Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pope Francis : Church must help poor, not ‘speak of theology’



 VOL. 149 (CXLIX) NO. 21 Kolkata MAY 24 - 30, 2013

Pope Francis insists Church must help poor,
not ‘speak of theology’

 By Philip Pullella

 Vatican City: Pope Francis shared personal moments with 200,000 people on Saturday, telling them he sometimes nods off while praying at the end of a long day and that it “breaks my heart” that the death of a homeless person is not news

Francis, who has made straight talk and simplicity a hallmark of his papacy, made his unscripted comments in answers to questions by four people at a huge international gathering of Catholic associations in St Peter’s Square.

But he outdid himself in passionately discussing everything from the memory of his grandmother to his decision to become a priest, from political corruption to his worries about a Church that too often closes in on itself instead of looking outward.

“If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty,” he said, repeating his call for Catholics to do more to seek out those on the fringes of society who need help the most,” he said from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica

“Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don’t have food - that’s not news. This is grave. We can’t rest easy while things are this way.”

The crowd, most of whom are already involved in charity work, interrupted him often with applause.

“We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those (who need help most),” he said.

To laughter from the crowd, he described how he prays each day before an altar before going to bed.
“Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but he (God) understands,” he said.


Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, said the world was going through not just an economic crisis but a crisis of values.

“This is happening today. If investments in banks fall, it is a tragedy and people say ‘what are we going to do?’ but if people die of hunger, have nothing to eat or suffer from poor health, that’s nothing. This is our crisis today. A Church that is poor and for the poor has to fight this mentality,” he said.

Many in the crowd planned to stay in the square overnight to pray and prepare for Francis’ Mass on Sunday, when the Catholic Church marks Pentecost, the day it teaches that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles.

On May 18, Saturday morning, Francis met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed Europe’s economic crisis.

Apparently responding to his criticism of a heartless “dictatorship of the economy” earlier in the week, Merkel, who is up for re-election in September, later called for stronger regulation of financial markets.
On May 16, Thursday, Francis appealed in a speech for world financial reform, saying the global economic crisis had made life worse for millions in rich and poor countries. 

Very exiting and encouraging  news from the Holy Father who speaks up against preaching theology but not helping the poor.A very good advice for all of us especially ultra-traditional Catholics and clergy.What Pope Francis says should have been the standard teaching of the Church over the years.It is a pity the Church has deviated so drastically from the real path of Jesus - caring for the poor instead of being preoccupied with theology.

Let us in our own small ways follow the Holy Father in helping the marginalized in our society and not be preoccupied with theology as to the poor and destitute theology has no meaning but charity is all they need.

Pope Francis on Prayer & Miracle

Prayer and Miracles 
Pope Francis in his latest homily spoke of miracle and prayer. He said miracles do happen if our prayers are courageous,  struggling and perverting with great trust in God.

He then went on to relate the story of a Argentinian girl who fell ill and was expected to live but a few hours was miraculously healed after her father prayed intensely for her. Her father, an electrician, a man of faith … took a bus to the Marian shrine of Lujan, 70 kilometers away. He finally arrived after 9:00 p.m., when everything was closed. He began to pray, with his hands gripping the iron fence and he prayed, and prayed, and wept, and prayed … and that’s the way he remained all night long.

The man returned to the hospital the following morning and found his wife weeping. She told him that the doctors came and said the fever was gone and that she would live.

“This still happens,” the Pope reminded his listeners. “Miracles do happen.”
According to the Pope miracles happen but prayer is needed, prayer that is courageous, struggling and persevering, not prayer that is a mere formality.

I too agree with the Holy Father, that miracle may occur but we don’t just pray for them to happen but do everything within our means to make it happen. God doesn’t come in person to do some magic to answer our prayers but he will come in disguise to grant us what we need to get us out of our difficulties as long as we do the right thing to Him present in our midst. God sends us to be His miracle worker among men. 

Prayer is a very powerful weapon to give us the strength and courage in our struggles to stand up for right. I don’t know whether it will works miracles on the person for whom we pray but definitely works wonders in us to bring about those miracles. 

To me there are two types of prayers, prayer of sincerity that comes from the depth of our hearts and prayer of formality that comes just from our lips. The former is bold, courageous, persevering and often accompanied by tears of anguish as we reach out to God in faith when all others means have failed. It is often offered for the well-being and needs of others. The latter is just superficial and does not have any real meaning and is often a recitation of formal prayers memorized from young.

With this homily of Pope Francis let us reflect on our own attitude to prayer and miracle.