By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To
follow the path of Christ means to serve the poor and the downtrodden while not turning Christian
virtues simply into ideas and humanitarian endeavors, Pope Francis said.
"In them, you touch and
serve the flesh of Christ and grow in union with him, while always keeping watch so that faith does
not become an ideology and charity is not reduced to philanthropy so that the
church doesn't end up becoming an NGO," the pope told members of the general chapter of
the Little Work of Divine Providence May 27.
Founded by St. Luigi Orione,
the order is comprised of two religious congregations -- the Orionine Fathers and the
Little Missionary Sisters of Charity -- who care primarily for the sick, the elderly and
people with learning disabilities.
The pope encouraged the
religious congregations to follow the example of their founder, who sought to
heal the wounds of people
in need of "bread for the body and the divine consolation of
"With Don Orione, I also
exhort you to not remain closed in your surroundings, but to go out. There is
much need of priests and religious who do not remain solely in charitable
institutions -- albeit necessary -- but who also know how to go beyond their
own boundaries in order to bring to every environment, even the most distant, the perfume of
Christ's charity," the pope said.
Pope Francis also called on
them to not lose sight of the "church's mission to bring God's mercy to
all without distinction."
Their service to the church,
he said, will be all the more effective by taking care of their personal
commitment to Christ and their own spiritual formation.
By "giving a witness to
the beauty" of consecrated life, the Little Work of Divine Providence can
offer an example of the "good life of the religious servants of Christ and
the poor," especially to younger generations, the pope said.
"Life begets life; a
holy and happy religious person can inspire new vocations," Pope Francis
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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Carol GlatzVATICAN
CITY (CNS) -- The former secretary to a saint and the oldest member of the
College of Cardinals died May 26 at the age of 100.
Cardinal Loris Capovilla, who served St. John XXIII before and after he became
pope, died in Bergamo, near Milan.
Capovilla was born in Pontelongo, Italy, on Oct. 14, 1915, and ordained to the priesthood in 1940.
journalist before starting to work for the future saint, he was an energetic
and eloquent storyteller, drawing on his remarkable and vividly detailed memory.
the freshly named patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, chose
37-year-old Father Capovilla as his private secretary in 1953, a
skeptical adviser told the cardinal -- who would become Pope John XXIII -- that
the priest looked too sickly to bear the strain of his new job.
the cardinal outlived his employer by half a century and was a dedicated custodian
of his legacy, running a small museum dedicated to the saint's memory in the
late pope's native town of Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII, near Milan.
friend and confidant, he was by the pope's side during a pivotal point in the
church and the world's history: for the launch of the Second Vatican Council
and the escalation of political and military tensions of the Cold War.
turned many of his stories into numerous writings, including a memoir published
in English as "The Heart and Mind of John XXIII."
papal secretary also served Pope Paul VI for a time after his election,
following St. John's death in 1963. He was made archbishop of Chieti-Vasto in
1967 and appointed prelate of Loreto in 1971, retiring in 1988.
Francis made him the world's oldest living cardinal when he elevated him to the
College of Cardinals in 2014 at the age of 98.
observers saw the honor as an indirect tribute to Pope John, whom Pope Francis canonized
just one month later.
the then-cardinal-designate told Catholic News Service at the time, in a
telephone conversation, that his elevation was a "sign of attention to all
those thousands of priests around the world who have spent their lives in
silence, in poverty, in obedience, happy to serve God and our humble people,
who need, as Pope Francis continually says, tenderness, friendship, respect and
love."In a telegram May 27 to the bishop of Bergamo, Pope Francis offered his condolences and expressed his affection for "this dear brother who, in his long and fruitful life, gave witness to the Gospel with joy and meekly served the church."He praised the late cardinal's attentive and caring service to St. John as well as for being the "dedicated custodian" of his historical memory and "valid interpreter" of his ministry. The pope said Cardinal Capovilla had always been fully dedicated to the well being of priests and the faithful, reflecting "a firm devotion to the direction of the Second Vatican Council."Cardinal Capovilla's
death leaves the College of Cardinals with 213 members, 114 of whom are under
the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- A Corpus Christi procession should honor
Christ's gift of himself in the Eucharist, but also should be a pledge to share
bread and faith with the people of the cities and towns where the processions
take place, Pope Francis said.
