Pope Francis waves to faithful during the Angelus noon prayer he delivered from his studio window overlooking St.Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan.15, 2017 - AP
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father focused on the witness borne by John the Baptist to Jesus Christ.
“The Church,” said Pope Francis, “is in every age called to do that, which John the Baptist did: to show Jesus to the people, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Click below to hear our report Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis added, “There’s always trouble when the Church proclaims herself: she loses her way, and knows not where she goes.” Rather, “The Church proclaims Christ – she does not carry herself, she carries Christ, for He and He alone is the one who saves His people from sin: he frees them and leads them to the land of true liberty.”....Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/01/15/pope_francis_at_angelus_church_called_to_proclaim_christ/1285892
Pope Francis leaves in procession after celebrating Mass marking
the feast of the Epiphany in St Peter's Basilica (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
On the feast of the Epiphany Francis said the Wise Men were 'guided by an inner restlessness'
The Magi had the courage to set out on a journey in the hope of
finding something new, unlike Herod who was full of himself and
unwilling to change his ways, Pope Francis has said.
The Wise Men who set out from the East in search of Jesus personify
all those who long for God and reflect “all those who in their lives
have let their hearts be anaesthetised”, the Pope said on January 6, the
feast of the Epiphany.
“The Magi experienced longing; they were tired of the usual fare.
They were all too familiar with, and weary of, the Herods of their own
day. But there, in Bethlehem, was a promise of newness, of gratuity,” he
Thousands of people were gathered in St Peter’s Basilica as the Pope
entered to the sounds of the choir singing “Angels we have heard on
high” in Latin. Before taking his place in front of the altar, the Pope
stood in front of a statue of baby Jesus, spending several minutes in
veneration before kissing it.
The Pope said that the Magi adoring the newborn king highlight two specific actions: seeing and worshipping.
Seeing the star of Bethlehem did not prompt them to embark on their
journey but rather, “they saw the star because they had already set
out,” he said.
“Their hearts were open to the horizon and they could see what the
heavens were showing them, for they were guided by an inner
restlessness. They were open to something new,” the Pope said.
This restlessness, he continued, awakens a longing for God that
exists in the hearts of all believers who know “that the Gospel is not
an event of the past but of the present.”
It is holy longing for God “that helps us keep alert in the face of
every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life. A holy longing for God
is the memory of faith, which rebels before all prophets of doom,” the
Recalling the biblical figures of Simeon, the prodigal son, and Mary
Magdalene, the Pope said this longing for God “draws us out of our
iron-clad isolation, which makes us think that nothing can change”, and
helps us seek Christ.
However, the figure of King Herod presents a different attitude of
bewilderment and fear that, when confronted with something new, “closes
in on itself and its own achievements, its knowledge, its successes”.
The quest of the Magi led them first to Herod’s palace that, although
it befits the birth of king, is only a sign of “power, outward
appearances and superiority. Idols that promise only sorrow and
enslavement,” he said.
“There, in the palace, they did not see the star guiding them to
discover a God who wants to be loved. For only under the banner of
freedom, not tyranny, is it possible to realise that the gaze of this
unknown but desired king does not abase, enslave, or imprison us,” the
in traditional attire endure cold weather during the annual parade
marking the feast of the Epiphany in St Peter’s Square (CNS photo/Paul
Unlike the Magi, the Pope added, Herod is unable to worship the
newborn king because he was unwilling to change his way of thinking and
“did not want to stop worshipping himself, believing that everything
revolved around him”.
Christians are called to imitate the wise men who, “weary of the
Herods of their own day,” set out in search of the promise of something
“The Magi were able to worship, because they had the courage to set
out. And as they fell to their knees before the small, poor and
vulnerable infant, the unexpected and unknown child of Bethlehem, they
discovered the glory of God,” the Pope said.
After the Mass, Pope Francis greeted tens of thousands of people
gathered in St Peter’s Square to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany.
A colourful parade led by the sounds of trumpets and drums, people
dressed in traditional and festive clothing contributed to the cheerful
atmosphere despite the chilly weather.
Explaining the significance of the Wise Men who presented their gifts
to Christ after adoring him, the Pope gave the crowds a gift: a small
booklet of reflections on mercy.
The book, entitled “Icons of Mercy”, presents “six Gospel episodes
that recall the experience of people transformed by Jesus’s love: the
sinful woman, Zacchaeus, Matthew, the publican, the Samaritan, the good
thief and the apostle Peter. Six icons of mercy,” the papal almoner’s
Together with the homeless, poor men and women and refugees,
religious men and women distributed the books to the crowd. As a thank
you, Pope also offered more than 300 homeless men and women sandwiches
Taken from: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/01/06/the-magi-embody-all-those-who-long-for-god-says-pope-francis/
Violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, Vietnam, and in China...
“Legal” persecution of Christians in the West and Christianophobia in the name of secularism and “human rights” contrary to the Law of God…
Blasphemies, profanations, ridicule of the Catholic Faith in films, stage performances, art, radio and TV programmes...
