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“Priesthood is a gift, not a job,” Pope Francis says


Those who turn ordained ministry into occupation ‘lose the heart of ministry, lose the gaze of Jesus who looked upon all of us and told us Follow me’

(Vatican) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of his Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Sept. 19, 2019.

Being a priest is not a job or fulfilling an employment contract but is a gift from God that should be contemplated and treasured as such, Pope Francis said.

Those who turn ordained ministry into an occupation “lose the heart of the ministry, lose the gaze of Jesus who looked upon all of us and told us, ‘Follow me,'” he said Sept. 19 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope focused his homily on the day’s first reading in which St. Paul writes to Timothy (1 Tim 4:12-16), “Do not neglect the gift you have.”

Ordination is a freely given gift from the Lord, the pope said; it is not “a job” or “an employment contract” in which one “must-do” something.

“Doing is secondary,” he said. First and foremost, “I must receive this gift and safeguard it as a gift and from that — in the contemplation of the gift — everything else springs.”

When ordained ministry is not seen and treasured as a gift, he said, “deviations” emerge, starting with “the worst ones, which are terrible, to the more everyday ones that makes us base our ministry on ourselves and not on the gratitude of gift and love for he who gave us this gift, the gift of ministry.”

The effort, intelligence and “also a bit of shrewdness” are needed to safeguard this gift properly, he added.

The pope also briefly commented on the day’s Gospel reading, Luke 7:36-50, in which Jesus corrects his host who has forgotten to perform the customary rituals associated with welcoming a guest. Jesus instead praises the “sinful woman” who showed Jesus “great love,” including by using her tears and hair to bathe and dry Jesus’ feet.

The pope said the Pharisee hosting Jesus was a good man, “but he had forgotten the gift of kindness, the gift of coexistence, which is also a gift. These gifts are always forgotten when there are some underlying motives when I want to do” or achieve something.

It is true that priests have things they must do, “and the first task is proclaiming the Gospel,” Pope Francis said, “but it is necessary to take care of the core, the source from which this mission springs, the gift we have freely received from the Lord.”

The pope concluded by praying priests to see their ministry first as a gift then as a service and that they not become “businessmen ministers, fixers” or adopt other attitudes that make them stray from the Lord.

Catholic News Service

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Pope writes to priests: “Thank you for your service”


(Vatican City) Pope Francis has written to priests recalling the 160th anniversary of the death of the Curé of Ars, Patron Saint of parish priests around the world. It is a letter that expresses encouragement and closeness to “brother priests, who without making noise” leave everything to engage in the daily life of communities; those who work in the “trenches”; those who confront an endless variety of situations in your effort “to care for and accompany God’s people.”   “I want to say a word to each of you, writes the Pope, who, often without fanfare and at personal cost, amid weariness, infirmity, and sorrow, carry out your mission of service to God and to your people.  Despite the hardships of the journey, you are writing the finest pages of the priestly life.”

The papal letter opens with a look at the abuse scandal: “In these years, we have become more attentive to the cry, often silent and suppressed, of our brothers and sisters who were victims of the abuse of power, the abuse of conscience and sexual abuse on the part of ordained ministers.”  But, Pope Francis explains, even without “denying or dismissing the harm caused by some of our brothers, it would be unfair not to express our gratitude to all those priests who faithfully and generously spend their lives in the service of others.” “Countless priests make of their lives a work of mercy in areas or situations that are often hostile, isolated or ignored, even at the risk of their lives.”  The Pope thanked them “for their courageous and constant example” and writes that “in these times of turbulence, shame, and pain, you demonstrate that you have joyfully put your lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel “.  He invites them not to be discouraged, because “The Lord is purifying his Bride and converting all of us to himself. He is letting us be put to the test in order to make us realize that without him we are simply dust.”

