Washington D.C., Mar 3, 2017 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- God commanded it, Jesus practiced it, Church Fathers have preached the importance of it – fasting is a powerful and fundamental part of the Christian life. But for many Catholics today, it’s more of an afterthought: something we grudgingly do on Good Friday, perhaps on Ash Wednesday if we remember it. Would we fast more, especially during Lent, if we understood how helpful it is for our lives? The answer to this, say both saints of the past and experts today, is a resounding “yes.” “Let us take for our standard and for our example those that have run the race, and have won,” said Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo, founding executive director of the Institute of Catholic Culture and a deacon at Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Mclean, Va., of the saints. “And…those that have run the race and won have been men and women of prayer and fasting.” So what, in essence, is fasting? It’s “the deprivation of the good, in order to make a decision for a greater good,” explained Deacon Carnazzo. It is most commonly associated with abstention from food, although it can also take the form of giving up other goods like comforts and entertainment. The current fasting obligation for Latin Catholics in the United States is this: all over the age of 14 must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays in Lent. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, adults age 18 to 59 must fast – eating no more than one full meal and two smaller meals that together do not add up in quantity to the full meal. Catholics, “if possible,” can continue the Good Friday fast through Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil, the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference adds. Other Fridays throughout the year (aside from Friday within the Octave of Easter) “are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church,” according to Canon Law 1250. Catholics once abstained from meat on all Fridays, but the U.S. bishops received permission from the Holy See for Catholics to substitute another sacrifice or perform an act of charity instead. Eastern Rite Catholics, meanwhile, follow the fasting laws of their own particular church.   In their 1966 “Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence,” the National Conference of Catholic Bishops exhorted the faithful, on other days of Lent where fasting is not required, to “participation in daily Mass and a self-imposed observance of fasting.” Aside from the stipulations, though, what’s the point of fasting? “The whole purpose of fasting is to put the created order and our spiritual life in a proper balance,” Deacon Carnazzo said. As “bodily creatures in a post-fallen state,” it’s easy to let our “lower passions” for physical goods supersede our higher intellect, he explained. We take good things for granted and reach for them whenever we feel like it, “without thinking, without reference to the One Who gives us the food, and without reference to the question of whether it’s good for us or not,” he added. Thus, fasting helps “make more room for God in our life,” Monsignor Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. said. “And the Lord said at the well, with the (Samaritan) woman, He said that ‘everyone that drinks from this well is going to be thirsty again. Why don’t you let me go to work in your life and I’ll give you a fountain welling up to Eternal Life.’” While fasting can take many forms, is abstaining from food especially important?   “The reason why 2000 years of Christianity has said food (for fasting), because food’s like air. It’s like water, it’s the most fundamental,” Deacon Carnazzo said. “And that’s where the Church says ‘stop right here, this fundamental level, and gain control there.’ It’s like the first step in the spiritual life.”What the Bible says about it Yet why is fasting so important in the life of the Church? And what are the roots of the practice in Scripture? The very first fast was ordered by God to Adam in the Garden of Eden, Deacon Carnazzo noted, when God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). This divine prohibition was not because the tree was bad, the deacon clarified. It was “made good” like all creation, but its fruit was meant to be eaten “in the right time and the right way.” In the same way, we abstain from created goods so we may enjoy them “in the right time and the right way.” The fast is the weapon of protection against demons – St. Basil the Great. Fasting is also good because it is submission to God, he said. By fasting from the fruit of the tree, Adam and Eve would have become partakers in the Divine Nature through their obedience to God. Instead, they tried to take this knowledge of good and evil for themselves and ate the fruit, disobeying God and bringing Original Sin, death, and illness upon mankind. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus abstained from food and water for 40 days and nights in the desert and thus “reversed what happened in the Garden of Eden,” Deacon Carnazzo explained. Like Adam and Eve, Christ was tempted by the devil but instead remained obedient to God the Father, reversing the disobedience of Adam and Eve and restoring our humanity. Following the example of Jesus, Catholics are called to fast, said Fr. Lew. And the Church Fathers preached the importance of fasting.Why fasting is so powerful “The fast is the weapon of protection against demons,” taught St. Basil the Great. “Our Guardian Angels more really stay with those who have cleansed our souls through fasting.” Why is fasting so powerful? “By setting aside this (created) realm where the devil works, we put ourselves into communion with another realm where the devil does not work, he cannot touch us,” Deacon Carnazzo explained. It better disposes us for prayer, noted Monsignor Pope. Because we feel greater hunger or thirst when we fast from food and water, “it reminds us of our frailty and helps us be more humble,” he said. “Without humility, prayer and then our experience of God really can’t be unlocked.” Thus, the practice is “clearly linked by St. Thomas Aquinas, writing within the Tradition, to chastity, to purity, and to clarity of mind,” noted Fr. Lew. “You can kind of postulate from that that our modern-day struggles with the virtue of chastity, and perhaps a lack of clarity in theological knowledge, might be linked to an abandonment of fasting as well.”A brief history of fasting The current fasting obligations were set in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, but in previous centuries, the common fasts among Catholics were stricter and more regularly observed.   