Gradual destruction of the traditional family and indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman, promotion of homosexuality and abortion…
Corruption of children by means of the infamous “gender ideology”, as well as corruption of youth through fashions, pornography and drugs…
Grave crisis of the Faith within the bosom of Holy Mother Church where prelates in high offices promote the auto-demolition of the Church, doctrinal confusion, and the desacralisation of the Eucharist and of Matrimony...
In light of these calamities, a cry of anguish arises from the depths of many hearts:
Will God not have pity on our world? Is it doomed to be punished and to disappear?
100 years ago Our Lady came to the Earth to warn mankind that it was bordering the abyss, but also came to say that She brought the solution.
To the three shepherd children of Fatima, She presented a simple, threefold solution full of hope:
Prayer, penance and amendment of life!
Nonetheless, one century later, after two world wars, and after the most atrocious terrorist attacks in the history of mankind, where is the conversion, penance and prayer?
Will we present ourselves empty-handed to Our Lady on the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions in which She asked for conversion, penance and prayer as the means to avoid God punishing the world?
1,000,000 people praying the Rosary by the 13th October 2017
This is the bold goal of the Prayer Crusade of Reparation: by the 13th October 2017, 1,000,000 people praying for the conversion of mankind, thus bringing about the promised triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Join thousands of people on 5 continents who are already part of our Prayer Crusade of Reparation!
“Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war .”
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Intentions of the Prayer Crusade of Reparation
Increase in devotion to Our Lady;
The establishment of the Reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in both the spiritual and temporal spheres;
The restoration of good customs both in the family and society as an indispensable condition to bring peace to the world (2nd part of the Secret of Fatima);
To obtain the special protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all those who are being persecuted, expelled from their homes, abused and martyred for their Catholic Faith in many parts of the world;
The conversion of sinners for the salvation of their souls.
In his homily today, Pope Francis warned pastors of the dangers of becoming “intellectuals of religion.”
The poor and humble people who have faith in the Lord are the victims of the “intellectuals of religion,” and those who are “seduced by clericalism.”
The pope directed his attention to Jesus, who in the day’s Gospel turns to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and focuses precisely on their role. “They had juridical, moral, religious authority,” he said. “They decided everything.” Annas and Caiaphas, for example, “judged Jesus.” They arrived at this state of “arrogance and tyranny towards the people,” the pope said, by instrumentalizing the law.
“But a law that they have remade many times: so many times, to the point that they had arrived at 500 commandments. Everything was regulated, everything! A law scientifically constructed, because this people was wise, they understood well. They made all these nuances, no? But it was a law without memory: they had forgotten the First Commandment, which God had given to our father Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” They did not walk: they always stopped in their own convictions. They were not blameless!”
And so, the pope said, they had forgotten the Ten Commandments of Moses. “With the law they themselves had made—intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic—they cancelled the law the Lord had made, they lacked the memory that connects the current moment with revelation.” In the past their victim was Jesus; in a similar way, now their victim is “the humble and poor people who trust in the Lord,” “those who are discarded,” those who understand repentance even if they do not fulfill the law, and suffer these injustices. They feel “condemned,” and “abused,” the pope said, by those who are vain, proud, arrogant.” And one who was cast aside by these people, Pope Francis observed, was Judas.
“Judas was a traitor….He sinned forcefully. But then the Gospel says, ‘He repented, and went to them to return the money.’ And what did they do? ‘But you were our associate. Be calm.… We have the power to forgive you for everything!’ No! ‘Make whatever arrangement you can!’ [they said.] ‘It’s your problem!’ And they left him alone, discarded! The poor Judas, a traitor and repentant, was not welcomed by the pastors. Because these people had forgotten what it was to be a pastor. They were the intellectuals of religion, those who had the power, who advanced the catechesis of the people with a morality composed by their own intelligence and not by the revelation.”
Even today, the pope observed, this sometimes happens in the church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained. “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people....They have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick.”
“The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing! It is a new edition of these people. And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people who await the Lord.... Today, too, Jesus says to all of us, and even to those who are seduced by clericalism: ‘The sinners and the prostitutes will go before you into the Kingdom of Heaven.’”
'First and foremost the apostolic exhortation recalls the mercy and compassion of God,' the patriarch wrote.
Knowing the debate surrounding Pope Francis’s apostolic
exhortation on the family, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of
Constantinople said the document “first and foremost recalls the mercy
and compassion of God and not just moral norms and canonical rules.”
“In the past few months, numerous comments and evaluations of this
important document have been made,” the patriarch wrote on December 2 in
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
“People have asked how specific doctrine has been developed or
defended or if pastoral questions have been modified or resolved and if
particular norms have been strengthened or mitigated,” he said.
“Whether it regards the challenges of marriage and divorce or
sexuality or raising children,” he said, the matters treated in the
document “are all delicate and precious fragments of that sacred mystery
we call life.”
For too long, he said, people were “suffocated and blocked” from
reaching out to God for forgiveness and strength by the notion of a
“heavenly Father who in some way dictated human conduct.”
