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Displaying items by tag: Papa Francisco

Pope Outlines Next Steps for Vatican to be a Solar State in Apostolic Letter “Fratello sole

On June 21, 2024, Pope Francis continued to outline the Vatican’s plan to become a solar nation issuing the Apostolic Letter “Fratello sole” (Brother Sun). The motu proprio is available on the Vatican website in English, Italian, and Spanish at this time.

In the document of less than 500 words, Pope Francis provides for the construction of an agrivoltaic plant in the extraterritorial zone of Santa Maria in Galeria, where Vatican Radio has maintained antennas for broadcasting since 1957. The site, located approximately 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of the Vatican, consists of 430 hectare (1,063 acres).

Highlighting the need “to make a transition to a sustainable development model that reduces greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, setting the goal of climate neutrality,” In a decree, he says that the solar energy generated by this initiative would be sufficient to fuel not only the Vatican’s radio operations at Santa Maria but the Vatican City State itself.

Agrivoltaics, also known as “dual-use” solar, involves the use of land for both solar energy and agricultural production. For example, crops can be grown, or livestock grazed, or pollinator habitats maintained underneath or adjacent to solar panels.

The pope restates his belief that “mankind has the technological means to deal with this environmental transformation and its pernicious ethical, social, economic and political consequences; and among these, solar energy plays a key role.”

Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican installed a solar panel roof on its main audience hall and accepted a donated “climate forest” in Hungary to offset its emissions. The Vatican has begun replacing its car fleet with electric vehicles as part of an overarching plan. In 2023, the Governatorate of the Vatican City State announced “Ecological Conversion 2030.” In harmony with Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si and the Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum, this plan aims to pursue various sustainable, carbon-neutral projects and technologies in the 44-hectare (109-acre) Vatican city state.

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Wednesday, 15 May 2024 14:34

Pope Declares 2025 Jubilee Year of Hope

In a bull entitled Hope Does Not Disappoint, Pope Francis explains that the coming Jubilee Year is a Holy Year also celebrating the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicea (325). Referencing Scripture, the pontiff prays that “the witness of believers be for our world a leaven of authentic hope, a harbinger of new heavens and a new earth where men and women will dwell in justice and harmony, in joyful expectation of the fultillment of the Lord’s promises.”

He writes, “Everyone knows what it is to hope. In the heart of each person, hope dwells as the desire and expectation of good things to come, despite not knowing what the future may bring.” He goes on to explain that hope is born of love which ultimately comes from Jesus upon the cross. In a few lines he describes St. Paul’s idea on hope and gives a short history of the jubilee years as pilgrimages. The Jubilee Year of 2025 he sets up as a Pilgrimage of Hope.

The pope will open the holy door of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, on November 9—the 1700th anniversary of its dedication. The door to St. Peter’s will be opened on December 29 and that of the Basilica of St. Mary Major on January 1—the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. On January 5, 2025, the Holy Door of St. Paul Outside the Walls will be opened. All diocesan bishops are to celebrate a Mass as the solemn opening of the Jubilee Year. A delegate can be designated for celebrating in co-cathedrals. The Holy Year will conclude with the closing of the Holy Doors on Sunday, December 28, 2025.

Returning to a constant theme of his pontificate—world peace—Pope Francis writes that “the first sign of hope should be the desire for peace in our world…,” and he laments that we seem to be further from peace.

He wants us to have an enthusiasm for life and “a readiness to share it.” This brings him to comment on “the alarming decline in the birthrate” in some countries, which he blames on “today’s frenetic pace, fears about the future, the lack of job security and adequate social policies, and social models whose agenda is dictated by the quest for profit rather than concern for relationships.”

Finally Pope Francis calls on the Christian community to be “signs of hope” and details a variety of concrete ways this might occur. He asks “with all my heart that hope be granted to the billions of poor, who often lack the essentials of life,” and reminds the readers that “the goods of the earth are not destined for a privileged few, but for everyone.” He calls for a refocusing of financial priorities: “I renew my appeal that with the money spent on weapons and other military expenditures, let us establish a global fund that can finally put an end to hunger and favor development in the most impoverished countries, so that their citizens will not resort to violent or illusory situations, or have to leave their countries in order to seek a more dignified life.”

