IMAGE: CNS photo/Sam Lucero, The CompassBy Cindy WoodenQUEBEC CITY (CNS) -- Faith and films have been lifelong
obsessions for director Martin Scorsese, obsessions that he said have given him
moments of peace amid turmoil, but also challenges and frustrations that, in
hindsight, he will accept as lessons in humility.
"For me, the stories have always been about how we
should live who we are, and have a lot to do with love, trust and
betrayal," he said, explaining that those themes have been with him since
his boyhood spent in the rambunctious tenements of New York and in the peace of
the city's St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, where he was an altar server.
Scorsese spoke June 21 in Quebec City at a joint session of
the Catholic Press Association's Catholic Media Conference and the world
congress of Signis, the international association of Catholic media
professionals. That evening, both groups presented him with a lifetime achievement award for excellence in filmmaking.
Before Scorsese answered questions posed by author Paul Elie,
conference participants watched his film "Silence," which is based on
the novel by Shusaku Endo. The book and film are a fictionalized account of the
persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan; the central figures are Jesuit
missionaries, who are ordered to deny the faith or face death after witnessing the
death of their parishioners.
Although "Silence" was not nearly as controversial
as his 1988 film, "The Last Temptation of Christ," Scorsese said the
two films are connected and not just because an Episcopalian bishop gave him
Endo's book after seeing the 1988 film.
Even before filming began on "The Last Temptation of
Christ," which is based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis and explores the
human side of Jesus, people were writing letters to the studio and producers
complaining about plans to bring it to the big screen.
Recounting the story, Scorsese said a studio executive asked
him why he wanted so badly to make the film.
"To get to know Jesus better," Scorsese said he
blurted out. "That was the answer that came to mind. I didn't know what
else to say."
If one affirms that Jesus is fully divine and fully human,
he said, people should be able to look at his humanity.
But Scorsese told his Quebec City audience that his
explorations of who Jesus is and what faith really means were by no means
exhausted by "The Last Temptation of Christ."
"The journey is much more involved," Scorsese
said. "It's just not finished."
In reading Endo's novel, working on and off for two decades
to make the film and in finally bringing it to completion, Scorsese said he was
"looking for the core of faith."
The climax of the film is when one of the Jesuits gives in
and, in order to save his faithful who are being tortured, he tramples a
religious image. However, the character believes that act of official apostasy
is, in reality, a higher form of faith because, by sacrificing his own soul, he
is saving the lives of others.
"It's almost like a special gift to be called on to
face that challenge, because he is given an opportunity to really go beyond and
to really get to the core of faith and Christianity," Scorsese said.
In the end, the priest "has nothing left to be proud
of" -- not his faith or his courage -- and "it's just pure
selflessness," the director said. "It's like a gift for him."
"I think there is no doubt it is a believer's
movie," he said. "At least for me."- - -Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.- - -Copyright © 2017 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/Carol GlatzBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With a trip to South Sudan postponed indefinitely, Pope Francis is sending close to a half-million dollars
to help two church-run hospitals, a teacher training center and farming
projects for families as a way to show the people there his solidarity and
Because a planned trip with Anglican Archbishop Justin
Welby of Canterbury couldn't happen this year as hoped, Pope Francis
"wants to make tangible the presence and closeness of the church with the suffering
people through this initiative 'The Pope for South Sudan,'" Cardinal Peter
Turkson told reporters at a Vatican news conference June 21.
"He fervently hopes to be able to go there as soon
as possible on an official visit to the nation; the church does not shut hope out
of such an afflicted area," said the cardinal, who is prefect of the
Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
An official visit was meant to draw the world's attention
to a silent tragedy, give voice to those suffering, and encourage conflicting
parties to make renewed and greater efforts in finding a peaceful solution to
the conflict, the cardinal said.
Already in March, Pope Francis had expressed doubts about
the possibility of making the trip, saying in an interview with Germany's Die
Zeit newspaper, that visiting South Sudan would be "important," but that
"I don't believe that it is possible." The pope approved the project funding
in April, a month before the Vatican announced the trip's delay.
The initiative is meant to supplement, support and
encourage the ongoing work of religious congregations, Catholic organizations
and international aid groups on the ground that "generously and tirelessly"
help the people and promote peace and development, the cardinal said.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011 after
decades of war. But just two years after independence, political tensions
erupted into violence and abuses. The fighting, displacement, insecurity and
drought have led to large-scale hunger and malnutrition across the country.
It's estimated that 3.8 million people have been displaced and at least 28 million are in need of food aid.
A papal donation of about $200,000 will support a program
run by Caritas South Sudan, providing fast-growing seeds and farming tools for
2,500 families in areas where it is still possible to grow food.
Some $112,000 will go to fund Solidarity With South Sudan
-- an international Catholic network, supporting 16 scholarships and a training
program for primary school teachers. The teacher training center takes in
students from every ethnic group so they can learn and later teach values of
tolerance and reconciliation along with basic education.
A contribution of $150,000 will go to fund two hospitals
run by the Comboni Missionary Sisters. Comboni Sister Laura Gemignani told
reporters that they have extremely few resources to support their small staff
and numerous patients.
