Catholic News Agency: Vatican

Pope to Armenian Church: “Let us race towards full communion!”

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 25, 2016
Yerevan, Jun 25, 2016 / 10:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Working toward full communion is a project of love, humility and peace, Pope Francis told Armenian Orthodox leaders gathered at an ecumenical meeting on Saturday. “With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already taken us far, and we look confidently towards the day when by God’s help we shall be united around the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the fullness of Eucharistic communion,” he said. About 95 percent of Armenia’s 3 million people practice Christianity. Of those Christians, about 92 percent belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches. Pope Francis, together with the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos Karekin II, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, offered prayers and remarks on peace and unity in the Armenian city of Yerevan during the Holy Father’s visit to the country. “On this journey, we hav

Faith is not a museum piece, Pope says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 25, 2016
Gyumri, Armenia, Jun 25, 2016 / 03:40 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During the first major Mass of his three-day visit to Armenia, Pope Francis said faith is not a thing of the past, like an artifact in a museum. Rather, it is kept alive through continuous encounters with Christ. Faith “is born and reborn from a life-giving encounter with Jesus, from experiencing how his mercy illumines every situation in our lives,” the Pope said during his June 25 homily in the northwestern city of Gyurmi. The pontiff warned against the temptation to reduce faith to something that belongs in the past, as if it “were a beautiful illuminated book to be kept in a museum.” “Once it is locked up in the archives of history, faith loses its power to transform, its living beauty, its positive openness to all,” he said. The Pope acknowledged the faith of the people of Armenia, the first country to embrace Christianity, and the site of a bloody persecution against Christians 100

'Spirit of Ecumenism' helps promote Christian witness, Pope says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 24, 2016
Yerevan, Jun 24, 2016 / 07:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Praying at the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the start of his three-day visit to the Caucasus nation, Pope Francis praised the “spirit of ecumenism,” and its role in promoting human dignity against “grave forms of material and spiritual poverty.” “We offer to the world – which so urgently needs it – a convincing witness that Christ is alive and at work, capable of opening new paths of reconciliation among the nations, civilizations and religions,” the Pope said Friday. “We offer a credible witness that God is love and mercy.” The Pope made these remarks during his visit to the St. Etchmiadzin cathedral at the invitation of Karekin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is believed to be the oldest cathedral in the world. The Armenian Apostolic Church, Armenia's national church, is an Oriental Orthodox Church to which 93 percent of

Pope Francis: Europe must ensure peaceful coexistence after Brexit

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 24, 2016
Yerevan, Jun 24, 2016 / 05:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has said the result of the U.K.’s referendum to leave the European Union reflects the “will of the people” and that there is now a “great responsibility” to ensure the well being of people in the U.K. and peaceful coexistence on continental Europe. Addressing reporters on the papal plane to Armenia, the Holy Father said he had only read basic information about the result of the vote just before leaving Rome, but said he felt it was “the will of the people”. “It demands great responsibility on our part,” he said, “to ensure the well being of the people in the United Kingdom, and the coexistence of the people on the European continent. So I wait.” The U.K. voted yesterday in a referendum to leave the European Union after 43 years as a member of the economic-political bloc. Before addressing the “Brexit” vote, the Pope also shared his reaction t

There's no excuse for it: Pope Francis on the death penalty

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 22, 2016
Vatican City, Jun 22, 2016 / 04:37 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a video message sent Wednesday to a gathering of advocates for abolition of the death penalty, Pope Francis welcomed their efforts as a way to promote the right to life of all persons. “Nowadays the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person,” the Pope said in his June 22 message to the Sixth World Congress against the Death Penalty, which is being held in Oslo this week. More than 1,000 people are in attendance from governments, international organizations, and society. Capital punishment “is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person,” Pope Francis continued. “It likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice.” He expressed his “personal appreciation” to the participants for their “commitment to a world free of the death penalty.” That “publi

