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Pope Francis Concludes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus address and the Ecumenical Prayer Service to close the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Coast to Coast: January 18 to January 24

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Here is some of what’s been making headlines in the church across Canada:

The week of prayer for Christian unity is upon us once again. Here’s a rundown of events and prayer services happening across the country.

In Winnipeg, the archdiocese is getting into the fight against drugs, setting up a ministry for people struggling with addiction.

Edmonton’s Western Catholic Reporter takes the opportunity to highlight marriages that have stood the test of time and, of course, find out why.

In Vancouver, the presence of migrant workers is significant and growing. The B.C. Catholics has this overview of the ministries the archdiocese has established to reach out to all migrants.

Unsung Heros No More

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It’s a familiar story, religious women doing exceptional works and for the most part going unnoticed.  But that’s about to change. Thanks to a $900 000 dollar grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation. The Loyola Institute for Ministry will use the grant to help Catholic sisters in the U.S. and Africa build their social media presence.

This past week, Fr. Tom Rosica, CSB and I met with the recipients of the grant in New Orleans. Having spent some time with them, all I can say is that I was blown away.  It’s inspiring to hear about their work: from housing and educating HIV orphans, to preventing human trafficking, and educating young girls in the remotest parts of the world, these ‘Brides of Christ’ are magnificent examples of Christian discipleship.

One community even has two sisters making roads into the interior of Timor-Leste to minister to the needy.

I’m delighted that Salt+Light will work closely with the Sisters, and we’re looking forward to developing a series which will highlight the Sisters’ charisms.

As we progress through the stages of this project, I look forward to sharing with you the joys and I ask you pray for us as we undertake this significant endeavour.

Stay tuned.

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Vatican Connections: January 23, 2015

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Pope Francis’ second Asian voyage ended the way all of his trips have ended: with an extensive press conference on board the return flight and flurry of headlines – some accurate, some not. The voyage also delivered unscripted moments typical of the Jesuit pope.

Twice Pope Francis ditched his prepared text to speak off the cuff and deliver unquestionably moving homilies. Speaking to young people in Manila he led the gathered faithful in a prayer for Kristel Padasas, a volunteer who was killed at the site of the papal Mass in Tacloban when strong winds knocked over a tower of scaffolding.

Padasas was also a Catholic Relief Services worker. Pope Francis met with her father and uncle the day after her death and tried to telephone her mother who was en route from Hong Kong. Like many Philippinos, Padasas’ mother worked in Hong Kong to support the family.

Pope Francis told journalists on board the flight from Manila to Rome that Padasas’ father said he struggled at first with his daughter’s death, but found peace in the fact that she was serving others when she died. The pope said he found the grieving father’s words “edifying”.

For american media the biggest headlines were the pope’s confirmation of his intent to visit three U.S. cities during his trip to Philadelphia. He said he intends to visit New York and Washington D.C and hopes to canonize Junipero Serra in D.C.

However, the rest of the pope’s comments regarding his intended voyages got less attention. Pope Francis said he intends to visit three Latin American countries in 2015: Bolivia, Paraguay and Ecuador. He pointed out that all three visits are still in the “hypothetical” stage and no concrete plans have been made yet. The lack of official confirmation has not stopped Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, from announcing that the pope will visit that country in July. The Bolivian Bishops Conference issued a statement saying there is a long way to go before this potential visit becomes a certainty. The bishops also warned against “instrumentalizing” the news of a potential papal visit for political purposes. In recent months and years Morales and the bishops of the country have not had an easy relationship.

Pope Francis also said he hopes to visit Central African Republic and Uganda towards the end of 2015. In 2016 the pope hopes to visit Paraguay, Argentina and Chile “God willing.”

The pope’s public statement of intent laid to rest Spain’s hope that the pontiff would visit Avila this year for the 500th anniversary of St. Therese’s birth. On Thursday the Bishops Conference of Spain announced it had received official word from the Vatican that the trip would not take place.

Of course, the other comments made during the papal press conference have sparked some debate: his statement that Catholics should be responsible when it comes to having children has offended some and encouraged others. Here are some articles offering analysis of the pope’s remarks regarding marriage and children:

From Italy’s Vatican Insider, a look what Pope Francis did and did not say about large families.

