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Pope Francis: kiss the crucifix, kiss the wounds of Jesus

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2014 / 05:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his general audience address Pope Francis spoke on the meaning of suffering and evil, explaining that it is a mystery which finds its answer in the passion and death of Jesus, who endured it for each of us.

“This week, it will do good for us all to look to the Crucifix, kissing the wounds of Jesus, kissing the Crucifix. He has taken upon himself the whole of human suffering,” the Pope expressed in his April 16 Wednesday general audience.

Speaking to the thousands gathered for his weekly address, the pontiff began by drawing attention to the day’s Gospel reading which recounts the betrayal of Judas, noting that this event marks the beginning of Christ’s Passion.

With his death on the Cross “Jesus reaches complete humiliation,” the Pope observed, highlighting how “It involved the worst death; that which was reserved for slaves and criminals,” and that although “Jesus was considered a prophet,” he “died as a criminal.”

“Looking at Jesus in his passion, we see as in a mirror also the suffering of all humanity and find the divine answer to the mystery of evil, of suffering, of death,” he continued.

Noting that “Many times we experience horror in the face of the evil and suffering that surrounds us, and we ask: why does God permit it?” the Pope expressed that “It’s a deep wound for us to see suffering and death, especially that of the innocent!”

This wound especially stings “when we see children suffering…it’s a wound in the heart. It’s the mystery of evil,” he lamented, “and Jesus takes all this evil, all this suffering, upon himself.”

Often times we believe that “God in his omnipotence will defeat injustice, evil, sin and suffering with a triumphant divine victory,” the Bishop of Rome pointed out, however instead he shows us “a humble victory that seems like a human failure to us.”

“We can say: God wins precisely in failure. The Son of God, in fact, appears on the Cross as a defeated man: he suffers, is betrayed, is scorned and finally dies.”

Drawing attention to how “Jesus permits that evil crosses the line with him, and takes it upon himself to conquer it,” the Pope emphasized that “his passion is not an accident; his death – that death – was ‘written.’”

Referring to “the mystery of the great humility of God,” Pope Francis observed that “Really, we don’t have many explanations; it’s a puzzling mystery. ‘For God has so loved the world that he gave his only son.’”

“This week we think so much of the pain of Jesus,” he stated, “and we tell ourselves: ‘this is for me. Even if I had been the only person in the world, He would have done it.’”

“’He did it for me.’ And we kiss the Crucifix and say: ‘For me. Thank you, Jesus. For me.’”

“And when all seems lost, when there is no one left because they will strike ‘the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,’” he concluded, “it is then that God intervenes with the power of the resurrection.”

John Paul II: a man indispensable to the fall of the Soviet Union

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2014 / 04:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bl. John Paul II’s key role in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact can be attributed to his vision of the human being, informed by personalism and the Catholic faith.

The foundations for his role as Vicar of Christ in the fall of Soviet communism were laid by his predecessors, particularly Bl. John XXIII; the two will both be canonized April 27.

The first exchanges between the Vatican and Moscow since 1917 were made on the occasion of Good Pope John’s 80th birthday, and a now opened line of communication allowed Paul VI to pursue a policy of Ostpolitik, dialoguing with officials behind the Iron Curtain to improve the conditions for Christians there.

Crucial in John Paul II’s policy toward the Warsaw Pact was Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, his secretary of state from 1979 until 1990. Cardinal Casaroli had represented the Holy See in negotiations with the communist governments of Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.

Bl. John Paul II was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow in 1946, shortly after a Soviet-backed communist government had come to power in Poland. Fr. Wojtyla was non-confrontational, but did promote religious liberty and Christianity.

As Archbishop of Krakow he participated in Vatican II and effectively led the Polish bishops’ role in the revision of what became the council’s declaration on religious freedom, Dignitatis humanae – a matter of great concern to the shepherds living under communist governments.

