Resignation is from the devil, Pope warns Mexican priests, religious

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 16, 2016 / 09:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In the face of corruption, violence, and atrocities against the human person, resignation becomes the “devil’s favorite weapon,” Pope Francis told priests, religious, and seminarians on the fourth day of his journey to Mexico.   “What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability?” the Pope asked. Centering his homily on the day’s Gospel account of Jesus teaching his disciples the Our Father, the pontiff reflected on the line, “Lead us not into temptation,” and decried the temptation toward resignation. “What temptation might we suffer over and over again when faced with this reality which seems to have become a permanent system?” “Faced with this reality, the devil can overcome us with one of his favorite weapons: resignation,” the Pope said, explaining that resignation provokes fear, entrenches us in “false securities,” and prevents us from enacting change. Pope Francis made these remarks during Mass in the city of Morelia, a central Mexican city rife with violence and corruption. He stressed the importance of learning from the past in confronting temptation. “How good it is for us to tap into our memories when we are tempted,” the pontiff reflected. “How much it helps us to look at the “stuff” of which we are made.” “It did not all begin with us, nor will it all end with us, and so it does us good to look back at our past experiences which have brought us to where we are today.” Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico’s Michoacán State comes on the second to last day of his Feb. 12-17 trip to Mexico, his first since his election to the papacy. Throughout his homily, the Pope stressed the balance between prayer and the way we live our lives. “For our life speaks of prayer and prayer speaks of our life,” he said; “our life speaks through our prayer and our prayer speaks through our life.” Praying is something to be learned, the Pope explained. “The school of prayer is the school of life and in the school of life we progress in the school of prayer.” Jesus sought to introduce his companions “into the mystery of His Life,” he said. “He showed them by eating, sleeping, curing, preaching and praying, what it means to be Son of God.” Inviting his companions into “his interiority,” Jesus introduced them to the “newness of saying ‘Our Father,’” the pontiff explained, an expression which “contains a sense of life, of experience, of authenticity.” With these words, Jesus “knew how to live praying and to pray living,” the Pope said, and he “invites us to do the same.” “Our first call is to experience this merciful love of the Father in our lives, in our experiences,” and then share the Gospel with others, he added. “He has invited us to share in his life, his divine life, and woe to us if we do not share it, woe to us if we are not witnesses to what we have seen and heard, woe to us.” “We are not and do not want to be ‘administrators of the divine’,” or “God’s employees,” Pope Francis said. Rather, “we are invited to share in his life,” and “enter into his heart.” In turn, we are called to live out the words: “Our Father.” Pope Francis recalled the legacy of 16th century Bishop Vasco Vázquez de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacán. The bishop did not respond to the dire situation experienced by the indigenous Purhépechas Indians with “listless resignation,” the Pope said. Rather, it “succeeded in kindling his faith, strengthening his compassion and inspiring him to carry out plans that were a “breath of fresh air” in the midst of so much paralyzing injustice.” “The pain and suffering of his brothers and sisters became his prayer, and his prayer led to his response,” the Pope said of the bishop, who came to be known as “Tata Vasco,” meaning “Father, dad, daddy.” “It is to this prayer, to this expression, that Jesus calls us,” Pope Francis concluded: “lead us not into the temptation of resignation, lead us not into the temptation of losing our memory, lead us not into the temptation of forgetting our elders who taught us by their lives to say, ‘Our Father’.”   Read more

