Pope Francis: Homily At Maquehue Airport Mass, Chile

Posted on Jan 17, 2018

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CHILE – Temuco – 17.01.2018 – 10.30
Airport Maquehue Holy Mass Homily of the Holy Father

Official Translation

“Mari, Mari” [Good morning!]
“Küme tünngün ta niemün” [“Peace be with you!” (Lk 24:36)]

I thank God for allowing me to visit this beautiful part of our continent, the Araucanía. It is a land blessed by the Creator with immense and fertile green fields, with forests full of impressive araucarias – the fifth “praise” offered by Gabriela Mistral to this Chilean land[1] – and with its majestic snow-capped volcanoes, its lakes and rivers full of life. This landscape lifts us up to God, and it is easy to see his hand in every creature. Many generations of men and women have loved this land with fervent gratitude. Here I would like to pause and greet in a special way the members of the Mapuche people, as well as the other indigenous peoples who dwell in these southern lands: the Rapanui (from Easter Island), the Aymara, the Quechua and the Atacameños, and many others.

Seen through the eyes of tourists, this land will thrill us as we pass through it, but if we put our ear to the ground, we will hear it sing: “Arauco has a sorrow that cannot be silenced, the injustices of centuries that everyone sees taking place”.[2]

In the context of thanksgiving for this land and its people, but also of sorrow and pain, we celebrate this Eucharist. We do so in this Maqueue aerodrome, which was the site of grave violations of human rights. We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross bears all the sin and pain of our peoples, in order to redeem it.

1. False synonyms

One of the main temptations we need to resist is that of confusing unity with uniformity. Jesus does not ask his Father that all may be equal, identical, for unity is not meant to neutralize or silence differences. Unity is not an idol or the result of forced integration; it is not a harmony bought at the price of leaving some people on the fringes. The richness of a land is born precisely from the desire of each of its parts to share its wisdom with others. Unity can never be a stifling uniformity imposed by the powerful, or a segregation that does not value the goodness of others. The unity sought and offered by Jesus acknowledges what each people and each culture are called to contribute to this land of blessings. Unity is a reconciled diversity, for it will not allow personal or community wrongs to be perpetrated in its name. We need the riches that each people has to offer, and we must abandon the notion that there are higher or lower cultures. A beautiful “chamal” requires weavers who know the art of blending the different materials and colours, who spend time with each element and each stage of the work. That process can be imitated industrially, but everyone will recognize a machine-made garment. The art of unity requires true artisans who know how to harmonize differences in the “design” of towns, roads, squares and landscapes. It is not “desk art”, or paperwork; it is a craft demanding attention and understanding. That is the source of its beauty, but also of its resistance to the passage of time and to whatever storms may come its way.

The unity that our people need requires that we listen to one another, but even more importantly, that we esteem one another. “This is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them”.[3] This sets us on the path of solidarity as a means of weaving unity, a means of building history. The solidarity that makes us say: We need one another, and our differences so that this land can remain beautiful! It is the only weapon we have against the “deforestation” of hope. That is why we pray: Lord, make us artisans of unity.

2. The weapons of unity.

If unity is to be built on esteem and solidarity, then we cannot accept any means of attaining it. There are two kinds of violence that, rather than encouraging the growth of unity and reconciliation, actually threaten them. First, we have to be on our guard against coming up with “elegant” agreements that will never be put into practice. Nice words, detailed plans – necessary as these are – but, when unimplemented, end up “erasing with the elbow, what was written by the hand”. This is one kind of violence, because it frustrates hope.

In the second place, we have to insist that a culture of mutual esteem may not be based on acts of violence and destruction that end up taking human lives. You cannot assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division. Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie. That is why we say “no to destructive violence” in either of its two forms.

Those two approaches are like the lava of a volcano that wipes out and burns everything in its path, leaving in its wake only barrenness and desolation. Let us instead seek the path of active non-violence, “as a style of politics for peace”.[4] Let us seek, and never tire of seeking, dialogue for the sake of unity. That is why we cry out: Lord, make us artisans of your unity.

All of us, to a certain extent, are people of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7). All of us are called to “the good life” (Küme Mongen), as the ancestral wisdom of the Mapuche people reminds us. How far we have to go, and how much we still have to learn! Küme Mongen, a deep yearning that not only rises up from our hearts, but resounds like a loud cry, like a song, in all creation. Therefore, brothers and sisters, for the children of this earth, for the children of their children, let us say with Jesus to the Father: may we too be one; make us artisans of unity.

[1] GABRIELA MISTRAL, Elogios de la tierra de Chile. [2] VIOLETA PARRA, Arauco tiena una pena. [3] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 246. [4] Message for the 2017 World Day of Peace.

