"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Pope Francis has announced that the Church will observe a day of prayer for the care of creation each year on September 1. He announced this in a letter to the heads of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for the promotion of Christian Unity.
The Pope's letter, dated August 6, follows.
"Sharing the concern of my beloved brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for the future of creation (cf. Laudato Si', 7-9), and at the suggestion of his representative, Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum, who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si' on care for our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation' which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on September 1, as has been the custom in the Orthodox Church for some time.
"As Christians we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, ‘the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us' (Laudato Si', 216). The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to ‘an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them' (ibid., 217). For ‘living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience' (ibid.).
"The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which He has entrusted to our care, and to implore His help for the protection of creation as well as His pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches.
"I ask you, Cardinal Turkson, as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to inform the Justice and Peace Commissions of the Bishops' Conferences, as well as the national and international organizations involved in environmental issues, of the establishment of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, so that, with due regard for local needs and situations, it can be properly celebrated with the participation of the entire People of God: priests, men, and women religious and the lay faithful. For this reason, it will be the task of your Council, in cooperation with the various Episcopal Conferences, to arrange suitable ways of publicizing and celebrating the Day, so that this annual event will become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion, and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles."I ask you, Cardinal Koch, as President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, to make the necessary contacts with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and with other ecumenical organizations so that this World Day can serve as a sign of a common journey in which all believers in Christ take part. It will also be your Council's responsibility to ensure that it is coordinated with similar initiatives undertaken by the World Council of Churches.
"In expressing my hope that, as a result of wide cooperation, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will be inaugurated and develop in the best way possible, I invoke upon this initiative the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, and of Saint Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation. As a pledge of spiritual fruitfulness, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, Eminent Brothers, and to all those who share in your ministry."
(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)
Vatican City (VIS) - This morning (June 23) in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme, "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world" (October 4-25, 2015). The speakers were: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, general rapporteur of the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; and Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, special secretary of the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
The Instrumentum Laboris, explained Cardinal Baldisseri, is divided into three parts following the structure of the Relatio Synodi, demonstrating the close link between the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, dedicated to "The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization," and the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly. The first part, entitled "Listening to the challenges of the family," relates most directly to last year's Synod, while the second, "Discernment of the family vocation," and third, "The mission of the family today," introduce the theme of the next one.
The cardinal highlighted certain novelties in the first part, which refer principally to the anthropological-cultural, socio-economic, and ecological contexts, "now happily enlightened by the new Encyclical letter Laudato si'." The challenges, he explained, are "poverty and social exclusion, old age, widowhood, bereavement in the family, disability, migration, the role of women, emotional life and education in sexuality, and bioethics."
"In the second part, "Discernment of the family vocation," the Relatio Synodi is enriched with an extension of the themes regarding natural marriage and sacramental fullness, indissolubility as a gift and a duty, family life, union and fruitfulness, the missionary dimension, faith, prayer, catechesis, the intimate bond between Church and family, the young and fear of marriage, and mercy.
"The third part, devoted to "The mission of the family today," begins with a broad-ranging reflection on the family and evangelization, and explores in depth a number of other issues such as the family as subject of pastoral ministry, nuptial liturgy, renewed language and missionary openness.
"The general secretary of the Synod of Bishops noted that it makes reference to "the family and ecclesial accompaniment, the streamlining of procedures for causes for annulment, the integration of faithful in irregular situations, the eventual introduction of a penitential route, the pastoral problems regarding mixed marriages and disparities of worship, as well as questions related to responsible procreation, reduction of births, adoption and fostering, respect for life from conception to natural end, and education of future generations.
"The reference to the economic hardship experienced by many families, who run the risk of being subject to usury, is very relevant," he added, "as is the socio-political commitment of Christians in favor of the family, also in the international context. In this regard, it would be useful to re-propose the Charter for the Rights of the Family, linked to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man."
Cardinal Baldisseri illustrated the work of the Secretariat of the Synod Council between one assembly and another, which began in November 2014 with the presentation of the "Lineamenta," composed of the Relatio Synodi and a series of 46 questions relating to the reception and deepening of this Synod document. The "Lineamenta" was sent to the synods of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, to the Episcopal Conferences, to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and others, with an invitation to respond by April 15, 2015. The Secretariat General received 99 answers from the competent bodies, along with 359 observations sent freely from dioceses, parishes, ecclesial associations, grass-roots groups of faithful, civil movements, and organizations, etc. The inter-synodal period has thus been shown to be "a valuable opportunity for listening to what the Spirit says to the Church in the plurality of her components."