As 2025 coincides with the first ecumenical council of the Church, that of Nicea, this Jubilee Year will also be celebrating the 1700th anniversary of that Council. Pope Francis calls it “a milestone in the Church’s history” as it sought to preserve Church unity and debated the full divinity of Christ, establishing the concept of His “consubstantiality” with the Father, incorporating this into a Creed that is still recited today. The Council also discussed the date of Easter, unfortunately failing to come up with a universal method of establishing the date of celebration. In 2025, a common celebration will take place however.

The document was given at St. John Lateran on May 9, the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. It is the 12th year of Francis’ pontificate and his second Jubilee Year.

Spes non confundit: Bull of Indiction of the Ordinary Jubilee of the Year 2025 (English)

Decree on the Granting of Indulgence during the Ordinary Jubilee Year 2025 (English)

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Thursday, 09 May 2024 11:03

World Communications Day 2024

58th Annual World Communications Day 2024 Celebrated Sunday, May 12

Pope Francis has dedicated his message for the 58th annual celebration of World Communications Day to a discussion of the wisdom of the human heart “to look at things with God’s eyes, to see connections, situations, events and to uncover their real meaning.”

His statement for the occasion is entitled Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart: Towards a Fully Human Communication. The pope writes that AI is “radically affecting the world of information and communication, and through it, certain foundations of life in society. These changes affect everyone.”

The Holy Father expresses the hope that “the new” will not be rejected “to preserve a beautiful world condemned to disappear.” He highlights the value that artificial intelligence presents. But he also warns it is more appropriately called “machine learning” since it is not “intelligence.” He says, “Machines possess a limitless greater capacity than human beings for storing and correlating data, but human beings alone are capable of making sense of that data.” The message closely links to the Pope’s message for the World Day of Peace, which was devoted to the development of systems of artificial intelligence (AI).

Pope Francis highlights some of the questions that arise as a result of the developments in the world of communications. The answers we give, he says, “will determine if artificial intelligence will end up creating new castes based on access to information and thus giving rise to new forms of exploitation and inequality. Or, if it will lead to greater equality by promoting correct information and a greater awareness of the epochal change that we are experiencing by making it possible to acknowledge the many needs of individuals and of peoples within a well-structured and pluralistic network of information.”

World Communications Day was established by St. Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration to encourage reflection on the opportunities and challenges that the modern mean of social communication (the press, motions pictures, radio, television, and the internet) afford the Church to communicate the Gospel message.

We present some resources in various languages that may be useful for a celebration of the Day in your part of the world.

World Communications Day Website  – Dicastery  for Communication

Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart: Towards a Fully Human Communication
Text of Papal Message

We Must Maintain Our Independent Thinking and Discernment – Machines Should Assist Not Replace
(English only) Interview with Bishop John Arnold of Salford, England

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Thursday, 08 February 2024 11:18

Day Against Human Trafficking Celebrated

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
Journeying In Dignity: Listen, Dream, Act

The Unions of Superiors and Superiors General of Religious Institutes have organized the Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking on February 8, 2024. That date is the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun, who as a child had the traumatic experience of being a victim of human trafficking.

On Sunday, Pope Francis welcomed young people from many countries who came to Rome to celebrate the the Day of Prayer and Awareness. Fifty young representatives from around the world of the partner organizations are in Rome for a week of networking and training against human trafficking.

On Thursday, February 8 there will be an Online Pilgrimage of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking entitled "Journeying in Dignity". Resources are available here

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Wednesday, 24 January 2024 10:32

Pope Calls on Journalists to Focus on Truth

Pope Encourages Journalists to Focus on Communicating the Truth

In a recent meeting in the Sala Clementina with members of the International Association of Journalists Accredited to the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke about communicating the truth as the ultimate job of the journalists. Journalists need to base their work “on the solid rock of responsibility in truth, not on the fragile sands of gossip and idealogical readings,” said Pope Francis.

Although he was directly addressing journalists whose everyday job is to communicate news about the pope and the Vatican bureaucracy, the same might apply to the Order’s communicators in the various parts of the world.

