In Rome today, Pope Francis tells the Missionaries of Mercy that their service is precious for the Church. During an audience with over 550 Missionaries of Mercy in the Vatican, the Pope reaffirmed them in their mission, saying they provide a much-needed service to the Church. He warned them however, that the Christian path is a difficult one, "with stones upon which to stumble and banana peels upon which to slip". Here are some highlights of the Pope’s message from CNS.
Now here’s some interesting news on the ecumenical front. For the first time in 500 years, Lutherans in Sweden are welcoming Catholics to celebrate Masses at Lund Cathedral. This historic cathedral was formerly the site of bitter religious feuding during the Reformation but has now become a site of interfaith friendship since Pope Francis held a service there in 2016.
This symbolic gesture to allow Catholics to celebrate Mass at the cathedral was recently announced to accommodate the growth of a local Catholic parish what will undergo renovations. Catholic Mass services will be held there starting in October until the renovations are complete.
The Catholic Diocese of Stockholm credits the church sharing to Pope Francis' visit, saying that he had a direct impact on improving Christian relationships in Sweden. Ever since the pope's visit, Catholics and Protestants in Lund have been holding common vespers together on Saturday evenings focusing not on what separates them but instead, on what unites them.
Now we go to India here the Catholic Bishops of that country warn that a sudden appointment of five unelected, Hindu religious leaders into government is a deadly mix of religion and politics.
Muslim and Christian leaders in India have slammed the state government for according a "minister of state" status to five Hindu religious leaders even though they haven’t won an election. This grants them great influence in administrative matters of the government.
India is a state where Christians and Muslims are reporting Hindu violence against them and this move to give prominence to Hindu religious leaders will be intimidating to other religious minorities, the bishop says. According to recent statistics, Christian persecution in India is on the rise and has climbed to 52 attacks in 2017, up from 28 in 2016. I will keep you up to date as this story unfolds.
And finally, coming to a theatre near you this May, is a movie that you won’t want to miss. From Oscar-nominated filmmaker Wim Wender, in partnership with the Vatican Secretariat of Communications, a new film entitled, “Pope Francis - A Man of His Word” will be released where for the first time, the Pope speaks candidly and honestly about his pontificate in a personal conversation between himself and the viewer.
The film, “Pope Francis - A Man of his Word" will be out in theaters on May 18th, so be sure to check your local listing for details and times.
That is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrow, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens.
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