POPE FRANCIS EXPLAINS OUR ID AS CHRISTIANS - PRESS OFFICE ON FRANCISCANS OF THE IMMACULATE AND LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I saw an amazing movie this morning, one of the three nominated for Best Picture by the Fifth International Catholic Film Festival. The Letters, as I wrote yesterday, is a drama that explores the life of Mother Teresa through letters she wrote to her long time friend and spiritual advisor, Father Celeste van Exem over a nearly 50-year period. Minutes after the start of the film, you forget you are watching an actress (Juliet Stevenson) in a role and feel sure you are walking in Blessed Mother Teresas footsteps as part of a documentary. It is a riveting film and will be a must see for moviegoers when it comes out in the fall.

The other two movies, L'Apotre" and "Un Dio Prohibido," are being reviewed by the media and jury this afternoon but I could not attend because on Wednesdays I have my favorite radio show, Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo, in addition to which, in minutes I leave for a press conference to present a book about the founder of the Knights of Columbus entitled. The Pastor Fr. Michael McGivney and American Catholicism.

In any case, stay tuned..

POPE FRANCIS EXPLAINS OUR ID AS CHRISTIANS

This morning in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis held the last weekly general audience before starting a summer break. He turned to the theme of Church, focusing on the People of God, and highlighted the importance for a Christian of belonging to this People. We are not isolated Christians, he said. Belonging is our identity. We are Christians because we belong to the Church. It is like a name: if our name is 'I am Christian', our surname (family names) is 'I belong to the Church'.

No-one becomes a Christian alone; we must think first, with gratitude, of all those who have preceded us. he said. If we believe, if we pray, if we know the Lord and are able to listen to His Word, we feel close to Him and recognize Him in our brethren, because others before us have lived faith and transmitted it to us, have taught us. The Church is a family in which one is welcomed and learns to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus.

Francis explained that this is a path that one may undertake, not thanks to others but rather united with others. This is not a do-it-yourself Church, he said.

How many times did Benedict XVI describe the Church as an ecclesiastical 'we'? Often we hear people say, 'I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I am not interested in the Church... There are those who believe they can have a personal relationship, direct and immediate, with Jesus Christ removed from communion and the mediation of the Church. They are dangerous and damaging temptations. They are, as the great Paul VI said, absurd dichotomies.

The Holy Father said, It is true that to walk together is challenging and difficult. But the Lord has entrusted his message of salvation to human beings, to all of us, as witnesses; and it is in our brothers and sisters, with their gifts and their limits, that it comes towards us and is revealed to us. And this is what belonging to the Church means. And he repeated once again, Remember: being Christian means belonging to the Church.

In conclusion, Pope Francis asked the Lord, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, to grant us the grace never to give in to the temptation to think we can do without other people, that we can do without the Church and save ourselves alone, that we can be 'laboratory Christians'. On the contrary, it is not possible to love God without loving one's brethren, it is not possible to love God outside the Church; it is not possible to be in communion with God without being in communion with the Church, and we cannot be good Christians other than by staying together with those who follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, a single body.

Following his catechesis, the Pope greeted a delegation from Bethlehem University, the first university founded in the West Bank and inspired by the principles of the schools established by the De La Salle Christian brothers. The Pope thanked the delegation as the school marks its 40th anniversary and he expressed special thanks for their laudable academic activity in support of the Palestinian people.

PRESS OFFICE ON FRANCISCANS OF THE IMMACULATE AND LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST

Responding to a number of media reports on the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the Legionaries of Christ, Holy See Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, made public the answers received from the secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life in relation to various questions on the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the Legionaries of Christ. Here are the Congregation answers:

The Franciscans of the Immaculate: Both the commissioner, Fr. Volpi, and all the seminarians of the Franciscans of the Immaculate were received by the Holy Father on June 10 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a gesture that demonstrates the interest with which Pope Francis follows the situation of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and his closeness to the work that the commissioner is carrying out in the name of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. The Holy Father is punctually informed of all steps as they are taken. At the moment a house in Rome is being sought to accommodate the Friars, brothers of the aforementioned Institute, who attend a pontifical university in Rome to pursue their studies.

The Legionaries: As anticipated, with the celebration of the General Chapter the Institute has returned to the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. This progression has ended the work of the Apostolic delegate. As a gesture of fraternal closeness, the prefect and the secretary of the dicastery will meet on July 3 at the Legionaries' central seat to comment personally on various corrections that need to be made to the text of the Constitutions presented to the dicastery, and to communicate the name of the Pontifical assistant. The corrections to the text of the Constitutions are very few in number. With regard to the assistant, the role will be assumed by a consecrated person, as anticipated, who knows the Legionaries and will be able to be of help to the general Council on legal and other themes, according to need. It is to be noted that this figure is an assistant, not a visitator, commissioner or delegate. The assistant has neither a voice nor a vote, and is merely an assessor, and was agreed upon before the general Chapter.

The governor general of the Legionaries attended the Congregation following the Chapter to meet the prefect and the secretary. On that occasion, the director general had expressed the wish to receive the prefect and secretary of the dicastery at the headquarters of the Legionaries. For this reason Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo will make their visit on July 3.

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