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Friday, 4 August 2017

The Vatican: Pope sends greetings to Knights of Columbus

Pope sends greetings to Knights of Columbus
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent greetings to the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of their 135 th Supreme Convention , which concludes on Thursday in St Louis. The Pope's message, conveyed in letter from the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin , says the theme of the Convention – " Convinced of God's Love and Power " – points "to the secret source of all Christian life and mission: our conviction that God's saving love, revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, impels us to share the Good News of salvation with every man and woman." This conviction, it continues, "underlies all our enthusiasm for evangelization." It is this experience of God's love and power, Cardinal Parolin says, that led to the founding of the Knights of Columbus, and to their continued growth. Cardinal Parolin calls on the Knights, in the spirit of their founder, the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney , to respond generously to the call of Pope Francis to reject the mentality of the contemporary "culture of indifference," and to commit themselves "to their properly lay vocation of striving for the sanctification of the world from within, by carrying out their daily responsibilities in the spirit of the Gospel and revealing Christ to others through the witness of their lives." In particular, Cardinal Parolin says that Pope Francis "is especially appreciative of the unremitting efforts of the Knights of Columbus to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and beauty of family life," noting that the Pope, following the lead of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, has linked the health of the family to the health of society as a whole. "The strengthening of sound family values and a renewed vision of our responsibility for the moral health of the greater community will contribute to overcoming the polarization and general coarsening of the social fabric that is an increasing source of concern even in the most prosperous of our societies." Finally, Cardinal Parolin's letter expresses the Holy Father's gratitude for the Knights' support of Christians in the Middle East who are suffering from violence and persecution. Below, please find the full text of Cardinal Parolin's letter, addressed to the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Mr Carl A Anderson : Dear Mr. Anderson, His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to learn that from 1 to 3 August 2017, the 135th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will assemble in St. Louis, Missouri. He has asked me to convey his warm good wishes to all present, together with the assurance of his closeness in prayer. The theme of this year's Convention – Convinced of God's Love and Power – points to the secret source of all Christian life and mission: our conviction that God's saving love, revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, impels us to share the Good News of salvation with every man and woman. It is precisely this "conviction" that underlies all our enthusiasm for evangelization, for "we have a treasure of life and love which cannot deceive, and a message which cannot mislead or disappoint" ( Evangelii gaudium , 265). This same experience of God's love and power, lived in the heart of the Church, led to the founding of the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal and charitable union of Catholic laymen, workers, husbands and fathers. The subsequent history of your Order demonstrates how a spirit of solidarity and mutual concern inspired by God's love can grow, like the mustard seed in the parable (cf. Lk 13:19), into something immensely greater, contributing to the glory of God, the spread of his Kingdom, and the universal mission of the Church. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31). Saint Paul's question to the Romans expressed his own firm conviction that the infinite power of God's love, revealed in the cross of Christ, prevails over every form of worldly evil. The Holy Father has often observed that in our own day a new world war is being fought piecemeal, as an ungodly thirst for power and domination, whether economic, political or military, is leading to untold violence, injustice and suffering in our human family. He has asked Christians everywhere, truly convinced of the infinite power of God's love, to reject this mentality and to combat the growth of a global culture of indifference that discards the least of our brothers and sisters. In fidelity to the vision of the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney, may the Knights, in their families, their parishes and their local Councils, respond generously to this challenge, first and foremost by recommitting themselves to their properly lay vocation of striving for the sanctification of the world from within, by carrying out their daily responsibilities in the spirit of the Gospel and revealing Christ to others through the witness of their lives (cf. Lumen gentium , 31). In this way, they will help to lay solid foundations for the renewal of society as a whole, by working to change hearts and build peace, one person and one community at a time. His Holiness is especially appreciative of the unremitting efforts of the Knights of Columbus to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and beauty of family life. In his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia , echoing the concerns expressed by the 2015 Synod of Bishops, he linked healthy family life to the health of