There’s no question – reporting abuse is a must, Cardinal O’Malley says

Rome, Italy, Feb 16, 2016 / 09:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After recent media reports suggested the Vatican is telling bishops to cover up sexual abuse, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has said that reporting abuse is not just a civil responsibility, but a moral one. “The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must not be kept secret for any longer. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all,” Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, president of the commission, said in a Feb. 15 statement, quoting Pope Francis. On behalf of himself and the other members of the commission, the cardinal affirmed that “our obligations under civil law must certainly be followed.” Even beyond these civil requirements, “we all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society,” he said. Cardinal O’Malley’s statement comes less than a week after some media reports falsely suggested that the Vatican is telling new bishops that they don’t have to report sexual abuse. The news reports concerned a statement from French Msgr. Tony Anatrella, who contributed to a 2015 formation course for new bishops organized by the Congregation for Bishops. Msgr. Anatrella, a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, wrote a document with a section reflecting on countries’ civil laws that mandate abuse reporting. The document said “it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.” Msgr. Anatrella said that decision is up to victims and their families. Some media reports depicted the monsignor’s statements as an encouragement to cover up sexual abuse or as a claim that it is “not necessarily” a bishop’s duty to report sexual abuse in cases where laws require it. However, in his statement Cardinal O’Malley stressed the importance of reporting suspected abuse and following the guidelines that are in place. As an example, he pointed to the Charter for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which “clearly states the obligation that all dioceses/eparchies and personnel report suspected abuse to the public authorities.” This obligation is reaffirmed every year during the USCCB’s November training session for new bishops, as well as every other February when the conference runs a second training program for new bishops that also “clearly and explicitly includes this obligation,” the cardinal said. He noted that the commission recently shared with Pope Francis an overview of their “extensive education efforts” in local churches over the past two years. At the same time, he said, the commission reiterated their willingness to provide this same educative material at courses offered in Rome, which include the annual training program for new bishops, as well as one for the offices of the Roman Curia in their own child protection efforts. In comments made to CNA Feb. 12, Bill Kilgallon, a member of the commission and director of the National Office for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, said that education and accountability have been big talking points for the commission. “We’ve already recommended to the Pope the establishment of a system of holding bishops and religious superiors to account who don’t apply the appropriate guidelines, and don’t deal with the matter of sexual abuse appropriately,” he said. One of the main tasks of the commission, Kilgallon said, is to both establish effective guidelines for handling abuse cases and to make sure that they are being followed. “In discussions with people from countries across the world, the need for those guidelines and the effect of guidelines is apparent,” he said. However, he stressed that guidelines “are only the beginning. What we need to do then is make sure people follow those guidelines, and follow them effectively.” In addition to making sure that local churches implement the guidelines, Church leadership must also be educated, Kilgallon said. “That’s very important. That’s been highlighted…we have a group working on that issue,” he said, adding that a separate group is currently looking into changes that need to be made in canon law. “So there are a number of things happening that I think point to a positive future.” Read more

[Coming Up] Papal visit to Mexico: Holy Mass with priests, men and women religious, consecrated people and seminarians

Morelia, Mexico, Feb 16, 2016 / 08:30 am (CNA).- Watch LIVE coverage of Pope Francis celebrating Holy Mass with priests, men and women religious, consecrated people and seminarians at “Venustiano Carranza” Stadium in Morelia, Mexico at 11:0… Read more

Those letters between John Paul II and a woman? Not so secret, actually.

