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Pope Francis sends video message to the people of Bangladesh

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a video message of greetings and blessings to the people of Bangladesh as he prepares to undertake a 3-day apostolic journey to the nation from the 30 November to 2 December. It comes as the second leg of a journey that also takes him to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November.

In his message the Pope said he is looking forward to being with the people of Bangladesh and to proclaim the Gospel message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.

He highlighted the significance of a scheduled meeting with religious leaders and said that “We live in times in which believers and men of goodwill in all places are called to promote reciprocal understanding and respect and to sustain each other as members of one human family.”



Dear Friends,

As I prepare to visit Bangladesh in a few days’ time, I wish to send a message of greeting and friendship to entire population. I look forward to the moment in which we shall be together.

I come as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to proclaim his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is to confirm the Catholic community in Bangladesh in its faith and witness to the Gospel that recognizes the dignity of every man and woman and calls us to open our hearts to others, especially to the poor and needy.

At the same time I wish to encounter the entire population. In a special way, I look forward to meeting with religious leaders at Ramna, in Dhaka. We live in times in which believers and men of goodwill in all places are called to promote reciprocal understanding and respect, and to sustain each other as members of one human family.

I know that there are many people in Bangladesh who are working hard to prepare for my visit and I thank them. I ask each of you for prayers so that my days with you may be a source of hope and encouragement for all. Upon you and your families I invoke the divine blessings of joy and peace! See you before long!      

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:  

Pope addresses Italian road and railway police

While commending Italy’s police force for ensuring the safety and security of those travelling by road and train, Pope Francis on Monday called on them to also inculcate humanity, uprightness ‎and “mercy”.  ‎  The Pope met some 100 top leaders and officials of Italy’s road police that celebrating its 70th anniversary and railway police that is marking its 110 years. 

Click below to listen:

 

Road safety

Talking about road safety, Pope Francis told the group it is necessary to deal with the low level of responsibility on the part of many drivers, who often do not even realize the serious consequences of their inattention (for example, with improper use of cell phones) or their disregard.  He said this is caused by a hurried and competitive lifestyle that regards other drivers as obstacles or opponents ‎to overcome, turning roads into "Formula One" tracks and the traffic lights as the starting line of a Grand Prix race.  In such a context, the Pope said, sanctions are not just enough to increase security, but there is a need for an ‎educative action, which creates greater awareness of one’s responsibilities for those traveling ‎alongside. ‎

Beyond professionalism

The Pope told the police men and women that the fruit of their experience on the road and the railway will help in raising awareness and increase civic sense. Their professionalism not only depends on their skills but also on their “profound uprightness” which never takes ‎advantage of the powers they possess, thus helping develop a “high degree of humanity.”  The Pope said that in surveillance and prevention, it is important to ensure never to let the use of force degenerate into ‎violence, especially when a policeman is regarded with suspicion or almost as an enemy instead of a guardian of the common good.

Mercy

In fulfilling their functions, the Holy Father suggested the police have a “sort of mercy”, which he said is not synonymous with ‎weakness.  Neither does it mean renunciation of the use of force.  It means not identifying the ‎offender with the offence he has committed, that ends up creating harm and generating revenge.  Their work requires them to use mercy even in the countless situations of weakness and pain that they face daily, ‎not only in various types of accidents but also in meeting needy or disadvantaged people.

Good vs evil

The Pope also asked the road and railway police to recognize the presence of the clash between good and evil in the world and within us, and to do everything possible to fight egoism, injustice and  ‎indifference and whatever offends man, creates ‎disorder and foments illegality, hindering the happiness and growth of people. 

Pope pays tribute to "zealous" cardinal

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to the sister of Italian Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, a “zealous pastor” who died on Sunday at the age of 92.

The message praised the Cardinal for his work as a papal nuncio in several countries and his efforts to restore a “spiritual vitality” and “a new zeal” at the Papal Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, where he was archpriest from 2005-2009.

Pope Francis said Cardinal Montezemolo was a “revered man of the Church, who lived with fidelity his long and fruitful priesthood and episcopate in the service of the Gospel and the Holy See.”

During his work in the pontifical representations to Papua New Guinea, Nicaragua, Honduras, Uruguay, Israel and Italy, he “devoted himself with wisdom to the good of those populations.”

