Vatican City, Apr 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis understands the important role the liturgy plays in the New Evangelization and combines it with his own style to communicate the grace of God, says Bishop Dominique Rey.
“I think each Pope arrives at his own charism, his own personality. And the personality of Pope Francis is a sense of freedom, simplicity, (an awareness) of context,” Bishop Rey observed in an April 23 interview with CNA.
And the way the faith is conveyed during the liturgy, he said, “is very important.”
Pope Francis, he noted, “speaks each day in the homily, for all the services of the Vatican, and he develops a very strong and simple homily.
“I think many persons are touched by these thoughts, and many persons receive the Holy Father and his teaching as the grace of God,” he said.
Bishop Rey, who heads the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon in France, came to Rome last week to prepare for the June 25-28 summit on the Sacred Liturgy and the New Evangelization, which will be held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.
The international gathering is intended to underscore the “central place” of the liturgy in “the mission of the Church,” he said, adding that the “source and the goal of the New Evangelization is the adoration and the contemplation of God.”
The conference will feature talks on celebrating the Mass in both the ordinary and extraordinary form, which will be given by Cardinals Antonio Cañizares Llovera and Walter Brandmüller, respectively.
Other liturgy-related topics that will be addressed include, sacred architecture, music, new ecclesial movements, academic formation, catechesis, the bishop’s role as guardian of the liturgy, and liturgical law in the Church’s mission.
As for Pope Francis, Bishop Rey thinks his reflections and Magisterium enter into “the traditional sense of the liturgy; there is no change.”
For more information on the conference, please visit http://sacraliturgia2013.com.
Alan Holdren contributed to this report from Rome.
Vatican City, Apr 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis said the Sacrament of Confession does not work like a dry cleaner but is a moment in which Jesus imparts his peace.
“Jesus in the confessional is not a dry cleaner, it is an encounter with Jesus but with this Jesus who waits for us just as we are,” said Pope Francis.
“Many times we think that going to confession is like going to the dry cleaner to clean the dirt from our clothes,” he observed during his April 29 homily.
But what really happens is that Jesus “donates to us the peace that only he gives,” he said.
The Pope usually invites different groups to attend his daily Mass in the chapel of Saint Martha’s residence, where he lives.
Today, the personnel from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See were among the congregation.
“We are often ashamed to tell the truth, but shame is a true Christian virtue, and even human,” he commented.
“I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country those who are never ashamed are called ‘sin vergüenza,’” he said in his April 29 homily.
“This means ‘the unashamed’ because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed. And to be ashamed is a virtue of men and the women who are humble,” he added.
Pope Francis taught that being ashamed of sins is “not only natural, it’s a virtue that helps prepare us for God's forgiveness.”
He underscored that confession is not “a torture session” and that God is not waiting “to beat,” but is instead “always waiting for us, with tenderness to forgive.”
“It is going to praise God, because I, a sinner, have been saved by Him,” said Pope Francis.
“And if tomorrow I do the same?” he asked. “Go again, and go and go and go.”
The Pope encouraged the congregation to “never masquerade before God.”
“Jesus Christ is the righteous (one) and supports us before the Father," he said.
“He defends us in front of our weaknesses, but you need to stand in front of the Lord with our truth of (being) sinners, with confidence, even with joy, without masquerading,” he remarked.
The Holy Father also noted that walking in darkness means being “overly pleased with ourselves and believing that we do not need salvation.”
“That is darkness!” he exclaimed. “When we continue on this road of darkness, it is not easy to turn back.”
“We all have darkness in our lives, moments where everything, even our consciousness, is in the dark, but this does not mean we walk in darkness,” said the Pope.
Washington D.C., Apr 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a plea for the release of two kidnapped Orthodox archbishops in Syria.
“The kidnapping of two men of peace is a sign of the terrible violence that is destroying the fabric of Syrian society,” Cardinal Dolan said in an April 26 statement.
He explained that the plight of the archbishops, along with the murder of their driver, “continue to weigh heavily on the hearts of people of good will.”
On April 22, Archbishop John Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yagizi of the Greek Orthodox Church were kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria by armed men who appear to have killed their driver.
It remains unclear who carried out the kidnapping. The Syrian government and rebel groups have both traded accusations over who is to blame.
Cardinal Dolan said the men “remain in our prayers.” He joined Pope Francis in “praying that they may return to their communities soon.”
