I'm carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence," he said in a statement.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Vatican's Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), said a "Christocentric approach" was required.
The Lund event is part of a dialogue in which the Lutheran and Catholic churches are attempting to agree on a common account of the painful events of the reformation.
The two Churches agreed in 1999 on a joint statement addressing the theological issues at the root of the upheaval.
These included questions such as whether humans could earn their place in heaven through good deeds or whether salvation comes exclusively through the grace of God.
Luther and his followers championed the Bible's translation into local languages and its status as the sole source of divine authority.
They also opposed the sale of indulgences and other forms of clerical corruption and challenged notions such as the idea of penance, the veneration of saints, the existence of purgatory and the infallibility of popes.

Pope Risks Traditionalist Anger with Martin Luther Commemoration

Francis the Humble...

"Pope" apologises for Catholic behaviour in the past which has not reflected Gospel values

In the ceremony celebrated in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, marking the conclusion of  ecumenical week, Francis encouraged Catholics to forgive other Christians who may have offended them recently or in the past and prayed for persecuted Christians

Church Revolution in Pictures

Photo of the Week

Suor Cristina- Sister Act- 04

Trailer of Suor Cristina's musical

The musical Sister Act – with the participation of Suor Cristina – is preparing to perform in Rome at Brancaccio Theater in December 2016.

Two trailers of this coming musical are already available in Italian. In the photos on this page you can have a preview of what is coming soon.

Above, you see nuns in a frenzied dance wearing a red, purple and gold scapular adorned with a circle surrounded by rays, an allusion to the Blessed Sacrament. In itself this photo represents a desecration of both the Eucharist and the religious habit.

Below, first five rows, Suor Cristina appears in her night clothes in what seems to be a “prayer” to change the life of her religious community. The more relevant point in the photos (two first rows) is that her night pajamas allows the viewer to envision, without too much difficulty, the form of her breasts. Such a display is hardly an action recommended for a nun.

Then, what seems to be a fairy-like Italian-African dancer appears in her dreams fourth row) and invites her to enter a new type of life. One is led to imagine that this life is represented by the dancing nuns (sixth to eighth rows), who also wear the red-purple-gold scapulars mentioned above (ninth and tenth rows). In a final phase, the nuns appear in white-gold habits (eleventh and twelfth rows).

The ensemble, as noted in the previous post, desecrates religious life and blasphemes Catholic symbols.

A video of the trailer from which these photos were taken is available here, another with more blasphemies here.

Suor Cristina- Sister Act- 06Suor Cristina- Sister Act- 05Suor Cristina- Sister Act- 07

Novus Ordo Logic 101

Bishop of London: Christian clergymen should grow beards to reach out to [i.e., to dialogue not convert] Muslims

