Feeds Media Cova - a network of artists and artisans building Catholic culture http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds.html Sat, 07 Mar 2015 03:55:51 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Pope: a society that discards the elderly carries within a deadly virus http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3960-pope-a-society-that-discards-the-elderly-carries-within-a-deadly-virus.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3960-pope-a-society-that-discards-the-elderly-carries-within-a-deadly-virus.html

(Vatican Radio) “Where the elderly are not honoured, there is no future for the young”. This was the powerful message delivered by Pope Francis during his catechesis on Wednesday, devoted to the elderly.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience the Pope continued in his series of teachings on the family, focusing this time on the role of grandparents.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni: 

Reflecting on the fact that life expectancy has increased in modern societies, Francis denounced a widespread lack of respect and consideration for the elderly and their dignity. 

Recalling the words of Benedict XVI during a visit to an old age home when he said: “The quality of a society, I mean of a civilization, is also judged by how it treats elderly people and by the place it gives them in community life”, Pope Francis reiterated: “It is true, attention for the elderly is what makes the difference within a civilization”.

Nowadays, he said, people tend to live longer, but often our societies not only fail to make room for the elderly, but even consider them a burden.

And recounting an anecdote dating back to when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis told of how when visiting an old age home, he stopped to chat to one of the guests and asked her how her children were doing: “Well” answered the old woman. “Do they come to visit you?” he said. “Oh yes, always” she replied. “And when was the last time they came?” he continued. “At Christmas” she said. “It was August… Eight months without a visit from her children – this Pope Francis said is a mortal sin.”

“It’s is a mortal sin to discard our elderly”. The Pope insisted: “The elderly are not aliens,  we are them, in a short or in a long while; we are inevitably them, even although we choose not to think about it”. 

“If we do not learn to look after and to respect our elderly, we will be treated in the same way” he warned. 

“A society where the elderly are discarded carries within it the virus of death” he said.

And calling the issue a major challenge for Western societies which are marked on the one hand by aging populations and on the other by a cult of youth efficiency and profit which tends to discard everything not considered productive or useful, Pope Francis said that because of the vulnerability and special needs of the elderly, especially of those who are ill or alone, they call for particular attention and care. 

But rather than a burden – he said – they are, as the Bible tells us, a storehouse of wisdom.

The Church, Francis pointed out, has always accompanied the elderly with gratitude and affection, making them feel accepted and part of the community. 

The Church, Pope Francis concluded, cannot accept degenerations such as the ones that see elderly people abandoned and marginalized: “where the elderly are not honoured there is no future for the young”.

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Wed, 04 Mar 2015 05:15:48 +0000
Pope Francis: Charism of unity anchored in Eucharist http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3961-pope-francis-charism-of-unity-anchored-in-eucharist.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3961-pope-francis-charism-of-unity-anchored-in-eucharist.html

(Vatican Radio) In the Paul VI Audience Hall before his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis met with the Bishop Friends of the Focolare Movement.

Founded in Italy in 1943 by Chiara Lubich, the Focolare, also known as the Work of Mary, is an ecclesial movement that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood. Since 1977, a number of Bishops who desired to live out the spirituality of communion promoted by Focolare, have gathered together as the Bishop Friends of the Movement. The Bishop Friends regular meetings at international and regional levels.

In his address to the Bishops, Pope Francis called to mind the theme of their current meeting: “The Eucharist, Mystery of Communion.” He said, “the charism of unity proper to the Work of Mary is strongly anchored in the Eucharist, which gives it its Christian and ecclesial character.” It is the work of the Bishop to gather the community “around the Eucharist, around the double table of the Word and of the Bread of Life.” This, the Pope said, “is our service, and it is a fundamental one.”

Pope Francis said, “the Bishop is the principle of unity in the Church, but this does not take place without the Eucharist: the Bishop does not gather the people around his own person or his own ideas, but around Christ present in His Word and in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.” When the Bishop is conformed to Christ, “nourished with faith in Christ the living Bread,” he is “is urged on by his love to give his life for the brothers and sisters, to go out, to go to meet those who are marginalized and despised.”

The Holy Father had special words of greeting for those Bishops present who had come from “the blood-soaked lands” of Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. “In the suffering you have lived with your people,” he said, “you experience the strength that comes from the Eucharistic Jesus, the strength of going forward united in faith and hope.” He assured the Bishops the Church is united to them in the daily celebration of the Mass.

Concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged the Bishops to carry on their “commitment in favour of the ecumenical journey and inter-religious dialogue” and thanked them for the contributions they make “to a greater communion between the various ecclesial movements.”

Below please find the full text of the Pope’s address to the Bishop Friends of the Focolare Movement:

Dear brothers,

I welcome you, and I thank Cardinal Kovithavanij for his introduction. And I thank the President and Co-President of the Focolare Movement for their presence.

You have brought together in Rome the friendship with this Movement and an interest in the “spirituality of communion.” In particular, in these days your reflection has centred on the theme of “The Eucharist, Mystery of Communion.”

In effect, the charism of unity proper to the Work of Mary is strongly anchored in the Eucharist, which gives it its Christian and ecclesial character. Without the Eucharist, unity would lose its divine pole of attraction, and would be reduced to simply human, psychological, sociological feeling and dynamic. Instead, the Eucharist guarantees that at the centre there is Christ, and there is His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to move our steps and our initiatives of encounter and of communion.

The Apostle Paul writes: “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Cor 10:17). As Bishops, we gather the communities around the Eucharist, the double table of the Word and of the Bread of Life. This is our service, and it is fundamental. The Bishop is the principle of unity in the Church, but this does not take place without the Eucharist: the Bishop does not gather the people around his own person or his own ideas, but around Christ present in His Word and in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. And in the school of Jesus, the Good Shepherd made Himself the Lamb sacrificed and risen, the Bishop gathers the sheep entrusted to him with the offering of his life, himself taking on a form of Eucharistic existence. And so the Bishop, conformed to Christ, becomes a living Gospel, becomes Bread broken for the life of many with his preaching and his witness. He who is nourished with faith in Christ the living Bread is urged on by his love to give his life for the brothers and sisters, to go out, to go to meet those who are marginalized and despised.

In a particular way I thank you, Brothers, who come from the blood-soaked lands of Syria and of Iraq, and also of Ukraine. In the suffering you have lived with your people, you experience the strength that comes from the Eucharistic Jesus, the strength of going forward united in faith and hope.

In the daily celebration of the Mass we are united to you, we pray for you offering the Sacrifice of Christ; and from it the many initiatives of solidarity in favour of your Churches gain their strength and significance.

Dear Brother...]]> Feeds Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:44:45 +0000 Pope Francis to travel to Pompeii and Naples http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3962-pope-francis-to-travel-to-pompeii-and-naples.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3962-pope-francis-to-travel-to-pompeii-and-naples.html

(Vatican Radio) The official programme for Pope Francis’ visit to Pompeii and Naples was published Tuesday by the Vatican Press Office.

The one-day visit scheduled for Saturday, 21 March will begin at 7am in the Vatican where the Pope will board a helicopter that will take him to the Shrine of Pompeii where he will gather in prayer.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

At 9am Pope Francis is due to arrive in Scampia, an impoverished area close to Naples where he will meet with the community in the John Paul II Square.

Midmorning sees the Pope celebrating Mass in Naples’ central Piazza del Plebiscito.

A special moment will be dedicated to prison inmates when the Pope travels to the “Giuseppe Salvia” Detention Centre in Poggioreale where he will also share lunch with some of the detainees.

In the early afternoon he is scheduled to venerate the relics of Saint Gennaro and meet with the clergy, the religious and the deacons in the city's main Cathedral.

Before departing for the Vatican at approximately 6pm, Pope Francis will visit some sick people in the Basilica del Gesù and will meet a group of young people at a venue on the Caracciolo sea-front.

He will travel back to the Vatican by helicopter.


(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:19:42 +0000
Pope at Santa Marta: An invitation to do good http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3963-pope-at-santa-marta-an-invitation-to-do-good.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3963-pope-at-santa-marta-an-invitation-to-do-good.html

(Vatican Radio)  God “generously forgives” those who “learn to do good”, but what he doesn’t forgive is “hypocrisy and fake saints”, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel.

Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers “sanctified sinners” – people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good -- to “fake saints” – people who are more concerned with appearing saintly than doing good.

