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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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! […]“First of all, I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him ( the prayers Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory to the Father were then recited). And now let us begin this journey, the 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 without gloss” (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».

 


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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.