“Ironically, the two men were returning from a mission of mercy to aid Syrians suffering from the violence gripping their nation when they were accosted,” he observed.
The cardinal pledged to “continue to work through all channels with the Holy See, the diplomatic and international community and all agencies of good will.”
“I plead for their release and for a political solution that ends the violence and protects the citizenship rights of all Syrians, including minorities,” he said.
Albuquerque, N.M., Apr 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A 24-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly stabbing several members of the choir at a Catholic church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during Sunday Mass.
The knife-wielding man reportedly climbed over several pews and attacked the choir director, a choir member and two others after communion at the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church.
“I looked up, and I saw a young man with a very scary look in his eyes,” choir member Brenda Baca King told KOAT-TV. “Fury, anger, hatred.”
Some witnesses said the man shouted out “Fake preacher!” when he began to attack.
Gerald Madrid, a 53-year-old man who was accompanying the choir on the flute, pinned the assailant to the wall, according to media reports, which said that he and other churchgoers helped subdue the attacker until police arrived.
Madrid and three others were hospitalized for the wounds suffered in the attack. All are listed as being in stable condition. Paramedics treated several other churchgoers on the scene.
The accused assailant, Lawrence Capener, was booked on Sunday on three counts of aggravated battery. He is being held on $75,000 bail.
The priest who celebrated the Mass, Father John C. Daniel, said he had seen the man in the church previously but did not recognize him as a regular parishioner, the Associated Press reports.
The motives for the attack are not immediately known.
Fr. Daniel said he had talked to Capener’s mother and believed that he had mental health problems.
The priest said there was no connection between the choir director and the attacker.
Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe said April 28 that he was “deeply saddened” by the attack. He prayed for those who have been harmed, their families and other parishioners. He offered prayers “that nothing like this will ever happen again.”
The archbishop said the parish is a “vibrant” community with 4,000 parishioners attending Mass each Sunday.
Denver, Colo., Apr 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - In his newly translated book, Pope Francis proposes a Christ-centered understanding of human dignity that yields a comprehensive respect for life reaching from the unborn to the impoverished.
“He clearly makes the case that Jesus brings about a completely new vision of humanity, that human life is provided with a dignity that goes beyond our capacity to understand,” Alejandro Bermudez, the book's translator, told CNA April 23.
“Therefore the most crucial approach to human life is reverence.”
The new book, “On Heaven and Earth,” is a conversation between Pope Francis and Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and scholar from Buenos Aires. It was originally published in Spanish in 2010, when Francis was still Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The book depicts a firm reverence for human life that connects the Pope’s committed opposition to abortion and euthanasia with his passionate concern for the poor and elderly.
“This reverence means paying attention first to secure life in itself, and second the continuity of life that comes through the relationship of one man and one woman, and third the dignity of the quality of that life,” explained Bermudez, who is also executive director of Catholic News Agency.
“So for Pope Francis, it is a continuity … the zeal for the defense of life and of marriage is exactly the same zeal for human life that brings him to come out in the defense of the poor, and most specifically of all of those who are suffering.”
Bermudez explained that “there are many forms of poverty which goes beyond just the physical, and Pope Francis has been extremely sensitive to any kind of human suffering.”
In “On Heaven and Earth,” Pope Francis speaks at length about the needs of the poor and vulnerable. He says that the elderly are unfortunately among those who are seen as “disposable” by today's “consumerist, hedonist and narcissistic society.”
In the same work, the Pope explained that the death penalty “once was one of the punishments that Christianity accepted, but today the moral conscience has become much more refined.”
Bermudez said that this perspective is not “anything different than what John Paul II said.”
“In his mind, more and more the sensibility of Catholics should move us away from the death penalty … Pope Francis comes from a part of the world in which the death penalty has long been suppressed, it doesn't exist.”
This is the case in much of the world, so the death penalty does not have the “relevance” that it has in the U.S., Bermudez explained, “and so in general, Catholic leaders have not elaborated much beyond what John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae and what the Catechism reflects.”
“On Heaven and Earth” is now available in English from Image Books, an imprint of Random House, in print, digital and audio formats.
Until recently, the works of Pope Francis have been available only in his native tongue. Two works on Jesuit spirituality, entitled “Humility, the road towards God” and “Corruption and sin,” are being published this month in Italian.