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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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.

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The priest celebrates the Resurrection and accompanies the pain of the world

Celebrations for the Jubilee of priests chaired by Pope Francis

Fr. Francesco Pesce

In these two days which see the celebration of the Jubilee of priests, priesthood is at the centre of our prayer. In the Roman canon we read: “You who wanted to accept the gift of Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham our Father in faith, the pure and holy oblate of Melchisedek your high priest”.

The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus is priest according to Melchisedek, not because He belonged to cast. It would be tragic if priesthood belonged to a cast, as sometimes history showed, to the cast of warriors and merchants.

The Book of Genesis gives the description of the encounter between Abraham and Melchisedek. I believe from this meeting on the mountain we can draw several points of reflections on priesthood. Abraham had just come back winner in an epic battle to free his nephew, Lot. Melchisedek welcomes him and offers him bread and wine. Abraham bows to this King. The priest must have authority, be hospitable, be able to share and give. Melchisedek was king of Jerusalem, city of peace. The priest must also be a man of peace. “Christ our piece” will say Saint Paul. Pope Francis has again given new emphasis to a non aggressive Church, fighting against everybody or in a continuing state of defence because it is attacked by the outside world.

Melchisedek then blesses Abraham: “Blessed be Abraham by God, highest creator of heaven and earth”. A priest is the man of blessing and this blessing carries on for all the people and for all the times. Nor sin neither terrorism nor our sins can ever interrupt God’s blessing. It cannot be interrupted yet it reaches each man. Further the Scriptures say: “Blessed be God the Highest who placed in your enemies in your hands”.

Enemies are defeated by our blessings. Even more reason for the priest to be a man of dialogue, of patience, of mediation. With his good, blessing example (but clear and authoritative) scatters the aggressors and dissipates any argument.

Abraham rejects the war treasure: “I will take nothing, not even a string for the shoes”. A priest must be a poor man, in the true sense, living particularly trusting God, a man, a Christian, who hopes against all hopes.

Again a priest must be a pure man who celebrates the Eucharist that was celebrated on the mountain of Abraham and Melchisedek. “Whoever eats of my body and drinks my bloods will have eternal life and I will resurrect him the last day”. A priest man of the Eucharist who proclaims the resurrection, not death.

Lastly, the Letter to the Hebrews says : “He has taken upon himself weakness and because of it he must offer sacrifices for himself and for the whole people”. The priest is a man who enters into the pain of the world. This is the true universality of his ministry: it is our suffering, the world’s suffering.

Let’s come close to the pain of the world as priests who hold bread and wine. God is the bread and God is the wine: we, priests, must be bread and wine for others and we must be “the bread to eat” so that all men can get to Christ our Saviour.

A table without bread is just stone, just as the heart of a priest without mercy.