Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 48

Have for your neighbor a heart of charity and a perennial fountain of affection and sweetness; with holy zeal, try to help him in everything, but do always so to please the Lord.  Examine the motive of your actions to discover the snares of vanity and self-love.  Refer to God alone all the good you do; if you keep a good deed hidden and secret, known only to God, it will reap a priceless profit.  If by your negligence men know it, it will lose almost all its value, as does a good fruit which the birds have started to eat.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 47

If you go to holy Communion with a heart burning with divine love, you must also bring a spirit penetrated with sentiments of true humility.  How could you not be astonished contemplating that God—infinitely pure and holy — supplies such a sign of love for such a miserable creature as you are; he gives himself to you as food.  Acknowledge the depth of your unworthiness; do approach that love-worthy sanctity with the greatest reverence; and when this amiable Lord — who is all charity — caresses you, sharing with you his indescribable sweetness, do not lessen the respect due to his infinite Majesty.  Always keep yourself in your place — in submission, in humility, in your nothingness.The realization of your poverty and misery must not close up your heart or remove from you that holy confidence you must have at this holy banquet; rather, it must make you grow in love for God, who humbles himself making himself the nour ishment of your soul.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Monday, 27 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 46

If, on the other hand, the tasks entrusted to you, do not go well, there is much to fear that the failure is due to your ineptitude and negligence. Your self-love and pride — hostile to any humiliation — would lay the blame upon others or, at least, would lessen your guilt. Do not follow these vicious inclinations; conscientiously examine your conduct; find your failure; acknowledge your guilt before God, and accept the humiliation as a deserved punishment. If, however, your conscience does not accuse you of any guilt, adore the divine disposition even in this case; reflect that perhaps your past sins and an excessive self-confidence have removed the heavenly blessing from your labors.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 45

Give all the glory to God for the good results of the task entrusted to you; attribute to yourself only the possible failures; these alone are exclusively yours.  Every good is from God; glory and gratitude must be given to him.  Impress this truth so deeply on your spirit as never to forget it. Anyone else, so much helped by the divine grace as you have been, would have performed much better and would not have had so many flaws.  Reject the praise given to you for success; this is not due to such a vile instrument as yourself, but to the mighty and eternal Maker.  He can, if he wants, strike a rock with a staff and make water spring from it, or use a bit of mud to give sight to the blind and perform endless miracles.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 44

Go to your prayer aware of your unworthiness and vileness, with holy awe for the presence of the supreme Majesty to whom you dare to speak to: “Shall I be so bold as to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes” (Gen 18:27). If you receive any extraordinary favor, consider yourself unworthy of it; do not be vain, attributing it to your merits; God granted it to you out of generosity and compassion. If you do not receive any singular gift, do not feel at all disgruntled; rather, reflect on how much you still have to do to deserve it; consider how good and patient is God only to bear you at his feet, like a beggar crouching for hours at the door of the rich man to obtain a little alms, the relief of his misery.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Friday, 24 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 43

Without God, you are unable to do anything good; you would stumble at any step; the least temptation would overcome you.  Thus, acknowledge your weakness and impotence to do good; remember that you need God’s help for every little action you perform. With these thoughts, keep yourself inseparably united to God, as a child who, not knowing any other refuge, clings to his mother’s bosom.  Repeat with the royal prophet: “Were not the Lord my help, I would soon dwell in the silence of death” (Ps 94:17); “Look toward me, and have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted” (Ps 25:16); and, “Hasten, God, to rescue me; O Lord, come quickly to help me” (Ps 70:1).  Finally, thank God always with all your heart; thank him above all for the protection he gives you; and ask him that you may never lack the help which he alone can give.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Christian pop music - Belle and Sebastian, The Power of Three, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, 2015

I'm always looking for a trio, them and me
Then I saw the fourth dimension, another line
We move in space, and we can move in time
Everything existed right from the start
It's the blink of an eye
It's the beat of a heart
There's a world of possibility
In everything You leave a clue
A little trace, a sign of You