Great idea, Richard. Maybe also Muslim clergymen could start wearing crosses to reach out to Christians. But of course that will never happen. The “outreach” always and in every case goes one way, and one way only. Richard Chartres here quotes St. Paul: “I become all things to all men that by all possible means I might save some.” But he doesn’t really want to save Muslims, i.e., challenge them with the truth, much less call them to Christianity. He just wants to welcome and “affirm” them, to show what a diverse, multiculti fellow he is.
Christian clergymen in the West are generally confusing appeasement and fear with charity and respect, and instead of recognizing the grave threat to Judeo-Christian Western civilization, they are welcoming in those who would destroy it and shaming and ostracizing those who are trying to sound the alarm. They preach “respect” (which is really just naked fear in clerical robes) in the face of radical, violent supremacism and intolerance, thereby enabling and encouraging that supremacism and intolerance, having completely forgotten that they’re supposed to be playing a prophetic role and calling injustice and evil what they are. They are betting the future of the Church on the success of a chimerical “dialogue” with Muslims that has never accomplished a single thing other than to make the participants feel good about themselves: “dialogue” has not prevented one Christian from being persecuted or one church from being ransacked. They are standing by complacently and abetting the destruction of the West and the Church in the West. They are blind guides.
“Vicars should grow BEARDS to reach out to Muslims in their areas, says Bishop of London,” by Katie Louise Davies, Jenny Stanton, and Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, January 22, 2016:
Clergymen should grow beards to emphasise their holiness to Muslims, the Bishop of London has suggested.
Rt Reverend Richard Chartres said the modern fashion for facial hair should not be the preserve of hispters, but would also be likely to impress those from Eastern cultures where wearing a beard could mark a man out as holy.
He singled out two priests in Tower Hamlets – the Rev. Adam Atkinson, Vicar of St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green, and Rev. Cris Rogers of All Hallows Bow – who have grown bushy beards.
Writing in the Church Times, Rev. Chartres, who himself sports a ‘modest’ beard, said: ‘The discovery that two of the most energetic priests in east London had recently grown beards of an opulence that would not have disgraced a Victorian sage prompted me to look again at the barbate debate throughout Church history.
‘The two priests work in parishes in Tower Hamlets. Most of the residents are Bangladeshi-Sylheti, for whom the wearing of a beard is one of the marks of a holy man.’
He said the desire of the clergy of Tower Hamlets to ‘reach out to the culture of the majority of their parishioners can only be applauded’.
He went on to say that David Beckham – who he describes as the ‘nearest thing to a secular saint’ – has ‘stimulated countless imitators’.
One of the priests praised by the Bishop of London, the Rev. Atkinson told The Telegraph he found having a beard had helped provide a connection with many people in his parish, around 85 per cent of whom are Muslim.
He said he was persuaded to grow a beard by the staff at his local pub, the Hound Dog Barbers on Hackney Road.
He said he had forged new links with people after growing his facial hair.
He explained: ‘It is an icebreaker – St Paul said “I become all things to all men that by all possible means I might save some”.
‘In our area there are three main groups, the poor, the “cool” and the Muslims and beards cover at least two groups reasonably well.’
The second vicar – the Rev Rogers – told the newspaper he was approached by a man who told him he respected him because he had a beard.
The man went on to tell him his beard showed dedication and commitment to something and it showed wisdom….

Turkson: Novus Ordo Environmentalist Puppet 

(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke in Portugal on Friday to 75 Bishops from all over the world about Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato si’.
Cardinal Turkson said bishops hold a “privileged position” in promoting the message of the Encyclical.
“No facet of our world is too great or too small, too lofty or too plain, for us to take it on, to pray over it, and to bring it into constructive dialogue with others,” he said.

The full text of Cardinal Turkson’s intervention is below

International conference for Catholic Bishops
Penha Longa Resort Hotel, Lisbon
Friday 22 January 2016

Catholicism and the Environment:
Reflections on Laudato si’