The Pope was reflecting on the first reading from Isaiah, which he described as an "invitation and an imperative" that comes directly from God: "Cease to do evil, learn to do good" defending orphans and widows, namely "those who no one remembers".  Pope Francis said this category includes the "abandoned elderly", "children who do not go to school", and those "who do not know how to make the sign of the Cross". Essentially it is an invitation to conversion:

"But how can I convert? 'By learning to do right!'. Conversion. You cannot remove the filth of the heart as you would remove a stain: we go to the dry cleaner and leave cleansed ... This filth is removed by 'doing': taking a different path, a different path from that of evil. 'Learn to do right!', That is, the path of doing good. And how do I do good? It’s simple! 'Seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow'. Remember that in Israel the poorest and most needy were orphans and widows: do justice to them, go there to the wounds of humanity, where there is so much pain ... And by doing so, by doing good, you will cleanse your heart ".

Pope Francis continued that a cleansed heart is promised God’s forgiveness.  God does not keep account of the sins of those who concretely love their neighbors.  "If you do this, if you take this path to which I invite you - the Lord tells us - 'though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow'. It is an exaggeration, the Lord exaggerates: but it is the truth! The Lord gives us the gift of His forgiveness. The Lord forgives generously. 'I forgive you this much, then we'll see about the rest....' No, no! The Lord always forgives everything! Everything! But if you want to be forgiven, you must set out on the path of doing good. This is the gift! '.

Pope Francis went on to say the Gospel of the day, instead, presents the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Scribes. He was reflecting on people "who say all the right things, but do the exact opposite."

"We are all clever and always find a path that is not right, to seem more virtuous than we are: it is the path of hypocrisy". "They pretend to convert, but their heart is a lie: they are liars! It 'a lie ... Their heart does not belong to the Lord; their heart belongs to the father of all lies, Satan. And this is fake holiness. Jesus preferred sinners a thousand times to these. Why? Because sinners told the truth about themselves. 'Get away from me, Lord, I am a sinner!': Peter once said. One of those [the hypocrites] never says that! 'Thank you Lord, that I am not a sinner, that I am righteous  ... In the second week of Lent we have these three words to think about, to ponder: the invitation to conversion; the gift that the Lord will give us, which is great forgiveness, a great forgiveness; and the trap -- that is, pretending to convert, while choosing the path of hypocrisy".

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Tue, 03 Mar 2015 05:05:43 +0000
Pope at Santa Marta: Judge not http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3964-pope-at-santa-marta-judge-not.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3964-pope-at-santa-marta-judge-not.html

(Vatican Radio) It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.


The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that "we are all sinners" - not "in theory" but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is "a Christian virtue, indeed more than a virtue", it is the first step for those who want to be Christian:

“We are all masters, professors of self-justification: ‘No it wasn’t me, it’s not my fault, maybe yes, but not so much…that’s not the way it is…’. We all have an alibi to explain away our shortcomings, our sins, and we are often to put on a face that says "I do not know," a face that says ‘I didn’t do it, maybe someone else did’ an innocent face. This is no way to lead a Christian life”.

"It’s easier to blame others" - observed the Pope - but "something strange happens if we try to behave differently: "If we begin to look at the things we are capable of doing, at first we “feel bad, we feel disgust ", yet this in turn "gives us peace and makes us healthy”.

Pope Francis continued, “when I feel envy in my heart and I know that this envy is capable of speaking ill of others and morally assassinating them”, this is “the wisdom of judging oneself”. "If we do not learn this first step in life, we will never, never be able to take other steps on the road of our Christian life, of our spiritual life":

“The first step is to judge ourselves.  Without saying anything out loud. Between you and your conscience. Walking down the street, I pass by a prison and say: "Well, they deserve it" - "Yet do you know that if it weren’t for the grace of God you would be there? Did you ever think that you are capable of doing the things that they have done, even worse?” This is what judging yourself means, not hiding from the roots of sin that are in all of us, the many things we are capable of doing, even if we cannot seen them”.

The Pope stressed another virtue: Shame before God, in a kind of dialogue in which we recognize the shame of our sin and the greatness of God's mercy:

"To You, Lord, our God, mercy and forgiveness. Shame on me and to You mercy and forgiveness". This Lent, it would do us all good to have this dialogue with the Lord: self-accusation. Let us ask for mercy. In the Gospel Jesus is clear: "Be merciful as your Father is merciful". When one learns to accuse oneself first then we are merciful to others: "But, who am I to judge, if I am able to do things that are worse?".

The phrase: "Who am I to judge another?" obeys Jesus’ exhortation: "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven". Instead, it highlights - "how we like to judge others, to speak ill of them”.

