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The World Seen From Rome
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Archbishop Auza: 108 Million Are Hungry

2 hours 52 min ago

“The number of hungry people has increased sharply in the last year to 108 million,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

His remarks came on October 16, 2017, during the Second Committee debate on Agenda Item 25, dedicated to “Agricultural Development, Food Security and Nutrition,” at the United Nations in New York.

He warned that the world is not on track to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030, as the international community committed itself to achieve in Sustainable Development Goal 2. What is needed, he said, quoting Pope Francis, is practical solidarity to ensure the right of every person to be free of poverty and hunger.


Here is the statement by Archbishop Auza

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly,
Second Committee
Agenda Item 25: Agriculture development, food security and nutrition
New York, 16 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

The Secretary-General’s report on agricultural development, food security and nutrition carries with it a clear but severely disappointing message for us all: based on current trends, “the world is not on track to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030.”[1]

The report highlights the magnitude of the challenge that still lies ahead: almost 800 million inhabitants, or one in nine of the world’s population, lack access to adequate amounts of basic food while more than 150 million children continue to suffer from severe malnutrition. It reminds us of the particular vulnerability of people living in war and conflict areas, where the number of hungry people has increased sharply in just one year: from 80 to 108 million. The report warns that, at the “current pace of implementation, the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 2 will not be realized and its targets will not be achieved in many parts of the world;”[2] that large segments of the world’s population, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, will remain undernourished or malnourished by 2030; and that, despite great progress in alleviating poverty in many regions of the world, hunger and malnutrition will continue to be major barriers to achieving sustainable

Mr. Chair,

What is needed to turn around this gloomy prognosis? In his recent message to the Food and Agricultural Organization, after reiterating the Holy See’s commitment to collaborate in continuing global efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, Pope Francis identified the problem as the absence of a global solidarity to achieve this goal.

“All of us realize,” he said, “that the intention to provide everyone with his or her daily bread is not enough.  Rather, there is a need to recognize that all have a right to it and they must therefore benefit from it.  If the goals we continue to propose still remain distant, that is largely due to the lack of a culture of solidarity, which fails to make headway amid other international activities, which often remain bound only to the pragmatism of statistics or the desire for efficiency that lacks the idea of sharing.”[3]

Such solidarity is so important, especially for the least developed countries. The Pope said: “The commitment of each country to increase its own level of nutrition to improve agricultural activity and the living conditions of the rural population is embodied in the encouragement of increased agricultural production or in the promotion of an effective distribution of food supplies.  Yet this is not enough.  In effect, what those goals demand is a constant acknowledgment that the right of every person to be free of poverty and hunger depends on the duty of the entire human family to provide practical assistance to those in need.”[4]

In his address this morning in Rome to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, on the occasion of the World Food Day, Pope Francis brought the concept of solidarity to another level, to that of the category of love. Referring to violent conflicts and wastefulness as some of the major causes of hunger, the Pope mused:  “For this reason, I ask myself — and also you —: Would it be too much to introduce in the language of international cooperation the category of love, conjugated as gratitude, equality of treatment, solidarity, the culture of gift, fraternity, mercy?” After all, these words express the practical meaning of the word “humanitarian” used in the international community.

Diplomacy and multilateral institutions, the Pope further said, need to “nurture and organize this capacity to love,” because it is the path that guarantees not only food security but also human security. “Diplomatic engagement has shown us that, even in recent events, it is possible to stop the recourse to weapons of mass destruction. We are all aware of the destructive capacity of such arms. But are we equally aware of the effects of poverty and exclusion.” “To love translates into thinking about new models of development and consumption, and to adopt policies that do not worsen the situation of the least developed populations or their external dependence. To love means not to continue dividing the human family among those who enjoy the superfluous and those who lack what is necessary.”[5]

Consequently, when a country is incapable of responding adequately to its pressing development needs – whether due to its low level of development, conditions of poverty, vulnerability to natural disasters, or situations of insecurity – then there is an international obligation to support these countries in meeting their population’s basic needs. Thus, we should be conscientious of the fact that hunger and malnutrition are not only natural or structural phenomena in determined geographical areas, but the result of a complex of conditions of underdevelopment caused also, and inter alia, by the indifference of many and the selfishness of some.

Mr. Chair,

My Delegation acknowledges that the current world situation is not an encouraging environment for global cooperation, but we must resist the temptation of resigning ourselves to such a situation. The Holy See, thus, reiterates its commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 2 on ending hunger and eliminating malnutrition by 2030. For it to be achieved, we must continue to monitor progress closely, in particular, in regions and countries where their persistence is well known. While there will always be a need for the world’s best technical expertise to increase agricultural productivity and better food security, we must also find ways to summon the finest human qualities of solidarity and compassion, so that we may better respond to the needs of those countries – and to our fellow brothers and sisters – those who are most vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1. A/72/303, 4.
2. A/72/303, 6.
3. Pope Francis, Message to the Participants in the 40^th General Conference of FAO, 3 July 2017.
4. Ibid.
5. Pope Francis, Address to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization on the occasion of World Food Day, Rome, 16 October 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.



Hopes Dim for Nuclear Disarmament

3 hours 6 min ago

Despite progress on international treaties and conventions, the hopeful signs of progress during the last half century toward nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament have been dimmed, according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

His comments came on October 16, 2017, during the First Committee debate on Agenda Item 99, dedicated to “General and Complete Disarmament,” at the United Nations in New York.

He said that old nuclear powers are racing to modernize their nuclear arsenals and others are seeking to become nuclear powers. There has been an utter disregard for international humanitarian law in various conflicts as weapons proscribed by international treaties are being used against innocent civilians.


Here is the statement by Archbishop Auza:


Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly
First (Disarmament) Committee
Agenda Item 99:  General and Complete Disarmament
New York, 16 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

Nearly sixty years have passed since the Fourteenth Session of the General Assembly first addressed the need for general and complete disarmament,[1] and nearly fifty years since the Treaty of Nuclear Nonproliferation (NPT) committed the States Party “to undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on . . . a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”[2]

In those early years, plans came forth from powerful, nuclear-possessing States aimed at achieving this goal.[3] For several years now, however, these hopeful signs of progress toward nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament have been dimmed, in spite of significant progress achieved through international treaties and conventions banning different classes of weapons, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines cluster munitions, and conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects.

Progress in the area of nuclear disarmament has not just stalled; indeed, there has been a regression, as older nuclear powers are engaging in a race to modernize their nuclear arsenals, making clear that the use of nuclear weapons remains a real option. Other States are simultaneously pursuing nuclear programs that threaten the viability of the NPT itself. Concerns over missile development in some countries today ought to awaken the world to the dangers of a global missile race.

Despite considerable progress in international legal frameworks to ban or control specific types of armaments, violent wars and conflicts persist, increase and worsen. In most cases, there has been utter disregard for International Humanitarian Law and every rule of human decency, as innocent civilians are directly attacked with weapons already proscribed by international treaties. Regional and global powers exacerbate the unstable conditions of their client States or regimes by selling or gifting them with weapons of deadlier firepower, even weapons of mass destruction and other banned weapons.

The Holy See is dismayed by the deep chasm that separates commitments from actions in the field of disarmament and arms control. While everyone condemns the grave effects of arms proliferation, nothing has substantially changed on the ground or in the bunkers, because, as Pope Francis observed: “We say the words ‘No more war!’ but at the same time we manufacture weapons and sell them… to those who are at war with one another.”[4] The responsibilities of arms manufacturing and exporting States, especially those selling large weapons systems, to curb this trade are especially grave.

Against this troubling panorama, some may regard general and complete disarmament as an impractical aspiration, even a dangerous delusion. This should not be the case in this Committee. While more black spots might appear in the chiaroscuro of disarmament and arms control, the significant progress achieved in these areas must also be acknowledged, and all those who have worked hard to achieve every step forward toward general and complete disarmament deserve gratitude and appreciation. The UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, for instance, merits appreciation for all its efforts to advance general and complete disarmament, including its 2016 study “Rethinking General and Complete Disarmament in the Twenty-First Century.”

My Delegation would like to suggest that present and future deliberations on the goal of general and complete disarmament should not be reduced to a narrow, technical exercise in arms control, but rather be placed within a wider framework of the dynamics of peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peacemaking. In this respect, the laudable work of research institutions and of grassroots peacebuilders and peacemakers deserves serious attention. Extensive research on the dynamics of conflict and on the best lessons learned in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding are precious elements to move minds and hearts. They are indispensable to undertaking the pursuit of “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”[5]

Before concluding, I would like to note the forthcoming conference organized by the Holy See on November 10 and 11 in Rome, on “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament.” We are delighted that among the distinguished Speakers the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, will make a presentation.  The Holy See hopes that the conference will add impetus to our work toward general and complete disarmament.

Mr. Chair,

As the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, told the General Assembly on September 25: “All countries should take a decisive and urgent step back from the present escalation of military preparations. The largest countries and those who have a stronger tradition of respecting human rights should be the first to perform generous actions of pacification. All the diplomatic and political means of mediation should be engaged to avoid the unspeakable.”

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

  1. See http://www.un-documents.net/a14r1378.html.
    2. See http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2005/npttreaty.html.
    3. For the U. K. proposal see, Official Records of the General Assembly, Fourteenth Session, Annexes, agenda item 70, document A/C.1/820, and Ibid, document A/4219 for the Soviet proposal. For the U.S. proposal, see Address of President John F. Kennedy to the General Assembly, 25 September, 1961 at   https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/DOPIN64xJUGRKgdHJ9NfgQ.aspx; and for the State Department plan, see http://galacticconnection.com/united-states-program-general-complete-disarmament-peaceful-world/.
    4. Pope Francis, Interview with the Belgian Catholic weekly, “Tertio”, 7 December 2016.
    5. See http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2005/npttreaty.html.

    Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.



Refugees are Common Responsibility

5 hours 1 min ago

“The 1951 (UN) Convention clearly states that refugees are a common responsibility of the international community,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. “As a consequence, the international community has to shoulder collectively the responsibility of assisting refugees.”

His remarks came on October 17, 2017, at the 2nd Thematic Discussion towards a Global Compact on Refugees Panel 2: “How can we support States to receive large numbers of refugees in a safe and dignified manner?”

He commended nations that “in spite of their own hardships, have kept their borders and hearts open to welcome refugees” noting that “in the distribution of financial resources for development on the part of international institutions, special consideration ought to be given to refugee-hosting countries.”


The Archbishop’s Remarks Follow:


Mr. Moderator,

The generous and admirable responses of those countries that, in spite of their own hardships, have kept their borders and hearts open to welcome refugees, ought to receive tangible and prompt support from the international community. In fact, without this solidarity, it would be impossible to assure “the widest possible exercise of their fundamental rights and freedoms” to which they are entitled1.

The 1951 Convention clearly states that refugees are a common responsibility of the international community. As a consequence, the international community has to shoulder collectively the responsibility of assisting refugees. Thus, in the distribution of financial resources for development on the part of international institutions, special consideration ought to be given to refugee-hosting countries, for projects that benefit refugees but also “reward” the generosity of local families and communities. After all, these are “investments” in humanity and peace for the sake of the common good.

At the same time, however, while ensuring better preparedness for large movements of refugees, this should not serve as a pretext for “subcontracting” the responsibility for protection to certain countries simply because of their geographical proximity to unstable areas. Nor should it be a justification for the “containment” of movement of refugees, but should truly be an expression of genuine international cooperation and solidarity.

Mr. Moderator,

As Pope Francis reminds us, “defending the inalienable rights of refugees, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted.”2

A responsible and dignified welcome of refugees “begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter. The enormous gathering together of persons seeking asylum and of refugees has not produced positive results. Instead these gatherings have created new situations of vulnerability and hardship.”3

To enable States to receive large numbers of refugees in a safe and dignified manner entails expanding space for asylum, for humanitarian corridors to avoid unbearably long waiting periods, for family reunification, for resettlement and other durable solutions; it also entails promoting alternatives to detention; adopting policies and practices that guarantee religious freedom; raising awareness in public opinion regarding the underlying political causes and the search for peaceful solutions and co-existence.4

It also means further developing effective partnerships and synergies to help provide medical, educational, and social services upon arrival. In this regard, it is important to include civil society, religious institutions and faith-based communities, as they can readily respond to arrivals and often provide emergency relief.