Thank you for the invitation to appreciate Laudato si’ in the company of so many confrères in the episcopacy, shepherds in communion with the Bishop of Rome. May I therefore invite you as my brother Bishops to listen in several complementary ways:
·         First, an encyclical is a circular letter addressed by the Bishop of Rome, initially to his fellow Bishops and then more widely. Having received it, we should make it our own and share it effectively with all our people.
·         Secondly, as the head of several corporations in your respective diocese, you are also a CEO. So please listen as an employer and investor.
·         Thirdly, may I suggest that you prepare to enter into dialogue with the public and private sectors in order to help bring about the huge action needed to address the world’s environmental issues. Your dialogue should be with business-men and -women, bankers, policy-makers and politicians in your regions; and not only with the elite but also with popular leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators amongst the poor, to all of whom Laudato si’ is addressed.
·         Fourthly, Pope Francis fashioned his text in dialogue with Conferences of Bishops around the world, and so now is an opportunity for Bishops to enter into dialogue with Laudato si’.
With the same four attitudes, I invite you to read the Message of the Holy Father to the World Economic Forum (Davos, 20-23 January 2016) which I had the honour of delivering to a plenary session on Wednesday.[1]
My remarks will begin with an overview of Laudato si’. I will then turn to some particular issues that I recommend for your special attention as Bishops. These are Contemplation; Conversion; Conversation and Dialogue; and Care. In the last of these, I will make explicit connections to the magisterium of Catholic social teaching.
1. The Message of Laudato si’
The path of Laudato si’ is detailed and rich. The following six points convey its essential message:
  • All human beings are affected, and everything in nature too, by the crises of climate change, misuse of natural resources, waste and pollution, and attendant poverty and dislocation.
  • Everything is interconnected; we cannot understand the social or natural world or their parts in isolation.
  • Everyone must act responsibly to save our world—from individuals who recycle and use energy sparingly, to enterprises reducing their ecological footprints, to world leaders setting and enforcing ambitious targets to reduce the use of carbon.
  • We must be truthful; let no one hide or distort facts in order to gain selfish advantage.
  • We must engage in constructive dialogue; genuine, trusting and trustworthy engagement of all parties is required to succeed where all is at risk.
  • Beyond the industrial age’s short-sighted confidence in technology and finance,[2] we must transcend ourselves in prayer, simplicity and solidarity.
Moreover, the way we interact with the natural world is deeply related to how we interact with our fellow human beings. In fact, there is no valid way to separate these two aspects. Therefore all decisions about the natural environment are ethical decisions, just as social options have environmental consequences. This is inescapable, and it has important implications. It means that technology and business must be held to transcendent anthropological and moral norms. They must be oriented toward the common good, in full human solidarity—both with everyone alive today and with people not yet born. “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (§139). So Pope Francis asks us to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and to respond to both in an integrated manner.
As you read the encyclical and discuss it with others, it is fruitful to emphasize these further points:
  • Laudato si’ takes full cognizance of contemporary science—this has not typified Church discourse in the past.
  • The Encyclical speaks extensively of the natural world —until now this has been a modest theme in the Church.
  • It speaks resoundingly and most urgently about the human condition, from children and families, to the marginalized and desperately poor and imminently endangered, to those lost in consumerism and self-indulgent diversions—it does this with almost brutal realism because “Realities are more important than ideas.”[3]
  • And of course, it deals extensively with economics and business, politics and global governance.
By bringing these perspectives together with their impact on concrete human experience, Laudato si’ wishes to persuade the world that the moral dimension must be omnipresent. As I suggested above, there is no morally neutral decision about business and market policies or about the use of technologies in resource extraction. All decisions affect both the natural world which is our common home, and all of us inhabitants of that common home.
All this signals a fresh, novel and challenging engagement within the Church and of the Church with the world. I think the most important thing to do is read the encyclical oneself and give leadership and support to applying it in one’s own regions.
Each of you must have ideas about this. Where you exercise responsibility, which charism is most needed? Is it to promote the realization that we are one human family, and each and every person has full human dignity? Is it to fight against slavery, forced migration, violence against children and women? Is it to ensure that business activity contributes to good living for all—to integral human development?
2. Contemplation
It may surprise you that I begin with contemplation. The Encyclical covers so much historical, scientific, economic and socio-cultural ground, that it might give the impression that the Church wishes to lead the world in expertise in those areas. But that is not the Holy Father’s intention. While acknowledging the importance of those pursuits and the relevance of the most advanced thinking in our current times of crisis, what the Church offers are its great spiritual resources to lead the People of God and to inspire all people of the world in attitudes of wonder, awe, gratitude, compassion and solidarity.
