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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Joy, praise, Love: The Pontificate of Francis

Today, March 13th, five years have passed since Pope Francis sits on the Chair of St. Peter and it shines with a unique light that manifests the working of the Spirit in the Church.

Evangelii Gaudium   Laudato Sì    Amoris Laetitita  Joy, Praise and Love. The very names of  Pope Francis’ magisterial documents give one clear insight to understanding the faith in God and the trust in man that inhabit the priestly heart of Francis. A compelling biblical joy emerges: “I announce to you a great joy that will be of the entire people”.  A joy that has entered the world and that is not reserved only to an exclusive elite of “pure”.

The one who speaks always and only of “doctrine” and separates it from the Gospel, which is its foundation, is a sad Christian and cannot be a credible witness. The disciples teach, first of all, with love, by accepting people as they are, by journeying with them, correcting them as a father would, but above all by contagiously attracting them through their coherent and joyful witness of Christian life.

If we do not “give up looking for those personal or communitarian remedies or fixes that permit us to maintain a distance from the crux of the human drama” (AL), we can not understand the “drama” of the Kerigma; the Kerigma is not a doctrine but a narrative that unfolds. Announcing the Gospel without personal involvement is an illusion, it is not only useless, but counterproductive. Without the smell of the sheep, the Shepherd is no longer a shepherd and becomes a wolf, he smells only of incense and of ink, he no longer wears the dirty clothes proper to the shepherd, but rather cloaks of the Constantinian era, which the sheep will not recognize.

Let’s go over some significant moments of the ministry of Pope Francis. At the end of October 2017, Pope Francis was in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation together with the Lutheran World Federation.

In 2016, Francis, Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church, and Kirill Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia (while signing a joint Declaration) embraced in Cuba. They did not propose an alliance, but pledged to walk together towards unity announcing Christ to the world. The Pope stresses that unity is realized by walking together.

Risultati immagini per papa Francesco immagini

Pope Francis has also undertaken with prudence and evangelical determination a path of reconciliation and dialogue with China. This process of  reconciliation and dialogue takes up the important steps of his predecessors in this direction, especially the Letter to the Chinese Catholics, which perhaps was already conceived under the Pontificate of John Paul II and brought to light by Benedict XVI, and presents to China, in the course of a long and tortuous journey, a Church of dialogue, of mutual respect,and of mercy, a Church where one looks and works on “what unites us, rather than on what divides us”.

Pope Francis, as the bishop of Rome, has also indicated the direction that the Church in Italy must undertake. He began his pilgrimage in Italy from Lampedusa paying homage to two great prophetic figures, led by the Spirit namely, Don Milani and Don Mazzolari. In the coming weeks Pope Francis will continue his  pilgrimage in the footsteps of Don Tonino Bello and don Zeno Saltini. In the ecclesial convention of Florence, Francis once again proposed his exhortation Evangelli Gaudium to all the Italian bishops as the principal instrument of evangelization.

We cannot forget the Jubilee of Mercy which began in one of the poorest countries in the world – the Central African Republic – offering the gift of opening the “Holy Door” not only in Rome, but throughout the world, in order to reach everyone, even those most distant.

“No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him” In other words, it is God who makes himself known through the Incarnate Word in the Son of Man, otherwise this God would not be the Christian God, but rather a concept, or even an ideological instrument, and one who doesn’t say anything to our heart. The people of God need pastors who are capable of touching the heart, they do not need instructions for use.  A warm heart is like clay, more easily malleable from which little by little masterpieces are formed; in contrast, a heart that is inhabited only by instructions for use may be beautiful on the exterior, but interiorily it does not palpitate or feel and thus cannot be molded in any way.

“But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God”. In a certain sense, we are not born children of God, but we become his children. One becomes a child of God by accepting Jesus and imitating his life of love, spelled out in the Beatitudes. Pope Francis has made the Church be confronted by the Gospel and invites all of us to be imitators of Christ.