Catholics abstained from meat on all Fridays of the year, Easter Friday excluded. During Lent, they had to fast – one meatless meal and two smaller meatless meals – on all days excluding Sunday, the day of the Resurrection. They abstained from meat on Fridays and Saturdays in Lent – the days of Christ’s death and lying in the tomb – but were allowed meat during the main meal on the other Lenten weekdays. The obligations extended to other days of the liturgical year. Catholics fasted and abstained on the vigils of Christmas and Pentecost Sunday, and on Ember Days – the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of St. Lucy on Dec. 13, after Ash Wednesday, after Pentecost Sunday, and after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in September – corresponding with the four seasons. In centuries past, the Lenten abstention was more austere. Catholics gave up not only meat but also animal products like milk and butter, as well as oil and even fish at times. Why are today’s obligations in the Latin Rite so minimal? The Church is setting clear boundaries outside of which one cannot be considered to be practicing the Christian life, Deacon Carnazzo explained. That is why intentionally violating the Lenten obligations is a mortal sin. But should Catholics perform more than the minimum penance that is demanded? Yes, said Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., who is currently studying for a Pontifical License in Sacred Theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. The minimum may be “what is due to God out of justice,” he explained, but we are “called not only to be just to God,” but also “to love God and to love our neighbor.” Charity, he added, “would call us to do more than just the minimum that is applied to us by the Code of Canon Law today, I think.” In Jeremiah 31: 31-33, God promises to write His law upon our hearts, Deacon Carnazzo noted. We must go beyond following a set of rules and love God with our hearts, and this involves doing more than what we are obliged to do, he added.Be wary of your motivation However, Fr. Lew noted, fasting “must be stirred up by charity.” A Catholic should not fast out of dieting or pride, but out of love of God.   “It’s always dangerous in the spiritual life to compare yourself to other people,” he said, citing the Gospel of John where Jesus instructed St. Peter not to be concerned about the mission of St. John the Apostle but rather to “follow Me.” (John 21: 20-23). In like manner, we should be focused on God during Lent and not on the sacrifices of others, he said.   Lent (is referred to) as a joyful season…It’s the joy of loving Him more. “We will often fail, I think. And that’s not a bad thing. Because if we do fail, this is the opportunity to realize our utter dependence on God and His grace, to seek His mercy and forgiveness, and to seek His strength so that we can grow in virtue and do better,” he added. And by realizing our weakness and dependence on God, we can “discover anew the depths of God’s mercy for us” and can be more merciful to others, he added. Giving up good things may seem onerous and burdensome, but can – and should – a Catholic fast with joy? “It’s referred to in the preface of Lent as a joyful season,” Fr. Lew said. “And it’s the joy of deepening our relationship with Christ, and therefore coming closer to Him. It’s the joy of loving Him more, and the more we love God the closer we draw to Him.” “Lent is all about the Cross, and eventually the resurrection,” said Deacon Carnazzo. If we “make an authentic, real sacrifice for Christ” during Lent, “we can come to that day of the crucifixion and say ‘Yes Lord, I willingly with you accept the cross. And when we do that, then we will behold the third day of resurrection.’”This article was originally published on CNA Feb. 20, 2016. Read more

Vatican City, Feb 20, 2016 / 04:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday Pope Francis held his second Saturday general audience of the Jubilee, encouraging pilgrims to make a daily commitment to spreading God’s mercy both in the small things, and to those most in need. “My life, my attitude, my way of living, must truly be a concrete sign that God is close to us,” the Pope said Feb. 20. He explained that this is done through “small gestures of love, tenderness and care” which show that “the Lord is with us, that he’s close to us. And this is how the door of mercy opens.” Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his second Saturday general audience for the Holy Year of Mercy. In addition to his weekly Wednesday general audiences, the Pope chose to hold an extra one once a month on a Saturday as a special initiative for the Jubilee. In his address, Francis continued his reflections on the topic of mercy as understood through scripture, this week focusing on God’s commitment to humanity in sending Jesus. He said that committing oneself to something means to “assume a responsibility, a task toward someone; and it also means the style, the attitude of fidelity and dedication, of special attention with which we carry forward this task.” Each day we are asked to commit ourselves in the simple things we do, such as prayer, work and study, as well as in sports or free time, he said. “To commit ourselves, then, means to put our good will and our efforts to improve life,” Francis said, noting that God is also committed to us. God’s first commitment to humanity was when he created the world and dedicated himself to keeping it alive “despite our efforts to ruin it – and there are many.” But God’s greatest commitment, he said, was when he gave us Jesus. “Jesus is truly the extreme commitment that God has made toward us…this is the greatest commitment of God,” he said, adding that along with Jesus, “the Father will give us everything we need.” Seeing this commitment in action is easy if we read the Gospel, which tells us how through Jesus, God totally committed himself to restoring hope to the poor and those deprived of their dignity, as well as to strangers, the sick, prisoners and sinners, he said. “In all of this, Jesus was a living expression of the mercy of the Father,” the Pope continued. In off-the-cuff remarks, he underlined Jesus’ merciful attitude in his unconditional welcome of sinners with goodness. When seen in a human way, the sinner seems like God’s enemy, he said, but noted that despite this, Jesus still “drew close to them with goodness, he loved them and he changed their hearts.” All of us are sinners who have some sort of guilt before God, Francis said, yet the Lord still chooses to be near us in order to give us comfort, love and mercy. “This is the commitment of God! And because of this he sent Jesus!” he said. “To draw close to us, to all of us, and to open to us the door of his love, his heart, his mercy. And this is very beautiful, very beautiful!” Pope Francis concluded saying that in response to God’s commitment to us, we in turn must commit ourselves to spreading his love, mercy and goodness, beginning with those most in need. He pointed to those who suffer due to abandonment, illness, a serious disability as well as those who are dying or who cannot express their gratitude. “In all of these realities we bring the mercy of God through a life commitment, which is the testimony of our faith in Christ,” he said, and told pilgrims to always bring God’s caress to others, “because God has caressed us like this with his mercy.” “Bring it to others, to those in need, to those who suffer in their hearts, or who are sad. Draw near to them with that caress of God, which is the same that he had with us,” he said. He closed by praying that the Jubilee would help to open our minds and hearts so that we can “touch with our hands” the commitment God has for each person, and that our lives would be transformed “into a commitment of mercy for all.” Read more

