The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths.
Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s Catholics, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning, arrived at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi hand-in-hand in a symbol of interfaith brotherhood.
The document pledges that al-Azhar and the Vatican will work together to fight extremism. Claiming to be in the name of “all victims of wars, persecution and injustice”, it warns against a “third world war being fought piecemeal”.
It says: “We resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood.”
Francis, who has clashed with Trump before on migration issues, discussed the situation at the U.S.-Mexican border with veteran Vatican reporter Valentina Alazraki, who is Mexican.
“I don’t know what’s happening with this new culture of defending territories by building walls. We already knew one, that (one) in Berlin, which brought so many headaches and so much suffering,” he said.
Trump, who met the pope at the Vatican in 2017, has said the wall is needed to address a crisis of drugs and crime flowing across the border into the United States and has clashed with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and some judges on how to fund it.
Last year, Pope Francis criticized the Trump administration policy of separating children from parents who had illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, a policy Trump later reversed after a widespread outcry.
Last month, Trump denied media reports that his administration was considering reinstating the policy.
Jesus prayed in this way. Sometimes He used expressions that are certainly very distant from the text of the Lord’s Prayer. Think of the initial words of Psalm 22, which Jesus pronounces on the cross: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mt 27: 46). Can the Heavenly Father abandon His Son? No, certainly not. And yet love for us, sinners, led Jesus to this point: to experiencing God’s abandonment, His distance. But even the anguished cry is still “My God, My God”. In that “my” there is the nucleus of the relationship with the Father, there is the nucleus of faith and prayer.
This is why, starting from this nucleus, a Christian can pray in every situation. He can take on all the prayers of the Bible, of the Psalms in particular; but he can also pray with many expressions that in millennia of history have sprung from the heart of man. And let us never cease to tell the Father of our brothers and sisters in humanity, so that no-one of them, the poor especially, may remain without consolation and portion of love.
At the end of this catechesis, let us repeat that prayer of Jesus: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to little children” (Lk 10: 21).
Read the full Pope’s General Audience here; http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/05/22/190522b.html
Since the migrant crisis of 2015, one of the pope’s most emphatic and consistent messages has been the need to welcome refugees, who he believes have been exploited by fear-mongering European nationalists.
“I respectfully suggest,” Francis said, “that you not close your eyes, your hearts or your hands, in accordance with your best tradition, to those who knock at your door.”
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In today’s Gospel (Cf. John 10:27-30), Jesus appears as the true Shepherd of the People of God. He speaks about the relationship that binds Him to the sheep of the flock, namely, to His disciples, and He insists on the fact that it’s a relationship of mutual knowledge. “My sheep — He says — hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (vv. 27-28). Reading this phrase attentively, we see that Jesus’ work is explained in some actions: Jesus speaks, Jesus knows, Jesus gives eternal life, Jesus guards.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is attentive to each one of us; He seeks us and loves us, giving us His word, knowing our hearts in depth, our desires and our hopes, as well as our failures and our disappointments. He receives and loves us as we are, with our good points and our bad points. He gives each one of us “eternal life”: that is, He offers us the possibility of living a full life, without end. Moreover, He guards us and guides us with love, helping us to go on impervious paths and at times risky roads that appear in the path of life. …”
Read full version of ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francisbefore and after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, here: https://zenit.org/articles/regina-coeli-address-on-good-shepherd-sunday/
Pope Francis expressed concern over the re-emergence of aggressive feelings against foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as a growing nationalism that neglects the common good, saying such trends compromise international cooperation, mutual respect and the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
The Pope pointed out that migration is a permanent feature of human history, and all nations are the result of the integration of successive waves of people or groups of migrants, who while being images of the diversity of humanity, are united by common values, cultural resources and healthy customs.
The Pope also called for a “multifaceted” form of globalization based on mutual recognition between the collective identity of each people, nation and globalization itself, which leads to a general state of peace and harmony.
On the contrary, he said, a new season of worrying nuclear confrontation seems to be opening, because it cancels the progress of the recent past and multiplies the risk of war. If the offensive and defensive nuclear arms will now be placed on earth and space, the Pope warned, the so-called new technical frontier will have raised and not lowered the danger of a nuclear holocaust.
The Pope concluded urging the members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to help him spread the awareness of a renewed international solidarity with respect for human dignity, the common good, respect for the planet and the supreme good of peace.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter!
Today the Church renews the proclamation made by the first disciples: “Jesus is risen!” And from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart, there resounds a call to praise: “Alleluia, Alleluia!” On this morning of Easter, the perennial youth of the Church and of humanity as a whole, I would like to address each of you in the opening words of my recent Apostolic Exhortation devoted especially to young people:
“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. Everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen One. He calls you and he waits for you to return to him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope” (Christus Vivit, 1-2).
Dear brothers and sisters, this message is also addressed to every person in the world. The resurrection of Christ is the principle of new life for every man and every woman, for true renewal always begins from the heart, from the conscience. Yet Easter is also the beginning of the new world, set free from the slavery of sin and death: the world open at last to the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, peace and fraternity…..
Read full article here; http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20190421_urbi-et-orbi-pasqua.html