The Pope’s bold new vision

The Pope’s bold new vision
November 26th, 2013
12:11 PM ET

The Pope’s bold new vision

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN 

(CNN)  Pope Francis on Tuesday issued a bold new document in Vatican parlance an “apostolic exhortation” called Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel.”

In this document, he sets out an exciting new vision of how to be a church. In all my years as a Catholic, I cannot remember a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating. Frankly, reading it thrilled me.

To me, it seems that with each new homily, address, interview, general audience message and letter, Francis is challenging himself and us with three questions, each of which flows naturally from the other:

First, why not look at things from a new perspective? Second, why not be open to doing things in a new way? And third, why not have a new vision for the church?

And what is Francis’ vision for the church?

Read more

Justice and Peace Council holds conference on faith and politics

Vatican Radio

Justice and Peace Council holds conference on faith and politics

(Vatican Radio) A first international meeting of chaplains serving in Parliaments is taking place at the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council this week, reflecting on ways of supporting Catholics engaged in political life.
The encounter, entitled ‘Pastoral Care of Politicians: Spiritual Companionship and Promotion of the Common Good’, was opened on Thursday by Council President, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who spoke of “new and serious issues” facing those searching for a right relationship between Christian faith and political decision making.
During a break in the meeting, Philippa Hitchen caught up with Cardinal Turkson to find out more about the goals of the two day conference:

Listen: RealAudioMP3

Please find below the text of Cardinal Turkson’s introduction to the meeting:

Your Excellencies, Rev. Fathers, Distinguished Speakers and Participants, dear friends:

1. It is a joy for me to welcome you to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for this first meeting of chaplains serving parliaments. Thank you for making yourselves available for these two days of discussion and labour. Let me especially thank the speakers who have agreed to enrich our reflections.

2. We are gathered here to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II. As we begin our deliberations, we cannot avoid thinking of the emphasis in Gaudium et Spes on participation in the political sphere: “There is no better way to establish political life on a truly human basis than by fostering an inward sense of justice and kindliness, and of service to the common good, and by strengthening basic convictions as to the true nature of the political community and the aim, right exercise, and sphere of action of public authority.” The mission of priests involved in various ways with political figures fits into this desire of Vatican II. This mission is not only one of defending particular positions, even if it is sometimes necessary to do so. Above all, it is imperative to assist those in public life to give their political engagement proper foundations and direction in an interiorized manner, through reflection and prayer, rather than leaving it merely to formal conventions. Read more

Liberation theology finds new welcome in Pope Francis’ Vatican

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A progressive theological current that emphasizes the Catholic Church’s closeness to the poor and the marginalized but was subject to decades of hostility and censure is now finding increasing favor in the Vatican under Pope Francis.

Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is pictured in a Jan. 11 photo in Rome. Photo by Paul Haring/courtesy Catholic News Service

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is pictured in a Jan. 11 photo in Rome. Photo by Paul Haring/courtesy Catholic News Service

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Francis, who has called for “a poor church for the poor,” will meet in the next few days with the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian theologian and scholar who is considered the founder of liberation theology.

The meeting was announced on Sunday (Sept. 8) by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, during the launch of a book he co-authored with Gutierrez. Read more

John XXIII – ‘Mater et Magistra’ to ‘Pacem in Terris’

Vatican Radio

John XXIII – ‘Mater et Magistra’ to ‘Pacem in Terris’




(Vatican Radio) Thursday 11th of April 2013 marked half a century since Blessed John XXIII published his encyclical ‘Pacem in Terris’.

This encyclical, which as the Latin title indicates focuses on peace on earth, called for social and international peace. With this document which can be perceived as John XXIII’s last testament, published as it was only a couple of months before his death, he broke new ground. Read more

Father Tony Doesn’t Forget He Is Son of Union Members

Father Tony Doesn’t Forget He Is Son of Union Members

04/10/2011 Berry Craig

Father Tony Shonis includes the  the local central labor council on his pastoral rounds wherever the church sends him. Says Shonis:

“I come from a union family. Both of my parents retired with a pension from the union. My father was in the Bakery and Confectionery [Tobacco] Workers [and Grain Millers] union and my mother was in the old ILGWU [International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, now UNITEHERE!]. From them, I learned what the union means to a working family and how civic minded union members are.”

A Pennsylvania native, Shonis is associate pastor at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson, Ky., an old Ohio River town in the western end of the Bluegrass State. The Tri-County Labor Council meets in Henderson. Read more

A Catholic Framework for Economic Life


A Catholic Framework for Economic Life

“A Catholic Framework for Economic Life” offers ten key principles to help Catholics reflect on the values that should shape our participation in economic life. It was written by the bishops of the United States based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, the pastoral letter Economic Justice for All, and other statements of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

PDF Version

As followers of Jesus Christ and participants in a powerful economy, Catholics in the United States are called to work for greater economic justice in the face of persistent poverty, growing income-gaps, and increasing discussion of economic issues in the United States and around the world.  We urge Catholics to use the following ethical framework for economic life as principles for reflection, criteria for judgment and directions for action.  These principles are drawn directly from Catholic teaching on economic life. Read more

Pope says everyone can do good, regardless of belief

Pope says everyone can do good, regardless of belief

Vatican City, May 22, 2013 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Every human person despite his or her beliefs can do good, and a sharing in good works is the prime place for encounter among those who disagree, Pope Francis said at his Mass today.

“The Lord created us in his image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and he does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil. All of us,” the Pope taught in his homily May 22 at St. Martha’s residence in the Vatican.

“We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” Read more

The ‘Catholic labor priest’?

Tom Gallagher  |  Aug. 22, 2012 NCR Today

A relic of a bygone era, the Catholic labor priest, appears to be making something of a comeback.

According to the Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco:

“We’re not coming at this out of thin air,” said Father Richard Vega, the outgoing president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils in Chicago, helping to form a group of priests advocating for workers. “We are talking about what our principles have always been. From Leo XIII to Benedict XVI there is a consistency. There is no break.” Read more