Catholic News Agency: Vatican

Jesus' closeness to sinners isn’t a scandal – it's an example, Pope says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 4, 2016
Vatican City, May 4, 2016 / 04:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday Pope Francis said the parable of the Good Shepherd is a key example of God’s mercy, because it represents the depth of the Lord's concern in ensuring that no one is lost. The parable “represents Jesus’ solicitude toward sinners and the mercy of God which is not resigned to losing anyone,” the Pope said May 4. Jesus tells the parable in order to make the people understand that his closeness to sinners “shouldn’t scandalize, but on the contrary provoke in all a serious reflection on how we live our faith,” he said. Francis stressed that God’s mercy toward sinners is the personal style with which he acts, and “he is absolutely faithful to that mercy: nothing and no one can dissuade him from his will for salvation.” The shepherd, he said, can always be found “where the lost sheep is…the Lord is therefore to be sought there, where he wants to m

A pilgrimage for the poor to close out the Year of Mercy with Pope Francis

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 3, 2016
Vatican City, May 3, 2016 / 04:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Thousands of poor and excluded men and women from across Europe will be given a once in a lifetime opportunity this November: a chance to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy in Rome with Pope Francis. Around 6,000 people will be sponsored for the Nov. 11-13 pilgrimage to Rome, according to a statement released Monday by the Fratello organization, a French group co-ordinating the event. “This time of pilgrimage and opportunity to meet Pope Francis will give people from the most vulnerable sections of society, who are often treated as outcasts, a chance to discover that their place is in the heart of God and in the heart of the Church,” the statement reads. The Fratello organization is dedicated to organizing and hosting events with and for “people in situations of exclusion,” according its website. For this event, it is collaborating with other accredited associations to help make the pilgrimage possible f

Pope Francis' May prayer intention: honor the dignity of women

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 3, 2016
Vatican City, May 3, 2016 / 11:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his May prayer video Pope Francis issued a global petition that women in all countries would be respected and valued, asking rhetorically if the mere recognition of their role is enough, or if more can be done. “The contribution of women in all areas of human activity is undeniable, beginning with the family. But only to recognize it – is that enough?” the Pope asked in the video, published May 3. “We have done little for women who are in very difficult situations: despised, marginalized, and even reduced to slavery,” he said, stressing that “we must condemn sexual violence against women and remove the barriers that prevent their full integration into social, political and economic life.” The Pope speaks in Spanish as images of women working in various fields, including science, teaching, and medicine flash across the screen. However, women in desperate, marginalized circumstances als

U2's lead guitarist rocks Sistine Chapel in concert for a cure

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 3, 2016
Vatican City, May 3, 2016 / 03:31 am (CNA).- Lead guitarist The Edge from Irish rock band sensation U2 played “the most beautiful parish hall in the world” this weekend – the Sistine Chapel. The performance, the first-ever rock concert in the historic chapel, was given for about 200 doctors researchers who attended a conference at the Vatican last week on regenerative medicine. The conference discussed the use of adult stem cells to cure difficult and rare diseases such as cancer. The Edge, whose real name is David Evans, wore his signature black beanie while he played and sang a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “If it be your will,” and renditions of U2 songs “Yahweh,” “Ordinary love” and “Walk on.” The rock star, who has experienced the effects of cancer in his own life – his father died from cancer last month and his daughter once had leukemia – peppered his performance with references to some technical c

Cling to divine mercy, Pope Francis urges Mercedarian Order

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 2, 2016
Vatican City, May 2, 2016 / 03:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Monday met with representatives of a centuries-old Marian order of priests and brothers dedicated to mercy, encouraging them to persevere in their service to the marginalized by clinging to the “strength and joy” of the Gospel. “We do not rely on our own strength, but instead we always entrust ourselves to divine mercy,” the Holy Father told members of the Mercedarian Order during a May 2 audience in the Vatican's Consistory Hall. “If God is present in your lives, the joy of bringing his Gospel will be your strength and your joy. God has also called us to serve within the Church and in the Community. Let us keep to this common path,” he said. The Mercedarians are in Rome ahead of their 800 year anniversary in 2018 for their General Chapter where they will elect new governing body and decide on projects for the next six years. The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy,

