Tag Archives: Pope Francis

inno ufficiale del Giubileo della Misericordia

8 Dec

The official anthem of the Jubilee of Mercy, which begins December 8, 2015

and to all a good night

4 Oct

The hall awaits the 270 synod fathers from all continents and the 48 other participants, including 18 married couples.

photo synod hall empty

Here’s hoping that they all get a good night’s sleep. 


3 Oct


“Every family is always a light, however faint, amid the darkness of this world”

Pope Francis, 3 October 2015

let us pray

3 Oct

In the Vatican this evening there was a prayer vigil in anticipation of the beginning of the Synod on the Family tomorrow. Will you join these people in prayer as soon as you finish looking at these photos?


for the very first time

25 Sep

Today the flag of the Vatican was raised at the United Nations for the first time, yes, the first time with the flags of the 193 United Nations member states.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 03

On September 10 the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a Palestinian-sponsored resolution allowing the flags of non-voting observer states to fly alongside those of member states. The Holy See and Palestine are the only two observer states.

The U.S. flag flew for the first time today.

The Palestinian flag will fly for the first time on September 30.

They both flew at my house today.Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 01

because [of] the lottery

25 Sep

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 06

The address of Pope Francis to the leaders of government and heads of state at the United Nations today will get much commentary and critique.

Before he went to the main hall, he spoke first to staff, whom he called the “backbone of this Organization.”

We know who is the “backbone” of any organization, business or parish: the ones to whom he spoke before he went upstairs.

There was laughter and applause when he went off prepared text, making reference to the “lottery” by which they were chosen and others were not. Part of the charm of his remark was his being comfortable enough with them to leave his written text – and his missing the word “of” in his addition.

Dear Friends,

On the occasion of my visit to the United Nations, I am pleased to greet you, the men and women who are, in many ways, the backbone of this Organization.  I thank you for your welcome, and I am grateful for all that you have done to prepare for my visit.  I would ask you also to offer my greetings to the members of your families and to your colleagues who could not be with us today [because the lottery].

The vast majority of the work done here is not of the kind that makes the news.  Behind the scenes, your daily efforts make possible many of the diplomatic, cultural, economic and political initiatives of the United Nations, which are so important for meeting the hopes and expectations of the peoples who make up our human family.  You are experts and experienced fieldworkers, officials and secretaries, translators and interpreters, cleaners and cooks, maintenance and security personnel.  Thank you for all that you do!

Your quiet and devoted work not only contributes to the betterment of the United Nations.  It also has great significance for you personally.  For how we work expresses our dignity and the kind of persons we are.

Many of you have come to this city from countries the world over.  As such, you are a microcosm of the peoples which this Organization represents and seeks to serve.  Like so many other people worldwide, you are concerned about your children’s welfare and education.  You worry about the future of the planet, and what kind of a world we will leave for future generations.  But today, and everyday, I would ask each of you, whatever your capacity, to care for one another.  Be close to one another, respect one another, and so embody among yourselves this Organization’s ideal of a united human family, living in harmony, working not only for peace, but in peace; working not only for justice, but in a spirit of justice.

Dear friends, I bless each one of you from my heart.  I will pray for you and your families, and I ask each of you, please, to remember to pray for me.  And if any of you are not believers, I ask you to wish me well.  God bless you all.

Thank you.

U.N. personnel take pictures as Pope Francis arrives to greet UN staff members at United Nations headquarters on Sept. 25, 2015.

with God as Creator

25 Sep

The children were beautiful.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 10.jpg.png.docx

Their voices were down to earth and heavenly.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 08.jpg

Their hope-filled plea to God made us want the same for all children, made us ready to desire it, and made us think that it is really possible.

Vatican flag and Palestinian flag 07.jpg

They sang at the end of the interfaith prayer service with Pope Francis at Ground Zero. The sang in front of leaders of religions. They sang on behalf of all children of our world.

may I ask of you to sing a song for me? … be courageous! … very kind of you.

