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For Immediate Release From Vatican News!

Pope To Children In Verona: With Your Friend Jesus, Go Against The Tide!

Encountering children in the Italian city of Verona, Pope Francis urges them to be empowered by the joy of Jesus' love and friendship to go against conventional thinking, to pursue what is good, and to work toward peace. By Deborah Castellano Lubov

With the joy of Jesus' love and faith, you can be peacemakers and can surpass all difficulties...

This was the comforting reminder Pope Francis offered children and young people in Verona on Saturday morning, during his one-day pastoral visit to the northern Italian city, during which he responded to three questions, before leading them in prayer.

When asked how to discern Jesus' voice, the Holy Father called on the children to recall how great they feel when they do something good, and how bad they feel when they do something wrong. As the children enthusiastically responded to the Pope's questions, he explained that the good feeling they experience after doing a good gesture is how they feel as the Lord speaks to them.

The next question dealt with how to be peacemakers. In this context, the Pope encouraged them to, together, "be a sign of peace," in which they listen to, share, and play with one another, without fighting.

The final question was about maintaining faith even at difficult times.

Jesus consoles and empowers us
The Holy Father lamented the many difficulties of life, mentioning the loss of loved ones, especially relatives, and recalling the terrible wars underway, and went on to express his belief that the joy that the Lord gives us, consoles us and enables us to push through whatever comes our way.

With Jesus at their side, the Pope told the children, they truly can become peacemakers, and he encouraged them to courageously, and with faith, go against the tide, and use their gifts to help others.

"Don't be afraid to go against the tide if you want to do a good thing, do you understand?" he insisted.

“Don't be afraid to go against the tide if you want to do a good thing, do you understand?”

Before some performances by the children, the Holy Father said, let's first pause to pray an "Our Father" all together, and then imparted upon them his Apostolic Blessing.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/20...


Pope To Priests In Verona: Confession Must Not Be Torture, Forgive Everything

Pope Francis opens his pastoral visit to Verona with a meeting with deacons, priests, and consecrated men and women. He urges each person to embrace their calling and boldly undertake their mission, celebrating the city's legacy of faith, charity, and hope.
By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis travelled on Saturday to Verona for a one-day pastoral visit, meeting first with the northern Italian city's deacons, priests, and consecrated men and women.

As they gathered in what the Pope described as one of Italy’s most beautiful Romanesque Basilicas, the Basilica of Saint Zeno, Pope Francis said that the architecture reminded him of a boat, and that together they were part of the boat of the Lord “navigating the seas of history to spread the joy of the Gospel.”

With this image in mind, Pope Francis offered two reflections on religious life.

Welcoming the call
"First of all”, the Pope began, “we must welcome the call we have received.”

He recalled Jesus at the beginning of His ministry in Galilee, as He “walks along the shore of the lake and sets his gaze on a boat and on two pairs of fisherman brothers... He approaches and calls them to follow Him.”

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/20...


Sr. Viktoriya’ mission to restore the smiles of Ukrainian children
Sr. Viktoriya Andrushchyshyna rescues childhoods destroyed by war. She distributes drops of kindness in frontier areas, where her angels of joy travel to cities and villages that were liberated from Russian occupation. Quoting Pope Francis on the fact that Ukrainian children no longer smile, she thinks of herself as the “nun who restores smiles.”
By Beata Zajączkowska

“I am only afraid of one thing, of having to bury one of the children whom we look after”, says Sr. Viktoriya. Ever since the very beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, she began to find safe shelters for mothers with small children and for pregnant women.

The Shelter Inside The Station And The Angels Of Joy

“During the first week of bombings, we were in the basement, afraid, and I began to wonder how I could help our children”, she recounts. She then went to the train station where refugees from eastern Ukraine were taking refuge. A pregnant woman she met there by chance told her that she had prepared a room where mothers with children could be safe.

She began to take care of the children of displaced people who had taken shelter in Vinnytsia. She rounded up a group of volunteers and began to organize games.

“I wanted to make the children come out of the sadness in which they were trapped”, she says, underlining that wars force children into a regime that is difficult to withstand: they cannot go to school or even outside to play. In order to make the project, which was beginning to take shape, official, the Sister joined Christian Emergency Service, which was established in Kiev to help people after the outbreak of war in 2014. Within it, she created a group to help the children called “The Angels of Joy”.

Angelic Vocation

The name is not random. Sr. Viktoriya belongs to the Congregation of Sisters of the Angels, founded in 1889 when the Church was harshly persecuted by the Russian czar.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/...


