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By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICANCITY (CNS) -- Confessors have two choices: to be like Jesus who readily forgavesins or like thedevil who always condemns,Pope Francis said. "Youcan either do the work of Jesus, who forgives, by giving your lives in prayer (and) through many hoursseated there or you do the work of the devil who condemns and accuses,"the pope said during Mass Feb. 9 with Capuchin friars from around the world. The Mass at the Altar of the Chair inSt. Peter's Basilica was held in conjunction with the veneration of the relicsof two Capuchins, Sts. Padre Pioand Leopold Mandic; Pope Francis requested their relics be brought to theVatican for the Year of Mercy.Both saints, the pope told the friars, spent long hours in theconfessional as ministers of God's mercy and forgiveness.Recalling the day's Gospel passage, in which thePharisees and scribes condemn Jesus and his disciples for not observingtraditions, the pope reminded the Capuchins that confessors are called to be"great f...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday evening met with the Missionaries of Mercy, who are priests given special faculties to absolve even sins reserved to the Holy See.The Missionaries of Mercy are being commissioned by the Holy Father during the Ash Wednesday Mass to be “a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness,” and will be preaching mercy and hearing confessions in dioceses around the world during the Jubilee of Mercy.Pope Francis, meeting with the Missionaries the day before their commissioning, told them they are a “sign of special importance” which characterizes the Jubilee of Mercy, and offered some brief reflections to give practical help in their task.Listen: “First of all, I would like to remind you that in this ministry you are called to express the maternal nature of the Church,” Pope Francis said.“The Church is a Mother because she always creates new children in faith; the Church ...
Vatican City, Feb 9, 2016 / 12:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Priests who are good confessors must recognize their own sins in order to forgive and comfort penitents, Pope Francis said one day before the start of the Lenten season.“I speak to you as a brother, and through you I would like to speak to all confessors, especially in this Year of Mercy: the confessional is for forgiveness,” the Pope said in his homily Feb. 9 in St. Peter’s Basilica. He celebrated the Mass with Capuchin Franciscan friars from around the world.Even if priests cannot give absolution in some cases, the Pope told them, “please, do not beat up on the penitent.”Someone who comes to the confessional is seeking “comfort, pardon, peace in his soul.”“Let him find a father who embraces him and says, ‘God loves you,’ and makes the penitent feel that God really does,” the Pope said.Reflecting on the Capuchin Franciscan tradition as one of giving forgiveness, ...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was the principal celebrant at a Mass offered for the worldwide Capuchin community on Tuesday morning in St. Peter’s Basilica.The Mass was offered in connection with the presence in Rome and at St. Peter’s of the relics of two great Capuchin saints, who were renowned in their earthly lives as priest-confessors: St. Pius of Pietralcina (or St. Padre Pio as he is popularly known) and St. Leopold of Mandic.“I speak to you as a brother,” said Pope Francis to the Capuchins present, “and through you I would like to speak to all confessors, especially in the Year of Mercy: the confessional is for pardon – and [even] if you cannot give absolution – let me say hypothetically – please, do not beat up on the penitent; one who comes [to the confessional], comes seeking comfort, pardon, peace in his soul; let him find a father who embraces him and says, ‘God loves you,’ and makes the penitent feel that God...
Zimbabwe’s Archdiocese of Harare Exorcist, Fr Robert Igo OSB has this week urged the faithful attending the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Day of prayer at Holy Name Parish in Marlborough to use Sacraments for protection.Fr Robert Igo OSB, a clinical therapist based at the Benedictine Monastery in Macheke, which is one of the four commissioned pilgrimage centres with Doors of Mercy in the Archdiocese of Harare, was the main speaker teaching the congregants on exorcism and the Catholic teaching.In his explanation of the practice of exorcism, Fr. Igo said the practice takes from Jesus’ ministry when he commanded demons, with authority, to come out of possessed persons.“Exorcism is when a priest who is mandated, who is given the authority, says in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to go out,” said Fr Igo.“I command, not because I am a special power, not because I am good, not because I am clever… but I absolve with Sacramental power just like w...
