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Author Topic: Pope Francis  (Read 1597573 times)
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« Reply #3500 on: October 25, 2015, 12:06:55 PM »

http://cnstopstories.com/2015/10/24/synod-report-urges-accompaniment-tailored-to-family-situations/

Synod report urges ‘accompaniment’ tailored to family situations
Posted on October 24, 2015
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While not specifically mentioning the controversial proposal of a path toward full reconciliation and Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, members of the Synod of Bishops on the family handed Pope Francis a report emphasizing an obligation to recognize that not all Catholics in such a situation bear the same amount of blame.

The 94-paragraph report approved Oct. 24, the last working day of the three-week synod, highlighted the role of pastors in helping couples understand church teaching, grow in faith and take responsibility for sharing the Gospel. It also emphasized how “pastoral accompaniment” involves discerning, on a case-by-case basis, the moral culpability of people not fully living up to the Catholic ideal.

Bishops and other full members of the synod voted separately on each paragraph and the Vatican published those votes. The paragraph dealing specifically with leading divorced and remarried Catholics on a path of discernment passed with only one vote beyond the necessary two-thirds.
 
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« Reply #3501 on: October 25, 2015, 12:09:20 PM »

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/final-synod-document-strongly-backs-church-teaching-beauty-of-family-life-37584/

Final synod document strongly backs Church teaching, beauty of family life

Vatican City, Oct 24, 2015 / 04:39 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- With a two-thirds majority vote, the more than 200 bishops gathered for the Vatican's synod on the family supported Church teaching on hot-button issues such as homosexuality and communion for divorced and remarried persons.

The Vatican's synod on the family was opened by Pope Francis Oct. 4, and it will close Oct. 25. This year's event follows the theme “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world,” and follows 2014's extraordinary synod on the family, which focused on pastoral challenges involved in family life.

This year's discussion tended to be reduced in Western secular media to two issues: communion for divorced-and-civilly remarried, and Church teaching and pastoral care regarding homosexuality.

However, actual topics brought up during meetings were much broader, with synod fathers touching on themes such as domestic violence, violence against women, incest and abuse within families, marriage preparation and pornography.
 
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« Reply #3502 on: October 25, 2015, 12:23:05 PM »

Saturday, October 24, 2015 Tweets
https://twitter.com/roccopalmo

Rocco Palmo ‏@roccopalmo  · 14h  14 hours ago 
Per Magister, 12 elected to Synod Council incl. Chaput, Sarah, Pell, Tagle, Forte, Napier: …http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2015/10/24/pell-napier-sarah-chaput%e2%80%a6-i-dodici-eletti-al-nuovo-consiglio-sinodale/
______________
http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2015/10/24/pell-napier-sarah-chaput%e2%80%a6-i-dodici-eletti-al-nuovo-consiglio-sinodale/

 
AFRICA

- Cardinale Robert Sarah, prefetto della congregazione per il culto divino, guineano;
 - Cardinale Wilfrid Fox Napier, arcivescovo di Durban, Sudafrica;
 - Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, vescovo di Mouila, Gabon.

AMERICHE

- Charles J. Chaput, arcivescovo di Philadelphia, Stati Uniti;
 - Cardinale Marc Ouellet, prefetto della congregazione per i vescovi, canadese;
- Cardinale Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, arcivescovo di Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

ASIA e OCEANIA

- Cardinale George Pell, prefetto della segreteria per l'economia, australiano;
 - Cardinale Luis Antonio G. Tagle, arcivescovo di Manila, Filippine,
 - Cardinale Oswald Gracias, arcivescovo di Bombay, India.

EUROPA

- Cardinale Christoph Schönborn, arcivescovo di Vienna, Austria;
 - Cardinale Vincent G. Nichols, arcivescovo di Westminster, Regno Unito;
 - Bruno Forte, arcivescovo di Chieti-Vasto, Italia.
 
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« Reply #3503 on: October 25, 2015, 12:46:59 PM »

October 25, 2015 Tweets
https://twitter.com/EdwardPentin?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Edward Pentin ‏@EdwardPentin  · 5h 5 hours ago 
Cardinal Pell: “The final document is much better than what we fearedhttp://www.gloria.tv/media/gdW4oS5Nwkh
________________
http://www.gloria.tv/media/gdW4oS5Nwkh

EXCLUSIVE Cardinal Pell: “The final document is much better than what we feared”

Nachrichten     00:12

Yesterday, Cardinal George Pell commented on the final document of the Synod on the Family at the general assembly of the Una Voce Federation that was also taking place in Rome. Pell said, that the Synod was „very hard work“.