Pope Francis: Meeting With Bishops, Santiago, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

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CHILE – Santiago – 16.01.2018 – 18.15 Cathedral of Santiago – Sacristy Meeting with the Bishops Greeting of the Holy Father

Official translation

Dear Brothers:

I thank you for the greeting that the President of the Conference has offered to me in the name of all present.

Before all else, I would like to greet Bishop Bernardino Piñero Carvallo, who this year celebrates his sixtieth anniversary of episcopal ordination – he is the oldest bishop in the world, not only in age but also in years of episcopate – who was present for four sessions of the Second Vatican Council. A marvellous living memory.

Soon a year will have passed since your ad limina visit. Now it is my turn to come and visit you. I am pleased that our meeting follows that with our consecrated men and women, for one of our principal tasks is precisely to be close to consecrated life and to our priests. If the shepherd wanders off, the sheep too will stray and fall prey to any wolf that comes along. The fatherhood of the bishop with his presbyterate! A fatherhood that neither paternalism nor authoritarianism, but a gift to be sought. Stay close to your priests, like Saint Joseph, with a fatherhood that helps them to grow and to develop the charisms that the Holy Spirit has wished to pour out upon your respective presbyterates.

I know that ours is a brief meeting, but I would like to reiterate some of the points I made during our meeting in Rome. I can sum them up in the following phrase: the consciousness of being a people.

One of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone. This “postmodern” feeling can seep into us and into our clergy. We begin to think that we belong to no one; we forget that we are part of God’s holy and faithful people and that the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an élite of consecrated men and women, priests and bishops. Without this consciousness of being a people, we will not be able to sustain our life, our vocation and our ministry. To forget this – as I said to the Commission for Latin America – “carries many risks and distortions in our own experience, as individuals and in community, of the ministry that the Church has entrusted to us”.[1] The lack of consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, and not masters, can lead us to one of the temptations that is most damaging to the missionary outreach that we are called to promote: clericalism, which ends up as a caricature of the vocation we have received.

A failure to realize that the mission belongs to the entire Church, and not to the individual priest or bishop, limits the horizon, and even worse, stifles all the initiatives that the Spirit may be awakening in our midst. Let us be clear about this. The laypersons are not our peons, or our employees. They don’t have to parrot back whatever we say. “Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness. Clericalism forgets that the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belong to all the people of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, 9-14), not only to the few chosen and enlightened”.[2]

Let us be on guard, please, against this temptation, especially in seminaries and throughout the process of formation. Seminaries must stress that future priests be capable of serving God’s holy and faithful people, acknowledging the diversity of cultures and renouncing the temptation to any form of clericalism. The priest is a minister of Jesus Christ: Jesus is the protagonist who makes himself present in the entire people of God. Tomorrow’s priests must be trained with a view to the future, since their ministry will be carried out in a secularized world. This in turn demands that we pastors discern how best to prepare them for carrying out their mission in these concrete circumstances and not in our “ideal worlds or situations”. Their mission is carried out in fraternal unity with the whole People of God. Side by side, supporting and encouraging the laity in a climate of discernment and synodality, two of the essential features of the priest of tomorrow. Let us say no to clericalism and to ideal worlds that are only part of our thinking, but touch the life of no one.

And in this regard, to beg, to implore from the Holy Spirit the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option capable of transforming everything, so that our customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and ecclesial structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of Chile rather than for ecclesiastical self-preservation. Let us not be afraid to strip ourselves of everything that separates us from the missionary mandate.[3] Dear brothers, let us commend ourselves to loving protection of Mary, Mother of Chile. Let us pray together for our presbyterates and for our consecrated men and women. Let us pray for God’s holy and faithful people.

[1] Letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (21 March 2016). [2] Ibid. [3] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 27.

Pope Francis Speech At Santiago Cathedral, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

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CHILE – Santiago – 16.01.2018 – 17.15
Cathedral of Santiago

Cathedral of Santiago Meeting with Priests, Religious Men and Women, Consecrated and Seminarians Speech of the Holy Father

Official Translation

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am happy to be meeting with you. I like the way that Cardinal Ezzati presented you: Here they are… consecrated women, consecrated men, priests, permanent deacons and seminarians. It made me think of the day of our ordination or consecration, when after being presented, each of us said: “Here I am, Lord, to do your will”. In this meeting, we want to tell the Lord: “Here we are”, and renew our “yes” to him. We want to renew together our response to the call that one day took our hearts by surprise.

I think that it can help us to start with the Gospel passage that we heard, and to share three moments experienced by Peter and the first community: Peter and the community disheartened, Peter and the community shown mercy, and Peter and the community transfigured. I play with this pairing of Peter and the community since the life of apostles always has this twofold dimension, the personal and the communitarian. They go hand-in-hand and we cannot separate them. We are called individually but always as part of a larger group. Where vocation is concerned, there is no such thing as a selfie! Vocation demands that somebody else take your picture, and that is what we are about to do!

