Archbishop Cupich will attend synod, Vatican source says

Vatican City, Aug 7, 2015 / 12:35 pm (CNA).- Originally selected as an alternate synod delegate, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago will in fact be an attendee at the Vatican gathering on the family this fall, a Vatican source told CNA. The source a… Read more

Pope Francis: Beware the ‘false peace’ that comes from the devil

Vatican City, Aug 7, 2015 / 07:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Friday told a group of youth that the greatest challenge in his vocation so far has been finding true peace, and encouraged them to learn how to discern between this peace and the one offered by the devil. “I would say finding peace in the Lord. That peace that only Jesus can give, in work and chores,” the Pope said Aug. 7. in response to the question, posed by one of the youth he met with in audience that day. “The key is finding that peace which means that the Lord is with you and helps you,” he said. Francis then stressed the importance of knowing how to tell the difference between peace from God, and the false peace offered by the devil. True peace, he said, always comes from Jesus, and is sometimes “wrapped” in the cross, while the other, false peace that only makes you “kind of happy” comes from the devil. “We have to ask for this grace to distinguish, to know true peace,” the Pope said, explaining that while on the outside we might think everything is ok and that we’re doing good, “way down inside is the devil.” “The devil always destroys. He tells you this is the way and then leaves you alone,” he continued, adding that the devil is “a poor payer; he always rips you off.” A sign of this peace, Francis said, is joy, because true joy is something that only Jesus can give. The challenge for both them and himself “is to find the peace of Jesus, also in difficult moments, to find Jesus’ peace and to recognize that peace which has make-up on it,” the Pope said. He made his comments during an audience with more than 1500 members of the International Eucharistic Youth Movement. They are meeting in Rome from Aug. 4-10 in honor of the 100th anniversary of their founding in 1915. The theme for the gathering is “Joy be with you.” Six of the youth present, from Italy, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan, and France got to meet the Pope personally and ask him questions on things that affect their daily life. Among the topics discussed were tensions and conflicts within families and society, the discernment between true and false peace, signs of hope in the world and deepening one’s relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist. In his response to the question on conflict, Pope Francis noted how there are many conflicts present in the world, and said that we should neither be afraid of them nor seek them out. Some conflicts, he said, can be good and help us to understand differences. One problem with the world’s current conflicts is that “one culture doesn’t tolerate another,” he said, and pointed to the Rohingya as an example. Rohingya people are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group largely from the Rakhine state of Burma, in west Myanmar. Since clashes began in 2012 between the state’s Buddhist community and the long-oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority, more than 100,000 Rohingya’s have fled Myanmar by sea, according to the U.N. In order to escape forced segregation from the rest of the population inside rural ghettos, many of the Rohingya – who are not recognized by the government as a legitimate ethnic group or as citizens or Myanmar – have made the perilous journey at sea in hopes of evading persecution. In May Pope Francis spoke out after a number of Rohingya people – estimated to be in the thousands – were stranded at sea in boats with dwindling supplies while Southeastern nations such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia refused to take them in. This, he told the youth, “is called killing. It’s true. If I have a conflict with you and I kill you, its war.” Conflict is normal when so many different cultures exist in one country, the Pope observed, but emphasized that there must be mutual respect in order for these conflicts to be resolved. He said that dialogue is the best resolution to the great social problems of today, and pointed to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as an example of when one culture doesn’t respect the identity or faith of another. Yesterday Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem S.B. Fouwad Toual for the Aug. 8 anniversary of the first arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan. In his letter, the Pope thanked Jordan for welcoming the refugees, saying their actions bear witness to Christ’s resurrection. He also noted how these refugees are “victims of fanaticism and intolerance, often under the eyes and silence of all,” and called on the international community to step up their efforts in putting an end to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. In his speech to the youth, Francis said that even if you disagree with another culture’s practice, “Respect. Look for the good in it. Respect. In this way, conflicts are resolved with respect for the identity of others. Conflicts are resolved with dialogue.” Another question posed to the Pope was if he sees true signs of joy in amid the problems of the 21st century. Pope Francis responded by saying that the signs are there, and that one of them is seeing so many youth gathered together who believe that Jesus is truly in the Eucharist. He also pointed to the family, noting that right now there are many strong tensions between generations. Often when we speak of generations, parents and children come to mind, but grandparents are frequently left out, Francis observed. “Grandparents are the great forgotten of this time,” he said, and encouraged the youth to speak to their grandparents, who are sources of wisdom due to the memory they have of life, tensions, conflicts and faith. “Always when you meet your grandparents you find a surprise. They are patient, they know how to listen…don’t forget grandparents, understand?” The last question the Pope answered, posed by a youth named Maradona, was what he would say to young people so that they might discover the depth of the Eucharist. Francis immediately turned to the Last Supper, where Jesus gave us his body and blood for our salvation. “The memory of Jesus…is there. The memory of the gesture of Jesus who then went to the Mount of Olives to start his Passion,” which is a personal act of love for each individual, he said. The Pope stressed that Mass is not a ritual or a ceremony like what we see in the military or cultural celebration. Instead, going to Mass means going to Calvary with Jesus, where he gave his life for us, the Pope said. In order to deepen in the mystery of the Eucharist, Francis suggested remembering St. Paul’s invitation to “remember Jesus Christ. When they are there at the table, he is giving his life for me. And so you deepen in the mystery.” Pope Francis concluded by saying that although “we are at war” and there are so many conflicts, there are also many good and beautiful things, such as the hidden everyday saints among the people of God. “God is present and there are so many reasons to be joyful. Take courage and go forward!” he finished. Read more

