Catholic World News

Catholic World News

On WWII anniversary, Pope says ‘never again’ to war, condemns arms trafficking

Vatican City, Sep 2, 2015 / 05:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis remembered the official end of the Second World War on Wednesday with the plea: “never again,” and he decried similar horrors from today’s bloody conflicts, denouncing weapons trafficking.

The Pope recounted Sept. 2 today’s victims of war: “The persecuted minorities, the persecuted Christians, the insanity of destruction and the manufacturing and trafficking of weapons, bloodstained weapons, weapons soaked in the blood of many innocent (people).”

He cited the words of his predecessor, Blessed Paul VI: “War never again!”

These words, he said, are “the anguished cry which, from our hearts and from the hearts of men and women of good will, rise up to the Prince of Peace.”

The Pope’s remarks addressed pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square at the conclusion of his weekly General Audience.

“I renew my fervent prayer to the Lord of All that, through the Virgin Mary’s intercession, today’s world may not experience the horrors and the appalling suffering from similar tragedies,” he continued.

“This is also the permanent longing of peoples, especially those who are victims of several current bloody conflicts.”

The Second World War formally ended Sept. 2, 1945 on the U.S.S. Missouri, when Japan signed the documents of its surrender. Millions of soldiers and civilians were killed over the six year conflict that engulfed large parts of Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.

Pope Francis has spoken on several occasions about World War II over the course of his pontificate. He sent a message to the French bishops paying homage to those who fought in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, a he has also commemorated the 1943 bombing of Rome’s St. Lawrence Basilica.

Catholic World News

Philadelphia seminary plants, blesses a tree for Pope’s day for care of creation

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 2, 2015 / 02:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Responding to Pope Francis’ call for Catholics around the world to observe Sept. 1 as a Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia planted a tree on its grounds on Tuesday.

The planting of a white oak was done in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and was followed by a blessing of the new tree by the seminary’s rector, Bishop Timothy Senior.

The seminary’s tree was the 500,000th in the society’s “Plant One Million” campaign. The effort aims to plant 1 million trees throughout 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

“The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation,” Pope Francis said in his letter announcing the day of prayer for the care of creation.

He modeled the day on a practice already observed among the Eastern Orthodox, and encouraged Catholics to organize both prayer and practical initiatives for the event.

The Pope added that it was to be an act of “raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that he has entrusted to our care,” while also “invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Francis led a Liturgy of the Word at St. Peter’s Basilica for the day of prayer.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia participated in the initiative not only through the tree planting at the seminary, but also by inviting all its 219 parishes to pray at Mass for the care of creation, and with personal prayers as a way to be aware that we are “custodians of creation.”

All parishes of the archdiocese were invited to include this intention among their prayers of the faithful: “For the protection of God’s gift of creation, that this effort on the part of government leaders and everyone will help to overcome the routine abuse and neglect of our common home. Let us pray to the Lord.”

Catholic World News

Remembering Saints and Blesseds of Canada

On September 4, the Church in Canada celebrates the life and witness of Blessed Dina Bélanger. When she was 24, she entered the novitiate of the Religious of Jesus and Mary in Sillery, Quebec. She received the religious habit the next year under the name of Marie Sainte-Cécile de Rome, and made temporary vows on Au…

Catholic World News

Vatican says ‘no’ to transsexual godparents amid Spain controversy

Vatican City, Sep 2, 2015 / 12:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A media firestorm arose in Spain after a transsexual woman, who considers herself a man, asked to be the godfather of her nephew – leading a diocese’s bishop to turn to the Vatican for an answer.

After writing to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the issue earlier this month, Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy of Cádiz and Ceuta was told that since transsexual persons are not consistently living Church teaching, its “impossible” for them to fulfill their duties as a godparent.

The bishop wrote the letter after Alex Salinas, 21 years-old and born a woman, had requested to be the godfather of her nephew.  

In their response, the congregation – charged with safeguarding Catholic teaching – said that it is “impossible to allow” a person with transsexual behavior to be a baptismal godmother or godfather.

In a Sept. 1 statement, the bishop said he turned to the Vatican due to “confusion among some of the faithful” and “the complexity and media attention garnered by this issue,” as well as the pastoral implications the decision has.