Los Angeles, Calif., Feb 19, 2016 / 04:20 pm (CNA).- The controversy surrounding Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff statements on his return flight from Mexico – and Donald Trump’s response – should not overshadow the underlying reason for the papal visit, said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. The archbishop said that Pope Francis’ Feb. 12-17 Mexico visit was “a very emotional week” that tried “to bring a word of hope and mercy to some of the poorest and most oppressed people in this hemisphere.” “That’s what the Pope was saying – that immigration is about people, not economics or politics. It’s about children and families who are suffering,” he said. “The Pope was obviously deeply moved by the human tragedy of millions of people suffering from the corruption of leaders, criminal gangs, human trafficking, violence and poverty, economic injustice,” he said Feb. 19. “That’s what the Pope is thinking about – not our election debates or candidates.” On a Feb. 18 in-flight interview, a journalist asked Pope Francis to respond to the positions and claims of leading Republican presidential Donald Trump, who has characterized the Pope as a “pawn” for the Mexican government. “Trump said that if he’s elected, he wants to build 2,500 kilometers of wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, separating families, etc.,” the journalist said, asking for the Pope’s response. Pope Francis responded, saying, “As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel.”   The Pope said he would not get involved in the question of who someone should vote for, adding, “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.” In a Feb. 18 reaction, Trump claimed that the Mexican government “has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States.” “The Pope only heard one side of the story – he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States,” he said. Trump also portrayed the Pope’s comments as questioning his integrity. “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” he said. “I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened.” “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” Trump said, repeating his claim that the Pope is being used as a pawn. Archbishop Gomez reflected on the general reaction to the Pope’s comments. “Pope Francis was asked a provocative question and unfortunately it resulted in a media controversy. But it’s important to remember that the Holy Father is a pastor, not a politician. And when he speaks, he speaks always as a pastor, not as a politician.” “From a pastor’s perspective, immigration is a humanitarian crisis,” the archbishop said. “And a good pastor calls us to conversion, to greater compassion and empathy for those who are vulnerable and weak.” Archbishop Gomez acknowledged the need for secure borders as “the duty of a sovereign nation.” “But we also have a duty – as human beings and as Christians – to respond with compassion to those in need.” “We have families broken and hurting on both sides of the border and we have at least 11 million people living within our borders who are living as an almost permanent underclass, without rights or hopes for a better future.” “As Christians, we need to help these people somehow – no matter where they come from, no matter how they got here. They are mothers, fathers, children, grandparents. They are all our brothers and sisters.” Read more

Juarez, Mexico, Feb 19, 2016 / 02:06 pm (CNA).- After taking the Internet by storm last fall with their hit “Confia en Dios,” this group of singing sisters was invited to perform at Pope Francis’ U.S.-Mexico border Mass in Juarez earl… Read more

Vatican City, Feb 19, 2016 / 10:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Friday Cardinal George Pell forcefully denied an alleged police investigation’s claim of “multiple offenses” of child sexual abuse, calling the accusations patently untrue. “The allegations are without foundation and utterly false,” a Feb. 19 statement from Cardinal Pell’s office read. The timing of the media leak on the alleged investigation “is clearly designed to do maximum damage to the Cardinal and the Catholic Church and undermines the work of the Royal Commission,” it said. Cardinal Pell is a member of the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis and a past archbishop of the Sydney and Melbourne archdioceses. He is also the prefect of the newly formed Secretariat for the Economy which is overseeing Vatican finances. He is scheduled to testify before Australia’s Royal Commission Feb. 29 regarding claims that surfaced last year accusing the cardinal of moving “known pedophile” Gerald Ridsdale, of bribing a victim of the later-defrocked priest, and of ignoring a victim’s complaint. Established in 2013, the Royal Commission is dedicated to investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse. In May 20, 2015, statement, Cardinal Pell fervently denied the accusations. Having previously testified twice before the royal commission in person examining institutional responses to child sex abuse, the cardinal again assured his full cooperation. The commission then summoned Pell to return to Australia to testify again in December, however the cardinal’s doctor advised against the long flight, due to health issues. As a result, Cardinal Pell volunteered to appear by way of video conference from Rome. Cardinal Pell’s proposal for the video conference was accepted, and the commission scheduled him to testify at the end of February. However, with just over a week until the cardinal is set to appear, a report from News Corp Australia came out alleging that the state of Victoria is investigating him for committing “multiple offenses” of child sexual abuse both while he was still a priest in Ballarat, as well as when he worked with the archbishop of Melbourne. According to the News Corp report, detectives from Victoria’s task force Sano have been investigating for a year, and have complied a dossier claiming the cardinal abused minors “by both grooming and opportunity.” In their Feb. 19 statement, Cardinal Pell’s office said that not only do the accusations of the investigation lack foundation, but that it was “outrageous” that the cardinal was only informed of them through a “media leak.” Cardinal Pell has called for a public inquiry into the “spurious claims” on the part of certain members of the Victorian police.    Several media outlets have received confidential information that can only have been leaked by someone within the Victorian police force, the statement read. For members of the police “to publicly attack a witness in the same case study that has exposed serious police inaction and wrongdoing is outrageous and should be seen for what it is,” the cardinal said. The way in which the claims were made, the statement said, was done “in a manner clearly designed to embarrass the Cardinal, in a case study where the historical failures of the Victorian Police have been the subject of substantial evidence.” “These types of unfair attacks diminish the work of those good officers of the police who are diligently working to bring justice to victims.” According to the Harald Sun, the Sano taskforce is allegedly investigating allegations as far back as a 1961 accusation that the then-20 year old Pell, who was a seminarian at the time, abused an altar boy during a camp at Smiths Beach on Phillip Island. While the alleged incident was never investigated by police, the Catholic Church itself led an investigation into the incident in 2002, ultimately leading to the cardinal’s exoneration by now retired-Supreme Court justice Alec Southwell. In Pell’s statement, it was noted that the records for the Phillip Island allegations have been on the public record “for nearly 15 years,” and that Justice Southwell’s exonerating report has been in the public domain since 2002. It noted that the Victorian police “have taken no steps in all of that time to pursue the false allegations made,” but assured that Cardinal Pell “certainly has no objection”  if they wish to review the materials that led to his exoneration. He said he is sure it won’t be long until the police reach the same conclusion as Judge Southwell. The statement also stressed that in all of this time the Victoria police “have never sought” to interview Cardinal Pell in relation to any allegations of abuse. Apart from the “false allegations” investigated by Justice Southwell, it read, “the Cardinal knows of no claims or incidents which relate to him.” It was emphasized that Cardinal Pell “strongly denies any wrongdoing,” but that he remains open to cooperate with the police should they wish to speak with him. He called on both the Premier and the Police Minister to “immediately investigate the leaking of these baseless allegations.” Read more

