Vatican Round-up

Pope: true charity takes compassion that does not demand conversion

‘Quality of life’ proponents who think the gravely ill lead lives not worth living are peddling a great lie, Pope Francis said in a message for the 2015 World Day of the Sick.

Criticising approaches that devalue human lives, especially the lives of those who suffer from serious illness, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of offering increased care and concern instead, urging people to demonstrate a compassion that does not judge and that “does not demand conversion”.

The World Day of the Sick is celebrated annually on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. “How great a lie,” Pope Francis wrote in his message, “lurks behind certain phrases which so insist on the importance of ‘quality of life’ that they make people think that lives affected by grave illness are not worth living.”

Pope Francis invited people to see the World and those who are sick or in need of care with “the wisdom of the heart,” which is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, merciful, certain and sincere.

“It is a way of seeing things infused by the Holy Spirit in the minds and the hearts of those who are sensitive to the sufferings of their brothers and sisters and who can see in them the image of God,” he wrote.

Vatican honours murdered missionaries, kidnapped priests, Ebola victims

In addition to its annual report on Church workers murdered during 2014, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples highlighted the sacrifice of pastoral workers who died of Ebola contracted while caring for others and reminded Catholics that the fates of five kidnapped priests remain unknown.

Fides, the congregation’s news agency, reported that 26 pastoral workers were killed in 2014, most during robbery attempts: 17 priests, one religious brother, six religious women, a seminarian and a layman. Even if most of the murders were committed during robberies, Fides said many of them were carried out with such “brutality and ferociousness” that they are signs of intolerance and “moral degradation”, as well as “economic and cultural poverty”.

But the agency also drew special attention to the four Hospitallers of St John of God, the religious sister and 13 lay workers who died at Catholic hospitals in Liberia and Sierra Leone after contracting Ebola. The 18 “gave their lives for others like Christ,” said Fr Jesus Etayo, prior general of the order.

Parents have ‘duty’ to their children – Pope

Becoming a mother or father is a gift from God, but women and men have a duty to embrace that gift and be astonished by its beauty, Pope Francis has said.

When people recognise that every child is unique and wanted by God, they will be “amazed by what a
great miracle a child is,” he said on the feast of the Holy Family.

During an audience with an Italian association for large families, the Pope said: “Dear parents, I am grateful for the example of your love of life that you safeguard from conception to its natural end, even with all of life’s difficulties and burdens, which unfortunately the government doesn’t always help you bear.”

The Pope greeted the multiple generations present at the audience, who came from all over Italy, as well as other parts of Europe, and asked them how early they had to get up that morning to get to the Vatican.

“Six o’clock? Five o’clock? Aren’t you tired? Well, I’ll put you to sleep with my speech!” he joked. Holding the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph up as a model for all the world’s families, the Pope said, “maternity and paternity are a gift from God, but welcoming that gift, being astonished
by its beauty and making it shine in society, that is your task”.