The language of Christianity is a universal language. It is a language of unity, but not of uniformity. Pope Francis, guided by the Spirit, teaches us daily to speak this universal language, the language of love in the joy of the Lord who comes and to praise the great things he has done for us and continues to do for us.

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Towards the Synod on youth

The Preparatory Document of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “Young people, the faith and e vocational discernment” is guiding the process of preparation of the Pre-Synodal Meeting of March and the Synod of October.
As it is known, tche Holy Father wished to accompany this synodal journey with his personal letter to the youth of the whole world : “A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls” (the letter of Pope Francis to the young people).
By now the questionnaire of consultation, sent to the representative bodies by law (Synods of Bishops and Councils of the Hierarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Episcopal Conferences, Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and Union of Superior Generals) proved to be a very useful tool. There is also the great novelty of a consultation of all young people through an Internet site, with a questionnaire about their expectations and their lives. The answers to the two questionnaires formed the basis for the drafting of the “Instrumentum Laboris”(working instrument) which will be the point of reference for the discussion of the Synod. Once again Pope Francis amazes us and encourages us to be protagonists of the Gospel and authentic and courageous witnesses of Christian life. All the young people of the world are “summoned”; they are called to make their voices heard, too often suffocated by the world of adults.
I would also remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: “Teacher […] where are you staying?” He replied, “Come and see” (Jn 1:38-39; the letter of Pope Francis to the young people).
As the Vatican has announced already, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Pope Paul VI during the Synod of Bishops; a great gift for the youth of the world.
Let us begin this synodal journey knowing that the Lord calls us to follow Him with trust and passion, certainly He will always be with us during the journey.


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Pope Francis, “a gift from Benedict XVI”

Reflections on the Church of Francis five years on from the renunciation of Benedict XVI.

From 11th February until 13th March in the Year of Our Lord 2013, a strong wind of the Spirit blew over the Church and the Earth.

“Brothers and sisters, good evening! […]“And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer to our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him”. The prayers Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory to the Father were then recited. “And now, we take up this journey: Bishop and People.”

Thus, Francis, the new Bishop of Rome, received the complex legacy of Benedict XVI’s papacy

«Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered…»(Heb5,8). We may say that as Pontiff, Benedict XVI also learned obedience from the things which he suffered.  For many things in life we can have masters of all kinds. How many masters there are for politics, science, literature! But when we enter into the shadow of suffering there is no master because all voices cease. It is then that we learn, in obedience, – and in particular five years ago in Poe Benedict’s obedience – what it means to serve and not to serve the Church, what it means to love and not use the Church. Only the experience of suffering, of betrayal, in a word, Gethsemane, leads us to listen humbly to the voice of a love which is stronger than death.

Risultato immagine per papa Francesco e papa Benedetto

On that particular 11th February, “Professor Ratzinger” gave the Church and the World a great lesson; his last act of love as the Universal Pastor.

By his renunciation, Benedict XVI also provided the Spirit with the space in which to present us with the gift of Pope Francis, who has opened up a new era for the Church.

We know from the Gospels that Peter’s profession of faith, the rock upon which Jesus wanted to build His Church, was immediately “denied by the facts”. Jesus reproached Peter with harsh words because he did not accept the annunciation of the cross. At first, the Apostle was blessed by the Father but immediately afterwards he even became an obstacle, a stumbling block on the path towards Jesus. Peter and the others still had a long way to go, many things to understand.

The temptation is to follow a Christ without a cross but Jesus reminds us that His path is that of love and there is no real love without sacrificing oneself.

Pope Francis has taken Christ’s cross on his shoulders and takes it everywhere with him in the world, not as an ensign but indicating it as an instrument of salvation for all men.

The Pope is swimming against the current, he has an uphill battle. He tells us that only the love of Christ gives meaning and happiness to life. Every day, by his example he shows us that if we organize our life on love as Jesus did, our life will not be sterile but fertile.   He tells us that in the Eucharist, Jesus loses himself in order to find all of us.