This is essential. As Pope Benedict XVI says, “In nature, the believer recognises the wonderful result of God's creative activity… The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility…” The contemplation of nature and God’s goodness ought to draw people to respect “the intrinsic balance of creation” and abhor the “reckless exploitation” of the air, water or land or needless disruption of the natural world.[4] “Nature is filled with words of love,” says Pope Francis. He reminds us that Jesus “invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.” The contemplative attitude can fine as simple an expression as the habit of grace before and after meals. (§225-7)
3. Conversion
Pope Francis is most emphatic on the need for inner conversion and personal transformation. Consumerism and frantic pursuit of economic success reinforce the conditions for environmental and social degadation. Human beings need to take a new path. The Holy Father’s words echo a beautiful passage in the earlier Common Declaration on Environmental Ethics of St John Paul II and the Ecumenical Patriarch His Holiness Bartholomew:
What is required is an act of repentance on our part and a renewed attempt to view ourselves, one another, and the world around us within the perspective of the divine design for creation. The problem is not simply economic and technological; it is moral and spiritual. A solution at the economic and technological level can be found only if we undergo, in the most radical way, an inner change of heart, which can lead to a change in lifestyle and of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. A genuine conversion in Christ will enable us to change the way we think and act.[5]
4. Conversation and Dialogue
Pope Francis insists on dialogue “as the only way to confront the problems of our world and to seek solutions that are truly effective”.[6] Authentic dialogue is honest and transparent. It insists on open negotiation based on the principles which the social teachings of the Church vigorously promote: solidarity, subsidiarity, working for the common good, universal destination of goods, and preferential option for the poor and for the earth. Real dialogue would not allow particular interests of individual countries or specific groups to hijack the negotiations.
Accordingly, in chapter 5 of Laudato si’ laying out lines of approach and action, every one of the five sections has the word “dialogue” in its title.
5. Care
A great innovation in Laudato si’ is that Pope Francis advocates something more than stewardship. The word “steward” is used only twice in Laudato si’, “administrador” only once. Instead, Pope Francis talks about care, cuidar and custodiar. It is in the title, “Care for our Common Home, el Cuidado de la casa común,” and is repeated dozens of times.
Care goes further than “stewardship”. Good stewards take responsibility and fulfil their obligations to manage and to render an account. But one can be a good steward without feeling connected. If one cares, however, one is connected. To care is to allow oneself to be affected by another, so much so that one’s path and priorities change. Good parents know this. They care about their children; they care for their children, so much so that parents will sacrifice enormously—even their lives—to ensure the safety and flourishing of their children. With caring, the hard line between self and other softens, blurs, even disappears.
Pope Francis proposes that we think of our relationship with the world and with all people in terms of caring. Jesus guides us in this vocation with images from the world of work. He says:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11-15)
Caring for our common home requires, as Pope Francis says, not just an economic and technological revolution, but also a cultural and spiritual revolution—a profoundly different way of approaching the relationship between people and the environment, a new way of ordering the global economy.
6. Laudato si’ and Catholic Social Teaching
To speak so holistically locates Laudato si’ in the great tradition of the social encyclicals. Pope Leo XIII responded to the res novae or “new things” of his time, when the industrial economy was only a century old and posed many dilemmas, especially for workers and families. So too, Pope Francis is responding to the “new things” of our day, when a post-industrial, globalized economy is posing many new dilemmas for humanity and for the planet. Laudato si’ is in continuity with Rerum Novarum and the whole tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Consider these examples of how the riches of our social teaching underpin the messages of Laudato si’:
·         The world’s economy must meet the true needs of people for their survival and integral human flourishing. This is a matter of human dignity and of the common good. We must make objective moral judgments in this regard: “Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products,” he says, “people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending… When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume.” (§203,204)
·         Technologies need to be assessed for their contribution to the common good. The Encyclical gratefully acknowledges the tremendous contribution of technologies to the improvement of living conditions. Yet it also issues a warning about the misuse of technology, especially when it gives “those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world” (§104). Moreover, markets alone “cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion” (§109).
·         Solidarity with all, especially the marginalized and the poor, is a hallmark of our Holy Father’s papacy from the earliest moments, and it marks the Encyclical as well. The text speaks with great compassion of dispossession and devastation suffered disproportionately by the poor, because of where they live and due to the lack of power to escape or to protect themselves. Pope Francis embraces all people. “Let us not only keep the poor of the future in mind, but also today’s poor, whose life on this earth is brief and who cannot keep on waiting” (§162).
