ConAltriOcchi blog – 以不同的眼光看世界-博客

"C'è un solo modo di vedere le cose finché qualcuno non ci mostra come guardare con altri occhi" – "There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes" (Picasso) – "人观察事物的方式只有一种,除非有人让我们学会怎样以不同的眼光看世界" (毕加索)


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The caress that changed history

The absurd choice of proclaiming Saint John XXIII as the Patron Saint of the Italian Army

The choice of naming Saint John XXIII as Patron Saint of the Italian Army leaves us more than a little perplexed. Even today if we go into Italian homes – and not only Italian ones – just inside the entrance we find a somewhat faded photograph of Pope John, with his serene and assuring face. In the collective conscience, Pope John is associated with his goodness, with his historic encyclical on peace, which bore not only his name but was a banner, Pacem in Terris; he is associated with his visits to the Regina Coeli prison in Rome as well as the Bambino Gesù Hospital. His is a daily holiness that penetrates all homes. The whole world still remembers his caress to be given to children in that unforgettable speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Vatican Council. What should we say today when we get home: “ give your children a helmet and a rifle “?

This choice, made some time ago, at least since 1966, although formally motivated, has a musty, old Curia flavour. It seems out of place, stretching a point, the flick of a tail of past history, a choice against conciliation. The People of God doesn’t appear to need a patron saint of the army but urgently needs men of peace.
Roncalli ,Patriarch of Venice, wrote to his successor, Montini: “the Pope desires the presence of this priest in Rome; to grant this request is a grave sacrifice for Venice, but I grant it because it is ‘necessary to look far and wide’ in the Church”. There is no question at all that throughout his life, Pope John XXIII contributed to bringing the Church out of the shallows of time and enabling it to sail to the ends of the earth, starting it off on that great adventure of the Spirit that was the Council. In contrast, the choice of making him the Patron Saint of the Italian Army appears to be inappropriate and short-sighted.
Pope John XXIII witnessed that the Word of God does not make war but is a Word of love that God announced to us, to the world, to history and that caress was like a gentle breeze on our life. . He witnessed that the Word of God is an effective Word that performs what it was sent to do. He witnessed that the Word of God bears within it the lament of all flesh and all humankind on the road towards the fullness of God. .
The posthumous involvement of Mons Loris Capovilla , the Pope’s personal secretary also appears to be in bad taste. If it hadn’t been him that evening when the Council opened, to convince the Pope, with his intelligence and bonhomie, to appear at the window once again after a long and tiring day, children, sick people, old people and men of peace all over the world would today be lacking that caress. The caress that changed History.
Many authoritative voices have been raised against the title of Patron Saint of the Italian Army for John XXIII. The Bishop of Pescara- Penne Valentinetti “it is disrespectful to name him as Patron Saint of the Armed Forces ”. “Pope John XXIII is in all hearts as the Good Pope, the Peace Pope, not the Pope of armies” declared Mons. Giovanni Ricchiuti, Bishop of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti and President of Pax Christi Italia. «I don’t want to go into the matter because unfortunately I was only informed about it this morning» declared the Chairman of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti .

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The “second step”. Perspectives of the Pope’s visit to Colombia

During the traditional inflight  press conference on his journey back to Rome at the end of his pilgrimage to Colombia,  Pope Francis replied to a journalist’s question regarding the possibility of another  visit to that Latin American country one day, saying:“I would at least like the motto of the journey to be ‘Let’s  take the second step”.

Let’s take the first stop was the motto of this pilgrimage and we can truly say that the Pope maintained this impetus: now an entire people is proceeding down the difficult road to reconciliation with faith.

In Colombia,  announcement of the Word of reconciliation is particularly urgent.  We have been entrusted with the Word, the ministry of reconciliation, Saint Paul reminds us in his Second Letter to the Corinthians.

Widening the horizon of his reflection, the Pope also recalled that reconciliation with Creation is   urgent: «we are arrogant, we do not want to see. But the scientists are very clear about the human influence on climate change»

We are living at a time of growing awareness of man’s misdeeds towards Creation.  Creation is deteriorating around us, withering under our blows.  There is urgent need for reconciliation between man and the universe; we should also recognize that an exaggerated Anthropocentrism , often transmitted by a certain Christian theology, has encouraged bad behaviour towards nature. In particular, it is Western man, who is cutting down his forests, suffocating in urban pollution, polluting his seas, who must regain his respect and love of nature.