Vatican City, Feb 15, 2016 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Experts and friends of Pope St. John Paul II responded quickly to a BBC promotion of a documentary about his friendship with Polish-born female philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka – questioning some of the portrayals of their friendship and outright dismissing others. “John Paul II’s friendship with her was neither secret nor extraordinary,” Poland’s national library, which hosts Tymieniecka’s letters from the Pope, said Feb. 15. “The statements made in the media have no basis in the content of the letters of John Paul II to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka which are in the National Library of Poland’s archives,” the library said, according to Agence France Presse. On Feb. 15 BBC News discussed letters and various meetings between the Pope and Tymieniecka, saying that the letters showed a close relationship. The BBC story said there is no suggestion the Pope “broke his vow of celibacy.” The news story preceded the Monday evening broadcast of a documentary on the British television station BBC One. Promotional material for the show depicts its subject as “the secret letters of John Paul II.” Greg Burke, vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, commented on the broadcast Feb. 15. “With regard to a documentary on the BBC, it comes as no great revelation that Pope John Paul II had deep friendships with a number of people, men and women alike,” he said. “No one will be shocked by that.” The report started internet rumors of an affair, but the late Pope’s long-time secretary, countered these. “Those who lived at John Paul II’s side knows very well that there is no space for malicious conspiracy theories,” Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said in a statement. “He was free and transparent, he lived with no complexes because he was a very pure man, as he respected every person in every life’s situation. This is the only key of interpretation of his exemplary and holy life.” The friendship between St. John Paul II and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was well known within John Paul II’s inner circle and outside of it. George Weigel’s biography of John Paul II, “Witness to Hope,” recounts that Tymienecka began writing letters to the prelate before he was a Pope – when he was known as Karol Wojtyla. The letters discussed his philosophical thoughts after the publication of his book “The Acting Person.” Msgr. Pawel Ptasznik, a Polish priest in the Vatican Secretariat of State, was one of Pope John Paul II’s close collaborators for 10 years. He reflected on the correspondence between the Pope and. Tymienecka. “Even when the philosophical debate was concluded, she kept on writing to Cardinal Karol Wojtyla and then to Pope John Paul II. Since he was a very polite man, he used to respond to every letter of hers he received.” Gianfranco Svidercoschi, a veteran Vatican observer and a biographer of John Paul II, also commented on the story. “Mrs. Tymieniecka kept all the letters from the Pope, and also a copy of the letters she sent,” Svidercoschi said, according to quotes obtained by ACI Stampa. After John Paul II’s death, “she tried to sell her exchange of letters with the late Pope, and in the end the Polish National Library bought them all. However, the letters are not available for reading.” In his view, this the reason why BBC can claim that these are “secret letters.” Svidercoschi maintained that John Paul II had friendly relations with many people, including a long friendship with Wanda Poltawska, a Polish doctor, writer and World War II concentration camp survivor. “John Paul II loved to meet people. When he wanted to discuss something, he used to invite someone for a walk in the mountains. And he loved to go boating,” Svidercoschi said. The future Pope received the news he had been named a bishop during a camping trip with a circle of students. The friendship between John Paul II and Mrs. Tyminiecka did mean that Cardinal Wojtyla spent one vacation at Mr. and Mrs. Tyminiecka’s house in Vermont. This was documented in the book “His Holiness,” by Marco Politi and Carl Bernstein. Read more

For Antonin Scalia, faith and work did not conflict

Washington D.C., Feb 15, 2016 / 04:54 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of deep Catholic faith who saw his work through the eyes of vocation, said those who knew him. “I think he’s an excellent ex… Read more

