Vol. 18 No. 1
January 6 - 19, 2014
Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders
VATICAN City, Jan. 3, 2014—Pope Francis said he has ordered a revision of what he called outdated Vatican norms on the relations between reli-gious orders and local bishops, in order to promote greater appreciation of the orders’ distinctive missions.The pope’s words were published Jan. 3 in the Italian Jesuit magazine
La Civilta Cattolica
. He made the comments Nov. 29 at a closed-door meeting with 120 superiors general of religious orders from around the world.Pope Francis referred to “
,” a set of directives issued jointly by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious in 1978. The document said that religious orders are part of the local church, though with their own internal organization, and that their “right to autonomy” should never be considered as independence from the local church.“That document was useful at the time but is now outdated,” the pope said. “The charisms of the various insti-tutes need to be respected and fostered because they are needed in dioceses.”
Pope Francis giving an address at the Vatican, June 7, 2013.
The pope, who until his election in March 2013 served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and formerly served as a Jesuit provincial, said he knew “by experience the problems that can arise between a bishop and re-ligious communities.” For example, he said, “If the religious decide one day to withdraw from one of their works due to a lack of manpower, the bishop often
nds himself suddenly left with a hot
potato in his hand.”“I also know that the bishops are not always acquainted with the charisms and works of religious,” he said. “We bishops need to understand that con-secrated persons are not functionaries but gifts that enrich dioceses.”“The involvement of religious com-munities in dioceses is important,” the pope said. “Dialogue between the bishop and religious must be rescued so that, due to a lack of understanding of their charisms, bishops do not view religious simply as useful instruments.”At the Nov. 29 meeting, the pope also asked the heads of the Congregation for
Religious to nish a pending document
on male religious who are not priests. He acknowledged a “vocational crisis” among such men, but said he believed they still had a role in religious life.The 15-page article by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, quoted extensively from the pope’s remarks at the three-hour meet-ing, which Father Spadaro attended.Father Spadaro’s wide-ranging in-terview with Pope Francis, published in the same magazine in September 2013, included the pope’s controversial statement that the church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”During the meeting with religious superiors, Pope Francis preferred “nei-ther to give a talk nor to listen to their prepared remarks: He wished to have a frank and free conversation consist-ing of questions and answers,” Father Spadaro wrote.Noting the growth of religious orders in Africa and Asia, the pope acknowl-edged challenges to evangelization there, including correct adaptation of Catholic teaching to local cultures, as well as a temptation to exploit poorer societies as sources of vocations.The pope recalled that Filipino bish-ops had complained of foreign religious orders running a “novice trade” in their country. “We need to keep our eyes open for such situations,” he told the superiors.Pope Francis said that sensitivity is needed not only for crossing geographi-cal boundaries but social and cultural frontiers as well.“The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which
sometimes are difcult for us to under
-stand,” he said, noting that Catholic teachers must be prepared to “welcome children in an educational context, little boys and girls, young adults who live in complex situations, especially fam-ily ones.”The pope offered an example of such a situation from his experience in Bue-nos Aires: “I remember the case of a
very sad little girl who nally conded
to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: ‘my mother’s girlfriend doesn’t like me.’”Seminary directors, too, must be sen-sitive to the needs of religious novices, encouraging them to engage in sincere and fearless dialogue with their instruc-tors, he said.“Formation is a work of art, not a police action,” the pope said. “We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God. This really gives me goose bumps.” “Just think of religious who have hearts that are as sour as vinegar: They are not made for the people,” the pope said. “In the end we must not form administrators, managers, but fathers, brothers, traveling companions.”Pope Francis praised efforts by Pope Benedict to stop sex abuse of minors by clergy and religious and stressed the importance of vetting candidates for religious orders, in order to weed out those with incorrigible failings.“We are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt,” the pope said. “Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt.”