In sum, as the first U.N. High Commissioner for refugees, Dr. Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart put it: “The essence is to find a little place, which is not just a roof over one’s head, not just a place to live in. It is […] a series of elements which together constitute a man’s independence and therefore his freedom and his dignity.”5

I thank you, Mr. Moderator.


1 Cf. Preamble of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

2 Address of Pope Francis to the International Forum on Migration and Peace, 21 February 2017.

3 Address of Pope Francis, Ibid.

4 Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points, Migrants and Refugees Section, Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

5 Address of Dr. Gerrit Jan van Heuven Goedhart, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Oslo, 12 December 1955.

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.



Pope Marks 800 Years Franciscans in Holy Land

5 hours 20 min ago

“You are ambassadors of the entire People of God,” wrote to the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, O.F.M., a letter on the occasion of the 8th centenary of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land.

The letter, released by the Vatican on October 17, 2017, was delivered by the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, during his visit to the Holy Land from October 16-21, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 8th centenary, including the solemn Pontifical Mass at which he presided October 17, at the Church of Saint Savior in Jerusalem:

The Holy Father said that the Franciscans in the Holy Land are “assiduous in contemplation and in prayer, simple and poor, obedient to the bishop of Rome”, further noting that they work “next to brothers of different cultures, ethnicities and religions, sowing peace, fraternity and respect”.

“Your willingness to accompany the steps of pilgrims from every part of the world through welcome and guidance is known by all,” Pope Francis said. “I encourage you to persevere gladly in supporting these brothers of ours, especially the poorest and weakest; in the education of young people – who often risk losing hope in a context that is still without peace – in welcoming the elderly and the care for the sick, living out the works of mercy in a concrete way in daily life.”


Here is the Pope’s Letter, Provided by the Vatican


To the Most Reverend Father
Custos of the Holy Land

I have learned with joy that this Custody, on the occasion of the 800 years of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land, wished to celebrate this important and happy occasion with a number of religious, pastoral and cultural activities, all orientated towards the rediscovery of the commendable contribution of the “brothers of the cord” – as they were known – in the places where the Son of God was made flesh and lived in our midst (cf. Jn 1: 14). On that occasion, I was glad to address a special greeting to you and to all the friars, who kept the Christian witness alive, study the Scriptures and welcome pilgrims.

The seraphic Father Francis, in the Chapter of Pentecost of May 1217, opened the Order to the “missionary and universal” dimension, sending his friars to all nations as witnesses of faith, fraternity and peace; and in this way the Province of the Holy Land was created, initially referred to as “Overseas” or “of Syria”. This broadening of the horizon of evangelization was the beginning of an extraordinary adventure, which eight centuries ago led the first friars minor to disembark at Acri, where last 11 June you began your centenary celebrations, renewing your adhesion to Jesus’ calling, faithful to the Gospel and the Church.

Assiduous in contemplation and in prayer, simple and poor, obedient to the bishop of Rome, you are engaged also in the present in living in the Holy Land next to brothers of different cultures, ethnicities and religions, sowing peace, fraternity and respect. Your willingness to accompany the steps of pilgrims from every part of the world through welcome and guidance is known by all. You have dedicated yourselves to research on archaeological evidence and the detailed study of the Sacred Scriptures, taking to heart the famous affirmation of Saint Jerome, who for many years lived in retreat in Bethlehem: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ Himself” (Comm. in Is., Prol.: PL 24, 17).

I do not wish to forget, aside from the guardianship and enlivenment of shrines, your commitment to the service of the local ecclesiastical community. I encourage you to persevere gladly in supporting these brothers of ours, especially the poorest and weakest; in the education of young people – who often risk losing hope in a context that is still without peace – in welcoming the elderly and the care for the sick, living out the works of mercy in a concrete way in daily life.

Joining with my venerable Predecessors, starting from Clement VI, who with the Bull Gratias agimus entrusted to you the custody of the Holy Places, I wish to renew this mandate, encouraging you to be joyful witnesses of the Risen Christ in the Holy Land.

You are ambassadors of the entire People of God, who with liberality you have always sustained, especially through the “Collection for the Holy Land”, which contributes to ensuring that in the Land of Jesus, faith is made visible in works. In a special way you are supported, on behalf of Peter’s Successor, by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which in these very days is celebrating its own centenary.

Finally, I wish to recall to you the words of your Founder: “Indeed, I counsel, warn and exhort my friars in the Lord Jesus Christ, that when they go about through the world, they are not to quarrel nor contend in words, nor are they to judge others, but they are to be meek, peaceable and modest, meek and humble, speaking uprightly to all, as is fitting”. (Regula Bullata, 3, 10-11: FF85)

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017: World Mission Day

6 hours 15 min ago

Sunday, October 22, 2017, will be World Mission Day.  The observance began in 1926, when Pope Pius XI created a day of prayer for missions.  Pope Francis’ message for the day, issued on June 4, 2017, follows:


Mission at the heart of the Christian faith

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Once again this year, World Mission Day gathers us around the person of Jesus, “the very first and greatest evangelizer” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7), who continually sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel of the love of God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. This Day invites us to reflect anew on the mission at the heart of the Christian faith. The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away. So it is important to ask ourselves certain questions about our Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent. What is the basis of our mission? What is the heart of our mission? What are the essential approaches we need to take in carrying out our mission?

Mission and the transformative power of the Gospel of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life

  1. The Church’s mission, directed to all men and women of good will, is based on the transformative power of the Gospel. The Gospel is Good News filled with contagious joy, for it contains and offers new life: the life of the Risen Christ who, by bestowing his life-giving Spirit, becomes for us the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6). He is the Waywho invites us to follow him with confidence and courage. In following Jesus as our Way, we experience Truthand receive his Life, which is fullness of communion with God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. That life sets us free from every kind of selfishness, and is a source of creativity in love.
  2. God the Father desires this existential transformation of his sons and daughters, a transformation that finds expression in worship in spirit and truth (cf. Jn4:23-24), through a life guided by the Holy Spirit in imitation of Jesus the Son to the glory of God the Father. “The glory of God is the living man” (Irenaeus, Adversus HaeresesIV, 20, 7). The preaching of the Gospel thus becomes a vital and effective word that accomplishes what it proclaims (cf. Is 55:10-11): Jesus Christ, who constantly takes flesh in every human situation (cf. Jn 1:14).

Mission and the kairos of Christ

  1. The Church’s mission, then, is not to spread a religious ideology, much less to propose a lofty ethical teaching. Many movements throughout the world inspire high ideals or ways to live a meaningful life. Through the mission of the Church, Jesus Christ himself continues to evangelize and act; her mission thus makes present in history the kairos, the favorable time of salvation. Through the proclamation of the Gospel, the risen Jesus becomes our contemporary, so that those who welcome him with faith and love can experience the transforming power of his Spirit, who makes humanity and creation fruitful, even as the rain does with the earth. “His resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force” (Evangelii Gaudium, 276).
  2. Let us never forget that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1). The Gospel is a Person who continually offers himself and constantly invites those who receive him with humble and religious faith to share his life by an effective participation in the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection. Through Baptism, the Gospel becomes a source of new life, freed of the dominion of sin, enlightened and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation, it becomes a fortifying anointing that, through the same Spirit, points out new ways and strategies for witness and accompaniment. Through the Eucharist, it becomes food for new life, a “medicine of immortality” (Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Ephesios, 20, 2).
  3. The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues his mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as Good Shepherd, constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere. Thank God, many significant experiences continue to testify to the transformative power of the Gospel. I think of the gesture of the Dinka student who, at the cost of his own life, protected a student from the enemy Nuer tribe who was about to be killed. I think of that Eucharistic celebration in Kitgum, in northern Uganda, where, after brutal massacres by a rebel group, a missionary made the people repeat the words of Jesus on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” as an expression of the desperate cry of the brothers and sisters of the crucified Lord. For the people, that celebration was an immense source of consolation and courage. We can think too of countless testimonies to how the Gospel helps to overcome narrowness, conflict, racism, tribalism, and to promote everywhere, and among all, reconciliation, fraternity, and sharing.

Mission inspires a spirituality of constant exodus, pilgrimage, and exile

  1. The Church’s mission is enlivened by a spirituality of constant exodus. We are challenged “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium, 20). The Church’s mission impels us to undertake a constant pilgrimageacross the various deserts of life, through the different experiences of hunger and thirst for truth and justice. The Church’s mission inspires a sense of constant exile, to make us aware, in our thirst for the infinite, that we are exiles journeying towards our final home, poised between the “already” and “not yet” of the Kingdom of Heaven.
  2. Mission reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself, but a humble instrument and mediation of the Kingdom. A self-referential Church, one content with earthly success, is not the Church of Christ, his crucified and glorious Body. That is why we should prefer “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” (ibid., 49).

Young people, the hope of mission

  1. Young people are the hope of mission. The person of Jesus Christ and the Good News he proclaimed continue to attract many young people. They seek ways to put themselves with courage and enthusiasm at the service of humanity. “There are many young people who offer their solidarity in the face of the evils of the world and engage in various forms of militancy and volunteering… How beautiful it is to see that young people are ‘street preachers’, joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth!” (ibid., 106). The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in 2018 on the theme Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, represents a providential opportunity to involve young people in the shared missionary responsibility that needs their rich imagination and creativity.

The service of the Pontifical Mission Societies

  1. The Pontifical Mission Societies are a precious means of awakening in every Christian community a desire to reach beyond its own confines and security in order to proclaim the Gospel to all. In them, thanks to a profound missionary spirituality, nurtured daily, and a constant commitment to raising missionary awareness and enthusiasm, young people, adults, families, priests, bishops and men and women religious work to develop a missionary heart in everyone. World Mission Day, promoted by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelization.

Carrying out our mission with Mary, Mother of Evangelization

  1. Dear brothers and sisters, in carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelization. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith. May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own “yes”, conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time. May she obtain for us renewed zeal in bringing to everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death. May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman.

From the Vatican, 4 June 2017
Solemnity of Pentecost

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



US Vatican Ambassador-Designate Approved

7 hours 9 min ago

The United States Senate on October 16, 2017, confirmed Callista L. Gingrich of McLean, Virginia as the new United States Ambassador-Designate to the Holy See, reported the US Embassy to the Holy See.

Ambassador-Designate Gingrich is the former President and CEO of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company in Arlington, Virginia.  She is the author of the “Ellis the Elephant” children’s American history series and co-author of “Rediscovering God in America.”

Ms. Gingrich is also the producer of several historical documentary films.  She has sung for two decades with the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  Previously, Ms. Gingrich served as a congressional aide in the U.S. House of Representatives and as the President of The Gingrich Foundation, which supports charitable causes.


Santa Marta: “Let the Word of God enter your heart”

7 hours 43 min ago

If “the Word of God does not enter” in the heart, “there is no place for love and, in the end, there is no place for freedom,” said Pope Francis in his homily delivered at mass on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in the chapel of Santa Marta in the Vatican, reported Radio Vatican in Italian.

He warned against the “fools” who transform the Word into “idolatry” and “ideology” and confess that there are “foolish Christians and even foolish pastors.”

The pope warned those who are unable to “listen” to the Word of God: “Stupidity is not to listen,” he said. “The inability to listen to the Word” is “when the Word does not enter, I do not let it in because I do not listen,” the Pope explained, “The fool does not listen. He thinks he is listening, but he does not listen. He always does. And for this reason, the Word of God cannot enter the heart, and there is no place for love. And if it enters, it enters distilled, transformed by my conception of reality. ”

The word “foolish” appears twice in the liturgy of today. Christ says it to the Pharisees (Luke 11: 37-41), while St. Paul refers to the Gentiles (Rom 1: 16-25), but also to the Galatians: therefore to Christians who were deceived by “new ideas “. This word, said the pope, is “more than a condemnation, it is a signal.”

“The fools do not know how to listen,” said the Pope. And this deafness leads them to this corruption “,” these three groups of fools are corrupt “.

The Pharisees have become corrupt because they only care about “outside things,” but not from within where corruption exists. They are, therefore, “corrupted by vanity, by appearance, by external beauty, by external justice,” said the pope.

The Gentiles are corrupt because they have exchanged the glory of God for the idols. And there are also idolatries today, like consumerism, noted the pope.

Finally, Christians have allowed themselves to be corrupted by ideologies: they have ceased to be Christians to “become ideologues of Christianity.”

All these three groups “end up in corruption,” said the pope, and become slaves because they exchange “the truth of God with lies.”

“They are not free and do not listen,” he emphasized, “this deafness leaves no room for love and freedom: it always leads us to slavery.”