Washington D.C., Feb 18, 2016 / 02:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a 2-1 decision delivered Feb. 18, a federal court ruled against the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in its challenge to the federal contraception mandate. “We are disappointed in the Court’s refusal to protect our religious freedom,” EWTN chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw said. “We simply want to continue to practice the same faith we preach to the world every day,” he said in a Feb. 18 statement. “We are prayerful and hopeful that, if necessary, the Supreme Court will correct this critical error.” EWTN Global Catholic Network was founded by Mother Angelica, a Franciscan nun. Its purpose is to share the Catholic faith across the globe. Reaching over 250 million homes in 144 different countries, it is the largest religious media network in the world and is among hundreds of organizations to challenge the Department of Health and Human Services mandate. The mandate requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions. Employers who fail to comply with the mandate face crippling penalties. Many Catholic and non-Catholic organizations have filed lawsuits against the mandate, saying it violates religious freedom and compels them to act against their religious and moral beliefs. In its decision, the federal court said, “We accept the plaintiffs’ sincere belief . . . that the accommodation puts them to a choice between honoring their religious beliefs and facing significant penalties. We nonetheless conclude that the accommodation imposes no substantial burden.” The dissenting opinion in the case argued that the majority ruling “runs roughshod over the sincerely held religious objections of Eternal Word Television Network,” and threatens core religious freedom legislation.   Directly after delivering its ruling, the court placed its effects on hold until the Supreme Court rules on the mandate later this year. This protects EWTN from accumulating fines while waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision. Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney on the case, said that the federal court’s decision “is wrong.” “Rather than provide these drugs and devices through its own exchanges, our government wants to punish EWTN for practicing its faith,” she said. “This 2-1 decision is not the end. The government’s unconstitutional mandate has lost repeatedly at the Supreme Court, and we believe it will lose again.” On Nov. 6, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear several remaining legal challenges to the mandate, including plaintiffs like Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh and the Little Sisters of the Poor. For failing to comply with the mandate, EWTN said it could face fines of $35,000 per day, about $12.7 million per year. Its amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief charged that the government aims to force EWTN into “complicity with wrongdoing.” In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, a closely-held private company whose Christian owners objected to parts of the mandate. Its ruling on the non-profit challenges to the mandate is expect this summer.   Read more

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 18, 2016 / 02:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sabrina Puig is eight years old. Due to a rare condition, she only has half a heart. But when Pope Francis passed by, she ran to him. Sabrina and her mother, Karla Robles, were behind the … Read more

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2016 / 02:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Despite a rush of headlines claiming Pope Francis is softening the Church’s stance on contraception, a closer look at his recent remarks could suggest otherwise. During an in-flight press conference on his way back from Mexico, Pope Francis was asked by a reporter about the threat of Zika virus in many Latin American countries. Noting that the virus may be linked to birth defects when transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby, the reporter asked the Holy Father about proposals involving “abortion, or else avoiding pregnancy” in areas where Zika virus is prevalent. The Pope responded by emphatically stating that abortion is “a crime” and “absolute evil” that cannot be justified. He also spoke on the topic of avoiding pregnancy. “Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape,” he said. Seven sentences later, he added another comment. Not mentioning contraception specifically, he simply said that “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.” Numerous news outlets suggested that the Pope was introducing a change – or at least a softening – in previous teaching. However, Dr. Melissa Moschella, a philosophy professor at The Catholic University of America, suggested that this may not be the case. When talking about avoiding pregnancy in connection with the Zika virus, the Pope may not necessarily have been implying artificial contraceptive use, but may have been referencing Natural Family Planning, she said. Normally, if a married couple faces a serious reason to avoid pregnancy, the Church teaches that they may do so through Natural Family Planning, a process that involves identifying a woman’s fertile periods and abstaining from sexual activity during those times. Moschella also explained that in the Africa case referenced by Pope Francis, the dispensation for the nuns was “not really an exception if you understand the rule.” The case in question took place in the early 1960s, when the Vatican granted a dispensation to religious sisters living in the Belgian Congo who were in grave danger of rape due to civil unrest to use oral contraceptives. “In the case of rape, the person who’s raped – from the moral perspective – has not engaged in a sexual act,” Moschella said. Rather, rape is an act of violence and a “violation of the woman’s body without any free choice or acceptance on her part.” “(I)n the sense, the sperm that’s been introduced as a result of the rape is a kind of further intrusion, unwelcome and non-voluntarily allowed into the woman’s body. So it’s a further kind of intrusion of the violence.” To understand the distinction, the professor continued, one must first understand the purpose of human sexuality and why the Church opposes contraception. “(W)hat sex means, from the Catholic perspective, is I give myself totally, completely to you in the kind of relationship that would be fulfilled by having and bearing children together,” she explained. “And if you do that while at the same time intentionally holding back your fertility, in a sense you’ve contradicted what it is that you’re doing with your body. It’s kind of like nodding yes while thinking no, kind of lying with your body language.” As a result, birth control is immoral because it violates the very nature of sex – trying to engage in sex without the natural possibility of pregnancy.   “But that doesn’t happen in the case of rape,” Moschella stressed. “In the case of rape, there has been no voluntary sex act on the part of the woman.” As a result, birth control would be viewed not as an immoral contraceptive measure seeking to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, but rather part of an act of self-defense, as the women seek to resist the act altogether. This is also, she noted, why some actions – such as the use of spermicide or attempts to delay ovulation if it has not yet occurred – may be acceptable even after instances of rape, as long as they do not involve the risk of killing an already-formed human embryo. However, Moschella said that this is “really different” from the situation surrounding the Zika virus. “(I)n cases of Zika virus, you’re talking about women who are voluntarily engaging in sexual relations and then using contraceptives to prevent those voluntary sexual acts from being fertile. And that does contradict the meaning of the sexual act, and so involves a kind of lack of integrity that’s harmful to the person and harmful to the relationship.” Read more