Even wounded families are better than isolation, Pope Francis says

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico, Feb 15, 2016 / 04:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Although families today deeply struggle in a society rife with dysfunction and pain, this fundamental relationship is still essential for our lives and preferable to being alone, Pope Francis said. “Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned,” the Pope said Monday while meeting with families in Mexico’s southern city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. “It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favor a model based on isolation.” “It is true that living in family is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful but, as I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a society that is sick from isolationism and habitually afraid of love.” The pontiff continued: “I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort. I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to faces with makeup that know nothing of tenderness and compassion.” Pope Francis met with families at the “Victor Manuel Reyna” Stadium in the capital of Mexico’s Chiapas state during his third full day of his Feb 12-17 trip to the country. The Pope listened to testimonies ranging from a young man with muscular dystrophy, to a divorced and remarried couple, a family struggling to obtain basic goods for their families, and a single mother who refused to undergo abortions despite pressure to do so. Halfway through the witnesses, the Pope – to wild cheers from crowd – paused to bless a wheelchair-bound young man who the pontiff’s security detail lifted on to the stage. Responding to a series of testimonies given just before his address, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for being in Chiapeneca, which has the “flavor” of family and a home. “I give thanks to God because of the heart-beat of his presence in your families,” he said. He also thanked the families for their witness and hospitality. “You have allowed us to sit with you sharing both in the bread that nourishes you and in the sweat of your brow as you face the difficulties of every day.” “It is the bread representing the joys, the hopes and the hard sweat with which you confront sadness, disillusion and failings. I thank you for allowing me to enter into your families, your homes, and to sit at your tables.” One of the people who gave testimony was Manuel, a teenager in a wheelchair who suffers from muscular dystrophy.   The Pope responded to Manuel by name, acknowledging how he had put his “heart” into his life, his family, and his friendships. “I believe that this is what the Holy Spirit always wants to do in our midst: to put a new heart into us, giving us reasons to keep on taking risks, dreaming and building a life that has this sense of home, of family.” “This is something which God the Father has always dreamt of and for which he has fought for a very long time.” The Pope reflected on examples throughout Scripture in which God placed a “new heart” into the people: he assured Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that all was not lost; he gave manna to the people of Israel as they journeyed through the desert. Finally, “when the fullness of time came, God the Father put his heart into it by giving humanity the eternal gift of his Son.” “Similarly, all of us here have had this experience, in different moments and different ways; God the Father has put his heart into it for us,” the Pope said. God “cannot do otherwise,” he said: “Because his name is love, his name is gift, his name is self-giving, his name is mercy.” This is shown in his Son, Jesus, in whom and with whom the “Kingdom of God” possible. This Kingdom, the Pope said, “invites us to share in a new mindset, that puts into motion a dynamic power capable of opening the heavens, capable of opening our hearts, our minds, our hands and capable of challenging us with new possibilities.” “This is a Kingdom which has the feeling of family, the flavor of a life shared.” Jesus “is capable of changing our perspectives, attitudes, and feelings, which are often watery and dull, into the wine of joy and celebration,” the Pope continued. “He can heal our hearts and invite us again and again, seventy times seven, to begin anew. He can make all things new.” Pope Francis responded to Manuel’s request for prayers for those adolescents who are disillusioned and “on a wrong path,” many of whom “are deflated, tired and without aspirations.” “This attitude often comes from a feeling of loneliness, from not having someone to talk to,” the Pope said. He then turned to the testimony given by a woman named Beatrice, a single mother who had expressed her own struggle with uncertainty and loneliness. “Uncertainty, insufficiency, and often not having the bare essentials, can lead to despair, can make us deeply anxious because we cannot see a way forward, especially when we have children in our care,” the Pope said. Such uncertainty not only affects our “stomach,” but our soul as well, “demoralizing us and taking away our energy so that we seek apparent solutions that in the end solve nothing. This dangerous form of certainty is “born of solitude and isolation,” he said: “And isolation is always a bad counselor.” “Very often the greatest temptation we face is to cut ourselves off, and far from putting our heart into things, this attitude of isolation ends up, like a moth, drying up our souls,” the Pope said, reflecting on the two testimonies. He touched on the various ways of overcoming “uncertainty and isolation” which makes people vulnerable: Legislation which ensures access to the basic necessities of life, including education and employment. Pope Francis then reflected on the witness of Humberto and Claudia, a divorced and remarried couple who, in accordance to Church teaching, abstains from receiving the Eucharist. “Laws and personal commitment make good duo that can break the spiral of uncertainty.” The Pope concluded his address by reminding the Mexican people of their “advantage”: Our Lady of Guadalupe, before leading those present in reciting the Hail Mary. “She is always ready to defend our families, our future; she is always ready to put her heart into it by giving us her Son.” Read more