The Pope added that the Cardinal’s work at St Paul’s Outside the Walls showed an “intense and competent commitment” particularly in the pastoral, organizational, and artistic-cultural areas.

At the end of the message sent to Marquise Adriana Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Pope Francis promised prayers for the repose of her brother’s soul and sent his Apostolic Blessing to all who mourn the Cardinal’s passing.

Please find the tellegram in full below:

MARQUISE ADRIANA CORDERO LANZA DI MONTEZEMOLO

THE DEPARTURE OF YOUR DEAR BROTHER, THE VENERABLE CARDINAL ANDREA CORDERO LANZA DI MONTEZEMOLO, INSPIRES IN MY HEART SENTIMENTS OF SINCERE ADMIRATION FOR A REVERED MAN OF THE CHURCH, WHO LIVED WITH FIDELITY HIS LONG AND FRUITFUL PRIESTHOOD AND EPISCOPATE IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOSPEL AND THE HOLY SEE. I REMEMBER WITH GRATITUDE HIS GENEROUS WORK IN THE PONTIFICAL REPRESENTATIONS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA, NICARAGUA, HONDURAS, URUGUAY, ISRAEL AND ITALY, WHERE HE DEVOTED HIMSELF WITH WISDOM TO THE GOOD OF THOSE POPULATIONS. AS ARCHPRIEST OF THE PAPAL BASILICA OF SAINT PAUL OUTSIDE-THE-WALLS, HE GAVE THE WITNESS OF A PARTICULARLY INTENSE AND COMPETENT COMMITMENT BOTH FROM A PASTORAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL, AND AN ARTISTIC-CULTURAL POINT OF VIEW, ENDEAVOURING TO RESTORE SPIRITUAL VITALITY TO THE ENTIRE COMPLEX AND NEW ZEAL TO THE ECUMENICAL VOCATION OF THAT PLACE OF WORSHIP. I RAISE FERVENT PRAYERS FOR HIS REPOSE, SO THAT BY THE INTERCESSION OF THE VIRGIN MARY AND THE APOSTLE OF THE PEOPLE, THE LORD MAY RECEIVE THE DEPARTED CARDINAL IN HIS ETERNAL JOY AND PEACE, AND I SEND MY APOSTOLIC BLESSING TO YOU AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, AND TO THOSE WHO MOURN THE PASSING OF THIS ZEALOUS PASTOR.

Sunday Gospel Nov. 26, 2017

(Vatican Radio) In this week's edition of There's More in the Sunday Gospel Than Meets the Eye, Jill Bevilacqua and Seàn-Patrick Lovett bring us readings and reflections for the Thirtyfourth Sunday, Feast of Christ the King. Listen:

Gospel  - Mt  25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. 
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? 
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

Pope on World Day of the Poor: they open for us the way to heaven

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday – the XXXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time and the first-ever World Day of the Poor – in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father announced the World Day of the Poor during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and entrusted its organization and promotion to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

There were some 4 thousand needy people in the congregation for the Mass, after which Pope Francis offered Sunday lunch in the Paul VI Hall.

Speaking off the cuff to guests at the luncheon, the Holy Father said, “We pray that the Lord bless us, bless this meal, bless those who have prepared it, bless us all, bless our hearts, our families, our desires, our lives and give us health and strength.” The Holy Father went on to ask God's blessing on all those eating and serving in soup kitchens throughout the city. “Rome,” he said, “is full of this [charity and good will] today.”

Click below to hear our report

The World Day of the Poor is to be marked annually, on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

In the homily he prepared for the occasion and delivered in St. Peter’s Basilica following the Gospel reading, Pope Francis said, “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love.” He went on to say, “When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell.”

Reminding the faithful that it is precisely in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9), and that there is therefore in each and every poor person, a “saving power” present, Pope Francis said, “[I]f in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven.”

“For us,” the Pope continued, “it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them.

“To love the poor,” Pope Francis said, “means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material: and it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbour. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away.” 

Television: Educates, Informs, Entertains, Influences

World Television Day is celebrated on Nov 21 to give recognition to the increasing impact television has had on decision-making. It brings the world’s attention  to various conflicts and threats to peace and security and covers other major issues, including economic and social. 