Finally, with regard to the methodology of the upcoming General Assembly, it was mentioned that it is Ordinary and not Extraordinary like the previous one and, in accordance with the suggestions of the members of the Synod, "it will continue with the project of the development of the Synod taking a dynamic approach more suited to our times."
The Synod fathers reiterated the need to avoid a "long series of individual interventions, as has happened in previous Synod assemblies, to ensure that they are better distributed in the time available and not presented one after another. The importance of the Circuli Minores was noted, as was the need to maintain the principle of thematic order. Thus, the three weeks of the Synod will be divided in correspondence with the three parts of the Instrumentum Laboris. The first week will be devoted to the first part of the document, the second to the discernment of the family vocation, and the third to the mission of the family today. "At the end of the third week, time will be set aside for the preparation of the final text of the document, which will be presented to the Assembly for the final modifications, to be inserted into the text before its final approval. The method will ensure the opportunity to intervene on the part of all those entitled to do so, including at the end of the day, and will enable more time to be assigned to the Circuli Minores. It is expected that a final document will be produced and consigned to the Holy Father."
With regard to information during the Synod Assembly, the cardinal mentioned the Holy Father's affirmation that "the Synod is a space in which the Holy Spirit can act, not parliament. The Synod Fathers are invited to express themselves with parrhesia. They will be free to communicate with the media at their discretion and with responsibility."
"What we must always remember is that it's not too late to veer off the dangerous road we are on, the one that is leading us towards 4 degrees of warming," emphasized Naomi Klein. "Indeed we could still keep warming below 1.5 degrees if we made it our top collective priority. It would be difficult, to be sure. As difficult as the rationing and industrial conversions that were once made in wartime. As ambitious as the anti-poverty and public works programs launched in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Second World War. But difficult is not the same as impossible. And giving up in the face of a task that could save countless and lives prevent so much suffering - simply because it is difficult, costly and requires sacrifice from those of us who can most afford to make do with less - is not pragmatism. It is surrender of the most cowardly kind. And there is no cost-benefit analysis in the world that is capable of justifying it."
(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)
Prayer to St. Joseph
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all,with purity of intention and unselfishnesss, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain compliancy in success, so baleful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O Patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity. Amen.
Vatican City (VIS) - Unity in diversity and ecumenism of prayer, word, and blood were the key themes of the Pope's improvised address to the thousands of members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement July 4, on the occasion of their 38th National Convocation, held in Rome from July 3-4 on the theme "Ways of Unity and Peace - Voices of prayer for the martyrs of today and for a spiritual ecumenism." The encounter began at 4 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, and was attended by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, along with the Orthodox and Catholic oriental Patriarchs, Anglican and Lutheran bishops, and Pentecostal pastors.
In his address, the Pope emphasized that unity does not mean uniformity. It is not a "spherical" unity in which "every point is equidistant from the center and there is no difference between one point and another. The model is the polyhedron, which reflects the confluence of all the parts that nonetheless maintain their originality, and these are the charisms, in unity but also diversity. … The distinction is important because we are speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit, not our own. Unity in the diversity of expressions of reality, as many as the Holy Spirit has wished to inspire."
Another point the Holy Father considered very important to clarify related to those who guide. "There exists a great temptation for leaders to believe themselves indispensable, step by step to head towards authoritarianism, to personality cults, and not to allow the communities renewed in the Holy Spirit to thrive. This temptation renders 'eternal' the position of those who consider themselves indispensable. … We must be very clear that only the Holy Spirit is indispensable in the Church and Jesus is the only Lord. There are no others. … A time limit should be established for roles in the Church, which are in reality a form of service. An important service carried out by lay leaders is to facilitate the growth and the spiritual and pastoral maturity of those who will take their place at the end of their service. It would be opportune for all roles of service in the Church to have a time limit - there are no lifelong leaders in the Church."
