Francis (2024)

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Francis (2024)

Jan 3, 9:35 am

This is a continuation of Francis 2023

These are Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for 2024 (ACI Africa)

January: For the gift of diversity in the Church... February: For the terminally ill... March: For new martyrs... April: For the dignity of women... May: For the formation of men and women religious and seminarians... June: For those fleeing their own countries... July: For the pastoral care of the sick... August: For political leaders... September: For the cry of the earth... October: For a shared mission... November: For those who have lost a child... December: For pilgrims of hope...

Editado: Jan 6, 6:37 am

Pope Francis: Catholic News Media Can’t Be "neutral" in the Message they Convey (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis said people working in Catholic media must not refrain from being involved in the evangelizing mission of the Church and that, therefore, “they cannot remain ‘neutral’ with respect to the message they convey”... According to Vatican News, the Holy Father also explained that “interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, and the defense of peace, freedom, and human dignity” should be the goals of communication professionals, especially if they are Catholic. “How many conflicts today, instead of being extinguished by dialogue, are fueled by fake news or inflammatory statements in the media! That’s why it’s all the more important that you, strong in your Christian roots and in living the faith daily, ‘demilitarized’ in your heart by the Gospel, support the disarmament of language,” the pope said in his discourse, which he gave in writing to the delegation. To achieve this “demilitarization” of language, he shared four guidelines that Catholics in the media can put into practice: “Foster a tone of peace and understanding, build bridges, be available to listen, and engage in respectful communication toward others and their reasons.” He also noted that Catholic journalists have a fundamental role to play in situations involving tension and disputes by “providing correct information” to resolve misunderstandings and contributing to the construction of peace in society, “helping mutual understanding and not setting people in opposition to each other.” Pope Francis was also emphatic in asking Catholic journalists not to be turned in on themselves but to go out and “bring the Christian message to all areas of life” using the enormous resources, platforms, and communication tools available to the modern world. “A Church concerned above all with itself becomes ill with self-referentiality,” he warned. In that regard, the pontiff pointed to the weakest in society as the center of attention of communication professionals. In these peripheries, Pope Francis commented, is found “the God of love, waiting for the good news of our charity.” The Holy Father pointed out the need for journalists “who highlight the stories and faces of those to whom few or no one pays attention.” Catholics in the media should “always think of the faces of the people, especially the poor and the simple, and start from them, their reality, their dramas, and their hopes, even if doing so means going against the current” and sparing no effort, he concluded.

Jan 7, 11:32 pm

Pope Francis warns against ideological splits in the Church, says focus on the poor, not ‘theory’ (AP)

Amid resistance to some Vatican policy by more conservative factions of the Catholic church, Pope Francis on Saturday cautioned the faithful against fracturing into groups “based on our own ideas.” He issued the call to abandon “ecclesiastical ideologies” in his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica during Epiphany Day Mass, the last major Christmas season holiday. Francis also warned against “basking in some elegant religious theory” instead of finding God in the faces of the poor... Francis said the Church needed to ensure that “our faith will not be reduced to an assemblage of religious devotions or mere outward appearance.” “We find the God who comes down to visit us, not by basking in some elegant religious theory, but by setting out on a journey, seeking the signs of his presence in everyday life,” especially in the faces of the poor, the pontiff said... He has dedicated much of his nearly 11-year-old papacy to encouraging attention to marginalized people, including the poor...

Jan 13, 11:30 am

Pope Francis Calls for Greater Dialogue and Cooperation Between Christians, Marxists (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis this week called for cooperation between Christians and Marxists as a way to achieve greater “dialogue” and help in the search for the “common good.” “I thank you for your commitment to dialogue,” the pope said in a private meeting on Jan. 10 with 15 representatives of DIALOP (Transversal Dialogue Project), an association of European leftist politicians and academics that seeks to bridge Catholic social teaching and Marxist theory. “There is always a great need for dialogue, so do not be afraid,” the pope said during the event at the Paul VI Audience Hall. Highlighting the nexus between social, economic, and ecological issues, the pope said that “politics that is truly at the service of humanity cannot let itself be dictated to by finance and market mechanisms.” The pope buttressed his call for a more inclusive participation in economic and political decision-making by suggesting that “instead of rigid approaches that divide, let us cultivate, with open hearts, discussion and listening”...

Jan 16, 9:17 am

Pope Francis: "War itself is a crime against humanity" (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis made a strong appeal for peace on Sunday calling modern warfare “a crime against humanity” that sows death among civilians and destroys cities. Speaking at the end of his Angelus address on Jan. 14, the pope urged people to pray for all who are suffering due to “the cruelty of war,” especially in Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel. “We pray that those who have power over these conflicts will reflect that war is not the way to resolve them because it sows death among civilians and destroys cities and infrastructure. In other words, war today is in itself a crime against humanity,” Pope Francis said. “Let’s not forget this: War itself is a crime against humanity. People need peace. The world needs peace”...