Even wounded families are better than isolation, Pope Francis says

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico, Feb 15, 2016 / 04:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Although families today deeply struggle in a society rife with dysfunction and pain, this fundamental relationship is still essential for our lives and preferable to being alone, Pope Francis said. “Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned,” the Pope said Monday while meeting with families in Mexico’s southern city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. “It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favor a model based on isolation.” “It is true that living in family is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful but, as I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a society that is sick from isolationism and habitually afraid of love.” The pontiff continued: “I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort. I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to faces with makeup that know nothing of tenderness and compassion.” Pope Francis met with families at the “Victor Manuel Reyna” Stadium in the capital of Mexico’s Chiapas state during his third full day of his Feb 12-17 trip to the country. The Pope listened to testimonies ranging from a young man with muscular dystrophy, to a divorced and remarried couple, a family struggling to obtain basic goods for their families, and a single mother who refused to undergo abortions despite pressure to do so. Halfway through the witnesses, the Pope – to wild cheers from crowd – paused to bless a wheelchair-bound young man who the pontiff’s security detail lifted on to the stage. Responding to a series of testimonies given just before his address, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for being in Chiapeneca, which has the “flavor” of family and a home. “I give thanks to God because of the heart-beat of his presence in your families,” he said. He also thanked the families for their witness and hospitality. “You have allowed us to sit with you sharing both in the bread that nourishes you and in the sweat of your brow as you face the difficulties of every day.” “It is the bread representing the joys, the hopes and the hard sweat with which you confront sadness, disillusion and failings. I thank you for allowing me to enter into your families, your homes, and to sit at your tables.” One of the people who gave testimony was Manuel, a teenager in a wheelchair who suffers from muscular dystrophy.   The Pope responded to Manuel by name, acknowledging how he had put his “heart” into his life, his family, and his friendships. “I believe that this is what the Holy Spirit always wants to do in our midst: to put a new heart into us, giving us reasons to keep on taking risks, dreaming and building a life that has this sense of home, of family.” “This is something which God the Father has always dreamt of and for which he has fought for a very long time.” The Pope reflected on examples throughout Scripture in which God placed a “new heart” into the people: he assured Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that all was not lost; he gave manna to the people of Israel as they journeyed through the desert. Finally, “when the fullness of time came, God the Father put his heart into it by giving humanity the eternal gift of his Son.” “Similarly, all of us here have had this experience, in different moments and different ways; God the Father has put his heart into it for us,” the Pope said. God “cannot do otherwise,” he said: “Because his name is love, his name is gift, his name is self-giving, his name is mercy.” This is shown in his Son, Jesus, in whom and with whom the “Kingdom of God” possible. This Kingdom, the Pope said, “invites us to share in a new mindset, that puts into motion a dynamic power capable of opening the heavens, capable of opening our hearts, our minds, our hands and capable of challenging us with new possibilities.” “This is a Kingdom which has the feeling of family, the flavor of a life shared.” Jesus “is capable of changing our perspectives, attitudes, and feelings, which are often watery and dull, into the wine of joy and celebration,” the Pope continued. “He can heal our hearts and invite us again and again, seventy times seven, to begin anew. He can make all things new.” Pope Francis responded to Manuel’s request for prayers for those adolescents who are disillusioned and “on a wrong path,” many of whom “are deflated, tired and without aspirations.” “This attitude often comes from a feeling of loneliness, from not having someone to talk to,” the Pope said. He then turned to the testimony given by a woman named Beatrice, a single mother who had expressed her own struggle with uncertainty and loneliness. “Uncertainty, insufficiency, and often not having the bare essentials, can lead to despair, can make us deeply anxious because we cannot see a way forward, especially when we have children in our care,” the Pope said. Such uncertainty not only affects our “stomach,” but our soul as well, “demoralizing us and taking away our energy so that we seek apparent solutions that in the end solve nothing. This dangerous form of certainty is “born of solitude and isolation,” he said: “And isolation is always a bad counselor.” “Very often the greatest temptation we face is to cut ourselves off, and far from putting our heart into things, this attitude of isolation ends up, like a moth, drying up our souls,” the Pope said, reflecting on the two testimonies. He touched on the various ways of overcoming “uncertainty and isolation” which makes people vulnerable: Legislation which ensures access to the basic necessities of life, including education and employment. Pope Francis then reflected on the witness of Humberto and Claudia, a divorced and remarried couple who, in accordance to Church teaching, abstains from receiving the Eucharist. “Laws and personal commitment make good duo that can break the spiral of uncertainty.” The Pope concluded his address by reminding the Mexican people of their “advantage”: Our Lady of Guadalupe, before leading those present in reciting the Hail Mary. “She is always ready to defend our families, our future; she is always ready to put her heart into it by giving us her Son.” Read more

