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          On 41's Passing, Recalling "Bush's Bishop"      Cache   Translate Page      
Given the tide of mourning over Friday's death at 94 of George H.W. Bush, when it comes to this beat, one piece of the 41st President's legacy bears particular note, all the more as its impact extends into the present.

At its core, next year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of full relations between the Holy See and the US. Though the bilateral ties are easily taken for granted today, if anything – fraught as it was with anti-Catholic prejudice and conspiracy theories – the path to Washington's diplomatic recognition of the Pope took almost a century to accomplish, and were it not for Bush, odds are the wait would've stretched even longer.

In a way, that owed itself to a quirk of history... well, one among others.

In 1974, six years before the Texas bureaucrat's election as Ronald Reagan's Vice President, the Federal government finally got around to giving its #2 an official residence: a house on the grounds of the Naval Observatory, located along the Massachusetts Avenue heart of "Embassy Row." Yet as it happened, the move would be an unwitting boon for the Vatican – since 1939, the Holy See's base of operations in the States, then known as the Apostolic Delegation, was located right across the street.

At the time, the state of affairs meant that, in the absence of formal relations, the Apostolic Delegates – in place since 1893 – were the Pope's emissary solely to the US church, with no status before the government. (On the flip-side, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt proved unable to establish full relations due to lingering suspicion toward the church from Protestant senators, the late 1930s saw FDR institute a "personal representative" of the President to the Holy See, who served as an ambassador in all but name.) Yet by the time the Bushes arrived at the VP's house, their presence joined other sea-changes on the global front in giving the century-old impasse the momentum to shift.

Despite the absence of full diplomatic ties, the early 1980s already saw a tightening of American and Vatican interests. In 1978, the election of John Paul II brought to Peter's Chair a figure whose deep personal experience with the States was without precedent for a Pope, an attribute born from multiple extended visits, and just as much through a network of Polish-American contacts who quietly funneled sizable aid for their homeland's suffering church and its resistance to the Communist regime in large part through the cardinal-archbishop of Krakow.

In that light, per custom at the change of pontificates, the new Pope made the Washington posting a key early target of his geopolitical strategy, naming Archbishop Pio Laghi – whose prior assignments in the Holy Land and Argentina made him a heavyweight of the Vatican's foreign service – as his Delegate to the US within days of Reagan's election. And while the courtly Italian, whose patrician bearing masked his simple upbringing, would openly execute one revolution – stacking the American hierarchy with prelates who reflected a bolstered sense of Catholic identity – a second, stealth effort would fuse Pope and President in a multi-front campaign to dismantle the Iron Curtain, a push in which Reagan's deputy would play a linchpin role long before Bush's own administration presided over its formal demise.

Having moved into their respective sides of Mass Av at the same time in early 1981, in typical Bush form, the Vice President's bond with Laghi was forged on the tennis court. Both in their mid-50s, the new neighbors were longtime avid players – and as Maureen Dowd's appreciation of Bush in today's New York Times put it, just as "H.W. used sports as a way to do personal diplomacy," in the Pope's Delegate, the high-church Episcopalian had met his match. (With Bush as Vice President, the duo are seen above in an undated photo aboard Air Force Two – Laghi at far left – along with Barbara Bush and one of the archbishop's key US appointees, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.)

Given Bush's own strong-suit in foreign policy, burnished by stints as ambassador to China and the United Nations, the dynamic between the Vice President and Apostolic Delegate made for a symbiotic fit, so much so that Laghi would come to be seen as "a close family friend." And with the church's on-the-ground presence across the Communist bloc – not to mention Latin America, another "hothouse" of the time – providing key intelligence networks for the US to tap into, the synergy of personal ties and shared priorities arguably made for the halcyon period of the Rome-Washington axis, which finally secured the establishment of full bilateral relations in 1984, granting Laghi ambassadorial status as Pro-Nuncio. (At the time, the Holy See's practice was to reserve the title "Nuncio" solely to the Catholic countries where, by law, its representative was ex officio dean of the diplomatic corps; the distinction was abolished in the late 1990s.)

Having remained in the post through his friend's election to the Presidency and the fall of the Berlin Wall – while internally overseeing a sweeping recast of the Stateside bench in John Paul's image and likeness – Laghi was recalled to Rome in 1990 as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and made a cardinal months later.