society as a whole, and emphasized the special task of education that, in God's plan, is entrusted to Christian parents (cf. Nos. 274-279). It is in the family that we come to see that the larger world is also our home, in which we are called to live together, to learn closeness, care and respect for others, and to value the God-given gifts that each of us has to offer for the good of all. The strengthening of sound family values and a renewed vision of our responsibility for the moral health of the greater community will contribute to overcoming the polarization and general coarsening of the social fabric that is an increasing source of concern even in the most prosperous of our societies. Finally, and in a very particular way, Pope Francis has asked me to express his gratitude for the commitment of the Knights to supporting our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East in their witness of fidelity to the Lord, often borne at great personal cost. None of us can be blind to the sufferings of those whom fratricidal violence and religious fanaticism have left homeless or forced to flee their ancient homelands. The Knights of Columbus Refugee Relief Fund is an eloquent sign of your Order's firm commitment to solidarity and communion with our fellow Christians. The Holy Father once more asks the Knights and their families to pray for those in need, for the conversion of hearts, and for an end to the spiral of violence, hatred and injustice in that region. With these sentiments, His Holiness commends the deliberations of the 135th Supreme Convention to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and assures the Knights and their families of a special remembrance in his prayers. With great affection he imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord. Yours sincerely, [Signature] Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends letter to interfaith prayer meeting in Japan
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to the 30th Prayer Meeting on Mount Hiei in Kyoto, Japan, inviting all religions to "pray and work together for peace". "It is my pleasure to send my cordial greetings to you and to the distinguished representatives of the different religious traditions," he wrote. The Pope's letter was delivered and read to participants by Cardinal John Tong Hon, Bishop-emeritus of Hong Kong. It was addressed to Venerable Koei Morikawa, the Supreme Priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, with whom Pope Francis met privately in the Vatican on September 16, 2016. "This annual religious summit contributes in a special way to the building up of that spirit of dialogue and friendship which allows the followers of the world's religions to work together to open new paths for peace in our human family." Pope Francis also said prayer "inspires and sustains our efforts for peace, because it helps to deepen our reciprocal respect for each other as persons, strengthens the bonds of love between us, and spurs us to make decisive efforts towards promoting just relations and fraternal solidarity." The annual prayer meeting closes on 6 August in commemoration of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican calls for suspension of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday issued an urgent appeal to Venezuela's leaders to suspend the new Constituent Assembly which, it says, is threatening the future of the South American nation. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:  The strongly worded communique, issued by the Vatican's Secretariat of State, says Pope Francis is following closely the situation in Venezuela , where President Nicolas Maduro is headed towards a showdown with the opposition, as he pushes ahead with the inauguration of his new Assembly. The statement comes as the body's 545 delegates were expected to be installed at the legislative palace in the capital, Caracas, close to the chamber where the opposition-controlled National Assembly meets. Erosion of democracy The new Constituent Assembly has been tasked with rewriting the country's constitution and holds powers that override all other government branches. Opposition leaders have denounced the erosion of democracy and vowed they will only be removed by force. Over a hundred and twenty-five people have already been killed in over three months of violent anti-government protests. Respect rights enshrined in Constitution The Vatican statement expresses "profound concern for the radicalisation and worsening of the crisis", including the increase in deaths, injuries and arrests of protesters. It calls on all the country's politicians, in  particular, the government, to guarantee "full respect for human rights and basic freedoms, as well as for the existing Constitution". Suspend Constituent Assembly It says initiatives such as the new Constituent Assembly should be "avoided or suspended" since they "foment a climate of tension and conflict" which "mortgages the future" of the country, rather than fostering reconciliation and peace. The statement calls for a negotiated solution, along the lines already indicated in a previous letter from the Secretary of State on December 1st 2016. These solutions must take into account "the serious suffering of the people", due to a lack of security, as well as the shortages of food and medicine. Pray for Venezuela Finally the statement calls on all members of Venezuelan society, in particular the security forces, to avoid violence or an excessive use of force. It says the pope assures all Venezuelans of his prayers and invites people across the globe to pray intensely for the country at this moment of crisis. (from Vatican Radio)...
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