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Card. Turkson to UN: Holy See committed to ocean sustainability

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 17:57
(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, has issued the full text of his prepared statement to the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of the 14 th Sustainable Development Goal, which deals with Conserving and Sustainably Using the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources . Please find the full text of Cardinal Turkson’s statement, below… ***************************************** Statement of His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development New York, 5-9 June 2017 Distinguished Co-Chairs, Last month the Holy See launched a new initiative called “ Laudato Si’  Challenge,” in a roll out that included the President of the United Nations General Assembly and prominent business and political leaders from across the globe. The goal of this project is to highlight the importance of environmental concerns in making business decisions, planning projects, and influencing law and policy.  The Holy See is committed to continuing and strengthening these efforts. Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14 is in everyone’s interest, because the gravity of the issues confronting our oceans involves the very existence of mankind. Besides providing food and raw materials, the oceans provide various essential environmental benefits such as air purification, a significant role in the global carbon cycle, climate regulation, waste management, the maintenance of food chains and habitats that are critical to life on earth. Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Letter “ Laudato Si’,  On Care for Our Common Home,” appealed to everyone to alter the trajectory of environmental degradation by changing patterns of consumption and lifestyles harmful to the environment. Careless or selfish behavior in our use of resources and in our interaction with the environment must be addressed at all levels, from individual behavior to national policies and international multilateral agreements. To reverse the negative impacts on marine resources and to strengthen the long-term conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, we must integrate ethical considerations in our scientific approaches to environmental issues, because environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked. The environment cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of it, included in it and in constant interaction with it. Consequently, a crisis of the environment necessarily means a moment of truth for all of us. As Pope Francis reminded us, “[W]e are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental.” [1]  This compound reality, therefore, demands an integrated approach that simultaneously takes care of the environment, combats poverty and exclusion, assures the collective enjoyment by all of the common good, and fosters intergenerational solidarity. An ethical approach means, above all, taking seriously our responsibility to care for these precious natural resources and to protect those persons, especially the poor and vulnerable, who depend on them for their daily subsistence. Without an approach informed by ethical considerations, we are left with a system where “some are concerned only with financial gain, and others with holding on to or increasing their power,” resulting in “conflicts or spurious agreements where the last thing either party is concerned about is caring for the environment and protecting those who are most vulnerable”. [2] An ethical approach must focus not just on rights but also on obligations. Much of the decline in the health of oceans is a result of emphasizing rights and autonomies to the detriment of personal and national responsibilities. The lack of adequate legal and regulatory frameworks and the failure to implement existing laws, allowing many to take advantage of oversights and gaps, exacerbate this overemphasis on rights at the expense of obligations. Care for our common home, however, is and will always be a moral imperative.  Oceans, and all of us who depend on them, would in particular benefit from this ethical approach. For many years, the health of oceans and seas was not adequately considered, as oceans were thought to be so vast as to not be affected by human activities. We have taken for granted our liberties to use them, enjoying the freedom of navigation, of fishing, of laying cables, and of scientific research, but we have not sufficiently underlined our responsibilities in their proper use.  This is evident in the fact that, other than provisions regarding general care of the environment or pollution, there is no global agreement or institutional body that specifically addresses care and protection of the resources of the oceans. Such an agreement is particularly urgent as ocean resources are more and more intensely harvested. Oceans have value beyond that of fishing and navigation: they are also a vast source of renewable energy and biological and mineral wealth, including those used by the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. An ethical approach inspires solidarity with future generations. As Pope Francis reminded us, “[I]ntergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.” [3]  Thus, while our care for our oceans immediately benefits us, it is also a gift to future generations, sparing them from paying the extremely high price of environmental deterioration and allowing them to enjoy its beauty, wonder, and manifold endowment. Distinguished Co-Chairs, In many religious and cultural traditions, water is a symbol of cleansing, renewal and rebirth. It is also, in this sense, that the Holy See welcomes this fresh beginning of a renewed cooperation and coordination of global efforts to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources. Thank you, Distinguished Co-Chairs. [1]  Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’”, 139. [2]  Ibid, 198. [3]  Ibid, 159. (from Vatican Radio)...