The second keyword is “gratitude”. Pope Francis recalls that “vocation, more than our choice, is a response to a free call from the Lord”. The Pope exhorts priests to “return to those luminous moments” in which we have experienced the call of the Lord to consecrate all our lives to his service, to “that “yes” born and developed in the heart of the Christian community.” In moments of difficulty, fragility, weakness, “the worst temptation of all is to keep brooding over our troubles”.  It is crucial – explains the Pontiff – “to cherish the memory of the Lord’s presence in our lives and his merciful gaze, which inspired us to put our lives on the line for him and for his People.  Gratitude “is always a powerful weapon. Only if we are able to contemplate and feel genuine gratitude for all those ways we have experienced God’s love, generosity, solidarity, and trust, as well as his forgiveness, patience, forbearance and compassion, will we allow the Spirit to grant us the freshness that can renew (and not simply patch up) our life and mission.”

Pope Francis also thanks to his brother priests “for their fidelity to their commitments”. It is “truly significant” – he observes – that in an “ephemeral” society and culture, there are people who discover the joy of giving life. He says “thank you” for the daily celebration of the Eucharist and for the ministry of the sacrament of reconciliation, lived “without rigor or laxity”, taking charge of people and “accompanying them on the path of conversion”. He thanks them for the proclamation of the Gospel made “to all, with ardor”:

Thank you for the times when, with great emotion, you embraced sinners, healed wounds… Nothing is more necessary than this: accessibility, closeness, readiness to draw near to the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters.”

The heart of a pastor – says the Pope – is one “who has developed a spiritual taste for being one with his people, a pastor who never forgets that he has come from them…this in turn, will lead to adopting a simple and austere way of life, rejecting privileges that have nothing to do with the Gospel.”

But the Pope also thanks and invites priests to gives thanks “for the holiness of the faithful people of God”, expressed “in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.”

The third word is “encouragement”. The Pope wants to encourage priests: “The mission to which we are called does not exempt us from suffering, pain and even misunderstanding. Rather, it requires us to face them squarely and to accept them, so that the Lord can transform them and conform us more closely to himself.”

A good test for knowing how to find the shepherd’s heart,” writes Pope Francis, “is to ask ourselves how we are dealing with pain. Sometimes, in fact, it can happen that we behave like the Levite or the priest of the parable of the Good Samaritan, who ignore the man who lies on the ground, other times we approach pain intellectually, and taking refuge in clichés (“life is like that, we can do nothing”), ending up giving space to fatalism. ” Or else we can draw near with a kind of aloofness that brings only isolation and exclusion.”

The Pope also warns against what Bernanos called the “the most precious of the devil’s potions”, that is “the sweet sadness that the Fathers of the East called acedia. The sadness that paralyzes the courage to continue in work, in prayer”, which “makes sterile all attempts at transformation and conversion, spreading resentment and animosity”. Pope Francis invites them to ask “the Spirit to come and awaken us”, to “shake our torpor”, to challenge habituality and “let us rethink our usual way of doing things; let us open our eyes and ears, and above all our hearts, so as not to be complacent about things as they are, but unsettled by the living and effective word of the risen Lord”.

“During our lives, we have been able to contemplate how joy is always reborn with Jesus Christ. A joy, the Pontiff points out, that “does not arise from voluntary or intellectual efforts but from the confidence to know that the words of Jesus to Peter continue to act”.

It is in prayer – the Pope explains – that “we experience our blessed precariousness which reminds us of our being disciples in need of the Lord’s help and frees us from the Promethean tendency of those who ultimately rely solely on their own strengths”. The pastor’s prayer “is nourished and incarnated in the heart of God’s people. It bears the signs of the wounds and joys of its people”.

An entrustment that ” sets us free from looking for quick, easy, ready-made answers; it allows the Lord to be the one – not our own recipes and goals – to point out a path of hope. So “we recognize our frailty, yes; but we allow Jesus to transform it and project us continuously towards the mission”.

The Pope observes that for one’s heart to be encouraged, that two constitutive bonds must not be neglected. The first is the relationship with Jesus: It is the invitation not to neglect “spiritual accompaniment, having a brother with whom to speak, discuss, and discern one’s own path”. The second link is with people: “Do not withdraw from your people, your presbyterates and your communities, much less seek refuge in closed and elitist groups…a courageous minister is a minister always on the move”.