(Vatican Radio) Today, February 8, we mark the International Day of Prayer and Awarenesss Against Human Trafficking.Amongst the faith-based organizations whose mandate is to raise awareness about this global phenomenon, fight it and work with its victims is Caritas, the helping hand of the Catholic Church.Caritas offers humanitarian action and support in many fields, it also coordinates the work of COATNET  - Christian Organisations Against Trafficking in Human Beings - a network of 42 Christian groups around the world who fight human trafficking. This International Day of Prayer has been chosen to coincide with the feat of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman who was sold into slavery, abused and finally freed becoming an icon of Christian hope and forgiveness.As Pope Francis himself has said again and again “human trafficking is a crime against humanity”, “an open wound of the body of contemporary society”, and COATNET believes that “th...
Washington D.C., Feb 6, 2016 / 05:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Controversy has erupted in recent weeks over a beloved American pastime and – considering the risk it poses – whether or not the game of football is even worth it.Whether one is a devoted football fan, or only watches once a year, Super Bowl Sunday holds a place as a major event for people across the country. However, some say that aspects such as commercialism, graphic content, and the life-changing injuries sustained by players should make Catholics think critically about the game they’re seeing, even as they cheer on the teams before them.“I love football and in fact it would be difficult to find someone who loves football more than I do,” said Charles Camosy, professor of ethics at Fordham University. He even credits football for his existence, given that his parents met on a train to the Notre Dame-Alabama Sugar Bowl game in 1973. But despite his love for the game, Camosy said there are...
Vatican City, Feb 6, 2016 / 04:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday Pope Francis said that St. Padre Pio is a key example of someone who has given their entire life in the service of God’s mercy, but cautioned that there is only one reason he was able to do so: prayer.“We can say that Padre Pio was a servant of mercy. He did so full-time, practicing, at times in exhaustion, the apostolate of listening,” the Pope said Feb. 6.Through his ministry in the confessional, where he would at times spend 10-15 hours a day, the saint was able to become “a caress of the living Father, who heals the wounds of sin and refreshes the heart with peace.”Francis noted that throughout his life Padre Pio never tired of welcoming and listening to the people who came to him, and said the saint spent both his time and strength in spreading “the perfume of the forgiveness of the Lord.”The only reason Padre Pio was able to do this, he said, is because “he was al...
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican's Promoter of Justice, Gian Piero Milano, issued a report Saturday to inaugurate the 81st year of the Vatican's judicial tribunal.In the report Milano noted that the reforms initiated by Pope Francis profoundly affect the internal life of the Vatican City State, its legislative, judicial and administrative activities. "They also affect the level of relations with other jurisdictions,” he said, “to whom the Church and its institutional expressions can offer a unique and significant contribution.”Justice affects the individual person and also the entire community. The love of neighbor, peace, care for creation, tireless concern for the elimination of inequalities, are themes of the report and are values ??that challenge legal practitioners who are called to intervene when rules are violated. Justice, as identified by Pope Francis, is not enough. We have a God also of mercy and forgiveness.With the pontificate of Po...
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church announced on Friday that Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill will hold a historic first encounter in Cuba on February 12th. A statement released jointly in Moscow and in Rome said the meeting will mark “an important stage in relations” between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and a “sign of hope for all people of good will”.Philippa Hitchen reports:  Pope Francis announced at the start of the Jubilee  year of mercy that he himself intended to make some practical gestures showing God’s mercy to the world on one Friday of each month. Friday February 12th may prove to be the most significant of all those gestures, as the leader of the Catholic world and the head of the largest Orthodox Church meet together to show that, despite the issues still dividing them, they are determined to pursue the path of mercy, forgiveness and the restoration of full Christian unity.The historic encounter ...
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