And you shall be like gods – the fierce warning of ‘Ex Machina’

Denver, Colo., Aug 7, 2015 / 03:37 am (CNA).- Much has already been said about director Alex Garland’s slick transhumanist thriller “Ex Machina.” It’s been heralded as everything from a stellar work of speculative fiction to a complex take on gender roles. But perhaps a lesser known take on the film is its rampant Old Testament allusions that come together to portray a high-tech garden of Eden. For Denver-based priest Father Nathan Goebel, “the whole movie is a new Genesis.” “It’s a new beginning: we’re returning back to the garden,” he told CNA. “What is the temptation of the garden? You will be like gods.” For all of its cold, tech-savvy glamor, he says, “Ex Machina” could be seen as a simple retelling of the Biblical account of Adam and Eve – but with a twist. Set in the not-too-distant future, the movie’s plotline involves Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a young computer programmer at a Google-esq corporation who wins a trip to visit Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the company’s reclusive, eccentric founder. There, he finds an android with artificial intelligence named Eva (Alicia Vikander), whom he is challenged to interact with, in order to determine how human she is. What follows is a riveting, mind-spinning web of love, lies, betrayal, manipulation and murder. While it is not a perfect Old Testament analogy, there are several striking similarities. The names are all Biblical – Eva is a derivation of Eve, the first woman. Caleb, who is chosen to explore the brave new world of artificial intelligence, shares a name with the Israelite sent as a scout for the Promised Land. Nathan, the brilliant but nihilistic inventor, shares a name with the prophet who offers warnings to King David, both after he committed adultery and when there was a plot to take over his throne. The setting also evokes Genesis imagery. A pristine paradise-like garden, removed from the outside world, houses the facility in which Nathan gives his creation life. The seven sessions he arranges for Caleb and Eva to interact are reminiscent of the seven days of creation. But there’s a critical difference between God creating in the Genesis story and man creating in the film. “We cannot create ‘ex nihilo’,” Fr. Goebel stressed. “God is the only one who can create out of nothing.” When God creates man in his own image, he makes a being who participates in his own infinite goodness. In “Ex Machina,”, though, Nathan is creating in his own image; he makes a being who reflects his own flawed nature. And Nathan’s relationship to his creation is also flawed. Far from the Biblical God, who loves his creation to the point of sacrificing himself for them, Nathan in the movie is more like a Greek god, Fr. Goebel reflected. “He’s playing with creation. Trying to satisfy his need for control over the creatures he’s made. He’s not a hero – he’s tragic. You don’t like him,” the priest said, adding that while Nathan interacts with his creation – he creates, destroys, talks to and apparently sleeps with the machines he has made – he does not actually have a human relationship with them. This is illustrated in one jarring scene, when Nathan spontaneously dances with one of the androids. But the interaction is cold and empty: they are not dancing together, but rather, the machine mimics each of his moves.Some reviewers have seen the movie as reducing man to the same level as machine, both responding to stimuli that amount to programming of one sort or another. Yet, Fr. Goebel rejected this interpretation. “Love can’t be programmed. Love is necessarily transcendent,” he said, pointing to the disparity between machine and human. “The fulfilment of creation is to love and be loved, and machines cannot do this.” In the end, Eva does not love. She has been created to “prove” that she is human by manipulating and abandoning those around her. The inhumanity with which she carries out her final acts of betrayal is ironically striking in its contrast with the humanity she has supposedly achieved. “She’s become fallen,” Fr. Goebel said. In her final acts, Eva reflects the flaws of her human creator. “Human nature wants to dominate the other. It wants control. She becomes a beast again.” This desire for control is also seen throughout the film as Nathan attempts to maintain control over a world that is ultimately larger than he is. At different times, he turns to the idols of alcohol, sex and an obsession with working out, while at the same time grappling with a stark loneliness. “Ex Machina” also offers a sharp commentary on the cultural dependency on technology. “We think that through tech we extend our reach, our control,” Fr. Goebel said. “But we’re actually quite helpless without our gadgets.” The film’s writer and director, Alex Garland, has talked about the film in the context of a warning about humanity’s increasing dependence on and fascination with technology. The machines in question “are weak. They have no motivation, no intention; they’re neutral,” he said. “The thing with an agenda is us: consumers, who want to buy the machines, and manufacturers, who want to sell them.” “And looming over both, giant tech companies, whose growth only ever seems to be exponential, whose practices are opaque, and whose power is both massive and without true oversight. Combine all this with government surveillance and lotus-eating public acquiescence, and it’s not the machine component that scares me. It’s the human component.” The film includes disturbing content and several scenes of female robot nudity. But mature Catholic viewers can see this movie as a challenge to themselves, Fr. Goebel said. It can cause them to pause and ask themselves, “For me as a Catholic, where is God? Where is God in relation to man? Am I made in the image of God and am I satisfied with that, or do I want to be like God?” Ultimately, he reflected, “Ex Machina” is making “an anthropological statement – What is man? What is the purpose of man? What is the nature of man in the world?” Read more