·         Solidarity must also apply between generations: “we can no longer speak of sustainable development apart from intergenerational solidarity” (§159). The Pope’s key question for humanity is put in those very terms: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (§160).
·         Human dignity underpins the extensive treatment of “The need to protect employment” (§124-29). Work is a noble and necessary vocation: “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment” (§128). Work is how human dignity unfolds while earning one’s daily bread, feeding one’s family, and accessing the basic material conditions needed for flourishing every day. Further, it should be the setting for rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God. It follows that, in the reality of today’s global society, it is essential that “we con­tinue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone,”[7] no matter the limited interests of business and economic reasoning that excludes the human and social costs. (§127) It is wrong when some businesses simply replace workers with machines on the basis of efficiency and utility, viewing human beings as interchangeable with machines as mere factors of production. Clearly, the obsession is to gain still more profit, but at the cost of less and less decent work. Do individuals thrive from being unemployed or precariously hired? Of course not. Does society benefit from unemployment? Of course not. In fact, we everywhere witnesses far too many people who cannot find worthwhile and fulfilling work. We should not be surprised when unscrupulous people with demented fantasies recruit such idle individuals into criminality and violence.
·         God has exercised subsidiarity by entrusting the earth to humans to keep, till and care for it; this makes human beings co-creators with God. Work should be inspired by the same attitude. If work is organized properly and if workers are given proper resources and training, their activity can contribute to their fulfilments as human beings, not just meet their material needs. It can uphold the full human dignity, the integral human development, of workers. The principle of subsidiarity, a mirror of God’s relationship to humanity, requires restraint and an acceptance of the humble role of a servant leader.
·         Proper practices of stewardship result in sustainability of the natural environment and of human systems. The problem, Pope Francis notes clearly, is that the logic of competition promotes short-termism, which leads to financial failure and devastation of the environment. “We need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals” (§190).
The Holy Father is not anti-business, as his messages to the World Economic Forum clearly attest. But what he decries is an obsession with profit and the deification of the market. Profit has its role in sustaining an enterprise and allowing it to improve and innovate; but we need sustainability, and Pope Francis calls upon business to lead by harnessing its creativity to solve pressing human needs. “More diversified and innovative forms of production which impact less on the environment can prove very profitable” (§191).
·         God is the Creator of all—we can think of the entirety of creation, we can think of all people, we can think of the gift of all goods to all of humanity. Justice requires that the goods of creation be distributed fairly to all of humanity. This has the status of a moral obligation, even a commandment, for Pope Francis. “Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy,” he said last July in Bolivia. “It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment. It is about giving to the poor and to peoples what is theirs by right. The universal destination of goods is not a figure of speech found in the Church’s social teaching. It is a reality prior to private property. Property, especially when it affects natural resources, must always serve the needs of peoples.”[8]
·         Justice must also reign over the distribution of the burden of environmental rehabilitation. Those who have contributed most to greenhouse gas emissions and have benefitted most from the industrial period, should now take the lead and contribute more to the solution than those whose standard of living is just beginning to rise. As a first step, they must be ever more honest about so-called externalities or spillover effects, since finally nothing falls outside of the accounts of our one shared common household.
I have provided you with an overview of Laudato si’, some key perspectives on its contents, and a demonstration of its relationship to important principles of Catholic social teaching—the common good, human dignity, justice, solidarity, subsidiarity and sustainability. All these come together in an integral ecology “which clearly respects its human and social dimensions”. This is necessary because “everything is closely interrelated, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis” (§137).
In this regard, as Bishops, we occupy a privileged position. No facet of our world is too great or too small, too lofty or too plain, for us to take it on, to pray over it, and to bring it into constructive dialogue with others. We can promote this integration and encourage “profound interior conversion” (§217) in every aspect of our mission. For the challenge is of a new order. Humanity did not descend into the crises of today by doing our worst (crime, violence, war) but – with great enthusiasm for science, technology, progress and prosperity – while doing our very best.
In the spirit of our Holy Father who so effectively embraces everyone, we Bishops must open our arms to all. Let his prayers that close the encyclical guide us and all whom we touch—let us join him in offering the Christian prayer in union with creation, “Father, we praise you with all your creatures … Praise be to you! Laudato si’! Amen.”