“It is beyond question,” wrote Fr. Andrzej Dobrzynski, director of the Center for Documentation and Research of the Pontificate of John Paul II, in an article in a 2013 issue of Communio, that Dignitatis humanae “provided the Church behind the Iron Curtain with a powerful resource for operating in a complex political situation – and Karol Wojtyla took full advantage of it.”

He largely avoided direct criticism of the communist Polish government, but did work to create new parishes in his archdiocese and to processions.

In 1977, after 20 years of effort, he was able to consecrate a new parish in Nowa Huta, a suburb of Krakow meant to be a “workers’ paradise.”

In his homily at the consecration, as translated by Fr. Dobrzynski, he said: “When Nowa Huta was built with the intention that this would be a city without God, without a church, then Christ came here together with the people and through their lips spoke the fundamental truth about man. Man and his history cannot be reckoned by economic principles along, even according to the most exact rules of production and consumption. Man is greater than this. He is the image and likeness of God himself.”

Shortly after his election as Bishop of Rome, Bl. John Paul II returned to Poland for an eight-day trip in June 1979, which his biographer George Weigel has said “began to dismantle” the Soviet Union.

“I earnestly hope that my present journey in Poland may serve the great cause of rapprochement and of collaboration among nations,” he said June 2 on arriving in Warsaw, and “that it may be useful for reciprocal understanding, for reconciliation, and for peace in the contemporary world. I desire finally that the fruit of this visit may be the internal unity of my fellow-countrymen and also a further favourable development of the relations between the State and the Church in my beloved motherland.”

He reminded the civil authorities of the nation that “peace and the drawing together of the peoples can be achieved only on the principle of respect for the objective rights of the nation, such as: the right to existence, to freedom, to be a social and political subject, and also to the formation of its own culture and civilization.”

Consecrating his homeland to Our Lady at her shine at Czestochowa June 4, he entrusted to her “all the difficult problems of the societies, systems and states—problems that cannot be solved with hatred, war and self-destruction but only by peace, justice and respect for the rights of people and of nations.”

And when leaving Poland on June 10, he said, “Our times have great need of an act of witness openly expressing the desire to bring nations and regimes closer together, as an indispensable condition for peace in the world. Our times demand that we should not lock ourselves into the rigid boundaries of systems, but seek all that is necessary for the good of man, who must find everywhere the awareness and certainty of his authentic citizenship. I would have liked to say the awareness and certainty of his pre-eminence in whatever system of relations and powers.”

“Thank you, then, for this visit, and I hope that it will prove useful and that in the future it will serve the aims and values that it had intended to accomplish.”

Bl. John Paul II’s example inspired Lech Walesa, an electrician who founded the Solidarity trade union the following year. Solidarity was an anti-Soviet social movement which the Pope subsequently supported and protected.

The Soviet-backed government was eventually forced to negotiate with Solidarity, and Poland held semi-free elections in 1989, which led to a coalition government.

That year, a series of revolutions led to the fall of communism in Europe, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet head of state, visited John Paul II at the Vatican Dec. 1, 1989, in what was considered Christianity’s triumph over Soviet communism.

Pope’s Holy Week Schedule Both Traditional and Innovative

By EDWARD PENTIN | VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will celebrate all the traditional ceremonies of Holy Week this year, but he will again depart from tradition on Holy Thursday by washing the feet of elderly and disabled residents in a Roman care…

FatherBrown and the Mystery of Lent, We May Never Know the Inestimable Value of What We Do and More!

By TITO EDWARDS | Pope Francis Will Soon Release TLM Franciscans from Under Review – Don R. McClarey JD, The American Catholic

Fr. Brown & the Mystery of Lent – Paul J. Prezzia, Crisis Magazine

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Obama: All Christians Have Been Moved by Pope Francis

By CNA/EWTN NEWS | WASHINGTON — Speaking at the 2014 Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House on April 14, U.S. President Barack Obama reflected on his recent meeting with Pope Francis, whom he described as an inspiration.