Pope to Knights: Thank you for your steadfast witness to truth of marriage

Philadelphia, Pa., Aug 7, 2015 / 02:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis thanked the Knights of Columbus for their support of Christian marriage in a message to their 133rd Supreme Convention this week. The letter comes less than two months before the Pope’s visit to the United States for the World Meeting of Families at the end of September. “Elevated by the Savior to the dignity of a sacrament, marriage is, in the Creator’s plan, a natural institution, a life-long covenant of love and fidelity between a man and a woman, directed to their perfection and sanctification, and to the future of our human family,” the Pope said in his message.      The support of the truth of marriage is a duty for all of the lay faithful, Pope Francis continued, because marriage “is essential to the wise and just ordering of society.” As marriage has recently been under attack in the United States, the Pope said he hoped the theme of the convention, “Endowed by their Creator with Life and Liberty,” would spur American Catholics to “contribute to the reasoned defense of those freedoms on which their nation was founded.” The Holy Father expressed his hope and trust that the catechetical programs founded by the Knights ahead of the upcoming World Meeting of Families and the Synod on the Family would contribute to the witness to the truth about marriage. Pope Francis’ message to the Knights came during the same week as his general address on divorced and remarried Catholics. The Holy Father encouraged a more welcoming approach toward Catholics in these situations, and urged clergy to not treat them as though they are excommunicated. “The Church well knows that such a situation contradicts the Christian Sacrament,” the Pope said in his Aug. 5 General Audience at St. Peter’s Square. Nonetheless, he added, the Church should always approach such situations with a “mother’s heart; a heart which, animated by the Holy Spirit, seeks always the good and the salvation of the person.” In his letter to the Knights, the Pope also praised the group’s efforts to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East and in other parts of the world through their Christian Refugee Relief Fund, and appealed to them for their continued efforts and prayer. At the Supreme Convention, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson unveiled a new portal on the Knights’ website, christiansatrisk.org, where Americans can go to donate to help Christians in the Middle East. He also announced that the Knights will be selling wooden crosses made from the olive trees in Bethlehem as another way to fundraise for the cause. “It is urgent that, from Catholics throughout the world, an unceasing sacrifice of prayer be offered for the conversion of hearts, an end to fanatical violence and intolerance, and a general recognition of those fundamental human rights which are not granted by the state, bur from the hand of the Creator, whom all believers invoke as a God of peace,” he said.   With 1.8 million members around the globe, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. The group was founded in 1882 by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. In 2014, the Knights raised more than $173.5 million for charity and performed more than 71.5 million hours of volunteer work. Read more