The Holy Father asked the members of Renewal in the Holy Spirit to share with all in the Church the baptism they have received. "It is the most important service that we can give to all in the Church," he emphasized: "helping the people of God in their personal encounter with Jesus Christ, Who transforms us into new men and women, in small groups, humble but effective, because the Spirit that works within them. Do not focus on large-scale meetings that often go no further, but instead on the 'artisanal' relationships that derive from witness, in the family, at work, in social life, in parishes, in prayer groups, with everyone!"
Another strong sign of the Spirit in Charismatic Renewal is the search for unity in the Body of Christ. "You, as Charismatics, have the special grace of praying and working for Christian unity, so that the current of grace flows through all Christian Churches. Christian unity is the work of the Holy Spirit and we must pray together. … We have all received the same baptism, we all follow Jesus' path. … We have all caused these divisions throughout history, for different reasons, but not good ones. But now is the time that the Spirit makes us think that these divisions are a sort of 'counter-witness,' and we must do all we can to walk side by side: spiritual ecumenism, the ecumenism of prayer."
There is also another form of unity: "the unity of the blood of martyrs, that makes us one. There is the ecumenism of blood. We know that those who kill Christians in hatred of Jesus Christ, before killing, do not ask: 'But are you a Lutheran, Orthodox, Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist?' They say, 'You are Christian', and behead them. … Fifty years ago, Blessed Paul VI, during the canonization of the young martyrs of Uganda, referred to the fact that for the same reason the blood of their Anglican companion catechists had been shed. They were Christians, they were martyrs. Forgive me, and do not be scandalized, but they are our martyrs! Because they gave their lives for Christ, and this is ecumenism of blood. We must pray in memory of our common martyrs."
Finally, there is "unity in work with the poor and the needy, who also need baptism in the Holy Spirit. It would be good to organize seminars on life in the Spirit, along with other Christian charismatic entities, for those brothers and sisters who live on the streets: they too have the Spirit within them that pushes for someone to throw open the door from outside."
Before imparting his final blessing, the Pope invited those present to go forth and preach the good news of Jesus "to the poor, to the marginalized, the blind, the sick, the imprisoned, to all men and women. In each one of them there is the Spirit, Who wants to be helped to throw open the door so as to be revived. May the Lord accompany you in this mission, always with the Bible in your hand, always with the Gospel in your pocket, with the Word of Christ."
(Source: Vatican Information Service)
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention recently reported the proportion of 15- to 24-year-olds who have had some kind of sex dropped in the past decade from 78% to about 72%. The study found that 44% of females and 47% of males in the 15- to 19-year-old age group reported having had sex between 2011 and 2013,much lower than in 1988 when 51% of females and 60% of males in this age group reported having had sex.
Experts think an emphasis on abstinence in sex education or concern about sexually transmitted diseases may have played a role in the decrease. it may, however, quite possibly be celebrity endorsement of waiting until marriage for sex.
Waiting Till Marriage's stated mission is "to help those who wait through the unique challenges and hurdles that come with this path." Although the ratio of women-to-men is about two-to-one, they have "waiters" from all the major faiths and even some "nones" (those with no religious affiliation). They have WTMers from every English-speaking country.
The site, waitingtillmarriage.org, currently gets about 56,000 unique visitors a month, and that is growing at a rate of about 5% per month. It has articles on the advantages of waiting, The Waiting Till Marriage Survival Guide, WTM wristbands, videos, songs, a forum, and even "Sexless in the City" and links to other abstinence sites. It devotes a whole section of the website to the witnesses of such celebrities who have or are still waiting until marriage for the marital embrace.
Several are known from television, Megan Alexander, the host of "Inside Edition," who recently "came out" as a virgin, produced a special segment on herself and her decision to wait until marriage. Reality star Angela Zatopek says, "I am hoping to break the stereotype that just because you are waiting until marriage, it doesn't mean you can't have a passionate relationship that's not sexy. You can still have that type of relationship and still wait for the right person."
In the 3rd grade, Chelsie Hightower started as the worst dancer in the class, and the slowest learner. Today she's the star of shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "so You Think You Can Dance." Meagan Good started her acting career at age four as an extra on Doogie Howser M.D. She waiting until finding her perfect match in DeVon Franklin, a studio executive and preacher. Tamera Mowry appeared in the hit TV shows "Sister Sister" and "Tia & Tamera." Several years before their wedding, Tamera Mowry and her husband Adam Housley decided as a couple to wait until marriage.
