Catholic News Agency: Vatican

Pope calls Christians to be 'living stones' of the Church

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 24, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 24, 2014 / 04:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily for Mass at the Santa Marta residence on Oct. 24, Pope Francis reflected on the call of Christians to perpetuate unity in the Church by being “living stones” built upon the “cornerstone of Christ.” This creating of unity in the Church, the Pope said, recounting the reading from Saint Paul to the Philippians, “is the work of the Church and of every Christian throughout history.” In addition, the Holy Father cited the Apostle Peter, who contrasts the Church – “a temple made of living stone” – with the Tower of Babel, which he described as the “temple of pride.” The first temple creates “unity,” he said, whereas the second symbolizes disunity and misunderstanding. The task of every Christian, Pope Francis said, is “to create unity in the Church,” the temple built upon Jesus, who is the “cornerstone”. J

How a reproductive health pioneer became an 'instant convert' reading Humanae Vitae

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 23, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 23, 2014 / 11:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As founders of an institute studying reproductive healthcare, Thomas and Susan Hilgers have seen the benefits that natural family planning can offer in the realms of health, sexuality and human relationships. But the couple was not always focused on advocating Church teaching on sexuality and family planning. Their years of dedication to the subject were largely inspired by reading Blessed Pope Paul VI’s “Humanae Vitae” and later St. John Paul II’s “Familiaris Consortio,” documents that they say bring “great hope and joy to the people to utilize them.” “This whole concept is rich. I said in another place we should be shouting out from the mountain tops as a Church, we shouldn’t be crawling under like it’s something we have to be embarrassed by,” Dr. Thomas Hilgers told CNA on Oct. 15. The Hilgers were present in Rome for the Oct. 19 beatification of P

How do we praise God? Pray like Saint Paul, Pope Francis says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 23, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 23, 2014 / 05:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily on Thursday Pope Francis said that no one has the strength to be a Christian without the Holy Spirit, and encouraged attendees to imitate St. Paul in praying to him with praise and adoration. “This is a mystical experience of Paul and it teaches us the prayer of praise and the prayer of adoration…he says to the Father: ‘thank you, because you are able to do what we do not dare to think.’ It is a beautiful prayer, a beautiful prayer,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican’s St. Martha house on Oct. 23. The Roman Pontiff continued to reflect on the third chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, which has been the source of the liturgy’s first readings the past few days. In his letter, the apostle describes an encounter with Jesus that “led him to leave everything behind (because) he was in love with Christ,” the Pope observed, saying that

Ecumenical dialogue in the spotlight as Pope's Turkey trip approaches

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 22, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 22, 2014 / 01:57 pm (CNA).- The cardinal heading the Church’s council for Christian Unity has expressed his hope that Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Turkey will help strengthen existing Catholic-Orthodox relations. “The ecumenical vision of the patriarch is very helpful for me because we have some tendencies in the dialogue to avoid the theological questions and to handle other questions,” Cardinal Kurt Koch told CNA Oct. 22. “His holiness, the patriarch, helped me to sustain that we have (the need) for theological dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, (and) in this sense I think this visit can deepen our relationships,” he observed. Cardinal Koch, who serves as the current president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, made his comments the day after the Vatican’s release of Pope Francis’ official itinerary for the trip. The trip will take place Nov. 28-30, and fa

Refugees, displaced take center stage at Middle East consistory

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 22, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 22, 2014 / 12:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At Monday's consistory on the Middle East, patriarchs gathered to discuss the threats facing local Christians, and focused on the key task of returning displaced families to their homes. “We are suffering … we feel that we are isolated and that we are forgotten,” Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, told CNA after the Oct. 20 consistory. “I asked the Pope to send a message to Christians, to encourage them to stay home, to keep their hope, and maybe also to visit displaced families to encourage them to stay and not to leave their homes, and to have patience to persevere.” The Syrian civil war has forced 3 million Syrians, of all religions, to become refugees, with an additional 6.5 million internally displaced. And in Iraq, since the rise of the Islamic State, there are more than 1.8 million internally displaced persons. Cardinals and patriarchs from the Middle East, to