Kerala Catholics urged to spread the 'message' of Kandhamal

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 17:42
Catholics in southern India’s Kerala state have been urgedto show greater solidarity with the suffering Christians of Odisha state and spread the message of their exemplary witness.  Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly who heads the eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, made the appeal on June 6 while releasing the Malayalam version of a book by rights advocate and journalist ‎Anto Akkara that details the atrocities of the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Odisha’s Kandhamal district.  The riots orchestrated by Hindu extremists that raged for weeks claimed the lives of more than 100 Christians because they refused to abandon their faith.  Over  6,000 Christian  homes and 300 churches were plundered and torched leaving more than 56,000 homeless. Nearly 9 years after the violence, many Christians are still awaiting justice and compensation from the government. Many have not been able to return to their homes. Akkara’s several books on the Kandhamal riots were the results of several visits to the district.  The Kerala-born journalist has doggedly investigated the violence and meticulously recorded the witness and suffering of the Christians that followed the murder of Hindu leader Swami Laxmanananda which Hindu fundamentalists blamed on Christians, , despite Maoist rebels claiming it. “We have a duty to spread this message," urged Card. Alencherry while releasing the Malayalam version,  “Early Christians of 21st Century”. "The book brings out the brutality” Kandhamal Christians had to suffer. These revelations can touch human conscience and enlighten even non-Christians," Cardinal Alencherry told the assembly of Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) attended by over 40 Catholic bishops and 150 religious superiors. ‎"This book has touched the nerve centre of human conscience with graphic details of the suffering and witness of Kandhamal Christians who challenge us to 'bear witness to the truth' as Jesus taught," observed. KCBC president Archbishop Maria Callist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum.  ‎"The incredible witness of Kandhamal Christians who carry the stamp of crucified‎ Christ, brought out in this book, will aflame the Christian faith and witness in the readers," said Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, the head of the eastern-rite Syro-Malankara Church and president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI). ‎In his remarks, Akkara said his revised edition has included several new topics including a chapter on Kerala Christians' strong bond with Kandhamal.  “Hope this will lead to greater concern about Kandhamal in Kerala," he said.  Seven innocent Christian men have been languishing in jail for the murder of Swami Laxmanananda.  Akkara’s book, “Who killed Swami Laxmanananda?” busts the myth of a Christian conspiracy behind the murder.  Apart from unveiling the Hindu nationalist fraud behind Kandhamal with tell-tale evidence, he has also launched an online signature campaign at urging the authorities to release the 7 Christians. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis blesses altar for South Korean sanctuary

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 20:28
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Wednesday blessed an altar destined for a Marian sanctuary in South Korea during his General Audience. The “ Adoratio Domini in unitate et pace ” will be placed in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary in Namyang, South Korea. Pope Francis mentioned the altar in his greetings to Polish pilgrims. He said the request for his blessing of the altar was made by the Queen of Peace Community Association in Radom, Poland. The association is setting up 12 centers for Eucharistic Adoration and perpetual prayer for peace in “hotspots” around the world. The Pope said the group drew its inspiration for the Adoration centers from the “12 stars in the crown of Mary, Queen of Peace”. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis: God is a Father; we are never alone

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 20:15
(Vatican Radio) At the weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke on “The Fatherhood of God: the Wellspring of our Hope.” He was continuing his series of catechetical instruction on “ Christian Hope .” Pope Francis’ catechesis focused on the Christian prayer par excellence, the Our Father. “The whole mystery of Christian prayer,” he said, “is summed up here, in having the courage to call God Father.” The ability to call God Father, the Pope said, is not insignificant. It would be normal for humans to invoke God using the highest titles, on account of His infinite greatness; instead, the use of the word “Father” puts us “in a relationship of trust with Him, as a child who turns to his dad, knowing he is loved and cared for by him.” The mystery of God’s transcendence always fascinates us, and makes us feel small, but, he said, we are no longer afraid, we do not feel crushed or anguished. God is a Father, the Pope continued, but he is not like human fathers; instead, Jesus offers the parable of the prodigal son, where the father welcomes his child with forgiveness and love. That, he says, is perhaps why St Paul, when referring to this mystery, prefers not to translate the term “abba,” which is more intimate than father, and might better be translated as “papa” or “daddy.” “Dear brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said, “we are never alone.” Even when we are distant or even hostile to God, even when we might claim to be “without God,” God the Father does not remain distant from us: “He will never be a God ‘without man.’” This providential plan of God is a great mystery. Whatever our needs, whatever our problems, the Pope reminded us that God is our Father, who is always watching over us with love, a Father who will never abandon us.” Pope Francis concluded the audience by asking those in St Peter’s Square to think about their necessities, their problems, and to turn to God in confidence and hope, before leading them in the recitation of the Our Father.  (from Vatican Radio)...

Cardinal Turkson to represent Vatican at EXPO 2017 in Kazakhstan

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 19:42
(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, will act as the "Commissioner for participation of the Holy See" during the inauguration of the EXPO 2017 Exposition "Future Energy" in Astana, Kazakhstan on 8-11 June. A press release from the Dicastery said the exposition "explores the theme of energy for the future, interpreted as an opportunity for the promotion of humanity and the improvement of the 'common home' on the basis of an equitable and sustainable use of natural resources". Cardinal Turkson will be accompanied at the event by the Apostolic Nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt. The statement says the Vatican's exposition will develop four thematic areas: "The love of God as the origin of the creation of man and of the earth; energy as a tool placed in the hands of man, who has not always made adequate use of it; energy directed towards the development of the person and the care of the common home; and the strength of spirituality, with particular reference to prayer, the search for meaning, and interreligious dialogue." Please find below the full text of the press release: From 8 to 11 June, Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, will visit Astana, Kazakhstan, as the “Commissioner for participation of the Holy See” at the inauguration of the EXPO 2017 Exposition, “Future Energy”. The Holy See, which has participated in the Universal Expositions since 1851, will be present with its own pavilion, entitled “Energy for the Common Good: Caring for our Common Home”, realized with the contribution from the local Church. It explores the theme of energy for the future, interpreted as an opportunity for the promotion of humanity and the improvement of the “common home” on the basis of an equitable and sustainable use of natural resources. The display structure of the Holy See, which makes use of digital installations and will enable visitors to be accompanied along photographic, artistic, cultural and spiritual itineraries, develops four thematic areas: the love of God as the origin of the creation of man and of the earth; energy as a tool placed in the hands of man, who has not always made adequate use of it; energy directed towards the development of the person and the care of the common home; and the strength of spirituality, with particular reference to prayer, the search for meaning, and interreligious dialogue. The inauguration of EXPO 2017 will take place on 9 June, and that of the Holy See pavilion in the morning of the following day. Cardinal Turkson will be accompanied by His Excellency Msgr. Francis Assisi Chullikatt, apostolic nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and by representatives of the local Church. The Holy See National Day is scheduled to take place on 2 September. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis appeals for ‘One Minute for Peace’ initiative