1. Peter disheartened
I have always liked the way the Gospels do not adorn or soften things, or paint them in nice colours. They show us life as it is and not as it should be. The Gospel is not afraid to show us the difficult, and even tense, moments experienced by the disciples.

Let us reconstruct the scene. Jesus had been killed, but some women said he was alive (Lk 24:22-24). Even after the disciples had seen the risen Jesus, the event was so powerful that they needed time to be able to understand what had happened. That understanding would come to them at Pentecost with the sending of the Holy Spirit. The encounter with the Risen Lord would require time to find a place in the hearts of his disciples.

The disciples go home. They go back to do what they knew how to do: to fish. Not all of them, but only some of them. Were they divided? Fragmented? We don’t know. The Scriptures tell us that those who were there caught nothing. Their nets were empty.

Yet another kind of emptiness unconsciously weighed upon them: dismay and confusion at the death of their Master. He was no more; he had been crucified. But not only was he crucified, but so were they, since Jesus’s death raised a whirlwind of conflicts in the hearts of his friends. Peter had denied him; Judas had betrayed him; the others had fled and hid themselves. Only a handful of women and the beloved disciple remained. The rest took off. In a matter of days, everything had fallen apart. These are the hours of dismay and confusion in the life of the disciple. There are times “when the tempest of persecutions, tribulations, doubts, and so forth, is raised by cultural and historical events, it is not easy to find the path to follow. Those times have their own temptations: the temptation to debate ideas, to avoid the matter at hand, to be too concerned with our enemies… And I believe that the worst temptation of all is to keep dwelling on our own unhappiness”.[1] Yes, dwelling on our own unhappiness.

As Cardinal Ezzati told us, “the priesthood and consecrated life in Chile have endured and continue to endure difficult times of significant upheavals and challenges. Side by side with the fidelity of the immense majority, there have sprung up weeds of evil and their aftermath of scandal and desertion”.

Times of upheaval. I know the pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors and I am attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil. Painful because of the harm and sufferings of the victims and their families, who saw the trust they had placed in the Church’s ministers betrayed. Painful too for the suffering of ecclesial communities, but also painful for you, brothers and sisters, who, after working so hard, have seen the harm that has led to suspicion and questioning; in some or many of you this has been a source of doubt, fear or a lack of confidence. I know that at times you have been insulted in the metro or walking on the street, and that by going around in clerical attire in many places you pay a heavy price. For this reason, I suggest that we ask God to grant us the clear-sightedness to call reality by its name, the strength to seek forgiveness and the ability to listen to what he tells us.

There is something else I would like to mention. Our societies are changing. Chile today is quite different from what I knew in my youth, when I was at school. New and different cultural expressions are being born which do not fit into our familiar patterns. We have to realize that many times we do not know how to deal with these new situations. Sometimes we dream of the “fleshpots of Egypt” and we forget that the promised land lies ahead of us, that the promise is not about yesterday but about tomorrow. We can yield to the temptation of becoming closed, isolating ourselves and defending our ways of seeing things, which then turn out as nothing more than fine monologues. We can be tempted to think that everything is wrong, and in place of “good news”, the only thing we profess is apathy and disappointment. As a result, we shut our eyes to the pastoral challenges, thinking that the Spirit has nothing to say about them. In this way, we forget that the Gospel is a journey of conversion, not just for “others” but for ourselves as well.

Whether we like it or not, we are called to face reality as it is – our own personal reality and the reality of our communities and societies. The nets – the disciples say – are empty, and we can understand their feelings. They return home with no great tales to tell; they go back empty-handed; they return disheartened.

What became of those strong, enthusiastic and elegant disciples who felt themselves chosen and had left everything to us follow Jesus (cf. Mt 1:16-20)? What became of those disciples who were so sure of themselves that they would go to prison and even give their lives for the Master (cf. Lk 22:33), who to defend him would have liked to send fire upon the earth (cf. Lk 9:54). For whom they would unsheathe their swords and fight (cf. Lk 22:49-51)? What became of that Peter who reproached the Master about how he should live his life (cf. Mk 8:31-33)?

2. Peter shown mercy
It is the hour of truth in the life of the first community. It is time for Peter to have to confront a part of himself. The part of him that many times he didn’t want to see. He experienced his limitation, his frailty and his sinfulness. Peter, the temperamental, impulsive leader and saviour, self-sufficient and over-confident in himself and in his possibilities, had to acknowledge his weakness and sin. He was a sinner like everyone else, as needy as the others, as frail as anyone else. Peter had failed the one he had promised to protect. It is a crucial moment in Peter’s life.