Italian Activists Battle Catholics Ahead of Gay Union Vote

Homosexual activists across Italy are engaged in a battle with the Catholic Church over the recognition of same-sex unions.

Thousands of gay activists participated in protests Saturday in over 100 city squares across the country ahead of a Thursday debate in the Italian senate regarding the legal acknowledgement of same-sex unions.
The bill, referred to as the Cirinna law after its author, Monica Cirinna, the senator from the center-left Democratic Party, would legalize same-sex partnerships in addition to allowing gay couples to adopt the birth children of their partner.

In support of the bill, approved by the Italian prime minister, protestors took to the streets under the banner of "Svegliati Italia" or "Wake Up, Italy." Many protestors brought alarm clocks and timers to provide visuals for the statement.
Italy's Catholic faithful have planned a rally to demonstrate support for traditional marriage. Referred to as "Family Day," the demonstration is scheduled to take place January 30 in Rome's Circus Maximus. The organizers are anticipating approximately one million supporters to show up.
"The Italian bishops are united together," affirms the president of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cdl. Angelo Bagnasco, "and ready to defend, promote and support the universal heritage that is unique family, womb of life, the first school of humanity, of relationships and of dialogue."  As news broke of the planned pro-family rally, LGBT activists promptly modified the "Family Day" catchphrase to "Family Gay," maintaining that religion must not be allowed to affect the vote.
"The Church does its work, civil society and the political (sphere) should take care of doing something else," contends Lucia Caponera, vice president of lesbian activist group Arcilesbica. "The piazzas are a symbol of a wait that can last no longer."
Organizers of the pro-LGBT protests have asked participants to achieve the same level of mobilization that was influential in legalizing abortion and divorce in the 1970s.
Italy is currently the last major European country that does not recognize same-sex unions. This led last year to the European Court of Human Rights declaring the nation to be in "breach of human rights." According to Cirinna, supporters of the bill do not want Italy to be "last in the line when it comes to human rights."
"But," she continues, "we live under the shadow of the Vatican dome, and Catholicism here is different than in other countries. It is a presence."
The Italian legal system has previously affirmed that marriage may only exist between heterosexual couples.
Pope Francis has spoken out on marriage ahead of the debate, reminding Italians "there can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union."
"The family," asserted the pontiff in a statement Friday, "founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of God's dream and that of His Church for the salvation of humanity."

Related: http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/01/27/pope-francis-sends-mixed-signals-on-civil-unions-for-gay-couples/ 

Celebrity meets Celebrity

Leonardo DiCaprio meets pope to talk about environment

There have been 13 popes named Leo in the history of the Roman Catholic Church but perhaps none of them was as famous as the Leo who entered the Vatican on Thursday - Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio, who is known as Leo, was received by Pope Francis, the Vatican said, without giving details.
But the one-line announcement was enough to send photographers and television crews scrambling to stake out the Vatican's gates to try to catch him coming out.
Footage issued later from Vatican television showed that the audience was connected to their mutual concern about the environment and climate change.
DiCaprio, speaking Italian, thanked the pope for receiving him and then, switching to English, gave him a book of paintings by 16th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.
Pointing to one painting, DiCaprio told the pope it had hung over his bed as a boy and said "through my child's eyes it represented our planet."
"It represents to me the promise of the future and enlightenment and it is representational of your view here as well," he said. He later gave the pope a check for an undisclosed sum which appeared to be a donation for papal charities.
Last week, the 41-year-old Oscar nominee was honored at the 22nd Annual Crystal Awards held at the World Economic Forum in Davos for his foundation's support of conservation and sustainability projects.
The pope wrote a major Catholic Church document known as an encyclical last year in defense of the environment and has often said that time was running out for mankind to save the planet from the potentially devastating effects of global warming.
The pope gave DiCaprio a copy of his encyclical and asked the actor to pray for him.

These fangirls can’t get enough of the "Pope"

Some young girls like One Direction.
Others prefer 5 Seconds Of Summer, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.
Not these girls.
These girls only have eyes for Francis.

The Pope amuses himself

As the says goes: Like takes pleasure in like, or, in Latin, similis simile gaudet. We understand, therefore, that Francis, himself being a circus man, enjoys admiring circus performers.

This is why on January 27, 2016, he delighted in viewing a circus show in St. Peter's Square. Above, we see two young women following the contortionist performance of a little girl. The women, dressed in aqua leotards with magenta skirts, wear conch-shaped hats and shell brassieres – also in magenta – which are evocative of the sea, which appears to be the theme of the spectacle. Below first two row, we see the same artists in their quite indecent shell bikini tops, making delicate gestures.

An even less decent costume could be seen on the four women octopuses in purple. Indeed, the boldness of their dress was shocking, with the eyes of the octopus placed in a most indecorous place, as the viewer can see below, rows 3-6. This shameless display of eyes on their bosoms made the performers not only indecent, but also grotesque.

Notwithstanding, the Pope, who cares very little about morality, greatly appreciated the jugglers – to the point of greeting each one personally.

He ended the spectacle by declaring that the circus clowns and acrobats – the grotesque octopuses included – are disseminators of beauty that did a good for his soul...