The pope proposed an examination of conscience on these points: “Do I listen to the Word of God?” This Word is “living, effective, grateful to the feelings and thoughts of the heart.”

“Do I let this Word enter,” continued the Pope, “or do I remain deaf?” Or I transform it into appearance, transform it into idolatry, idolatrous habits, transform it into ideology? And it does not enter … That is the stupidity of Christians. ”

In conclusion, the Pope affirms that “there are foolish Christians and even senseless pastors”. “Saint Augustine,” he said, “beat them very well, because the stupidity of the pastors hurts the flock.”

The pope referred to the “stupidity of the corrupt pastor”, “the stupidity of the self-satisfied pastor, pagan” and the “stupidity of the ideological pastor.” “We look at the icon of foolish Christians,” said the Pope, “and beside this stupidity we look at the Lord who is always at the door” and who is nostalgic “of the first love he had with us”.

“And if we fall into this stupidity, we move away from him and he feels this nostalgia,” said the pope. Nostalgia for us. And Jesus, with this nostalgia, wept, “as he had wept over Jerusalem: it was the nostalgia of a people whom he had chosen, whom he loved, but who had gone by stupidity, who preferred appearances, idols or ideologies.”



Patron Saints of Churches

18 hours 25 min ago

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q1: What is the origin of the patron saint of a parish or a church? — D.Z., Beijing

Q2: If my parish is named after the Holy Spirit, is it theologically correct to address the Holy Spirit as the patron of our parish? Precisely, in our parish prayer, a portion reads: “O Holy Spirit, the Patron of our parish ….” But some priests are frowning at that, claiming that the Holy Spirit, who is God, cannot be addressed as “Patron.” But I do know that the term “patron” somehow connotes “advocate,” which is used for the Holy Spirit. Please, I need your clarification. — E.I., Enugu state, Nigeria

A: Since these two questions are related I will attempt to address them together.

The origin of the custom of naming or dedicating churches with a title is not quite clear, although it is practically universal and is not limited to the Catholic Church.

It is probably tied up with the dedication of the earliest purpose-built churches. This happened especially after the freedom of worship granted by the Emperor Constantine in 313. But there is evidence of purposely built churches, or substantial buildings adapted to Christian worship, from about the year 230.

In some cases the church was associated with the tomb or relics of a martyr, and the building was dedicated to him.

In others, especially in Rome, it was associated with the name of a benefactor who either ceded property to the community for the purpose of worship or in some way facilitated its regular meeting. In Romans 16:3-5 St. Paul greets Prisca and Aquila and the “the church at their house.” Despite this mention, the archaeological evidence for the use of private houses for worship in ancient Rome is scanty. Thus, while benefactors were not necessarily the owners of houses where worship took place and which later became churches, their names were associated with some of Rome’s most ancient churches to form the city’s so-called Titulus churches, of which there were 28 according to a list from the year 499. Among these, apart from Sts. Prisca and Aquila, are St. Sabina, St. Praxides and St. Crisogono.

The custom of solemnly dedicating church buildings in some form is probably very early, although the first evidence of a specific rite hails from the first half of the fourth century. Eusebius of Caesarea describes several dedications as early as the year 314.

The custom of dedicating churches with a specific title would seem to have begun around the same time even though there was no law requiring it. Thus, in 435 the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore became one of the first basilicas directly dedicated to Mary, although some claim that honor for Santa Maria in Trastevere under Pope Julius I (337-352), who dedicated the church to Mary when he restored an even earlier building.

The church of Hagia Sophia, or Holy Wisdom, in Constantinople was finished in 537 and was the third church of that title to be built on the site.

The rites of dedication became more elaborate over time and were inspired above all by the biblical descriptions of the inauguration of the tabernacle in Exodus 40 and of the various dedications and rededications of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. By the eighth century the rites had become very elaborate, and the obligation to give each church a title was an established binding custom.

Under current canon law (Canon 1218) and the Rite of Dedication of a Church (4) and the Ceremonial of Bishops, No. 865:

“Every church to be dedicated must have a titular which cannot be changed after the church has been dedicated.”

The title is given to the church building at the time of dedication through decree of the bishop.

To further clarify these norms and address some new pastoral situations, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a notification, “Omnis ecclesia titulum,” on February 10, 1999, “Concerning the Constitution of Patrons of Dioceses and Parishes.” This brief document states:

“1. Every church must have a title assigned to it within a liturgy either of dedication or blessing.

“2. In their title, Churches may use the Most Holy Trinity; Our Lord Jesus Christ, invoked under a mystery of his life or under his name as already used in the divine liturgy; the Holy Spirit; the Blessed Virgin Mary under a given title already found in the divine liturgy; the holy Angels, or a Blessed or Saint inscribed in the Roman Martyrology.

“3. There may be only one title for a church, unless it is derived from Saints who are inscribed together in the same proper Calendar.

“4. Any Blessed whose celebration has not yet been inscribed in the legitimate diocesan Calendar may not be chosen as the title of a church without an indult from the Apostolic See.

“5. Once established in the dedication of a church, the title cannot be changed (can. 1218), unless, for grave reasons, it is expressly allowed by indult of the Apostolic See.

“6. However, if a title has been assigned as a part of the blessing of a church, according to the Ordo Benedictionis Ecclesiae, it may be changed by the diocesan bishop (cf. Can. 381, 1) for a grave reason and with all factors duly considered.

“7. The name of a parish may commonly be the same as the title of the parish church.

“8. As an intercessor or advocate before God, the patron is a created person, such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Angels, a Saint or Blessed. For the same reason, the Most Holy Trinity and the divine Persons are always excluded as patrons.

“9. A patron must be chosen by the clergy and the faithful, whose choice must be approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority. In order that they may carry liturgical effect, the choice and approbation require the confirmation of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which is granted by decree of this same Dicastery.

“10. The patron of a place is distinguished from the title of a given church; they may be the same but are not necessarily so.

“11. When a new parish has been erected in place of several suppressed parishes, the new parish may have its own church, which, unless it is a new building, retains its existing title. Further, churches of suppressed parishes, whenever such parishes are considered as ‘co-parishes,’ retain their own proper titles.

“12. If several parishes are joined together so that a new parish is established thereby, it is permitted, for pastoral reasons, to establish a new name differing from the title of the parish church.”

This document also clarifies one of our questions. The Holy Spirit cannot be a patron in the proper sense of the word, and the prayer that addresses him as such is incorrect. The concept of the title of a church and that of patron are distinct even though in some cases they can coincide.

At times they can be confused in popular piety. For example, the country of El Salvador, which means “The Savior,” celebrates its national day on the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) in honor of the Divine Savior of the world. The feast day and the days leading up to it are called the “patronal feasts” in popular parlance even though this would be technically incorrect.

* * *

Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

Pope Tweets all Have Right to Food

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:21 PM

“Ensuring everyone’s right to food and nourishment is an imperative we cannot ignore. It is a right to which there are no exceptions!” Pope Francis@Pontifex tweeted on October 16, 2016.  In a second tweet, he reminded followers “Sharing requires conversion, and this is a challenge. #ZeroHunger

“Reflecting on the effects of food security on human mobility means returning to the commitment that gave rise to the FAO, in order to renew it,” Pope Francis said October 16, 2017.  His remarks came during a visit to the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, to mark World Food Day.

Holy See at UN Urges Dialogue

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:10 PM

Holy See at UN Urges Dialogue

The Other is a Good for Me

On October 13, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN sponsored a side event entitled “The Other is a Good for Me: The role of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in addressing violence, conflict and building lasting peace in the world today.” The title is based on a subtitle taken from the book Disarming Beauty by Fr. Julián Carrón, President of Communion and Liberation, which co-sponsored the event. The event – as well as the book – aimed to address the root causes of prevalent social issues, as well as to promote dialogue and the culture of encounter necessary to resolve them.

Archbishop Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said interpersonal dialogue is crucial to building lasting peace, whether on an interpersonal level or an international level, and must be rooted in a sincere willingness to understand the other.

He also noted that while different parties can have differing views, it is important that they approach one other with respect and acknowledge the elements of shared goodness and common ground.

“In various places today, unfortunately, people can focus so much on what divides instead of what unites,” Archbishop Auza said. “It has been difficult to accept differences whether they are religious, political, or cultural.”

Recognizing the inherent goodness in each person can shift the paradigm from conflict to mutual understanding, he said.

“The other is not a threat. The other is not a competitor in an unending battle of survival of the fittest. The other is not an evil to be marginalized or eliminated,” Archbishop Auza said. “The other is an objective and subjective good.”

He noted a principle from Pope Francis about interreligious and intercultural dialogue, the idea of “caminar juntos,” Spanish for “journeying together,” which suggests that when people of different cultures and backgrounds begin to walk together, they realize their common humanity and deepen their worldview and sense of mutual respect. This mutual respect, Archbishop Auza implied, is necessary for building lasting peace among persons and nations alike.

Professor Paolo Carozza, Director of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, moderated the event, and said a large paradox of the modern age is that while people live in unprecedented global interconnectedness, they also face increasing division and conflict in identity, culture, religion and politics.

He noted that in the halls of the UN, States regularly call for greater dialogue to solve the major crises in the world, but have failed to mitigate and end conflicts.

“This call to greater dialogue is countered by threats of increased force and even nuclear assault,” he said, noting Fr. Carrón’s book works to addresses the causes of the crises, which he said are rooted in a lack of “sense of belonging, the fraying of a culture of common values, the disappearance of our capacity to understand and reason together about the ends and meaning of our lives and our communities.”

Fr. Carrón said that beauty is a common thread that unites all of humanity, and can unite people regardless of differing cultural backgrounds or faith, implying people, communities, governments, and international platforms should encourage dialogue based on shared experience and common ground. The shared encounter of beauty has a “disarming” effect.

“As Pope Francis said, dialogue begins with encounter. Incentivize meaningful encounters and it will build lasting peace,” Fr. Carrón said.

Professor Amitai Etzioni, Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University, said people must be aware not only of their individual rights, but also their responsibility to their community, and said education plays an important role in teaching the art of dialogue and mutual respect.

“Life is a struggle between our flawed humanity and our capacity to a higher level of fulfillment. We need character education,” he said, noting the most important traits communities must instill in children are delayed gratification and empathy.

Ambassador Teodoro Lopez Locsin, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN, suggested that religion has a place at the peacebuilding table, noting authentic faith ought to be rooted in a place of humility, in which people realize that they alone cannot answer all of life’s most fundamental questions.

“When he has found a religious answer, he should regard his fellow man of the same or another faith or none at all — as one like himself,” he said: “A person filled with a fearful wonder whom he must treat as he would himself.”

Ambassador Ina Hagniningtyas Krisnamurthi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Indonesian Mission to the UN, said that while religion is sometimes misused to exacerbate intolerance and conflict, interfaith and intercultural dialogue can help build the bridges necessary to view diversity as a good, which she said is a pillar of her country, in which 750 different dialects are spoken, and several world religions are practiced.

Indonesia’s founding fathers recognized there is a universal truth many of the world’s faiths are grounded in, she said, which is why the country embraced the motto “unity in diversity,” and celebrates multiple national holidays based in various faiths.

To watch the event in its entirety, click here


The Full Text of Archbishop Auza’ Remarks:


Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I heartily welcome you to this event on the role of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in peacemaking and peacebuilding in the world today, which the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See is happy to be sponsoring together with the Catholic Movement Communion and Liberation, represented here by its President, Fr. Julián Carrón.

Today’s event is entitled “The Other is a Good for Me,” which is based on a subtitle taken from the first Chapter of Fr. Carrón’s recent book Disarming Beauty. This subtitle points to, I think, three basic insights for interreligious and intercultural dialogue to be meaningful and effective in helping to lead a multicultural and religiously pluralistic world to peace.

The first insight is that interpersonal dialogue is the foundation of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. Dialogue is not just an exchange of words or ideas or position papers. It’s an exchange of persons who speak and think, and often differently. Over the course of the last half-century, even though there has been a lot of talk about the importance of dialogue between persons, faiths and cultures, in many places it has scarcely risen above the level of monologue. Genuine dialogue presupposes that each side wishes to know each other and desires to increase and deepen its knowledge of each other.