Notwithstanding his witness of a Gospel “sine glossa” (or perhaps because of this?), the opposition to the Church of Francis, the Church of the poor and the least, is very active, also on the web and on certain traditionalist blogs. Often in an inept way thus invalidatings it, today they accuse the Pope of having cast the Church into doctrinal, moral and pastoral confusion. Curiously, these blogs speak to each other, they quote one another, they gather mutual strength from creating groups which remain minority groups – although what they come out with is very serious. They pose almost as the new Fathers of the Church. In reality they weigh like dust particles on the scales. Their tones and their arguments discredit them, but they are responsible for generating doubt and confusion among the People, above all among simple people and the lowly. But as the Gospel says, scandals must occur so that the true believers are revealed.

Pope Francis who came “from the end of the world” has today turned his attention to the entire world, to Christians, to other religions and naturally to the entire Catholic Church, indicating the Gospel as the safe route for the Church’s ship to sail and giving witness to it in his dialogue with believers in other faiths as well as non-believers, focusing “on what unites rather than what divides”.


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In frozen and loveless isolation

Pope Francis’ message for Lent

This year in his message for Lent, Pope Francis addresses believers and the men of good will: “I would like my invitation to extend beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church and reach all of you, men and women of good will, who are open to hearing God’s voice”. The Holy Father is asking everyone to be very careful about what can get in our way along the path of faith and life, in particular, says the Pope, the danger of our love growing cold. Dante Aligheri’s beautiful image  picturing Satan seated on a throne of ice is very striking: “he lives in frozen and loveless isolation”. In fact, the title of the Pope’s message refers to the Gospel according to Matthew – Mt24,12: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold”.

lent 2018

What shall we do then, says the Pope? “Perhaps we see deep within ourselves and all about us the signs I have just described.  But the Church, our mother and teacher, with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in this Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting”.

The Prophet Habakkuk had already cried out: “Why do you show me iniquity and look upon oppression?” Habakkuk’s cry belongs to many.  In many instances of life we are often victims and witnesses of iniquity, injustice and oppression of all kinds. It is also true that at times we are accomplices, by our silence or by turning our heads and looking the other way. The Prophet then listens to God’s answer:“ write the vision,  for the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie and though it tarry, wait for it because it will surely come ”. He concludes: “the righteous man shall live by his faith”. What is faith then?  It is that faith which gives us the strength to fight while awaiting His return.  In fact, we are living the Eucharist “until He shall come again” “waiting for His coming”. Then we must always remember that faith was not born from memory of Jesus, from someone who only told us about it..

Faith was born from a presence, not from a remembrance (without disturbing the sleep of the traditionalists who are living a Church of remembrance not presence). Christ shall return and we are waiting for him, but he is already present in the gift of the Spirit.  He stood in the midst of those who tell us about the Risen one in the Gospels. Jesus becomes a presence within a community able to sustain the fear, the danger, but I would say, above all, for eight days we also bear on our shoulders the incredulity, Thomas’s unbelief, his lack of faith and who knows of how many others. Thomas doubts, he does not believe and yet he stays within the community and nobody even thinks of chasing him away: he stays in a group which does not exclude him, sustains and does not isolate anybody.  How beautiful is the Church which welcomes and does not exclude or isolate anybody. A Church which, just like Jesus, is always waiting for you with open arms, indeed it comes looking for you, respectful even of our little faith and our fears.

We must all be very careful about parting too quickly from faith, hope and charity because deep down they are one thing only. Throughout history we have known men of faith who destroyed so much hope, especially that of the poor. We have known men of faith without charity who have killed other men.  It is also not a good thing to distinguish too rigidly between believers and unbelievers.  There are some who say they believe in God but they do not believe in man; others say they do not believe but serve man, especially the weak and the undefended. Only the Spirit can distinguish among them while we wait for the Truth.

For this reason must we  begin the Lenten journey with so much faith. “If at times the flame of Charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He always gives us a chance to begin loving anew”.