Best known as simply "The Doritos Girl," former Miss USA Ali Landry made Mexican Director Alejandro Monteverde wait. They are now happily married with two beautiful children.
On "Grey's Anatomy," Sara Drew played Dr. April Kepner, a highly religious character who fails at being a born-again virgin. In real life she and her husband, a UCLA professor, did wait until marriage.
From the sports world, there has been Prince Amukamara, a real Nigerian prince whose first name actually is "Prince." He's also the top cornerback for the New York Giants and waiting until marriage. Collin Klein, the starting quarterback for the Kansas State Wildcats, and his wife Shalin are devout Christians. They didn't date formally until they were engaged, and didn't kiss until they were at the altar.
Philip Rivers has proven himself in both basketball and football. Throughout his athletic career, Rivers has been outspoken about his faith and his decision to wait until marriage. Pro basketball player "Iron Man" A.C. Green took up the cause of waiting until marriage. He waited until he married at 38.
Contemporary Christian singer Jamie Grace has released several albums and EPs, won the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year, and starred in the movie "Grace Unplugged." Beginning her singing career at 13, Rebecca St. James waiting until her wedding at 33. The Christian Rock band Barlow Girl, sisters Becca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow, decided not to date until courted for marriage.
Pattie Mallette decided, after two decades of sexual abuse, rape, drugs, and petty crime, to turn her life around the day she gave birth to her son Justin Bieber. She promised herself that she would not date again until her son turned 18, and would not have sex again until she was married.
From film there is Cheryl McKay, an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter and Christian novelist. She shares about waiting till marriage, writing, and her latest book, Finally the Bride. Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker who happens to have no arms and no legs doesn't stop him from achieving his dreams. He stars in the award-winning short film "The Butterfly Circus," and directs his own non-profit organization. Nick is also a successful waiter-till-marriage.
Julia Carolyn McWilliams, better known as Julia Child, was a beloved wife, chef, author, Emmy award winning television personality and research operative within an international spy ring. She waited until 36 when she married her husband Paul.
Legendary inventor Nikola Telsa was also a lifelong virgin. He is an inspiring example of what people can accomplish when they dedicate themselves fully to their creative pursuits and ignore everything else.
Adande Thorne, "Swoozie," is a professional gamer and creator of an extremely popular YouTube channel, where he dramatizes stories from his life. He's waiting till marriage, and frequently applies his storytelling talents to talk about waiting. Shay Butler and his wife Collete, nicknamed "Katilette," run one of the largest video blogs on the web and waiting until marriage.
For nearly a decade Lakita Garth has been promoting abstinence, including as a regular guest on "Politically Incorrect" with Bill Maher. She also practiced what she preached, kissing her husband for the first time at their wedding.
Kirk Cameron started as a young atheist on the hit show "Growing Pains," but now creates movies about faith and family. He waited until he married his wife at age 20.
Adrina Lima is such a popular supermodel, the Urban Dictionary defines the term "adriana lima" as "someone beyond perfection." She waited until her marriage at 27.
In Recall Abortion, by Janet Morana, two points are brought to mind that few people know, mainly products and the Pill.
On page thirty-two (32) it is stated that in 1972 Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission which began its oversight of consumer products the following year — the same year abortion became legal. Tens of thousands of medications and products have been recalled since then, as mentioned on page thirty-three (33) — bagged spinach, peanut butter, lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, baby formula, Dalkon Shield. What I want to point? Something on page thirty-four (34) ... full-term babies are still torn limb from limb in a procedure known as a dismemberment abortion.
On page thirty-five (35), we learn that our priorities are askew. Abortion kills babies and harms women physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Morana wants people to rethink the abortion policy. We should recall abortion.
"Contraception is one thing, abortion quite another, right? Wrong." (152) "The Pill often acts as an abortifacient, failing to prevent conception by not allowing the fertilized egg (a baby) to implant on the uterine wall." (154) so, a woman might have numerous abortions without even knowing. "No unplanned pregnancies no abortion. Problem solved. Right? Wrong." (145)
"There is ample evidence that the Pill is behind a host of health problems ranging from some as benign as weight gain to some severe as fatal blood clots. While those who profit from the sale continuing to deny any harm, such as Planned Parenthood." (149) "Many people believe that the Pill is an alternative to abortion" (145) "The Pill attempts to remove consequences from actions. It attempts to eliminate children from the act that creates children." (154) "Morana claims feeling personally guilty about the potential lives she snuffed out by her contraceptive habits." (157)
Janet Morana is Executive Director of Priests For Life. This might be a forgotten book, an unpopular book. I hope you look for it as your local library.