The Pope asks priests to “be close to those who suffer, to be, without shame, close to human misery and, and indeed to make all these experiences our own, as eucharist.”. To be ” builders of relationships and communion, open, trusting and awaiting in hope the newness that the kingdom of God wishes to bring about even today.”

The last word proposed in the letter is “praise”. It is impossible to speak of gratitude and encouragement without contemplating Mary who “teaches us the praise capable of lifting our gaze to the future and restoring hope to the present. “. Because “to look at Mary is to go back to believing in the revolutionary power of tenderness and affection”. For this reason – concludes the Pope – “if at times we can feel tempted to withdraw into ourselves and our own affairs, safe from the dusty paths of daily life.  Or regrets, complaints, criticism, and sarcasm gain the upper hand and make us lose our desire to keep fighting, hoping and loving.  At those times, let us look to Mary so that she can free our gaze of all the “clutter” that prevents us from being attentive and alert, and thus capable of seeing and celebrating Christ alive in the midst of his people.”

“Brothers – these are the final words of the letter – once again, I continually give thanks for you… May we allow our gratitude to awaken praise and renewed enthusiasm for our ministry of anointing our brothers and sisters with hope.  May we be men whose lives bear witness to the compassion and mercy that Jesus alone can bestow on us.”

Sergio Centofanti

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Pope's October prayer intention: Pray For The Church


Pope Francis on Tuesday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for October, which this month is "For the Church".
In his prayer intention for the month of October, Pope Francis says: "I renew the invitation to everyone to pray the Rosary every day in October, ending with the antiphon 'We fly to thy patronage' and the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, to repel the attacks of the Devil who wants to divide the Church."

It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.

The full text of his intention is below:

The Devil presents himself with great power.

He brings you gifts.

But you don't know what's inside.

I renew the invitation to everyone to pray the Rosary every day in October, ending with the antiphon "We fly to thy patronage" and the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, to repel the attacks of the Devil who wants to divide the Church. 


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Address of the Holy Father Francis to the 1st General Congregation of the XV Assembly of the Synod of Bishops


Dear Beatitudes, Eminences, Excellencies,

Dear Brothers and Sisters, and beloved Young People!

Entering this hall to talk about young people, we already feel the strength of their presence that emanates a positivity and enthusiasm capable of filling and gladdening not only this hall, but the whole Church and the whole world.

That is why I cannot begin without saying thank you! I thank you who are present, I thank the many people, who throughout this two-year period of preparation have worked with dedication and passion – here in the Church of Rome and in all the Churches of the world – to enable us to reach this moment. I warmly thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary of the Synod, the Presidents Delegate, Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, the General Relator, Monsignor Fabio Fabene, the Undersecretary, the Officials of the General Secretariat and Assistants; I thank all of you Synod Fathers, Auditors, experts and consultors; I thank the fraternal Delegates, translators, singers and journalists. I thank you wholeheartedly for your active and fruitful participation.

A profound thank you is due to the two Special Secretaries, the Jesuit Father Giacomo Costa, and the Salesian Father Rossano Sala, who have worked generously with dedication and selflessness. They have worked themselves to the bone in preparation!

I would also like to sincerely thank the young people connected to us now, and all the youth who in so many ways have made their voices heard. I thank them for having wagered that it is worth the effort to feel part of the Church or to enter into dialogue with her; worth the effort to have the Church as a mother, as a teacher, as a home, as a family, and, despite human weaknesses and difficulties, capable of radiating and conveying Christ’s timeless message; worth the effort to hold onto the boat of the Church which, despite the world’s cruel storms, continues to offer shelter and hospitality to everyone; worth the effort to listen to one another; worth the effort to swim against the tide and be bound by lofty values: family, fidelity, love, faith, sacrifice, service, eternal life. Our responsibility here at the Synod is not to undermine them; but rather to show that they are right to wager: it truly is worth the effort, it is not a waste of time!