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2016 / 11:00 am (CNA).- In his hour-long inflight news conference on his way from Juarez to Rome, Pope Francis touched on a wide range of hot-button topics, including immigration, pedophilia, the spread of the Zika virus and his meeting with Patriarch Kirill. In the 60 minute interview, the Pope answered 12 questions posed in English, Spanish and Italian while on his overnight flight from Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez to Rome. Among the more salient themes of the interview are Francis’ praise of retired pontiff Benedict XVI’s efforts in fighting the clerical abuse crisis and his condemnation of abortion as a quick-fix to the Zika virus outbreak. He also responded to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s criticism of his stance on immigration, saying that if a person only seeks to build walls, they are not really a Christian.Please find below the full English transcription:Fr. Lombardi: Holy Father, thank you for being here as, at the end of every trip, for the summary conversation, a broad look at the trip that has occurred, and for your availability to respond to so many questions from our international community. We have, like usual, asked the different language groups to organize and prepare a few questions, but naturally we begin with our colleagues from Mexico.Maria Eugenia Jimenez Caliz, Milenio (Mexico): Holy Father, in Mexico there are thousands of “desaparecidos,” (disappeared) but the case of 43 (students) of Ayotzinapa is an emblematic case. I would like to ask you, why didn’t you meet with their families? Also, (please send) a message for the families of thousands of the “desaparecidos.”Pope Francis: Attentively, if you read the messages, I made reference continuously to the killings, the death, the life taken by all of these narcotrafficking gangs and human smugglers. I spoke of this problem as one of the wounds that Mexico suffers. There was an attempt to receive one of these groups, and there were many groups, even opposed among themselves, with infighting, so I preferred to say that I would see all of them at the Mass in Juarez or at another (Mass). It was practically impossible to meet all of these groups, which on the other hand were also fighting among themselves. It’s a situation that’s difficult to understand, especially for me because I’m a foreigner, right?  I think that even the Mexican society is a victim of all of this, of these crimes of “cleaning” people, of discarding people. I spoke in four speeches even and you can check for it there. It’s a great pain that I’m taking with me, because this nation doesn’t deserve a drama like this one.Javier Solorzano, Canal 11 (Mexico): The subject of pedophilia, as you know, in Mexico has very dangerous roots, very hurtful. The case of Father Maciel left a strong inheritance, especially in the victims. The victims continue to feel unprotected by the Church. Many continue to be men of faith. Some are still even in the priesthood. I want to ask you, what do you think of this subject? Did you at any moment consider meeting with the victims? And, in general, this idea that when the priests are detected in cases of this nature, what is done is that they are moved to another parish, nothing more? Thanks.Pope Francis: OK, I’m going to start with the second. First, a bishop who moves a priest to another parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is a reckless (inconsciente) man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation. Is that clear? Secondly, going back, the Maciel case, and here, I allow myself to honor the man who fought in moments when he had no strength to impose himself, until he managed to impose himself. Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger deserves an applause. (applause) Yes, an applause for him. He had all of the documentation. He’s a man who as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had everything in his hands. He conducted all the investigations, and went on, went on, went on, until he couldn’t go any further in the execution. But, if you remember, 10 days before the death of St. John Paul II, in that Via Crucis of Holy Friday, he said to the whole Church that it needed to clean up the dirt of the Church. And in the Pro-Eligendo Pontefice Mass, despite knowing that he was a candidate, he wasn’t stupid, he didn’t care to “make-up” his answer, he said exactly the same thing. He was the brave one who helped so many open this door. So, I want to remember him because sometimes we forget about this hidden works that were the foundations for “taking the lid off the pot.” Thirdly, we’re doing quite a lot with the Cardinal Secretary of State (Pietro Parolin), and with the group of nine cardinal advisors. After listening, I decided to name a third secretary adjunct for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to take charge only of these cases, because the Congregation isn’t able to keep up with all the cases it has. Also, an appeals tribunal was constituted by Monsignor Scicluna which is dealing with the cases of second instance when there are recourses, because the first recourses are done by the plenary of the (Congregation of the) Doctrine of the Faith, the “feria quarta,” they call it, that gathers on Wednesdays. When there is recourse, it goes back to first instance, and it’s not fair. So, the second instance is also a legal matter, with a defending lawyer, but we need to work faster, because we’re behind with the cases, because cases continue to appear. Another thing that is working very well is the commission for the protection of minor. It’s not exclusively devoted to cases of pedophilia, but the protection of minors. There, I spent an entire morning with six of them, two German, two British and two Irish. Abused men and women. Victims. And I also met with victims in Philadelphia. So we’re working. But I thank God because the lid is off the pot, and we have to continue taking it off. We need to take consciousness. And, the final thing I would like to say that it’s a monstrosity, because a priest is consecrated to lead a child to God, and he eats him in a diabolical sacrifice. He destroys him.Javier Solorzano: And on Maciel?Pope Francis: Well, about Maciel, going back to the congregation (Editor’s note: The Legion of Christ, order founded by then-Fr. Marciel Maciel), there was an intervention and today the government of the congregation is semi-involved. That is, the superior general, who is elected by a council, by the general chapter, and the other two are selected by the Pope. In this way, we are helping to review old accounts.Phil Pullella, Reuters: Today, you spoke very eloquently about the problems of immigration. On the other side of the border, there is a very tough electoral battle. One of the candidates for the White House, Republican, Donald Trump, in an interview recently said that you are a political man and he even said that you are a pawn, an instrument of the Mexican government for migration politics. Trump said that if he’s elected, he wants to build 2,500 kilometers of wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, separating families, etcetera. I would like to ask you, what do you think of these accusations against you and if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?  