Pope: Time to stop violence, discord, and begin making peace at home
VATICAN City, Jan. 2, 2014—Welcoming in a new year, Pope Francis said it was time to stop provoking and ignoring vio-
lence, tragedy and conict in the
world, and begin building peace at home.“Justice and peace at home, among us — you begin at home and then you move on to all of humanity. But we have to start at home,” he said Jan. 1, which the church marks as the feast of Mary, Mother of God and as World Peace Day.Speaking to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s
Square for the rst noon Angelus
of 2014, the pope referred to his peace day message, which he said called for building a world where everyone “respects each other, ac-cepts others in their diversity and takes care of each and every one.”People must not remain “indif-ferent and immobile” in the face of violence and injustice, but commit themselves to “build a truly more just and caring society,” he said.The pope referred to a letter he had received the day before from a man struggling to understand why there were still so many tragedies and wars.The pope said he wanted to ask the same question: “What is happening in people’s hearts? What is going on in the heart of humanity” that leads to violence?“It’s time to stop,” Pope Francis said. “It will do us good to stop taking this path of violence.”May God “help all of us walk the path of justice and peace with greater determination,” he said, and the Holy Spirit break down the obstinacy and barri-ers people construct between each other.The pope also prayed to Mary that the “Gospel of fraternity” might “speak to every con-science and knock down the walls that hinder enemies from recognizing each other as broth-ers and sisters.”Earlier in the day, the pope celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was decorated
with white owers, evergreens,
gold trim and poinsettias. Two girls and one boy, wearing long capes and shiny gold paper crowns in memory of the magi who traveled to Bethlehem, brought the offertory gifts to the pope.Prayers for peace were offered
in ve languages; the Spanish
version asked that God “bless all women and all mothers, called to bring forth, to guard and to promote life.”In his homily, the pope said Mary, the Mother of God, be-came the mother of all humanity when Jesus, dying on the cross, gave her to the world.When she lost her divine son, “her sorrowing heart was en-larged to make room for all men and women, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus,” he said.Even before the church officially defined Mary as God’s mother in
the fth century,
the faithful had already acknowl-edged her divine
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square
before the Wednesday general audience Dec. 11, 2013.
maternity and called for its recognition, the pope said, not-ing the case as an example of
the “‘sensus dei’ (sense of the
faith) of holy people, the faithful of God, who, in their unity, are never ever wrong.”Mary is a source of hope and true joy and continually strengthens people in their faith, vocation and mission, he said. “By her example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation.”He asked the faithful to entrust with Mary their journey of faith, their hopes and needs as well as “the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice, peace and God.”In his homily, Pope Francis also mentioned the Marian icon “Salus Populi Romani” (health of the Roman people) in Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major, which he said was the first Marian shrine in the West where the image of the Mother of God—the “Theotokos”—was venerated.According to Vatican Radio, the pope visited St. Mary Major Dec. 31 to pray at length before the icon, repeating a pilgrimage he made on the first morning
of his ponticate in March and
on other subsequent occasions.
Six million people attended Pope Francis’ Vatican events in 2013
VATICAN City, Jan. 2, 2014 —More than 6.6 million people have taken part in events with Pope Francis at the Vatican since his election to the pa-pacy, the Prefecture of the Papal House-hold has estimated.In the nine months since Pope Francis’ March 13 election, more than 2.7 million people have attended the Pope’s An-gelus and Regina Coeli prayers. About 2.3 million have attended liturgical celebrations in St. Pe-ter’s Basilica and at St. Peter’s Square. Some 1.5 million people have attended Pope Francis’ general audiences, while 87,400 have attended private audiences with the Pope.