Since his departure, no occupant of the Washington posting has approached his length of tenure in it.

Almost always seen as the most influential Vatican legate the US has known in its era as a hegemonic superpower, Laghi's decade in the capital still endures as a point of reference, and the man himself was discreetly sought out for high-level American efforts or advice in Rome practically until his own passing in 2009.

In the best-known of those moments, as the White House push for a second war in Iraq gathered steam in early 2003, the former Pro-Nuncio was tapped by John Paul as his personal emissary to President George W. Bush, tasked with returning to Washington to convey the Pope's intense opposition to the campaign.

While the choice of messenger indicated the most concerted engagement for peace that the Vatican could make, of course, the mission (carried out during 40-minute Oval Office talks with "43") proved futile. Upon departing the capital, the cardinal "realized that the Bush administration was very naïve about the consequences of war" – a sense that would only be revealed after his death.

Though all but a handful of Laghi's appointees are long gone from office, several of the young local aides from his US posting were subsequently named to the bench and remain atop the American hierarchy: a group led by the sitting cardinal-archbishops of New York and Chicago, two of the nation's three largest dioceses.

Of all the "Laghini," however, the DC aide invariably described as the most beloved was Msgr Bernie Yarrish, a son of Scranton whose own elevation was precluded by a two-decade battle with multiple sclerosis. At 67, Yarrish died of the disease in June, with Tim Dolan – who brought his onetime Nunciature-mate to Rome as his Vice-Rector at the North American College (Yarrish's final major assignment) – leading the sendoff at the fallen cleric's boyhood parish.

Laghi's fifth successor at 3339 Massachusetts, the current Nuncio to the US, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will be the Holy See's representative at Wednesday's state funeral for Bush in Washington National Cathedral – sitting not with the delegations of ecumenical clergy, but the diplomatic corps.

In keeping with the procedures on the death of a former President, President Trump has declared Wednesday as a national day of mourning; among other entities, the Federal government will be closed in tribute, as will the financial markets, and mail delivery will be suspended.

On another protocol note, church institutions with flagpoles are advised that the US flag is to be flown at half-staff until sunset on New Year's Eve – 30 days from 41's passing. However, where applicable, the custom does not extend to the Vatican flag – as it represents a sovereign entity, the Holy See's banner is lowered solely upon the death of the Roman pontiff through the subsequent Novemdiales, the nine-day mourning period that precedes a Conclave.

-30-
          Pope's accuser returns to accuse brother in inheritance saga      Cache   Translate Page      
The retired Vatican ambassador who convulsed the Holy See with accusations of sex abuse cover-up is offering his side of the story in a different scandal: a family fight over a multi-million dollar € inheritance
          Holy See urges implementation of Paris Agreement      Cache   Translate Page      

Katowice, Poland, Dec 4, 2018 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At a UN climate change summit in Poland Monday, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin underlined the Holy See’s view that climate change is a moral issue and has an effect on human dignity.

“The scientific data at our disposal clearly show the urgent need for swift action, within a context of ethics, equity and social justice,” Parolin told the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Dec. 3.

“The transition to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” he stated, “is a problem not only within the domain of technology, but also a question of consumption patterns, education, and lifestyles. We are gradually becoming aware that climate change is an issue increasingly more moral than technical.”

Speaking on the first day of the COP-24 in Katowice, Parolin stressed the Holy See’s desire for the work program of the Paris Agreement be built on a “clear ethical foundation,” and on a commitment to “advancing the dignity of the human person, alleviating poverty and promoting integral human development.”

He also said implementation of the climate change agreement should be based on “easing the impact of climate change through responsible mitigation and adaptation measures” and on meeting the needs of both the present and the future.

Informally dubbed the COP-24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place Dec. 3-14. The main task of the summit is developing a program for implementation of the Paris Agreement at the national level.

The Paris Agreement, which will take effect in 2020, was made within the UNFCCC to create a global response to combatting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A long-term goal of the agreement is to help control the increase in the global average temperature by having countries pledge individual contributions towards the mitigation of global warming.