The International Business Times offers a more secular summary of the pope’s statement and what it means.

Religion News Service offers this analysis.

The UK’s Catholic Herald reflects on why some find it difficult not to be offended by the pope’s comments

Catholic Voices co-founder Austen Ivereigh had this analysis on CV blog.

March for Life in Washington, DC – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, the March for Life from Washington, DC, Pope Francis meets with security services and representatives of the Finish Lutheran Church.

Pope Francis’ First Audience After Returning from Asia – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis holds his first General Audience following his Apostolic Journey to Asia, a number of new appointments at the Vatican and a look ahead at upcoming Salt and Light events.

50 years after Vatican II observers see hopeful signs for ecumenism under Francis

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This article was written by Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News.  

OTTAWA (CCN)—In the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, observers see hopeful signs for ecumenism and interfaith dialog under Pope Francis.

“Pope Francis uses language very frequently on how important it is to walk together with other Christians,” said Saint Paul University professor Catherine Clifford, noting theological dialogs are being complemented “with initiatives of common witness.”

“It’s an invitation to do everything we possibly can together, not to wait for all ‘i’s to be dotted and ‘t’s  to be crossed and all the texts approved but that we kind of live into the experience of mutual communion by beginning to act together today,” she said.

“A central image of the Christian life for Pope Francis is the movement toward Christian unity – a movement that happens one step at a time,” said Fr. Thomas Rosica, a Scripture scholar, CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic TV network and English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office in a keynote address Jan. 17 to a Vancouver symposium entitled “Christian Unity—Have we answered the call?” marking the 50th anniversary of the Decree on Ecumenism.

“For Francis, it is not about waiting for others to catch up with us,” he said. “It is about everyone continuing to walk with and toward the Lord, supporting and learning from the brothers and sisters whom God places on the same path. The deeper we all grow in holiness, the closer we will be to one another.”

“The work of deepening our knowledge of each other through praying together, working together in common witness created the kind of trust that will allow us to move forward in the future,” Clifford said

“While Francis’ gestures are new, and even disconcerting to some, the idea of growth in unity being the result of growth in fidelity to Christ is not,” Rosica said. “The unity we seek requires inner conversion that is both common and personal. It is not merely a matter of cordiality, or good cooperation, it is necessary above all to strengthen our faith in God, in the God of Jesus Christ, who spoke to us and took on our flesh and blood in the incarnation.”

Rosica noted the ecumenical movement is one of “ongoing conversion and a search for reconciliation among all Christians. “Over the past fifty years, ecumenism and the ecumenical movement have become commonplace for most Christians,” he said. “While ecumenism hasn’t yet achieved full reunion, it’s still among the most visible, powerful, successful Christian movements of the late 20th century.”

“Separated Christians no longer consider one another as strangers, competitors or even enemies, but as brothers and sisters,” he said. “We have largely removed the former lack of understanding, misunderstanding, prejudice, and indifference; we pray together, together we give witness to our common faith; in many fields we work together.”

“We have experienced that ‘what unites us is much greater than what divides us,’” he said.  “Such a change was unthinkable at the turn of the twentieth century and those who wish to go back to those times seriously risk being forsaken not only by a good, warm, friendly spirit but also by the Holy Spirit.”

Clifford highlighted Pope Francis’ historic meeting in Jerusalem last May with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, 50 years after Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras pledged to work together towards unity.  In May, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch issued a joint declaration that affirmed the continued desire for ecclesial unity, the pursuit of peace through reconciliation and dialog and the promotion interfaith dialog.

The Pope met the Patriarch again in Istanbul when he visited Turkey in November. Clifford noted their joint statement spoke of “how important it is for churches to work in interfaith dialog, especially with the people of Islam, in light of the violence in the Middle East.”

“Both Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew are not only motivated by the cause of ecumenism but also by forming a united front against the persecution of Christianity in the Middle East where the number of Catholics and Orthodox have dwindled over the past couple decades,” said Rosica.

Challenges remain in Catholic Orthodox dialog largely because of tensions within Eastern Orthodoxy itself, especially between the patriarchies of Constantinople and Moscow, Clifford said. In 2016, a pan-Orthodox synod is planned and “the question of ecumenism is very high on the agenda of this meeting.”