Pope to Knights: Thank you for your steadfast witness to truth of marriage

Philadelphia, Pa., Aug 7, 2015 / 02:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis thanked the Knights of Columbus for their support of Christian marriage in a message to their 133rd Supreme Convention this week. The letter comes less than two months before the Pope’s visit to the United States for the World Meeting of Families at the end of September. “Elevated by the Savior to the dignity of a sacrament, marriage is, in the Creator’s plan, a natural institution, a life-long covenant of love and fidelity between a man and a woman, directed to their perfection and sanctification, and to the future of our human family,” the Pope said in his message.      The support of the truth of marriage is a duty for all of the lay faithful, Pope Francis continued, because marriage “is essential to the wise and just ordering of society.” As marriage has recently been under attack in the United States, the Pope said he hoped the theme of the convention, “Endowed by their Creator with Life and Liberty,” would spur American Catholics to “contribute to the reasoned defense of those freedoms on which their nation was founded.” The Holy Father expressed his hope and trust that the catechetical programs founded by the Knights ahead of the upcoming World Meeting of Families and the Synod on the Family would contribute to the witness to the truth about marriage. Pope Francis’ message to the Knights came during the same week as his general address on divorced and remarried Catholics. The Holy Father encouraged a more welcoming approach toward Catholics in these situations, and urged clergy to not treat them as though they are excommunicated. “The Church well knows that such a situation contradicts the Christian Sacrament,” the Pope said in his Aug. 5 General Audience at St. Peter’s Square. Nonetheless, he added, the Church should always approach such situations with a “mother’s heart; a heart which, animated by the Holy Spirit, seeks always the good and the salvation of the person.” In his letter to the Knights, the Pope also praised the group’s efforts to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East and in other parts of the world through their Christian Refugee Relief Fund, and appealed to them for their continued efforts and prayer. At the Supreme Convention, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson unveiled a new portal on the Knights’ website, christiansatrisk.org, where Americans can go to donate to help Christians in the Middle East. He also announced that the Knights will be selling wooden crosses made from the olive trees in Bethlehem as another way to fundraise for the cause. “It is urgent that, from Catholics throughout the world, an unceasing sacrifice of prayer be offered for the conversion of hearts, an end to fanatical violence and intolerance, and a general recognition of those fundamental human rights which are not granted by the state, bur from the hand of the Creator, whom all believers invoke as a God of peace,” he said.   With 1.8 million members around the globe, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. The group was founded in 1882 by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. In 2014, the Knights raised more than $173.5 million for charity and performed more than 71.5 million hours of volunteer work. Read more

China consecrates first new bishop in three years

Weihui, China, Aug 7, 2015 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In mainland China’s first episcopal consecration since 2012, a priest was consecrated a bishop in the cathedral of Anyang on Tuesday. His appointment was agreed upon by both the Vatican and the Chinese government. Fr. Joseph Zhang Yinlin, 44, was consecrated coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Weihui (Anyang) on Aug. 4 by Bishop Thomas Zhang Huaixin of Weihui, who is 90. According to UCANews, assisting bishops were Joseph Shen Bin of Haimen, Joseph Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun, and Wang Renlei of Xuzhou. Each of the bishops present are recognized by the Vatican. According to the official website of the Henan Catholic Church, the ordination Mass was concelebrated by 75 priests and attended by an estimated 1,400 people. A source who attended the Mass told UCANews that the cathedral was under heavy security, with hundreds of police and firemen guarding it. According to AsiaNews, Bishop Zhang “told the congregation that he was very touched, thanked God for choosing him, a simple and weak servant. He also thanked the ordinary Bishop Zhang for nurturing, guiding him patiently for years, and now presiding at his ordination.” The episcopal consecration is the first since Pope Francis was elected Bishop of Rome, and the first since Vatican-China talks resumed in June 2014. The last bishop consecrated in the People’s Republic of China was Thaddeus Ma Daqin, in July 2012. Bishop Ma had been part of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association – the government-sanctioned Church – but after his consecration as auxiliary bishop of Shanghai he announced he would leave the association, and he was confined by the government. The ceremony comes weeks after Beijing beginning to recognize seminary studies, allowing seminarians to continued their education in a state university should they leave. However, in Zhejiang province churches have been ordered to stop displaying crosses, and a number of churches have been demolished. Seven Christians have also been detained in the province. The Church in China is often described as divided between an ‘official’ Church (the Patriotic Association), linked to the government, and an ‘underground’ Church, persecuted and whose episcopal appointments are frequently not acknowledged by Chinese authorities. But a source in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples told CNA July 27 that “for years, priests of Chinese communities and faithful have been working to overcome the divide between ‘clandestine’ and official Church … the more the ‘Cultural Revolution’ gets farther in time, the fewer the differences between patriotic and underground Church are.” Bishop Zhang was born in 1971 in Henan province, and has served as vicar general of the Weihui diocese. He was elected as a bishop candidate April 29, after having been approved by the Vatican. The vote was held by the government-sanctioned bishops’ conference, and was heavily controlled by the authorities. The day prior, the Zhumadian diocese – also located in Henan province – had also elected a bishop candidate, Fr. Cosos Ji Chengyi. The date of his episcopal consecration has not been announced. The cathedral of the Diocese of Weihui was moved to Anyang (60 miles north) in 1952, and thus the local Church is also known as the Diocese of Anyang. The diocese has 30 priests, 17 parishes, 120 nuns, and 40,000 members, according to UCANews. Read more