As disciples, as Church, we can have the same experience: there are moments when we have to face not our success but our weakness. Crucial moments in the life of a disciple, but also the times when an apostle is born. Let us allow the text to guide us.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” (Jn 21:15).

After they ate, Jesus takes Peter aside and his only words are a question, a question about love: Do you love me? Jesus neither reproaches nor condemns. The only thing that he wants to do is to save Peter. He wants to save him from the danger of remaining closed in on his sin, constantly dwelling with remorse on his frailty, the danger of giving up, because of that frailty, on all the goodness he had known with Jesus. Jesus wants to save him from self-centredness and isolation. He wants to save him from the destructive attitude of becoming a victim or of thinking “what does it matter”, which waters down any commitment and ends up in the worst sort of relativism. Jesus wants to set him free from seeing his opponents as enemies and being upset by opposition and criticism. He wants to free him from being downcast and, above all, negative. By his question, Jesus asks Peter to listen to his heart and to learn how to discern. Since “it was not God’s way to defend the truth at the cost of charity, or charity at the cost of truth, or to smooth things away at the cost of both. Jesus wants to avoid turning Peter into someone who hurts others by telling the truth, or is kind to others by telling lies, or simply someone paralyzed by his own uncertainty”,[2] as can happen to us in these situations.

Jesus questioned Peter about love and kept asking until Peter could give him a realistic response: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). In this way, Jesus confirms him in his mission. In this way, he now makes him definitively his apostle.

What is it that confirms Peter as an apostle? What sustains us as apostles? One thing only: that we “received mercy” (1 Tim 1:12-16). “For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us. He has given us his hand and shown us mercy. All of us can think back and remember the many times the Lord looked upon us, drew near and showed us mercy”.[3] We are not here because we are better than others; we are not superheroes who stoop down from the heights to encounter mere mortals. Rather, we are sent as men and women conscious of having been forgiven. That is the source of our joy. We are consecrated, shepherds modelled on Jesus, who suffered died and rose. A consecrated man or woman sees his or her wounds as signs of the resurrection; who sees in the wounds of this world the power of the resurrection; who, like Jesus, does not meet his brothers and sisters with reproach and condemnation.

Jesus Christ does not appear to his disciples without his wounds; those very wounds enabled Thomas to profess his faith. We are not asked to ignore or hide our wounds. A Church with wounds can understand the wounds of today’s world and make them her own, suffering with them, accompanying them and seeking to heal them. A wounded Church does not make herself the centre of things, does not believe that she is perfect, but puts at the centre the one who can heal those wounds, whose name is Jesus Christ.

The knowledge that we are wounded sets us free. Yes, it sets us free from becoming self-referential and thinking ourselves superior. It sets us free from the promethean tendency of “those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style of the past”.[4]

In Jesus, our wounds are risen. They inspire solidarity; they help us to tear down the walls that enclose us in elitism and they impel us to build bridges and to encounter all those yearning for that merciful love which Christ alone can give. “How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is ‘the sweat of our brow’”.[5] I am concerned when I see communities more worried about their image, about occupying spaces, about appearances and publicity, than about going out to touch the suffering of our faithful people.

How searching and insightful were the words of warning issued by one Chilean saint: “All those methods will fail that are imposed by uniformity, that try to bring us to God by making us forget about our brothers and sisters, that make us close our eyes to the universe rather than teaching us to open them and raise all things to the Creator of all, that make us selfish and close us in on ourselves”.[6]

God’s people neither expect nor need us to be superheroes. They expect pastors, consecrated persons, who know what it is to be compassionate, who can give a helping hand, who can spend time with those who have fallen and, like Jesus, help them to break out of that endless remorse that poisons the soul.

3. Peter transfigured
Jesus asks Peter to discern, and events in Peter’s life then begin to come together, like the prophetic gesture of the washing of feet. Peter, who resisted having his feet washed, now begins to understand that true greatness comes from being lowly and a servant.[7] What a good teacher our Lord is! The prophetic gesture of Jesus points to the prophetic Church that, washed of her sin, is unafraid to go out to serve a wounded humanity.

Peter experienced in his flesh the wound of sin, but also of his own limitations and weaknesses. Yet he learned from Jesus that his wounds could be a path of resurrection. To know both Peter disheartened and Peter transfigured is an invitation to pass from being a Church of the unhappy and disheartened to a Church that serves all those people who are unhappy and disheartened in our midst. A Church capable of serving her Lord in those who are hungry, imprisoned, thirsting, homeless, naked and infirm… (Mt 25:35). A service that has nothing to do with a welfare mentality or an attitude of paternalism, but rather with the conversion of hearts. The problem is not feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the sick, but rather recognizing that the poor, the naked, the sick, prisoners and the homeless have the dignity to sit at our table, to feel “at home” among us, to feel part of a family. This is the sign that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst. This is the sign of a Church wounded by sin, shown mercy by the Lord, and made prophetic by his call.