How Ratzinger differentiated 'the supernatural' and spiritual fruits
In Vittorio Messori’s "The Ratzinger Report" the future Benedict XVI speaks about the norms for discerning alleged supernatural phenomena. These same norms are developed in the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s new document. By Vatican News

"One of our criteria is to separate the aspect of true or presumed 'supernaturality’ of the apparition from that of its spiritual fruits." With these words, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responded to a question by journalist and writer Vittorio Messori. The dialogue is reported in the 1985 bestseller "The Ratzinger Report".

First, the future Pope Benedict XVI stated: "No apparition is indispensable to the faith; Revelation terminated with Jesus Christ. He himself is the Revelation. But we certainly cannot prevent God from speaking to our time through simple people and also through extraordinary signs that point to the insufficiency of the cultures stamped by rationalism and positivism that dominate us. The apparitions that the Church has officially approved... have their own specific place in the development of the life of the Church in the last century. They show, among other things, that Revelation - still unique, concluded, and therefore unsurpassable - is not yet a dead thing but something alive and vital. Moreover... one of the signs of our time is that reports of 'Marian apparitions' are multiplying all over the world...".

And then he continued: " One of our criteria is to separate the aspect of true or presumed 'supernaturality’ of the apparition from that of its spiritual fruits. The pilgrimages of ancient Christianity were often concentrated on places with respect to which our modern critical spirit would be horrified as to the ‘scientific truth’ of the tradition bound up with them. This does not detract from the fact that those pilgrimages were fruitful, beneficial, important for the life of the Christian people. The problem is not so much that of modern hypercriticism (which ends up later, moreover, in a form of new credulity), but it is that of the evaluation of the vitality and of the orthodoxy of the religious life that is developing around these places."

Learn more HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city...


Open To The Mystery, Caring For The Faith Of Ordinary People

Our Editorial Director reflects on the New Norms on Alleged Supernatural Phenomena released by the Dicastery for the Doctine of the Faith. By Andrea Tornielli

“The Church’s Magisterium protects the faith of simple believers... That is its democratic mission. It is meant to give a voice to those who have none.” These words of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger come to mind after reading the new norms on alleged supernatural phenomena, published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

pastoral approach that characterizes Pope Francis’ pontificate and addresses the need to resolve difficulties, dead ends, and open contradictions that have arisen over the past 50 years, with sometimes conflicting pronouncements on the same phenomenon.

The faith of simple believers is protected, firstly, because the text clearly states that the Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, and that no believer is obliged to believe in apparitions or other alleged supernatural phenomena, even in cases in which they were approved and explicitly declared supernatural by the ecclesiastic authority.

At the same time, there is an acknowledgement that in many cases, these exceptional manifestations resulted in an abundance of spiritual fruits and growth in the faith. Thus, the authority of the Church should not have an a priori negative judgment, as if God and the Virgin Mary needed the authorization of the curia or a Vatican Dicastery to manifest themselves.
The intention of protecting the faith of simple believers from illusions, fanaticism, fraud, and religious marketing, as well as from the obsession with chasing apocalyptic messages and forgetting the essentials of the Gospel, is also very clear.

The decision to no longer make demanding declarations regarding the authenticity and supernaturalness of phenomena — except in very rare cases involving the authority of the Successor of Peter — is striking. This too is a way to protect the faith of the People of God, allowing them more freedom to express their devotions and participate in pilgrimages when there are no reasons to advise against them. It involves continuing to study the phenomena, supporting visionaries without leaving them alone and adrift (as has unfortunately happened) and conducting pastoral and catechetical activities that help bring about good spiritual fruits.

The new norms introduce six categories of final judgments on alleged phenomena, replacing the previous three. Under the old 1978 norms, the judgment could conclude with a declaration of supernaturalness (constat de supernaturalitate), a negative declaration but one that is open to possible further developments (non constat de supernaturalitate), or a clearly negative declaration when non-supernaturalness was evident (constat de non supernaturalitate). There are now more

possibilities and nuances, always aimed at protecting the faith of simple believers. The most positive final judgment in the new norms is the nihil obstat, a clearance that does not force the Church to pronounce herself on supernaturalness, but attests that positive elements prevail, making it a phenomenon to be promoted.

What happened in recent decades also helps explain why, from now on, the involvement of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith will always be required, and

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city...


Pope: Sport Is A Place For Encounter And Fraternity

Pope Francis sends a message to an international Conference on Sports and Spirituality in which he reiterates his belief the “amateur” spirit must never be lacking in sports as it preserves the genuine values of competition. By Vatican News

The event is organized and promoted by the Vatican Dicastery for Culture and the French Embassy to the Holy See within the framework of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Reflecting on the fact that we live in a world where sports play an increasingly central role in society, the Pope notes that “The discipline and temperance of athletes, as well as healthy competition, have often been valued as metaphors for virtuous Christian life.”

Even today, he continues, “this metaphor can be effective for all those who, in some way, desire and strive to please God and be His friend.”

