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Pope Francis on Peace

TO BE A PEACE MAKER~


Date: Saturday, September 7, 2013
Subject: AMEN to Pope Francis' homily closing today's vigil for peace

This evening in St. Peter's Square, with an estimated 100,000 people praying with him, Pope Francis said:

“And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:12, 18, 21, 25). The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: “It is good”. This allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message. We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?

It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the “house of harmony and peace”, and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel “at home”, because it is “good”. All of creation forms a harmonious and good unity, but above all humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, is one family, in which relationships are marked by a true fraternity not only in words: the other person is a brother or sister to love, and our relationship with God, who is love, fidelity and goodness, mirrors every human relationship and brings harmony to the whole of creation. God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire? Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts? Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations? And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?

But then we wonder: Is this the world in which we are living? Creation retains its beauty which fills us with awe and it remains a good work. But there is also “violence, division, disagreement, war”. This occurs when man, the summit of creation, stops contemplating beauty and goodness, and withdraws into his own selfishness.

When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God’s place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined; then the door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict. This is precisely what the passage in the Book of Genesis seeks to teach us in the story of the Fall: man enters into conflict with himself, he realizes that he is naked and he hides himself because he is afraid (cf. Gen 3: 10), he is afraid of God’s glance; he accuses the woman, she who is flesh of his flesh (cf. v. 12); he breaks harmony with creation, he begins to raise his hand against his brother to kill him. Can we say that from harmony he passes to “disharmony”? No, there is no such thing as “disharmony”; there is either harmony or we fall into chaos, where there is violence, argument, conflict, fear ....

It is exactly in this chaos that God asks man’s conscience: “Where is Abel your brother?” and Cain responds: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). We too are asked this question, it would be good for us to ask ourselves as well: Am I really my brother’s keeper? Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! To be human means to care for one another! But when harmony is broken, a metamorphosis occurs: the brother who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill. What violence occurs at that moment, how many conflicts, how many wars have marked our history! We need only look at the suffering of so many brothers and sisters. This is not a question of coincidence, but the truth: we bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war. All of us! And even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother. Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

At this point I ask myself: Is it possible to change direction? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace? Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible for everyone! From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone! Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond: Yes, we want it! My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken.

This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace! Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation. Look upon your brother’s sorrow and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this achieved not by conflict but by encounter!

May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity. Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: “No more one against the other, no more, never! ... war never again, never again war!” (Address to the United Nations, 1965). “Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love” (World Day of Peace Message, 1975). Forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation – these are the words of peace, in beloved Syria, in the Middle East, in all the world! Let us pray for reconciliation and peace, let us work for reconciliation and peace, and let us all become, in every place, men and women of reconciliation and peace!
Amen.


 

18-09-2013 - Year XXII - Num. 177


Summary
- MOTHER CHURCH NEVER CLOSES THE DOOR TO ANY OF HER CHILDREN
- FRANCIS MAKES NEW APPEAL FOR PEACE
- 50 YEARS AFTER PACEM IN TERRIS, THE HOLY SEE INSISTS ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
- AUDIENCES
- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

MOTHER CHURCH NEVER CLOSES THE DOOR TO ANY OF HER CHILDREN

Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) – The Church as mother was again the theme chosen by Francis for today's catechesis at the Wednesday general audience. “I like this image a lot, as it seems to me that it tells us not only how the Church is, but also shows us the face the Church, this Church of ours, should increasingly show”, he explained.

The Pope began by considering what a mother does for her children. First of all, “she teaches us how to proceed in life … she orientates us, she always tries to show us the right path in life in order to grow and become adults. And she does this with tenderness, with affection, with love, always – even when she tries to correct our path because we lose our way a little or take routes that might lead us to a fall”.

“The Church does likewise: she orientates our lives, she offers us instruction on how to walk in the right way. Think of the ten Commandments: they show us the route to follow if we are to mature, fixing certain cardinal points in our behaviour. And these are the fruits of tenderness, of the very love that God gives us. You might say to me: but these are commandments! They are a list of negatives! I would like to invite you to read them, … and then think about them positively. You will see that they concern our way of behaving towards God, towards ourselves and towards others, just as a mother teaches us how to live well. They remind us not to make material idols for ourselves, which then turn us into slaves; to remember God; to respect our parents; to be honest; to respect others … Try to see them in this way and consider them as if they were the words and teachings a mother gives us in order to take a good path through life. A mother never teaches anything that is bad, she wants only what is best for her children, and the same is true of the Church”.

Secondly, “when a child grows and becomes an adult … and assumes his responsibilities … he does what he wants, and at times, he may happen to stray away from the path. … A mother always, in every situation, has the patience to continue to accompany her children. She is animated by the strength of love … and even when [her children] make mistakes, she always finds a way of understanding them … to help them. We say that a mother 'stands up and is counted' for her own children; that is, she always seeks to defend them”.