To renew prophecy is to renew our commitment not to expect an ideal world, an ideal community, or an ideal disciple in order to be able to live and evangelize, but rather to make it possible for every disheartened person to encounter Jesus. One does not love ideal situations or ideal communities; one loves persons.

The frank, sorrowful and prayerful recognition of our limitations, far from distancing us from our Lord, enables us to return to Jesus in the knowledge that “with his newness, he is always able to renew our lives and our communities, and even if the Christian message has known periods of darkness and ecclesial weakness, it will never grow old… Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world”.[8] How good it is for all of us to let Jesus renew our hearts.

When this meeting began, I told you that we came to renew our “yes”, with enthusiasm, with passion. We want to renew our “yes”, but as a realistic “yes”, sustained by the gaze of Jesus. When you return to your homes, I ask you to draw up in your hearts a sort of spiritual testament, along the lines of Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez and his beautiful prayer that begins:

“The Church that I love is the holy Church of each day… Yours, mine, the holy Church of each  day…

“Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the bread, the Eucharist, the humble Body of Christ of each day. With the faces of the poor, the faces of men and women who sing, who struggle, who suffer. The holy Church of each day.”

What sort of Church is it that you love? Do you love this wounded Church that encounters life in the wounds of Jesus?

Thank you for this meeting. Thank you for the chance to say “yes” once more with you. May Our Lady of Mount Carmel cover you with her mantle.

Please, do not forget to pray for me.

[1] Jorge M. Bergoglio, Las Cartas de la tribulación, 9, ed. Diego de Torres, Buenos Aires, 1987. [2] Ibid. [3] Video Message to CELAM for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on the American Continent, 27 August 2016. [4] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 94. [5] Ibid., 96. [6] SAINT ALBERTO HURTADO, Address to the Young People of Catholic Action, 1943. [7] “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35). [8] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 11.

Pope Francis Speaks At The Female Central Penitentiary, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

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CHILE – Santiago – 16.01.2018 – Female Central Penitentiary

Official Translation

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to visit you. For me it is important to share this time with you and draw closer to our many brothers and sisters presently deprived of their freedom. Thank you, Sister Nelly, for your kind words and especially for testifying that life always triumphs over death. Thank you, Janeth, for coming forward and sharing your hurt with all of us, and for your courageous request for forgiveness. How much we all have to learn from your act of courage and humility! I quote your words: “We ask forgiveness from all those whom we have harmed by our misdeeds”. I thank you for reminding us that without this attitude we lose our humanity. We forget that we did wrong and that every day is an invitation to start over.

I also think of the words of Jesus: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone” (Jn 8:7). Jesus asks us to leave behind the simplistic way of thinking that divides reality into good and bad, and to enter into that other mindset that recognizes our weaknesses, limitations and even sins, and thus helps us to keep moving forward.

As I came in, two mothers met me with their children and some flowers. They were the ones who welcomed me, and their welcome can nicely be expressed in three words: mother, children and flowers.

Mother. Many of you are mothers and you know what it means to bring a new life into the world. You were able to “take upon yourself” a new life and bring it to birth. Motherhood is not, and never will be a problem. It is a gift, and one of the most wonderful gifts you can ever have. Today you face a very real challenge: you also have to care for that life. You are asked to care for the future. To make it grow and to help it to develop. Not just for yourselves, but for your children and for society as a whole. As women, you have an incredible ability to adapt to new circumstances and move forward. Today I appeal to that ability to bring forth the future that is alive in each one of you. That ability enables you to resist everything that might rob you of your identity and end up by killing your hope.

Janeth was right: losing our freedom does not mean losing our dreams and hopes. Losing our freedom is not the same thing as losing our dignity. That is why we need to reject all those petty clichés that tell us we can’t change, that it’s not worth trying, that nothing will make a difference. No, dear sisters! Some things do make a difference! All those efforts we make to build for a better future – even if often it seems they just go down the drain – all of them will surely bear fruit and be rewarded.

The second word is children. Children are our strength, our future, our incentive. They are a living reminder that life has to be lived for the future, not remain in the past. Today your freedom has been taken away, but that is not the last word. Not at all! Keep looking forward. Look ahead to the day when you will return to life in society. For this reason, I applaud and encourage every effort to spread and support projects like Espacio Mandela and the Fundación Mujer levántate.