The gures only concern ac
-tivities at the Vatican and are approximations based on the number of requests to participate in events and invitations issued by the Prefecture of the Papal Household. They also draw on attendance estimates for the Angelus and major celebrations at St. Peter’s Square.The figures do not include events that took place outside the Vatican, including World
Youth Day in Brazil. The gures
also do not include attendance estimates for papal events within Italy and the Diocese of Rome, such as his visits to Lampedusa and Assisi.An estimated 3.2 million Cath-olic pilgrims attended World Youth Day’s final Mass with Pope Francis at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on July 28.During Pope Benedict XVI’s
rst year as Pope from April 2005
to April 2006, an estimated 4 mil-lion people attended his public events at the Vatican. About 1.9 million attended the Sunday Angelus in that time period,
the Prefecture of the Pontical
Household said in 2006.
(CNA/ EWTN News)
Pope Francis at the Wednesday general audience
in St. Peter’s Square on June 5, 2013.
Pope prays for upcoming Synod of Bishops
VATICAN City, Dec. 29, 2013 —In his Angelus address given on the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis prayed especially for the approaching Synod of Bishops which will discuss pas-toral challenges to the family.“The next Synod of Bishops will address the theme of the family, and the preparatory phase has already begun some time ago. For this reason, today, (on) the feast of the Holy Family, I wish to entrust this synodal work to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, praying for families around the world,” he said on Dec. 29 in St. Peter’s Square.Asking the crowds that packed St. Peter’s Square and the sur-rounding streets to join with him spiritually, Pope Francis prayed, “Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bish-ops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolabil-ity of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.”The Pope dedicated his An-gelus message to considering Jesus’ own family as an example for families everywhere. “God wanted to be born in a human family, he wanted to have a mother and a father, like us,” he explained.“It’s an example that does much good for our families, helping them to become ever more a community of love and reconciliation, in which one experiences tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness.”Even the Jesus’ own family, however, was not without its difficulties. Forced to flee to Egypt to escape being killed by Herod, “Joseph, Mary, and Jesus experienced the dramatic condi-tion of refugees, marked by fear, uncertainty, need.”Unfortunately, Pope Francis continued, “in our day, millions of families can see themselves in this sad reality.” Refugees and
immigrants do not always nd
“true welcome (or) respect.”Yet “Jesus wanted to belong to a family that had experienced
these difculties,” to show that
no one “is excluded from the nearness of God’s love.”
“The ight into Egypt because
of Herod’s threats shows us that God is also there – there where man is in danger, there where man suffers, there where he escapes, where he experiences rejection and abandonment; but he is also where man dreams, hoping to return to his home-land in freedom, designing and choosing a life of dignity for himself and his family.”Even in families who do not face such dramatic circumstanc-es, “exiled persons” can be found, noted the Pontiff: “the elderly, for example, who some-times are treated as a burden-some presence.”“Many times I think that one sign to know how a family is doing is to see how the children and elderly are treated in it,” he said.Pope Francis then repeated one of his oft-used instructions on family life. “Remember the three key phrases: excuse me, thank you, I’m sorry!” he ex-horted the crowds, who cheered in response.In a family that uses these words, “there is peace and joy,” he assured them.“Repeat it with me, everyone together!” the Pope urged, “ex-cuse me, thank you, I’m sorry.”The Pontiff closed by greet-ing the many pilgrim groups who had traveled to Rome and wishing everyone a happy feast day.
‘Yolanda’ victims vulnerable to human trafcking, priest warns
MUNTINLUPA City, Dec. 10, 2013—As if the tragedy of a natural calamity is not enough, ‘Yolanda’ victims in the Visayas are now falling prey to the man-made scandal of
human trafcking, a priest warned.
“[Victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’] need food, they need shelter, they need employment, so [they become prone to believe] anyone who promises to them some of these things…Behind those promises are those syndicates of human
trafcking,” said CBCP Episcopal Commission
on Family and Life executive secretary Fr. Mel-vin Castro in a recent interview.
Missing women and children
According to Castro, reports of women and children missing from refugee centers in ‘Yolanda’-stricken areas are alarming and should make key agencies like the Depart-ment of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as well as the public, vigilant
against the threat of human trafcking.