And I thank you in particular, dear young people present! The path of preparation for the Synod has taught us that the universe of the young is so varied that it cannot be fully represented, but you are certainly an important sign of it. Your participation fills us with joy and hope.

The Synod we are living is a moment of sharing. I wish, therefore, at the beginning of the Synod Assembly, to invite everyone to speak with courage and frankness (parrhesia), namely to integrate freedom, truth and charity. Only dialogue can help us grow. An honest, transparent critique is constructive and helpful, and does not engage in useless chatter, rumours, conjectures or prejudices.

And humility in listening must correspond to courage in speaking. I told the young people in the pre-Synod Meeting: “If you say something I do not like, I have to listen even more, because everyone has the right to be heard, just as everyone has the right to speak”. This open listening requires courage in speaking and in becoming the voice of many young people in the world who are not present. It is this listening that creates space for dialogue. The Synod must be an exercise in dialogue, above all among those of you participating. The first fruit of this dialogue is that everyone is open to newness, to change their opinions thanks to what they have heard from others. This is important for the Synod. Many of you have already prepared your intervention beforehand – and I thank you for this work – but I invite you to feel free to consider what you have prepared as a provisional draft open to any additions and changes that the Synod journey may suggest to each of you. Let us feel free to welcome and understand others and therefore to change our convictions and positions: this is a sign of great human and spiritual maturity.

The Synod is an ecclesial exercise in discernment. To speak frankly and listen openly are fundamental if the Synod is to be a process of discernment. Discernment is not an advertising slogan, it is not an organizational technique, or a fad of this pontificate, but an interior attitude rooted in an act of faith. Discernment is the method and at the same time the goal we set ourselves: it is based on the conviction that God is at work in world history, in life’s events, in the people I meet and who speak to me. For this reason, we are called to listen to what the Spirit suggests to us, with methods and in paths that are often unpredictable. Discernment needs space and time. And so, during the work done in plenary assembly and in groups, after five interventions are made, a moment of silence of approximately three minutes will be observed. This is to allow everyone to recognize within their hearts the nuances of what they have heard, and to allow everyone to reflect deeply and seize upon what is most striking. This attention to interiority is the key to accomplishing the work of recognizing, interpreting and choosing.

We are a sign of a Church that listens and journeys. The attitude of listening cannot be limited to the words we will exchange during the work of the Synod. The path of preparation for this moment has highlighted a Church that needs to listen, including those young people who often do not feel understood by the Church in their originality and therefore not accepted for who they really are, and sometimes even rejected. This Synod has the opportunity, the task and the duty to be a sign of a Church that really listens, that allows herself to be questioned by the experiences of those she meets, and who does not always have a ready-made answer. A Church that does not listen shows herself closed to newness, closed to God’s surprises, and cannot be credible, especially for the young who will inevitably turn away rather than approach.

Let us leave behind prejudice and stereotypes. A first step towards listening is to free our minds and our hearts from prejudice and stereotypes. When we think we already know who others are and what they want, we really struggle to listen to them seriously. Relations across generations are a terrain in which prejudice and stereotypes take root with proverbial ease, so much so that we are often oblivious to it. Young people are tempted to consider adults outdated; adults are tempted to regard young people as inexperienced, to know how they are and especially how they should be and behave. All of this can be an overwhelming obstacle to dialogue and to the encounter between generations. Most of those present do not belong to a younger generation, so it is clear that we must pay attention, above all, to the risk of talking about young people in categories and ways of thinking that are already outmoded. If we can avoid this risk, then we will help to bridge generations. Adults should overcome the temptation to underestimate the abilities of young people and not judge them negatively. I once read that the first mention of this fact dates back to 3000 BC and was discovered on a clay pot in ancient Babylon, where it is written that young people are immoral and incapable of saving their people’s culture. This is an old tradition of us old ones! Young people, on the other hand, should overcome the temptation to ignore adults and to consider the elderly “archaic, outdated and boring”, forgetting that it is foolish always to start from scratch as if life began only with each of them. Despite their physical frailty, the elderly are always the memory of mankind, the roots of our society, the “pulse” of our civilization. To spurn them, reject them, isolate or snub them is to yield to a worldly mentality that is devouring our homes from within. To neglect the rich experiences that each generation inherits and transmits to the next is an act of self-destruction.