The name of that Foundation makes me think of the Gospel passage where people laughed at Jesus because he said that the daughter of the synagogue leader wasn’t dead, but only asleep. Jesus showed us how to meet that kind of derision: he went straight to her room, took her by the hand and said: “Little girl, get up!” (Mk 5:41). Projects like those I mentioned are a living sign of Jesus, who enters into each of our homes, pays no attention to ridicule and never gives up. He takes us by the hand and tells us to “get up”. It is wonderful that so many Christians and people of good will follow in the footsteps of Jesus and decide to come here to be a sign of that outstretched hand us that lifts us up.

We all know that, sadly, a jail sentence is very often simply a punishment, offering no opportunities for personal growth. This is not good. On the contrary, those initiatives that offer job training and help to rebuild relationships are signs of hope for the future. Let us help them to grow. Public order must not be reduced to stronger security measures, but should be concerned primarily with preventive measures, such as work, education, and greater community involvement.

Lastly, flowers. I believe that life itself “flowers” and shows us all its beauty when we work together, hand in hand, to make things better, to open up new possibilities. With this in mind, I greet all the pastoral workers, volunteers and professional personnel, especially the police officers and their families. I pray for you. Your work is sensitive and complex, and so I ask the authorities to try to provide you too with the conditions needed to carry out your work with dignity. A dignity that engenders dignity.

Mary is our Mother and we are her children, you are her daughters. We ask her to intercede for you, for each of your children and your dear ones. May she cover you with her mantle. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.

The flowers you have given me, I will bring to the Blessed Virgin in the name of all of you. Once again, many thanks!

Pope Francis Homily: O’Higgins Park, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

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CHILE – Santiago – O’Higgins Park Holy Mass Homily of the Holy Father

Official Translation

“When Jesus saw the crowds…” (Mt 5:1). In these first words of today’s Gospel we discover how Jesus wants to encounter us, the way that God always surprises his people (cf. Ex 3:7). The first thing Jesus does is to look out and see the faces of his people. Those faces awaken God’s visceral love. Jesus’ heart was not moved by ideas or concepts, but by faces, persons. By life calling out for the Life that the Father wants to give us.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he saw the faces of his followers, and what is most remarkable is that they, for their part, encounter in the gaze of Jesus the echo of their longings and aspirations. This encounter gives rise to the catalogue of the Beatitudes, that horizon towards which we are called and challenged to set out. The Beatitudes are not the fruit of passivity in the face of reality, nor of a mere onlooker gathering grim statistics about current events. They are not the product of those prophets of doom who seek only to spread dismay. Nor are they born of those mirages that promise happiness with a single “click”, in the blink of an eye. Rather, the Beatitudes are born of the compassionate heart of Jesus, which encounters the hearts of men and women seeking and yearning for a life of happiness. Men women who know what it is to suffer, who appreciate the confusion and pain of having the earth shake beneath their feet or seeing dreams washed away when the work of a lifetime comes to nought. But men and women who also know what it is to persevere and struggle to keep going, what it is to rebuild their lives and to start again.

How much the heart of the Chilean people knows about rebuilding and starting anew! How much you know about getting up again after so many falls! That is the heart to which Jesus speaks; that is the heart for which the Beatitudes are meant!

The Beatitudes are not the fruit of a hypercritical attitude or the “cheap words” of those who think they know it all yet are unwilling to commit themselves to anything or anyone, and thus end up preventing any chance of generating processes of change and reconstruction in our communities and in our lives. The Beatitudes are born of a merciful heart that never loses hope. A heart that experiences hope as “a new day, a casting out of inertia, a shaking off of weariness and negativity” (Pablo Neruda, El habitante y su esperanza, 5).

Jesus, in proclaiming blessed the poor, the grieving, the afflicted, the patient, the merciful… comes to cast out the inertia which paralyzes those who no longer have faith in the transforming power of God our Father and in their brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable and outcast. Jesus, in proclaiming the Beatitudes, shakes us out of that negativity, that sense of resignation that makes us think we can have a better life if we escape from our problems, shun others, hide within our comfortable existence, dulling our senses with consumerism (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 2). The sense of resignation that tends to isolate us from others, to divide and separate us, to blind us to life around us and to the suffering of others.

The Beatitudes are that new day for all those who look to the future, who continue to dream, who allow themselves to be touched and sent forth by the Spirit of God.

How good it is for us to think that Jesus comes from the mountain of Cierro Renca or Puntilla to say to us: blessed, blessed indeed are you, and you, and you…. Blessed are you if, moved by the Spirit of God, you struggle and work for that new day, that new Chile, for yours will be the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9).

Against the resignation that like a negative undercurrent undermines our deepest relationships and divides us, Jesus tells us: Blessed are those who work for reconciliation. Blessed are those ready to dirty their hands so that others can live in peace. Blessed are those who try not to sow division. That is how the Beatitude teaches us to be peacemakers. It asks us to try to make ever greater room for the spirit of reconciliation in our midst. Do you want to be blessed? Do you want to be happy? Blessed are those who work so that others can be happy. Do you want peace? Then work for peace.