“Pope Francis has also worked very conscientiously to be seen acting together in common witness with leaders of other faiths,” she said.  For example, “he and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby launched an international effort to stem the tide of human trafficking.”

Rosica admitted recent decades have showed “signs of tiredness, disillusionment and stagnation” after the euphoria immediately following the Council. “Recent decisions and directions by our sister Churches in the areas of moral theology, ethics, life and death issues, ordained ministries, questions regarding the family, marriage, sexuality and human life are essential issues that must not be ignored out of fear of jeopardizing our ecumenical consensus,” the priest said. “In the business of authentic ecumenism, communication must be frank and robust, respectful and charitable.”

“Catholic participants are expected to hold fast to the Church’s teachings, presenting doctrines clearly and avoiding all forms of reductionism or facile agreement,” he said. “When we are in dialogue with other Christian churches, must treat each other as partners and presuppose that each partner desires unity, even when we speak about contentious or divisive issues.”

Clifford also noted Pope Francis’ historic meeting with evangelical leaders at a private lunch inside the Vatican that included leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), and prominent American televangelists.

Pope Francis already had a long experience from his pastoral ministry in Argentina of working closely with evangelical leaders, she said.

“Today one in four Christians is evangelical or Pentecostal Christian,” she said.  Though there has been official dialog with evangelicals and Pentecostals for many decades, “these relationships will take on more importance in coming years.”

There is work being done by the Lutheran Catholic International Commission to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, she said.  Resources are being prepared for local groups to look at the progress that has been made in 50 years of interchurch dialog she said.

“What we did discover through dialog is that we do not disagree on the central dividing issue of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation,” she said, noting the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Catholics and Lutherans.  “In 2005, the World Methodist Council signed onto that same agreement.”

“Many other western Christians can find themselves in that agreement,” she said. “It puts our discussions of other issues, such as the recognition of sacramental life, on a different footing because we do not disagree on the basic theology of grace.”

What’s attractive about Pope Francis to evangelicals is also very important for Catholics, Clifford said.

“He’s calling us to the central message of the gospel, to a personal encounter with Christ, the source of a any evangelizing or missionary activity of the Church,” she said.  “The whole project of The Joy of the Gospel is the call to Catholics to undertake a discernment and to reexamine every aspect of ecclesial life, to carry out a pastoral and missionary conversion of the Church.”

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“All the structures of the Church and even the way we express the mission of the gospel has to make this message clear,” she said. “God has come for us in Jesus Christ.  God’s forgiveness and mercy avail to everyone and should not exclude anyone.  This should be transparent in the structuring of the Church’s life and missionary activity.”

“It’s a powerful message and many other Christians recognize themselves in it,” she said.  “The primary message of the Decree on Ecumenism is that we come together by renewing the life of our churches and getting closer to Christ.”

“If we actually undertake what Pope Francis is inviting us to do we cannot help but become closer to other Christian churches, if we renew and reform the Church in this way,” she said.  “They also have a responsibility to do the same thing. All Christians need to reexamine our living out of the gospel.”

“What ecumenical dialog helps us to do is do that discerning together, each church has to examine its own inner life and undertake the renewal that’s required,” she said.  “It’s encouraging. In some ways, Pope Francis is inviting us to carry forward some of the central insights of the Second Vatican Council in its commitment to working for Christian unity.”

Vatican II prompted a new self-awareness that had the Church reexamining how the gospel is communicated to modern people, she said. “The structures we put in place 50 years ago, are they still serving us now?  If they are not we should take a look at them.”

Pope Francis is “carrying forward some of the central insights of the Council, and that has to do with understanding that the form of the Church and its proclamation will always need to be adapted,” she said. “He is calling us to focus on the central message, but the way we express it and incarnate it in the structures of the church is adequate for the people of today.

Pope Francis is also stressing the importance of interfaith dialog, Clifford said.  In June, Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew and the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas met in Rome for joint prayer and a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens, she said.

Rosica cautioned against letting interfaith dialog make ecumenism seem “outmoded.”

“There is a difference but not a competition between the two dialogues, for ultimately to be effective, interreligious dialogue presupposes that Christians can speak one and the same language,” he said. “The necessity of interreligious dialogue makes ecumenical dialogue even more urgent.”

