A Church Seeking Justice: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Canada
The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published this document in October 2015. It asks us to initiate a
discussion on how his teaching in this area of justice is challenging us here in Canada. The gospel certainly proclaims justice, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. The Pope calls us to promote the integral development of the poor, working for access to education, health care, employment with a just wage, and on another level, working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty, yet without overlooking the small daily acts
Vatican to take in two refugee families as Pope calls for ‘every religion’ to help
During his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday September 6, the pontiff said the Gospel does not allow Christians to sit back from helping those in need. He said, “I address an appeal to the parishes, to the religious communities, to the monasteries and shrines of all of Europe to express the concreteness of the Gospel and welcome a family of refugees, a concrete gesture in preparation of the Holy Year of Mercy. Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every shrine of Europe house a family, starting from my diocese of Rome.”
In front of a crowd of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said it was not enough to simply encourage the refugees with calls for courage and patience. Instead, he suggested, tangible demonstrations of help were required. “The gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned,” he said.
You can hear and see the Pope at his weekly audience and read the subtitles in English by clicking here.
The National Catholic Reporter newspaper published an article on this issue. You can read it by clicking here.
You can read the Italian version under the title “Appello” from the Vatican by clicking here.
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POPE RELEASES THEME FOR WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES 2016
On August 20, 2015, even though it’s still a few months away, the Vatican has released the message Pope Francis issued for the next World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The theme is:
Migrants and Refugees Challenge us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy.
It will be held on Sunday January 17, 2016, but the Vatican is already working on highlighting its message on an international level.
According to the official statement, the first part of the theme follows the ongoing crisis along the Mediterranean, where thousands of people have drowned in their attempt to make it to Europe. Similar situations are seen in other parts of the world as well. Above all, the Pope calls on Christians to not be indifferent and to embrace the challenge.
The second part, which reads, ‘The Response of the Gospel of Mercy‘ was included because the next World Day of Migrants will take place precisely during the Year of Mercy, which starts on December 8th. The Pope is also calling on Catholic parishes to take action and combine their help toward migrants with the Year of Mercy.
The first World Day of Migrants and Refugees was held back on February 21st, 1915.
POPE FRANCIS: SEEK FORGIVENESS FOR SHUTTING OUT REFUGEES
On July 17, 2015, Rosie Scammell published an article for Religion News Service regarding Pope Francis and his recent address regarding refugees. Pope Francis said people who shut out refugees should seek forgiveness. Addressing crowds in St. Peter’s Square, Francis drew his followers’ attention to the U.N.’s World Refugee Day. “It is my hope that the international community should act in a fitting and effective way to prevent the causes of forced migration,” the pontiff said. He called on Catholics to pray for people “who seek a home where they can live without fear” and praised those who help refugees. The Pope has repeatedly expressed his support for migrants and refugees, in 2013 visiting the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is an arrival point for many people taking the journey across the Mediterranean.
You can read the story here
The article on the internet is located here
POPE FRANCIS’ LENTEN MESSAGE 2015
“MAKE YOUR HEARTS FIRM”
In this year’s Lenten message, Pope Francis highlighted the need to counter-act the culture of indifference. He focuses on the danger of indifference, apathy and irresponsibility. It’s important to delve into this, because it’s a phenomenon that’s happening in the world right now. The message titled, “Make your Hearts Firm”, deals with a social problem, mostly the indifference of those who are materially wealthy, but poor in the heart. The Pope says the solution is educating through mercy. The Pope also reminded Christians that Lent is a time for renewal and this year, he says, the focus should be on looking towards the suffering of others and lending a helping hand.
You can read the entire message by clicking here.
Pope meets with Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey
The meeting took place in Istanbul’s Don Bosco Oratory in Nov. 2014. The refugees are originally from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Pope Francis addressed the young crowd. The Pope explained that through his visit, he wants to show his support. He asked them to not give up, adding that God does not forget His children. He called for the international community to work together to improve the situation.
You can see and hear his remarks here.
The Pope’s most moving and painful moment in Turkey: His meeting with refugees
At the General Audience in Rome on Dec. 3, 2014 Pope Francis spoke about his visit to Turkey. He spoke about the the need for all governments to respect religious freedom. One of the most moving and also painful moments of the trip, he said, was his meeting with young refugees, who fled from the Islamic State.
You can see and read more about this here.
Pope Francis meets members of World Meeting of Popular Movements
Vatican Radio reports that Pope Francis met with the participants at the World Meeting of Popular Movements in November, 2014. He said that it is not sufficient to be content with “illusory promises,” and that anesthetizing or taming problems at hand does not solve them. He called for solidarity, to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and [loss of] land, housing, and social and labour rights. Also on the agenda were the problems of housing and employment. The Holy Father stressed that this was unacceptable. He concluded by saying, “I know that among you are persons of different religions, professions, ideas, cultures, and continents. We are practicing here a culture of meeting that is removed from xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance that we so often see.”
There is a picture of the Pope and the group here.
You can read more about this meeting here.
“Rome Reports” also has a brief introduction to the meeting. You can see it here.
“For Christians, No One is a Stranger”
Pope Francis spoke to the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants in November and stressed that all people have a right to improve their lives. Immigration is a doorway to hope for many people who lack opportunities in their country of origin. Pope Francis said that for the Church “no one is a stranger”. He concluded by saying migrants are “a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses.”
You can hear and read more on this here.
World Day of Migrants 2015, Pope Message
The mission of the Church, herself a pilgrim in the world and the Mother of all, is thus to love Jesus Christ, to adore and love him, particularly in the poorest and most abandoned; among these are certainly migrants and refugees, who are trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers of every kind. For this reason, the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: Church without frontiers, Mother to all.
Read the full text here: World Day of Migrants 2015, Pope Message
The Holy See Addresses the United Nations – September 29, 2014
The Holy See (Vatican) has the status of “Permanent Observer” to the United Nations. His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis addressed the General Assembly of the UN on behalf of the Pope. He noted that Pope Francis recently reiterated the Holy See’s esteem and appreciation for the United Nations as an indispensable means of building an authentic family of peoples. He recalled that the Pope encouraged “all the competent organs of the United Nations, in particular those responsible for security, peace, humanitarian law and assistance to refugees, to continue their efforts in accordance with the Preamble and relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter”. He asks, What, then, are the paths open to us? There is the path of promoting dialogue and understanding among cultures which is already implicitly contained in the Preamble and First Article of the Charter of the United Nations. Pope Francis says that he wishes all to recall that it is both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral action and a proportionate use of force. Finally, the Pope calls for the promotion of a culture of peace.
Read the full text here: Pope Francis to the UN Sept, 2014