Jan 18, 4:26 am

Pope Francis Issues New Regulations Setting Spending Limits for Vatican Offices (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis amended the Vatican’s financial regulations on Tuesday, enshrining a spending limit into law that requires Vatican offices to get permission before making large purchases...

Jan 22, 4:40 am

Return to God’s Word Rather than Social Media’s "violence of words": Pope Francis (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis has called Catholics to spend more time with the saving power of God’s word as society and social media amplify “the violence of words.” Speaking of the “immense power” that the word of God can unleash in people’s lives, Pope Francis encouraged us to always “have the Gospel within easy reach.” “While society and social media accentuate the violence of words, let us draw closer to and cultivate the quiet word of God that brings salvation, that is gentle, that does not make a loud noise and that enters into our hearts,” Pope Francis said on Jan. 21. The word of God, he said, “does not leave us self-absorbed but expands hearts, changes courses, overturns habits, opens up new scenarios, and discloses unthought-of horizons”... “The word of God unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “Christ’s word not only liberates us from the burdens we bear, past and present; it also makes us mature in truth and in charity. It enlivens the heart, challenges it, purifies it from hypocrisy, and fills it with hope,” he said.

Jan 23, 4:32 am

SECAM President Explains How Rejection of Fiducia Supplicans in Africa was Handled (ACI Africa)

I think it's worth reading the whole article, as it demonstrates how a disagreement between some bishops and the pope was handled sensitively and discreetly without resorting to social media, culture war or ideology. Above all it emphasises respect and communion, as well as synodality, resulting in a response which was agreed amicably between the African bishops' conference, the Dicastery for Doctrine and Faith, and the Holy Father. “The Episcopal Conferences of all Africa... have strongly reaffirmed their communion with Pope Francis".

Editado: Jan 24, 12:04 am

Pope upholds legacy of Don Milani, a “restless and disturbing” priest (Vatican News)

Pope Francis meets members of the Committee for the Centenary of the birth of Italian pioneer priest and educator, Don Lorenzo Milani, and recalls his dedication to the education of the poor and excluded in society...

Oh for more “restless and disturbing” priests!

Editado: Jan 29, 11:12 pm

Pope Francis: Blessings Don’t Require "moral perfection" (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis on Friday clarified the Vatican’s position on same-sex blessings, affirming the recent declaration Fiducia Supplicans and emphasizing that “moral perfection” isn’t a requirement for receiving a blessing... “The intent of the ‘pastoral and spontaneous blessings’ is to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and of the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask help to carry on — sometimes to begin — a journey of faith,” Pope Francis said... The Holy Father emphasized that these blessings, which come “outside of any context and form of liturgical character, do not require moral perfection to be received.” “When a couple spontaneously approaches to ask for it, the union is not blessed, but simply the people who have requested it together. Not the union, but the people, naturally taking into account the context, the sensitivities, the places in which one lives and the most suitable ways to do so,” Pope Francis continued...

I can't recall the number of times I have been walking along with a bishop or a priest and complete strangers have come and asked for a blessing from him. Never have I heard one of these clergy quiz the supplicant about their moral status. And that's how it should be.

Edited to add: Pope says LGBT blessings are for individuals, not approval of unions (Reuters)

Pope Francis on Friday defended a Vatican document on blessings for same-sex couples but said they were not an approval of a lifestyle the Church sees as potentially sinful but of individuals seeking to get closer to God... The intentions of the blessings, Francis said were "to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask for help to continue - sometimes to begin - a journey of faith"...

Edited again to add:

Pope says Africans are 'special case' when it comes to LGBT blessings (Reuters)

Pope Francis said in an interview published on Monday that Africans were a "special case" in the opposition of bishops and many other people in the continent to homosexuality. But he said he was confident that, except for Africans, critics of his decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples would eventually understand it... "Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups," Francis told Italian newspaper La Stampa. "A special case are Africans: for them homosexuality is something 'bad' from a cultural point of view, they don't tolerate it". "But in general, I trust that gradually everyone will be reassured by the spirit of the 'Fiducia Supplicans' declaration by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it aims to include, not divide," the pope said... He said that when the blessings are given, priests should "naturally take into account the context, the sensitivities, the places where one lives and the most appropriate ways to do it". In the interview with La Stampa, Francis said he was not concerned about the risk of conservatives breaking away from the Catholic Church due to his reforms, saying that talk of a schism is always led by "small groups." "We must leave them to it and move on...and look forward", he said...