Pope Francis addressed a July 21 meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of sciences. The theme of the meeting was "Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities." The Pope signed the final declaration at the end of the meeting.
Pope Frances states: "I offer you my sincere and heartfelt thanks for the work that you have done. It's true that it has all revolved around the theme of looking after the environment, this culture of care for the environment. However this culture of care for the environment is not simply a ‘green' — I say it in the true sense of the word — attitude, it isn't just a ‘green' attitude, it's much more than that. Taking care of the environment means having an attitude of human ecology. That is, we cannot say that mankind is here and Creation, the environment, is there. Ecology is total, it's human. This is what I sought to express in the Encyclical Laudato Si': man cannot be separated from the rest; there is a relationship which is reciprocally influential, both the environment on the person, and the person in a way which affects the environment; and the effect bounces back to man when the environment is mistreated. For this reason, in response to a question I was asked I said: ‘No, it's not a "green" encyclical, it's a social encyclical.' For in society, in the social life of mankind, we cannot forget to take care of the environment. Moreover, looking after the environment is a social attitude, which socializes us, in one sense or another — each person can give it the meaning he chooses — on the other hand, it enables us to welcome — I like the Italian expression, when they speak of the environment — Creation, what we are given as a gift, namely, the environment.
"On the other hand, why this invitation — which seems to me to have been a very fruitful idea of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, of Bishop Sánchez Sorondo — inviting the mayors of cities both large and not-so-large, why invite them here to talk about this? Because one of the most notable things when the environment, when creation isn't looked after, is the unfettered growth of cities. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It is as if the heads, the big cities, made themselves large, but each time with greater areas of poverty and misery, where the people suffer the effects of environmental neglect. The phenomenon of migration is included in this sense. Why do people come to the big cities, to the poverty belts of big cities — the shanty towns, slums, and favelas? Why do they do this? It is simply because the rural world doesn't offer them opportunities. One point that is made in the Encyclical — and with all due respect, but it must be denounced — is the idolatry of technocracy. Technocracy leads to the destruction of jobs, it creates unemployment. The phenomena of unemployment are widespread and people are forced to emigrate, seeking new horizons. The high number of unemployed people is alarming. I don't have the statistics at hand, but in a few European countries, especially among young people, youth unemployment — of those aged 25 years and under — is higher than 40 percent and in some cases even 50 percent. Between 40, 47 — I'm thinking of other countries — and 50 [percent]. I am thinking of other serious statistics given by heads of state, directly by heads of state. Projecting into the future, this makes us see a ghost, in other words, an unemployed body of youth which, today, is offered what horizon and what future? What is left for these young people: addiction, boredom, not knowing what to do with one's life — a very hard life without meaning, youth suicide — the statistics on suicide among young people have not been published in their entirety — or searching for an ideal life under other horizons, even in guerilla projects.
"On the other hand, health is at stake. The multitude of ‘rare diseases,' as they are called, comes from many elements used to fertilize fields — or who knows, no one yet understands the cause — however they come from excessive technicization. One of the greatest problems at issue relates to oxygen and water. Namely, the decertification of large areas through deforestation. Next to me is the Cardinal Archbishop representing the Brazilian Amazon, who can tell us what deforestation means today in the Amazon, which is the world's lungs. Congo and Amazonia are the world's great lungs. The deforestation in my homeland for several years — eight, nine years — reminds me that the Federal Government began a process in one province to stop the deforestation that was impacting the population.