The pope spoke of journalism as a vocation, “a bit like that of a doctor, who chooses to love humanity by curing its illnesses.” A journalist “chooses to touch with their hand the wounds of society and the world” in order to bring them to light. He told the journalists not to “hide reality, even its miseries,” and that while they should not downplay tensions in the Church, neither should they make “unnecessary clamor.”

He suggested that the journalists not stop at the “appearance” of events in the Church but to move to the “substance that does not seek to conform to the superficiality of stereotypes and readily made formulas of information.”

Journalists accredited to the Vatican are commonly referred to as “vaticanisti.” Quoting a long time vaticanista, the pope said, “In so many years of Vaticanism, I have learned the art of seeking and narrating stories of life, which is a way of loving humanity [...]. I have learnt humility. I have encountered many men of God who have helped me to believe and to remain human. So, I can only encourage those who want to venture into this journalistic specialization.”

There are approximately 150 journalists accredited to the Vatican. Many members of the organization travel with the pope when he visits other countries. Other journalists might be accredited in order to cover certain events—like the recent synod. As is his custom, the pope greeted each of the attendees at the end of the audience.

Pope’s Address in English | Italian

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Tuesday, 24 October 2023 13:47

Pope Francis' Releases Laudate Deum

Pope Francis' Releases Laudate Deum "to All People of Good Will on the Climate Crisis"

Eight years after Pope Francis released his Encyclical Laudato Si' he has followed up with an Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum (Praise God) because he has realized that enough has not been done. In his letter he says the climate crisis is a global social issue and is intimately related to the dignity of human life. He calls climate change "one of the principal  challenges facing society and the global community."

He continues by saying "It is no longer possible to doubt the human ... origin of climate change and then explains why. He then outlines the damages and risks for all creation, including humans.

The pope later highlights what he believes to be "the weakness of international politics" and the progress and failures of the various initiatives that have taken place around the world to address the situation. He conclused the exhortation with a number of points about the spiritual motivations for the fight against climate change. 

Laudato Deum Text in English
(courtesy of the Province of Australia)

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Wednesday, 18 October 2023 09:31

Synod Quietly Works at Vatican

Sometimes referred to as Pope Francis’ Vatican III, this year’s synod gathering bears little resemblance to Vatican II in appearance or content. General sessions for Vatican II were held in St. Peter’s Basilica with banks of seat constructed to allow the participants to face each other. Today’s synod is being held on Paul VI Hall which can hold over 6,300 people. The seats for the papal audiences have been replaced by 35 large round tables with 10-12 participants sitting in 365 seats. Prelates, religious, and lay are interspersed by language groups. Even past synods were held in a large theater style space with the pope and prelates sitting in the front and the few lay and religious auditors seated in the back.

According to some, this is the first synod to intentionally create a spiritual atmosphere. There are moments of prayer and silence after three or four people speak. This is also a synod with some of the latest technologies. There is simultaneous translation into the major languages. Touch screen tablets are available for each voting member. They provide easy access to the documents needed as well as for voting. There are also four monitors at each table, giving participants close viewing of the speakers.

In the Catholic Church today, a synod that is designated an “Ordinary General Assembly” synod meets every three years and has a theme. "Extraordinary" synods can be called to deal with specific situations. Both synods and Councils refer an authoritative meeting of bishops for the purpose of church administration in the areas of teaching (faith and morals) or governance (church discipline or law). Efforts were made at this synod to bring in input beyond just the bishops.

The synod’s work has been divided into the following modules: 1) On the nature, meaning, and experience of synodality (October 4–7, 2023); 2) On Communion, Co-Responsibility, and Participation (October 9–21, 2023); Developing the Final Draft of the Summary Report of the First Session of the Assembly (October 23–28, 2023. This final draft will be used as a roadmap for the following year.

Mons. Filippo Iannone, O. Carm., prefect of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts, is the only Carmelite participating. Some members of the synod have computers and space available at CISA, the Carmelite house of studies in Rome, near the Vatican.