The final document contained 94 paragraphs. Most of them were not controversial. The paragraphs 84, 85 and 86 had substantial minorities opposing them:

84: 187 yes and 72 no.

85: 178 yes and 80 no.

86: 190 yes and 64 no.

According to Pell a minority of bishops objected because they thought that the true teaching was not taught explicitly enough. He excused the Synod fathers with the argument that they - although they happen to be bishops - “have never done any or much Thomistic philosophy”.

Pell saw a danger in the paragraph about conscience because people could use “conscience” and then “do what they want”. But the paragraph about conscience was rewritten in the last days: “You need to study it, but it is basically good.”

According to Pell, the Synod did not focus at all on the three topics Communion for the divorced and remarried, on the idea of conscience or on the acceptance of homosexuality: “Catholic doctrine is stated clearly.”

Pell admits that the language is “different” and verbose. It is not a document that he would have written: “Some people will say it is terrible, but it is not terrible.” For him the final version is almost a miracle if compared with the draft: “The Synod itself is much, much better than the worst we have feared.”
 
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« Reply #3504 on: October 25, 2015, 01:15:24 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-celebrates-closing-mass-of-synod-of-b

Pope Francis celebrates closing Mass of Synod of Bishops on Family
2015-10-25 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Sunday 25 Oct. Lines of faithful spiraled around St. Peter's Square from early on Sunday awaiting their chance to enter St. Peter’s Basilica for the closing Mass of the Synod on the Family. The Mass, presided over by Pope Francis, marked the end of the second gathering of the Synod of Bishops to discuss "The Mission and Vocation of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World."

Families from all over the world filled the Basilica. As the Synod Fathers walked down the aisle people waived eagerly when they spotted their own bishop – or, of course, their favourite cardinal!

In his homily Pope Francis concentrated on the readings of the day. He said that the three readings "show us God's compassion, his fatherhood, definitively revealed in Jesus."
 
http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-homily-at-closing-mass-of-synod
FULL TEXT: Pope's Homily at Closing Mass of Synod
Vatican City,  October 25, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbfAslGdALo
Holy Mass for the conclusion of the Synod - 2015.10.25

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« Reply #3505 on: October 25, 2015, 01:35:51 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-angelus-appeal-for-migrant-families

Pope Francis: Angelus appeal for migrant families
2015-10-25 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Prayerful and practical solidarity with every family that has been forced to flee a homeland torn by strife and to seek a better future in distant lands and far-off shores: this was the promise of Pope Francis in remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square before the Angelus prayer this Sunday.

Drawing on the first reading of the XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time, from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, which tells of the Lord’s promise to deliver His faithful people from captivity and restore them to liberty, Pope Francis said, “[T]his prophecy of a people on their way is one I have also confronted with the images of refugees making their way along the streets of Europe, a dramatic reality of our times. God says to them: ‘They left weeping, I shall lead them back amid consolations.’ Those families most suffering, uprooted from their land, were present with us in the Synod as well: in our prayers and in our work, through the voice of some of their pastors present at the meeting. These people in search of dignity, these families searching for peace, remain with us still: the Church does not abandon them, for they are part of the people that God desires to free from slavery and lead to freedom.”

The traditional prayer of Marian devotion followed Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, to mark the closing of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met in Rome over the past three weeks for prayerful reflection and discussion of the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.
 
http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-angelus-address--2
FULL TEXT: Pope's Angelus Address
Vatican City,  October 25, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOcSUwVsSoc
Angelus Domini 2015.10.25
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« Reply #3506 on: October 26, 2015, 06:02:36 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-urges-gypsies-to-take-responsibility-for-thei

Pope urges Gypsies to take responsibility for their present and their future
2015-10-26 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called on Gypsies to “turn the page” and give life to a new chapter in the history of the traditionally nomadic people.

“Time has come, he said, to uproot secular prejudice, preconceived ideas and the reciprocal diffidence that are often at the base of discrimination, racism and xenophobia” he said.

“No one must feel isolated” the Pope continued, and “no one is entitled to trample on the dignity and the rights of others”.

Pope Francis was speaking to some 7000 Gypsies gathered in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican for an audience marking the 50th anniversary of the Blessed Paul VI’s historic meeting with Roma people in a gypsy camp near Rome.
 
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« Reply #3507 on: October 26, 2015, 06:05:35 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-christians-must-work-for-abolition-of

Pope Francis: Christians must work for "abolition of war"
2015-10-26 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday urged the “abolition of war” while meeting participants in a training course for military chaplains jointly organized by the Congregation for Bishops, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The course explored some of the current challenges of international humanitarian law regarding the protection of human dignity during internal armed conflicts and the so-called “new conflicts.”