During this extraordinary pilgrimage, Pope Francis reminded us that the Church is the sign, the watchman who tells us that it is possible, indeed it is in the nature of man, the image of God, to put love at the foundation of the collective experience. Reconciliation with Creation, among men, among peoples, among religions, will not be negated by history, because in Christ the reconciliation has already begun. “God has reconciled us to himself  by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2Cor5,18-20). Let us think about what has been entrusted to us ;we have not been entrusted with the ministry of war, of racism, of nationalism, of populism, of colonialism, we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.

Saying this we immediately realize that it must be said with a penitential attitude: we are not a reconciled community; Christians are divided; within the Church itself there is the diabolical seed of division.

But why haven’t we been reconciled?  Why doesn’t the Word of God find its rightful place in us?  God said to the prophet: “Thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me”(Ez 33,7).  At times we have announced words which did not issue from the mouth of God; we have said many things, saying they were the will of God and instead this wasn’t true, they were – and at times still are today –  words of power, ideology, moralism, words that win and thus we have become ministers of division. We must not say words that win but words which save.

The Word of the Gospel does not make war, it is not a word that wins but that saves, that loves and reconciles.  We have been entrusted with this Word.  Faith is not a competition, or the defence of any structure, but the road to pursue in history pending full communion with God who will be all in all.

Once again it is the little ones, the children  who can be the true teachers of reconciliation, the Pope reminds us, summarizing a journey which had just ended: “What most impressed me about the Colombians: in the four cities I visited there were always crowds on the streets; fathers and mothers holding up their children to let them see the Pope and so the Pope could bless them.  As if they were saying: “This is my treasure, this is my hope, this is my future. I believe this. ”.  The tenderness. The eyes of those fathers and mothers. Wonderful, wonderful! This is a symbol, the symbol of hope for the future.  A people capable of creating children and showing. A people which is capable of producing children and then showing them, as if they were saying:  “This is my treasure”,  is a people who has hope and has a future”.


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“Let us take the first step”: Pope Francis in Colombia

Departing on 6th September and until the 10th, Pope Francis will be a pilgrim of peace and reconciliation in Colombia. As usual, last night Pope Francis went to the basilica of Saint Mary Major to bring a floral tribute to the venerated icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani and invoke Her intercession for his imminent pilgrimage.

Let us take the first step” is the theme of this apostolic journey because other first steps are required after the signing of the peace agreement.   The Government of Colombia and Farc signed a new peace agreement in Cuba last November which took account of some requests from the Front after the first agreement reached in August after 52 years of war was rejected in a referendum held on 2nd October last.

In the cities the Pope will visit – Bogota, Villavicencio, Medellin and  Cartagena – he will address  several issues: to be the artisans of peace, promoters of life; reconciliation with God, with the Colombians, with nature;  Christian life as Discipleship; human dignity and human rights.

On Friday in Villavicencio, South of Bogota, the Pope will beatify two Colombian martyrs: the Bishop of Arauca, Mons. Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and a priest, Pedro María Ramírez Ramos.

Monsignor Jesús Emilio Jaramillo was killed on 2nd October 1989 at the age of 73, while he was returning from a pastoral visit to the town of Fortul. His car was stopped by three armed guerillas belonging to the Domingo Laín Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) who kidnapped the Bishop; his body was found on the road a day later with several gunshot wounds and without his cross and episcopal ring. Pedro María Ramírez, known as the“ Martyr of Armero” was a rural parish priest, much loved by his parishioners; he was 68 years old when he was beaten to death on 10th April 1948 by a group of Liberal Party supporters in Armero-Tolima because he was considered to be «a fanatical and dangerous conservative».

The Pope will make twelve discourses in which – as highlighted by Cardinal Parolin, who will accompany him – Francis will confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith: “ The Pope’s visit to Colombia is of a purely pastoral nature, like all the Pope’s visits to various Countries and, therefore,  has the aim, the intention – let us say – of confirming and encouraging his brothers and sisters in the faith, of vivifying their charity and spurring them on to live Christian Hope.  Naturally, the papal visit comes at a key moment in the life of the Country as a peace process has begun after fifty years of conflict and violence and this makes it particularly important.”

Both Pope Paul VI and Saint John Paul II had already visited Colombia in 1968 and 1986 respectively. Today it is a Latin American Pope who is arriving to sustain and encourage the difficult path towards Peace following more than 50 years of war between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), after the signing of the peace agreements last November. However. the situation still hangs in the balance.

Pope Francis is visiting Latin America for the fifth time.   He was in Brazil in July 2013, Ecuador, Bolivia e Paraguay in July 2015,  Cuba in September 2015 and Mexico in January 2016.