The need for mutual understanding among religions “should make the work of Christians coming together have a greater sense of urgency, so we as churches can dialog together with representatives of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other religions,” Clifford said.

(CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

(CNS photo/Andreas Solaro, pool via Reuters)

Pope Francis in Asia; Michael Keaton, Andy Warhol – Catholic?

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Noel-BlogWelcome to S+L’s Weekly News Round-Up. As the Director of Marketing and Communications here at S+L, many interesting Catholic news stories and articles come across my desk on a daily basis. Some of them we’ll cover on our different television programs and others I’d like to share with you on this blog. Enjoy!

So the Holy Father has just returned from a historic tour of Sri Lanka & the Philippines. And what a whirlwind of emotions it was! Even now, the world is being flooded with all kinds of great stories and personal testimonies of the many lives he touched. Luckily enough, I was in the position to catch much of our live coverage of the Papal visit and like many, I felt as if I was there.

One of my favourite stories that came through the wire is about the Pope’s personal encounter with a former street child. Read it here and watch the video, but be warned, it is a real tear-jerker. Interestingly enough, it was also picked up by CNN.

There is no doubt that he is one of the most quoted people in the media. Check out this interesting article by CNN’s Daniel Burke on some of the things that the Pope has said that has raised some eyebrows. The piece is titled “THE POPE SAID WHAT?!?”

Now, I’m not usually in the habit of clicking on Youtube to watch the latest “viral” video, but when I saw this next piece pop up on S+L’s Facebook news feed a few times, I just had to take a look. And what a surprise! We’ve all heard of the world famous Priests (the three sensational singing Irish priests), but have you seen the Dancing Priests who have become an internet sensation? Check this out. And here is a little profile on one of them – Fr.David Rider

Famous-CatholicAs you may or may not know, over the past year Salt + Light been promoting a special S+L Guardian’s Free Trip To Rome Contest. The winner was selected on January 16 and they are being notified as we speak – so stand by for the official announcement of the contest winner! However, if you don’t get selected, you could still visit the major basilicas in Rome – virtually that is!

Check out what the Vatican has done to make the beauty of the basilicas accessible on the internet for all to enjoy! 3D High definition tours of St.Peters Basilica, St. Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, and even of the Sistine Chapel and St.Peter’s Square. Its almost like you are there!

Finally, you may notice all the chatter about the Golden Globes, the Oscars, People Choice awards, etc…etc… It is after all, award season. Who really cares, right? But what’s interesting is that some big time actors are starting to publicly acknowledge their Catholic roots. For example, take Michael Keaton (who I fondly remember as BATMAN.)  He recently paid tribute to his Catholic family values at the 72nd Golden Globes last week! I had no idea that he was Catholic.

Apparently, he’s not the only Hollywood A-lister, celebrity, or public figure on the “Catholic list”. Check out this list from Wikipedia. We all know about Mark Wahlberg and Jim Caviezel but Andy Warhol? Alfred Hitchcock? Sylvester Stallone? Is there anyone else on that list that surprises you?

Check out the video above for Michael Keaton’s speech! Around 1:15 he talks about his Catholic roots.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed these little stories and tidbits of interesting Catholic facts!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Or, if you have any interesting stories yourself, feel free to send them to me!

– Noel

The Decree on Ecumenism: 50 Years Later part 2

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On January 17, 2015, the Archdiocese of Vancouver sponsored a Symposium on Christian Unity, titled Have We Answered the Call?, at St. Francis Xavier Church, in honour of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, of Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation, gave the keynote address titled The Decree on Ecumenism: 50 Years Later. In part 2 of his address, Fr. Rosica focuses on identifying problems and raising important questions regarding the ecumenical movement in the Catholic Church.

Part II

Is the ecumenical movement in crisis?
So much has been achieved in joint efforts for Christian unity over the past 50 years. Separated Christians no longer consider one another as strangers, competitors or even enemies, but as brothers and sisters. We have largely removed the former lack of understanding, misunderstanding, prejudice, and indifference; we pray together, together we give witness to our common faith; in many fields we work together. We have experienced that “what unites us is much greater than what divides us.” Such a change was unthinkable at the turn of the twentieth century and those who wish to go back to those times seriously risk being forsaken not only by a good, warm, friendly spirit but also by the Holy Spirit.