In December 1996 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 21st of November World Television Day, the same year the first World Television Forum was held.  World Television Day is not meant to celebrate by watching a television programme but rather to comprehend the values it communicates.

St. Pope John Paul II in his 28th World Communications Day message on the theme ‘Television and family: guidelines for good viewing’ said, “ The television is a primary source of news, information and entertainment for countless families, shaping their attitudes and opinions, their values and patterns of behavior. Television can enrich family life. It can draw family members closer together and foster their solidarity with other families and with the community at large. It can increase not only their general knowledge but also their religious knowledge, making it possible for them to hear God's word, to strengthen their religious identity, and to nurture their moral and spiritual life”.

Speaking of the moral responsibility the television personnel have towards their viewers he said “Those who work in television should be committed to the family as society's basic community of life, love and solidarity”.

The celebration of this day highlights how television has made a positive impact on our planet as a whole. The unique medium has helped shape a whole century in educating, informing and reforming opinions. 

For the UN the television as a communication media, plays an important role in presenting major issues faced by humankind.  Television not only provides us with vital information about our world, but it also helps to strengthen our democracies by getting this information directly into our homes. It is estimated that approximately 90% of homes around the world have televisions though now the number is declining since many prefer the internet. 

UN expert urges Mexico to end pattern of discrimination against indigenous peoples

A United Nations expert on indigenous rights has called on Mexico to achieve an equal and respectful relationship with indigenous peoples, in order to end a “serious pattern” of human rights abuses.  “The Government should take decisive steps to show its real commitment to fulfil the rights of indigenous peoples,”  UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said at the end of an official visit to the country.

Click below to listen to our report:

During her 8-17 November mission, the Special Rapporteur met more than 200 people from 23 different indigenous groups - half of whom were women -  drawn from 18 Mexican states.  She also met officials during her visit to Mexico City and the states of Chiapas, Chihuahua and Guerrero.

Exclusion and discrimination

The indigenous rights activist from the Philippines called for creating the “necessary conditions for a sustained and inclusive dialogue, addressing all outstanding issues and providing an opportunity to establish trust, and create a new relationship between indigenous peoples and the State based on equality, respect and non-discrimination.”

Tauli-Corpuz said she was able to recognize a “serious pattern of exclusion and discrimination, which in turn reflects in a lack of access to justice, among other human rights violations.”  Another serious issue brought to her attention was the fact that indigenous peoples are not being properly consulted, according to international standards, on projects and other decisions that affect their rights, including their right to life.

Mexico falls short

The Special Rapporteur used her visit to assess whether recommendations made by her predecessor in 2003 had been implemented, and to evaluate how Mexico had incorporated its international human rights commitments on indigenous peoples. She noted that neither the 2003 recommendations nor the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, had been fully implemented.

Tauli-Corpuz will present her full report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018.

UNICEF: Despite progress, 180 million children face bleaker prospects than their parents

UNICEF observed World Children’s Day on Monday,  with global children’s ‘take-overs’ to give children their own platform to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential. This day also  marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the rights of the child on 20 November 1989.

A separate UNICEF survey of children aged 9-18 in 14 countries released today shows that children are deeply concerned about global issues affecting their peers and them personally, including violence, terrorism, conflict, climate change, unfair treatment of refugees and migrants, and poverty. 

According to the analysis, 180 million children live in 37 countries where they are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school, or be killed by violent death than children living in those countries were 20 years ago.

Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy said,  “While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world's children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty.   It is the hope of every parent, everywhere, to provide greater opportunities for their children than they themselves enjoyed when they were young. This World Children’s Day, we have to take stock of how many children are instead seeing opportunities narrow and their prospects diminish,” he said.

Assessing children’s prospects in escaping extreme poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent deaths, the UNICEF analysis reveals that the share of people living on less than $1.90 a day has increased, primary school enrolment has declined in 21 countries and violent deaths among children below the age of 19 have increased in seven countries. 

“In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” said Chandy. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain,” he added.

Key findings from the survey include:

Half of children across all 14 countries report feeling disenfranchised when asked how they felt when decisions are made that affect children around the world.