The practice of Humility - 42

Abandon yourself completely in the hands of God; follow the disposition of his loving providence, as a tender child abandons himself into the arms of his beloved father. Let God do whatever he wishes, without being troubled and disturbed for whatever may happen to you. Accept with joy, trust, and respect, everything that comes from him.  Acting otherwise would be to distrust him, an ingratitude toward the goodness of his Heart. Humility shelters us far beneath the infinite being of God and shows us that God is our strength and consolation.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Hans Urs von Balthasar - saquear as músicas dos Egípcios (Belle and Sebastian) (9)




And when things get tough for you
As they did when you came up through the ranks
You can borrow from my faith
From my faith

From my faith...

Li agora uma entrevista do Stuart Murdoch (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/belle--sebastian-interview-stuart-murdoch-reveals-how-the-band-is-taking-a-new-direction-9997035.html). Isto devia sair da categoria "saquear as músicas dos Egípcios" para a categoria "Christian pop music"... Mas, pronto, o titulo do post já está feito, está feito.

The practice of Humility - 41

Nothing better helps one to grow spiritually than being warned about his own defects; thus, it is most convenient and necessary to encourage those who sometimes have given you this charitable service to continue doing so on any occasion.  Receive their advice with joy and gratitude, and make it a duty to put this advice into practice, not only for the sake of correcting yourself, but also to show these friends that their concern has not been useless and that you appreciate their thoughtfulness. Even when he rectifies, the proud person does not want to show that he followed the advice received; rather, he displays an attitude of contempt towards all.  The truly humble, on the contrary, is content submitting himself to everyone for the love of God; he considers the wise advice received as coming from God himself, regardless of the instrument used.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom

Godly Quotes Encourage Inspiration Motivation Jesus Christ Bible religious Christian

The practice of Humility - 40

When you hear calumnies against your neighbor, you must feel very sorry, but try to excuse the weakness of the slanderer; on the other hand, you ought to defend the person, target of gossiping, with cleverness, so that your defense does not become a second accusation.  Thus, you may recall his good qualities, or highlight the esteem that he deserves from all, or shrewdly change the conversation, or show your displeasure for the tone of the conversation. Acting in this way, you will render the greatest service to yourself, to the slanderer, to the listeners, and to the person in question. On the contrary, if, without shaking off your inertia, you feel satisfaction when your neighbor is humiliated and annoyance when he is extolled, recognize that you are very far from possessing the incomparable treasure of humility.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Monday, 20 July 2015

The practice of Humility - 39

Feel aversion for personal praise given to you; in the same proportion, be joyful for the praise and honor given to the others. And on your part, honor your neighbor to the extent allowed by truth and veracity. Envious people cannot stand the glory given to others; they think it lessens their own, and they resent this.  Thus, during conversation, they cleverly throw out certain ambiguous words or expressions with double meaning to lessen or render suspicious the merits of the others. You must not act this way; in praising your neighbor, you praise the Lord, thank God for the gifts he has given him, and appreciate the talents one may use for God’s service.

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace!

st francis words | The Prayer of St. Francis

The practice of Humility - 38

When you are praised, instead of falling into vainglory, fear that praise as if it were the sole reward of the little good you have done.  Recognize inwardly your misery, deserving the contempt of the others, and cut off the discourse tactfully and discreetly; thus, no further thought will be given to your affairs.  Do not act as the proud, who pretend to be humble in order to gain more praises. If your efforts do not succeed, direct all the honor and glory to God, saying with Baruch and Daniel: “All honor and glory belongs to the Lord, our God; to us, the look of shame we wear today” (Bar 1:15).

J. Pecci (later Pope Leo XIII)

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Grace

The Best Indian Catholic Posts - giving is more beneficial than receiving

The readings of today and especially the attitude of Jesus is a call and challenge to anyone who is willing to listen and learn what it means to live a selfless life. It is a call to place the needs of others above my own. It is a call to realize that giving is more beneficial than receiving, that giving others their rightful due is the only way to live and that a life which places the concerns and needs of others above one’s own, is a life truly well lived. 