“The Church is the same: she is a merciful mother who understands, who always tries to help, to give encouragement even when her children have made mistakes or continue to do so. She never closes the doors of her house to them: she does not judge, but rather offers God's forgiveness, she offers her love to invite her children to return to the right path and even when they have fallen into the deepest abyss, the Church is not afraid to enter into their darkest night with them in order to give them hope; the Church is not afraid to enter into our night when our soul and conscience are surrounded by darkness, to give us hope! Because the Church is our mother!”

Finally, “a mother also knows how to ask, to knock on every door for her children, without calculation but with love. And I think of how mothers know, most of all, how to knock on God's door! Mothers pray a lot for their own children, especially for those … most in need, whose lives have taken dangerous or mistaken paths. … The Church does likewise: through prayer, she places the lives of all her children in the hands of the Lord. Let us trust in the strength of prayer of the Mother Church: the Lord never remains indifferent. He always knows how to astonish us when we least expect us. The Mother Church knows this!”

“So, these are the thoughts I wanted to share with you today: we see in the Church a good mother who shows us the path to walk in life, who is always patient, merciful and understanding, and knows how to place us in God's hands”.

FRANCIS MAKES NEW APPEAL FOR PEACE

Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) – “I invite all Catholics throughout the world to unite with other Christians to continue to implore God for peace in the most afflicted parts of our planet”. The Pope launched this appeal following today's catechesis, recalling that on 21 September the United Nations celebrate the “International Day of Peace”, and the Ecumenical Council of the Church calls for all its members to pray for peace on that day.

“May peace, a gift from Christ, forever reside in our hearts and support the aims and actions of the leaders of the Nations and all men of good will. Let us all be committed to encouraging efforts for a diplomatic and political solution in the seedbeds of war that remain a cause for concern. My thoughts turn especially to the dear Syrian population, whose human tragedy may be resolved only through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for justice and the dignity of every person, especially the weakest and most defenceless”.

50 YEARS AFTER PACEM IN TERRIS, THE HOLY SEE INSISTS ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, spoke at the 57th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA), held in Vienna on 16 September.

The prelate mentioned that “this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Papal Encyclical “Pacem in Terris” of Blessed Pope John XXIII” and remarked, “we should ask ourselves whether we really live in a more secure and safer world today compared with that of a few decades ago”.

“The Holy See shares the thoughts and sentiments of most men and women of good will who aspire to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Hence, we would like to use this opportunity to renew our call upon the leaders of nations to put an end to nuclear weapons production and to transfer nuclear material from military purpose to peaceful activities”.

The archbishop insisted upon the importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation from a humanitarian point of view, and expressed “the Holy See's deep concern about the recent tragic developments in the Middle East”, restating “its strong support for the efforts to establish a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear-weapon-free zones are the best example of trust, confidence and affirmation that peace and security are possible without possessing nuclear weapons”.

He concluded his address by referring to recent negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme, and emphasized the Holy See's firm conviction that “the present difficulties can and must be overcome through diplomatic channels, making use of all the means that diplomacy has at its disposal, and considers it necessary to overcome the various obstacles which objectively impede mutual trust.

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, almoner of His Holiness, with family members.

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Jaime Spengler, O.F.M., as metropolitan archbishop of Porto Alegre (area 13,753, population 3,368,000, Catholics 2,507,000, priests 373, permanent deacons 57, religious 1,602), Brazil. Archbishop Spengler, previously auxiliary of the same archdiocese, was born in Blumenau, Brazil in 1960, was ordained to the priesthood in 1990, and received episcopal ordination in 2011. He succeeds Archbishop Dadeus Grings, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Antonio Di Donna as bishop of Acerra (area 157, population 123,887, Catholics 121,763, priests 53, permanent deacons 4, religious 73), Italy. Bishop Di Donna, previously auxiliary of Naples, Italy, was born in Ercolano, Italy in 1952, was ordained to the priesthood in 1976, and received episcopal ordination in 2007. He succeeds Bishop Salvatore Giovanni Rinaldi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Cirilo B. Flores as bishop of San Diego (area 22,942, population 3,124,081, Catholics 982,183, priests 311, permanent deacons 163, religious 353), U.S.A. Bishop Flores, previously coadjutor of the same diocese, was born in Corona, U.S.A in 1948, was ordained to the priesthood in 1991, and received episcopal ordination in 2009. He succeeds Bishop Robert H. Brom, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

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07-09-2013 - Year XXII - Num. 169


Summary
- FRANCIS: WAR IS ALWAYS A DEFEAT FOR HUMANITY

FRANCIS: WAR IS ALWAYS A DEFEAT FOR HUMANITY

Vatican City, 7 September 2013 (VIS) – More than a hundred thousand people gathered in St- Peter's Square this evening in response to Pope Francis' appeal during last Sunday's Angelus in which he convoked for today, 7 September, a day of fasting and prayer for peace, in the light of the dramatic circumstances which have engulfed Syria. Since then, this initiative has been welcomed and applauded not only by Catholics and other Christian confessions, but also by those belonging to other religions, from Buddhists to Jews and Muslims, and even those who do not belong to any religion. This week has seen extensive mobilisation on the part of parishes and associations, Caritas and the Community of St. Egidio, prayer groups and religious orders such as the Descalced Carmelites of the Holy Land, mayors and presidents of autonomous regions, organisations for peace, co-operation and development, unions, and so on. Many prominent figures have joined in with the initiative, such as the architect Renzo Piano, the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and the Grand Mufti of Syria, spiritual leader of the Sunnis, who invoked peace this afternoon in the Ummayad Mosque, Damascus, with the nation's religious leaders. A prayer for peace was raised this afternoon in Catholic churches around the world, from Australia to Egypt.