[LIVE] Papal visit to Mexico: Meeting with Families

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico, Feb 15, 2016 / 02:45 pm (CNA).- Watch LIVE coverage of Pope Francis’ Meeting with families in the “Víctor Manuel Reyna” stadium in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico at 5:15pm EST. Read more

Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica comes to Google street view

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 15, 2016 / 11:24 am (CNA).- A virtual pilgrimage for Pope Francis’ trip now offers a new street-view perspective of key sites and churches. The project is thanks to a partnership between the Archdiocese of Mexico and tech… Read more

Pope in Mexico: Don’t anesthetize the hope of your youth

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 15, 2016 / 10:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In today’s throwaway culture, young people are being anesthetized against the desire for a better world, Pope Francis said Monday, celebrating Mass in Mexico’s Chiapas region. “In many ways there have been endeavours to subdue and lull our children and young people into a kind of lassitude by suggesting that nothing can change, that their dreams can never come true,” the Pope said. The pontiff spoke of the attempts to “silence and dull this yearning” and to “anaesthetize” the soul, especially in young people. “Exposed to a culture that seeks to suppress all cultural heritage and features in pursuit of a homogenized world, the youth of today need to cling to the wisdom of their elders!” The Feb. 15 Mass was celebrated at the San Cristóbal de las Casas municipal sport’s center with representatives of the indigenous communities of Chiapas, marking the start of Pope Francis’ third full day in Mexico. He centered his homily on the Psalm from the day’s Mass: “The law of the Lord is perfect; it revives the soul.” The law referred to here is that which was given by Moses to the people of Israel – who had endured slavery, suffering, and oppression – to help them “live in the freedom to which they were called,” he explained. “And here the true face of God is seen, the face of the Father who suffers as he sees the pain, mistreatment, and lack of justice for his children,” he said. “His word, his law, thus becomes a symbol of freedom, a symbol of happiness, wisdom and light.” Pope Francis observed how the experiences of the people of Israel are reminiscent of a prayer originating from the Popol Vuh, a work originating from the Guatemalan highlands. “The sun rose for the people who at various times have walked in the midst of history’s darkest moments,” he said. “In this expression, one hears the yearning to live in freedom, there is a longing which contemplates a promised land where oppression, mistreatment and humiliation are not the currency of the day.” “In the heart of man and in the memory of many of our peoples is imprinted this yearning for a land, for a time when human corruption will be overcome by fraternity, when injustice will be conquered by solidarity and when violence will be silenced by peace.” This longing, he said, is shared by the Father, who “himself inspired it and continues to do so in giving us his son Jesus Christ,” in whom “we discover the solidarity of the Father who walks by our side.” “In him, we see how the perfect law takes flesh, takes a human face, shares our history so as to walk with and sustain his people.” “He becomes the Way, he becomes the Truth, he becomes the Life, so that darkness may not have the last word and the dawn may not cease to rise on the lives of his sons and daughters.” Meanwhile, efforts are made dissuade people, especially the youth, against the yearning for fraternity, justice. As a result, “creation itself also raises an objection,” the Pope said. He added, quoting his encyclical on the environment, Laudato, Si: “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.” “We can no longer remain silent before one of the greatest environmental crises in world history,” he said. While the people throughout Latin America “know how to interact harmoniously with nature,” they have often, “in a systematic and organized way… been misunderstood and excluded from society,” the Pope said, addressing the region’s bishops. “Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them.” “How sad this is! How worthwhile it would be for each of us to examine our conscience and learn to say, ‘Forgive me!’” He stressed the responsibility toward the world which has become ravaged “by a throwaway culture.” “Today’s world, overcome by convenience, needs to learn anew the value of gratitude! Pope Francis’ Feb. 12-17 trip to Mexico is his first as pontiff. He is the third Pope to visit the nation: St. John Paul II visited Mexico five times over the course of his 27 year pontificate, and Benedict XVI in 2012. Read more

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