The second inference is that for interpersonal dialogue to be sincere, it must acknowledge with respect each interlocutor’s beliefs and the culture that flows from those beliefs. True dialogue happens in appreciation for each other’s intimate convictions. Even if there are serious differences in terms of what people believe or value, there is a need to acknowledge the good that attracts the other to value it and order his or her conduct and life according to those values. In various places today people can focus so much on what divides that they end up rejecting other persons as a whole when they cannot accept one of their religious tenets or cultural values. Even believers can sometimes fail to appreciate the extraordinary virtue found in those of other religions, like the dedication to prayer, the sincerity of compassion and charity toward the unfortunate, the living by conscience even at the point of suffering, as well as the persons’ humility, goodness, hospitality, courage and other good qualities.

That brings us to the third insight. For interpersonal, interreligious and intercultural dialogue to foster the common good, it must be driven by the conviction and awareness that the other is a good both in himself or herself, but also a good for me and the world. The other is not a threat. The other is not a competitor in an unending battle of survival of the fittest. The other is not an evil to be marginalized or eliminated. The other is an objective and subjective good.

The Book of Genesis says that when God created the human person, he saw and pronounced the person to be “very good.” Those who see with this Biblical divine worldview should strive to find, affirm and revere this goodness, and not be blinded to it by what is not in common. Moreover, believing in a Creator from whom all draw their origin, must be consequential in the way people treat each other. It should lead to an authentic fraternity, solidarity and culture of encounter on the basis of which authentic pluralism, harmony, and peace can be built. Differences among sons and daughters of a common Creator should not lead them to recapitulate the story of Cain and Abel, in which envy and a failure to exercise fraternity led to death for one and a lifetime of insecurity and guilt for the other. Rather, the recognition of the other’s divinely-bestowed dignity, and the rights flowing from that dignity, should guide us toward a standard of fraternity.

Pope Francis talks about this principle as “caminar juntos,” of journeying together, convinced that once people of different cultures and backgrounds, neighborhoods or nations, ethnic or religious roots, begin to walk together, they begin to recognize how much humanity they have in common, how much beauty and goodness exists in each other, and how much wisdom is imbued in the way the other approaches the most important questions of human life. This caminar juntos is a dialogue of life, sharing joys and sorrows. It’s a walk of friendship. It’s a journey that begins with conversations like the one we are having today here at the United Nations.

I thank you all for coming today to participate in this interpersonal, interreligious and intercultural conversation, and I look forward to your active participation in the discussions that will follow the presentations.

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.



Message to Hindus for Feast of Deepavali

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:36 PM

To mark the Feast of Deepavali, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on October 16, 2016, sent Hindus a message on the theme: “Christians and Hindus: Going beyond tolerance”. This year the feast will be celebrated by many Hindus on October. 19

The message, signed by the President, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and the Secretary, H.E. Msgr. Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., was also sent in Hindi.

The feast of Diwali is celebrated by all Hindus and is also known as Deepavali, or “oil lamp”. Symbolically based on ancient mythology, it represents the victory of truth over lies, of light over darkness, of life over death, of good over evil.

The celebration itself lasts for three days, marking the beginning of a new year, family reconciliation, especially between brothers and sisters, and adoration of divinity.


The following is the full text of the message:


Christians and Hindus: Going beyond tolerance

Dear Hindu Friends,

On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we offer cordial greetings to all of you as you celebrate Deepavali on 19 October 2017. May this festival of lights illumine your minds and lives, bring joy to your hearts and homes, and strengthen your families and communities!

We can rightfully acknowledge the many wonderful things that are happening throughout the world, for which we are very grateful. At the same time, we are also mindful of the difficulties which confront our communities and which deeply concern us. The growth of intolerance, spawning violence in many parts of the world, is one such challenge we face today. On this occasion, therefore, we wish to reflect on how Christians and Hindus can together foster mutual respect among people – and go beyond tolerance, in order to usher in a more peaceful and harmonious era for every society.

Tolerance certainly means being open and patient with others, recognizing their presence in our midst. If we are to work for lasting peace and true harmony, however, tolerance is not enough. What is also needed is genuine respect and appreciation for the diversity of cultures and customs within our communities, which in turn contribute to the health and unity of society as a whole. To see pluralism and diversity as a threat to unity leads tragically to intolerance and violence.

Respect for others is an important antidote to intolerance since it entails authentic appreciation for the human person, and his or her inherent dignity. In the light of our responsibility to society, fostering such respect demands showing esteem for different social, cultural and religious customs and practices. It likewise demands the recognition of inalienable rights, such as the right to life and the right to profess and practice the religion of one’s choice.

The path forward for diverse communities is thus one marked by respect. While tolerance merely protects the other, respect goes further: it favors peaceful coexistence and harmony for all. Respect creates space for every person, and nurtures within us a sense of “feeling at home” with others. Rather than dividing and isolating, respect allows us to see our differences as a sign of the diversity and richness of the one human family. In this way, as Pope Francis has pointed out, “diversity is no longer seen as a threat, but as a source of enrichment” (Address at the International Airport of Colombo, 13 January 2015). On yet another occasion, the Pope urged religious leaders and believers to have “the courage to accept differences, because those who are different, either culturally or religiously, should not be seen or treated as enemies, but rather welcomed as

fellow-travelers, in the genuine conviction that the good of each resides in the good of all” (Address to the Participants in the International Peace Conference, Al-Azar Conference Centre, Cairo, Egypt, 28 April 2017).

We are challenged then to go beyond the confines of tolerance by showing respect to all individuals and communities, for everyone desires and deserves to be valued according to his or her innate dignity. This calls for the building of a true culture of respect, one capable of promoting conflict resolution, peace-making and harmonious living.

Grounded in our own spiritual traditions and in our shared concern for the unity and welfare of all people, may we Christians and Hindus, together with other believers and people of good will, encourage, in our families and communities, and through our religious teachings and communication media, respect for every person, especially for those in our midst whose cultures and beliefs are different from our own. In this way, we will move beyond tolerance to build a society that is harmonious and peaceful, where all are respected and encouraged to contribute to the unity of the human family by making their own unique contribution.

We wish you once again a joyful celebration of Deepavali!

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



October 16:  Anniversary of St John Paul II

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:09 PM

St. John Paul II was elected Pope on October 16, 1978.  During the mass on October 22, 1978, at the beginning of his pontificate, John Paul II pronounced the famous phrase: “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ! Open to His saving power the confines of States, the economic and political systems, the immense fields of culture, of civilization and of development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows what is in man. Only He knows it!”



Pope Visits FAO, Calls to End Hunger

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:52 PM

“Reflecting on the effects of food security on human mobility means returning to the commitment that gave rise to the FAO, in order to renew it,” Pope Francis said October 16, 2017.  His remarks came during a visit to the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, to mark World Food Day.

“The current situation demands greater responsibility on all levels, not only to guarantee the necessary production or equitable distribution of the fruits of the earth… but above all to guarantee the right of all human beings to be nourished according to their own needs,” the Holy Father explained.  He noted that all people must be able to participate in decisions that affect them and be able to realize their aspirations without being apart from their loved ones.

“Faced with an aim of such significance, the credibility of the entire international system is at stake,” Pope Francis warned.   He went on to say that the relationship between hunger and migration “can only be tackled if we go to the root of the problem.”  And he suggested two primary obstacles: conflicts and climate change.

With respect to conflicts, Francis said that international law provides the means to address this problem.  He urged dialogue and disarmament.

Regarding climate change, he warned of increasing “nonchalance towards the delicate balances of ecosystems.” He called for “a change in lifestyles, in the use of resources, in production criteria, including consumption that, with regard to food, involves growing losses and waste.”

The Holy Father cited the importance of the Global Pact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration, currently underway in the United Nations. And he reminded listeners of the cry of “marginalized and excluded brothers:  “I am hungry, I am a stranger, I am naked, sick, confined in a refugee camp”.


Address of the Holy Father

Mr. Director General,
Distinguished Authorities,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I wish to thank the Director General, Professor José Graziano da Silva, for the invitation and for his words of welcome, and I greet with affection the authorities who accompany us, as well as the Representatives of the Member States and those who have the possibility of following along from the offices of the FAO around the world.

I address a special greeting to the Ministers of Agriculture of the G7 present here, following their summit in which they discussed issues which demand responsibility not only in relation to development and production, but also with respect to the international community as a whole.

  1. The celebration of this World Food Day unites us in memory of that 16 October of the year 1945, when governments, with the intention of eliminating hunger in the world through development of the agricultural sector, instituted the FAO. It was a period of grave food insecurity and major displacements of the population, with millions of people seeking a place to survive the miseries and adversity caused by the war.

In the light of this, reflecting on the effects of food security on human mobility means returning to the commitment that gave rise to the FAO, in order to renew it. The current situation demands greater responsibility on all levels, not only to guarantee the necessary production or equitable distribution of the fruits of the earth – this duty is taken for granted – but above all to guarantee the right of all human beings to be nourished according to their own needs, also participating in decisions that affect them and in the realization of their own aspirations, without having to part from their loved ones.

Faced with an aim of such significance, the credibility of the entire international system is at stake. We know that cooperation is increasingly conditioned by partial commitments, which still now limit aid in emergencies. Even death by hunger or the abandonment of one’s own land is daily news, which risks being met with indifference. It is therefore urgent to find new paths, to transform the possibilities available to us into a guarantee that permits each person to look to the future with well-founded trust and not only with desire.

The scenario of international relations shows a growing capacity for giving answers to the expectations of the human family, also with the contribution of science and technology which, studying the problems, propose appropriate solutions. Yet even these new developments do not succeed in eliminating the exclusion of much of the world’s population: how many are the victims of malnutrition, wars, climate change? How many people lack work and essential items, and are forced to leave their land, exposing themselves to many and terrible forms of exploitation? Valorizing technology in the service of development is certainly a path to take, provided it leads to concrete actions to reduce the number of those who suffer from hunger or to govern the phenomenon of forced migration.

  1. The relationship between hunger and migration can only be tackled if we go to the root of the problem. In this regard, studies conducted by the United Nations, as well as many other civil society organizations, agree that there are two main obstacles to overcome: conflicts and climate change.

How can conflicts be overcome? International law gives us the means to prevent them or to resolve them quickly, avoiding their prolongation and the production of famines and destruction of the social fabric. Let us think of the people afflicted by wars that have lasted for decades, which could have been avoided or at least stopped, and which instead propagate their disastrous effects including food insecurity and the forced displacement of people. Good will and dialogue are needed to curb conflicts, and it is necessary to make a firm commitment to gradual and systematic disarmament, as provided for by the United Nations Charter, and to remedy the scourge of arms trafficking. Of what value is it to denounce the fact that millions of people are victims of hunger and malnutrition as a result of conflicts if we do not work effectively for peace and disarmament?

As for climate change, we see the consequences every day. Thanks to scientific knowledge, we know how the problems are to be faced; and the international community has drawn up the necessary legal instruments, such as the Paris Agreement, from which however some are withdrawing. There is a re-emergence of the nonchalance towards the delicate balances of ecosystems, the presumption of being able to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and greed for profit. It is, therefore, necessary to make an effort for a concrete and active consensus if we wish to avoid more tragic effects, which will continue to impact upon the poorest and most helpless. We are called to propose a change in lifestyles, in the use of resources, in production criteria, including consumption that, with regard to food, involves growing losses and waste. We cannot resign ourselves to saying “someone else will take care of it”.

I think that these are the preconditions for any serious discussion of food security linked to the phenomenon of migration. Certainly wars and climate change cause hunger, so let us, therefore, avoid presenting it as if it were an incurable disease. The recent estimates provided by your experts foresee an increase in global production of cereals to levels that enable greater consistency to be given to global reserves. This gives hope, and demonstrates that if we work paying attention to needs and countering speculation, results will not be lacking. Indeed, food resources are not infrequently left at the mercy of speculation, which measures them solely with regard to the economic prosperity of the big producers or in relation to the potential for consumption and not the real needs of the people. This leads to conflicts and waste, and increases the numbers of the poorest on earth who seek a future outside their countries of origin.

  1. In view of all this, we can and must change direction (cf. Encyclical Laudato si’, 53; 61; 163; 202). Faced with the increased demand for food it is indispensable that the fruits of the land be available to all. For some it would be enough to reduce the number of mouths to feed and in this way solve the problem; but it is a false solution if we think of the levels of food waste and models of consumption that squander many resources. Reducing is easy; sharing instead demands conversion, and this is imperative.