Here I cannot fail to mention Santiago’s great bishop, who in a Te Deum once said: “If you want peace, work for justice”… And if someone should ask us: “What is justice?” or whether justice is only a matter of “not stealing”, we will tell them that there is another kind of justice: the justice that demands that every man and woman be treated as such” (Cardinal RAÚL SILVA HENRÍQUEZ, Homily at the Ecumenical Te Deum, 18 September 1977).

To sow peace by nearness, closeness! By coming out of our homes and looking at peoples’ faces, by going out of our way to meet someone having a difficult time, someone who has not been treated as a person, as a worthy son or daughter of this land. This is the only way we must forge a future of peace, to weave a fabric that will not unravel. A peacemaker knows that it is often necessary to overcome great or subtle faults and ambitions born of the desire for power and to “gain a name for oneself”, the desire to be important at the cost of others. A peacemaker knows that it is not enough simply to say: “I am not hurting anybody”. As Saint Alberto Hurtado used to say: “It is very good not to do wrong, but very bad not to do good” (Meditación radial, April 1944).

Peacebuilding is a process that calls us together and stimulates our creativity in fostering relationships where we see our neighbour not as a stranger, unknown, but rather as a son and daughter of this land.

Let us commend ourselves to Mary Immaculate, who from Cerro San Cristóbal watches over and accompanies this city. May she help us to live and to desire the spirit of the Beatitudes, so that on every corner of this city we will hear, like a gentle whisper: ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9)

Pope Francis: Speech To President Michelle Bachelet, Chile

Posted on Jan 16, 2018

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE

CHILE – Santiago – 16.01.2018 – 08.20 La Moneda Palace

Meeting with Authorities, the Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps Speech of the Holy Father

Official Translation

Madam President,
Members of the Government of the Republic and of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives of Civil Society,
Distinguished Authorities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a joy for me to stand once again on Latin American soil and begin this visit to Chile, this land so close to my heart, which welcomed and schooled me in my younger years. I would like my time with you also to be a moment of gratitude for that welcome. I think of a stanza of your national anthem: “How pure, Chile, are your blue skies / How pure the breezes that sweep across you / And your countryside embroidered with flowers / Is the very image of Eden”. It is a true song of praise for this land, so full of promises and challenges, but especially of hope for the future.

Thank you, Madam President, for your words of welcome. Through you, I would like to greet and embrace all the Chilean people, from the extreme northern region of Arica and Parinacota to the southern archipelago with its “riot of peninsulas and canals”.[1] Their rich geographical diversity gives us a glimpse of the rich cultural polyphony that is also their characteristic feature.

I am grateful for the presence of the members of the Government, the Presidents of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and the Supreme Court, as well as the other state authorities and their officials. I greet the President-elect, Mr Sebastián Piñera Echenique, who recently received the mandate of the Chilean people to govern the country for the next four years.

Chile has distinguished itself in recent decades by the growth of a democracy that has enabled steady progress. The recent political elections were a demonstration of the solidity and civic maturity that you have achieved, which takes on particular significance in this year marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the declaration of independence. That was a particularly important moment, for it shaped your destiny as a people founded on freedom and law, one that has faced moments of turmoil, at times painful, yet succeeded in surmounting them. In this way, you have been able to consolidate and confirm the dream of your founding fathers.

In this regard, I remember the emblematic words of Cardinal Silva Henríquez’s in a Te Deum homily: “We – all of us – are builders of the most beautiful work: our homeland. The earthly homeland that prefigures and prepares the (heavenly) homeland that has no borders. That homeland does not begin today, with us; but it cannot grow and bear fruit without us. That is why we received it with respect, with gratitude, as a task begun many years ago, as a legacy that inspires in us both pride and commitment”.[2]

Each new generation must take up the struggles and attainments of past generations, while setting its own sights even higher. Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day. It is not possible to settle for what was achieved in the past and complacently enjoy it, as if we could somehow ignore the fact that many of our brothers and sisters still endure situations of injustice that none of us can ignore.

Yours is a great and exciting challenge: to continue working to make this democracy, as your forebears dreamed, beyond its formal aspects, a true place of encounter for all. To make it a place where everyone, without exception, feels called to join in building a house, a family and a nation. A place, a house and a family called Chile: generous and welcoming, enamoured of her history, committed to social harmony in the present, and looking forward with hope to the future. Here we do well to recall the words of Saint Alberto Hurtado: “A nation, more than its borders, more than its land, its mountain ranges, its seas, more than its language or its traditions, is a mission to be fulfilled”.[3] It is a future. And that future depends in large part on the ability of its people and leaders to listen.

