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Monday, 13 November 2017

The Vatican: Pope addresses Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Pope addresses Pacific Islands Forum leaders
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Saturday shared the concerns of island, coastal and fishing communities, and called for global cooperation, solidarity and strategies to address issues such as the deterioration of the environment and the health of oceans. Meeting some 46 members of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in the Vatican, the Pope shared the concerns of those exposed to frequent extreme environmental and climate events, and the impact of rising sea levels and the continuous deterioration of the barrier reef. He blamed many of the causes of this "environmental decay" on the short-sighted human activity… connected with certain ways ‎of exploiting natural and human resources. Earth without borders The Pope however expressed satisfaction that the problem of global warming and rising sea levels that mainly affect  impoverished coastal populations, are being discussed in international forums, such as the on-going United Nations COP-23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn . He evoked the vision of an "earth without borders" that calls for the need for a global outlook, international cooperation and solidarity, and a shared strategy, to address environmental problems. He lamented that since the appeal by the Filipino bishops nearly 30 years ago, the situation of the oceans and the marine ecosystem, especially the barrier reef, has not really improved.  We still face problems, including pollution caused by the accumulation ‎of plastics and micro-plastics in oceans, the Pope said.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Angelus: 'charity fuels faith making it fruitful and credible'
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday told the faithful that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be ready to meet with the Lord.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer , the Pope also said that it is not sufficient to lead a life of faith; a Christian must also be fueled by charity. The parable of the ten virgins Recalling the parable of the ten virgins the Pope said one must not wait for "the last moment of our lives to collaborate with God's grace: you must do it now!" he said.      Quoting from the liturgical reading in which the Lord said to the foolish virgins "Stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour" Francis explained that Jesus is telling us that 'staying awake' does not mean only not to fall asleep: it is an exhortation to be prepared. Charity fuels and safeguards faith The lamp, the Pope said, is "the symbol of faith that illuminates our lives". Oil, he continued, "is the symbol of charity which fuels the lamp making the light of faith fruitful and credible".  "A life that is poor in charity is devoid of true light" he said. "If we let ourselves be guided by what appears to be most convenient, seeking only to protect and nurture our interests, our lives become sterile and incapable of giving life to others; in this way we do not store a stock of oil for the lamp of our faith which will be extinguished at the time of the Lord's coming, or even before that" he said. "The condition to be ready to meet with the Lord, Pope Francis said, is not only faith, but a Christian life full of love and charity for our neighbour." Always be prepared to meet the Lord He urged Christians always to "be vigilant and to try to do good through actions of love, sharing and service" to our brothers in difficulty so we can serenely await the arrival of the groom. We know, he continued that "the Lord may come at any time, but even the slumber of death will not scare us if we have a supply of oil that we have accumulated through good works every day". "Faith inspires charity and charity safeguards faith" he said. Giving thanks for Spanish martyrs After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the beatification ceremony that took place in Madrid on Saturday during which Vicente Queralt LLoret and 20 of his martyred companions and José Maria Fernández Sánchez and 38 of his martyred companions were proclaimed blessed. "They were all killed in hatred for the faith during the religious persecution that took place during the 1936 – 1937 Spanish Civil War" he said. Pope Francis concluded giving thanks to God for the great gift of these witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican is calling for integral nuclear disarmament. According to the preliminary conclusions of a just-ended high level symposium entitled "Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament" , integral disarmament is both an urgent immediate need and a long-term process. The symposium, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development got underway as tensions escalated between the US and North Korea.  It saw the participation of eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, ‎heads of  major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths. Pope Francis addressed the gathering on Friday. Wrapping up the symposium on Saturday, Cardinal Peter Turkson , President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read out the following preliminary conclusions :  The Dicastery brought together religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of States and international organizations, noted academics and Nobel Laureates and students, to illuminate the connections between integral disarmament and integral development, and to explore the links among development, disarmament and peace.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, repeatedly reminds us, "everything is connected."  1.     The use and possession of nuclear weapons deserves condemnation since they are indiscriminate and disproportionate instruments of war. In addressing us, Pope Francis said, "If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned." Similarly, reprehensible are tests of nuclear weapons and the fall out which contaminate the atmosphere and the oceans; as global public good their contamination could constitute crimes against humanity. 2.     Nuclear deterrence does not adequately address the challenges of security in a multi-polar world.  In March 2017 our Holy Father wrote in a message: "If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty, not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges." 3.     Nuclear deterrence does not create a stable or secure peace; it contributes to fear and conflict.  As our Holy Father said to us: "Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security."  They also create a culture of "mutual intimidation" in the international system. 4.     Spending on nuclear weapons wastes resources that are needed to address the root causes of conflicts and to promote development and peace.  5.     The humanitarian impacts of the use of nuclear weapons are devastating and planetary. 6.     A world without nuclear weapons is possible. Pope Francis encouraged us to hope that "…progress that is effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression….." 7.     Peace is built on the foundation of justice. Integral disarmament and integral development are connected.  As Pope Francis recalled, Pope Paul VI "set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as 'the new name for peace'." 8.     Nuclear disarmament is a global issue, requiring a global response.  As Pope Francis wrote in March 2017:  "Growing interdependence and globalization mean that any response to the threat of nuclear weapons should be collective and concerted, based on mutual trust." 9.      Integral disarmament is both an immediate urgent need and a long-term process.  In March 2017 Pope Francis made clear:  "Achieving a world without nuclear weapons involves a long-term process, based on the awareness that 'everything is connected' within the perspective of an integral ecology (cf. Laudato Si', 117, 138). The common destiny of mankind demands the pragmatic strengthening of dialogue and the building and consolidating of mechanisms of trust and cooperation, capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons." 10.  Dialogue is essential.  This dialogue must be inclusive, engaging both nuclear States and non-nuclear States, and involving civil society, international organizations, governments and religious communities.  In particular, the Catholic Church is committed to advance this dialogue at all levels. 11.  Call upon States that have not yet done so, to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 12.  Most importantly, let us commit our efforts to the call for integral nuclear disarmament to prayer by all! Everything is connected; and everyone is connected.  Together we can rid the world of nuclear weapons, invest in integral human development, and build peace.  These preliminary conclusions do not represent the end of the conversation, but rather the beginning of future dialogue and action. (from Vatican Radio)...
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