Most of the UN member states are parties to the agreement, with about a dozen having signed but not yet ratified the agreement.

As an observer state the Holy See is not eligible to sign the Paris Agreement unless it first becomes a member of the UNFCCC, though it has been supportive of the Paris Agreement from the beginning.

In his speech Parolin said, “we know what we can do, and what we have to do becomes an ethical imperative.”

“COP-24 may be a turning point, if it can show that the collaborative and proactive spirit of Paris is still alive.” He added that “attitudes such as indifference, resignation and denial, or the limited hope in some technological solution that may be only partial or even counterproductive, must not prevail.”

The secretary of state referenced several other points he said the Holy See would like to see included in the Paris Agreement Work Program, namely: the encouragement of developed nations to take the lead; advancement of sustainable consumption and production patterns; and the strengthening of financial sources against corruption.

The Holy See would also like to see inclusion of the participation of local populations, including indigenous people, in decision-making and implementation; appropriate job opportunities; and a “transparent, efficient, and dynamic” follow-up and commitment review process.

At the conclusion of the COP-24, Parolin said, there should be a document of solid “guidelines, rules and institutional mechanisms, aimed at facilitating a fair and efficient implementation of the Agreement, particularly at the national level.”

It is worrying, he said, that the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows the commitments states have made thus far are not enough to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objectives; and it demonstrates that a “challenging route” lies ahead.

The report shows that limiting global warming is still possible, but it requires “a clear, forward-looking and strong political will” to promote fast changes in behavior, he added, noting that non-state actors are important to the process as well.

Numerous solutions to climate change are “at our disposal” and often within reach. “The question is therefore this: is there sufficient political will to implement the many solutions we have available to promote the aforementioned model of development?” Parolin said.

“In the face of such a complex issue as climate change,” he continued, “where the individual or the national response in itself is not sufficient, we have no alternative but to make every effort to implement a responsible, unprecedented collective response, intended to ‘work together to build our common home.’”


          Holy See urges implementation of Paris Agreement      Cache   Translate Page      

Katowice, Poland, Dec 4, 2018 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At a UN climate change summit in Poland Monday, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin underlined the Holy See’s view that climate change is a moral issue and has an effect on human dignity.

“The scientific data at our disposal clearly show the urgent need for swift action, within a context of ethics, equity and social justice,” Parolin told the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Dec. 3.

“The transition to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” he stated, “is a problem not only within the domain of technology, but also a question of consumption patterns, education, and lifestyles. We are gradually becoming aware that climate change is an issue increasingly more moral than technical.”

Speaking on the first day of the COP-24 in Katowice, Parolin stressed the Holy See’s desire for the work program of the Paris Agreement be built on a “clear ethical foundation,” and on a commitment to “advancing the dignity of the human person, alleviating poverty and promoting integral human development.”

He also said implementation of the climate change agreement should be based on “easing the impact of climate change through responsible mitigation and adaptation measures” and on meeting the needs of both the present and the future.

Informally dubbed the COP-24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place Dec. 3-14. The main task of the summit is developing a program for implementation of the Paris Agreement at the national level.

The Paris Agreement, which will take effect in 2020, was made within the UNFCCC to create a global response to combatting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A long-term goal of the agreement is to help control the increase in the global average temperature by having countries pledge individual contributions towards the mitigation of global warming.

Most of the UN member states are parties to the agreement, with about a dozen having signed but not yet ratified the agreement.

As an observer state the Holy See is not eligible to sign the Paris Agreement unless it first becomes a member of the UNFCCC, though it has been supportive of the Paris Agreement from the beginning.

In his speech Parolin said, “we know what we can do, and what we have to do becomes an ethical imperative.”

“COP-24 may be a turning point, if it can show that the collaborative and proactive spirit of Paris is still alive.” He added that “attitudes such as indifference, resignation and denial, or the limited hope in some technological solution that may be only partial or even counterproductive, must not prevail.”

The secretary of state referenced several other points he said the Holy See would like to see included in the Paris Agreement Work Program, namely: the encouragement of developed nations to take the lead; advancement of sustainable consumption and production patterns; and the strengthening of financial sources against corruption.