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Ever more rich ever more poor

Fr. Francesco Pesce

The British NGO Oxfam has recently published a new report on global wealth on the eve of the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos in the presence of many top world economists and politicians. «Reward work not wealth», is the title of the report using data prepared by Credit Suisse based on the latest information on the nouveau riche in China, Russia and India. The wealthiest 1% of the world population owns as much as the remaining 99% and their wealth continues to grow. Every day the arrival of a new billionaire is registered.

As Christians we have the duty, not only to give good witness but to speak out clearly. Riches are not the end the means in the hands of men; they have often become an iniquitous instrument because man has used wealth to dominate other men and subject entire populations to the power of the privileged few. We have even reached, in our history, the planned and calculated extermination of the poor, as the prophet Amos reminds us. Thanks to God the cultural progress of populations is increasing awareness about the need for a more equal distribution of global. Some international organizations and some of the more developed nations are fighting for new social equilibria but the battle is still a long and difficult one. Jesus invited his disciples to be “shrewd” in managing wealth. He asks each one of us to have a different relationship with riches both on an individual and community level. Indeed, it is for this reason that a personal charitable gesture is not enough, we must act to ensure that wealth becomes an instrument of liberation and reconciliation among peoples. This is the substance of the Gospel which is by its very nature a social reality. History teaches us that many have become estranged from the Church and the Faith because they have been shown a bad example in the use of money and wealth.   We have witnessed during the past years as Christians and citizens of the world two important facts. Pope Francis is showing us the concrete possibility of a poor Church for the poor; he is an extraordinary gift from the Lord, an example encouraging new conversion. Moreover, at the same time we are witnessing the fact that many poor people are – we could state it like this – going back to the Gospel, often hidden to them behind words of circumstance and humiliating charity. The poor today are aware that the Gospel is first and foremost for them and they are no longer willing to wait for their rights and their dignity. We have read and meditated carefully in this regard on the prophetical words of Father Mazzolari, a poor priest among the poor:”I have never counted the poor because the poor cannot be counted; the poor must be embraced, not counted. And yet there are those who keep statistics of the poor and are afraid of them; afraid of their patience which could also tire, afraid of their silence which could erupt into a scream, afraid of their complaints which could become a song, afraid of their rags which could become a flag, afraid of their tools which could become a barricade”. I believe this is already happening.


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Migrants and refugees, our brothers

 

World Day of migrants and refugees in 2018

“Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees” is the title of the Holy Father’s message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees to be celebrated on 14th January 2018. There are four, very clear verbs which commit the Church, National and International Institutions and all men of good faith to make urgent and daily efforts. At the beginning of his message, the Pope reminds us that the Book of Leviticus states : «You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God» ( Lv 19,34). Then Francis goes on to say: “Every stranger who knocks at our  door is an opportunity  to meet Jesus Christ who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age” (see Mt 25,35-43).

The encounter with Jesus today occurs in communion with our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters.     Our world, as we can clearly see, is invaded by people; they are sons and daughters, not foreigners; they are sons and daughters, not immigrants.

The presence of the Lord occurs more and more in the joint presence of all peoples; they do not arrive with empty hands but bring gifts, individual gifts obviously: they bring spirituality, culture, tradition and humanity. When talking about migration, people often speak of the Biblical Exodus.  Instead, it is an Epiphany, a manifestation  of the Lord who is coming.

The Pope also writes in his message “Integration is not assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or forget their own cultural identity. Rather contact with others leads to discovering their “secret”, to open towards them, to welcome their valid aspects and thus contributing to a greater mutual awareness. This is a lengthy process which aims to shape societies and cultures,  rendering them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to men”.

The Lord Jesus witnesses to us the paternity of God, who sent his Only Son to build the world according to the measures of love, where the lost sheep, the stone cast aside and the prodigal son are the objects of care, attention and charity of the Father. A father who desires that all shall be saved and  the dignity of all shall be recognized.

To be converted also means overcoming an antithesis between those inside and those outside, between those born in a territory and those who arrive there, and turn it into a synthesis which is that of love, in which we  go beyond ourselves and understand the sense of loss and bewilderment of many men and women.

