Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences on Christian hope, Pope Francis spoke about the heavenly Jerusalem in his August 23 address in Paul VI Audience Hall.
“We discover in the final pages of the Bible that the ultimate destination of our Christian pilgrimage will be the heavenly Jerusalem,” the Pope said. “And on this pilgrimage we encounter the God of surprises who treats us with infinite tenderness, like a father welcoming his children home after a long and difficult journey.”
The Pope added:
It is Jesus himself who is the light of this new future, and who even now accompanies us on our way. Creation did not stop on the sixth day of Genesis, because God is continually looking after us, always ready to pronounce his blessing: “Behold, I make all things new!” (Rev. 21:5)
Mohabat News, an Iranian Christian news agency, said in a recent report that Christianity is spreading rapidly among youth in some cities.
“This high rate of conversion of Iranian youth to Christianity is in spite of rigorous Islamic indoctrination of the youth in their families and educational system,” according to the report.
“The Islamic government of Iran dedicates massive budgets to the support of Islamic organizations that promote Islam among the youth within and without Iran’s borders,” the report continued. “Regardless of such efforts, Iranian youth seem to become increasingly distant from Islam, which is a cause of great concern for the Iranian Islamic government.”
An Italian missionary in Hong Kong said that as some Chinese Catholics face harassment from government officials, they also experience “pain and anguish” because of the actions of bishops and the Holy See.
“There are bishops who are recognized by the Holy See, but who also take up posts in the Patriotic Association which publicly proclaims principles incompatible with Catholic doctrine,” said Father Sergio Ticozzi, PIME. “Then there are bishops who take part in illegitimate episcopal ordinations, and who concelebrate with excommunicated bishops.”
The missionary added:
Observing the behavior of the Holy See, some brothers and sisters are shaking their heads too; they feel doubtful and suspicious. Some unofficial priests even asked me if Rome had accepted the government policy to eliminate the underground Church; or whether it is still necessary to refuse to join the Patriotic Association. Mistrust is rather widespread.