Catholic News Agency: Vatican

Christian identity comes from Holy Spirit, not 'theology degrees'

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: September 2, 2014
Vatican City, Sep 2, 2014 / 09:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Christian earns his ability to speak with authority from the Holy Spirit, not from a theology degree, Pope Francis said during his daily Mass at the Vatican's Saint Martha Residence Sept. 2. Reflecting on the Gospel reading for the day, the Pope noted how those who heard Jesus were amazed by his teaching because his word “had authority.” Jesus was not a “commonplace preacher,” the Holy Father said, because his “authority” came from a “special anointing of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus is the “Son of God, anointed and sent out” to “bring salvation, to bring freedom.” Pope Francis added that there were those who were “scandalized” by his style of preaching. “We, too, can ask ourselves: what is our identity as Christians?” Turning to the first reading off the day, the Pope cited Saint Paul, saying that we do not speak of these t

Faith is rooted in God - not human approval, Pope Francis says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: September 1, 2014
Vatican City, Sep 1, 2014 / 10:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Faith is not founded upon human wisdom, but on the power of God, as made manifest in the Gospel. This was one of the main themes of Pope Francis' homily on Monday morning, resuming daily Mass at the Santa Marta residence following the summer holidays. Addressing the congregation, the Pope said that we do not read the Gospel simply to learn, but to find Jesus. This is “because Jesus is truly in His Word, in His Gospel.” One ought to receive the Word “as one receives Christ: that is, with an open heart, with a humble heart, with the spirit of the Beatitudes, because Jesus came in this way, in humility. He came in poverty. He came with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.” “The Word of God is Jesus,” the Pope said, adding that Jesus “is a source of scandal. The Cross of Christ scandalizes.” “This is the strength of the Word of God: Jesus Christ, the Lord. And how must

Pope Francis to Iraqi priest: I'll never leave or forget you

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: September 1, 2014
Vatican City, Sep 1, 2014 / 09:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After sending a letter to Pope Francis on the plight Iraqi refugees fleeing ISIS violence, Fr. Behnam Benoka received a phone call from the pontiff who gave his blessing and assured of his prayers.   “'I read your letter,' said the Pope. He said he was very sorry for everything that was happening to us and he said, 'Know that I am with you in prayer always. I never forget you,'” Fr. Benoka told CNA Aug. 31. Pope Francis told him, “I've personally sent Cardinal Filoni to check on the situation there for me. Tell everyone that Pope Francis called you. I never forget you and I’ll never leave you,” the priest added. Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited Erbil as Pope Francis' personal envoy from Aug. 12-20. Fr. Benoka is currently running a make-shift clinic in Ankawa, Iraq, near Erbil, which he formed follow

Pope: When we become worldly, we lose Christian flavor

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 31, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 31, 2014 / 09:39 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians must avoid the temptation to conform to the world, Pope Francis cautioned Aug. 31, stressing that they should instead allow their faith to transform the world around them. “Christians live in the world, fully integrated into the social and cultural reality of our time, and rightly so,” the Pope said in his reflection at the Sunday Angelus. However, “this carries with it the risk that we might become 'worldly', that 'the salt might lose its flavor',” as the Gospel of Matthew warns. Pope Francis spoke to those gathered in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square at noon. As he does each week, the Holy Father offered a reflection on the Sunday Gospel before reciting the Angelus. He pointed to the passage in the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus predicts his coming passion, death and resurrection. At this “critical moment” in Scripture, “the apparent contr

Pakistani leader talks persecuted Christians with Pope Francis

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 29, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 29, 2014 / 02:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a brief encounter with Pope Francis following his general audience yesterday, former Pakistani minister Paul Bhatti discussed persecuted Christians and invited the pontiff to visit their country. “I met him with my mom and it was a desire and a heartfelt wish of my mom to see the Holy Father and to share her views regarding peace in the world and regarding the persecution of Christians in the world,” Bhatti told CNA Aug. 28. “I translated for her and conveyed this message, and I saw that the Pope was really moved by her statement, and he showed her, and me, that he is with us with his prayers,” and is with “all who are persecuted in the name of religion.” Bhatti is the former Federal Minister of National Harmony and Minorities Affairs in Pakistan, which is a position he took on after the assassination of his younger brother, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was killed in 2011 by Islamic extremist