Therefore I pose – and I pose to you – this question: is it too much to think of introducing into the language of international cooperation the category of love, understood as gratuitousness, parity in negotiation, solidarity, the culture of giving, fraternity, mercy? In effect, these words express the practical content of the term “humanitarian”, widely used at international level. To love one’s brothers and to do so first, without waiting for it to be reciprocated; this is a Gospel principle that is found in many cultures and religions, and becomes the principle of humanity in the language of international relations. It is to be hoped that diplomacy and multilateral Institutions nurture and organize this capacity to love, so that it may become the primary way to guarantee not only food security, but human security in a global sense. We cannot work only if others do so, nor can we limit ourselves to having pity, because pity stops at emergency aid, whereas love inspires justice and is essential for realizing a just social order among diverse realities that wish to run the risk of the mutual encounter. To love means to contribute so that every country increases its production and reaches food self-sufficiency. To love translates into thinking of new models of development and consumption, and adopting policies that do not aggravate the situation of the less advanced populations, or their external dependency. To love means not continuing to divide the human family into those who more than they need, and those who lack the essential.

The efforts of diplomacy have shown us, also in recent events, that it is possible to stop the recourse to the use of weapons of mass destruction. We are all aware of the capacity of destruction of these instruments. But are we equally aware of the effects of poverty and exclusion? How can we stop people willing to risk everything, entire generations that may disappear because they lack their daily bread, or are victims of violence or climate changes? They head where they see a light or perceive the hope of life. They cannot be stopped by physical, economic, legislative or ideological barriers: only a consistent application of the principle of humanity can do so. On the other hand, we see that public development aid is reduced and the activity of the multilateral institutions is limited, while bilateral agreements are used which subordinate cooperation to the fulfillment of particular agendas and alliances or, simply, to a momentary tranquility. On the contrary, the management of human mobility requires coordinated and systematic intergovernmental action in accordance with existing international norms, and permeated with love and intelligence. Its objective is a meeting of peoples that enriches all and generates union and dialogue, not exclusion or vulnerability.

Here, allow me to join the debate on vulnerability, which causes division at the international level when it comes to immigrants. A vulnerable person is one who is in an inferior situation and cannot defend himself, who has no means, or rather, experiences exclusion. This is because he is compelled by violence, by natural situations or, even worse, by indifference, intolerance and even hatred. In this condition, it is right to identify the causes so as to act with the necessary competence. But it is not acceptable that, in order to avoid commitment, one entrenches oneself behind linguistic sophisms that do not honor diplomacy, but rather reduce it from the “art of the possible” to a sterile exercise to justify selfishness and inactivity.

It is to be hoped that all this will be taken into account in the development of the Global Pact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration, currently underway in the United Nations.

  1. Let us listen to the cry of so many of our marginalized and excluded brothers: “I am hungry, I am a stranger, I am naked, sick, confined in a refugee camp”. It is a request for justice, not a plea or an emergency call. There is a need for broad and sincere dialogue at all levels, so that the best solutions can be found and a new relationship be nurtured between the various actors on the international scene, characterized by mutual responsibility, solidarity and communion.

The yoke of misery generated by the often tragic displacement of migrants can be eliminated through prevention in the form of development projects that create work and the capacity to respond to environmental crises. Prevention costs far less than the effects of land degradation or water pollution, scourges that plague the nerve centers of the planet, where poverty is the only law, diseases are on the increase and life expectancy is decreasing.

The initiatives that are being implemented are many, and praiseworthy. However, they are not enough: it is urgent to continue to promote new efforts and to finance programs to combat hunger and structural poverty in a more effective and promising way. But while the aim is to promote a diversified and productive agriculture, taking into account the real demands of a country, it is not however lawful to remove arable land from the population, enabling land grabbing (acaparamiento de tierras) to continue to be profitable, sometimes with the complicity of those who should defend the interests of the people. The temptation to work to the advantage of small groups of the population, as well as to use external aid inappropriately, favoring corruption, or in an illegal way, must be removed.

The Catholic Church, with her institutions, and having a direct and concrete knowledge of the situations to be faced or of the needs to be met, wishes to participate directly in this effort by virtue of her mission, which leads her to love everyone and also compels her to remind those who bear national or international responsibility of the overriding duty to meet the needs of the poorest.

I hope that each person may discover, in the silence of his or her own faith or convictions, the motivations, principles and contributions to give the FAO and other intergovernmental institutions the courage to improve and work tirelessly for the good of the human family.

Thank you.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

Angelus Address Following Canonization

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 3:25 PM

At the end of the Holy Mass with the Rite of Canonization of Blesseds Andrew de Soveral and Ambrose Francis Ferro, Matthew Moreira and 27 Martyr Companions; Christopher, Anthony and John; Faustino Miguez and Angelo da Acri, celebrated in the church square of the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis led the recitation of the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square.

Here is a translation of the Pope’s words before praying the Marian prayer.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Words

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the end of this celebration, I greet you all warmly, who have come from various countries to pay homage to the new Saints. A deferent thought goes particularly to the official delegations of Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, the Order of Malta and Spain. May the example and intercession of these luminous witnesses of the Gospel accompany us on our journey and help us to promote always fraternal and solidary relations for the good of the Church and of society.

Taking up the desire of some Episcopal Conferences of Latin America, as well as the voice of several Pastors and faithful from other parts of the world, I have decided to convoke a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, which will take place at Rome in the month of October 2019. The main objective of this convocation is to identify new ways for the evangelization of that portion of the People of God, especially of the natives, often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future, also because of the crisis of the Amazon rainforest, lung of capital importance for our planet. May the new Saints intercede for this ecclesial event, so that, in respect of the beauty of Creation, all peoples of the earth may praise God, Lord of the universe, and illumined by Him, pursue paths of justice and peace.

I also remind that day after tomorrow the Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be observed. Poverty isn’t a fatality: it has causes that are recognized and removed, to honor the dignity of so many brothers and sisters, on the example of the saints.

And now we turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary.

Angelus Domini . . .

 [Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]



Pope Francis Declares 35 New Saints

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 3:18 PM

Pope Francis on October 15, 2017, created 35 new saints during Holy Mass with the Rite of Canonization of Blesseds Andrew de Soveral, Ambrose Francis Ferro, Matthew Moreira and 27 Companions; Christopher, Anthony and John; Faustino Miguez and Angelo da Acri.  The Mass was held in St. Peter’s Square.

In his homily, the Holy Father referred to the Christian life as a “love story with God.”  He noted that “The Saints who were canonized today, and especially the many martyrs, point the way.”

Here is the Pope’s homily from the ceremony, English translation provided by the Vatican

The parable we have just heard describes the Kingdom of God as a wedding feast (cf. Mt 22:1-14). The central character is the king’s son, the bridegroom, in whom we can easily see Jesus. The parable makes no mention of the bride, but only of the guests who were invited and expected, and those who wore the wedding garments. We are those guests, because the Lord wants “to celebrate the wedding” with us. The wedding inaugurates a lifelong fellowship, the communion God wants to enjoy with all of us. Our relationship with him, then, has to be more than that of devoted subjects with their king, faithful servants with their master, or dedicated students with their teacher. It is above all the relationship of a beloved bride with her bridegroom. In other words, the Lord wants us, he goes out to seek us and he invites us. For him, it is not enough that we should do our duty and obey his laws. He desires a true communion of life with us, a relationship based on dialogue, trust and forgiveness.

Such is the Christian life, a love story with God. The Lord freely takes the initiative and no one can claim to be the only one invited. No one has a better seat than anyone else, for all enjoy God’s favor. The Christian life is always born and reborn of this tender, special and privileged love. We can ask ourselves if at least once a day we tell the Lord that we love him; if we remember, among everything else we say, to tell him daily, “Lord, I love you; you are my life”. Because once love is lost, the Christian life becomes empty. It becomes a body without a soul, an impossible ethic, a collection of rules and laws to obey for no good reason. The God of life, however, awaits a response of life. The Lord of love awaits a response of love. Speaking to one of the Churches in the Book of Revelation, God makes an explicit reproach: “You have abandoned your first love” (cf. Rev 2:4). This is the danger – a Christian life that becomes routine, content with “normality”, without drive or enthusiasm, and with a short memory. Instead, let us fan into flame the memory of our first love. We are the beloved, the guests at the wedding, and our life is a gift, because every day is a wonderful opportunity to respond to God’s invitation.

The Gospel, however, warns us that the invitation can be refused. Many of the invited guests said no, because they were caught up in their own affairs. “They made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business” (Mt 22:5). Each was concerned with his own affairs; this is the key to understanding why they refused the invitation. The guests did not think that the wedding feast would be dreary or boring; they simply “made light of it”. They were caught up in their own affairs. They were more interested in having something rather than in risking something, as love demands. This is how love grows cold, not out of malice but out of a preference for what is our own: our security, our self-affirmation, our comfort… We settle into the easy chair of profits, pleasures, or a hobby that brings us some happiness. And we end up aging badly and quickly, because we grow old inside. When our hearts do not expand, they become closed in on themselves. When everything depends on me – on what I like, on what serves me best, on what I want – then I become harsh and unbending. I lash out at people for no reason, like the guests in the Gospel, who treated shamefully and ultimately killed (cf. v. 6) those sent to deliver the invitation, simply because they were bothering them.

The Gospel asks us, then, where we stand: with ourselves or with God? Because God is the opposite of selfishness, of self-absorption. The Gospel tells us that, even before constant rejection and indifference on the part of those whom he invites, God does not cancel the wedding feast. He does not give up, but continues to invite. When he hears a “no”, he does not close the door, but broadens the invitation. In the face of wrongs, he responds with an even greater love. When we are hurt by the unfair treatment of others or their rejection, we frequently harbor grudges and resentment. God on the other hand, while hurt by our “no”, tries again; he keeps doing good even for those who do evil. Because this is what love does. Because this is the only way that evil is defeated. Today our God, who never abandons hope, tells us to do what he does, to live in true love, to overcome resignation and the whims of our peevish and lazy selves.

There is one last idea that the Gospel emphasizes: the mandatory garment of the invited guests. It is not enough to respond just once to the invitation, simply to say “yes” and then do nothing else. Day by day, we have to put on the wedding garment, the “habit” of practicing love. We cannot say, “Lord, Lord”, without experiencing and putting into practice God’s will (cf. Mt 7:21). We need to put on God’s love and to renew our choice for him daily. The Saints who were canonized today, and especially the many martyrs, point the way. They did not say a fleeting “yes” to love; they said they “yes” with their lives and to the very end. The robe they wore daily was the love of Jesus, that “mad” love that loved us to the end and offered his forgiveness and his robe to those who crucified him. At baptism we received a white robe, the wedding garment for God. Let us ask him, through the intercession of the saints, our brothers and sisters, for the grace to decide daily to put on this garment and to keep it spotless. How can we do this? Above all, by approaching the Lord fearlessly in order to receive his forgiveness. This is the one step that counts, for entering into the wedding hall to celebrate with him the feast of love.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by the Holy See]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican




Archbishop Auza on Importance of Human Dignity

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 11:05 PM

Reflecting on the legacy of the encounter between what are commonly referred to as the old world and the new, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States, pointed out three lessons to be learned.  His remarks came on October 12, 2017, at the Extraordinary Session of the OAS on the theme of the Encounter of Two Worlds, in Washington, DC.

The three lessons he described:

1 – The importance of human dignity and the need to defend it whenever it is attacked;

2 — The heroism of many in the past to defend human dignity:

3 — The need for a culture of life and encounter to replace a cultural collision of death and violence


Here is the official translation of his remarks, which were presented in Spanish:

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
to the Organization of American States
at the Extraordinary Session on the theme Encounter of Two Worlds
Washington, D.C., 12 October 2017

Mme President,

May I begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the Representatives of Member States of the Caribbean region, of the United States of America, and of Mexico, for the terrible loss of life and destruction of property as a result of the recent hurricanes that hit the region and the two strong earthquakes in Mexico. I also extend anew the Holy See’s condolences to the United States following the recent tragic events in Las Vegas.

The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to this organization is pleased to join you at this special event for the Americas to reflect on the Encounter of Two Worlds and the 1492 arrival in this Hemisphere of Christopher Columbus. The legacy of this first Encounter continues to be a subject of discussion.

One of the lessons that can be learned from the mistakes made in various places in the Encounter of two worlds is that we cannot look the other way when attacks against human dignity are occurring. Today we must not turn a blind eye, for example, to continuing abuses affecting many segments of society in the hemisphere, often the most vulnerable ones such as women and children, and some of the most marginalized and excluded, like many indigenous peoples. Last month, during his visit to Cartagena, Pope Francis called particular attention to contemporary forms of human slavery, saying: “… in so many regions of the world, millions of people are still being sold as slaves. They either beg for some expressions of humanity, moments of tenderness, or they flee by sea or land because they have lost everything, primarily their dignity and their rights.”

