We begin Perspectives today, in Rome, where the Pope prayed the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. Afterwards, he reflected on on the words of Jesus from Sunday’s Gospel, including the Lord’s “severe criticisms” of the scribes and Pharisees. He noted that hypocrisy, like that of the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' time, is not the only temptation that continues to plague religious communities. Pride also is a great danger.
The behaviours of the scribes and Pharisees, which Jesus denounced, are temptations that come from human pride and are not easy to overcome. “It is a temptation to live solely for appearances.”
The Pope went on to say that if authority is exercised badly, “it becomes oppressive, and, it does not allow people to grow. It creates a climate of distrust and of hostility, and brings corruption.”
“This attitude is a wicked exercise of authority,” the Pope said, which instead, should lead by good example, “helping others practice what is right, supporting them in the trials they encounter, on the path of goodness.”
As Christians, he concluded, we “should not consider ourselves superior to others; modesty is essential for an existence that wants to be conformed to the teaching of Christ, who is meek and humble of heart, and who came not to be served, but to serve. ”
Also from Rome, Pope Francis released his monthly prayer intention video online for the month of November. This month’s prayer intention is for Evangelization in particular: Witness to the Gospel in Asia. The Pope is asking for prayers that Christians in Asia, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.
In the US, the Catholic Church, horrified by the latest mass-shooting, stands "in unity" with the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, after a shooting during Sunday services took the lives of at least 26 people and injured at least 20 others.
"We stand in unity with you in this time of terrible tragedy, as you stand on holy ground, ground marred today by horrific violence," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"We ask the Lord for healing of those injured, His loving care of those who have died and the consolation of their families. We must come to the firm determination that there is a fundamental problem in our society. A culture of life cannot tolerate and must prevent senseless gun violence in all its forms. May the Lord, who Himself is peace, send us his spirit of charity and non-violence to nurture His peace among us all," the Cardinal said.
Those who died ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old, including the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor of the church and at the moment, the shooter's motive was not immediately known. What is known is that the shooter was ex-Air Force but dishonourably discharged for domestic abuse and served a 12-month sentence in confinement after being court-martialed in 2012.
And finally, our friends at CNS are proud to announce the publication of a new pamphlet titled "Our Faith Teaches: Welcoming the Refugee and Migrant." This pamphlet is meant to be an accessible, easy to read explanation of the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding hospitality to the stranger.
The Church's support of migrants and refugees is not the result of a political ideology or agenda, the pamphlet explains, but is rooted in the deepest traditions and teachings of both Judaism and Christianity.
The pamphlet also offers a call to action with several suggestions that every parish, and Catholic families, can consider as a corporal work of mercy. As Pope Francis launches his international campaign to "Share the Journey," this pamphlet will help Catholics in your parish and diocese to understand the Church's teaching on this much-debated topic, and therefore better understand when their leaders and their Catholic publications speak out on immigration and refugee issues.
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