Turning to Israel and the Palestinians, he said "true peace" between them will not materialise until a two-state solution is implemented and lamented that their conflict was widening...

Fev 9, 4:43 am

To be "scandalized" by Gay Couple Blessings is "hypocrisy": Pope Francis (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis this week again defended the Vatican’s controversial document authorizing blessings for same-sex couples, with the Holy Father arguing that humans “must all respect each other” and stating that blessings should be extended to “everyone”... When asked by editor Father Vincenzo Vitale about Fiducia Supplicans — the December document published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) that authorized nonliturgical blessings for same-sex couples and others in “irregular situations” — the pope said that “the gravest sins … are those that disguise themselves with a more ‘angelic’ appearance.” “No one is scandalized if I give a blessing to an entrepreneur who perhaps exploits people: and this is a very serious sin,” the Holy Father said. “Whereas they are scandalized if I give it to a homosexual … This is hypocrisy! We must all respect each other. Everyone.” “I don’t bless a ‘homosexual marriage,’” the pope said. “I bless two people who love each other and I also ask them to pray for me.” “Always in confessions, when these situations arrive, homosexual people, remarried people, I always pray and bless,” he continued. “The blessing is not to be denied to anyone. Everyone, everyone. Mind you, I am talking about people: those who are capable of receiving baptism,” Francis continued...

Fev 11, 11:43 pm

Pope at Angelus: ‘Reach out to the suffering with actions, not words’ (Vatican News)

During the Sunday Angelus marking the 32nd World Day of the Sick , Pope Francis invites the faithful to listen and reach out to the suffering, reminding them that Jesus' style with those who suffer is few words and concrete actions. Love needs concreteness, presence, encounter, time, and space offered gratuitously” Pope Francis said at the Angelus on Sunday. “It cannot be reduced to nice words, images on a screen, selfies of a moment, or hasty messages”...

Editado: Fev 12, 11:04 pm

Pope: Humans find meaning in relationships, not technology (Vatican News)

At an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis reflects on humanity’s search for meaning and says relationships with others lie at the heart of our existence...

Suluhu Heads To Vatican Monday For Talks With Pope Francis (Capital News)

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu will on Monday begin a working visit to the Vatican as part of the efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries. Tanzania’s Foreign Minister January Makamba confirmed Suluhu’s visit to the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday. Makamba disclosed that Suluhu’s visit comes in response to an invitation extended by Pope Francis. “When she arrives, she will be officially received by Pope Francis at the Papal Offices and hold a private meeting with him,” Makamba said... Alongside state officials, Suluhu will be accompanied by representatives of the Catholic Church from Tanzania.

President Suluhu is Tanzania's frst female Muslim president, and initiated a number of democratic reforms following the death of her authoritarian predecessor, the Christian John Magufuli, a COVID denier who reportedly claimed that Jesus Christ was the antidote to COVID, and who subsequently died from COVID. Members of this LT group are probably aware that Tanzania's first president, who served from 1964 to 1985 and was one of the first African presidents to stand down gracefully and peacefully from the position, was a staunch Catholic, and his politics was influenced by his Catholic faith. In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI declared him a Servant of God, the first step on the path to canonisation.

Editado: Fev 19, 4:21 am

Pope prays for Sudan, northern Mozambique as Catholic church attacked (Vatican News)

Pope Francis urges global leaders to push for peace in Sudan and northern Mozambique, where a Catholic mission was set ablaze. “Wherever fighting occurs, people are exhausted, tired of war, which as always is pointless and inconclusive, and will only bring death, only destruction, and will never solve the problem”...

Pope Francis: Lent is a Time to "encounter wild beasts and angels" (ACI Africa)

On the first Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis focused his Angelus address on the temptation of Jesus in the desert to highlight that it is an invitation for us to enter the proverbial desert to come “in contact with the truth.” Observing that during the 40 days in the desert Christ was in the company of both “wild beasts and angels,” the pope reflected that when we enter this symbolic “inner wildness,” we too “encounter wild beasts and angels.” These wild beats assume a deeply symbolic meaning in our “spiritual life,” and so “we can think of them as the disordered passions that divide our heart, trying to take possession of it. They entice us, they seem seductive, but if we are not careful, we risk being torn apart by them,” the pope said to the nearly 15,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday. Expanding upon this idea of “disordered passions,” the pope suggested that we can conceive of them also as “the various vices,” such as “the lust for wealth” or “the vanity of pleasure.” “They must be tamed and fought, otherwise they will devour our freedom,” the pope emphasized...

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