The Holy See would also like to see inclusion of the participation of local populations, including indigenous people, in decision-making and implementation; appropriate job opportunities; and a “transparent, efficient, and dynamic” follow-up and commitment review process.

At the conclusion of the COP-24, Parolin said, there should be a document of solid “guidelines, rules and institutional mechanisms, aimed at facilitating a fair and efficient implementation of the Agreement, particularly at the national level.”

It is worrying, he said, that the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows the commitments states have made thus far are not enough to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objectives; and it demonstrates that a “challenging route” lies ahead.

The report shows that limiting global warming is still possible, but it requires “a clear, forward-looking and strong political will” to promote fast changes in behavior, he added, noting that non-state actors are important to the process as well.

Numerous solutions to climate change are “at our disposal” and often within reach. “The question is therefore this: is there sufficient political will to implement the many solutions we have available to promote the aforementioned model of development?” Parolin said.

“In the face of such a complex issue as climate change,” he continued, “where the individual or the national response in itself is not sufficient, we have no alternative but to make every effort to implement a responsible, unprecedented collective response, intended to ‘work together to build our common home.’”


          Message of the Holy Father on the occasion of the 23rd Public Session of the Pontifical Academies (4 December 2018)      Cache   Translate Page      

MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 23rd PUBLIC SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES

 

To the Venerable Brother
Cardinal GIANFRANCO RAVASI
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
and of the Coordination Council of the Pontifical Academies

I address you on the occasion of the 23rd Solemn Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, an event which began in 1995 following the reform of the Pontifical Academies at the behest of Saint John Paul II, and which constitutes an important and by now traditional phase in the journey of the seven Academies, gathered in the Coordination Council that you chair. Coinciding with the annual Session there is the award ceremony, organized in turn by one of the Academies, according to the sector of competence. A Prize that I present with pleasure to promote and support the efforts of those, especially the young or institutions that work with the young, who distinguish themselves in their respective sectors to contribute to the promotion of a new Christian humanism.

I address, therefore, my warm greetings to all those present: cardinals, bishops, ambassadors, academicians and friends who participate in the Solemn Public Session, and strongly hope that this by-now habitual moment of encounter may represent for all, starting with the Prize-winners, an encouragement for research and the exploration of fundamental themes for a humanistic Christian vision.

The 23rd edition was organized by the Pontifical Academy of Theology and by the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. I offer a special greeting to the presidents of these two Academies, the Rev. Fr. Réal Tremblay and the Rev. Fr. Serge-Thomas Bonino, and to the respective academicians, thanking them for their effort, expressed above all in the journal Path, published by the Academy of Theology, with which it proposes to its readers, as is suggested by the title, an itinerary, a journey of research and theological study.

I congratulate you for the choice of theme for this Public Session: “Eternity, the other face of life”, which stimulates us to reflect once again and further on an area, not only theological, which although essential and central to Christian experience, is somewhat neglected, both in theological research of recent years and, above all, in proclamation and in the formation of believers.

“We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come”, we affirm every Sunday, reciting the final article of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. And the Symbol of the Apostles ends with these words: “I believe in … the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting”. It is, therefore, the essential core of Christian faith, of a reality closely connected to the profession of faith in Christ Who died and rose again. And yet the eschatological reflection on eternal life and resurrection, in catechesis and in celebration, does not find the space and attention it deserves. At times one has the impression that this theme is willingly forgotten and neglected as it is seemingly distant from and extraneous to daily life and contemporary sensibility.

This is not surprising: one of the phenomena that marks current culture is indeed closure to transcendent horizons, the closing in on oneself, almost exclusive attachment to the present, forgetting or censuring the dimensions of the past and, above all, the future, perceived especially by the young as obscure and loaded with uncertainty. The future beyond death appears, in this context, inevitably even farther away, indecipherable or entirely inexistent.

But the limited attention to the theme of eternity, to the Christian hope that announces the resurrection and eternal life in God and with God, may also depend on other factors: for example, the traditional language used in preaching or in catechesis to announce this truth of faith may today seem almost incomprehensible and transmit at times an image of eternal life that is not very positive or “attractive”. The other face of life may thus be perceived as monotonous and repetitive, boring, even sad or entirely insignificant and irrelevant for the present.

