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Christianity Pope Francis prays for world peace in Easter Sunday message

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Archived_Member16, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Jan 7, 2005
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    Pope Francis prays for world peace in Easter Sunday message

    By Frances D'Emilio, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - March 31, 2013 12:40

    — Pope Francis delivered a plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message to the world, decrying the seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula after celebrating Mass at an outdoor altar before more than 250,000 people in flower-bedecked St. Peter's Square.

    Francis shared in his flock's exuberance as they celebrated Christianity's core belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead following crucifixion. After Mass, he stepped aboard an open-topped white popemobile for a cheerful spin through the joyous crowd, kissing babies and patting children on the head.

    One admirer of both the pope and of the pope's favourite soccer team, Argentina's Saints of San Lorenzo, insisted that Francis take a team jersey he was waving at the pontiff. A delighted Francis obliged, briefly holding up the shirt, and the crowd roared in approval.

    Francis has repeatedly put concern for the poor and suffering at the centre of his messages, and he pursued his promotion of the causes of peace and social justice in the Easter speech he delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, the same vantage point above the square where he was introduced to the world as the first Latin American pope on March 13.

    The Roman Catholic leader aimed his Easter greetings at "every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons." Francis prayed that Jesus would inspire people to "change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace."

    As popes before him have, he urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks and end a conflict that "has lasted all too long." And, in reflecting on the two-year-old Syrian crisis, Francis asked, "How much suffering must there still be before a political solution" can be found?

    The pope also expressed desire for a "spirit of reconciliation" on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea says it has entered "a state of war" with South Korea. He also decried warfare and terrorism in Africa, as well as what he called the 21st century's most extensive form of slavery: human trafficking.

    The first pontiff to come from the Jesuits, an order with special concern for the poor, and the first pope to name himself after St. Francis, a medieval figure who renounced wealth to preach to the down-and-out, Francis lamented that the world is "still divided by greed looking for easy gain."

    Earlier, wearing cream-colored vestments, Francis celebrated Mass on the esplanade in front of the basilica at an altar set up under a white canopy. He frequently bowed his head as if in silent reflection.

    The sun competed with clouds in the sky Sunday, but the square was a riot of floral colour in Rome, where chilly winter has postponed the blossoming of many flowers. Yellow forsythia and white lilies shone, along with bursts of lavender and pink, from potted azalea, rhododendron, wisteria and other plants.

    Francis thanked florists from the Netherlands for donating the flowers. He also advised people to let love transform their lives, or as he put it, "let those desert places in our hearts bloom."

    The Vatican had prepared a list of brief Easter greetings in 65 languages, but Francis didn't read them. The Vatican didn't say why not, but has said that the new pope, at least for now, feels at ease using Italian, the everyday language of the Holy See. Francis also has stressed his role as a pastor to his flock, and, as Bishop of Rome, Italian would be his language.

    The pontiff improvised his parting words to the crowd. He repeated his Easter greeting to those "who have come from all over the world to this square at the heart of Christianity" as well as to those "linked by modern technology," a reference to TV and radio coverage as well as social media.

    Francis added that he was especially remembering "the weakest and the neediest" and praying that all of humanity be guided along "the paths of justice, love and peace."

    In another departure from Easter tradition, Francis won't be heading for some post-holiday relaxation at the Vatican's summer palace in Castel Gandolfo, in the hills southeast of Rome. That retreat is already occupied by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who went there in the last hours of his papacy on Feb. 28. Benedict became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the position, and eventually is to move back to the Vatican, after a convent there is readied for him.

    Francis so far has declined to move into Benedict's former apartment in the Apostolic Palace, into the rooms whose studio overlooks St. Peter's Square. He is still in the Vatican hotel where earlier this month he was staying along with other cardinals participating in the secret conclave to choose Benedict's successor.

    While Francis has just begun to make his mark on the church, it is plain he has little desire to embrace much of the pomp customarily associated with the office.

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    source: http://www.theprovince.com/news/new...eace+Easter+Sunday+message/8175470/story.html
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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Jun 30, 2004
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    To be honest, I am delightfully surprised by the efforts of Pope Francis whom I did not have high regards for as mentioned in my posts before. He has even baffled the lawyers of the Vatican with his actions. I am sure he is ruffling a lot of feathers in the Vatican's coop.

    He has given up his 'bright red Gucci shoes' which are made to order. His mansion Pope penthouse, his custom made regalia, his bullet proof Popemobile and all the pomp and show that come as perks with the Papacy.

    I know there are still a lot of stains left on the long white frocks of the Vatican but Pope Francis has shown that he is carrying the buckets full of Oxyclean to make them less spotty once again.

    God speed, Pope Francis.

    The following story from AP is worth reading:

    Pope's foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists
    By NICOLE WINFIELD | Associated Press – Fri, Mar 29, 2013

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world's poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

    Francis' decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls — a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic — during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict's papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

    One of the most-read traditionalist blogs, "Rorate Caeli," reacted to the foot-washing ceremony by declaring the death of Benedict's eight-year project to correct what he considered the botched interpretations of the Second Vatican Council's modernizing reforms.

    "The official end of the reform of the reform — by example," ''Rorate Caeli" lamented in its report on Francis' Holy Thursday ritual.

    A like-minded commentator in Francis' native Argentina, Marcelo Gonzalez at International Catholic Panorama, reacted to Francis' election with this phrase: "The Horror." Gonzalez's beef? While serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's efforts to revive the old Latin Mass so dear to Benedict and traditionalists were "non-existent."