As always we will accompany him with our prayers.


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She was able to love even in the darkness

In memory of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 20 years since her departure

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an extraordinary woman of faith and a missionary that was canonized by the Church. The UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, on the day of Mother Teresa’s death, said,: “Mother Teresa is the United Nations. Mother Teresa is peace in the world.” These words effectively express the amplitude, the greatness, and the depth of service to life that this little woman has been able to express in faith in God and man, in every man. Today, on his white tomb in the house of Calcutta, pilgrims of all times and of every faith can read a verse of the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

madreteresa

 

Before being a woman of action, Mother Teresa was a woman of prayer. This perhaps explains her intrepid strength in a life lived through the miseries and the sufferings of the world. She said of herself and of her sisters: “We are contemplative who live in the midst of the world. […] Our life must be a constant prayer” (R. Allegri,”Madre Teresa mi ha detto”, Ancora Editrice, Milano, 2010). Silence and prayer are even more necessary today to witness Christ with life and charity and to live our mission of men and women in an increasingly complex and difficult world.

In August 1946, she began to hear the “call within a call” as she herself defined it. It was the evening of September 10, while she was on the train going to the city of Darjeeling to do spiritual exercises: “That night I opened my eyes to suffering, and understood the essence of my vocation as its core […] I felt that the Lord was asking me to give up to the quiet life inside my religious community and go out into the streets to serve the poor. It was a command. It was not a suggestion or an invitation or a proposal […]”(R. Allegri, ibidem)). It was an inner calling, a voice in the silence of prayer that pushed her to open herself and serve the poorest of the poor. Mother Teresa has been able to cultivate and practice the evangelical gift of welcome. Welcoming, first of all, in your own time, in your heart, going to find out who was lonely and abandoned. Mother Teresa has made the Church in communion, cutting down every wall of indifference and hypocrisy.

In front of the many calves of so many men and women of our time, in front of the crosses of men of every race and religion, Mother Teresa has been able to contemplate the face of Christ as the measurement of all those who give life for love. With the power of love, this sister who was herself the incarnation of charity, has been able to do a great thing, a divine thing; she gave a name, a dignity to every cross. What does it mean to give a name to the cross?

Jesus in his fullness of Messiah was no longer a Jew, he was the man: “Here is the man.” The name on the cross is Man. Our cultural, ethnic, religious distinctions may be important, but when it comes to the cross, when we die, they no longer matter. This equality is important because Jesus has taken it on himself as an appointment: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Mother Teresa has been attracted and attracted many to the cross of Jesus son of man, Savior of every man. That is why, just as Mother Teresa did, we must not ask for any religion defense policy, but we must strongly ask for the defense of man’s dignity.

There is an ecumenical and interreligious dialogue of charity, in which Mother Teresa believed a great deal: “There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said that we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be an example to the people. We have 475 souls around us; of these, only 30 families are Catholics. The rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikh … They are all of different religions, but they all come to our prayers. ” (Lucinda Yardey, Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, Ballantine Books, 1995)

As it is now known, Mother Teresa has also experienced the darkness of faith. In one of his posthumous letters, she wrote that she did not hear “the presence of God in either his heart or the Eucharist.” And she confided: “In my soul I experience just that terrible suffering of the absence of God, that God does not want me, that God is not God, that God does not really exist.”

In those years, Mother Teresa really offered herself to the mystery, once again with the supreme act of donation in love, which she describes with impressive words: “I have begun to love my darkness because I believe it is part of a very, very small part of Jesus’ darkness and pain on earth” (Franca Zambonini,” Madre Teresa: “La mistica degli ultimi”, Paoline, 2003, pp. 33-34)

Mother Teresa has also been able to love the darkness, just like Jesus, who won death with love.

In our blog, in the past we collected some witnesses of devotion to Mother Teresa from an Indian salesian and Indian believers and non-believers.


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Pope Francis returns to Asia

The Holy See Press Office confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Bangladesh and Myanmar between late November and early December.

The press release informs that the detailed program will be announced later. Meanwhile, we know that the Pontiff will travel to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November, and then to Bangladesh, from 30 November to 2 December. A short trip, during which the Pontiff will visit the city of Nay Pyi Taw, capital of Myanmar since 2006, and the old capital Yangon, and later the city of Dakha, capital of Bangladesh.

This is the first time a pope goes to Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, largely following the ancient Theravada tradition. Christians account for about 6 percent of the population and Catholics for about 1 percent. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is best known in the West through the figure of Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize, currently Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country. Recently, news from Myanmar has also reported on Western media about perpetuated UN human rights violations against the Muslim minority of the Rohingya, forced to flee and seek shelter in Bangladesh. Just last Sunday at the Angelus, Pope Francis again appealed to help these populations.