This was not the thought of the great Father of the Church, Gregory of Nyssa, who in a Homily on the Canticle of Canticles (VIII) – which will be opportunely reproposed during the session – offered a very different vision of eternity. Indeed, eternal life is conceived by him as an existential condition that is not static but dynamic and lively. The human desire for life and happiness, closely connected to that of seeing and knowing God, continually grows and renews itself, passing from one stage to another without ever finding purpose and fulfilment. In fact, the experience of the encounter with God transcends all human conquests and constitutes the infinite and ever new goal.

Saint Thomas Aquinas also underlines this aspect, affirming that in eternal life the union of man with God, which is “the reward and the end of all our labours”, is accomplished, and this union consists in “perfect vision” of Him. In this state, continues Saint Thomas, “every blessed will have more than he desired and hoped for ... and only God can satisfy him, even going far beyond, to infinity”. Furthermore, he continues, “eternal life consists in the joyful fraternity of all the saints”. Citing Saint Augustine, Thomas affirms: “All joy will not enter the blessed, but all the blessed will enter into joy. ... We will contemplate His face, we will be satisfied with His presence in an eternally renewed youth” (Conferences on the Creed, Article 12).

The reflection of the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians should therefore help us and encourage us to repropose, effectively and with passion, both with a language suitable to our daily life and with the appropriate depth, the heart of our faith, the hope that inspires us and which gives strength to Christian witness in the world: the beauty of Eternity.

I hope that, both at theological level and at the level of proclamation, catechesis and Christian formation, there may be a renewal of interest in and study of eternity, without which the dimension of the present is divested of ultimate meaning, of the capacity for renewal, of hope for the future.

Wishing, therefore, to promote and encourage theological research, and particularly that which is addressed to the exploration of eschatological themes, I am pleased to award the Prize of the Pontifical Academies, ex aequo, to two young scholars: Dr. Stefano Abbate, for his doctoral thesis entitled La secularización de la esperanza cristiana a través de la gnosis y el ebionismo. Estudio sobre el mesianismo moderno, and Dr. Francisco Javier Pueyo Velasco, for his work La plenitud terrena del Reino de Dios en la historia de la teología.

In addition, I am pleased to award the Medal of the Papacy to Dr. Guillermo Contín Aylón, for his thesis “Vado ad Patrem. La Ascension de Cristo en el Comentario a Juan de santo Tomas de Aquino”.

Finally, I wish to all the academicians and all the participants in the meeting ever fruitful efforts in their respective fields of research, and I entrust each and every one of you to the Virgin Mary, who already enjoys the joyful vision of God in eternal life and intercedes for us, pilgrims in history, on our journey towards eternity.

I heartily impart to all of you and your families a special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 4 December 2018

Francis


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 4 December 2018  


          To the Rondine "Cittadella della Pace" Association (3 December 2018)      Cache   Translate Page      

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE RONDINE "CITTADELLA DELLA PACE" ASSOCIATION

Clementine Hall
Monday, 3 December 2018

[Multimedia]


 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you with joy on the twentieth anniversary of the “Rondine-Cittadella della Pace” Association. I greet the president, Mr. Franco Vaccari, and I thank him for his introduction. I greet Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who from the beginning has supported this entity, noting in it the “perfume” of the venerable Giorgio La Pira, and the archbishop of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Riccardo Fontana. In a special way I greet you young people, who come from countries which are theatres of conflict that have degenerated into various forms of violence and war, and who live in Rondine the experience of the international student body. And you, young people from all the Italian regions, with your teachers in the fourth year of high school. And you too, former students, members, supporters and friends. Welcome!

Your educational commitment is to host young people who, in various parts of the world, live stranded in cultures poisoned by pain and hatred, and to offer them a bold challenge: to verify in person whether the other, he or she who is beyond a closed boundary, of barbed wires or impassable walls, is really what everyone claims: an enemy. In these twenty years you have developed a method capable of transforming conflicts, of bringing young people out of this deception and restoring them to their peoples for a full spiritual, moral, cultural and civil development: generous young people who, innocent, are born with the burden of the failures of previous generations.

You have founded this work on two great spiritual roots of your land: Saint Francis of Assisi, who received the stigmata in La Verna, and Saint Romualdo, founder of Camaldoli. You have chosen well!