If we are going to eradicate this scourge, we must get to the root causes, like violent conflicts, extreme poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion, lack of education, lack of employment opportunities and environmental catastrophes. We must also attack the demand that drives modern slavery, a crass selfishness that reaches unimaginable levels of moral irresponsibility in the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation, in the sale of organs, tissues and embryos, and in so-called transplant tourism. This vile trade is exacerbated by corruption on the part of public officials and common people willing to do anything for financial gain.

At the heart of this evil, however, is the utter loss of respect for human dignity and a total indifference to the sufferings of fellow human beings. Pope Francis said that slavery develops when “people are treated as objects,” which leads to their being “deceived, raped, often sold and resold for various purposes, and in the end either killed or left devastated in mind and body, only to be finally thrown away or abandoned.” Our response must be commensurate to these great evils of our time.

As we strive today for greater justice within the Americas, we should be inspired by the lives of those heroic individuals, from both the Old World and the New, who fought courageously against such abuses. Visiting Cartagena last September 10, Pope Francis recalled the great witness given by Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary from Spain who dedicated his life to working and living with slaves brought from Africa to Colombia. He was able to restore the dignity and hope of hundreds of thousands of slaves arriving from Africa through Europe “in absolutely inhuman conditions, full of dread, with all their hopes lost.” With Peter Claver, we also remember the Spanish Dominicans Antonio de Montesinos in Santo Domingo and Bartolome de las Casas in Chiapas, who defended the indigenous populations from all forms of exploitation, including slavery and forced labor.

Mme President,

I wish to conclude by recalling one of the exhortations of Pope Francis, inviting the Colombian people to reconciliation and healing as indispensable elements for a lasting peace. I believe these words of the Pope are very relevant to the theme of the encounter of two worlds. The Holy Father said that the “path of reintegration into the community begins with a dialogue of two persons.  Nothing can replace that healing encounter; no collective process excuses us from the challenge of meeting, clarifying, forgiving.” He added that historic wounds require justice to be done, so that victims and societies are given the chance to know the truth in order to avoid the repetition of those crimes; but, that is only the beginning of the response. What is also needed is a change in culture: “to respond to the culture of death and violence with the culture of life and encounter.” That is the culture in which two worlds can become one and flourish together.

Thank you, Mme President.

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.



Wildfire Prayers

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 4:45 PM
Pope Sends Telegram for California Wildfires

Pope Assures Heartfelt Solidarity & Prayers

‘Visiting Your Country Was a Special Grace for Me,’ Pope Tells Sri Lankan Visitors

After years of strife and suffering, Pope observes nation was striving for reconciliation and healing

Pope Francis Receives Prime Minister of Lebanon

During Cordial Discussions, They Highlighted Importance of Keeping a Christian Presence in the Middle East

Pope Francis Affirms Benefits of ‘Unified’ Sports

‘Never Tire of Showing the World of Sport Your Shared Commitment’

Santa Marta: Warning Against Worldliness

Pope Reminds Christians to Make Examination of Conscience

Archbishop Follo: Lord’s Invitation to Lasting Joy

XXVIII Sunday of Ordinary Time – October 15, 2017

Archbishop Auza: Poverty a Tragic Outcome

Result of Social, Economic and Political Exclusion

Archbishop Auza Calls for ‘Indigenous’ Definition

Harmonize Social, Cultural, Economic Development

Archbishop Auza Calls for ‘Indigenous’ Definition

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 2:49 PM

Indigenous Peoples should be treated as dignified partners whose free, prior and informed consent should be sought in all matters concerning them, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. He stressed the need for an agreed definition of “indigenous peoples” that pertains across various contexts.

His remarks came on October 12, 2017, during the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 69, dedicated to the “Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” at the United Nations in New York.

The statement follows

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Third Committee
Agenda Item 69: Rights of indigenous peoples
New York, 12 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

This past April we marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. During the high-level event organized by the President of the General Assembly to mark the occasion, States spoke alongside representatives of indigenous peoples from around the world, to reaffirm their commitment to the values and collective rights of indigenous peoples enshrined in the Declaration. That important and concrete example of solidarity should exemplify the way forward to make the participation and integration of indigenous peoples within the work of the United Nations more meaningful and effective.

Mr. Chair,

Indigenous peoples should be treated as dignified partners, whether within this United Nations system or in their relationship with States and society at large. This is not simply an idea, but the application of the duty of States, as enshrined within the Declaration, to consult with and to seek the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all matters concerning them. [1] The just demand of the indigenous peoples that nothing should be done about them without them should be given utmost consideration.

In practice, this means upholding the collective right of indigenous peoples to their lands and resources. By doing so, we guarantee not only that their voices are heard, but that indigenous peoples are given the political, economic and social space necessary to affirm their identity and to become agents of their own development and destiny. We also ensure that redress and true reconciliation between States and their indigenous populations can be achieved for the good of both parties and for the common good of the whole nation.

Along these lines, the Holy See believes that to promote the true development of indigenous peoples, there must be a harmonization of their right to their own cultural and social development alongside economic development.

Therefore, my Delegation continues to encourage national policies that require consultations and the explicit consent of indigenous peoples, based on the principle of subsidiarity, before development, mining or other projects in their ancestral lands are approved and implemented. Moreover, we welcome the development of guidelines and projects that respect indigenous identity. This means recognizing that indigenous communities are a part of the population and that their participation should be promoted and encouraged at the local, regional and national levels, preventing their further marginalization.

Mr. Chair,

Recently, the General Assembly concluded another round of consultations on ways to enhance further the participation of the representatives of indigenous peoples in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them. My Delegation welcomes the constructive engagement that occurred not just among States, but between States and the representatives of indigenous peoples as equal partners in the process.

My Delegation believes, however, that more can be done and done better. Continued dialogue, specifically toward an agreed definition of “indigenous peoples,” is needed if progress is to be made during future consultations. It is important to emphasize that States must not only dialogue with indigenous peoples here at the United Nations, but at the national and regional levels if agreement is to be reached in the future.

Mr. Chair,

in closing, let me repeat Pope Francis’ fervent summons that all should respect indigenous peoples, who are often threatened in their identity and even in their existence. [2] At this time, when much of humanity continues to err by not caring for our common home, Pope Francis emphasized, the faithful witness of indigenous peoples to a healthy relationship with nature is perhaps saving us from destroying the earth, the environment, and the ecological balance. Thus, they deserve our gratitude and support.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1. See Articles 11, 19, 28 and 29 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
2. Pope Prayer Video, Indigenous Peoples, July, 2016

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

Archbishop Auza: Poverty a Tragic Outcome

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 2:32 PM

Poverty is one of the tragic outcomes of social, economic and political exclusion, according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. His comments came October 12, 2017, during the Second Committee debate on Agenda Item 23, dedicated to the “Eradication of Poverty” at the United Nations in New York.

He went on to say that exclusion blocks the participation necessary for integral human development and concentrates development benefits and opportunities in the hands of some. And he urged a concerted strategic focus on pathways to participation, especially education, health, and nutrition; social protection policies for seniors, children and poor families; and policies to increase access to jobs, credit and entrepreneurial opportunities for women.

Here is the Archbishop’s Statement

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Second Committee
Agenda Item 23: Eradication of Poverty
New York, 12 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

The Secretary-General’s report on the Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty [1] highlights the many improvements in poverty reduction, as well as the many outstanding challenges.

My Delegation would like to underline in particular the report’s emphasis that poverty is one of the tragic outcomes of social, economic and political exclusion. These are artificial barriers that block the participation necessary for integral human development and concentrate the opportunities and benefits in the hands of a privileged few. Pope Francis has emphasized that “a way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table.”[2]

The report takes note that excessive inequality and fiscal austerity policies are two conditions that foster exclusion. Excessive inequality concentrates the benefits from economic growth into the hands of the few, often severing the link between economic progress and poverty reduction. It makes the entire community poorer, because the exclusion it creates blocks the valuable contributions that those excluded would have made if they had been given sufficient opportunity. Fiscal austerity policies, as the report notes, unintentionally alienate the poor and disproportionately affect women, who are often forced to pick up the burden left when needed social programs are reduced or eliminated.

Mr. Chair,

The obvious antidote to exclusion is a concerted, strategic developmental focus on inclusion, replacing barriers with pathways to participation; foremost among them is investing in early child development and in health and education. Past policies of compelling developing countries to cut health and education spending to achieve “fiscal balance” had the unintended consequence of harming development because they reduced investments in people. As the 2030 Agenda makes manifest, it is only through integral human development that the goal of poverty eradication can be achieved. The results of policies of educational inclusion, especially in countries where parity in education between girls and boys has been achieved, are particular signs of hope for real poverty reduction. Similarly, investment in health and nutrition has yielded great benefits both to educational attainment and to worker productivity.

Another inclusive pathway out of poverty is the implementation and expansion of social protection policies, like pensions for seniors, child benefits and cash transfers to indigent families. Such programs promote “pro-poor growth,” like allowing the poor to accumulate productive assets, foster access to labor markets and to financial capital, and investments in human capital, innovation and risk-taking. [3] The argument that only developed countries can offer such programs has been shown to be erroneous.

Mr. Chair,

Programs of inclusion must have a preferential focus on women and girls, since they are disproportionately among the poorest. As the Secretary-General’s report on Women in Development details,[4] there is much work to be done to increase access to jobs, credit, and entrepreneurial opportunities for women. To achieve parity and equity in the labor force, there must be recognition of women’s informal work and the expansion of social protections for them. Pope Francis has said, “Doubly poor are those women who endure situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence, since they are frequently less able to defend their rights [as they exhibit] daily heroism in defending and protecting their vulnerable families.”[5] Economic inclusion is crucial also to combat human rights abuses like trafficking in persons for labor or sexual exploitation, and widespread exploitation of female domestic and migrant workers.

The Holy See would like to encourage the United Nations to mainstream the eradication of poverty, and the social, political and economic inclusion necessary for it to occur, into all aspects of its mission. Without ending poverty, all the other development goals become unattainable.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1. A/72/283.
2. Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the 38th Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 20 June 2013.
3. A/72/283, 33.
4. A/72/282.
5. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, 212.

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

Archbishop Follo: Lord’s Invitation to Lasting Joy

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 2:05 PM

A paradox: the refusal of the wedding invitation

Roman Rite
XXVIII Sunday of Ordinary Time – October 15, 2017
Is 25.6-10; Ps 23; Phil 4, 12-14, 19-20; Mt 22: 1-14?

Ambrosian Rite
Bar 3.24-38; or Wis 1.10; 21.2-5; Ps 87; 2Tm 2.19-22; Mt 21: 10-17
Dedication of the Milan Cathedral, Mother Church of all the Ambrosian faithful.

1) Are human festivities sufficient?

Like the parable of the vine-growers and one of the children invited to work in the vineyard of the Lord, today’s parable, narrating the King’s invitation to attend the wedding banquet of his Son, reveals us the great desire of the Father to have us with Him. On the previous Sundays, we were invited to stay with him and work for him as “winemakers” and as children in His “vineyard”. Today we receive the invitation to celebrate with him by participating in His wedding banquet that compares faith to a true “convivial” divine encounter.
Surprisingly, this invitation is rejected by the first recipients.

Why does this rejection happen? Why when there is a human celebration everyone is competing to participate and when the party is “organized by ” God there are so many people who refuse, as it is evidenced by the fact that many do not attend Mass, the Sunday banquet where Christ is made food and drink for each of us? Many, unfortunately, believe that they do not need this food. If our eyes only know material wealth, to which we get accustomed, they fail to see that Heaven is hidden in the “piece of bread” and in the “sip of wine” that are offered to us. It is the hiding place for God who becomes our food to dress us of his own deity.

God is generous towards us and offers us his friendship, his gifts and his joy, but often we do not accept his words, we show more interest in other things, and we let us put in first place our material concerns and interests. The invitation of the king even meets aggressive reactions.

Why do we resist accepting the invitation to participate in an event of joy so important for our lives or even react to it in a hostile way?

For pride and because we prefer our own interests, as Christ tells us saying that the first guests refused and “went to their own fields and to their business”. Pope Francis also recalled it in a homily a few months ago: “Forgetting the past, not accepting the present and disfiguring the future: this is what wealth and concerns do”. There are too many who even today reject the invitation. It is the story of pride and human self-sufficiency that only manages to see the angle of self. They are illuminated by the lights of what is ephemeral as well as they are unable to widen the eyes on the vastness of the sun, which is the Kingdom of God.

