Church

Pope Francis Donates $1 Million to Iraqi Refugees

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has given $1 million as a personal contribution to help Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq who have been forced from their homes, according to his personal envoy to the country.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited Erbil as Pope Francis’ envoy from Aug. 12-20.
Erbil, where more than 70,000 Christians have fled from the Islamic State, is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and is within 50 miles of territory held by the Islamic State.
Cardinal Filoni met in private with Pope Francis the day after he returned to Rome and spoke to CNA Aug. 22.
Cardinal Filoni said he carried with him one-tenth of the Pope’s contribution and that “75% of the money was delivered to Catholics and the remaining 25% to the Yazidi community.”
The Islamic State is a recently established caliphate that has persecuted all non-Sunnis in its territory, which extends across swaths of Iraq and Syria.
“Pope Francis gave me a humanitarian mission, not a diplomatic mission, and this is what I always emphasized to Iraqi authorities,” Cardinal Filoni said.
The Pope’s decision to send a personal envoy to Iraq, the cardinal said, “meant to me that, if he had been able to go, he would have.”
Cardinal Filoni recounted that Pope Francis entrusted him with letters for Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and Iraqi President Fuad Masum, presenting him “as his personal envoy and expressing his concern for what Christians and minorities in general are suffering, because they have been uprooted from their lands and persecuted.”
The Islamic State has forced more than 1.2 million Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims from their homes in Iraq, under threat of death or heavy fines if they do not convert.
In the face of such violence, Cardinal Filoni said intervention to stop the aggressor is a legitimate option.
“The Church does not back any war. The right to defend one’s self is legitimate. But our Christians in Iraq have no arms. Therefore, it is necessary that someone — in this case, the legitimate authorities of the country — should defend minorities, especially those most in danger.”

Read more here.

 

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Church

Pope Francis Prays for Success of Initiative to Convert Anglicans

The above heading caught my attention on the inimitable Fr Z’s blog:

In the wake of the decision of the State tethered Church of England to have wyshyps (female bishops), the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham set up a “Exploration Day”.

You know that the Ordinariate was created according to the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, for Anglicans who want to be Catholic and want to retain their customs, liturgy, etc.

Benedict XVI is, of course, the Pope of Christian Unity.

Anglicans have a true home in the Catholic Church.

I just read this press release from the Ordinariate:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27.07.2014

Pope Francis Prays For Success of Ordinariate’s Exploration Day

Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’s forthcoming “Called To Be One” exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate’s purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.

The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

The full text of Archbishop Mennini’s letter reads as follows:

“At the request of the Secretariat of State, I have been asked to inform you that  the Holy Father Francis, on learning of the national day of exploration entitled “Called to be One”, organised by the various Groups of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and due to take place on Saturday 6 September 2014, wishes to convey his good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion and presentation of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel in Great Britain”.

The Nuncio ends with his own prayerful good wishes for a very successful day.

Pope Francis’ blessing on the exploration day and Archbishop Mennini’s words of support for it follow a statement of welcome for the initiative from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In his capacity as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Cardinal said: “the Ordinariate both enriches the Catholic Church with Catholic aspects of the beautiful heritage and culture of Anglican patrimony and advances the cause of unity which must be the ultimate aim of all ecumenical activity… I wish you every success with this initiative. I hope it will attract many interested enquirers”.

Last week Mgr Newton warmly invited all those who are interested in the Ordinariate to attend the exploration day “whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do” . Mgr Newton’s invitation came in his response to the Church of England General Synod’s decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. In the same statement Mgr Newton said that, though that decision was a very happy one for many within the Church of England, it made the position undeniably harder for those within the Anglican Church who still longed for unity with Rome.

The Ordinariate was set up by Pope Benedict in 2011 to make it possible for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to do so, bringing with them much of the heritage and traditions of Anglicanism. Pope Benedict described these as “treasures to be shared”. On the exploration day, each of the 40 or so Ordinariate groups across the country will host a different event, with the common theme of the vision for Christian unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate.

I am glad to hear of Pope Francis’ prayers for the success of this initiative to help Anglicans come into the Catholic Church.

As Benedict, so Francis.

There is also a comment (with a link) which will be of interest to readers of this blog on the status of the Church of Torres Strait here.

 

Church

Day of Prayer for Benedict XVI

And missed he is.

To mark the first anniversary of the end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, 2014, the Italian blog “La Vigna del Signore” (The Vineyard of the Lord) has launched a “Day of Prayer for Pope Benedict.”The organizers say it is a “way to remember and celebrate the historic resignation from the Petrine ministry of Pope Ratzinger, praying with and for Benedict.”