In the Vatican’s full response – which the bishop provided in his statement – the congregation explained that transsexual behavior “reveals in a public way an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one’s own sexuality.”

“Therefore it is evident that this person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother,” they said, referring to canon 874 §3 in the Code of Canon Law.

However, the congregation stressed that there is “no discrimination toward (Alex), but only the recognition of an objective lack of the requirements, which by their nature are necessary to assume the ecclesial responsibility of being a godfather.”

In his statement, Bishop Zornoza points out that the role of godparents in the sacrament of baptism is assumed “before God and his Church and, in relation to the baptized, the duty of cooperating with the parents in (the child’s) Christian formation, seeking to lead a life consistent with baptismal faith and faithfully fulfilling the inherent obligations.”

Godparents must be “firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized – child or adult – on the road of Christian life,” the statement continues, referring to paragraph 1255 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The bishop also suggested that if candidates meeting the requirements to be a godparent are not found, the baptism can still be celebrated in the same form, since the figure of godparents is not necessary in this sacrament.

Bishop Zorzona recalled Pope Francis’ words in his environment encyclical Laudato Si, in which the Pope said that “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”

“In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment,” the Pope said, adding that “it is not a healthy attitude which would seek to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”

At the close of his statement, Bishop Zorzona emphasized that “the Church welcomes all persons with charity, desiring to help each one in their situation with tender mercy, but without denying the truth she preaches, which is offered to everyone as a path of faith to be freely accepted.”

Catholic World News

Alliance between families and God can change the world, Pope Francis says

Vatican City, Sep 2, 2015 / 11:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Encouraging families to hear God’s word and to put it into practice, Pope Francis said Wednesday that the family, by being allied with God, is called to counteract the “desertification” found in today’s cities.

“Our cities are becoming desertified for lack of love, for lack of smiles,” the Roman Pontiff said, addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 2 for the General Audience.

Cities have “many diversions, many ways of wasting time, of laughing, but love is missing,” the Pope said. However, the family has the ability to overcome this.

“The smile of a family is able to defeat this desertification of our cities. This is the victory of the love of the family.”

Since last autumn, Pope Francis has centered his Wednesday catecheses on the family, as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod on the Family; today’s address was the last in the year-long series.

Throughout his catechesis, Pope Francis stressed the significance of “familial affections” and “the importance of families for spreading the faith” and for “helping to build a more human society.”

Although the Gospel says to love Christ more than our parents and children, it is not Jesus’ intent to “delete the fourth commandment” – honor your father and your mother –  the Pope said.

“Neither can we think that the Lord, after having performed his first miracle for the spouses at Cana, after having consecrated the conjugal union between man and woman, after having returned sons and daughters to family life, asks us to be insensitive to these ties!”

“On the contrary, when Jesus affirms the primacy of faith in God, he does not find a more significant comparison than family affections,” he said.

Pope Francis said the “knowledge of affection” is the “best gift of familial genius.” If we do not learn this “grammar” in the family, it becomes difficult to learn it well.

“And it is properly through this language that God makes himself understood to all.”

“The invitation to put family ties within the scope of obedience to the faith and the covenant with God does not demean them,” the Roman Pontiff explained. Rather, “it protects them, frees them from egotism, guards them from neglect, leads them safely to endless life.”

Such family affections are a source of blessing, and “bring hope on the earth,” the Pope said, adding that when transformed by the Gospel, “they become capable of unimaginable things.”

Pope Francis gave the example of men and women who put themselves at risk and even sacrifice themselves for someone else’s child. He said this is the sort of love “which many scientists no longer understand.”

“And where there are these familial affections, these gestures from the heart are more eloquent than words.”

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis by praying that the Spirit may bring “happy disarray” to Christian families, and that “the city of man finds a way out of its depression.”

Catholic World News

Pope at Audience: No Economic, Political Engineering Can Substitute Families’ Contribution

“The family’s covenant with God is called today to oppose the communal desertification of the modern city. But our cities have become like deserts because of lack of love, because of a lack of smiles. So many amusements, so many things to pass time, to make one laugh, but love is lacking. A family’s smile is capabl…

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