A martyr of the French revolution is almost a saint

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 22, 2016
Vatican City, Jun 22, 2016 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In just two days in early September of 1792, approximately 1,200 people were slaughtered by revolutionaries in France. Of the dead, approximately 200 were Roman Catholic priests and religious, most of whom were killed on Sept. 2 in the garden of a Carmelite monastery which had been captured and turned into a prison. On October 16, Pope Francis will canonize one of them – Blessed Solomon Leclercq. Blessed Solomon Leclercq was born Guillaume-Nicolas-Louis in Boulogne, France in 1745, the son of a wealthy wine merchant. In 1767, at 21 years old, he entered the novitiate of the Lasallian Brothers of the Christian Schools, a teaching order founded by Saint John Baptist de La Salle, and took the religious name Solomon. During his time in the community, he served as a teacher, as a director of novices, as a bursar for a school, and eventually as secretary to Brother Agathon, the Superior General of the order. He was known for

Pope delivers weekly catechesis alongside his 'brother' refugees

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 22, 2016
Vatican City, Jun 22, 2016 / 05:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Joined closely by just over a dozen refugees at his weekly public audience, Pope Francis said that in following Jesus’ example, the Christian excludes no one. “Jesus teaches us not to be afraid of touching the poor and the excluded, because he is in them,” said the Pope during his Wednesday audience catechesis in St. Peter’s Square. Just minutes prior to the pontiff’s arrival, after making the rounds in the Popemobile to bless and greet those present, he spontaneously invited 13 young refugees to join him on the stage before the public. They caught his attention with a banner that read “Refugees for a future together.”   As they sat cross-legged in a row, divided into groups on either side of him for the duration of the hour-long audience, Pope Francis referred to them as family. “They are our refugees, but so many consider them as excluded. Please, they are our brothers,&rd

The world needs Christ more than ever, Pope Francis says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 19, 2016
Vatican City, Jun 19, 2016 / 05:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis said that with a growing sense of emptiness and insecurity gripping the world, Jesus Christ is needed more than ever before, since he alone knows how to answer humanity’s deepest questions. “The world needs Christ more than ever, needs his salvation and his merciful love,” the Pope said June 19. “Many people sense a void around and inside of them. Perhaps some of us too,” he said, noting that others “live in restlessness and insecurity because of precariousness and conflict.” Each person needs to have “adequate responses” to their deepest existential questions, he said, explaining that since “Jesus knows the heart of man like no other,” he is able to heal and to give life and consolation to humanity. Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address, which fell on same day as the opening of

Christian persecution extends beyond genocide, Pope says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 19, 2016
Rome, Italy, Jun 18, 2016 / 06:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-   In a wide-ranging question and answer session on Saturday, Pope Francis said it is “reductionism” to describe the violence against Christians in the world; the correct word, he said, is persecution. “I want to say clearly, I do not like it when one speaks of a genocide of Christians, for instance in the Middle East,” the Pope said. “This is reductionism! The truth is a persecution which leads Christians to have fidelity to the consistency of their faith.” This “sociological reductionism” does not apply to “that which is a mystery of the faith, the martyr!” Francis made this remarks during his June 18 visit to the Villa Nazareth University College in Rome, during which he answered seven questions put to him by students on topics ranging from Christian persecution, to the economy, to being witnesses of the Gospel message. Addressing the issue of persecution dur

Pope: Authentic conversion only comes from Christ

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: June 18, 2016
Vatican City, Jun 18, 2016 / 06:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Recognizing the needs of others is a sign of genuine conversion, which only happens when the heart is ready to be changed by Jesus, Pope Francis said Saturday. “True conversion happens when we welcome the gift of grace,” the Pope said during his catechesis for this month’s Jubilee Year of Mercy audience in St. Peter's Square. “A clear sign of its authenticity is that we recognize the needs of our brothers and sisters, and we are ready to meet them.” In off-the-cuff remarks, the pontiff spoke of the challenge many feel in the face of this need for conversion, and how only Jesus can bring about real change. “How often do we tell ourselves: I must change, I cannot continue like this. On this path, my life will not bear fruit. It will be a useless life, and I will not be happy.” “And Jesus is beside us with hand outstretched,” the pontiff said, and he tells us: “Come