Children across all 14 countries identified terrorism, poor education and poverty as the biggest issues they wanted world leaders to take action on.

Across all 14 countries, violence against children was the biggest concern.

Children across all 14 countries are equally concerned about terrorism and poor education.

Around 4 in 10 children across all 14 countries worry a lot about the unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world.

Nearly half of children (45 per cent) across 14 countries do not trust their adults and world leaders to make good decisions for children.

Barack Obama, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are the most popular names for children to invite to their birthday party.Watching TV featured as the number one hobby of choice in 7 out of 14 of the countries.

World Children’s Day is a day ‘for children, by children’, when children from around the world take over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to express their concerns about what global leaders should be focusing on, and to voice support for the millions of their peers who are facing a less hopeful future.

For the survey, UNICEF worked with Kantar and Lightspeed to poll more than 11,000 children aged between 9 and 18 years old in 14 countries about their concerns and attitudes on global issues including bullying, conflict/war, poverty, terrorism and violence against children. The countries surveyed were: Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. (UNICEF)

Card. Tagle: Pope’s visit to Myanmar, Bangladesh is ‘bridge of hope’

(Vatican Radio)  “Even if the Church is small in [Myanmar and Bangladesh], the presence of the Holy Father could build a bridge, represented by the Gospel.”

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines, made that assessment of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh in an interview with Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti.

Listen to the full interview:

Cardinal Tagle expressed the joy of the Church in Asia for Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar (27-30 November) and Bangladesh (30 November – 2 December).

Gospel builds bridges

“We are very happy that the Holy Father is visiting countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh where Christians are a minority.”

He said the Pope’s visit is important, “especially now because, not only in Asia but in those two countries, we have very precarious situations, [both] political and humanitarian situations.”

“The Gospel brings people, hopefully, together in love. So we are very hopeful that this will happen,” he said.

World Day of the Poor

Cardinal Tagle also spoke about the first-ever World Day of the Poor, which was celebrated on Sunday, November 19th.

“The World Day of the Poor brings us away from the concept of poverty [and brings us] to real people, because they are real people,” he said.

Cardinal Tagle said this encounter with real people who are in need causes us to receive more than we give.

“When we encounter real people, we don’t only give them what they need – we should! – but we receive more from them.”

He said this is at the heart of the World Day of the Poor.

It helps poor people to realize that they are also agents in both their own lives and the life of the world.

“Part of their human dignity is to help them realize that they are also active agents, not only of their lives, but active agents in the world. They can make the world better if they see their potential and the presence of God in their lives,” Cardinal Tagle concluded.

Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo dies aged 92

Cardinal Andrea  Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, the Archpriest emeritus of the Basillica of Saint Paul outside the Walls died on 19th November. He was 92 years old.

Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo was born in Turin on 27 August 1925. His Father, Giuseppe, was a colonel of the Italian Army who was killed during the Ardeatine Massacre during the Second World War. During this time Andrea and his sister Adriana were sheltered  by clergy of the Ukrainian college in Rome. Andrea also fought during the War. Many years later, both he and his sister publicly expressed their forgiveness of those who had killed their Father.

He was also related to Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who was Chairman of Ferrari.

After studying and working as an Architect,  Montezemolo trained as a priest for the Diocese of Rome. Ordained in 1954 he was then selected for diplomatic service, serving in Nunciatures across the world, most notably in Mexico, Japan, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. After working in the Secretariat of State he become under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 1972, becoming Secretary in 1977. He was consecrated as Titular Archishop of Anglona by Cardinal Villot.

In 1980 he became Apostolic Nuncio to Honduras and Niocaragua. Other postings as Nuncio included Uruguay, Papa New Guinea, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Jordan, Italy and San Marino. He played a leading role in establishing full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel in 1993.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Archpriest of the Basillica of Saint Paul outside the Walls in 2005. He was responsible for overseeing much of the restoration work inside the Basillica, including work on Saint Paul’s tomb.

He was also an expert in ecclesiastical heraldry and help to design Pope Benedict’s coat of arms.

 Pope Benedict appointed him a Cardinal in 2006. He  retired in 2009. Pope Francis visited him at his nursing home in 2016.