Pope Francis told the participants the issue is “unfortunately, very topical” due to the increased violence and armed conflicts in different parts of the world, such as Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
 
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« Reply #3508 on: October 26, 2015, 06:09:08 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-to-chaldean-synod-exercise-of-communion-deman

Pope to Chaldean Synod: ‘exercise of communion demands self-abasement’
2015-10-26 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday (Oct. 26) addressed the members of the Synod of the Chaldean Church, reminding them that “the only authority is the authority of service, the only power is the power of the Cross”.

Pope Francis, in his address to the Chaldean bishops, spoke about the responsible use of authority in the Church, saying “journeying together is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice”.

The Holy Father urged them to “keep always before you the image of the Good Shepherd who is concerned for the salvation of his sheep ...  May you imitate him: zealous in seeking the salus animarum of priests as well as laity, realizing full well that the exercise of communion sometimes demands a genuine kenosis, a self-basement and self-spoliation.”

The Holy Father lamented the situation caused by hatred sowed through terrorism, saying it has created “a great hemorrhage of faithful who leave the lands of their fathers”.
 
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« Reply #3509 on: October 26, 2015, 08:22:57 PM »

http://www.thecatholicthing.org/2015/10/26/the-text-and-the-context/

The Text and the Context
Robert Royal
Monday, October 26, 2015

The 2015 Synod on the Family is done; it produced several lights and not a few shadows. The Final Report, as it now stands, contains some strong spiritual reflections, drawing on the Sacred Scriptures and the traditions of the Church. It also deals realistically with many of the social and cultural and political situations of families around the world – situations that vary greatly: from the sex-saturated hedonistic culture of the West to conditions of war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa. A few paragraphs would have been better left out. Taken solely as a general view of the family, it has value. But the context in which the text was developed is another thing entirely, and will be a sore point for years to come.
 
But also consider this: the votes for the Synod Council, the governing group for synods going forward. As I reported Friday (though the official results had not been released), these show basically a two-thirds majority for traditional Catholic teachings. Sandro Magister has reported over the weekend that Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia received the largest number of votes of any single person elected, worldwide – though Cardinals George Pell and Robert Sarah also had large numbers. This is very good news. From the Americas, we also have Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet (a solid citizen), and Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga (a close confident of the pope). From Asia, Cardinals Pell, Oswald Gracias (Bombay), and Luis Antonio Tagle (Manila). From Africa, Cardinals Sarah, Wilfred Napier, Gabon Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan.

Only in Europe is there a rather weak slate: Schönborn, English Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and Archbishop Bruno Forte (strong Italian cardinals such as Scola, Caffara, Bagnasco had large numbers of votes individually, and if the Italians had gotten their act together and picked a single candidate, one of them would have swept to victory). In any event, in so far as the Synod Council will guide future events, there is a preponderance of serious figures – and their selection shows the general mood of the Synod Fathers.
 
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« Reply #3510 on: October 26, 2015, 08:33:39 PM »

American Cardinal

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/cardinal-burke-final-report-lacks-clarity-on-indissolubility-of-marriage

Cardinal Burke: Final Report Lacks Clarity on Indissolubility of Marriage
by Edward Pentin  10/26/2015

Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta and former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, has shared with the Register his initial reaction to the final report of the Synod on the Family.

He focuses on paragraphs 84-86 on divorce and remarriage, saying this section is of "immediate concern because of its lack of clarity in a fundamental matter of the faith: the indissolubility of the marriage bond which both reason and faith teach all men." He also says the way the quotation from Familaris Consortio is used is "misleading."

Here below is the cardinal's comment, followed by an English translation of paragraphs 84-86.
 
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« Reply #3511 on: October 26, 2015, 08:43:12 PM »

Australian Cardinal and one of the members on the Council of Cardinals--advisers for Pope Francis

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/cardinal-pell-on-the-synod-the-final-report-and-decentralization

Cardinal Pell on the Synod, the Final Report, and Decentralization
by Edward Pentin  10/26/2015

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, sat down with the Register Oct. 25 to share his reflections on the Synod on the Family.

In this characteristically frank interview, he discussed the quality of the final report, criticisms over ambiguous language in the passage relating to divorce and remarriage, the influence of the Pope's 45 personally appointed delegates, and what the Holy Father's recent comments on synodality and decentralization might mean for the Church.
 
