MARRIAGE IS A SYMBOL OF REAL LIFE: IT IS NOT FICTION - WAR IS MADNESS! WHEN WILL WE LEARN THAT! - WAR DESTROYS MAN, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORK OF THE CREATOR: HUMANITY NEEDS TO WEEP AND THIS IS THE TIME TO WEEP
Monday, September 15, 2014
Today Pope Francis and the nine members of the Council of Cardinals (the 9th being Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin) met for the sixth time since this Council was instituted by Francis to assist him in the governance of the Universal Church and to study the plans for reforming the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia. The group will meet through Wednesday, September 17. The so-called Council of Nine met previously on October 1-3 and December 3-5, 2013, and February 28-30, April 1-4 and July 1-4 of this year.

It was a big weekend for Pope Francis and Ill look back at two of the big stories Saturdays papal trip to Redipuglia to the Austrian-Hungarian cemetery and the Military Shrine where he prayed for those who died in World War II, and all wars, and Sundays Mass in St. Peters where he married 20 couples. The wedding Mass has not been without some questions, and even criticism, because, among the couples from the diocese of Rome, several had been living together, one husband had a previous marriage annulled and several couples were married in the presence of their children.

The Diocese of Rome planned the wedding ceremony in St. Peters Basilica. It said in a statement, "The people getting married on Sunday are couples like many others. Some already live together, some already have children." The youngest newlyweds were born in 1986 and 1989 respectively, whereas the oldest were born in 1958 and 1965.

Both eyebrows and questions have been raised by Sundays ceremony but Pope Francis, in his homily, may have partially given the reason for the choices of the couples, when he said: The cure that God offers the people applies also, in a particular way, to spouses who have become impatient on the way and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment To them too, God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to him, he will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.

The 20 couples, united in matrimony by Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome, have given a gift to the Diocese of Rome, donating a game room and meeting center for young people and families on the periphery. They chose this project in view of Pope Francis emphasis on the Church and the faithful going out into the periphery. The project was conceived during the couples period of preparation for the sacrament of Matrimony and will be realized by Caritas in the Colli Aniene neighborhood of Rome.

MARRIAGE IS A SYMBOL OF REAL LIFE: IT IS NOT FICTION

At 9:00 Sunday morning, feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Pope Francis presided at Mass in St. Peters Basilica and joined 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Concelebrants included the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini, Bishop Filippo Iannone, vice-gerent and director of the diocesan Center for Family Pastoral Ministry and forty priests who were friends of the couples and done pre-Cana with them. Also present were the Popes personal physican, Dr. Polisca, and the prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein.

The wedding ceremony was basically simple and beautiful, but the circumstances were decidedly beyond the ordinary. Among the couples from the diocese of Rome, several had been living together, one husband had a previous marriage annulled and several couples were married in the presence of their children.

Twenty grooms processed up the main aisle, accompanied by their mothers, soon to be joined by the 20 brides, accompanied by their fathers. Seated before the Pope, each bride and groom exchanged wedding vows and then exchanged rings that had been placed on a cushion embossed with Pope Francis coat of arms.

In his homily, the Pope began by reflecting on the first reading of the Mass that speaks to us of the peoples journey through the desert. We can imagine them as they walked, led by Moses; they were families: fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, grandparents, men and women of all ages, accompanied by many children and the elderly who struggled to make the journey.

This makes us think of families, our families, said Francis, walking along the paths of life with all their day to day experiences. It is impossible to quantify the strength and depth of humanity contained in a family: mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, the sharing of joys and difficulties. Families are the first place in which we are formed as persons and, at the same time, the bricks for the building up of society.

However, noted Francis, At a certain point, the people became impatient on the way, and complain and protest against God and against Moses. They are tempted to turn back and abandon the journey.

Here, continued the Pope, our thoughts turn to married couples who become impatient on the way, the way of conjugal and family life. The hardship of the journey causes them to experience interior weariness; they lose the flavor of matrimony and they cease to draw water from the well of the Sacrament. Daily life becomes burdensome, and often, even nauseating.

The Holy Father explained that, The cure that God offers the people (the love of His Only Begotton Son, Jesus) applies also, in a particular way, to spouses who have become impatient on the way and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment To them too, God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to him, he will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.

The love of Christ, said Francis, can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. This is the task that you both share. I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a woman; I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences. The path is not always a smooth one, free of disagreements, otherwise it would not be human. It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life!

Pope Francis concluded with some advice: It is normal for husband and wife to argue: its normal. It always happens. But my advice is this: never let the day end without having first made peace. Never! A small gesture is sufficient. Thus the journey may continue. Marriage is a symbol of life, real life: it is not fiction! It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love that finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross. My desire for you is that you have a good journey, a fruitful one, growing in love. I wish you happiness. There will be crosses! But the Lord is always there to help us move forward. May the Lord bless you!

