Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

Pope Francis' 2015 speech to US Congress: still a challenge

(Vatican Radio) Two years ago this Sunday (September 24th), Pope Francis made history by delivering the first-ever address by a reigning Pope to the U.S. Congress.

In his wide-ranging address, the Holy Father touched on issues ranging from the need for politics to serve the common good and the importance of cooperation and solidarity, to the dangers of fundamentalism, the refugee crisis, abolition of the death penalty, the need for courageous acts to avert environmental deterioration, the evils of the arms trade, and threats to the family from within and without.

Pope Francis focused especially on four great figures from US history: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton, saying that each of them helped build a better future for the people of the U.S.

Veteran Vatican reporter Cindy Wooden, who covered the historic event for Catholic News Service, told Vatican Radio that, two years on, the speech remains a challenge to lawmakers and citizens in the United States.

Click below to hear the extended conversation

“I wouldn’t say that his points were completely accepted and acted on,” Wooden told Vatican Radio, “but I think they are as much a challenge today – maybe even more so – than they were two years ago.”

Wooden also said the Pope’s speech continues to be important in the current climate of discourse in the United States.

“It’s an important reminder of the vocation of the politician,” she said. “The Pope use[d] in this speech, the same kind of vocational language that he would use for [the] priesthood or religious life: politics as a calling of service – and I think that, if politicians paid a little more attention to that right now, perhaps we’d be in a better spot.”

Click below to hear Ciny Wooden’s extended conversation with Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis at Angelus: embrace the logic of God's Kingdom

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – focusing his remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion on the Parable of the Landowner and the Wage-earners, proclaimed as the Gospel reading of the day (Mt. 20:1-16).

The Gospel at a glance

In that story, Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a landowner, who hires day-labourers in the early morning, and again at successive hours of the day, at the end of which he instructs his paymaster to give the full day’s wage to all the workers, beginning with those hired at the 11th hour.

The labourers of the first hour complain of this treatment, to which the Landowner replies, “I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?”

Jesus then explains the lesson, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Pope Francis reflects

Reflecting on the passage, Pope Francis said, “In reality, the ‘injustice’ of the Landowner serves to provoke, in those who hear the parable, an increase in understanding (It. salto di livello), because Jesus does not want to speak of the problem of labour and of just wages, but of the Kingdom of God.”

The Holy Father went on to say, “The message is this: in the Kingdom of God there are no idle hands, all are called to do their part; and for all, at the end, the recompense shall be what comes from divine justice – not human justice, happily – i.e. the salvation that Jesus Christ has acquired with His death and resurrection. This is a salvation that is not merited, but given, for which, ‘The last shall be first, and the first shall be last’.”

Click below to hear our report

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis: Bl Stanley Rother model of heroic witness

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis praised the virtue and example of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother on Sunday, one day after the secular missionary priest originally of Oklahoma in the United States was beatified as a martyr.

Bl. Stanley was killed on July 28th, 1981, after returning to Guatemala to minister to his flock, despite several death threats and warnings his life would be in danger. “Well, a shepherd cannot run from his flock,” he is quoted as saying in explanation of his decision to return in the face of such danger.

Click below to hear our report

In remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square following the traditional Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said, “[Saturday], in Oklahoma City, the missionary priest, Stanley Francis Rother, killed in hatred of the faith for his work of evangelization and work to promote the human dignity of the poorest people in Guatemala, was proclaimed Blessed. May his heroic example help us to be courageous witnesses to the Gospel, committed to working in behalf of the dignity of man.”

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis to Trappists: courageous witness to charism

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the General Chapter of the Order of Cistertians of the Strict Observance – the Trappists – which is taking place in Assisi from the 6th to the 27th of September.

Click below to hear our report

The OCSO at a glance

Part of the larger Cistercian family, which traces its origin to 1098, the OCSO follow the Rule of St. Benedict, dedicating their lives to the search for union with God through Jesus Christ, in a community of sisters or brothers.

All Cistercian monasteries are dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother is the Order’s patronal feast.

The OCSO General Chapter is the supreme authority in the Order, and is prepared by a Central Commission elected by the previous Chapter and whose members are chosen by the various regions of the Order.

There are formally two separate Chapters: one for monks and one for nuns – though they meet together every three years, “to foster peace and charity among themselves and to make appropriate decisions for maintaining the patrimony and unity of the Order.”

Pope to Trappists: courageous witness to permanent truths

In remarks prepared for the occasion of the special audience with participants in the current General Chapter, and delivered Saturday morning in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis said, “From the outset, the Cistercians of Strict Observance have made themselves known for their great sobriety of life, convinced that to concentrate on the essence and [thus] to reach more easily the joy of the spousal encounter with Christ, should be a valid help.”

The Holy Father went on to say, “This element of spiritual and existential simplicity preserves all its value as a [mode of] witness in today’s cultural context, which too often leads to the desire for ephemeral goods and illusory artificial paradises.”

“Throughout its history,” said Pope Francis, “your Order has known times of grace and moments of difficulty; but it has always persevered in fidelity to the sequela Christi, having as its purpose the glory of God and the good of the people.” He went on to say, “Continuing in the way of your spiritual tradition, may your read the present state of the Order in its shadows and lights, and in the novelty of the Spirit, identify with courage new possibilities and occasions to witness your charism in the present of the Church and of Society.”

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis makes surprise visit to Rome neuro rehab centre

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday made a surprise visit to a Rome rehabilitation centre for patients with neurological diseases.

A statement from the Holy See press office said the afternoon visit was a continuation of the ‘Fridays of Mercy’ initiative that he inaugurated during the recent Jubilee Year to encourage practical gestures of solidarity with those most in need.

The Santa Lucia Foundation, located to the south of Rome’s city centre, is well known for its quality care of patients affected by physical or mental disabilities resulting from strokes, bone marrow diseases, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

Pope Francis was welcomed by the director and staff of the centre, as well as by the patients and their family members. The Holy Father spent time talking and laughing with many of the young children, watching with particular interest as he was shown some of the exercises which help them to regain their mobility.

He also met with older patients, aged between 15 and 25, many of whom suffer from severe disabilities as a result of car accidents. Before leaving the centre, the pope visited a gym providing rehabilitation for the elderly and then spent a few minutes in prayer in a chapel located on the premises.

(from Vatican Radio)

Vatican to set up joint committee with Muslim World League

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has held talks with Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, accompanied by a delegation.

The meeting came during an informal encounter on Wednesday between the World Muslim League delegation and the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.

Combat fundamentalism

A statement from the Pontifical Council said that the two sides reaffirmed the following points: that religion and violence are incompatible; that religions have moral resources capable of contributing to fraternity and peace; that the phenomenon of fundamentalism, in particular when violent, is troubling and joint efforts are required to counter it.

Protect religious freedom

In addition, the statement said, situations exist where freedom of conscience and of religion are not entirely respected and protected, so there is an urgent need to remedy this, renewing “religious discourse” and reviewing school books.

In conclusion, the statement said both sides agreed to establish a joint permanent committee in the near future.

(from Vatican Radio)