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« Reply #3512 on: October 26, 2015, 08:50:41 PM »

October 26, 2015 Tweets
https://twitter.com/roccopalmo

Rocco Palmo ‏@roccopalmo  · 5h  5 hours ago 
6 weeks til Pope's annulment reform takes effect, Vatican finally releases official English text of Mitis Iudex: http://bit.ly/1OSMCJp
______________
http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/motu_proprio/documents/papa-francesco-motu-proprio_20150815_mitis-iudex-dominus-iesus.html

APOSTOLIC LETTER MOTU PROPRIO 

OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
FRANCIS

MITIS IUDEX DOMINUS IESUS

BY WHICH THE CANONS OF THE CODE OF CANON LAW
PERTAINING TO CASES REGARDING THE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE
 ARE REFORMED
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« Reply #3513 on: October 27, 2015, 06:05:59 PM »

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/10/27/pope__pastor_bonus_norms_still_apply_at_the_roman_curia/1182366

Pope: Pastor Bonus norms still apply at the Roman Curia
27/10/2015 12:58

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says the regulations of the current Pastor Bonus Apostolic Constitution for the Roman Curia are still fully in force until the ongoing reform process is completed and put into effect. He stressed that this present period of transition does not mean there is at present a legal vacuum at the Curia. The Pope’s reminder came in a letter addressed to the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin released on Tuesday (27th October).

Pope Francis began the letter by saying that whilst the reform process established by him was going ahead as scheduled, he needed to bring to light “some problems” that have emerged and which he intended "to resolve without delay."

Above all, he said, I wish to reaffirm that the present transitional period is not a time where there is a legal vacuum or “absence of laws” (vacatio legis) and therefore the current Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus regulating the Roman Curia "is still in force" and all its norms must be respected.
 
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« Reply #3514 on: October 27, 2015, 06:08:36 PM »

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/poll-pope-s-us-trip-brings-catholics-to-fuller-embrace-of-church-teaching

Poll: Pope's US Trip Brings Catholics to Fuller Embrace of Church Teaching
United States of America,  October 27, 2015

A new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll finds that Americans embraced Pope Francis as a result of his visit — both in terms of their opinion of him and their connection with him on a host of issues.

Two-thirds of Americans (66%) saw the Pope’s trip as mostly about values. Less than a quarter saw it as mostly political (24%). Among practicing Catholics the numbers were even higher (80% to 18%, respectively).

Following the trip, a majority of 55% say they are clear about his vision for the Church. This includes almost 9 in 10 practicing Catholics (88%). By contrast, in April, 43% of Americans and 73% of practicing Catholics said the same.

Pope Francis’ Catholic values resonated even on the most controversial of issues, as strong majorities of Americans align with his message and say they agree with Pope Francis that:
• We should support religious freedom — 85% agree; an additional 7% are more likely to agree now than prior to the papal visit. (Among practicing Catholics, these numbers are 87% and 7%, respectively.)
• We should be more respectful of the earth and the environment — 84% agree; an additional 7% are more likely to agree now. (Among practicing Catholics, these numbers are 81% and 10%, respectively.)
• We should support life at every stage of development, including for the unborn — 62% agree; an additional 6% are more likely to hold that view now. (Among practicing Catholics, these numbers are 81% and 5%, respectively.)
• We should allow people to opt out of taking actions that go against their religious beliefs — 57% agree; an additional 5% are now more likely to agree. (Among those who are practicing Catholics, these numbers are 70% and 6%, respectively.)
• We should view marriage as between one man and one woman — 55% agree; an additional 4% are now more likely to agree. (Among practicing Catholics, these numbers are 60% and 7%, respectively.)
 
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« Reply #3515 on: October 28, 2015, 09:15:03 PM »

http://americamagazine.org/content/dispatches/pope-will-write-apostolic-exhortation-follow-synod-family

Pope Will Write an Apostolic Exhortation as Follow-Up to Synod on the Family
Oct 28 2015 - 3:21pm

Pope Francis will write an apostolic exhortation as a follow up to the Synod on the Family and “it should not take too long [to arrive],” the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, told the Italian news agency ANSA.

He said the papal document “will be based on the conclusions of the synod, as is the tradition.” He told this to reporters at the Gregorian University today, after delivering a lecture there for the 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” the Vatican II document on the relation of the Catholic Church to non-Christian religions.

The cardinal recalled that the synod fathers in their final document, which they approved on Oct. 24, had requested that the pope write a document on the family.
 
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« Reply #3516 on: October 28, 2015, 09:35:52 PM »

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/general-audience-on-50-years-since-nostra-aetate

GENERAL AUDIENCE: On 50 Years Since 'Nostra Aetate'
Rome,  October 28, 2015

At 10 o’clock this morning, an “Interreligious” General Audience took place in Saint Peter’s Square, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar Declaration “Nostra Aetate.” At the beginning, Pope Francis greeted the sick and the elderly gathered in Paul VI Hall because of the bad weather.