The Holy Spirit gives strength amid persecution – Pope Francis

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 2, 2016
Vatican City, May 2, 2016 / 09:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- It is the Holy Spirit who gives Christians the ability to be witnesses of the Gospel in their daily lives, Pope Francis said Monday during Mass at the Santa Marta residence's chapel. However, with that witness comes persecution. “The Christian,  with the strength of the Spirit,” the Roman Pontiff said, “gives witness to the living Lord, to the Risen Lord, to the Lord’s presence in our midst, that the Lord celebrates with us His death, His Resurrection, each time we come to the altar.” “The Christian too gives witness, aided by the Spirit, in his daily life, through the way in which he acts. It is the continuous witness of the Christian.  But many times this witness provokes attacks, provokes persecution.” During his May 2 homily, Pope Francis spoke of the witness Christ shares through his Spirit, and the witness of the faithful – especially in periods of persecution.

Pope laments recent violence in Syria, renews call for dialogue

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: May 1, 2016
Vatican City, May 1, 2016 / 07:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Sunday decried the resurgence of violence in Syria in recent days, especially in Aleppo, and renewed the call to bring about peace through dialogue. “I receive with deep sorrow the tragic news coming from Syria, about the spiral of violence that continues to aggravate the already desperate humanitarian situation of the country,” the pontiff said May 1 after reciting the Regina Caeli address in St. Peter's Square. Citing in particular the nation's largest city Aleppo, which has borne the brunt of the most recent violence, the Pope remembered the “innocent victims,” namely the children, the sick, and “those who with great sacrifice have pledged to help others.” “I urge all parties to the conflict to respect the cessation of hostilities and to strengthen the ongoing dialogue, the only path that leads to peace,” he said. Since the breaking of a ceasefire nine d

Blood-red Trevi fountain a wake-up call on Christian persecution

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: April 30, 2016
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2016 / 02:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Illuminated by the red light that spilled across Rome’s Trevi fountain, voices from persecuted Christian communities across the world shared the stories of friends and loved ones killed for the faith, and urged the world to take greater action in putting the violence to an end. “Let us remember, tonight, the blood of the Christian martyrs, spilled by the violence of men and the sin of the world,” Cardinal Mauro Piacenza said April 29. Quoting Pope Francis, he stressed that when confronted with the situation, “silence and secrecy are also sins.”  He expressed his belief that the Christian martyrs of today are exercising “a real and vicarious atonement, through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, in favor of all men.” “This is why, while we shake around them, crying with their families for their violent death, we raise to God a hymn of praise for these brothers who have entered

Let yourselves be reconciled with God, Pope Francis says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: April 30, 2016
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2016 / 04:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Reconciliation is an essential aspect of God’s mercy, Pope Francis said Saturday, explaining that when we distance ourselves from the Lord through sin, it takes much more than our own effort to get back to him. Referencing St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, Pope Francis urged all members of the Church April 30 to “let yourselves be reconciled with God.” “The cry of the apostle Paul addressed to the first Christians of Corinth is valid for us today, with the same strength and conviction,” he said, explaining that the ongoing Jubilee of Mercy is a time of reconciliation for everyone. "God never considers the possibility that a person remains estranged from his love, provided, however, that he finds in them some sign of repentance for the harm done," he said, adding that "we can't reconcile with God with our own efforts." Many people would like to reconcile wit

Arrests made in alleged terror plot against Vatican, Israeli embassy

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: April 29, 2016
Vatican City, Apr 29, 2016 / 02:44 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Italian police arrested four people and issued arrest warrants for two more on Thursday on suspicion of conspiring with the Islamic State terrorist group. One of the arrested suspects was reportedly plotting an attack on the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in Rome. Authorities said suspect Abderrahim Moutahrrick reportedly received a WhatsApp message from ISIS-held territory that read: “Dear brother Abderrahim, I send you…the bomb poem…listen to the sheik and strike,” possibly referencing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Moutahrrick was identified by authorities as Moroccan-born but residing in Italy at the time. Moutahrrick also reportedly told 23-year-old Moroccan-born suspect Abderrahmane Khachia: “I want to hit Israel in Rome.” According to Reuters, transcripts of a wire-tapped phone conversation between three of the suspects and included in the arrest warrant also mentioned a Vatican