For example, she said their hospital in Wau sees 300
patients a day -- 40,000 a year -- but there is only one doctor, who comes in
every day and responds to every emergency.
"It's hard to pay his salary," she said, but he,
the nurses and other staff stay on despite the insecurity and danger.
When they were told to evacuate because of intensified
fighting, she said the staff said that as long as they had even just one
patient to attend to, they would never leave.
Cardinal Turkson said, "The Holy Father does not
forget the unheard and silent victims of this bloody and inhumane conflict,
does not forget all those people who are forced to flee from their homes
because of abuses of power, injustice and war. He holds all of them in his
prayers and his heart." - - -Copyright © 2017 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/Tony Gentile, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Being a
saint doesn't require spending
long hours in prayer, but rather living life open to God in good times and in
bad, Pope Francis said.
Christians should live with
the "hope of becoming saints" and with the desire that "work,
even in sickness and suffering, even in difficulties, is open to God," the
pope said June 21 during his weekly general audience.
"We think that it is
something difficult, that it is easier to be delinquents than saints. No! We
can become saints because the Lord helps us. It is he who helps us," he told
the estimated 12,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.
Pope Francis rode around in
his popemobile, stopping along the way to greet pilgrims and kiss babies. One
child casually waved goodbye to the pope as he was handed back to his parents.
In his talk, the pope
reflected on the intercession of the saints, who are "older brothers and
sisters who have gone along
our same path, (gone through)
our same struggles and live forever in God's embrace."
"Their existence tells
us above all that Christian life isn't an unattainable ideal. And together,
they comfort us: We are not alone, the church is made up of innumerable
brothers and sisters, often anonymous, who have preceded us and who, through
the action of the Holy Spirit, are involved in the affairs of those who still
live here," he said.
Just as their intercession is
invoked in Baptism, the pope continued, the church asks for their help in the
sacrament of marriage so couples "can have the courage to say
"To live married life
forever; not like some who say, 'as long as love lasts.' No, it is forever. On the contrary, it
is better you don't
get married. It's either forever or nothing. That is why their presence is
invoked in the nuptial liturgy," he said.
The lives of the saints, he
continued, served as a reminder that "God never abandons us" and in
times of trial and suffering, he "sends one of his angels to comfort us and
fill us with consolation."
There are "angels,
sometimes with a face and a human heart because God's saints are always here, hidden
among us," the pope said.
Another sacrament in which
the saints are invoked is Holy Orders, in which candidates for the priesthood
lay prostrate on the ground while the bishop and the entire assembly pray the
litany of the saints, he said.
"A man would be crushed
under the weight of the mission entrusted to him but, in feeling that all of
paradise is behind him, that the grace of God will not fail because Jesus is
always faithful, he can go forward serenely and refreshed. We are not
alone," the pope said.
Pope Francis told the
pilgrims that Christians
need saints who lived their lives "aspiring to charity and
brotherhood" because without them, the world would not have hope."
"May the Lord give us
the grace to believe so profoundly in him that we become images of Christ for
this world," he said.
Before the general audience,
Pope Francis met with members of the U.S. Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who will be
inducted into the prestigious association Aug. 5.
"As many of you know, I
am an avid follower of 'football,'
but where I come from, the game is played very differently!" the pope
said, referring to the
fact that "football" refers to the game of soccer in most parts of
The pope said the values of
"teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence" aren't
just important on the field, but are "urgently needed off the field, on
all levels of our life as a community."
"Our world, and
especially our young people, need models, people who show us how to bring out the best in
ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents and, in doing so, to point
the way to a better future for our communities," he said.
- - -
Follow Arocho on Twitter:
@arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2017 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.
By Carol GlatzVATICAN
CITY (CNS) -- Just two years after being hired to help with the Vatican's
efforts in finance reform, Libero
Milone -- the Vatican's first independent auditor who answered only to
the pope -- handed a request for his resignation to Pope Francis.
pope accepted Milone's request, the Vatican announced June 20, after Milone
personally presented it to the pope a day earlier.
wishing Milone the best in his future endeavors, the Holy See wishes to inform
(everyone) that the process of naming a new director of the auditor-general's office
will be underway as soon as possible," the Vatican's written statement
Francis named Milone to fill the new position of auditor general in June 2015,
more than a year after establishing special structures to oversee the Vatican's
finances -- the Council for
the Economy and the Secretariat
for the Economy.
auditor general has the power to audit the books of any Vatican office and
reports directly to the pope. The auditing office currently has 12 people on
68, an Italian accountant and expert in corporate risk management, was born in
Holland and educated in London. He was chairman and managing partner of Milone Associates and had worked
for Falck Renewables, Wind Telecom and Fiat. Until
2007, he was chairman of Deloitte
Italy and served three years as a member of the audit committee of the
United Nations' World Food Program.
independent auditor was a key part of the "separation of powers"
necessary for reforming the Vatican's economic activity, Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the
Secretariat for the Economy, wrote in 2015.