Present at the Audience were representatives of several religions and the participants in the International Congress organized for the occasion by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in collaboration with the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and with the Pontifical Gregorian University.

The meeting began with the greetings of the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and of the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch; then, after the reading of a passage of “Nostra Aetate in several languages, the Holy Father Francis pronounced his meditation on the subject.

The Pope then addressed special greetings to the groups of faithful present. Then he made an appeal to solidarity in favor of the peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan, scourged by a devastating earthquake.

The Audience ended with a moment of personal silent prayer and a greeting to the representatives of the different religions present.

Here is a translation of the introductory greetings of Cardinals Jean-Louis Tauran and Kurt Koch and the Holy Father’s catechesis.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDChmjcB854
INTERRELIGIOUS General Audience 2015.10.28
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« Reply #3517 on: October 29, 2015, 01:30:59 PM »

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/10/29/pope_god_can_only_love_and_not_condemn/1182923

Pope: God can only love and not condemn
29/10/2015 13:24

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says God can only love and not condemn and that love is His weakness and our victory. He said we are so closely bound to God’s love that nothing can sever us from it. That was the message at the heart of the Pope’s homily delivered on Thursday (29th October) at the Santa Marta residence.

Taking his cue from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, Pope Francis’s homily was a reflection on God’s unwavering love for us and how no person, or power or thing can separate us from this love. He said St Paul explains how Christians are the victors because “if God is for us, who can be against us.” This gift from God, he continued, is being held by Christians in their own hands and it’s almost as if they could say in a triumphalistic manner, “now we are the champions!”  But the meaning is another: we are the victors not because we are holding this gift in our hands but for another reason.  And that is because “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“It’s not because we are the victors over our enemies, over sin. No! We are so closely bound to God’s love that no person, no power, nothing can ever separate us from this love. Paul saw beyond the gift, he saw more, who is giving that gift: it is a gift of recreation, it’s a gift of regeneration in Jesus Christ. He saw God’s love. A love that cannot be explained.”

God’s impotence is His inability not to love

Pope Francis noted that every man, every woman can refuse this gift by preferring their own vanity, pride or sin but despite this God’s gift is always there for us.
 
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« Reply #3518 on: October 29, 2015, 01:36:13 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/transmitting-christian-hope-the-pope-receives-the

Transmitting Christian hope: the Pope receives the participants in the 6th World Congress of Radio Maria

Vatican City, 29 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in the Sala Clementina the participants in the Radio Maria 6th World Congress, taking place in the shrine of Collevallenza, Italy from 25 to 30 October and attended by the presidents and priests who direct the 75 Radio Maria broadcasters throughout the world and the further six who will shortly become active. Thousands of volunteers contribute to the running of Radio Maria, which has around 30 million listeners worldwide.

Pope Francis began his address by commenting that ever since its creation the aim of Radio Maria has been to help the Church in her task of evangelising, and to do so in its own special way, “with closeness to the concerns and problems of the people, with words of consolation and hope, the fruit of faith and commitment to solidarity. … The spread of Radio Maria in many environments, very diverse in terms of culture, language and tradition, is good news for all as it shows that, when we have the courage to propose high profile content from a clearly Christian position, the initiative is well-received, beyond our best predictions, and at times by those who thereby perhaps come into contact with the message of the Gospel for the first time”.
 
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« Reply #3519 on: October 29, 2015, 01:40:38 PM »

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-receives-lithuanian-president-in-priv

Pope Francis receives Lithuanian President in private audience at Vatican
2015-10-29 Vatican Radio

(Vatican) Pope Francis received Her Excellency Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė,  president  of  the  Republic  of  Lithuania, in a private audience in the Vatican on Thursday. She subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions Ms Grybauskaitė expressed appreciation to the Catholic Church for the positive contribution it has made to Lithuanian society.

Attention then turned to a number of themes of common interest, such as European integration, the need for greater solidarity between nations to face various current challenges, the reception of migrants in Europe, peace and security at regional and international level, the conflict in Ukraine, and the situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to Syria and the Holy Land.

The President gave Pope Francis two gifts: two two highly revered images which celebrate Divine Mercy: 'The Divine Mercy' and 'The Mother of Mercy'.

The Image of Divine Mercy is venerated by pilgrims from around the world. This is the first and original image of Divine Mercy that was painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski in 1934. In order to protect it from being destroyed during Soviet occupation, the image was removed from the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and taken to a remote parish. The image was returned to Vilnius in 1986 and Pope John Paul II prayed before it on 5 September 1993 with the Polish community of Lithuania.
 
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