"What happens when all these phenomena of excessive technicization, without caring for the environment, in addition to natural phenomena, affect migration? Unemployment and then human trafficking. Illegal work, without contracts, working ‘under the table' is occurring more and more frequently. How it has increased! Illegal work is truly pervasive, and this means that people don't earn enough to live. This can lead to criminal behavior all the problems that occur in large cities due to these migrations caused by excessive technicization. I refer in particular to the agricultural environment and also to human trafficking in the mining industry. Slavery in mines is a major issue. It involves the use of certain elements in the treatment of minerals — arsenic, cyanide which cause diseases in the population. There is a very great responsibility in this. It all bounces back, it all turns around, everything has a rebound affect against the person himself. It can include human trafficking for purposes of slave labor or prostitution — sources of work to enable survival today.
"This is why I am pleased that you have reflected on these phenomena — I have mentioned merely a few — impacting the large cities. Finally, I would say that this requires the involvement of the United Nations. I have high hope that the Paris summit this November will lead to a basic and fundamental agreement. I am very hopeful. However, the United Nations must take greater interest in this phenomenon, especially in human trafficking caused by environmental issues, this exploitation of people.
"Several months ago I received a delegation from the United Nations, of women involved with the issue of the sexual exploitation of children in countries at war — children as an object of exploitation. This is another phenomenon. Wars are another element contributing to environmental imbalance.
"I would like to conclude with a reflection which isn't mine but which is from the theologian and philosopher Romano Guardini. He speaks of two forms of ignorance: the ignorance that God gave us, to be transformed into culture, which is why He gave us the mandate to care for, make fruitful, and have dominion over the earth; the second form of ignorance, when man fails to respect this relationship with the earth, and doesn't look after it — it's very clear in the biblical account, it's a mystical sort of reading. When he does not look after it, man falls prey to this second form of ignorance and steers the earth off its intended course. It is ignorance, that is to say, man changing its course, losing control of it, thus giving rise to a second form of ignorance. Atomic energy is good, it can be helpful. Up to a point it's okay, but let's think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In other words, disaster and destruction are created, to give a longstanding example. Today, in all forms of ignorance, as in those which you have considered, this second form of ignorance is what is destroying man. In a ‘midrash,' a mediaeval rabbi from about the time of St. Thomas Aquinas — perhaps someone has heard me speak about him — explained the problem of the Tower of Babel to his ‘parishioners' in the Synagogue. He said that building the Tower of Babel took a lot of time and work, especially in making the bricks. It called for preparing mud, finding hay, baling it, cutting it, drying it, then putting it in the oven, baking.... Each brick was like a gem, they were really valuable. They carried the bricks up to place them on the tower. When a brick fell it was a very serious problem, and the culprit who had neglected his work and dropped the brick was punished. When a construction worker fell, nothing would happen. This is the tragedy of the second form of ignorance: man as creator of ignorance rather than culture; man as creator of ignorance because he doesn't care for the environment.
"Why did the Pontifical Academy of Sciences convoke the officials, mayors, and superintendents of cities? It's because this awareness comes from the center toward the peripheries, while the most serious and profound work is starts at the peripheries and moves toward the center; in other words, from you to the conscience of humanity. The Holy See, or this country, or that one, can deliver a good speech before the United Nations, but unless the work moves from the peripheries to the center it will have no effect; hence the responsibility of city officials, mayors, and superintendents.
"For this reason I am most grateful that you have come together as the peripheries, taking this issue very seriously. Each of you, within your own city, has problems like those I mentioned, and you must govern and resolve them, and so on. I thank you for your cooperation. Bishop Sánchez Sorondo told me that many of you gave speeches and that all this is most valuable.
"I thank you and I ask the Lord to give us the grace that we may raise awareness of this problem of destruction that we ourselves propel through our lack of an ecological awareness such as that given to us in the beginning, in order to transform the first form of ignorance into culture; to stop there and not transform this culture into ignorance..."
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
vatican city — Vatican Radio reports that Pope Francis has announced the theme of the Message for the Church's 49th World Day of Peace that will be celebrated on January 1, 2016 is: Overcome Indifference and Win Peace.
A communique released by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace which explains why the Pope chose this theme for the 2016 World Day of Peace follows:
Overcome Indifference and win Peace will be the title of the Message for the 49th World Day of Peace, the third of the papacy of Pope Francis. Indifference in regard to the scourges of our time is one of the fundamental causes of the lack of peace. Today, indifference is often linked to various forms of individualism which cause isolation, ignorance, selfishness and, therefore, lack of interest and commitment. Increase of information does not mean per se an increase of attention to the problems, if it is not accompanied by solidarity-based openness of conscience. To this end, it is essential the contribution that can provide-besides the family-educators, teachers, people of culture, media practitioners, intellectuals, and artists. Indifference can be won only responding together to this challenge.