The Pope's advice on how to overcome jealousy and pride

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 22, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 22, 2014 / 10:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his weekly address for the Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis offered advice on fighting those tendencies which “dismember” the Body of Christ, such as jealousy and feelings of superiority. “A jealous heart is a bitter heart, a heart that instead of blood seems to have vinegar, eh! It is a heart that is never happy, it is a heart that disrupts the community,” he told tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square on Oct. 22 “When I am jealous, I must say to the Lord: 'Thank you, Lord, for you have given this to that person'.” Pope Francis stressed the importance of “expressing gratitude for everything,” saying that we are sometimes “held back” from saying “thank you” because of jealousy. He also warned against feelings of superiority over others. “This is bad, do not do that! When you are tempted to this,

Pope Francis: Christ restores peace by breaking walls of division

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 21, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 21, 2014 / 10:30 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christ wants to see us reconciled rather than living as enemies, Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass on Tuesday, explaining that a true Christian lives with this hope. “We all know that when we are not in peace with others, there is a wall. There is a wall that divides us. But Jesus offers us his service to break down this wall so we can meet,” the Roman Pontiff told those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha residence chapel for his Oct. 21 Mass. The Pope centered his reflections on the day’s readings, taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and the Gospel of Luke. Quoting from the Gospel passage, the Roman Pontiff said, “blessed are the servants who await their master’s return from a wedding with lighted lamps.” In the biblical scene following the day’s passage, Christ speaks of how the disciples should prepare for his return like servants who, knowing th

Vatican releases details for Pope Francis' visit to Turkey

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 21, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 21, 2014 / 07:52 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In response to an invitation sent by Patriarch Bartolomeo I of Constantinople, Pope Francis will make a three-day trip to Turkey, during which he will visit the cities of Ankara and Istanbul. Announced in September following the reception of an official letter of invitation signed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the trip will take place Nov. 28-30, and falls just days after Pope Francis’ Nov. 25 address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The visit was largely made in response to an invitation sent to Pope Francis by Patriarch Bartolomeo I asking him to participate in the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew, who is the founder of the Eastern Church and patron of the Orthodox world. In stark contrast with his previous trips, usually packed with various liturgies, audiences and meetings with diverse groups of people, Pope Francis is keeping his schedule light, and will only give 3 public speeches,

The Passion of Blessed Paul VI - 'Humanae vitae'

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 21, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 21, 2014 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Francesco di Felice worked at the Secretariat of State during the pontificate of Bl. Paul VI, and recently recounted the story behind the blessed Pope's 1968 encyclical which was received with widespread dissent. In drafting Humanae vitae, his encyclical on the regulation of birth, Bl. Paul VI studied the work began by St. John XXIII, who created a “commission for the study of population problems, the family, and births” in order to have a better understanding of the effects of contraceptives, Fr. di Felice told CNA. Hormonal contraceptives having been introduced in 1960, in March 1963 – three months before his death – St. John XXIII established a Pontifical Commission on Birth Control to, as Bl. Paul VI wrote in his encyclical, “examine views and opinions concerning married life, and especially on the correct regulation of births” and “to provide the teaching authority of

A Middle East without Christians - cardinals consider sad prospect

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: October 20, 2014
Vatican City, Oct 20, 2014 / 10:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Monday's consistory of cardinals focused on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, especially in light of the rise of the Islamic State, and it also decided on two causes for canonization. Cardinals and patriarchs from the Middle East together with top officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State and interested dicasteries attended the Oct. 20 summit with the Pope, which was called a ‘public ordinary consistory’. A consistory is a meeting of cardinals which can be public, semi-public or secret. During a consistory, new cardinals may be created, or it is possible to vote for cause of canonization, or to discuss of topics of general concern. Initially set in order to proceed with the causes of canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, the consistory schedule was enlarged by Pope Francis, who wanted it to be dedicated to the discussion of the plight of Christia