Why the Boy Scouts’ new policy led a Catholic bishop to cut ties

Bismarck, N.D., Aug 6, 2015 / 05:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, himself a former boy scout, has reluctantly told his North Dakota diocese to disaffiliate from the Boy Scouts of America due to the legal risks and the moral confu… Read more

For Archbishop Cupich, Planned Parenthood videos should urge us to fight all social ills

Chicago, Ill., Aug 6, 2015 / 04:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an opinion column for the Chicago Tribune, Archbishop Blase Cupich denounced abortion after the recently released undercover Planned Parenthood videos, saying they should remind Catholics of their obligation to fight social ills from joblessness to a broken immigration system. “While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.” The archbishop in his Aug. 3 column referenced a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials describing the harvesting of body parts from aborted babies at their clinics. In the videos, Planned Parenthood officials casually discuss prices for various body parts and how abortion procedures may be altered to ensure intact organs. One video shows a medical assistant looking through body parts from an aborted baby before proclaiming, “Another boy!” Planned Parenthood has maintained that its actions are legal. However, the videos have prompted widespread outrage, nationwide rallies, congressional investigations and calls to defund the organization, which receives more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer money annually. Archbishop Cupich said the revulsion over the tapes stems from the culture’s muting of the unborn child’s humanity, to the point that “some consider it quite acceptable to speak freely of crushing a child’s skull to preserve valuable body parts and to have that discussion over lunch.” The videos offer “the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment as a nation to a consistent ethic of life,” the Chicago archbishop said, calling for “a framework for decision-making that is biased toward life, supportive of families and fair to people of all circumstances.” “The nation’s children, families, poor, workers and senior citizens deserve more than lip service. They deserve more than outrage. They deserve real support, protection and solid action.” Amid the outrage expressed at the videos, Archbishop Cupich said he does see cause for hope. The strong reactions, he said, are “evidence that American hearts have not been irreparably hardened by the steady devaluing of human dignity in our society.” “This awakening of our conscience gives hope that deep within the hearts and souls of Americans there still resides the truth that an unborn child manifestly is a human being, entitled to rights and respect.” Americans’ openness and generosity “has the capacity to astonish and push boundaries,” the archbishop said. “We crowdfund, sign petitions, dump buckets of ice on ourselves and embrace new ways of relating to our environment. Can we use our shared outrage at all these affronts to human dignity to unite us and begin a national dialogue on the worth of human life?”   Read more

Tough lessons to learn from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: just war, nuclear disarmament

Denver, Colo., Aug 6, 2015 / 12:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The 70th anniversary of the US atomic strikes on Japan has prompted reflection, commemoration, and debate about the ethics of war and the world’s nuclear arsenal. “There’s no … Read more