Video available here

Circus at Vatican 2Circus at Vatican 3

Francis and JP II actors?

Viganò: Pope Francis not an actor


Novus Ordo Logic 102

US Catholics allergic to reality of environmental racism, theologian says at St. John's University

  Queens, N.Y.

Catholic environmentalists need to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, Fr. Bryan Massingale, theology professor at Marquette University, told a conference at St. John’s University here on Saturday.
"We all live on the same planet but we don’t breathe in the same air. Some environments are more equal than others," said Massingale, who cited how minority communities have been used as dumping grounds for decades. "The poor and communities of color bear risks that would be unacceptable" for white and more affluent areas. These communities, he said, have long been "sacrifice zones" of environmental degradation, places where unwanted waste is disposed.
Titled "Care for Our Common Home: The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor," the conference was the ninth such biennial gathering that St. John’s, a Vincentian university, has held on social justice matters. Speakers included theologian Erin Lothes of the College of St. Elizabeth and several experts in sustainable development. Massingale delivered the keynote address.
"We are not faced with two separate crises," said the priest, citing what he described as an environmental and racism disaster inflicted upon the people of Flint, Mich. -- a city that is largely African American and poor.
"Environmental racism is a reality in this country," Massingale said, faulting elements in the Catholic green community for being concerned about the earth with much less concern about some of the people who inhabit it.
He praised Pope Francis, who, in his encyclical "Laudato Si’ on Care for Our Common Home," links the two crises, frequently citing shortcomings in the "human ecology" of lack of access to basic needs such as clean water and housing.
Even with the pope’s insights, Massingale said, Catholic environmentalists often fail to see the links between racism and the environment. He noted how some Catholic environmentalists complained on a website in last June that the papal encyclical launch was being overshadowed by media coverage of the killings in a church by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C.
He said that American Catholics in general have "an allergy" to talking about racial issues, even when race is evident.
The situation, for example, in Flint -- where residents, despite frequent complaints to governing authorities, have been drinking and bathing in contaminated water for more than a year -- is a stark example of environmental racism in action. He said that such a crisis would never have been allowed to continue in more affluent cities.
Flint, governed by a state-appointed manager, no longer has democratic rule for its largely minority and poor population. That undemocratic system allowed an intolerable situation to continue, he said.
Massingale said that racism "enables people to not care for people who are not like them" and is the root cause of many environmental crises.
That racism is not only evident in the wider culture, it is also part of American Catholic life as well.
In Catholic circles, he said, racism is often defined as individual acts of rudeness and discrimination, remedied by appeals to overcome personal sin. It is, however, Massingale said, a more systemic issue.
And, even while immigrants, many of them black and brown, continue to redefine what it means to be a Catholic American, leadership still sees European Catholic culture as normative. He described participating in the writing of a bishops’ pastoral on racism, a document which was never completed. "Our people will get mad," said one consulting bishop about the concerns raised. Another commented, "Our people will not understand."
Who were "our people" that they mentioned? Both bishops, said Massingale, defined themselves, their people and the church in the United States as white.
Other speakers at the conference -- held at the third largest and most ethnically-diverse U.S. Catholic university in the country -- agreed with Massingale. The speakers at the meeting, sponsored by St. John’s Vincentian Center for Church and Society, argued that the crisis articulated in Laudato Si’ is increasingly urgent.
"Environmental pillage has been catastrophic," said Anthony Annett, climate change and sustainable development advisor at the Earth Institute of Columbia University. He described the encyclical as a social document, not merely an environmental manifesto, concerned with people’s relationship to God, the earth and humanity.
Elham Seyedsayamdost, researcher and developmental specialist and visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, noted that the 21st century has witnessed three times as many natural disasters documented per decade as the previous century. Most of the impact of those disasters were felt by poor people who are least responsible for growing carbon fuel pollution, which many experts see as contributing to global climate change.
John C. Mutter of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and author of The Disaster Profiteers: How Natural Disasters Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Poorer, said the Hurricane Katrina disaster, as one vivid example, fell most heavily on the poor of New Orleans. For decades those with means had established themselves in flood-free areas, he said, away from the industrial canal system that enveloped the poor neighborhoods of New Orleans with water, bringing death and destruction to thousands.

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