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 17:06
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appealed for prayers and international participation in the “One Minute for Peace” initiative to be held Thursday, 8 June, at 1:00 PM Rome time. He said the initiative represents “a short moment of prayer on the recurrence of the meeting in the Vatican between me, the late Israeli President Peres, and the Palestinian President Abbas”. Their encounter took place in the Vatican Gardens on 8 June 2014, during which the three men prayed together for peace. The Holy Father said, “In our days, there is a great need to pray – Christians, Jews, and Muslims – for peace.” His appeal came at the conclusion of his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope Francis holds General Audience: English Summary

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 16:25
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis held his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square, continuing his catechesis on Christian hope. He focused his remarks on Jesus' Our Father prayer as presented in the Gospel of Luke (11:1-4) and on "The Fatherhood of God, wellspring of our Hope". Please find below the official English-language summary: Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we now consider the source of that hope in the fatherhood of God.  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he taught them to call God Our Father.  Here we see the great religious revolution introduced by Christianity: taught by the Saviour’s command, we dare to speak to the transcendent and all-holy God as children speak, with complete trust, to a loving father.  In the parable of the merciful father, who welcomes his prodigal son with supreme forgiveness, Jesus speaks to us of the Father’s unconditional love.  In his Letters, Saint Paul twice repeats the original Aramaic word used by Jesus in his prayer: “Abba” (cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6).  As God’s adoptive sons and daughters in the Holy Spirit, we share in the intimate relationship between Jesus and the Father, and this is the basis of our sure hope in God’s saving help.  Each day, as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, may we be confirmed in the knowledge that, in his merciful love, our heavenly Father will watch over us, respond to our petitions, and never abandon us. (from Vatican Radio)...

Pope: hypocrisy destoys communities and hurts the Church

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 20:56
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday urged Christians to be truthful,  warning them against the temptations of hypocrisy and flattery. His words came during the homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Hypocrisy – Pope Francis said – is not the language of Jesus, nor is it the language of Christians, in fact, he said, “the hypocrite is capable of destroying a community”. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : The Pope explained that Jesus often uses the adjective “hypocrite” to describe the doctors of the law, because, as the etymology of the word illustrates, they claim to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case, they proffer their opinions and issue judgements but in reality they are false. And reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day, the Pope said "The hypocrite always uses language to flatter” just as some Pharisees and Herodians who tried to ensnare Jesus in his speech. “Hypocrites – Francis said – always begin with adulation, “exaggerating the truth, feeding into one’s vanity" and he recalled the case of a priest he met a long time ago whom, he said, “drank-up all the flattery; that, he said, was his weakness”. Jesus makes us see reality which is the opposite of hypocrisy and ideology Flattery, the Pope said, is triggered by “bad intentions” as in the case of the doctors of the law in today’s liturgical reading. They put Jesus to the test, flattering him first and then asking him a question with the intention of making him fall into the wrong: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”  "The hypocrite, Francis said,  is two-faced, but Jesus knew their hypocrisy and said: ‘Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.’  Jesus always responds to hypocrites and ideologists with reality: ‘this is the reality; everything else is either hypocrisy or ideology’. In this case he said: ‘bring me a coin’, and he answered with the wisdom of the Lord: ‘Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – the reality was that the coin carried the image of Caesar - and to God what belongs to God’.” The third aspect, the Pope continued “is that the language of hypocrisy is the language of deceit, it is the same language the serpent used with Eve.” It begins with flattery, he said, and ends up destroying people: “it tears to pieces the personality and the soul of a person. It destroys communities”.  Hypocrisy destroys communities and hurts the Church "Hypocrisy is so bad for the Church” the Pope said with a warning to all those Christians who fall into this sinful and destructful attitude. "The hypocrite is capable of destroying a community. While speaking gently, he ruinously judges a person. He is a killer” he said. Pope Francis concluded exhorting the faithful to remember that the only way to respond to flattery is with truth; the only way to respond to ideology is with reality.  “Let us ask the Lord to guard us from this vice, to help us be truthful, and if this is not possible to keep silent – but never to be a hypocrite” he said. (from Vatican Radio)...