In a report published in the Daily Guard-ian, a publication based in Western Visayas, DSWD Assistant Secretary Cheche Cabrera said, the agency was able to intervene in at
least two cases of human trafcking involv
-ing ‘Yolanda’ victims before it was too late. According to Cabrera, one case involved “a very beautiful girl [who] was [being] es-corted by two burly looking guys”.
“Every tragedy and calamity brings out the best and unfortunately, the worst in some people that’s why let’s take care of [the vic-tims] because there are really many people lurking around who will take advantage of the situation,” he added. Castro, who is also the founder of the Con-fraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All-Grace, alerted the public, organizations and gov-ernment agencies that are most involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts for ‘Yolanda’ victims about “many who will put up a front of trying to help”, but who are, in fact, intending to lure women and children into prostitution or forced labor.
He called the reality of human trafcking
“modern-day slavery”, demanding that authorities scrutinize suspicious interna-tional flights from Manila that could be
transporting human trafcking victims to
other countries. “These are dangerous moments for wom-en,” Castro noted. For those interested to help document orphans left by ‘Yolanda’, which could be
a rst step to safeguard them against hu
man trafcking, contact the Pro-Life ofce
hotline at (02) 733-70-27, Telefax 7349425 or 09192337783.
(Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)
Fr. Melvin Castro
Vatican ofcial to speak at conference celebrating 50 years of ‘Pacem in Terris’
MANILA, Dec. 16, 2013—A
Vatican ofcial will lead a ros
ter of high prole speakers in a
national conference organized by the Association of Catholic Universities to celebrate the 50th year of the encyclical Pacem in Terris.The Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP) is holding a national conference at the University of the Immaculate Conception (Bajada Campus) in Davao City to pray tribute to the celebrated encyclical of Pope John XXIII, from January 9 to 11.Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah
Turkson, president of the Ponti
-cal Council for Justice and Peace will keynote the conference with an address on “The Formation of New Catholics in Politics”.Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI leads a panel
of speakers on the rst day with
a discussion on “The Struggles of Catholic Universities in De-veloping Leaders for Peace and Progress in the Philippines.”Also in the panel are Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Davao University, Sister Corazon Manalo, D.C., Superintendent of the Daughters of Charity Schools, and Cong. Karlo Alexis B. Nograles of the 1st district of Davao City.Multi-awarded and highly re-spected ABS-CBN news anchor Tina Monzon-Palma will moder-ate the discussion.Also on the same day, Mr. Leon G. Flores III, chair and chief
executive ofcer of the National
Youth Commission, will give a talk on “The Filipino Youth in Politics: A Commitment to Lead-ership for Peace and Progress”.A Eucharistic celebration will
cap the rst day to be presided
by Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles.On the second day, presenters will explore on the topic “En-gagement of Catholic Universi-ties: A Milieu for the Inculcation of Values Leading to Social Transformation”.A collaborative research paper among the University of Santo Tomas, La Consolacion Univer-sity, St. Louis University, and Angeles University Foundation will be presented discussing “The Pastoral Care of Overseas Filipinos and their Families by Catholic Universities: A Case Study”.Br. Ricardo P. Laguda, FSC, president of De La Salle Uni-versity- Manila will present a research on “The Impact of Com-munity Development Programs of Catholic Universities”.Manila Auxiliary Bishop Brod-erick S. Pabillo, D.D., National Chairman of NASSA/Caritas Philippines will discuss “The En-gagement of the Catholic Church in Values Formation and Social Transformation”.Fr. Eliseo R. Mercado, Jr. OMI, former director and senior policy adviser of the Institute for Au-tonomy and Governance of Notre Dame University will talk on “Peace : Our Hope and Responsibility in Mindanao”.Themed “The Formation of New Catholics Engaged in Poli-tics: the Challenge and Inspira-tion of Catholic Universities”, the conference will also include a group sharing on its theme.
L a u r e n C a t e r / C N A K y l e B u r k h a r t / C N A L a u r e n C a t e r / C N A C B C P f o r L i f e