Prior to Francis, St. John Paul II visited Bangladesh on November 19, 1986 as part of a longer apostolic pilgrimage including Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, the Seychelles and Singapore. During this trip, the Pontiff celebrated Mass with priestly ordination and gave a talk to various members of the Catholic Church in the country. He also met a Delegation of the Church in Burma.

Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority country, which gained independence through a secession from Eastern Pakistan in 1971. It is among the countries with the highest population density in the world. Christians are about 0.5 percent and Catholics 0.3. In the Consistory of November 19, 2016, Pope Francis created the first Cardinal of Bangladesh, in the name of Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka.

This apostolic journey also presents itself as a journey to the outskirts of the outgoing Church, towards the geographical and existential peripheries, which Pope Francis made us accustomed to. He is returning to Asia after apostolic journeys to the Republic of Korea (2014), and the Philippines and Sri Lanka (2015), as well as to the Holy Land and Turkey (2014) and Central Asia – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia (2016).


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Migrants: the “lepers” of today

 

The Book of Leviticus tells us that not only were lepers banned from their villages, they also had to shout out «Unclean, unclean!» as they approached, to warn others of their presence. This mark of infamy was something that affected them deeply, that scarred their very conscience, to the point of becoming a sort of second nature, something they themselves accepted. We can project this contrast between the village and the leper through the centuries to our own day and age. Today, we are the village, our communities, the old Western countries, our economic system gone mad, even our Church, at times, when it becomes clericalised and unable to reach out, like Pope Francis would like it to do.

But our Western society, despite claiming to be inspired by the great principles of equality and fraternity, which are dear to the tradition of the Enlightenment, which was born and developed in Europe, the heartland of Christianity, seems to be living a huge lie. Apparently, it is willing to integrate outcasts (migrants, illegal immigrants, the homeless, convicts …) into the European and western village, but effectively it is unable to do so. And why is this? Because it should be looking into itself and questioning itself, its actions, what it is becoming and exporting to other regions of the world, but it doesn’t have the guts, or better, we don’t have the guts, to do so.

Migrants are the lepers of the twenty-first century, of the here and now. Society has no greater places of exclusion than the so-called “reception” camps, which, at times, are nothing less than modern-day “lagers”, places where we can confine and conceal our hypocrisy and our selfishness.

Extending the boundaries of our village to make room for the outcasts, updating its rules, becoming a true global village – this is the path that the Pope, today, has shown us once again, with his highly symbolic, yet also very concrete, visit. Because the Pope has said that he wants to give voice to those with no say in society, who are prisoners of an uncertain, even horrible, future … Extending the borders, knocking down the walls, globalising solidarity: these are the last scraps of dignity we can hang on to.

The world and the christless or, worse, listless and indifferent, West, prey to individualistic spiritualist fads, without a shred of charitable empathy, incapable of sharing and donating, must know that Jesus himself was cast out, rejected, forsaken. The Messiah himself, he who was awaited by the prophets (and not by the powerful, or those who just wanted vengeance), like a discarded stone. The child Jesus and the Holy Family of Nazareth lived like migrants, even refugees we might say, for many years before being able to return to their homeland.

Today Pope Francis has reminded us once again, with ever greater strength, that Jesus came to awaken the conscience of the outcasts of today, urging them to stop considering themselves as legitimately cast out, because God is on their side and they must never lose hope. Woe, instead, unto the inhabitants of the village, if they shut themselves inside their walls: woe to the Scribes and Pharisees of today.

Jesus has – once and for all – sanctioned the collapse of the rock on which the enclosed village is built, adorned with its modern evanescent and empty temples: “Not a stone will be left here standing”, unless it becomes a global, caring and open village, open to everybody in the name of our common humanity. We ask the Lord to give us the humility and courage to flatten the walls of the camp, open its gates and extend its boundaries, otherwise we ourselves, and our children before us, will be overcome and stifled by the unassailable fortresses we have raised.


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Exemplary servants of the gospel

Pope Francis pilgrim on the road of Father Mazzolari e Father Milani

In Bozzolo, Pope Francis was welcomed by the Bishop of Cremona, Monsignor Antonio Napolioni, who immediately announced that the process to beatify Don Primo Mazzolari will start on 18th September next.  The Pope then went to the Parish of Saint Peter’s to pray on the tomb of Don Primo Mazzolari where he made a truly memorable address speaking, among other things, of the  “magisterium of the parish priests”.