Just as the "breaking of the bread" became the
icon of the early Christian community, giving of oneself in order to nourish
others spiritually and physically should be a sign of Christians today, the
pope said May 26, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
On a warm spring evening, the pope's celebration began with Mass
outside Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran and was to be followed by a traditional
Corpus Christi procession from St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary
Major, one mile away. Hundreds of members of parish and diocesan confraternities
and sodalities -- dressed in blue, brown, black or white capes and robes --
joined the pope for Mass and would make the nighttime walk to St. Mary Major
for eucharistic benediction with him.
"May this action of the eucharistic procession, which
we will carry out shortly, respond to Jesus' command," he said in his
homily. The procession should be "an action to commemorate him; an action
to give food to the crowds of today; an act to break open our faith and our
lives as a sign of Christ's love for this city and for the whole world."
In every celebration of the Eucharist, the pope said, the
people place simple bread and wine into "poor hands anointed by the Holy
Spirit" and Jesus "gives us his body and his blood."
The people's gifts are an important part of the process,
just as they were when Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish,
Pope Francis said.
"Indeed," he said, "it is Jesus who blesses
and breaks the loaves and provides sufficient food to satisfy the whole crowd,
but it is the disciples who offer the five loaves and two fish."
"Jesus wanted it this way," he said. Rather than
letting the disciples send the people away to find food, Jesus wanted the
disciples to "put at his disposal what little they had."
"And there is another gesture: The pieces of bread,
broken by the holy and venerable hands of Our Lord, pass into the poor hands of
the disciples, who distribute these to the people," Pope Francis said.
The miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish, he
said, "signals what Christ wants to accomplish for
the salvation of all mankind, giving his own flesh and blood. And yet this
needs always to happen through those two small actions: offering the few loaves
and fish which we have; receiving the bread broken by the hands of Jesus and
giving it to all."
Later in the Mass, a couple with four children and a
grandmother with her three grandchildren brought the gifts of bread and wine to
the pope for consecration.
Pope Francis urged the crowd gathered on the lawn outside
the basilica to consider all the holy men and women throughout history who have
given their lives, "'broken' themselves," in order to nourish others.
"How many mothers, how many fathers, together with the
slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken
their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well," he said. "How
many Christians, as responsible citizens, have broken their own lives to defend
the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those
The source of strength for such given, he said, is found in
"the Eucharist, in the power of the risen Lord's love, who today too breaks
bread for us and repeats: 'Do this in remembrance of me.'"- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Paulo Cunha, EPABy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
met the press in 2000 for the formal release of the so-called Third Secret of
Fatima, he said he knew many people would be disappointed.
Almost 16 years later, at the beginning of a yearlong
preparation for the 100th anniversary of the apparition of our Lady of Fatima
in 2017, now-retired Pope Benedict XVI is still dealing with people not
convinced the secret is really out.
An online journal called OnePeterFive published an article
May 15 claiming that shortly after then-Cardinal Ratzinger released the secret
and his commentary, affirming that it was the complete text, he told a German
priest that, in fact, it was not.
"There is more than what we published," the
article claimed the cardinal told Father Ingo Dollinger. The article went
further: "He also told Dollinger that the published part of the secret is
authentic and that the unpublished part of the secret speaks about 'a bad
council and a bad Mass' that was to come in the near future."