It is therefore necessary, on the one hand, to decisively overcome the scourge of clericalism. Listening and leaving aside stereotypes are powerful antidotes to the risk of clericalism, to which an assembly such as this is inevitably exposed, despite our intentions. Clericalism arises from an elitist and exclusivist vision of vocation, that interprets the ministry received as a power to be exercised rather than as a free and generous service to be given. This leads us to believe that we belong to a group that has all the answers and no longer needs to listen or learn anything, or that pretends to listen. Clericalism is a perversion and is the root of many evils in the Church: we must humbly ask forgiveness for this and above all create the conditions so that it is not repeated.

We must, on the other hand, cure the virus of self-sufficiency and of hasty conclusions reached by many young people. An Egyptian proverb goes: “If there is no elderly person in your home, buy one, because you will need him”. To shun and reject everything handed down across the ages brings only a dangerous disorientation that sadly threatens our humanity, it brings a disillusionment which has invaded the hearts of whole generations. The accumulation of human experiences throughout history is the most precious and trustworthy treasure that one generation inherits from another. Without ever forgetting divine revelation, that enlightens and gives meaning to history and to our existence.

Brothers and sisters, may the Synod awaken our hearts! The present moment, and this applies also to the Church, appears to be laden with struggles, problems, burdens. But our faith tells us that it is also the kairos in which the Lord comes to meet us in order to love us and call us to the fullness of life. The future is not a threat to be feared, but is the time the Lord promises us when we will be able to experience communion with him, with our brothers and sisters, and with the whole of creation. We need to rediscover the reasons for our hope and, above all, to pass them on to young people who are thirsting for hope. As the Second Vatican Council affirmed: “We can justly consider that the future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 31).

The meeting between generations can be extremely fruitful for giving rise to hope. The prophet Joel teaches us this – I reminded young people at the pre-Synod meeting – and I consider it the prophecy of our time: “Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (2:28) and they will prophesy.

There is no need for sophisticated theological arguments to prove our duty to help the contemporary world to walk towards God’s kingdom, free of false hope and without seeing only ruin and woe. Indeed, when speaking about those who consider reality without sufficient objectivity or prudent judgment, Saint John XXIII said: “In the current conditions of human society they are not capable of seeing anything except ruin and woe; they go around saying that in our times, compared to the past, everything is worse; and they even go as far as to behave as if they had nothing to learn from history, which is our teacher” (Address on the solemn opening of the Second Vatican Council, 11 October 1962).

Do not let yourselves be tempted, therefore, by the “prophets of doom”, do not spend your energy on “keeping score of failures and holding on to reproaches”, keep your gaze fixed on the good that “often makes no sound; it is neither a topic for blogs, nor front page news”, and do not be afraid “before the wounds of Christ’s flesh, always inflicted by sin and often by the children of the Church” (cf. Address to Bishops participating in the course promoted by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Oriental Churches, 13 September 2018).

Let us therefore work to “spend time with the future”, to take from this Synod not merely a document – that generally is only read by a few and criticized by many – but above all concrete pastoral proposals capable of fulfilling the Synod’s purpose. In other words, to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands, and inspire in young people – all young people, with no one excluded – a vision of the future filled with the joy of the Gospel. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]

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The Canonization of Six Blesseds: To Inspire and Heal a Battered Church


The past few months have been a tumultuous time for the Catholic Church. The Church has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The recent sex scandal has rocked the Church and she has been in the receiving end from different quarters, scaling attacks not just on the perpetrators of the crime but on the hierarchy including the Holy Father as well.

The outrage and anger by the faithful are often against the high handedness and denial of the Church authorities and their failure to act against the perpetrators of such heinous crimes against children and vulnerable adults.