Yet after the first rather euphoric phase of the ecumenical movement that followed the Second Vatican Council, the last decades have seen us experiencing signs of tiredness, disillusionment and stagnation. Some go so far as to speak even of a crisis, and many Christians no longer understand the differences on which the churches are arguing with each other. Others hold that ecumenism is outmoded and that interreligious dialogue is now the agenda du jour. Let us be very clear about such discussions: there is a difference but not a competition between the two dialogues, for ultimately to be effective, interreligious dialogue presupposes that Christians can speak one and the same language. The necessity of interreligious dialogue makes ecumenical dialogue even more urgent.

 In light of the current situation in the world and in the Church, and because of the scandalous divisions that still exist among Christians, it is all the more necessary to raise a number of questions regarding our efforts for Christian unity: What did the Council really say about Church unity? Where are we today on the ecumenical journey? Why the current ecumenical crisis? How do we overcome the current problems? What are these problems? Let me try to answer some of the questions and raise new ones.

1) The decisive element of the Second Vatican Council’s ecumenical approach is the fact that the Council no longer identifies the Church of Jesus Christ simply with the Roman Catholic Church, as had Pope Pius XII as late as in the Encyclical Mystici corporis (1943).

2) In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, the Council replaced “est” (the Catholic Church “is” Jesus Christ’s Church) with “subsistit”: the Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Catholic Church, which means that the Church of Jesus Christ is made concretely real in the Catholic Church; in her she is historically and concretely present and can be met. This does not exclude that also outside the visible structure of the Catholic Church there are not only individual Christians but also elements of the Church, and with them an “ecclesial reality”. We cannot think that beyond the boundaries of the Catholic community there is a huge, ecclesial vacuum!

3) The Council speaks of “elementa ecclesiae” outside the Catholic Church, which, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling towards Catholic unity. The concept “elementa” or “vestigia” comes from Calvin. Obviously, the Council – unlike Calvin – understands the elementa not as sad remains but as dynamic reality, and it says expressly that the Spirit of God uses these elementa as means of salvation for non-Catholic Christians. Both the Council and the ecumenical decree acknowledge explicitly that the Holy Spirit is at work in the other churches in which they even discover examples of holiness leading to martyrdom.

4) The Council is fully aware of the sinfulness of the members of its own Church, and of sinful structures existing in the Church itself; and it knows about the need of reforming the shape of the Church. The Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium and the Decree on Ecumenism state expressly that the Church is a pilgrim Church, an ecclesia “semper purificanda”, which must constantly take the way of penance and renewal. Ecumenism is not possible without conversion and renewal. Ecumenism therefore is no one-way street, but a reciprocal learning process, or – as stated in St. John Paul II’s masterful ecumenical Encyclical Ut unum sint – an exchange of gifts.

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5) Recent decisions and directions by our sister Churches in the areas of moral theology, ethics, life and death issues, ordained ministries, questions regarding the family, marriage, sexuality and human life are essential issues that must not be ignored out of fear of jeopardizing our ecumenical consensus. In the business of authentic ecumenism, communication must be frank and robust, respectful and charitable. Catholic participants are expected to hold fast to the Church’s teachings, presenting doctrines clearly and avoiding all forms of reductionism or facile agreement. When we are in dialogue with other Christian churches, must treat each other as partners and presuppose that each partner desires unity, even when we speak about contentious or divisive issues. We must avoid giving the impression of a“divide et impera” attitude to Christians of other churches and communions.

6) For many in my generation and older, the Second Vatican Council’s ecumenical thrust and movement was a powerful hopeful, energizing new experience. In the meantime we have several new generations of Catholics who were not yet born at the time of the Council nor did they experience its dynamic impulse in the decades following the Council, so they do not really understand what, how and why things have changed. They do not understand our theological problems and they are not interested in them! For many, the ecumenical questions have lost their fascination, momentum, passion and dynamism. This is very often connected with a lack of catechetical, homiletic and proper theological instruction. Many do not know what Catholic or Protestant doctrine is all about and what the differences are. Often they have only a superficial and sound bite knowledge through the media and Social Media. In this situation we are faced with a double task and challenge. Firstly, we have to promote ecumenical education and the reception of ecumenical results. The results of ecumenical progress have not yet penetrated into the hearts and into the flesh of our Catholic community and of other churches as well. Ecumenical theology is not present as an inner dimension in theological programs and ministerial formation.