A statement released May 21 by the Vatican press office said
Pope Benedict "declares 'never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger
about Fatima,' clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor
Dollinger on the matter 'are pure inventions, absolutely untrue,' and he
confirms decisively that 'the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is
The Vatican's publication of "The Message of
Fatima" in 2000 included a photocopy of the text handwritten in 1944 by
Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last survivor of the three children who
saw Mary at Fatima in 1917.
naturally swirls around secrets, and when a secret is held for decades, the assumptions
gain ground and followers.
The common message of Marian apparitions throughout the
centuries has been: pray and convert. But a message read only by a few popes
and their closest aides? There
had to be something more to it to justify keeping it so secret, many
When Cardinal Ratzinger presented the text in the Vatican
press office June 26, 2000, he told reporters that the choice of St. John XXIII and
Blessed Paul VI to withhold publication and St. John Paul II's decision to
delay it was not a "dogmatic decision but one of prudence.''
But, he said, "looking back, I would certainly say that
we have paid a price'' for the delay, which allowed the spread of apocalyptic
theories about its contents.
Meeting the press that day, the first words out of his mouth were: "One who
carefully reads the text of the so-called third secret of Fatima will probably be
disappointed or surprised after all the speculation there has been."
The text, he said, uses "symbolic language" to
describe "the church of the martyrs of the century now past,"
particularly the victims of two world wars, Nazism and communism.
But what was most difficult for many to believe after the
secret spent more than 40 years in a Vatican vault was what the text did not
contain. "No great mystery is revealed," Cardinal Ratzinger said.
"The veil of the future is not torn."
In a 1996 interview with Portugal's main Catholic radio
station, the cardinal -- who already had read the secret -- tried the
reasonable, tradition-based approach to pointing out what was and was not in
the message. "The Virgin does not engage in sensationalism; she does not
create fear," he said. "She does not present apocalyptic visions, but
guides people to her Son."
Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI five years after
the text was published. If there was more to the secret, he had eight years of
complete freedom as supreme pontiff to share what supposedly was withheld.
Marianist Father Johann Roten, a former student of then-Father
Joseph Ratzinger who for years headed the Marian Research Institute at the
University of Dayton, said there is "no doubt there is truth" in what
many Fatima devotees see as
"the moral decline in the church."
"The difficulty is in the method" many of them
choose to convince others of the need for conversion and prayer, Father Roten
said in an email response to questions.
"The method tends to be magico-ritualistic, based on
the conviction that a particular act," such as the consecration of Russia
performed in a particular way, "will solve all problems," he said.
"Apparitions always stress the message of Christ,"
Father Roten said. Mary urges "prayer, conversion and practical
manifestations of one's faith."
"Warnings are part of the message, not always, but
especially in times of imminent social catastrophe," including Fatima
before the Russian Revolution, he said. "Unfortunately, these general
messages are frequently overlooked. Instead the attention is given to
sensationalism -- a rosary turning golden -- or apocalypticism -- doomsday
warnings -- which never represent the essential part and reasons of such
Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Fatima in 2010,
Pope Benedict repeated what he had said 10 years earlier: The text was open to
interpretation, but the heart of the Fatima message was a call "to ongoing
conversion, penance, prayer and the three theological virtues: faith, hope and
Yes, he said, the church constantly is under attack -- "attacks
from within and without -- yet the forces of good are also ever present and, in
the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the
visible, motherly guarantee of God's goodness, which is always the last word in
- - -
Editors: The Vatican's publication of "The Message of
Fatima," including the photocopies of Sister Lucia's original description
of the "secret" is still available online at: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html.
- - -
Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via ReutersBy Doreen Abi RaadBEIRUT (CNS) -- Lebanese leaders
in Muslim-Christian dialogue said they hoped Pope Francis' meeting with Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of
al-Azhar University, would lead to new relationships.
Maronite Father Fadi Daou, chairman of Adyan, a foundation for
interfaith studies and spiritual solidarity based in Lebanon, told Catholic
News Service that he hopes the meeting will be the forerunner
to a "new dimension of interreligious relations."