There is enormous sadness about the immense harm that some men who should have been signs of the Love of God have been swords in the lives of innocent children. There are no words to justify such acts. There is no doubt that the Church must be on the side of the weak and most vulnerable. For that reason, all the measures that can be taken to prevent these acts and protect the dignity of the children should be an absolute priority. There needs to be greater transparency and accountability in the manner the Church deals with such cases of abuse and scandal.

The Good Shepherd

The Holy Father Pope Francis acknowledges the mistakes of the shepherds and has spared no effort to work to combat the abuses and cover-ups. The church has paid the price for its clericalism and elitism, it is time to move beyond and to be more humble and to embrace servant leadership in its true sense.

These are difficult times for the Catholic Church and especially for the many good Catholic priests who are holding the fort and fighting the good fight in keeping the faith alive in a highly secular and materialistic world and in reaching out to the most abandoned and the poor.

Unfortunately, the stories of many such dedicated and committed priests neither make the headlines nor are they sensational enough to garner many viewership or Television Rating Point (TRP) of different news channels.

But, isn’t it strange that there are so little news and such lack of interest in the thousands of Priests who are sacrificing their lives daily & dedicating themselves, body & soul, to millions of children, to adolescents & to the most disadvantaged of these in all four corners of the world?

It’s not news to follow a “normal” Priest doing his daily work; experiencing his troubles & his joys, spending his whole life with no attention in the community he serves. The truth is, such priests, are not trying to make news, only simply, to bring the “Good News”; this News which, with no fanfare, began on ‘Easter Sunday Morning’.

The priests can often be compared to a goalkeeper who is remembered not for the goals he saved but for the ones he missed. To use another analogy, “the priests are like airplanes. One falls and it’s all over the news, but no one remembers those who are still flying.”

Unfortunately, a great deal more attention is paid to a Priest who commits an error than to the thousands who give their lives for the myriads of poor and needy. A Priest is neither a hero nor a neurotic. He’s simply a normal man, who, with his human nature, seeks to follow Jesus and to serve Him by serving others.

There is in us misery, poverty, and fragility, as there is in every human being; but there is also beauty and grandeur, as there is in every creature. But amidst all these scandals let’s not forget the perpetrators of such heinous crimes are a miniscule compared to the many good and dedicated priests who still continue to serve no matter what.

Let’s Lead the Church

I am aware that in a pluralistic society like India, some of our good Catholics have been on the receiving end at their place of work or in the neighborhood because of the scandals and abuses of the Church.

Some in spite of it, try to defend the church, while others want to leave the church in disgust. Is leaving the church an answer to the problems? Definitely not. So, instead of leaving the church, let’s lead the church, instead of fleeing from the church, lets fight to keep the faith alive and in restoring the body of Christ the Church. Most important of all we need to pray for the Church and for the priests that they may be good shepherds caring for their flock with love and dedication.

It is at such trying moments the canonization of six of our Blesseds on 14th October 2018, who lead such holy and exemplary lives should inspire and propel us to remain faithful to Christ. The six Blesseds to be canonized as saints are Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), Supreme Pontiff; Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez, archbishop of San Salvador, martyr; Francesco Spinelli, diocesan priest, founder of the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Most Holy Sacrament; Vincenzo Romano, diocesan priest; Maria Katharina Kasper, virgin, founder of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and Nazaria Ignacia de Santa Teresa de Jesús (née: Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa), founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church. May the canonization of these Blesseds and their intercession bring much joy, healing and hope to our battered and bruised Church.

Fr. Joseph Royan, C.Ss.R., S.T.L.

A Professor of Moral Theology and Director & Editor of Redemptorist Publications India

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Panel Discussion on Sexual Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults in the Catholic Church


In tandem with the letter of Pope Francis dated 20th August 2018, to the People of God requesting their solidarity in action on the crimes of abuse of sex, power and conscience, the Superior General, Fr. Michael Brehl, wrote to the Redemptorists of the various (V) Provinces, Regions and Missions across the world,requesting them to discuss the Pope’s Letter in their various communities and parishes, so as to come up with concrete suggestions and actions with regard to these grave sins against minors and vulnerable adults.