I, too, when I chose the name of Francis, thought of the poor and of peace. Poverty - in the negative sense - and war are linked in a vicious circle that kills people, fuels untold suffering and spreads a hatred that never ends. By choosing to dedicate yourselves to young people, you also commit yourselves to fighting poverty and building peace, as a work of justice and love. An action that nourishes hope and places trust in man, especially in young people.

La Pira wrote that La Verna is “the launch pad for enterprises of peace”. On that mountain there is a mystery of pain and transfiguring love and you, who have developed the Rondine Method for the creative transformation of conflicts, up there you receive continuous inspiration to progress in the service of the common good. And so you have the privilege of gathering buds for a flowering of peace for all of humanity.

I have listened to the appeal that you have written and which you will present at the UN on 10 December, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Listening to a young Palestinian and a young Israeli who together ask the governments of the world to take a step that can reopen the future, transferring the cost of a weapon from the defence budget to the education budget to form a peace leader, is a rare thing, it is a bright thing! How could you disagree? But we adults can not get away saying “Well done!”, no. I feel I have to give you all my support, my sympathy, my blessing.

Indeed, your appeal contains and proposes a concrete vision. In the Message for the next World Day of Peace, on 1 January 2019, which has as its theme Good politics is at the service of peace, I reiterate that political responsibility belongs to every citizen, in particular to those who have received the mandate to protect and to rule. This mission consists in safeguarding the law and encouraging dialogue between the actors of society, between generations and between cultures. Listening to you I add: between the parties in conflict. Because trust is created only in dialogue.

When the human being is respected in his fundamental rights - as Saint John XXIII recalled in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris (1963) - the sense of the duty to respect the rights of others arises in him. Rights and duties increase the awareness of belonging to the same community, with others and with God (cf. ibid., 45). We are therefore called to bring and announce peace as the good news of a future where every living being will be considered in his dignity and his rights.

You, dear young people, have chosen to meet when everything around you and inside you said: but why? What is it for? Will it be right? And, after the two years of formation at Rondine, you have overturned your feelings, your thoughts, you have brought about mutual trust and now you are ready to take on professional, civil and political responsibilities for the good of your peoples. You are already those young leaders who in the appeal you ask States and peoples to commit themselves to forming together!

You ask us to join your appeal. For my part, I will do so, and I ask the Heads of State and Government to do the same. Your voice - weak, but strong in the hope and courage of youth - can be heard on 10 December at the United Nations. There is a need for leaders with a new mentality. Those who do not know how to dialogue and exchange with each other are not leaders of peace: a leader who does not try to meet the “enemy”, to sit with him at the table as you do, can not lead his people to peace. To do this we need humility, not arrogance: Saint Francis helps you to follow this path with courage. Listening to young people, even in the recent Synod in which they were protagonists, I learned a lot from them. I hope your leaders come to Rondine, and see how their young people are preparing peace.

I rejoice that you have chosen the Encyclical Laudato si' as a fundamental text for your school: indeed, integral ecology offers the prospect for humanity to conceive of itself as one family and to consider the Earth as a common home. It is good that with your method you want to reach citizens and political leaders, representatives of national and international institutions at the same time. Indeed, peace is the responsibility of every person. This is why, together with the Cardinal Secretary of State, you have met the Diplomatic Corps at the Holy See. With the efforts of everyone, we must definitively remove war from the planet and from the history of humanity.

Dear friends, may this twenty-year anniversary of your Association renew the momentum for spreading your simple and strong testimony, your method, your desire for change in the world, which, starting from relationships, pervades every aspect of life. May you help break down the highest walls, build bridges and eliminate impassable borders, the legacy of a world that is ending. You have overcome the hardest barriers, those within each of you, dissolving the deception of the enemy, and you have surprised yourselves by re-opening boundaries blocked by wars. Please never lose your wonder and humility. Dear young people of Rondine, safeguard the trust you have gained among you and transform it into a generous task of service to the common good. Mr. President, may the work you have initiated continue! For this I bless all of you, from my heart, and your loved ones, and I assure you of my prayer. You too, please, remember to pray for me. Thank you.