In Barbiana he was welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence and where he also wished to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani on the fiftieth anniversary of his death.  In church he met the Prior of Barbiana’s students and then gave a commemorative address in the forecourt of Don Lorenzo’s vicarage which will be very difficult to forget. His educative passion represented faithfulness to the Gospel and to all those who were entrusted to his care, said the Pope.  He then added: “today, the Bishop of Rome recognizes in that life an exemplary way of serving the Gospel, the poor and the Church; take Don Lorenzo’s torch and carry it onwards”.

Don Primo Mazzolari and Don Lorenzo Milani, are ” two priests who offer us a message which we truly need today”, said Pope Francis last Sunday during the Angelus prayer.

Recently, from many places in and outside the Church there have been various analyses and comments on this pilgrimage of the Pope.  Some have spoken of “rehabilitation”, others of “homage” for two priests who were always in the front line of their ministry.  Whatever the right interpretation, it is a good thing to leave room for the facts.  Pope Francis knelt before two great protagonists of the Church and Italian society in the twentieth century, recognizing in them a Church which placed itself at the service of the poor and announced the Mercy of Christ for everyone.  

This act of kneeling is of strong symbolic importance.  As we all know very well, Don Mazzolari and Don Milani were not short of “enemies”, as today there is no shortage of these for Pope Francis. They are enemies of  various origin, especially ecclesial ones and among these there are those who, at the first breath of wind, change flags, ready to change again whenever necessary. It’s like listening once more to the story of St. Paul when he recounts his experience of: “perils among false brethren”    ( 2Cor 11,26).  Opposition to the Church of the Poor and the Last is very active on the web and in some traditionalist blogs.  They accuse the Pope today, as they accused Don Primo and Don Lorenzo yesterday, of having thrown the Church into doctrinal, moral and pastoral confusion. Curiously, these blogs speak to each other, quote each other almost as if they were young Fathers of the Church. In reality, it is these defenders of an old church,  a church that no longer exists, who are in confusion today, who have been an elitist community for much too long, without any  sensitivity and  ignoring different voices, ignoring the poor. During the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, some lay and clerical pseudo Catholics reduced a part of the Church to a cavern of thieves  behind the backs of the two Popes, carrying on their business intrigues with the powerful people of the times, betraying the Gospel for a few pence; scheming with both the gay and financial lobbies, contracting out all evangelization work to the ecclesial movements, humiliating the parishes and the people of God; pseudo Catholics who defend principles by which they do not live and judge the dramas of people to whom they don’t listen, with whom they share nothing.

It is of paramount importance that we return immediately to the Church of Mazzolari, Milani and Pope Francis who divulge the Gospel with the Spirit of the Council, to attract not to proselytize.

It is with the strength of the prayer of Jesus and the Church as a whole that Pope Francis is undertaking his pastoral mission to bear witness to his brothers in the faith. He started off, as we all know, from the “outskirts”, from the island of Lampedusa, indicating to the world the centrality of both physical and existentialist outskirts.

Today, in Bozzolo and Barbiana, Pape Francis affirmed that the eye of the needle through which we need pass in order to speak to God is the outcast.   Every day, the cries of the outcast strike us, louder and louder,  “overturning” our Church pews, calling our attention back to essential things.

The Pope reminds us that the “Good News” of Jesus is not a new philosophy but the answer to the desire of all men throughout the ages: to be loved and free from slavery.

Whoever cures the wounds of the world, defends his people, teaches true freedom, excludes no-one a priori, is in the very heart of God.

Pope Francis, who came from the “end of the world”, today turned his face towards the entire world and the entire Catholic Church by indicating these two priests as models of the Gospel.

The Gospel reminds us that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep. Pope Francis has made the “ odour of the sheep” the perfume of all missionary works. And it is the odour of the sheep, says Pope Francis, which can reawaken the Church, people’s suffering and solitude, their desire for life and redemption, the frontier on which to build the field hospital which is the Church.

Let us thank the Lord for the gift of Don Primo and Don Lorenzo and let us ask the Spirit to give us the strength to carry on teaching the Gospel with their courage and coherence.  Let us also ask the same Spirit go give us the humility to ask for forgiveness, as baptized persons, as lay persons, as priests and as the Italian Church, from these two great witnesses of Christ.

From today onwards, after this pilgrimage made by Pope Francis, unless the Italian Church, and indeed the entire Catholic Church, follows in the footsteps of Don Mazzolari and Don Milani, it will be a Church that disobeys the Spirit and Peter.