reforms are designed to make all Vatican financial agencies boringly
successful, so that they do not merit much press attention," the cardinal
was given for Milone's request to step down.
an interview in March with the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, Milone said the previous 18
months had been very busy because he had to learn the way things had worked and
then oversee 120 offices and foundations that make up the Roman Curia or are
associated with the Holy See.
office had just been completing preliminary studies of all the major assets,
finances and economic data of 2015 and 2016. "The next step is auditing the
balance sheet up to Dec. 31, 2017, so as to be able to get ready for auditing
the whole budget ending Dec. 31, 2018," he said.
felt their efforts had paid off by bringing in "a new model of managing
the budget and introducing the best international standards," adding that
the real work in reform was, "first of all, cultural."
asked if he had met with any resistance, he said, "more than real or
actual resistance, often it was about being unaware" of more modern,
integrated and transparent accounting standards. They did a lot of training to
help people "overcome foreseeable difficulties," he said.
said he never regretted accepting the job, which had been offered to him by an
international headhunting agency, he said. "On the contrary, I will go all
the way with great enthusiasm."
said, "I am very motivated by the privilege of being at the service of the
pope ... and to be able to do my small part of a decisive reform for the
Vatican ... A reform whose full extent has perhaps still not been well
in September 2015, an employee of the auditor general's office notified Vatican
police that Milone's computer had been tampered with, the investigation into
that tampering led to the second VatiLeaks investigation and trial, according to Vatican Radio.
trial found Msgr. Lucio
Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy
See, and Francesca
Chaouqui, a member of the former Pontifical Commission for Reference on the
Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, guilty of having
roles in the leaking of confidential documents about Vatican finances and acquitted
an associate and two journalists.- - -Copyright © 2017 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/Giorgio Onorati, EPABy Junno Arocho EstevesROME
(CNS) -- Instead of "pretending to be adolescents," parents must help
young people see the blessing of growing into adulthood, Pope Francis told
priests, religious, catechists and parish council members from the Diocese of
belief that youthfulness is a model of success "is one of the most
dangerous 'unwitting' menaces in the education of our adolescents" that
hinders their personal growth because "adults have taken their
place," the pope said June 19, opening the Rome Diocese's annual convention.
"can increase a natural tendency young people have to isolate themselves
or to curb their process of growth" because they have no role models, the
nearly 45-minute talk, Pope Francis reflected on the convention's theme, "Do
not leave them alone! Accompanying parents in educating adolescent
said the first step in reaching out to young people in Rome is to "speak
in the Roman dialect, that is, concretely" rather than in general or
abstract terms that do not speak to teens' problems.
in big cities such as Rome face different problems than those in rural areas.
For this reason, the pope said, parents must educate their adolescent children
"within the context of a big city" and speak to them concretely with
"healthy and stimulating realism."
the pope continued, also must confront the challenge of educating their
children in an "uprooted society" where people are disconnecting from
their roots and feel no sense of belonging.
uprooted culture, an uprooted family is a family without a history and without
memory," he said.
social networking has allowed more people to connect and feel part of a group,
its virtual nature can also create a certain alienation where people "feel
that they do not have roots, that they belong to no one," the pope said.
we want our children to be formed and prepared for tomorrow, it is not just by
learning languages, for example, that they will succeed in doing so. They need
to connect, to know their roots. Only then can they fly high," he said.
from his prepared speech, Pope Francis said parents "should make room for
their children to speak with their grandparents," who have the gift of
passing on "faith, history and belonging with wisdom."
disregarded and cast aside, grandparents must be given the opportunity to
"give young people the sense of belonging that they need."
Francis said parents, catechists and pastors must understand that adolescence
is a challenging time in young people's lives where "they are neither
children (and do not want to be treated as such) and are not adults (but want
to be treated as such, especially on the level of privileges.)"
said he was worried about the current trend in society to view adolescence as a
"pathology that must be fought" and that leads some parents to
"prematurely medicate our youths."
seems that everything is solved by medicating or controlling everything with
the slogan 'making the most of time' and in the end, the young people's
schedules are worse than that of a high-level executive," he said.
schools, parishes and youth movements can take a pivotal role in helping young
men and women want to feel challenged so they can achieve their goals.
way, "they can discover that all the potential they have is a bridge, a
passage toward a vocation (in the broadest and most beautiful sense of the
word)," he said.
However, he warned parents about people
who may wield influence over their children, including aunts and uncles, and especially
those who "have no children or who are not married."
learned my first bad words from a bachelor uncle," the pope recalled.
"Aunts and uncles often don't do good things to get their nephews and
nieces to like them. There was an uncle who would secretly give us
cigarettes... things of that sort. And now, I am not saying they are evil but
you must beware."
people, Pope Francis added, need educators that help grow within them "the
life of the spirit of Jesus" and help them see that "to become
Christians requires courage and it is a beautiful thing."
think it is important to live the education of children starting from the
perspective as a calling that the Lord has made to us as a family, to make this
step a step of growth, to learn to enjoy the life that he has given us,"
Pope Francis said.
- - -
Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2017 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.