Peace is to be worked at: it is not something that one gains without efforts, without conversion of mind and heart, without a sense of creativity and positive engagement in discussion. Such an action must urgently have recourse to build a sense of responsibility and awareness creation about the serious problems and challenges afflicting our time, such as, fundamentalism, intolerance, and massacres, persecutions on account of faith and ethnicity, disregard for freedom and the destruction of the rights of entire peoples, the exploitation of human beings submitted even to the different forms of slavery, corruption and organized crime, war and the plight of refugees and forcibly displaced persons. Such training and awareness creation should seek, at the same time, also opportunities and possibilities to fight these evils: the creation of a culture of law, education in dialogue, and co-operation are, in this context, the fundamental forms of a constructive response.
The field for daily peace-building, overcoming indifference, is located in different forms of slavery of nowadays' world, on which was dedicated The Message for the January 1, 2015: No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters. We should continue this commitment with heightened conscience and cooperation.
Peace is possible where the rights of every human being are recognized and respected, heard and known, according to freedom and justice. The Message for 2016 aims to be a starting point for all people of good will, particularly those who work in the education, media, culture, each one acting according to their possibilities and according to their best aspirations to build together a more conscious and merciful, and, therefore, more free and fair world.
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Seán O'Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responded, July 29, to recent videos showing leaders from Planned Parenthood discussing the provision of fetal organs, tissues, and body parts from their abortion clinics.
Cardinal O'Malley's statement follows:
Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a "widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many." The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society. The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues through abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human life. This fact should be the center of attention in the present public controversy.
If the Planned Parenthood news coverage has caused anyone to experience revived trauma from their own involvement in abortion, be assured that any and all persons will be welcomed with compassion and assistance through the Church's post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel. If you or someone you know would like confidential, nonjudgmental help, please visit www.projectrachel.com.
(Source: USCCB press release)
Vatican City (VIS) - "A blessing to one another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People" is the title of an exhibition in the Vatican (Charlemagne Wing, July 29 to September 17), previously displayed in a number of state capitals in the U.S.A., where it received more than a million visitors.
The exhibition, presented as a gift to John Paul II for his 85th birthday, was inaugurated at the Xavier University of Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 18, 2005, just a month after the Pope's death. It then arrived in Rome, and while in Europe its organizers wanted it to visit Krakow, the Polish city where Karol Wojtyla was archbishop.
"A blessing to one another" describes the steps the Pontiff took to improve the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, and reflects the continuing relevance of the conciliar declaration "Nostra Aetate," issued fifty years ago, in which the Catholic Church expresses her appreciation for other religions and reaffirms the principals of universal fraternity, love, and non-discrimination.
Funded by various universities and private individuals and bodies who see interreligious dialogue as a source of progress for humanity, the exhibition narrates John Paul II's relations with those whom he defined during his historic visit to the synagogue of Rome on April 13, 1986 as "our elder brothers." It is divided into four sections and consists of photographs, videos, recordings, and other interactive sources.
The first section illustrates Karol Wojtyla's early years in his birthplace Wadowice, what would become a lifelong friendship with the young Jew Jerzy Kluger, and the relations between Catholics and Jews in Poland during the decade 1920 to 1930. The second section is dedicated to the Pope's university years in Krakow, and his work not far from his friends in the Ghetto who knew the horrors of the Shoah. The third describes his priestly and episcopal life, Vatican Council II and the change of direction it represented in relations between Jews and Christians, and the close link between the cardinal archbishop of Krakow and the Jewish community in his archdiocese.
The final section considers the figure of Wojtyla as the Successor of Peter, his visit to the Synagogue of Rome, and his trip to Israel in the year 2000 when he left a prayer in the Western Wall asking for divine forgiveness for the treatment that Jews had received in the past and reaffirming the Church's commitment to a path of fraternal continuity with the People of the Covenant. Visitors to "A blessing to one another" are invited to write a prayer to be placed in a reproduction of the Wall. They will be gathered and deposited in the Western Wall without being read.
(Source: Vatican Information Service)
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
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