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 3 December 2018


          To the Community of the International College of the Gesù, in Rome (3 December 2018)      Cache   Translate Page      

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE COMMUNITY OF THE INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE OF THE GESÙ, IN ROME

Consistory Hall
Monday, 3 December 2018

[Multimedia]


 

Dear brothers, good morning!

Thank you for your visit, I am glad. This year you celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the College of Jesus, opened as an initiative of Fr. Arrupe in 1968. On the fiftieth year, that of the Jubilee, the Scripture says that “each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan” (Lev 25: 10). But no-one needs to pack his suitcase! All of you, however, are called to return to the “place” that is yours, to “desire what is essential and originary” (Saint Peter Faber, Memorial, 63), to revisit that family in which God regenerated you, where you professed your belonging to Him. God founded you as Jesuits: this Jubilee is a moment of grace for remembering and feeling you are with the Church, in a Company and with a belonging that have a name: Jesus. This means replying with a clear “no” to the temptation to live for oneself; to reaffirm that, like Jesus, we exist for the Father (cf. Jn 6: 57); that, like Jesus, we must live to serve, not to be served (cf. Mk 10: 45). To remember is to repeat with intelligence and will that the Pasch of the Lord is enough for the life of the Jesuit. There is no need for anything else. It is good to repeat the second week of the Exercises, to reground oneself on the life of Jesus, on the journey to the Passover. Because forming oneself is, first and foremost, basing oneself. In this regard, if I may I would like to advise you to return to the discussion on service to be like Jesus, to imitate Jesus, Who emptied Himself, Who annihilated Himself and obeyed unto death; the discussion that leads you up to the moment of asking with insistence calumnies, persecutions, humiliations. This is the criterion, brothers! If one of you is not able to do this, speak about it with the spiritual father. Imitate Jesus. Like Him, on that road that Paul tells us about in Philippians 2. 7, and do not be afraid to ask for this, as it is a Beatitude: “Blessed you will be when they say bad things about you, they slander you, they persecute you”. This is your path: if you are not able to have that discussion with the heart and give all your life, convinced, and ask for that, then you will not be well rooted.

To base oneself is therefore the first verb I would like to leave you with. Saint Francis Xavier, whom we celebrate today, wrote it: “I beg you, in all your matters, to base yourselves totally in God” (Letter 90 from Kagoshima). In this way, he added, there is no adversity for which one cannot be prepared. You inhabit the house where Saint Ignatius lived, wrote the Constitutions and sent the first companions in mission around the world. Base yourselves on the origins. It is the grace of these years in Rome: the grace of foundation, the grace of the origins. And you are a And you are a hothouse that brings the world to Rome and Rome to the world, the Society in the heart of the Church and the Church in the heart of the Society.

The second verb is to grow. You are called in these years to grow, sinking your roots. The plant grows from the roots, which are not seen but which support the whole. And it stops giving fruit not when it has few branches, but when the roots are dry. To have roots is to have a well-grafted heart, which in God is able to expand. To God, semper maior, we respond with the magis of life, with a clear and irrepressible enthusiasm, with the fire that blazes inside, with that positive tension, always growing, that says “no” to any compromise. It is the “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” of the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 9:16), it is the “I did not stop a moment” of St. Francis Xavier (Letter 20 to Saint Ignatius), it is what urged Saint Albert Hurtado to be a sharp arrow in the sleeping limbs of the Church. The heart, if is not open, atrophies. Do not forget this. If it does not grow, it wilts.

There is no growth without crisis – do not be afraid of crises, do not be afraid – as there is no fruit without pruning or victory without struggle. To grow up, to take root means to struggle relentlessly against every spiritual worldliness, which is the worst evil that can happen to us, as Father de Lubac said. If the worldliness affects the roots, goodbye fruit and goodbye plant. And for me, this is the greatest danger in this time: spiritual worldliness, which leads you to clericalism and so on. If instead growth is a constant action against one’s ego, there will be much fruit. And while the enemy spirit will never cease to try to find your “consolations”, insinuating that you will live better if you have what you want, the friendly Spirit will gently encourage you in goodness, to grow in humble docility, going forward, without wrenching and without dissatisfaction, with that serenity that comes from God alone. Someone with bad thoughts might say, “But this is Pelagianism! No, this is the comparison with the crucified Christ, with whom you will have this discussion, the one I mentioned above, because only with the Lord’s grace can you take this path.