"May the Lord, in this Lent - said the Pontiff - give us the grace to learn to judge ourselves" in the knowledge that we are capable "of the most evil things" and say, "Have mercy on me, Lord, help me to be ashamed and grant me mercy, so I may be merciful to others".

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:40:44 +0000
Pope Angelus: Prayers for Syria, Iraq and Venezuela http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3965-pope-angelus-prayers-for-syria-iraq-and-venezuela.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3965-pope-angelus-prayers-for-syria-iraq-and-venezuela.html

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis following the recitation of the Marian Prayer on Sunday remembered the people of Syria and Iraq saying “Unfortunately, there is no cessation in the dramatic news about violence, kidnapping and harassment against Christians reaching us from Syria and Iraq.

The Pope went on to say that those facing these situations were not forgotten and prayed that the intolerable brutality of which they are victims would soon be at an end.


The Holy Father reminded the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square that along with members of the Roman Curia, this was the intention he offered at the last Mass of their Spiritual Exercises, which concluded on Friday.

The Pope, at the window of his studio also asked everyone “according to their ability, to work to alleviate the suffering of those who are afflicted, often only because of the faith they profess.

Pope Francis also remembered the people of Venezuela saying that the country was “again living moments of acute tension.” The Holy Father prayed for the victims of violence, in particular, for the boy killed a few days ago in San Cristobal.  

He then urged people in the country to reject violence and respect the dignity of every person and the sanctity of human life, encouraging them to take a journey together for the good of the country.

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:20:45 +0000
Pope did not intend to hurt feelings of Mexican people http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3954-pope-did-not-intend-to-hurt-feelings-of-mexican-people.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3954-pope-did-not-intend-to-hurt-feelings-of-mexican-people.html

(Vatican Radio) On Wednesday, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, made a statement clarifying an expression used by Pope Francis in an informal and private email.

The Vatican Secretary of State, he said, has sent a note to the Mexican ambassador to the Holy See, explaining that Pope Francis had no intention of hurting the feelings of the Mexican people “whom he loves very much,” or of ignoring “the commitment of the Mexican in combatting drug trafficking.” Father Lombardi noted that the expression “to avoid mexicanisation” had been used by the Holy Father in a “strictly private and informal email” in response to an Argentinian friend who is very committed to the struggle against drugs, and who had used the that expression.

“The note shows clearly that the Pope intended nothing else but to comment on the gravity of the phenomenon of drug trafficking afflicting Mexico and other Latin American countries,” Father Lombardi said. Precisely because of the seriousness of the situation, he continued, addressing the problem of drug trafficking “is a priority of the Government; to counter violence and to restore peace and serenity to Mexican families, by addressing the underlying causes of this plague.”

Father Lombardi said that drug trafficking is “a phenomenon, like others in Latin America” that the Holy Father has called attention to, even in meeting with Bishops, emphasizing the need for cooperation and consultation at all levels. 

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Wed, 25 Feb 2015 04:44:54 +0000
Pope, Curia reflect on superficial religiosity http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3955-pope-curia-reflect-on-superficial-religiosity.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3955-pope-curia-reflect-on-superficial-religiosity.html

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and the Roman Curia are in the middle of their weeklong Spiritual Exercises in Ariccia, outside Rome.

According to L’Osservatore Romano, the retreat master, Carmelite Father Bruno Secondin, has shared reflections with the Curia on the prophet Elias.

In his reflection, Fr Secondin compared the worship of the false idols in Elias’ time with a modern-day religiosity that is interested in the superficial and in measures of faith “according to statistics.” He called the participants to authentic and “audacious” worship.

The Pope and the Curia will conclude their Spiritual Exercises on Friday.

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Wed, 25 Feb 2015 04:27:58 +0000
Ukrainian Archbishop calls on Christians to help end conflict http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3956-ukrainian-archbishop-calls-on-christians-to-help-end-conflict.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3956-ukrainian-archbishop-calls-on-christians-to-help-end-conflict.html

(Vatican Radio) The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, held a press conference on Monday to share details of the ad limina visits that all Ukrainian bishops have been making to the Vatican this past week.

As well as denouncing the occupation of his country by Russian forces, the Ukrainian leader appealed to all Christians to help with the worsening humanitarian crisis which has been provoked by the conflict, as Philippa Hitchen reports…


Ukraine’s Catholic bishops came to tell Pope Francis and other Vatican officials that their country is the victim of Russian military aggression which has caused huge suffering to all sectors of society. While some parts of the media describe the conflict as 'a civil war' and even the Pope himself spoke recently of a 'fratricidal conflict', Archbishop Shevchuk said these words do not accurately represent the reality that is unfolding in his country today.