(http://errolsj.blogspot.in/

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Best Indian Catholic Posts - I thank God

The globalization of hope must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference!

We want change in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our everyday reality. We want a change which can affect the entire world, since global interdependence calls for global answers to local problems. The globalization of hope, a hope which springs up from peoples and takes root among the poor, must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference!

Pope Francis
Thursday, 9 July 2015

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Misericordiae Vultus en - GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE (25 - the end)

The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy. She knows that her primary task, especially at a moment full of great hopes and signs of contradiction, is to introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s mercy by contemplating the face of Christ. The Church is called above all to be a credible witness to mercy, professing it and living it as the core of the revelation of Jesus Christ. From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people draw from it. Every time someone is in need, he or she can approach it, because the mercy of God never ends. The profundity of the mystery surrounding it is as inexhaustible as the richness which springs up from it. In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort.

Pope Francis

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu


Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, F.C.C., was a Syro-Malabar Catholic Franciscan Religious Sister who is now honored as a saint. She is the first person of India to be canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church and the first canonized saint of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Claims of her miraculous intervention began almost immediately upon her death, many involving children of the convent school where she taught, of the straightening of clubbed feet; she too lived with deformed feet.Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, F.C.C., was a Syro-Malabar Catholic Franciscan Religious Sister who is now honored as a saint. She is the first person of India to be canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church and the first canonized saint of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Claims of her miraculous intervention began almost immediately upon her death, many involving children of the convent school where she taught, of the straightening of clubbed feet; she too lived with deformed feet.



Good morning

Good Morning Quotes

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A globalização da indiferença - um ciclo vicioso de sofrimento e infelicidade

O sistema capitalista mundial tirou da fome e da pobreza absoluta centenas de milhões de pessoas.

Ao mesmo tempo aumentou as desigualdades.

Mas, o que há de mais errado neste sistema é o sistema de valores de pobreza espiritual ao qual se encontra ligado: o individualismo, o edonismo, o materialismo, o consumismo, a cobiça, a inveja, a falta de escrúpulos.

O pior de tudo é a capacidade que o sistema tem para divulgar e massificar esses valores através de uma poderosíssima cadeia de meios de comunicação social de massas (internet e televisões). Os mais pobres e desfavorecidos são muitas vezes também os mais vulneráveis. Um pequeno exemplo desta realidade é o facto de, nos EUA, os mais pobres serem também os mais obesos.

Trata-se um poderosíssimo ciclo vicioso em que os valores destrutivos referidos atingem muitas vezes os espiritualmente e materialmente mais vulneráveis criando famílias desestruturadas cujos membros se tornam espiritualmente, económica e socialmente ainda mais vulneráveis em virtude da fuga que efectuam para os sites da internet e para os canais das televisões onde  o individualismo, o edonismo, o materialismo, o consumismo, a cobiça, a inveja e a falta de escrúpulos são subliminarmente valorizados. Um ciclo vicioso de sofrimento e infelicidade que, se não for contrariado, aumenta tendencialmente geração após geração.

Mas todos são atingidos: o miúdo rico que, por ter umas calças de marca, julga que é mais do que os outros, vivendo num universo em que só existem coisas e não pessoas, como o miúdo pobre que por não ter umas calças de marca tem inveja do primeiro, também ele num universo em que só existem coisas e não pessoas.

O sistema capitalista em si não é errado. O eventual erro está no facto de se deixar que um tal sistema exista sem regulação económica e ambiental. O eventual erro está no facto de se deixar que um tal sistema exista sem um sistema de acentuada redistribuição dos mais ricos para os mais pobres. O eventual erro está no facto de se deixar que um tal sistema exista deixando-o difundir em total liberdade e impunidade, de forma maciça, sistemática e dolosa, nos meios de comunicação de massas, o seu nefasto sistema de valores.  

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Something is wrong

Do we truly realize that something is wrong in a world where there are so many farmworkers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights, so many persons whose dignity is not respected?