    Virtually everything he has done since being elected pope, every gesture, every decision, has rankled traditionalists in one way or another.

    The night he was chosen pope, March 13, Francis emerged from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica without the ermine-rimmed red velvet cape, or mozzetta, used by popes past for official duties, wearing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy. The cape has since come to symbolize his rejection of the trappings of the papacy and to some degree the pontificate of Benedict XVI, since the German pontiff relished in resurrecting many of the liturgical vestments of his predecessors.

    Francis also received the cardinals' pledges of obedience after his election not from a chair on a pedestal as popes normally do but rather standing, on their same level. For traditionalists who fondly recall the days when popes were carried on a sedan chair, that may have stung. In the days since, he has called for "intensified" dialogue with Islam — a gesture that rubs traditionalists the wrong way because they view such a heavy focus on interfaith dialogue as a sign of religious relativism.

    Francis may have rubbed salt into the wounds with his comments at the Good Friday procession at Rome's Colosseum, which re-enacts Jesus Christ's crucifixion, praising "the friendship of our Muslim brothers and sisters" during a prayer ceremony that recalled the suffering of Christians in the Middle East.

    Francis also raised traditional eyebrows when he refused the golden pectoral cross offered to him right after his election by Monsignor Guido Marini, the Vatican's liturgy guru who under Benedict became the symbol of Benedict's effort to restore the Gregorian chant and heavy silk brocaded vestments of the pre-Vatican II liturgy to papal Masses.

    Marini has gamely stayed by Francis' side as the new pope puts his own stamp on Vatican Masses with no-nonsense vestments and easy off-the-cuff homilies. But there is widespread expectation that Francis will soon name a new master of liturgical ceremonies more in line with his priorities of bringing the church and its message of love and service to ordinary people without the "high church" trappings of his predecessor.

    There were certainly none of those trappings on display Thursday at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome, where the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.

    The church's liturgical law holds that only men can participate in the rite, given that Jesus' apostles were all male. Priests and bishops have routinely petitioned for exemptions to include women, but the law is clear.

    Francis, however, is the church's chief lawmaker, so in theory he can do whatever he wants.

    "The pope does not need anybody's permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him," noted conservative columnist Jimmy Akin in the National Catholic Register. But Akin echoed concerns raised by canon lawyer Edward Peters, an adviser to the Vatican's high court, that Francis was setting a "questionable example" by simply ignoring the church's own rules.

    "People naturally imitate their leader. That's the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples' feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them," he said. "Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example."

    The inclusion of women in the rite is problematic for some because it could be seen as an opening of sorts to women's ordination. The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men, arguing that Jesus and his 12 apostles were male.

    Francis is clearly opposed to women's ordination. But by washing the feet of women, he jolted traditionalists who for years have been unbending in insisting that the ritual is for men only and proudly holding up as evidence documentation from the Vatican's liturgy office saying so.

    "If someone is washing the feet of any females ... he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics," Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog.
    In the face of the pope doing that very thing, Peters and many conservative and traditionalist commentators have found themselves trying to put the best face on a situation they clearly don't like yet can't do much about lest they be openly voicing dissent with the pope.

    By Thursday evening, Peters was saying that Francis had merely "disregarded" the law — not violated it.

    The Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger who has never shied from picking fights with priests, bishops or cardinals when liturgical abuses are concerned, had to measure his comments when the purported abuser was the pope himself.

    "Before liberals and traditionalists both have a spittle-flecked nutty, each for their own reasons, try to figure out what he is trying to do," Zuhlsdorf wrote in a conciliatory piece.
    But, in characteristic form, he added: "What liberals forget in their present crowing is that even as Francis makes himself — and the church — more popular by projecting (a) compassionate image, he will simultaneously make it harder for them to criticize him when he reaffirms the doctrinal points they want him to overturn."

    One of the key barometers of how traditionalists view Francis concerns his take on the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. The Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church into the modern world, allowed the celebration of the Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin. In the decades that followed, the so-called Tridentine Rite fell out of use almost entirely.

    Traditionalist Catholics who were attached to the old rite blame many of the ills afflicting the Catholic Church today — a drop in priestly vocations, empty pews in Europe and beyond — on the liturgical abuses that they say have proliferated with the celebration of the new form of Mass.

    In a bid to reach out to them, Benedict in 2007 relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass. The move was aimed also at reconciling with a group of schismatic traditionalists, the Society of St. Pius X, who split from Rome precisely over the Vatican II reforms, in particular its call for Mass in the vernacular and outreach to other religions, especially Judaism and Islam.

    Benedict took extraordinary measures to bring the society back under Rome's wing during his pontificate, but negotiations stalled.

    The society has understandably reacted coolly to Francis' election, reminding the pope that his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was told by Christ to go and "rebuild my church." For the society, that means rebuilding it in its own, pre-Vatican II vision.

    The head of the society for South America, the Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, was less than generous in his assessment of Francis.

    "He cultivates a militant humility, but can prove humiliating for the church," Bouchacourt said in a recent article, criticizing the "dilapidated" state of the clergy in Buenos Aires and the "disaster" of its seminary. "With him, we risk to see once again the Masses of Paul VI's pontificate, a far cry from Benedict XVI's efforts to restore to their honor the worthy liturgical ceremonies."
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