What’s Pope Francis’ biggest challenge: finding true peace

Vatican City, Aug 6, 2015 / 07:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Friday told a group of youth that the greatest challenge in his vocation so far has been finding true peace, and encouraged them to learn how to discern between this peace and the one offered by the devil. “I would say finding peace in the Lord. That peace that only Jesus can give, in work and chores” the Pope said Aug. 7. in response to the question, posed by one of the youth he met with in audience that day. “The key is finding that peace which means that the Lord is with you and helps you,” he said. Francis then stressed the importance of knowing how to tell the difference between peace from God, and the false peace offered by the devil. True peace, he said, always comes from Jesus, and is sometimes “wrapped” in the cross, while the other, false peace that only makes you “kind of happy” comes from the devil. “We have to ask for this grace to distinguish, to know true peace,” the Pope said, explaining that while on the outside we might think everything is ok and that we’re doing good, “way down inside is the devil.” “The devil always destroys. He tells you this is the way and then leaves you alone,” he continued, adding that the devil is “a poor payer; he always rips you off.” A sign of this peace, Francis said, is joy, because true joy is something that only Jesus can give. The challenge for both them and himself “is to find the peace of Jesus, also in difficult moments, to find Jesus’ peace and to recognize that peace which has make-up on it,” the Pope said. He made his comments during an audience with more than 1500 members of the International Eucharistic Youth Movement. They are meeting in Rome from Aug. 4-10 in honor of the 100th anniversary of their founding in 1915. The theme for the gathering is “Joy be with you.” Six of the youth present, from Italy, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan, and France got to meet the Pope personally and ask him questions on things that affect their daily life. Among the topics discussed were tensions and conflicts within families and society, the discernment between true and false peace, signs of hope in the world and deepening one’s relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist. In his speech, Pope Francis also noted how there are many conflicts present in the world, saying that we should neither be afraid of them nor seek them out. Some conflicts, he said, can be good and help us to understand differences. One problem with the world’s current conflicts is that “one culture doesn’t tolerate another,” he said, and pointed to the Rohingya as an example. Rohingya people are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group largely from the Rakhine state of Burma, in west Myanmar. Since clashes began in 2012 between the state’s Buddhist community and the long-oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority, more than 100,000 Rohingya’s have fled Myanmar by sea, according to the U.N. In order to escape forced segregation from the rest of the population inside rural ghettos, many of the Rohingya – who are not recognized by the government as a legitimate ethnic group or as citizens or Myanmar – have made the perilous journey at sea in hopes of evading persecution. In May Pope Francis spoke out after a number of Rohingya people – estimated to be in the thousands – were stranded at sea in boats with dwindling supplies while Southeastern nations such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia refused to take them in. This, he told the youth, “is called killing. It’s true. If I have a conflict with you and I kill you, its war.” Conflict is normal when so many different cultures exist in one country, the Pope observed, but emphasized that there must be mutual respect in order for these conflicts to be resolved. He said that dialogue is the best resolution to the great social problems of today, and pointed to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as an example of when one culture doesn’t respect the identity or faith of another. Yesterday Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem S.B. Fouwad Toual for the Aug. 8 anniversary of the first arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan. In his letter, the Pope thanked Jordan for welcoming the refugees, saying their actions bear witness to Christ’s resurrection. He also noted how these refugees are “victims of fanaticism and intolerance, often under the eyes and silence of all,” and called on the international community to step up their efforts in putting an end to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. In his speech to the youth, Francis said that even if you disagree with another culture’s practice, “Respect. Look for the good in it. Respect. In this way, conflicts are resolved with respect for the identity of others. Conflicts are resolved with dialogue.” Another question posed to the Pope was if he sees true signs of joy in amid the problems of the 21st century. Pope Francis responded by saying that the signs are there, and that one of them is seeing so many youth gathered together who believe that Jesus is truly in the Eucharist. He also pointed to the family, noting that right now there are many strong tensions between generations. Often when we speak of generations, parents and children come to mind, but grandparents are frequently left out, Francis observed. “Grandparents are the great forgotten of this time,” he said, and encouraged the youth to speak to their grandparents, who are sources of wisdom due to the memory they have of life, tensions, conflicts and faith. “Always when you meet your grandparents you find a surprise. They are patient, they know how to listen…don’t forget grandparents, understand?” The last question the Pope answered, posed by a youth named Maradona, was what he would say to young people so that they might discover the depth of the Eucharist. Francis immediately turned to the Last Supper, where Jesus gave us his body and blood for our salvation. “The memory of Jesus…is there. The memory of the gesture of Jesus who then went to the Mount of Olives to start his Passion,” which is a personal act of love for each individual, he said. The Pope stressed that Mass is not a ritual or a ceremony like what we see in the military or cultural celebration. Instead, going to Mass means going to Calvary with Jesus, where he gave his life for us, the Pope said. In order to deepen in the mystery of the Eucharist, Francis suggested remembering St. Paul’s invitation to “remember Jesus Christ. When they are there at the table, he is giving his life for me. And so you deepen in the mystery.” Pope Francis concluded by saying that although “we are at war” and there are so many conflicts, there are also many good and beautiful things, such as the hidden everyday saints among the people of God. “God is present and there are so many reasons to be joyful. Take courage and go forward!” he finished. Read more