To take this request of the Superior General forward, the Parish Priest of Holy Ghost Parish, Fr. Paul P., organised a relevant panel discussion on the subject of sexual abuse with its legal and moral implications.The panel consisting of Fr. Juventius Andrade C.Ss.R., Fr. Christopher Vimalraj of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, Mrs. Dorothy Victor and Advocate Mr. Robinson D’Souza conducted the discussion to a full house audience of several Redemptorist Fathers, Brothers, Religious Sisters, Holy Ghost parishioners and laity from other Parishes in Bangalore, on the 23rd of September at Nava Spoorti Kendra (NSK) from 4 and 6 PM.  

The main thrust of the discussion was centered on the letter of Pope Francis, calling the people of God to a new way of restoring and providing far-reaching justice to all minors and the vulnerable of our societies from the evils of abuse. It was to brain storm a new response in contrast to the hitherto patriarchal approach and in-built clericalism prevalent in the Catholic Church, in handling all forms of abuse, be it sexual, power or conscience.   

Fr. Juventius Andrade of the Bangalore Province and former General Consultor with wide experience in animating such fora played the lead role in introducing, coordinating and concluding the discussion.  He led the discussion with a thorough study of the letter of Pope Francis through a well-prepared power point presentation. Fr. Christopher Vimlraj, a Doctor in Moral Theology and proficient in Canon Law relating to sexual abuse threw much light on the various aspects of pedophilia, the psychology of pedophiles, the restitution available to the victims of pedophilia and the moral recourse that the Church takes in such cases. Mrs. Dorothy Victor, Deccan Herald Columnist and contributing editor of the parish newsletter ‘Living Water,’spoke on the evils of the laity remaining neutral to such atrocities inflicted on people while at the same time highlighting, on the positive side, the contribution of the church to the progress of the world at large and the necessity to celebrate the good ministry of the Church. Though Mr. Robinson D’Souza, advocate and legal consultant, was to handle the legal aspects of these crimes, he left prematurely due to unforeseen circumstances.  

The open house that followed had an energized participation of the audience with suitable suggestions and recommendations for better handling and restitution of cases of abuse. The consensus was that every Parish ought to have clear and concise information and guidelines on the procedure to be followed in the event of any suspected or actual abuse. There was a common appeal for the creation of safe environments to protect vulnerable children and adults from possible dangers from clergy offenders and others in positions of authority in the surroundings. Creating awareness, having policies and protocols in place and urging swift disciplinary actions in the event of any shortcomings or mishaps were other suggestions that were voiced.

The discussion ended with Fr. Juventius summing up the evening’s interaction with the fresh thought that a new model of leading the church devoid of clericalism, authority and pomp with a collegial and transparent church at the helm be encouraged and facilitated.  “We ought to be as humble as the humbled God on a cross who beckons all who enters a Church,” said Fr. Juventius stressing on the need for humility and service over authority and show.

The vote of thanks delivered by Mrs. Dorothy Victor acknowledging the contribution of all who made the discussion a meaningful one brought the program to a happy and positive end.  Fr. Paul finally thanked Fr. Siluvai Muthu for the fitting arrangements at NSK that made the event possible and called on the participants for tea and fellowship!

Juventius Andrade C.SS.R.
Dorothy Victor

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Pope's July prayer intention: For priests


Pope Francis on Tuesday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for July, which this month is "For priests and their pastoral ministry". In his prayer intention for the month of July 2018, Pope Francis said: "Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and oneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests." It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.

The full text of his intention is below:

The tiredness of priests... Do you know how often I think about it? Priests, with their virtues and defects, work in many different areas. Working on so many active fronts, they cannot remain inactive after a disappointment. At such times, it's good for them to remember that the people love their priests, need them, and trust in them. Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests. The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed "The Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.


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Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy


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