The more a man is attached to human celebrations the less he is willing to welcome an invitation that involves neglecting the ones that has the taste of earthly riches to go to the one that has the flavor of heaven. That is why Christ says: “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God “(Mt 19, 24). The rich man, in fact, believes that he can fill the abyss of his heart with riches. The poor of spirit believes in God and in his poverty he is close to God. The poor in his humility is close to the heart of God, contrary to the rich that with their pride count only on themselves. The spirit of the poor people of God opens up their empty hands not to grasp or tighten anything or anybody, but to give and to receive the goodness of the giving God. They are God’s beggars, those who have nothing or “feel” to have nothing and, like the saints, are not afraid to show their poverty of spirit, that is a heart open to God and the true guardian of the earth. These poor people are astonished to be able to attend the banquet of the King and “run” to the party to respond to the invitation.

2) The condition to attend the party: to have a bridal dress.

God does not restrain his generosity. He is not discouraged and sends his servants to invite many other people whom the human mind thinks unworthy: the poor and the unhappy. Everyone can enter, but there is a condition that Jesus places in the parable of today and puts it to us: that we believe in Him.

He demands the bridal dress, which is charity and love. “All of us are invited to be Lord’s guests, to enter with faith in his banquet, but we must wear and guard the bridal dress, charity, and live a deep love for God and the neighbor” (Pope Francis). This is in the wake of the teaching of St. Gregory the Great, which states: “Each of you, therefore, having faith in God in the Church, has already taken part in the wedding banquet, but cannot say that he has the bridal dress if he does not guard the grace of Charity “(Homily 38,9: PL 76,1287). This dress is symbolically woven of two woods, one above and the other below: the love for God and the love for the neighbor (see 10: PL 76, 1288). All of us are invited to be Lord’s dining companions and to enter through faith in his banquet, but we must wear and guard the bridal dress: charity, which is the measure of our faith. We cannot separate prayer, the encounter with God in the Sacraments, from the proximity to the neighbor and above all to his suffering.

Why does Christ speak of the bridal dress? Because according to the tradition in Israel during the Jesus’ earthly life, the Spouse gave to the guests the “Kittel”, a special dress to wear for his marriage. It was enough for the guests to wear it before entering the party room.wear it before entering the party room.

Anyone who came to the doorstep of the banquet room was given a white coat, a free gift, indicating that he had freely answered “yes” to the king’s invitation. It is enough to accept and wear the wedding dress, it is not necessary to deserve it or buy it.

The spiritual interpretation of this is that, if you want to enter the party, you need to put on a garment woven of “feelings of mercy, goodness, humility, meekness, and patience”. Only if we have the charity of God we can enter and live in communion with Him.

Like marriage, even virginal consecration is a covenant and a wedding party linked to God in an exclusive and absolute way without the mediation of another person. For this reason, it is an anticipation of celestial life and makes the consecrated person already belonging to the future world and an “eschatological sign”, an indication of the goal towards which the whole of humanity redeemed by Christ is going.

She is in fact the bride He entices to him, linking her with a bond of eternal love. To the consecrated virgins it is already given to live an advance of eternal marriage and to be on earth, in a certain way, what everyone is called to become in eternity.

The grace of marriage makes holy an “ordinary life”: transfiguring human love, it orients it to a supernatural goal and opens it to an interpersonal dimension that frees it from what could be an egoistic search for personal, instinctive and passionate pleasure.

Consecrated life is an “exceptional” charism in the sense that it is like a step further, a getting hold of a reality that usually is still and only a promise. It is not, however, a privilege that makes some differences, but a call that is committed to being more but exclusively dedicated to God and, consequently, to the neighbor.

In addition, the consecrated virgin also plays the role of highlighting the value of the love of the human marriage. In fact, although it has a definite earthly goal, it is comparable to the divine wedding for an endless feast.

The Ordo Virginum must be acknowledged among the gifts of the Spirit to the holy Church of God: “It is a source of joy and hope to witness in our time a new flowering of the ancient Order of Virgins, known in Christian communities ever since apostolic times. Consecrated by the diocesan Bishop, these women acquire a particular link with the Church, which they are committed to serve while remaining in the world. Either alone or in association with others, they constitute a special eschatological image of the Heavenly Bride and of the life to come, when the Church will at last fully live her love for Christ the Bridegroom.”(St. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation” Vita consecrata “, n.7, March 25, 1996).

“Chastity” for the Kingdom of Heaven “(Mt 19,12) “ frees the heart of man in a unique fashion (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32-35) so that it may be more inflamed with love for God and for all men” (Vatican Council II, Decree Perfectae caritatis, n. 12).


Patristic reading

Saint John Chrysostome (344/354 – n 407)
Homily 79 on Mt 22: 1 -14

“And Jesus answered and spake again1 in parables. The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage2 for his son; and sent forth his servants to call them which were bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.”3

Seest thou both in the former parable and in this the difference between the Son and the servants? Seest thou at once the great affinity between both parables, and the great difference also? For this also indicates God’s long-suffering, and His great providential care, and the Jews’ ingratitude.

But this parable hath something also more than the other. For it proclaims beforehand both the casting out of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles; and it indicates together with this also the strictness of the life required, and how great the punishment appointed for the careless.

And well is this placed after the other. For since He had said, “It shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,” He declares next to what kind of nation; and not this only, but He also again sets forth His providential care towards the Jews as past utterance. For there He appears before His crucifixion bidding them; but here even after He is slain, He still urges them, striving to win them over. And when they deserved to have suffered the most grievous punishment, then He both presses them to the marriage, and honors them with the highest honor. And see how both there He calls not the Gentiles first, but the Jews, and here again. But as there, when they would not receive Him, but even slew Him when He was come, then He gave away the vineyard; thus here too, when they were not willing to be present at the marriage, then He called others.

What then could be more ungrateful than they, when being bidden to a marriage they rush away? For who would not choose to come to a marriage, and that a King’s marriage, and of a King making a marriage for a Son? 

And wherefore is it called a marriage? One may say. That thou might test learn God’s tender care, His yearning towards us, the cheerfulness of the state of things, that there is nothing sorrowful there, nor sad, but all things are full of spiritual joy: Therefore also John calls Him a bridegroom, therefore Paul again saith, “For I have espoused you to one husband;”4 and, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”5

Why then is not the bride said to be espoused to Him, but to the Son? Because she that is espoused to the Son, is espoused to the Father. For it is indifferent in Scripture that the one or the other should be said, because of the identity6 of the substance.

Hereby He proclaimed the resurrection also. For since in what went before He had spoken of the death, He shows that even after the death, then is the marriage, then the bridegroom.

But not even so do these become better men nor more gentle, than which what can be worse? For this again is a third accusation. The first that they killed the prophets; then the son; afterwards that even when they had slain Him, and were bidden unto the marriage of Him that was slain, by the Very one that was slain, they come not, but feign excuses, yokes of oxen, and pieces of ground, and wives. And yet the excuses seem to be reasonable; but hence we learn, though the things which hinder us be necessary, to set the things spiritual at a higher price than all.

And He not suddenly, but a long time before. For, “Tell,” He saith, “them that are bidden;” and again, “Call them that were bidden;” which circumstance makes the charge against them heavier. And when were they bidden? By all the prophets; by John again; for unto Christ he would pass all on, saying, “He must increase, I must decrease;”7 by the Son Himself again, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you;”8 and again, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”9

But not by words only, but also by actions did He bid them, after His ascension by Peter, and those with him. “For He that wrought effectually in Peter,” it is said, “to the apostleship of the circumcision, was mighty also in me towards the Gentiles.”10

For since on seeing the Son, they were wroth and slew Him, He bids them again by His servants. And unto what cloth He bid them? Unto labors, and toils, and sweat? Nay but unto pleasure. For, “My oxen,” He saith, “and my fatlings are killed.” See how complete His banquet? How great His munificence.

And not even this shamed them, but the more long-suffering He showed, so much the more were they hardened. For not for press of business, but from “making light of they did not come.

“How then do some bring forward marriages, others yokes of oxen? These things surely are of want of leisure.”

By no means, for when spiritual things call us, there is no press of business that has the power of necessity.

And to me they seem moreover to make use of these excuses, putting forward these things as cloke for their negligence, And not this only is the grievous thing, that they came not, but also that which is a far more violent and furious act, to have even beaten them that came, and to have used them despitefully, and to have slain them; this is worse than the former. For those others came, demanding produce and fruits, and were slain; but these, bidding them to the marriage of Him that had been slain by them, and these again are murdered.

What is equal to this madness? This Paul also was laying to their charge, when he said, “Who both killed the Lord, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us.”11

Moreover, that they may not say, “He is an adversary of God, and therefore we do not come,” hear what they say who are bidding them; that it is the father who is making the marriage, and that it is He who is bidding them.

What then did He after these things? Since they were not willing to come, yea and also slew those that came unto them; He burns up their cities, and sent His armies and slew them.

And these things He saith, declaring beforehand the things that took place under Vespasian and Titus, and that they provoked the father also, by not believing in Him; it is the father at any rate who was avenging.

And for this reason let me add, not straightway after Christ was slain did the capture take place, but after forty years, that He might show His long suffering, when they had slain Stephen, when they had put James to death, when they had spitefully entreated the apostles.

Seest thou the truth of the event, and its quickness? For while John was yet living, and many other of them that were with Christ, these things came to pass, and they that had heard these words were witnesses of the events.

See then care utterable. He had planted a vineyard; He had done all things, and finished; when His servants had been put to death, He sent other servants; when those had been slain, He sent the son; and when He was put to death, He bids them to the marriage. They would not come, after this He sends other servants, and they slew these also.

Then upon this He slays them, as being incurably diseased. For that they were incurably diseased, was proved not by their acts only, but by the fact, that even when harlots and publicans had believed, they did these things. So that, not by their own crimes alone, but also from what others were able to do aright, these men are condemned, 

But if anyone should say, that not then were they out of the Gentiles called, I mean, when the apostles had been beaten and had suffered ten thousand things, but straightway after the resurrection (for then He said to them, “Go ye and make disciples of all nations.”12 We would say, that both before the crucifixion, and after the crucifixion, they addressed themselves to them first. For both before the crucifixion, He saith to them, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel;”13 and after the crucifixion, so far from forbidding, He even commanded them to address themselves to the Jews. For though He said, “Make disciples of all nations,” yet when on the point of ascending into Heaven, He declared that unto those first they were to address themselves; For, “ye shall receive power,” saith He, “after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and unto the uttermost part of the earth;”14 and Paul again, “He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, was mighty in me also toward the Gentiles.”15 Therefore the apostles also went first unto the Jews, and when they had tarried a long time in Jerusalem, and then had been driven away by them, in this way they were scattered abroad unto the Gentiles.

2. And see thou even herein His bounty; “As many as ye shall find,” saith He, “bid to the marriage. For before this, as I said, they addressed themselves both to Jews and Greeks, tarrying for the most part in Judaea; but since they continued to lay plots against them, hear Paul interpreting this parable, and saying thus, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but since ye judge yourselves unworthy, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.16

Therefore Christ also saith, “The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.”

He knew this indeed even before, but that He might leave them no pretext of a shameless sort of contradiction, although He knew it, to them first He both came and sent, both stopping their mouths, and teaching us to fulfill all our parts, though no one should derive any profit.

Since then they were not worthy, go ye, saith He, into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid; both the common sort, and the outcasts. For because He had said m every way.17 “The harlots and publicans shall inherit heaven;” and, “The first shall be last, and the last first;” He shows that justly do these things come to pass; which more than anything stung the Jews, and goaded them far more grievously than their overthrow, to see those from the Gentiles brought into their privileges, and into far greater than theirs.

Then in order that not even these should put confidence in their faith alone, He discourses unto them also concerning the judgment to be passed upon wicked actions; to them that have not yet believed, of coming unto Him by faith, and to them that have believed, of care with respect to their life. For the garment is life and practice.

And yet the calling was of grace; wherefore then doth He take a strict account? Because although to be called and to be cleansed was of grace, yet, when called and clothed in clean garments, to continue keeping them so, this is of the diligence of them that are called.