The ability to listen proves most important in this nation, whose ethnic, cultural and historical diversity must be preserved from all partisan spirit or attempts at domination, and inspire instead our innate ability to replace narrow ideologies with a healthy concern for the common good (which without being communitarian will never be a good). It is necessary to listen: to listen to the unemployed, who cannot support the present, much less the future of their families. To listen to the native peoples, often forgotten, whose rights and culture need to be protected lest that part of this nation’s identity and richness be lost. To listen to the migrants who knock on the doors of this country in search of a better life, but also with the strength and the hope of helping to build a better future for all. To listen to young people and their desire for greater opportunities, especially in education, so that they can take active part in building the Chile they dream of, while at the same time shielding them from the scourge of drugs that rob the best part of their lives. To listen to the elderly with their much-needed wisdom and their particular needs. We cannot abandon them. To listen to children who look out on the world with eyes full of amazement and innocence, and expect from us concrete answers for a dignified future. Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church. I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.

With this ability to listen, we are invited – especially today – to give preferential attention to our common home: to foster a culture that can care for the earth, and thus is not content with merely responding to grave ecological and environmental problems as they arise. This calls for boldly adopting “a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm”[4] that allows powerful economic interests to prevail over natural ecosystems and, as a result, the common good of our peoples. The wisdom of the native peoples can contribute greatly to this. From them we can learn that a people that turns its back on the land, and everything and everyone on it, will never experience real development. Chile’s possesses a deep-rooted wisdom capable of helping to transcend a merely consumerist view of life and to adopt a sage attitude to the future.

The Chilean soul is a vocation to being, a stubborn will to exist.[5] It is a vocation to which all are summoned, and from which no one should feel excluded or unneeded. A vocation that demands a radical option for life, especially in all those forms in which it is threatened.

I thank you once more for the invitation to come among you and to encounter the soul of this people. I pray that Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mother and Queen of Chile, will continue to accompany and bring to birth the dreams of this blessed nation.

[1] GABRIELA MISTRAL, Elegios de la tierra de Chile. [2] Cf. Homily at an Ecumenical Te Deum (4 November 1970). [3] Cf. Te Deum (September 1948). [4] Cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 111. [5] Cf. GABRIELA MISTRAL, Breve descripción de Chile, Anales de la Universidad de Chile 14, 1934.

Monsignor’s Message – The Nativity

Posted on Dec 20, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

As we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, let us greet the Christ child not with Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh but with acts of Charity for the hungry, thirsty, naked, ill or those in prison. These are the gifts the Lord desires from us. This is the moment of our encounter with Christ! As we contemplate the profound redeeming love of the Almighty God, let us manifest His salvific will by our service to those most in need. Merry Christmas and God Bless!

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – The Journey

Posted on Dec 13, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Next week, with our Christmas edition, I will offer my last message in these pages for the coming months. On January 1, 2018, I will be leaving Brooklyn for a six-month sabbatical. During this time, I will embark on a 30-day silent retreat with the Jesuit fathers. Following the retreat will be a course of theological update for two months at the Pontifical North American College. Immediately after Easter, I will be heading off to the Middle East to work with agencies attending to the needs of displaced and persecuted Christians. If you remember, and have a spare moment, offer a short prayer for me. And permit me to assure all our readers and viewers of a very special place in my prayers. I look forward to being back with you all in July.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – The Love Of Christ

Posted on Dec 5, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat…” It is funny how the songs of our childhood remain with us. As we head into this sacred time, we reflect on the gift of the incarnation and the profound love that God has for us. As we reflect on His love for us, we also think about those in need around us. Poverty manifests itself in loneliness, poor health, emotional distress, failed relationships, addiction, war and so many other ways beyond simple material need. In the coming days, perhaps we will reflect on the Christ child’s birth into the poverty of our human situation and how it is transformed and given dignity. May we also seek to manifest the love of Christ to at least one person who finds her/himself somehow impoverished.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – A Great Moral Question

Posted on Nov 30, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Love and Peace! Just last week, the Holy Father traveled to Myanmar, the southeast Asian nation at the center of an international outcry for the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya-Bangladeshi Muslim minorities. The Pope reminded the people of Myanmar that “the arduous process of peace building and national reconciliation can only be advanced through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights.” Meanwhile, in the United States, we ourselves struggle with certain efforts to withdraw legal support for 60,000 Haitians and 200,000 El Salvadorans residing here legally as a result of a 1990 era law known as TPS (Temporary Protective Status). The movement of peoples is becoming one of the great moral questions of our age. Pope Pius XII wrote, “the Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future,” and Pope Francis reaffirms the obligation of every Christian “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate” the stranger who knocks at our door.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.