Pope Francis' Korea visit ignites movement toward unity

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 27, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 27, 2014 / 04:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A South Korea-based U.S. missionary who frequently crosses the border to North Korea to bring medicine and support says that Pope Francis' visit advanced efforts to heal a divided country.   Father Gerard Hammond, an 81-year-old Maryknoll missionary, has lived in South Korea since 1960 and has made 51 trips to North Korea since 1995. His mission: to stop deaths from Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in North Korea.   “Due to do the security laws in South Korea, it is very difficult to send humanitarian aid to North Korea without the agreement of the Ministry of Reunification,” the priest told CNA.   Fr. Hammond can enter North Korea thanks to the Eugene Bell Foundation, a U.S.-based organization allowed admission to enter the country to give humanitarian aid, which includes a “slot” for Catholic missionaries. The latest trip took place this spring from Apr. 21-May 6.   The

Pope: division is the greatest sin of Christian communities

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 27, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 27, 2014 / 05:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his weekly general audience Pope Francis spoke on the unity and holiness of the Church, stating that despite the fact we are sinners, we are called to live as a community centered on Christ. “In a Christian community division is one of the most serious sins, because it does not allow God to act,” the Pope said in his Aug. 27 general audience address. “What God wants is that we be welcoming, that we forgive and love each other so as to become more and more like Him, who is communion and love.” Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Roman Pontiff explained that as Catholics “we affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy.” “One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvati

Papal envoy: we must see humanity of each Iraqi refugee

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 27, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 27, 2014 / 04:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The international community must view suffering Iraqi refugees not as a collective group, but as individual persons, each with his or her own story and needs, the Pope’s envoy to the country encouraged. “We should set our sight on every child, every person. When you look at them, sitting on the ground, you don’t think them as a crowd. You think about them as single persons, about each individual story,” Cardinal Fernando Filoni told CNA Aug. 22. Earlier this month, Pope Francis selected Cardinal Filoni as his personal envoy to Iraq. In addition to his role as the current prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the cardinal served as Papal nuncio to Iraq from 2001 to 2006. Cardinal Filoni reported to Pope Francis in a private meeting Aug. 20, upon returning from a week-long trip to Iraq, where he had several meetings with the local authorities and spent much time with refugees

A refreshed Benedict XVI captivates students with homily

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 26, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 26, 2014 / 12:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Participants in the annual Ratzinger “schulerkreis” study group were overjoyed at seeing the retired pontiff in good health, noting that they were deeply moved by his homily on the triumph of God's love. “The homily was very moving. It was the Gospel of the day about Cesarea of Philippi where Jesus asks the apostles, 'Who do you say I am?'” Father Vincent Twomey recalled to CNA Aug. 25. “Peter answered 'you are Christ, son of the living God,'” to which Jesus responds: “you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.” Fr. Twomey was one of the participants of this year's Ratzinger “schuelerkreis,” or “students' circle,” which has met annually to discuss topics in theology and the life of the Church since 1978, when their professor Josef – later to become Pope Benedict XVI – was tapped to become a bishop.

Vatican spokesman: ISIS threat to Pope Francis unfounded

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: August 26, 2014
Vatican City, Aug 26, 2014 / 08:42 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In response to rumors that the Islamic State may be targeting Pope Francis, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said there is no reason for concern. “There is nothing serious to this. There is no particular concern in the Vatican. This news has no foundation,” the spokesman told CNA Aug. 26. The rumors spread following an Aug. 25 article published in Italian newspaper “It Tempo,” which the number of jihadists in Italy is on the rise due to the influx of unidentified immigrants in the country. According to the article, Islamic fundamentalists led by Al-Baghdadi plan to “raise the level of confrontation” in Europe and alluded to Israeli sources who said that Pope Francis is “also in the crosshairs of ISIS” as “the greatest exponent of the Christian religions” and the “bearer of false truth.” Al-Baghdadi has been named as Caliph – the head of state and a