Pope Francis: Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ At least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.Jean-Louis de la Vaisserie, AFP (France): The meeting with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and the signing of the joint declaration was greeted by the entire world as an historic step. But now today in the Ukraine, Greek Catholics feel betrayed. They speak of a political document that supports Russian politics. In the field, the war of words has reignited. Do you think you’ll be able to go to Moscow? Were you invited by the patriarch? Or, (will you) go to Crete to greet the Pan-Orthodox Council in the spring?Pope Francis: I’ll begin with the end. I will be present…spiritually. And with a message. I would like to go greet them there at the pan-orthodox synod. They are brothers, but I must respect them. But, I know that they want to invite Catholic observers and this is a good bridge, but behind the Catholic observers I will be praying with my best wishes that the Orthodox move ahead because they are brothers and their bishops are bishops like us. Then, Kirill, my brother. We kissed each other, embraced, and then a conversation for an hour (Fr Lombardi corrects)…two hours. Old age doesn’t come on its own. (laughs) Two hours where we spoke as brothers, sincerely and no one knows what was spoke about, only what we said at the end publicly about how we felt as we spoke. Secondly, that statement, that declaration about Ukraine. When I read this, I was a little bit worried because it was Sviatoslav Schevchuk who said that the Ukrainian people, some Ukrainians, also many Ukrainians felt disappointed and betrayed. I know Sviatoslav very well. In Buenos Aires, we worked together for four years. When he was elected – at 42 years old, eh, good man – he was elected major archbishop, He came back to Buenos Aires to get his things. He came to me and he gave me an icon – little like this – of Our Lady of Tenderness. And he told me, ‘This has accompanied me my entire life. I want to leave it to you who accompanied me over the last four years. It’s one of the few things I had brought from Buenos Aires and I keep it on my desk. That is, he’s a man whom I respect and also familiarity. We use “tu” with each other (Editor’s note: “tu” is the informal way of addressing someone in Italian – they speak as friends) and so on. So, for this it seemed strange to me and I remembered something I said here to you: to understand a piece of news, a statement, you need to seek the hermeneutic of everything. But, when you said this, it was said in a statement from January 14th, last February, last Sunday…an interview made by brother…I don’t remember…a priest, a Ukrainian priest, in Ukraine it was conducted and it was published. That news, the interview is one page, two, a little bit more, give or take. That interview is on the last page, a little like this. I read the interview and I’ll say this: Schevchuk, in the dogmatic part declares himself to be a son of the Church and in communion with the bishop of Rome and the Church. He speaks of the Pope and his closeness of the Pope and of himself, his faith, and also of the Orthodox people there. The dogmatic part, there’s no difficulty. He’s Orthodox in the good sense of the word, that is in Catholic doctrine, no. And then, as in an interview like this one, everyone has the right to say his things and this wasn’t done on the meeting, because the meeting, it was a good thing and we have to move forward. This, he didn’t do on the meeting, the encounter was a good thing and we must move forward. This, the second chapter, the personal ideas that a person has. For example, this, what I said about the bishops who move pedophile priests, the best thing they can do is resign. This isn’t a dogmatic thing, but this is what I think. So, he has his personal ideas. They’re for dialoguing and he has a right to have them. Thirdly…ah, all of what he’s speaking about is in the document, that’s the issue. On the fact of the meeting: the Lord chose to move it ahead, the embrace and all is well. The document. It’s a debatable document and there’s also another addition. In Ukraine, it’s a moment of war, of suffering, with so many interpretations. I have named the Ukrainian people, asking for prayers, closeness, so many times both in the Angelus and in the Wednesday audience. There is this closeness. But the historical fact of a war, experienced as…I don’t know if…well, everyone has their own idea of this war, who started it, what to do and it’s evident that this is a historical issue, but also a personal, historical, existential issue of that country and it speaks of the suffering. And, there I insert this paragraph. You can understand the faithful, because Stanislav told me that so many faithful have written to me saying that they are deeply disappointed and betrayed by Rome. You can understand that a people in this situation would feel this, no? The final document but it is a jotting down of some things. Pardon, it’s debatable on this question of Ukraine. But there, it says to make the war stop, that they find agreements. Also, I personally said that the Minsk accords move forward and are not eliminated. “With the elbows what wasn’t written with the hands.” (Original phrase in Italian: “Con il gomito quello che non e scritto con le mani”) The Church of Rome, the Pope has always said, ’Seek peace.’ I also received both presidents. Equality, no. And so for this when he says that he’s heard this from his people, I understand it. I understand it. But, that’s not the news. The news is everything. If you read the entire interview, you’ll see that there are serious dogmatic things that remain, there’s a desire for unity, to move ahead in the ecumenical – and he’s an ecumenical man. There are a few opinions. He wrote to me when he found out about the trip, the encounter, but, as a brother, giving his opinion as a brother. I don’t mind the document how it is. I don’t dislike it in the sense that we need to respect the things that everyone has the freedom to think and in (the context of) this situation that is so difficult. From Rome, now the nuncio is on the border where they’re fighting, helping soldiers and the wounded. The Church of Rome has sent so much help there. It’s always peace, agreements. We must respect the Minsk accords and so on. This is the entirety. But, don’t get scared by that phrase. And this is a lesson that a piece of news must be interpreted with the hermeneutic of everything and not just a part.de la Vaisserie: did the Patriarch invite you to come to Moscow sometime?Pope Francis: Patriarch Kirill. I would prefer – because if I say one thing, I have to say another and another and another. I would prefer that what we spoke about, us, alone, will remain only what we said in public. This is a fact. And if I say this, then I’ll have to say another and another…no! The things I said in public, the things he said in public. This is what can be said about the private conversation. To