I would like to mention two positive signs of growth, freedom and obedience: two virtues that advance if they walk together. Freedom is essential, because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17). The Spirit of God freely speaks to everyone through feelings and thoughts; it can not be enclosed in tables, but must be received with the heart, journeying, by free sons, not by servants. I wish you to be free sons who, united in diversity, struggle every day to conquer the greatest freedom: that of yourselves. Prayer will be of great help, prayer is never to be neglected: it is the legacy that Fr. Arrupe left us at the end, the “swansong” of Fr. Arrupe. Read that appeal, that conference that he gave to the Jesuits at the refugee camp in Thailand. He then took the aeroplane and landed in Rome, where he had his stroke. And obedience: as for Jesus, for us too the food of life is to do the will of the Father (cf. Jn 4: 34), and of the fathers that the Church gives. Free and obedient, following the example of Saint Ignatius, when he waited at Villa d'Este and, meek and determined at the same time, in complete freedom presented to the Pope the total obedience of the Society, in a Church that certainly did not shine with Gospel customs. There we have a snapshot of the mature adult Jesuit. Freedom and obedience give life to that creative way of acting with the Superior. Once I said to a group of Jesuits who were preparing, I think, to become superiors, that the General of the Society was a shepherd to a “flock of toads”, because the freedom of the Jesuit, with initiative, leads to many initiatives and the poor Superior must go from one side to another… Making unity not with meek sheep, but with toads! And this is true, it is important. But where is the guarantee of this bond with the Superior, of this unity? In the statement of the conscience. Please, never leave this, because it is what ensures to the Superior the possibility of maintaining this “flock of toads”, of leading it to a different harmony, because he knows you and tomorrow it will be you who receives the statement from him, because we are all brothers who know each other well. Freedom, obedience, the statement of the conscience as a method, as a path.

To base oneself, to grow and finally to mature. It is the third verb. One does not mature in the roots and in the trunk, but by putting out the fruits, which fertilize the earth with new seeds. Here the mission comes into play, putting yourself face to face with today’s situations, taking care of the world that God loves. Saint Paul VI said: “Everywhere in the Church, even in the most difficult and pioneering fields, at the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, there has been and there is a confrontation between the burning needs of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, there, there have been and there are the Jesuits” (Address of the occasion of the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, 3 December 1974). These words are the message that I think was the most profound of the Pope to the Society. At the most intricate junctures, in the border lands, in the deserts of humanity: here the Jesuit is called to be present. He may be found as a lamb among wolves, but he must not fight wolves – he must only remain a lamb. In this way the Shepherd will reach him there, where his lamb is (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 33 on the Gospel of Matthew).

Passion and discipline in studies contribute to this mission. And it will always be good to accompany the ministry of the Wordwith the ministry of consolation. There you touch the flesh that the Word has assumed: by caressing the suffering members of Christ, you increase your familiarity with the incarnate Word. The sufferings you see do not frighten you. Bring them before the Crucified. They are brought there and in the Eucharist, where patient love is drawn, which knows how to embrace the crucified of every age. Thus patience matures, together with hope, because they are twins: they grow together. Do not be afraid to cry in contact with harsh situations: they are drops that irrigate life, they make it docile. Tears of compassion purify the heart and the affections.

Looking at you, I see an international community, called to grow and mature together. The College of Jesus is, and may it be, an active “gymnasium” in the art of living, including others. It is not merely a question of understanding and wishing well to each other, maybe at times tolerating each other, but of bearing each other’s burdens (cf. Gal 6. 2). And not only the burdens of mutual frailties, but of different histories, cultures, the memories of peoples. It will be very good for you to share and discover the joys and the real problems of the world through the presence of the brother who is next to you; to embrace in him not only what interests or appeals to him, but also the anguish and hopes of a Church and a people: to extend boundaries, always moving the horizon, always a little farther. May the blessing I give you also reach your countries and be of help to you in basing yourselves, growing and maturing to the greater glory of God. I thank you, and I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 3 December 2018




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