31 Aug

In preparation for his visit to the U.S., and because he will not be visiting the cities in which these young people live, Pope Francis made a “virtual visit” with them.

Pope Francis teen sings

If you do not watch the whole piece – Chicago Teen Sings for Pope Francis – at least skip to minute 2:30.

There is an hour long program on Friday at 10:00 p.m. on ABC. Set yourself up to watch it or set your DVR to watch it for you.

sadly, done too much tilling and not enough keeping

22 Jun

What are the main messages of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s groundbreaking new encyclical on the environment?

1. The spiritual perspective is now part of the discussion on the environment.

The greatest contribution of Laudato Si, to my mind, is an overview of the environmental crisis from a religious point of view. Until now, the dialogue about the environment has been framed mainly using political, scientific and economic language. Now, the language of faith enters the discussion — clearly, decisively and systematically.

2. The poor are disproportionately affected by climate change.

The disproportionate effect of environmental change on the poor is strongly highlighted in almost every page of the document, and the Pope provides many baneful examples of the effects of climate change, whose “worst impact” is felt by those in developing countries (25).

3. Less is more.

Pope Francis takes aim at the “technocratic” mindset, in which technology is seen as the key to human existence. He also critiques an unthinking reliance on market forces, in which every technological advancement is embraced before considering how it will affect our world. Christian spirituality, by contrast, offers a growth marked by “moderation and the capacity to be happy with little” (222).

4. Catholic social teaching now includes teaching on the environment.

Against those who argue that a papal encyclical on the environment has no real authority, Pope Francis explicitly states that Laudato Si “is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching” (15). It continues the church’s reflection on modern-day problems that began with Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum, on capital and labor, published in 1891.

5. Discussions about ecology can be grounded in the Bible and church tradition.

In Chapter Two, Pope Francis introduces “The Gospel of Creation,” in which he leads readers through the call to care for creation that extends as far back as the Book of Genesis, when humankind was called to “till and keep” the earth (67). But we have, sadly, done too much tilling and not enough keeping.

6. Everything is connected — including the economy.

Laudato Si is a “systematic” approach to the problem. First, the Pope links all human beings to creation: “We are part of nature, included in it, and thus in constant interaction with it” (139). But our decisions have an inevitable effect on the environment. A blind pursuit of money that sets aside the interests of the marginalized and the ruination of the planet are connected.

7. Scientific research on the environment is to be praised and used.

Pope Francis does not try to “prove” anything about climate change. Rather, his encyclical accepts the best scientific research available today and builds on it. So Laudato Si draws on both church teaching and contemporary scientific findings from other fields to help modern-day people reflect on a contemporary crisis.

8. Widespread indifference and selfishness worsen environmental problems.

Pope Francis strongly critiques those who ignore the problem of climate change, and especially its effects on the poor. Why are so many of the wealthy turning away from the poor? Not only because “some view themselves as more worthy than others,” but because frequently because decisions-makers are “far removed from the poor,” with no real contact to their brothers and sisters (90, 49). Selfishness also leads to the evaporation of the notion of the common good.

9. Global dialogue and solidarity are needed.

Perhaps more than any other encyclical, Laudato Si draws from the experiences of people around the world, referencing the findings of bishops’ conferences from Brazil, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Bolivia, Portugal, Germany, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Australia and the United States. The pope invites into dialogue and debate “all people” about our “common home” (3).

10. A change of heart is required

This encyclical, addressed to “everyone living on this planet” calls for a new way of looking at things (3). We face an urgent crisis, when the earth has begun to look more and more like, in Francis’s vivid image, “an immense pile of filth” (21). Still, the document is hopeful, reminding us that because God is with us, all of us can strive to change course. We can move towards an “ecological conversion” in which we can listen to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (49). To use religious language, what the Pope is calling for is conversion.

James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large at America and author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage. This is an abridged version of an essay appearing today in America. 

just days after

16 May

Pope will canonize two Palestinian nuns on Sunday. The canonization ceremony will come just days after the Holy See officially referred to Palestine as a state in a treaty.

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