Anyone can take part in the prayer at any time of the day, offering a special intention for the Pope emeritus…

They can stop for a short personal prayer, or choose moments when Benedict XVI usually prays during the day: 7.00 Mass / 7:30 Morning Prayer, Office of Readings and Midday Prayer, 12:00 Angelus and Midday Prayer, 15:00 Rosary, 18:00 to 19:00 Vespers, Compline 22:30.

The organizers of the initiative, launched on Facebook, are also preparing an online brochure with the texts of all the prayers of the day, along with a special recitation of the Rosary. The meditations on the mysteries will be taken from the Magisterium of Benedict XVI.

On the NET:

Day of Prayer for Benedict XVI on Facebook. (Italian)

Pope Benedict XVI (Reuters / Tony Gentile)

 

Church

Pope Francis vs. Pope Benedict’s First One Hundred Speeches: A Data Analysis

pope francis pope benedict speech

The Huff Post has the interesting comparison:

Pope Benedict’s unexpected resignation was one of the biggest religion stories of 2013, but the surprises didn’t end there for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis’ short papacy has already captured the world’s attention in the span of less than a year, as the humble pontiff’s direct statements and pastoral manner shifted the tone of the Church in an unprecedented way.

Though Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus occupied the same office, they brought different strengths to the seat of power, and their unique approaches become clear when comparing their first one hundred speeches as Pope to each other.

Data journalist Chris Walker conducted a word frequency analysis on the first hundred speeches of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict to get a visual representation of their priorities.

pope francis pope benedict

Walker analyzed word frequencies in Pope Francis’ first 104 speeches from March 2013 to November 2013, and in Pope Benedict’s first 102 speeches between April 2005 and November 2005, only using official speeches with English translations.

Larger words denote higher frequencies of use, and Walker removed the top five words used by both popes in order to better discern differences between the remaining words. Those five words were “God, Jesus, Lord, Christ, and Church.”

Though both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict used many of the same common words in their speeches, their differences become much more apparent when examining the words that each Pope emphasized. Words appearing in the word cloud below were used at least 50% more often when compared to the other Pope.

emphasis

Walker told The Huffington Post, “I wanted to see how Francis’ anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist worldview took shape in his first hundred speeches as pope.”

His website says:

Francis clearly emphasized poverty and poor far more. Interestingly, he also invoked the words cross, courage, and flesh far more than his predecessor did. This suggests he referred in his speeches far more often to the example and sacrifice of Jesus. Importantly, Francis also emphasized women much more than Benedict XVI.Benedict XVI’s language showed emphasis on more terms relevant to the Catholic Church as an institution: apostolic, apostles, priests, ecclesial, diocese, parish, etc. He also used more words indicating the formal address of a diplomat; the words cordial and cordially stick out, as well as collaboration and country…

The whole piece is here.

 

Church

Pope Benedict: God Told Me To Do It

And missed, he is. The Telegraph reports:

“God told me to do it,” the 86-year-old former pontiff told a friend, six months after his decision to step down shocked the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

God had implanted in his heart the “absolute desire” to resign and to devote himself to a life of prayer and reflection, Benedict told the anonymous confidante, according to Zenit, a Rome-based Catholic news agency.

“It was not because of any type of apparition or phenomenon of that sort,” he said, but instead the result of a “mystical experience” received during “a direct rapport with the Lord”.

He said the more he sees the “charisma” of Pope Francis, his successor, the more he is convinced that it was “the will of God” that he became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

Francis, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, has won huge popularity with his down-to-earth and direct style, renouncing many of the trappings of office, visiting a favela slum during his week-long trip to Brazil last month and calling for a “poor Church”.

The conversation between Benedict and the confidante took place in Mater Ecclesiae, the former convent within the walls of the Vatican that has been converted into a retirement home for the German former pope.

Vatican sources confirmed the veracity of the report but declined to reveal the identity of the person that Benedict spoke to.

“The report is reliable, without a doubt, although this is not an official Vatican statement or position,” an insider told The Daily Telegraph.

Benedict surprised the world, including cardinals and close aides within the Vatican, when he unexpectedly announced his intention to resign on Feb 11.

He made the announcement during a gathering of cardinals in the Vatican, choosing to deliver the bombshell in Latin.

Many of the cardinals did not immediately understand what he had said, but the news was picked up by a sharp-eared correspondent from Ansa, the Italian news agency, who happened to be well versed in Latin and landed herself a worldwide scoop.

Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, left the Vatican for the last time as Pope just over two weeks later, flying off in a white helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, a hilltop castle outside Rome used as a papal retreat during the hot summer months.

Pope Francis was elected as the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years, and the first from the Americas, during a secret conclave of 115 cardinals in March.

Benedict returned to live in the Vatican in May, saying that he would remain “hidden from the world”, devoting the rest of his life to prayer and theological study…