7) The crisis of the ecumenical movement is paradoxically the result of its success. Ecumenism for many became obvious. But the closer we come to one another, the more painful is the perception that we are not yet in full communion. We are very impatient. We are hurt by what still separates us and hinders us from joining around the table of the Lord; we are increasingly dissatisfied with the ecumenical status quo; in this atmosphere, ecumenical frustration and sometimes even opposition develops. Paradoxically it is ecumenical progress that is also the cause for the ecumenical malaise!

8) As we move closer to Jesus Christ, in him we move nearer to one another. Therefore, it is not a question of Church political debates and compromises, nor of some kind of superficial union, but of a reciprocal spiritual exchange and a mutual enrichment. Ecumenism is a spiritual journey, in which the question is not about a way backwards but about a way forwards. Such unity is ultimately a gift of God’s Spirit and of his guidance. The oikoumene is neither a mere academic nor only a diplomatic matter; its soul is spiritual ecumenism. The practice of prayer is an indispensable means of sustaining the activities of common witness and dialogue as we progress along the path to Christian unity. All are invited to enter into the prayer of Jesus, who before his passion asked the Father that his disciples might be one, so that the world may believe (Jn 17:21).

9) During his pontificate, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI emphasized that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not about gaining “as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power. … We speak of him [Christ] because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us.”

Benedict also expressed his concern over a growing interest among governments to sponsor programs intended to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue.  Speaking in “Rotunda” Hall of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center of Washington, D.C. on April 17, 2008,  Benedict said: “These are praiseworthy initiatives. At the same time, religious freedom, interreligious dialogue and faith-based education aim at something more than a consensus regarding ways to implement practical strategies for advancing peace. The broader purpose of dialogue is to discover the truth. What is the origin and destiny of mankind? What are good and evil? What awaits us at the end of our earthly existence? Only by addressing these deeper questions can we build a solid basis for the peace and security of the human family, for wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendor of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace.”

10) Massive problems of poverty in today’s world cry out to us as Christians. There are too many women and men who suffer from severe malnutrition, growing unemployment, the rising numbers of unemployed youth, and from increasing social exclusion.  These can give rise to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists as we are witnessing at present.  We cannot remain indifferent or deaf to the cries of our brothers and sisters who ask of us not only material assistance – needed in so many circumstances – but above all, our help to defend their inherent dignity as human persons, so that they can find the spiritual energy to become once again protagonists in their own lives. As Christians we are called together to eliminate that globalization of indifference which today seems to reign supreme, while building a new civilization of love and solidarity.

11) A second piercing cry comes to us from the victims of the conflicts in so many parts of our world. Nations are scarred by an inhumane, brutal war and senseless terrorism. The cry of the victims of conflict urges us to move with haste along the path of reconciliation and communion especially between Catholics and Orthodox. Pope Francis has written: “Christians of the East and West must give common witness so that, strengthened by the Spirit of the risen Christ, they may disseminate the message of salvation to the entire world.” Both Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew are not only motivated by the cause of ecumenism but also by forming a united front against the persecution of Christianity in the Middle East where the number of Catholics and Orthodox have dwindled over the past couple decades.

12) A third cry which challenges us is that of young people who tragically live without hope, overcome by mistrust and resignation.  Many of the young, influenced by the prevailing culture, seek happiness solely in possessing material things and in satisfying their fleeting emotions. It is precisely the young who today implore us to make progress towards full communion. Not for naught did St. John XXIII refer to the Taizé community as “that little springtime” where tens of thousands of young people go on pilgrimage not because they ignore the differences which still separate us, but because they are able to see beyond them; they are able to embrace what is essential and what already unites us.

(CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo)

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis’ Mid-Flight Press Conference – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, the second of Pope Francis’ mid-flight press conferences during his Apostolic Journey to Asia and the funeral of Archbishop Pierre-Andre Fournier.