International institutions continue to become more aware of the migratory phenomenon. The United Nations Summit which took place in New York on 19th September 2016, demonstrated the wish to intensify efforts in favor of migrants and refugees, to save their lives and protect their rights by sharing this responsibility on a global level.  For such purposes, the Member States undertook to draft and approve two Global Compacts by the end of2018, one dedicated to refugees and one to migrants.

The Church which has always reflected on the problem of migrants and refugees, most recently through the Migrants and Refugees Section (headed personally by the Pope) in the Vatican Department of Integral Human Development, has, after consulting various episcopal conferences and catholic NGO’s, drafted Twenty Points of Action  based on the so-called “good practices” , a concrete and implementable answer.

We must learn and understand and welcome all those who are suffering from war and hunger. We must seek out with courage among our “virtues” also that side of our character which  often takes after that of the Pharisees, in order to enter into another dimension of human fraternity based on reconciliation. It is not enough to use the Gospels as the basis of a strange etiquette: this is hypocrisy. We must eliminate all obstacles on the path to fraternity and make the House of the Father the house of all comers, no-one excluded.


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Great care for the family 

In  a “Motu Proprio” issued on 8th September and published yesterday, Pope Francis re-founded the Institute for Marriage and Family set up by Saint John Paul II.

The title of this pontifical document is “Summa Familiae Curaˮ (Great Care for the Family) and right at the start recalls the steps taken by the Church after the Bishops’ Synod in 1980 and the Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (On the Christian Family in the Modern World) promulgated in 1981, which gave a more definite form to the Pontifical Institute at the Lateran University.

Today, after two Synods on the family in 2014 and 2015 and after the publication of the Exhortation Amoris laetitia (The Joy of Love), the Church has reached, says Pope Francis «a renewed awareness of the Gospel of the family and the new pastoral challenges to which the Christian Community is called to respond».

On reading the Pope’s document, the great importance of this text and the centrality of the pastoral perspective do not escape us. The Pope talks of an indispensable requirement in his reflections on the family, saying that: “also at the level of academic formation the pastoral perspective and attention to the wounds of humanity must never be lacking”. We do:« well to focus on the concrete reality of the family», given the «anthropological-cultural changes that today influence all aspects of life and require a diversified and analytical approach» and «do not permit us to limit ourselves to pastoral and missionary practice that reflects forms and models of the past ».

A new way of looking at the reality of the family; looking with the eyes of the Spirit, looking with the eyes of the Church as a mother and not just a teacher.

The academic work of the Pontifical Institute, too, is broadening its horizons” both in relation to the new dimensions of the pastoral task and ecclesial mission and with reference to the developments in human sciences and anthropological culture in such a fundamental field for the culture of life».

No-one can question the beauty of the family as announced by the Church. This “Christian” family has contributed much to the good of society and the history of humanity. Now we are seeing that the institutions are creaking, that what once were our certainties and our ties are wavering, and these same sentiments are seeking new forms of expression. Where and how does the Christian family fit in to all this transformation? The foundations of the Christian family are not written on the stone tables of the law, but as Jesus said, the law of the Spirit is written on the “tables of our hearts”. For this reason, above all today, with the strength of the Spirit the Christian family can be an efficient witness to the beauty, the nobleness and profundity of its vocation. With all this in mind, let us now ask ourselves a question: Christian family, what can you tell us about yourself? Allow us to see the beauty and originality of your calling, let us feel the presence of the Lord in your midst. This is almost a silent appeal that the world is making to the Church. The problem is that often it is the Christian families who have lost the “taste of the salt”, they are no longer the “yeast” in the flour of history, no longer the light which illuminates the path. The birth rate in our Western World, the cradle of Christianity, is close to zero and this must make us all think deeply.

Pope Francis is once again is widening our outlook and reforming, rather re-founding an institute which, for a long time, was entrenched in principles often far from reality and refused any change. The Theological Institute will have: «the power to confer iure proprio on its students the following academic degrees: the Doctorate in Matrimonial and Family Sciences, the Master’s Degree in Matrimonial and Family Sciences and the Diploma in Marriage and Family Sciences».