Archive for the ‘Catholic World News’ Category

Pope Francis’ match for peace thrills with positive message

Rome, Italy, Sep 2, 2014 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Players, singers and sponsors who participated in Pope Francis’ interreligious match for peace have praised him for the idea, stating that it promotes good values important for youth today.

“Soccer is a motivation of example, it’s a marvelous sport in which hundreds of millions of young people are aware,” Marco Tronchetti Provera told journalists Sept. 1 during halftime.

“To transmit these values I believe is a wonderful initiative that the Pope wanted to happen here in Rome and we are happy to have been able to help in this initiative.”

Speaking to CNA, Provera stated that the fact that “great players have joined together through soccer to give a message of peace” signifies a desire “to give positive values through soccer to the youth and a bit all over the world.”

The match, he said, is “a great success” because “we have great values, they are values of sport which are giving a living example” to the youth that “is fundamental.”

Provera is chairman of Pirelli & C. S.P.A, the world’s fifth-largest tire manufacturer; the company was one of the largest sponsors for the interreligious match.

Taking place Monday evening at 8:45 local time in Rome’s Olympic Stadium, the interreligious match for peace was organized by retired Catholic soccer star Javier “Pupi” Zanetti, who was captain of the Argentine national team and of Inter Milan in Italy.

According to Zanetti, the match was the “explicit wish of Pope Francis,” and was done in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

Well-known players from all over the world joined together to play in representation of different cultures and religions, including Buddhists, Christians – Catholic and Protestant – Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Shintos.

On an audience match participants had with Pope Francis a few hours prior to the game, Italian singing sensation Nek explained to journalists Sept. 1 that during the encounter the Pope “gave a very nice speech in particular against discrimination.”

Discriminating often “means hatred,” he said, “and difference means to hate, and this hate, we cannot allow it in the world today. This is the meaning of this match and of my presence.”

Among those who played during the match was Argentine legend Diego Maradona, who is considered by many experts, soccer critics, former players, current players and fans to be among the best soccer players of all time.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the match, Maradona explained that he likes Pope Francis “because he’s human, because this is really a Pope who cares for humanity.”

The Pope, he said, is not someone who puts himself above you, but rather “embraces you, goes to the children” and expresses concern over global issues such as hunger.

In a video message played in the stadium shortly before the match began, Pope Francis greeted all players and fans gathered for “this symbolic match.”

“It is a match that highlights the union between the teams, the union between those who participate as spectators, and the desire of all for peace. A match in which no one plays just for himself, but for others. Or rather, for all,” the Bishop of Rome observed.

Noting how playing as part of a team allows each member to magnify their talents and become a better person, the Roman Pontiff stated that “when playing in a team, competition is not war, but is instead the seed of peace,” which “is why the symbol of this match is the olive tree.”

He then thanked the two key foundations assisting in the organization of the match for planting an olive tree before it began, and apologized for speaking in Spanish, saying that “it is the language of my heart, and today I wanted to speak from the heart.”

The charitable Argentine P.U.P.I. Foundation alongside the “Scholas occurentes” initiative organized the match. Through technology, art and sport, Scholas seeks to promote the social integration of marginalized children and young people.

The name of the P.U.P.I. foundation is taken from the soccer player Zanetti’s nickname, “Pupi,” and is also an acronym for the phrase “Por un piberio integrado,” meaning “For an integrated childhood.”

Christian identity comes from Holy Spirit, not ‘theology degrees’

Vatican City, Sep 2, 2014 / 09:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Christian earns his ability to speak with authority from the Holy Spirit, not from a theology degree, Pope Francis said during his daily Mass at the Vatican’s Saint Martha Residence Sept. 2.

Reflecting on the Gospel reading for the day, the Pope noted how those who heard Jesus were amazed by his teaching because his word “had authority.”

Jesus was not a “commonplace preacher,” the Holy Father said, because his “authority” came from a “special anointing of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus is the “Son of God, anointed and sent out” to “bring salvation, to bring freedom.” Pope Francis added that there were those who were “scandalized” by his style of preaching.

“We, too, can ask ourselves: what is our identity as Christians?”

Turning to the first reading off the day, the Pope cited Saint Paul, saying that we do not speak of these things “with words evoked by human wisdom.”

Saint Paul did not preach because he took a course at a pontifical university, such as the Lateran or the Gregorian, Pope Francis said. The source of his preaching was “the Holy Spirit,” not human wisdom.

A person might have five theology degrees, the Holy Father said, but not have the Spirit of God. “Perhaps you will be a great theologian, but you are not a Christian, because you do not have the Spirit of God! That which gives authority, that which gives you your identity and the Holy Spirit, the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

“Paul preached with the anointing of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said, “expressing spiritual things of the Spirit, in spiritual terms. Man, left to his own devises, cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit of God. Man alone cannot understand this!”

The Pope observed that we often encounter people who are simple – for instance, old ladies who, perhaps, never finished primary school – yet have a greater knowledge of theology than others because they have the Spirit of Christ, as Saint Paul did.

“If we Christians do not understand the things of the Spirit well,” he said, “if we do not give or offer a witness, then we lack identity.” Those who do not have this identity see the things of the Spirit as “foolishness,” and lack the “capacity to understand them.”

In contrast, one who is moved by the spirit “judges everything: he is free,” and no one can judge him.

“Now, we have the thought of Christ, and that is the Spirit of Christ. This is the Christian identity.” One who has this identity does not have the “spirit of the world,” its way of thinking, or of placing judgment.

While the preachers and doctors of the law spoke in theological terms, the Pope said, the people did not care for them because they did not speak “to the heart; they did not give freedom.” They were not united by the Holy Spirit, and therefore could not help others “find their own identity.”

“The authority of Jesus – and the authority of the Christian – comes from this ability to understand the things of the Spirit, to speak the language of the Spirit. It comes from this anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

The Pope concluded his homily by calling on the Lord to grant us the Christian identity: “Bestow on us Your Spirit. Bestow on us your way of thinking, of hearing, of  speaking: that is, Lord, bestow on us the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

First Interreligious Match for Peace is a success (Video)

To view the video click here.

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Transcript of Pope Francis’ Video Message to Interreligious Match for Peace

Below is a translation of the transcript of Pope Francis’ video message to the soccer players at last night’s Interreligious Match for Peace at Rome’s Olympic Stadium: ***
Good evening, and I’m glad you are gathered for this game that is so symbol…

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