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(Vatican Radio) ‘Don’t stand by’ is the theme for the 2016 Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated every year on January 27th to recall the day that Soviet forces arrived to liberate prisoners at the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.Over 70 years on, events are being organised in countries around the world to honour the victims of the Nazi’s final solution and other genocides which have taken place since then.Philippa Hitchen reports:  Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced today that a planned national memorial to Holocaust victims will be built next to the parliament building in central London, while U.S. President Barack Obama marked the day by honoring two Americans and two Poles who risked their lives to protect Jews during the Holocaust.At a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week, the Holy See delegate said Holocaust Remembrance Day “calls for a...
(Vatican Radio) The role of property rights in Christian social thought was the subject of a seminar at Rome’s Pontifical University of Saint Thomas “Angelicum” on Wednesday.During the event, co-sponsored by the Istituto Acton, the International Property Rights Index 2015 was presented.The Index, now in its ninth edition, compares data from 129 countries and ranks them by how well they protect property rights.The Property Rights Alliance, which publishes the volume, has noted the great economic differences between countries with strong property rights and those without: The top quintile on the Index has a GDP twenty times higher than the bottom quintile.The Executive Director of the Property Rights Alliance, Lorenzo Montanari, said the Church has an interest in protecting property rights.“It is an important issue, because the Church considers property rights are a basic human right for everyone,” he told Vatican Radio. “It is not only the right ...
(Vatican Radio) The 51st International Eucharistic Congress is taking place in Cebu in the Philippines. The week long event wraps up on Sunday 31 and sees the participation of Catholic leaders and faithful from across the globe.Although the gathering aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church, it also provides an arena in which many other issues are tackled and reflected upon.Vatican Radio's Seàn-Patrick Lovett is in Cebu and tells us more.Listen to his report:  Tell the truth: until you read the title of this article you weren’t even sure there was such a thing as an International Eucharistic Congress. And no one could blame you if you didn’t know that Cebu was in the Philippines. Just for the record, a Eucharistic Congress is a major church event that takes place once every four years with the aim of focussing attention on spirituality, community, ministry, mission, and a...
(Vatican Radio)  The number two man at the Vatican’s Press Office retires 31 January after working under three Popes.  Deputy Director Fr. Ciro Benedettini is stepping down after twenty years of service to the Holy See.  He will be succeeded by American journalist Greg Burke.In an interview in Italian with Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti, Fr. Ciro - as he is affectionately known by journalists the world over - reflects on how the world of Vatican communications has changed since he took up his post and shares his feelings about moving on..It is with “a mixture of feelings, some joy and some sadness,” that Fr. Ciro says he will be leaving the Press Office, but those feelings are dominated, he adds, by “joy… because I am grateful to the Lord who gave me the opportunity to work for the Church, in the service of three Popes - and what Popes!”Sharing meals with a saint, keeping Vatican in step with "radical changes"...
In the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Archdiocese of Semarang (Central Java) invited the Pastors of different Protestant churches to an ecumenical celebration that brought together Catholics and Protestants. "At first, it was not easy to bring together Protestant pastors" refers to Fides Father Aloys Budi Purnomo, head of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in the Archdiocese of Semarang. "In the Church of Christ the King in Ungaran, Semarang, the Pastors of various Christian denominations accepted our effort to work for peaceful harmony among Christians of various denominations", said the priest. More than 50 Pastors of 20 denominations, from various cities in Java and other islands, attended the vigil for the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.In addition to Christian Pastors and Catholic priests, there were about 1,200 Catholics and Protestants, from children to elderly people. Rev. Markus, president of the Counci...
(Vatican Radio) St. Peter’s Square was transformed on Wednesday into an open-air circus venue, with circus performers from various outfits leaping, flipping and twisting in acrobatic showmanship during the weekly General Audience.Following their performance, Pope Francis said, “I greet the circus performers and I thank them for their very welcome exhibition.” He went on to say, “You are champions of beauty: you make beauty, and beauty is good for the soul.”Enlarging on his greetings in unscripted enthusiasm, Pope Francis added, “Beauty brings us closer to God, but behind this spectacle of beauty, how many hours of training there are! Go forward, keep it up!”
(Vatican Radio) One of the highlights of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines, is the number of theological talks and catechesis offered to the participants.Father John Coughlan of the Diocese of Elphin in Ireland took part in the Congress’s Theological Symposium, speaking in "Mission in a Western Culture."“Faith happens in a context,” he told Vatican Radio after the talk.Listen to the Vatican Viewpoint featuring the interview by Seàn-Patrick Lovett with Father John Coughlan: “I think context [in the West] is down … to how we understand the human being, the human person,” Father Coughlan explained. “If you think of all the big issues we have in the West, they are all operating out of a somewhat reduced understanding of the human person,” he said.“I was making the argument that really our evangelization has to begin with our understanding of the self,” Father Coughlan cont...
In the statement titled ‘Let there Be Light Among Us’, the bishops called on Zambians to work together to promote the common good and expressed hope that upcoming elections in the country could be held in a free, transparent and peaceful atmosphere.They appealed for tolerance and for “a new political spirit and a democratic culture among our political leaders and their members.”The Zambian bishops also appealed to the government to make sure every Zambian has access to food should there be a shortfall due to erratic rains. However, they warned against politicising food relief and called on leaders to desist from using foul language and hate speech.The Catholic bishop of Zambia further appealed to the government to make available to all the amended clauses in the country’s constitution.Citing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si, the bishops called on Zambians to re-examine the way they care for the environment and called on the government to put...
Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; 1 Cor 12:31--13:13; Lk 4:21-30In September of 1997 there was a groundbreaking service for a Catholic cathedral that was going to be constructed in Los Angeles. The Diocese of Los Angeles commissioned the famous Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo to design the building. Their hope was that the cathedral would be completed by the beginning of the millennium. It was to be a peculiar witness to the glory of God. There were models of the cathedral at the groundbreaking service, and on the basis of the models a Los Angeles Times reporter wrote a review of the cathedral. This is a part of what the reporter said: “Moneo is creating an alternate world to the everyday world that surrounds the cathedral, a testimony to grandeur of the human spirit, an antidote to a world that is increasingly spiritually empty.” Then he wrote this sentence: “The cathedral, set in the midst of the secular city, will be an enclave of resistance.” What an image . . . th...
 WASHINGTON-Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York called on everyone "concerned about the tragedy of abortion" to recommit to a "vision of life and love, a vision that excludes no one" on January 14. His statement marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."Most Americans oppose a policy allowing legal abortion for virtually any reason - though many still do not realize that this is what the Supreme Court gave us," wrote Cardinal Dolan. "Most want to protect unborn children at later stages of pregnancy, to regulate or limit the practice of abortion, and to stop the use of taxpayer dollars for the destruction of unborn children. Yet many who support important goals of the pro-life movement do not identify as 'pro-life,' a fact which should lead us to examine how we present our pro-life vision to others.""Even as Americans rema...
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