The being called was not of merit, but of grace. It was fit therefore to make a return for the grace, and not to show forth such great wickedness after the honor. “But I have not enjoyed,” one may say, “so much advantage as the Jews.” Nay, but thou hast enjoyed far greater benefits. For what things were being prepared for them throughout all their time, these thou hast received at once, not being worthy. Wherefore Paul also saith, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.”18 For what things were due to them, these thou hast received.

Wherefore also great is the punishment appointed for them that have been remiss. For as they did despite by not coming, so also thou by thus sitting down with a corrupt life. For to come in with filthy garments is this namely, to depart hence having one’s life impure; wherefore also he was speechless.

Seest thou how, although the fact was so manifest, He doth not punish at once, until he himself, who has sinned, has passed the sentence? For by having nothing to reply he condemned himself, and so is taken away to the unutterable torments.

For do not now, on hearing of darkness, suppose he is punished by this, by sending into a place where there is no light only, but where” there is “also” weeping and gnashing of teeth.”19 And this He saith, indicating the intolerable pains.

Hear ye, as many as having partaken of the mysteries, and having been present at the marriage, clothe your souls with filthy deeds Hear whence ye were called.

From the highway. Being what? Lame and halt in soul, which is a much more grievous thing than the mutilation of the body. Reverence the love of Him, who called you, and let no one continue to have filthy garments, but let each of you busy himself about the clothing of your soul.

Hear, ye women; hear, ye men; we need not these garments that are bespangled with gold, that adorn our outward parts,20 but those others, that adorn the inward. Whilst we have these former, it is difficult to put on those latter. It is not possible at the same time to deck both soul and body. It is not possible at the same time both to serve mammon, and to obey Christ as we ought.

Let us put off us therefore this grievous tyranny. For neither if any one were to adorn thy house by hanging it with golden curtains, and were to make thee sit there in rags, naked, wouldest thou endure it with meekness. But lo, now thou doest this to thyself, decking the house of thy soul, I mean the body, with curtains beyond number, but leaving the soul itself to sit in rags. Knowest thou not that the king ought to be adorned more than the city? So therefore while for the city hangings are prepared of linen, for the king there is a purple robe and a diadem. Even so do thou wrap the body with a much meaner dress, but the mind do thou clothe in purple, and put a crown on it, and set it on a high and conspicuous chariot. For now thou art doing the opposite, decking the city in various ways, but suffering the king, the mind, to be dragged bound after the brute passions.

Rememberest thou not, that thou art bidden to a marriage, and to God’s marriage? Considerest thou not how the soul that is bidden ought to enter into those chambers, clad, and decked with fringes of gold.

3. Wilt thou that I show thee them that are clad thus, them that have on a marriage garment?

Call to mind those holy persons, of whom I discoursed to you of late, them that wear garments of hair, them that dwell in the deserts. These above all are the wearers of the garments of that wedding; this is evident from hence, that how many wear purple robes thou weft to give them, they would not choose to receive them; but much as a king, if any one were to take the beggar’s rags, and exhort him to put them on, would abhor the clothing, so would those persons also his purple robe. And from no other cause have they this feeling, but because of knowing the beauty of their own raiment. Therefore even that purple robe they spurn like the spider’s web. For these things hath their sackcloth taught them; for indeed they are far more exalted and more glorious than the very king who reigns.

And if thou wert able to open the doors of the mind, and to look upon their soul, and all their ornaments within, surely thou wouldest fall down upon the earth, not bearing the glory of their beauty, and the splendor of those garments, and the lightning brightness of their conscience.

For we could tell also of men of old, great and to be admired; but since visible examples lead on more those of grosset souls, therefore do I send you even to the tabernacles of those holy persons. For they have nothing sorrowful, but as if in heaven they had pitched their tents, even so are they encamped far off the wearisome things of this present life, in campaign against the devils; and as in choirs, so do they war against him. Therefore I say, they have fixed their tents, and have fled from cities, and markets, and houses. For he that warreth cannot sit in a house, but he must make his habitation of a temporary kind, as on the point of removing straightway, and so dwell. Such are all those persons, contrary to us. For we indeed live not as in a camp, but as in a city at peace.

For who in a camp ever lays foundation, and builds himself a house, which he is soon after to leave? There is not one; but should any one attempt it, he is put to death as a traitor. Who in a camp buys acres of land, and makes for himself trades? There is not one, and very reasonably. “For thou art come here,” they would say, “to fight, not to traffic; why then dost thou trouble thyself about the place, which in a little time thou wilt leave? When we are gone away to our country, do these things.”

The same do I now say to thee also. When we have removed to the city that is. Above, do these things: or rather thou wilt have no need of labors there; after that the king will do all things for thee. But here it is enough to dig a ditch round only, and to fix a palisade, but of building houses there is no need.

Hear what was the life of the Scythians, that lived in their wagons, such, as they say, are the habits of the shepherd tribes. So ought Christians to live; to go about the world, warring against the devil, rescuing the captives held in subjection by him, and to be in freedom from all worldly things.

Why preparest thou a house, O man, that thou mayest bind thyself more? Why dost thou bury a treasure, and invite the enemy against thyself? Why dost thou compass thyself with walls, and prepare a prison for thyself?

But if these things seem to thee to be hard, let us go away unto the tents of those men, that by their deeds we may learn the easiness thereof. For they having set up huts, if they must depart from these, depart like as soldiers, having left their camp in peace. For so likewise are they encamped, or rather even much more beautifully.

For indeed it is more pleasant to behold a desert containing huts of monks in close succession, than soldiers stretching the canvas in a camp, and fixing spears, and suspending from the point of the spears saffron garments, 21 and a multitude of men having heads of brass, and the bosses of the shields glistening much, and men armed all throughout with steel. And royal courts hastily made, and ground levelled far, and men dining and piping. For neither is this spectacle so delightful as that of which I now speak.

For if we were to go away into the wilderness, and look at the tents of Christ’s soldiers, we shall see not canvas stretched, neither points of spears, nor golden garments making a royal pavilion; but like as if any one upon an earth much larger than this earth, yea infinite, had stretched out many heavens, strange and awful would be the sight he showed; even so may one see here.

For in nothing are their lodging-places in a condition inferior to the heavens; for the angels lodge with them, and the Lord of the angels. For if they came to Abraham, a man having a wife, and bringing up children, because they saw him hospitable; when they find much more abundant virtue, and a man delivered from the body, and in the flesh disregarding the flesh, much more do they tarry there, and celebrate the choral feast that becomes them. For there is moreover a table amongst them pure from all covetousness, and full of self-denial.

No streams of blood are amongst them, nor cutting up of flesh, nor heaviness of head, nor dainty cooking, neither are there unpleasing smells of meat amongst them, nor disagreeable smoke, neither runnings and tumults, and disturbances, and wearisome clamors; but bread and water, the latter from a pure fountain, the former from honest labor. But if any time they should be minded to feast more sumptuously, their sumptuousness consists of fruits, and greater is the pleasure there than at royal tables. There is no fear there, or trembling; no ruler accuses, no wife provokes, no child casts into sadness, no disorderly mirth dissipates, no multitude of flatterers puffs up; but the table is an angel’s table free from all such turmoil.

And for a couch they have grass only beneath them, like as Christ did when making a dinner in the wilderness. And many of them do this, not being even under shelter, but for a roof they have heaven, and the moon instead of the light of a candle, not wanting oil, nor one to attend to it; on them alone does it shine worthily from on high.

4. This table even angels from heaven beholding are delighted and pleased. For if over one sinner that repenteth they rejoice, over so many just men imitating them, what will they not do? There are not master and slave; all are slaves, all free men. And do not think the saying to be a dark proverb, for they are indeed slaves one of another, and masters one of another.

They have no occasion to be in sadness when evening has overtaken them, as many men feel, revolving the anxious thoughts that spring from the evils of the day. They have no occasion after their supper to be careful about robbers, and to shut the doors, and to put bars against them, neither to dread the other ills, of which many are afraid, extinguishing their candles with strict care, lest a spark anywhere should set the house on fire.

And their conversation again is full of the whereof we discourse, that are nothing to us; such a one is made governor, such a one has ceased to be governor; such a one is dead, and another has succeeded to the inheritance, and all such like, but always about the things to come do they speak and seek wisdom; and as though dwelling in another world, as though they had migrated unto heaven itself, as living there, even so all their conversation is about the things there, about Abraham’s bosom, about the crowns of the saints, about the choiring with Christ; and of things present they have neither any memory nor thought, but like as we should not deign to speak at all of what the ants do in their holes and clefts; so neither do they of what we do; but about the King that is above, about the war in which they are engaged, about the devil’s crafts, about the good deeds which the saints have achieved.

Wherein therefore are we different from ants, when compared with them? For like as they care for the things of the body, so also do we; and would it were for these alone: but now it is even for things far worse. For not for necessary things only do we care like them, but also for things superfluous. For those insects pursue a business free from all blame, but we follow after all covetousness, and not even the ways of ants do we imitate, but the ways of wolves, but the ways of leopards, or rather we are even worse than these. For to them nature has assigned that they should be thus fed, but us God hath honored with speech, and a sense of equity, 22 and we are become worse than the wild beasts.

And whereas we are worse than the brutes, those men are equal to the angels, being strangers and pilgrims as to the things here; and all things in them are made different from us, clothing, and food, and house, and shoes, and speech. And if any one were to hear them conversing and us, then he would know full well, how they indeed are citizens of heaven, but we are not worthy so much as of the earth.

So that therefore, when any one invested with rank is come unto them, then is all inflated pride found utterly vain. For the laborer there, and he that hath no experience of worldly affairs, sits near him that is a commander of troops, and prides himself on his authority, upon the grass, upon a mean cushion. For there are none to extol him, none to puff him up; but the same result takes place, as if any one were to go to a goldsmith, and a garden of roses, for he receives some brightness from the gold and from the roses; so they too, gaining a little from the splendor of these, are delivered from their former arrogance. And like as if any were to go upon a high place, though he be exceedingly short, he appears high; so these too, coming unto their exalted minds, appear like them, so long as they abide there, but when they are gone down are abased again, on descending from that height.

A king is nothing amongst them, a governor is nothing; but like as we, when children are playing at these things, laugh; so do they also utterly spurn the inflamed pride of them who strut without. And this is evident from hence, that if anyone would give them a kingdom to possess in security, they would never take it; yet they would take it, unless their thoughts were upon what is greater than it, unless they accounted the thing to be but for a season.

What then? Shall we not go over unto blessedness so great? Shall we not come unto these angels; shall we not receive clean garments, and join in the ceremonies of this wedding feast; but shall we continue begging, in no respect in a better condition than the poor in the streets, or rather in a state far worse and more wretched? For much worse than these are they that are rich in evil ways, and it is better to beg than to spoil, for the one hath excuse, but the other brings punishment; and the beggar in no degree offends God, but this other both men and God; and undergoes the labors of rapine, but all the enjoyment thereof other men often reap.

Knowing then these things, let us lay aside all covetousness, and covet the things above, with great earnestness “taking the kingdom by force.”23 For it cannot be, it cannot be that anyone who is remiss should enter therein.

But God grant that we all having become earnest, and watchful may attain thereto, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might, world without end. Amen.

1 [The order here is slightly varied, and “unto them” is omitted. With these exceptions the entire passage is in verbal agreement with the received text.—R.]2).
2 [R. V. “marriage feast”.]3).
3 [Verses 7–14 do not appear in the Greek text of Migne’s edition, but are added in the Oxford translation, and in Field’s Greek text.—R.]
4 2Co 11, 2.
5 Ep 5, 32.
6 ajparavllakton).
7 Jn 3, 30 [“Refresh” is the rendering of the Greek term answering to “give rest” in the English versions.—R.]
8 Mt 11, 28. [“Refresh” is the rendering of the Greek term answering to “give rest” in the English versions.—R.]
9 Jn 7, 37.
10 Ga 2, 8. [R. V., “wrought for” twice; the Greek verb is the same in both clauses.—R.]
11 povsh hJ pandaisiva).
12 1Th 2, 15. [R. V., “and drove out us.”]
13 Mt 28, 19.
14 Mt 10, 6.
15 Ac 1, 8.
16 Ga 2, 8. [Comp. note 7, p. 421.]
17 Ac 13, 46. [slightly abridged.]
18 Or, “repeatedly.”
19 Rm 15,9.
20 Mt 22,13.
21 [The clause in italics is not found in the Mss. collated by Field, but occurs in the Benedictine edition.—R.]
22 favrh krokwtav).
23 ijsonomiva/).

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