Mohammad Sammak, secretary-general of Lebanon's
Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue, said the meeting likely would "open
a new page of cooperation on the basis of building real citizenship -- equal
citizenship -- between Christians and Muslims all over the Middle East."
"For sure this is a very
important meeting, not only because it is the first of its kind in history that
the grand imam of al-Azhar visits the Vatican and is received by the Holy
Father, but the timing in itself is very important," Sammak said.
"First, because it came
after a misunderstanding between al-Azhar and the Vatican and secondly, because
Muslims are in urgent need to show the whole world that Islam is open and to
clarify the bad image of Islam that has erupted because of the incidents in the
Middle East," Sammak said.Established in 1998, the formal
dialogue between al-Azhar and the Vatican started to fray in 2006, after
now-retired Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany. Al-Azhar
officials and millions of Muslims around the world said the speech linked Islam
Al-Azhar halted the talks
altogether in 2011 after the former pope said Christians in the Middle East
were facing persecution.Sammak emphasized that the
Vatican took the "initiative to make this meeting happen" May 23.
Father Daou said although no
common declaration was issued, the meeting "in itself is a symbol, after
10 years of distance and in a current context of a rise of extremism, as it
joins the grand imam of al-Azhar, known for his openness to Christianity, and a
pope that has taken positions toward overcoming Islamophobia and welcoming
"The meeting's agenda
indicates that the concern for peace and security prevailed in the discussion,
more than the interfaith and Christian-Muslim dialogue and relations,"
Father Daou said from Istanbul, where he was attending the World Humanitarian
Al-Azhar is considered the most
authoritative theological-academic institution of Sunni Islam.
Father Daou said he hoped the
meeting would reactivate the relationship between al-Azhar and the Vatican, to
consider "the most pressing questions today, namely the preservation of
living together and the promotion of the values of citizenship inclusive of
religious and cultural diversity. This should help in transforming the common
principles and concerns declared at the meeting to a common agenda for
The priest noted that "al-Azhar
has been working for ... years in the direction of new Islamic positions
concerning state, religion and politics and diversity."
"Collaboration with the Vatican
on this level can only add to the weight of the positions promulgated by this
most important Islamic Sunni authority worldwide," he said.
Both men pointed to a December
2014 al-Azhar conference on confronting extremism and terrorism. Father Daou
said the conference "clearly opted for citizenship and democracy and not
for a Muslim state, stating that 'any political system that fulfills ...
primordial human values ... is a system that receives legitimacy from the
sources of Islam.'"
Sammak said the conference
discussed "how we can build our societies again and how we can fight
together -- Christians and Muslims -- extremism and terror in the Middle East,
which is targeting Christians as well as Muslims."
"That's why I hope this
meeting (at the Vatican) will open a new page between the two institutions --
the Vatican and al-Azhar," he said.
Sammak said he expected that
now, al-Azhar "will speak to other Muslim organizations and ... include
more Muslim organizations -- Sunni and Shiite, Arabs and non-Arabs -- within
the framework of Christian-Muslim cooperation with the Vatican and through the
Sammak referred to the May 23
meeting as "the fourth opportunity."
"There have been three
previous opportunities that Muslims did not deal very well with," he said,
calling the first opportunity the Second Vatican Council.
"Vatican II opened new
bridges with Islam. But the Muslim world did not realize the importance of this
initiative then," Sammak explained.
The second opportunity, Sammak
said, was when St. John Paul II convened the 1995 Synod of Bishops for Lebanon.
"The document that came out
of the synod about Lebanon is not (only) about Lebanon itself, but about
Lebanon as a message of coexistence for the Arab world. This wasn't really well
understood and well-received," Sammak said. He said the third opportunity
was the 2010 Synod of Bishops on the Middle East.
Sammak said he hopes Vatican II
documents "will be reread and implemented, and Muslims should really
understand their relations with the Vatican .... The two synods -- about
Lebanon and the Middle East -- are very essential and very important in the
sense that there are many key positions that we should know and understand and
build our own future accordingly." - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.