say it, it wouldn’t be private. But, I tell you, I walked out of it happy, and he did too.Carlo Marroni, Il Sole 24 (Italy): Holy Father, my question is about the family, a subject which you addressed often during this trip. The Italian parliament is discussing a law on civil unions, a subject that is provoking strong political clashes but also a strong debate in society and among Catholics. In particular, I would like to know your thoughts on the subject of adoption by civil unions and therefore on the rights of children and of sons and daughters in general.Pope Francis: First of all, I don’t know how things stand in the thinking of the Italian parliament. The Pope doesn’t get mixed up in Italian politics. At the first meeting I had with the (Italian) bishops in May 2013, one of the three things I said was: with the Italian government you’re on your own. Because the pope is for everybody and he can’t insert himself in the specific internal politics of a country. This is not the role of the pope, right? And what I think is what the Church thinks and has said so often – because this is not the first country to have this experience, there are so many – I think what the Church has always said about this.Paloma García Ovejero, Cadena COPE (Spain): Holy Father, for several weeks there’s been a lot of concern in many Latin American countries but also in Europe regarding the Zika virus. The greatest risk would be for pregnant women. There is anguish. Some authorities have proposed abortion, or else to avoiding pregnancy. As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?”Pope Francis: Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape. Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned. On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.  Jurgen Erbacher, ZDF (Germany): Holiness, you will soon receive the Charlemagne Prize, and that’s the main European one. What do you say to Europe, which now seems to be falling to pieces, first with the crisis of the euro and now that of the refugees? Maybe you have a word for us in this situation of European crisis?Pope Francis: First, about the Charlemagne Prize. I had the habit of not accepting prizes or honors, but always, not out of humility, but because I don’t like them. Maybe it’s a little crazy, but it’s good to have it, but I just don’t like them. But in this case, I don’t say (I was) forced, but convinced by the holy and theological headstrongness of Cardinal Kasper, because he was chosen, elected by Aachen to convince me. And I said yes, but in the Vatican. And I said I offer it for Europe, as a co-decoration for Europe, a prize so that Europe may do what I desired at Strasburg; that it may no longer be “grandmother Europe” but “mother Europe.” Secondly, reading the news the other day about this crisis and so on – I read little, I just glance through one newspaper – I won’t say the name so as not to create jealousy, but it is known! – Just 15 minutes, then I get information from the Secretariat of State and so on. And, there was one word that I liked, and I don’t know if they will approve it or not, but it was “the re-foundation of the European Union.” I thought of the great fathers, but today where is there a Schuman, an Adenauer, these great ones who after the war founded the European Union. I like this idea of the re-foundation of the European Union, maybe it can be done, because Europe – I do not say is unique, but it has a force, a culture, a history that cannot be wasted, and we must do everything so that the European Union has the strength and also the inspiration to make it go forward. That’s what I think.Anne Thompson, NBC (USA): Some wonder, how a Church that claims to be merciful, how can the Church forgive a murderer easier than someone who has divorced and remarried? Pope Francis: I like this question! On the family, two synods have spoken. The Pope has spoken on this all year in the Wednesday Catechisms. The question is true, you posed it very well. In the post-synod document that will be published, perhaps before Easter – it picks up on everything the synod – in one of the chapters, because it has many – it spoke about the conflicts, wounded families and the pastoral of wounded families. It is one of the concerns. As another is the preparation for marriage. Imagine, to become a priest there are eight years of study and preparation, and then if after a while you can’t do it, you can ask for a dispensation, you leave, and everything is OK. On the other hand, to make a sacrament (marriage), which is for your whole life, three to four conferences…Preparation for marriage is very important. It’s very, very important because I believe it is something that in the Church, in common pastoral ministry, at least in my country, in South America, the Church it has not valued much. For example, not so much anymore but some years ago in my homeland there was a habit, something called ‘casamiento de apuro,’ a marriage in haste because the baby is coming and to cover socially the honor of the family. There, they weren’t free and it happened many times this marriage is null. As a bishop I forbade my priests to do this. Priests, when there was something like this, I would say, let the baby come, let them continue as fiancées, and when they feel like they can continue for the rest of their lives, then they could go ahead. There is a lack there. Another very interesting chapter is the education of children: the victims of problems of the family are the children. The children. Even of problems that neither husband nor wife have a say in. For example, the needs of a job. When the dad doesn’t have free time to speak to his children, when the mother doesn’t have time to speak with her children. When I confess a couple who have kids, a married couple, I ask, ‘how many children do you have?’ Some get worried and think the priest will ask why I don’t have more. I would make a second question, ‘Do you play with your children?’ The majority say, ‘but father, I have no time. I work all day.’ Children are victims of a social problem that wounds the family. It is a problem… I like your question. Another interesting thing from the meeting with families in Tuxtla. There was a couple, married again in second union integrated in the pastoral ministry of the Church. The key phrase used by the synod, which I’ll take up again, is ‘integrate’ in the life of the Church the wounded families, remarried families, etcetera. But of this one mustn’t forget the children in the middle. They are the first victims, both in the wounds, and in the conditions of poverty, of work, etcetera.Thompson: Does that mean they can receive Communion?Pope Francis: This is the last thing. Integrating in the Church doesn’t mean receiving communion. I know married Catholics in a second union who go to church, who go to church once or twice a year and say I want communion, as if joining in Communion were an award. It’s a work towards integration, all doors are open, but we cannot say, ‘from here on they can have communion.’ This would be an injury also to marriage, to the couple, because it wouldn’t allow them to proceed on this path of integration. And those two were happy. They used a very beautiful expression: we don’t receive Eucharistic communion, but we receive communion when we visit hospitals and in this and this and this. Their integration is that. If there is something more, the Lord will tell them, but it’s a path, a road.Antoine Marie Izoard, I.Media (France): Holiness, good evening. I permit myself first off, joking, to tell you how much we Vaticanistas are hostages of the schedule of the Holy Father and we can’t play with our children. Saturday is the jubilee audience, Sunday the Angelus and from Monday through Friday we have to go work. And also a hug to Alberto, who with Fr. Lombardi 20 years ago hired me at Vatican Radio. We’re in family here. A question a bit “risqué” Holiness. Numerous media have evoked and made a lot of noise on the intense correspondence John Paul II and the American philosopher, Ana Teresa Tymieniecka, who had a great affection, it’s said, for the Polish Pope. In your viewpoint, can a Pope have such an intimate relationship with a woman? And also, if you allow me, you who have an important correspondence, have you known this type of experience?Pope Francis: I already knew about this friendship between St. John Paul II and this philosopher when I was in Buenos Aires. It was known. Also her books are known. John Paul II was a restless man. Then, I would also say that a man who does not know how to have a relationship of friendship with a woman – I’m not talking about misogynists, who are sick – well, he’s a man who is missing something. And in my own experience, including when I ask for advice, I would ask a collaborator, a friend, I also like to hear the opinion of a woman because they have such wealth. They look at things in a different way. I like to say that women are those who form life in their wombs – and this is a comparison I make – they have this charism of giving you things you can build with. A friendship with a woman is not a sin. (It’s) a friendship. A romantic relationship with a woman who is not your wife, that is a sin. Understand? But the Pope is a man. The Pope needs the input of women, too. And the Pope, too, has a heart that can have a healthy, holy friendship with a woman. There are saint-friends – Francis and Clare, Teresa and John of the Cross – don’t be frightened. But women are still not considered so well; we have not understood the good that a woman do for the life of a priest and of the church in the sense of counsel, help of a healthy friendship.Franca Giansoldati, Il Messaggero (Italy): Holiness, good evening. I return back to the topic of the law that is being voted on in the Italian parliament. It is a law that in some ways is about other countries, because other countries have laws about unions among people of the same sex. There is a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith from 2003 that dedicates a lot of attention to this, and even more, dedicates a chapter to the position of Catholic parliamentarians in parliament before this question. It says expressly that Catholic parliamentarians must not vote for these laws. Considering that there is much confusion on this, I wanted to ask, first of all, is this document of 2003 still in effect? And what is the position a Catholic parliamentarian must take? And then another thing, after Moscow, Cairo. Is there another thawing out on the horizon? I’m referring to the audience that you wish for with the Pope and the Sunnis, let’s call them that way, the Imam of Al Azhar.Pope Francis: For this, Msgr. Ayuso went to Cairo last week to meet the second to the Imam and to greet the Imam. Msgr. Ayuso, secretary to Cardinal Tauran of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. I want to meet him. I know that he would like it. We are looking for the way, always through Cardinal Tauran because it is the path, but we will achieve it. About the other, I do not remember that 2003 document from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith well but every Catholic parliamentarian must vote according their well-formed conscience. I would say just this. I believe it is sufficient because – I say well-formed because it is not the conscience of what seems to me. I remember when matrimony for persons of the same sex was voted on in Buenos Aires and the votes were tied. And at the end, one said to advise the other: ‘But is it clear to you? No, me neither, but we’re going to lose like this. But if we don’t go there won’t be a quorum.’ The other said: ‘If we have a quorum we will give the vote to Kirchner.’ And, the other said: ‘I prefer to give it to Kirchner and not Bergoglio.’ And they went ahead. This is not a well formed conscience. On people of the same sex, I repeat what I said on the trip to Rio di Janeiro. It’s in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.Javier Martinez-Brocal, Rome Reports (Italy): We’re not back to Rome yet but we are thinking about future trips, about preparing our suitcases again. Holy Father, when are you going to go to Argentina, where they have been waiting for you for a long time? When will you return to Latin America? Or go to China? Then, a quick comment, you spoke many times during this trip about dreaming – what do you dream about? And what is your nightmare?Pope Francis: China. (laughs) To go there. I would love that. I would like to say something just about the Mexican people. It is a population that has a wealth, such great wealth, a people that surprises. They have a culture, a culture that goes back millennia. Do you know that today, in Mexico, they speak 65 languages, counting the indigenous languages, 65. It is a people of great faith. They have also suffered religious persecution. There are martyrs, now I will canonize two. It is a population that you can’t explain, you can’t explain it because the word ‘people’ is not a logical category, it’s a mythical category. The Mexican people, you cannot explain this wealth, this history, this joy, the capacity to celebrate amid these tragedies that you have asked about. I can say another thing, that this unity, that this people has managed not to fail, not to end with so many wars, things, things that are happening now. There in the city of Juarez there was a pact of 12 hours of peace for my visit. After that they will continue to fight among themselves, no? Traffickers. But a people that still is together with all that, you can only explain with Guadalupe. And I invite you to seriously study the facts of Guadalupe. The Madonna is there. I cannot find another explanation. And it would be nice if you as journalists – there are some books that explain the painting what it is like, the significance, and that is how you can understand better this great and beautiful people.Caroline Pigozzi, Paris Match (France): Good evening, Holy Father. Two things, I wanted to know what did you ask Guadalupe? Because you were there a long time in the chapel praying to Guadalupe. And then something else, do you dream in Italian or Spanish?Pope Francis: I’d say I dream in Esperanto (laughs). I don’t know how to respond to that. Truly. Sometimes I remember some dreams in another language, but dreaming in languages no, but figures yes, my psychology is this way. With words I dream very little, no? And, the first question was? (Guadalupe) I asked for the world, for peace, so many things. The poor thing ended up with her head like this (raises arms around head). I asked forgiveness, I asked that the Church grows healthy, I asked for the Mexican people. And another thing I asked a lot for: that priests to be true priests, and sisters true sisters, and bishops true bishops. As the Lord wants. This I asked a lot for, but then, the things a child tells his mother are a bit of a secret. Thanks, Carolina.   Read more

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2016 / 10:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On his return flight from Mexico, Pope Francis strongly rejected abortion as a response to the fears surrounding the Zika virus outbreak.  “Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It … Read more

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