“Religious leaders are called to remind themselves and then others
that God is life and love and light,” he wrote. “In fact, these are the
words repeatedly underlined by Pope Francis in his document, which
discerns the experience and challenges of contemporary society with a
view toward describing a spirituality of marriage and the family for
The patriarch said it was no accident that the Pope’s letter, “Amoris
Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), was released in April, about the time he
and the Pope went to the Greek island of Lesbos to meet with refugees.
“In fact, what was immediately clear to both of us while we looked at
the sad faces of the victims wounded by war was that all of these
people were members of families, families split and torn apart by the
hostilities and violence,” the patriarch wrote.
The Pope’s document, he said, touches the experience of those
families and of all families because it speaks of God and “when we speak
of God, the descriptive language we use is that of love.”
Patriarch Bartholomew said Pope Francis, like the early fathers of
the Church, did not shy away from sensitive questions, but “their point
of departure always is the loving and saving grace of God, which shines
on every person without discrimination or disgust.”
Taken from: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/12/05/orthodox-patriarch-says-amoris-laetitia-is-about-gods-mercy/
“In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between the appearance
of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the “woman clothed with the
sun.” But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages to make the books of
the Bible easier to refer to. John did not make any divisions: he wrote
straight through from Revelation
11:19 to Revelation
12:1 without a break”.
human activity discussed in Part Three
(i), of ‘cleaving across the
real structure’ of things, for some legitimate utilitarian purpose, rather than
patiently studying ‘the thing as it is in itself’ (Immanuel Kant’s das
Ding an sich), is apparent from the
artificial re-arranging of the Book of Genesis into 50 chapters each consisting
of multiple verses - whereas the book in-itself naturally falls into those eleven
toledot (‘family history) divisions
as discussed in my:
Today we would be hard put to live without
those familiar chapters and verses, artificial though they be, which can serve
as a handy mnemonic device and points of reference. However they, because they
are artificial, can also have the unfortunate effect of hindering one from properly
grasping the original intention and meaning of the author(s) of the text.
This is well exemplified when we turn from
the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to the last, Revelation. Dr. Scott Hahn,
writing of what he calls “The Ark of the New Covenant”, explains how St. John
the Evangelist’s intended meaning gets completely lost due to the thematic discontinuity
caused by the artificial division of Revelation’s Chapters 11-12 (https://stpaulcenter.com/studies/lesson/lesson-three-the-ark-of-the-new-covenant):
A. The Ark Reappears in Heaven
Luke uses parallel language and images to make his point.
But John, the author of Revelation, tells us directly that he saw the Ark of
the Covenant - the holy object that had been lost since Jeremiah’s time - in a
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of
his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning,
rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A
great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon
under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and
wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth” (see Revelation
11:19 and Revelation
This is a strange string of images, almost overwhelming -
like much of the book of Revelation. But certainly the statement that the Ark
of the Covenant was visible must have caught the attention of the first people
who heard the vision.
If the Ark had been seen, then the time Jeremiah spoke of
must have come: the time when “God gathers his people together again and shows
them mercy,” the time when “the glory of the Lord will be seen in the cloud,
just as it appeared in the time of Moses” (see 2 Maccabees 7-8)
And indeed the sights and sounds are the same as in the
time of Moses - storm and earthquake:
“There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of
thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm” (see Revelation
“On the morning of the third day there were peals of
thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud
trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled . . . Mount Sinai
was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The smoke
rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled
violently” (see Exodus 19:16, 18)
Naturally, we want to hear more about the rediscovered
Ark of the Covenant. And John goes on to describe what he sees: “a woman
clothed with the sun” (see Revelation 12:1).
In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between
the appearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the “woman
clothed with the sun.” But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages to
make the books of the Bible easier to refer to. John did not make any
divisions: he wrote straight through from Revelation
11:19 to Revelation 12:1 without a
In the dream-like but deeply significant logic of John’s
vision, the Ark of the Covenant is “a woman clothed with the sun.”
B. The Woman Clothed With the Sun
And who is this woman?
“She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she
labored to give birth ” (see Revelation
“She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule
all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his
throne” (see Revelation 12:5).
The one destined to rule the nations with an iron rod (a
shepherd’s rod) is the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah or Christ (see Psalm
2). The “woman clothed with the sun,” whom John sees when he looks at the Ark
of the Covenant, is the Mother of the Christ.
C. What Makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant?
The Ark of the Covenant was the sign of God’s real
presence among His people. In Jesus Christ, born of Mary, God was really
present among his people in an even more direct way.
The Ark held the Word of God written in stone. Mary bore
the Word of God in flesh.
The Ark contained the rod of Aaron, symbol of his
priesthood. Mary bore Jesus Christ, our High Priest (see Hebrews
If the Ark of the Covenant was holy, then by the same
standards Mary is even holier. As Mother of God, she is the Ark of the New
Covenant, bearing Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Bread of Life, our great
High Priest. That is not a re-interpretation of the Gospel: it is a truth made
clear by the New Testament writers themselves.
[End of quote]
For more on this fascinating subject, see the
'The Marian Dimension'. Part Three: Mary as New Ark of Covenant