Indeed, he adds, quoting the apostle Paul who has compared spiritual life to athletic activity more than once, sports can be practised not merely as a pastime but as a vehicle for personal development and communal cohesion.

"Sport (…) is a way to spend leisure time that arouses interests and opportunities for meeting, brings people together, creates communities, energizes life in an orderly manner, and promotes dreams, especially in younger generations," he said.

Preserving The 'Amateur Spirit'

The Pope reflects on how it is crucial to preserve the "amateur" spirit in sports, irrespective of levels of competition, a spirit that is characterized by its purity and authenticity. Only in this way, he says is it possible to safeguard the essence of sportsmanship.

"In sports, at all levels, the 'amateur' spirit should never be lacking, as it preserves its genuineness," he says.

Embracing this spirit, he explains, requires an integration of athletic strength and spiritual values, to ensure true victory that lies not only in winning but in the journey of self-discovery and growth.

Jesus: God’s True Athlete

Pope Francis also focuses on the fact that as well as the need for pastoral care for sports and education, it is important for the Church to reflect on the sporting experience and adequately valorize it in its evangelizing action.

Recalling St. John Paul II’s homily at the Jubilee of Sports in 2000, he said “Those involved in this service are called to act in a way that presents Jesus as ‘God’s true athlete’”.

He adds, that recent pontifical pronouncements have enriched the Church's reflection on sport, placing it in its human horizon, warning against the risks of dehumanization and corruption, and promoting it as a privileged place for encounter between people and fraternity among peoples.

Responsibility towards the young

The Pope pointed out that the conference highlights the responsibility of adults - managers, coaches, technicians, and athletes - to uphold ethical standards and foster environments conducive to the integral development of children and young people.

"Their conscience formed in human values is decisive for creating healthy and formative sports environments, preventing any diseducational attitude and any form of abuse, especially against minors and the most vulnerable," he says.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/20...


Vatican releases new norms on alleged supernatural phenomena
The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith releases a document detailing new norms regarding cases of reported supernatural phenomena. As a rule, neither the local bishop nor the Holy See will declare that these phenomena are of supernatural origin, but will only authorize and promote devotion and pilgrimages. By Vatican News

A new document from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith published on Friday, May 17, has updated the norms for discerning alleged supernatural phenomena. The norms come into force on Sunday, May 19, the feast of Pentecost.

The document is preceded by a detailed presentation by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery, followed by an introduction and six possible conclusions. The procedure allows for faster decisions while respecting popular devotion.

As a rule, the Church’s authority will no longer be engaged to officially define the supernatural nature of a phenomenon, a process that can require large amounts time to thoroughly study an event.

Another new norm involves the explicit involvement of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which must approve the local bishop’s final decision and which has the authority to intervene motu proprio at any time.

Many cases in recent decades have involved the former Holy Office, even when individual bishops have expressed themselves. However, the interventions have usually remained behind the scenes and were never made public.

The Dicastery’s new explicit involvement also relates to the difficulty in circumscribing phenomena, which in some cases reach national and even global dimensions, “meaning that a decision made in one Diocese has consequences also elsewhere.”

Open to the Mystery, caring for the faith of ordinary people
Open to the Mystery, caring for the faith of ordinary people
How Ratzinger differentiated 'the supernatural' and spiritual fruits
Reasons for the new norms
The document originates from the long experience of the last century, which saw cases where the local bishop (or bishops of a region) rapidly declared a phenomenon’s supernatural nature, only for the Holy Office to express a different decision later. Other cases involved a bishop saying one thing and his successor deciding the opposite (regarding the same phenomenon).

Each event also required lengthy discernment periods to evaluate all elements in order to reach a decision on the supernatural nature or non-supernatural nature of the phenomena. These time periods sometimes contrasted with the urgency to give pastoral responses for the good of the faithful.

The Dicastery began revising the norms in 2019, leading to the current text approved by Pope Francis on May 4.

Spiritual fruits and risks
In his presentation, Cardinal Fernández explains that, “many times, these events have led to a great richness of spiritual fruits, growth in faith, devotion, fraternity, and service. In some cases, they have given rise to shrines throughout the world that are at the heart of many people’s popular piety today.”

However, there is also the possibility that “in some events of alleged supernatural origin,” serious issues that harm the faithful may arise. These include cases where from the alleged phenomena, “profit, power, fame, social recognition, or other personal interest” (II, Art. 15, 4°) are derived, even to the point of “exerting control over people or carrying out abuses (II, Art. 16).”

There may be “doctrinal errors, an oversimplification of the Gospel message, or the spread of a sectarian mentality.” There is the possibility of believers “being misled by an event that is attributed to a divine initiative but is merely the product of someone’s

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city...
Posted By: agnes levine
Sunday, May 19th 2024 at 3:05PM
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