The Square was crowded with people since the morning; among them there were many who wished to confess, from 5.45 onwards, to one of the fifty priests in the Constantine Wing and below the colonnade; Francis wanted confessors to be present on this day as “true peace is born of the human heart reconciled with God and with one's brothers”. At 18.30, the words uttered by the Pope last Sunday were repeated as an introduction to the Vigil which began at 7 p.m. with a greeting from the Pope and the singing of the “Veni Creator”, followed by the enthroning of the image of the Virgin as “Salus Populi Romani”, carried by four Swiss Guards.

The Pope began by praying the Rosary; each mystery was accompanied by the reading of a poem by St. Therese of Lisieux about the child Jesus, and at the end he invoked Maria: “Queen of Peace, pray for us”. He then pronounced the following homily:

“'And God saw that it was good'. The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: 'it is good'. This, dear brothers and sisters, allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message. We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?

“It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the 'house of harmony and peace', and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel 'at home', because it is 'good'. All of creation forms a harmonious and good unity, but above all humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, is one family, in which relationships are marked by a true fraternity not only in words: the other person is a brother or sister to love, and our relationship with God, who is love, fidelity and goodness, mirrors every human relationship and brings harmony to the whole of creation. God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire? Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts? Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations? And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?

“But then we wonder: Is this the world in which we are living? Creation retains its beauty which fills us with awe and it remains a good work. But there is also 'violence, division, disagreement, war'. This occurs when man, the summit of creation, stops contemplating beauty and goodness, and withdraws into his own selfishness.

“When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God’s place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined; then the door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict. This is precisely what the passage in the Book of Genesis seeks to teach us in the story of the Fall: man enters into conflict with himself, he realizes that he is naked and he hides himself because he is afraid, he is afraid of God’s glance; he accuses the woman, she who is flesh of his flesh; he breaks harmony with creation, he begins to raise his hand against his brother to kill him. Can we say that from harmony he passes to 'disharmony'? Can we say this: that from harmony he passes to 'disharmony'? No, there is no such thing as 'disharmony'; there is either harmony or we fall into chaos, where there is violence, argument, conflict, fear.

“It is exactly in this chaos that God asks man’s conscience: “Where is Abel your brother?” and Cain responds: 'I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?'. We too are asked this question, it would be good for us to ask ourselves as well: Am I really my brother’s keeper? Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! To be human means to care for one another! But when harmony is broken, a metamorphosis occurs: the brother who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill. What violence occurs at that moment, how many conflicts, how many wars have marked our history! We need only look at the suffering of so many brothers and sisters. This is not a question of coincidence, but the truth: we bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war. All of us! And even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother. Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

“After the chaos of the Flood, when it stopped raining, a rainbow appeared and the dove returned with an olive branch. I think also of the olive tree which representatives of various religions planted in Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, in 2000, asking that there be no more chaos, asking that there be no more war, asking for peace.

“And at this point I ask myself: Is it possible to walk the path of pace? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace? Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible for everyone! From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone! Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond: Yes, we want it! My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace! Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation. Look upon your brother’s sorrow – I think of the children, look upon these - look upon your brother's sorrow, and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this not by conflict but by encounter! May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity. Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: 'No more one against the other, no more, never! ... war never again, never again war!'. 'Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love'. Forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation – these are the words of peace, in beloved Syria, in the Middle East, in all the world! Let us pray for reconciliation and peace, let us work for reconciliation and peace, and let us all become, in every place, men and women of reconciliation and peace! Amen”.

Following the Pope's words, a moment of silence was observed during the preparation of the altar for the exposition of the Holy Sacrament. The adoration was accompanied by a biblical reading on the theme of peace, followed by the Pope's prayer on this subject and a responsorial invocation as a plea for peace. At the end of each of those moments, five pairs of people, representing Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, the United States and Russia, placed incense in the censer to the right of the altar. This offering was accompanied by a series of invocations on the common theme of peace, including: “Lord of life, bring to us your peace, to where the fate of nations is decided” and “Stop, with your creative power, all violence against human life”.

The adoration was followed by the reading - “in the longest form planned for the celebration of a vigil” - of the Gospel of St. John. Then, from around 10.15 to 10.40 p.m., there was a long period of silence for personal prayer.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Pope Francis imparted his Eucharistic blessing to those present. Today, the Pope wrote to his nine million followers on Twitter, “Pray for peace”.

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 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis

 

 

 
                                            ~Pope FRANCIS