Little actual news about the discussions has come out of the synod. Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery of Communications, said the information flow from the meetings will be “very limited.” He suggested that journalists can report instead on “the absence of news” according to Catholic Vote, who advertises themselves America’s Top Catholic Advocacy Organization. The Dicastery which Ruffini leads includes responsibility for the Vatican’s Internet, radio, and television services, as well as its daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

During the first synodal assembly, Pope Francis asked journalists covering the synod to “exercise an asceticism… a certain fasting” in their coverage of the synod. He said, “I ask journalists to please make people understand this, so that they know that the priority is listening. … This is why I ask you, communicators, to carry out your role well, correctly, so that the Church and people of good will – the others will say what they want – understand that the Church also has the priority of listening. Pass this on: it’s so important.”

Reactions to the synod have been across the spectrum. A sister from Guam was quoted in the National Catholic Reporter as observing, “I'm experiencing and witnessing the dismantling of the hierarchy," she said, describing the scene inside the synod hall — where cardinals, bishops, young and older lay Catholics, and women religious like herself are sitting together at roundtables, without hierarchical distinctions.

Perhaps the strongest conservative reaction to the synod was summarized by American Cardinal Raymond Burke. In July of this year, Cardinal Burke and other traditionalist cardinals sent a letter to Francis known as a “dubia” that conveyed their concerns about the Synod. According to a report in the New York Times, Cardinal Burke recently said, “The synod that will open tomorrow, clearly has the ‘harmful goal’ of reshaping the hierarchy of the church with radical, secular, and modern ideas. Cardinal Burke, who is not participating in the assembly, said he was doubtful that the actual participants were being upfront about their true motives.

Press Bulletins on the Synod from the Holy See’s Press OfficeEnglish

Vatican Synod Website

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Wednesday, 18 October 2023 09:03

Apostolic Exhortation Issued on St. Thérèse

Apostolic Exhortation C’est la confiance Issued to Celebrate St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Pope Francis' latest exhortation’s title, C’est la confiance, in French, comes from a letter written by St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The full phrase is "It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love." As Thérèse herself communicated, she was committed to proclaiming Christ’s salvation to all. She wrote that "she had entered Carmel to save souls," and "she was able to define her mission with these words: “I shall desire in heaven the same thing as I do now on earth: to love Jesus and to make him loved."

An apostolic exhortation is a magisterial document, generally considered to be surpassed in importance only by apostolic constitutions and encyclicals. In general, exhortations encourage a particular virtue or activity. After releasing just five exhortations since becoming pope, Francis released two this month alone.

Pope Francis has a deep devotion to the French Discalced Carmelite nun and to the merciful love of God. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Thérèse’s birth and the 100th anniversary of her beatification, the pope highlights the Saint’s “little way" of love, self-giving, concern for others and complete trust in the mercy of God as her teaching for us.

Throughout the document, the “missionary soul” of the saint (she was proclaimed co-patroness of the missions by Pope Pius XI in 1927 alongside Francis Xavier) is highlighted. According to Pope Francis, the last pages of Story of a Soul are a "missionary testament." There Teresa reflects on a verse from the Song of Songs recognizes that one can profess the name of Christ and draw other hearts to Christ not by efforts of mobilization and discourses of human wisdom, but only if one is drawn to Christ himself.

Issued on October 15, the exhortation is being seen by many as a needed message for these very complex and difficult times. "At a time of great complexity, she can help us rediscover the importance of simplicity, the absolute primacy of love, trust, and abandonment, and thus move beyond a legalistic or moralistic mindset that would fill the Christian life with rules and regulations and cause the joy of the Gospel to grow cold," the pope wrote.

Apostolic Exhortation C’est la ConfianceEnglish

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Wednesday, 13 September 2023 12:57

Laudato Si’ Part 2 Being Written

Speaking to lawyers from the member countries of the Council of Europe, Pope Francis mentioned that he was writing a second part to the Laudato Si’ encyclical that was released on Pentecost in May 2015. The pope feels it necessary to update the encyclical because of “current issues.” The pope expressed his gratitude to the lawyers for their work in developing a legal frameword to protect the environment.

"We must never forget that the younger generations have the right to receive a beautiful and livable world from us, and that this implies that we have a grave responsibility towards creation which we have received from the generous hands of God,” said the Pope. “Thank you for your contribution."

Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office, later explained that the Laudato si version 2 will focus on the most recent extreme weather events and catastrophes affecting people across five continents.

For more information

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