“Ukraine is under the direct aggression and invasion of a neighbouring country, we’re a victim of that and we expect the whole Christian world to take our side…."

Up to 6.000 civilians have been killed in the fighting between Russian troops and Ukrainian government forces in the east of the country, with thousands more injured and over a million people displaced  by the conflict and dependent on humanitarian aid. The archbishop said every day over 40,000 people receive assistance from churches or Caritas centres which have opened their doors to those most in need.

The Ukrainian Church leader is calling on Vatican diplomats and others in positions of authority to support victims and help bring an end to the crisis. He said he’s invited the Pope to come to his country and do everything in his power to try and stop the fighting:

“Our hope is that his voice, as a powerful moral authority, will help. What that means technically, I don’t know…maybe Holy See or European diplomats can bring some suggestions, but for us it's so important that the moral authority of the Holy Father will defend those under threat in Ukraine"

Regarding religious relations in the country, Archbishop Shevchuk said the Russian Orthodox Church has become a “powerful weapon” in the Russian propaganda war, making any kind of dialogue with Moscow very difficult indeed:

“Last year was a big effort to establish a dialogue, to be heard by the Moscow Patriarchate, but we got only silence….but we still hope that silence is not the final response, we still do our best to open the dialogue, to convey that we are their friends, we’re not against Russia itself or the Russian Orthodox Church, we just want to be good neighbours…”

The Archbishop praised the efforts of the World Council of Churches which is offering to mediate between the two sides, an initiative which he says may bring a glimmer of hope on a very dark horizon. And he says, at the end of their ad limina visits, the bishops are returning home moved and encouraged by the support that Pope Francis offered to them and to all their suffering people:

“ We were surprised and moved to hear the Pope say ‘I’m shoulder to shoulder with you, I’m at your service’ and we were moved by that paternal reception”

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:18:57 +0000
Pope Francis declares Armenian saint Doctor of the Church http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3957-pope-francis-declares-armenian-saint-doctor-of-the-church.html http://www.mediacova.com/news/feeds/3957-pope-francis-declares-armenian-saint-doctor-of-the-church.html

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has declared Armenian poet and monk, Saint Gregory of Narek, a Doctor of the Universal Church.  Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints on Saturday ahead of his departure for Aricca on Lenten retreat, the Pope confirmed the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation to confer the title of Doctor of the Universal Church on the 10th century saint.

St. Gregory of Narek is widely revered as one of the greatest figures of medieval Armenian religious thought and literature. Born in the city of Narek in about 950 A.D., St. Gregory came from a line of scholars and churchmen.

St. Gregory received his education under the guidance of his father, Bishop Khosrov, author of the earliest commentary on the Divine Liturgy, and from Anania Vartabed, abbotof Narek Monastery. He and his two brothers entered monastic life at an early age, and St. Gregory soon began to excel in music, astronomy, geometry, mathematics, literature, and theology.

He became a priest at the age of 25 and dedicated himself to God. He lived most of his life in the monastery of Narek, where he taught at the monastic school. St. Gregory began his writings with a commentary on the “Song of Songs,” which was commissioned by an Armenian prince. Despite his reservations that he was too young for the task, the commentary became famous for its clarity of thought and language and its excellence of theological presentation.

He also wrote a number of famous letters, sharagans, treasures, odes, melodies, and discourses. Many of his prayers are included in the Divine Liturgy celebrated each Sunday in Armenian Churches around the world.

St. Gregory’s masterpiece is considered to be his Book of Lamentations. Also known as Narek, it is comprised of 95 prayers, each of which is titled “Conversation with God from the depth of the heart.” A central theme is man’s separation from God, and his quest to reunite with Him. St. Gregory described the work this way: “Its letters like my body, its message like my soul.” He called his book an “encyclopedia of prayer for all nations.” It was his hope that it would serve as a guide to prayer for people all over the world. After the advent of movable type, the book was published in Marseille in 1673, and has been translated into at least 30 languages.

St. Gregory of Narek is remembered by the Armenian Church in October of each year.

(from Vatican Radio)]]>
Feeds Mon, 23 Feb 2015 05:06:56 +0000