“I’ll t…

Holy See testimony on torture a UN treaty obligation, spokesman notes

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2014 / 12:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See’s press officer said Tuesday that its report on an anti-torture agreement which will be made to the U.N. next month is routine, and a part of its obligations as a signatory to the treaty.

“It is a standard procedure adhered to by all States party to the Convention” against Torture, Fr. Federico Lombardi said April 15. “Considering the types of obligations included in the Convention, the Holy See signed the Convention in 2002 exclusively in the name of and on the part of Vatican City State.”

“For this reason, the Holy See continues to fulfil its obligations on the part of Vatican City State and to present periodical reports, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Convention.”

The Holy See will submit its report this May, along with the states of Cyprus, Lithuania, Guinea, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Uruguay.

Each of the 155 states which are parties to the U.N. Convention against Torture – including the U.S. – are obliged to report to the international organization’s Committee against Torture every four years about its implementation.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal group which represents the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, meanwhile said April 14 that the Vatican had been “summoned” to report about sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church to the U.N. committee.

The center contends that failures in the Holy See’s response to sexual abuse constitutes a violation of the convention.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has earlier asked that the International Criminal Court prosecute Benedict XVI and other Church leaders, alleging they had direct responsibility for sexual violence and crimes against humanity.

Critics saw the move as a publicity stunt that undermined human rights law and was based in a misunderstanding of how oversight works in the Church, where local bishops and religious orders are primarily responsible for the actions of clergy.

The International Criminal Court dismissed the center’s investigation request in June 2013 on the grounds that it did not fall within the court’s jurisdiction.

In January 2014, the U.N. committee that oversees the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child controversially criticized both the Church’s handling of sex abuse and Catholic moral teaching. The Committee on the Rights of the Child’s report claimed that the Vatican had “systematically” adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest children.

That report also criticized the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception, abortion and same-sex “marriage,” suggesting that the Church change canon law to support these “rights.”

Catholic leaders, including Fr. Lombardi and the archbishop leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the U.N., said the report failed to acknowledge the Church’s progress in protecting children and tried to impose secular views upon the Church.

Pope Francis on April 11 asked forgiveness for priests who sexually abused children. He said the Church’s response to sex abuse has to be “even stronger.”

The Pope has also affirmed the Church’s efforts to combat abuse.

In a March 5 interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, he denounced cases of abuse by clergy as “terrible” and acknowledged the “extremely deep wounds” abuse can cause.

He praised Benedict XVI’s “very courageous” efforts, saying his predecessor “cleared a path” in response to abuse.

“The Church has done so much on this path. Perhaps more than anyone,” Pope Francis said. “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility. No other has done more. And, the Church is the only one to be attacked.”

Toronto District School Board backs public nudity at Pride parade

by Colin Kerr TORONTO, April 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a move that has outraged many parents, last Wednesday the Toronto District School Board voted 16-6 against asking the City of Toronto to uphold Canadian nudity laws at the WorldPride parade on June 29. Every year the parade includes marchers in various…

Arizona governor to decide tomorrow on more rigorous inspection standards for abortion clinics

by Dustin Siggins PHOENIX, AZ, April 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Pro-life and pro-abortion forces in Arizona are battling over a bill that would subject abortion facilities to the same safety and inspection standards as all other health care institutions in the state. The bill, which has passed the Arizona House and…

Nevada GOP abandons pro-life and pro-marriage platform, party embracing ‘inclusion, not exclusion’

by Dustin Siggins LAS VEGAS, NV, April 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) — The Nevada GOP has conceded the battles on marriage and abortion, voting to remove both issues from the party platform for electoral reasons.  At its Saturday convention, Republican Party delegates voted to eliminate support for traditional marriage…

Rock-pop mom ditched ‘the pill,’ conceived child, wrote pro-life song released today (VIDEO)

by Peter Baklinski AKRON, OH, April 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kira Leyden, 25, woke up one night feeling like there was a 1,000 pounds on her chest. An arm was going numb. Her mouth was going numb. She thought she was having a heart attack. She could hardly tell her husband Jeff that she needed to be taken to…

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