The newlyweds processed down the basilicas main aisle and went into the Vatican gardens for photos.

WAR IS MADNESS! WHEN WILL WE LEARN THAT!

On a splendid September Sunday, feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, St. Peters Square was jam-packed with faithful who came to join Pope Francis in praying the Angelus. In reflections both before and after the Marian prayer, the Pope mentioned the couples he had just joined in matrimony, and he asked people for prayers for the UN peace mission which is set to begin its work in the war-torn Central African Republic tomorrow. He also spoke of his visit Saturday to a WWI memorial shrine and cemetery in northern Italy, and renewed his appeal for an end to the madness of war, and spoke of persdeuted Christians.

Yesterday, said Francis of his half day trip, I went to Redipuglia to the Austrian-Hungarian cemetery and the Military Shrinethere I prayed for those who died in the Great War. The numbers are shocking, they speak of over 8 million young soldiers who fell and an estimated 7 million civilians. This makes us understand that war is madness, and humanity has yet to learn the lessons from this madness! Because after this war, there was another world war and so many more still going on today. But when will we learn? When will we learn this lesson? I invite everyone to look at the Crucified Christ to understand that hate and evil are defeated by forgiveness and good, to understand that the response of war only increases evil.

When we contemplate and celebrate the Holy Cross, the Pope concluded, we think with emotion of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted and killed for their fidelity to Christ. This happens especially where religious freedom is not guaranteed or fully realized. It also occurs, however, in countries and in environments where in principle freedom and human rights are protected, but where in practice believers and Christians in particular often encounter limitations or discrimination. Therefore, today we remember them and pray especially for them.

WAR DESTROYS MAN, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORK OF THE CREATOR: HUMANITY NEEDS TO WEEP AND THIS IS THE TIME TO WEEP

(From Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed silently at the Austro-Hungarian Cemetery of Fogliano di Redipuglia on Saturday morning, during the first stop of his half-day trip to northeastern Italy to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It is near the Italian War Memorial of Redipuglia, also known at the Memorial of the 100,000, the site of the second event of the Pope's trip, a Mass for those who died in the war.

Pope Francis' paternal grandfather, Giovanni Carlo Bergoglio fought on this front during World War I, a decade before migrating to Argentina.

The Pope then celebrated Mass at the Redipuglia memorial. The visit to the area, which was the scene of fighting between Italy and the forces of the Central Powers during World War I, was to mark the centenary of the beginning of the war. The Mass was said for the fallen and victims of all wars.

Following is the text of Pope Francis prepared homily:

After experiencing the beauty of traveling throughout this region, where men and women work and raise their families, where children play and the elderly dream I now find myself here, in this place, able to say only one thing: War is madness.

Whereas God carries forward the work of creation, and we men and women are called to participate in his work, war destroys. It also ruins the most beautiful work of his hands: human beings. War ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying.

Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war, and they are too often justified by an ideology; but first there is a distorted passion or impulse. Ideology is presented as a justification and when there is no ideology, there is the response of Cain: What does it matter to me? Am I my brothers keeper? (cf. Gen 4:9). War does not look directly at anyone, be they elderly, children, mothers, fathers. What does it matter to me?

Above the entrance to this cemetery, hanging in the air are those ironic words of war, What does it matter to me? Each one of the dead buried here had their own plans, their own dreams but their lives were cut short. Humanity said, What does it matter to me?

Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction

In all honesty, the front page of newspapers ought to carry the headline, What does it matter to me? Cain would say, Am I my brothers keeper?

This attitude is the exact opposite of what Jesus asks of us in the Gospel. We have heard: he is in the least of his brothers; he, the King, the Judge of the world, he is the one who hungers, who thirsts, he is the stranger, the one who is sick, the prisoner The one who cares for his brother or sister enters into the joy of the Lord; the one who does not do so, however, who by his omissions says, What does it matter to me? remains excluded.

Here lie many victims. Today, we remember them. There are tears, there is sadness. From this place we remember all the victims of every war.

Today, too, the victims are many How is this possible? It is so because in todays world, behind the scenes, there are interests, geopolitical strategies, lust for money and power, and there is the manufacture and sale of arms, which seem to be so important! And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, What does it matter to me?

It is the task of the wise to recognize errors, to feel pain, to repent, to beg for pardon and to cry. With this What does it matter to me? in their hearts, the merchants of war perhaps have made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to cry. That What does it matter to me? prevents the tears. Cain did not cry. The shadow of Cain hangs over us today in this cemetery. It is seen here. It is seen from 1914 right up to our own time. It is seen even in the present.

With the heart of a son, a brother, a father, I ask each of you, indeed for all of us, to have a conversion of heart: to move on from What does it matter to me? to tears: for each one of the fallen of this senseless massacre, for all the victims of the mindless wars, in every age. Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep!

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