Pope Francis
Thursday, 9 July 2015

Friday, 10 July 2015

Keep up your struggle

PARTICIPATION AT THE SECOND WORLD MEETING OF POPULAR MOVEMENTS
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Expo Feria Exhibition Centre, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia)
Thursday, 9 July 2015



Dear brothers and sisters, good afternoon!
Several months ago, we met in Rome, and I remember that first meeting. In the meantime I have kept you in my thoughts and prayers. I am happy to see you again, here, as you discuss the best ways to overcome the grave situations of injustice experienced by the excluded throughout our world. Thank you, President Evo Morales, for your efforts to make this meeting possible.
During our first meeting in Rome, I sensed something very beautiful: fraternity, determination, commitment, a thirst for justice. Today, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, I sense it once again. I thank you for that. I also know, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace headed by Cardinal Turkson, that many people in the Church feel very close to the popular movements. That makes me very happy! I am pleased to see the Church opening her doors to all of you, embracing you, accompanying you and establishing in each diocese, in every justice and peace commission, a genuine, ongoing and serious cooperation with popular movements. I ask everyone, bishops, priests and laity, as well as the social organizations of the urban and rural peripheries, to deepen this encounter.
Today God has granted that we meet again. The Bible tells us that God hears the cry of his people, and I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for the three “L’s” for all our brothers and sisters: land, lodging and labor. I said it and I repeat it: these are sacred rights. It is important, it is well worth fighting for them. May the cry of the excluded be heard in Latin America and throughout the world.
1. Before all else, let us begin by acknowledging that change is needed. Here I would clarify, lest there be any misunderstanding, that I am speaking about problems common to all Latin Americans and, more generally, to humanity as a whole. They are global problems which today no one state can resolve on its own. With this clarification, I now propose that we ask the following questions:
Do we truly realize that something is wrong in a world where there are so many farmworkers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights, so many persons whose dignity is not respected?
Do we realize that something is wrong where so many senseless wars are being fought and acts of fratricidal violence are taking place on our very doorstep? Do we realize something is wrong when the soil, water, air and living creatures of our world are under constant threat?
So, if we do realize all this, let’s not be afraid to say it: we need change; we want change.
In your letters and in our meetings, you have mentioned the many forms of exclusion and injustice which you experience in the workplace, in neighborhoods and throughout the land. They are many and diverse, just as many and diverse are the ways in which you confront them. Yet there is an invisible thread joining every one of the forms of exclusion. These are not isolated issues. Can we recognize that invisible thread which links them? I wonder whether we can see that those destructive realities are part of a system which has become global. Do we realize that that system has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature?
If such is the case, I would insist, let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change. This system is by now intolerable: farmworkers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable … The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable.
We want change in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our everyday reality. We want a change which can affect the entire world, since global interdependence calls for global answers to local problems. The globalization of hope, a hope which springs up from peoples and takes root among the poor, must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference!
Today I wish to reflect with you on the change we want and need. You know that recently I wrote about the problems of climate change. But now I would like to speak of change in another sense. Positive change, a change which is good for us, a change – we can say – which is redemptive. Because we need it. I know that you are looking for change, and not just you alone: in my different meetings, in my different travels, I have sensed an expectation, a longing, a yearning for change, in people throughout the world. Even within that ever smaller minority which believes that the present system is beneficial, there is a widespread sense of dissatisfaction and even despondency. Many people are hoping for a change capable of releasing them from the bondage of individualism and the despondency it spawns.
Time, my brothers and sisters, seems to be running out; we are not yet tearing one another apart, but we are tearing apart our common home. Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished. And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea – one of the first theologians of the Church – called “the dung of the devil”. An unfettered pursuit of money rules. This is the “dung of the devil”. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home, sister and mother earth.
I do not need to go on describing the evil effects of this subtle dictatorship: you are well aware of them. Nor is it enough to point to the structural causes of today’s social and environmental crisis. We are suffering from an excess of diagnosis, which at times leads us to multiply words and to revel in pessimism and negativity. Looking at the daily news we think that there is nothing to be done, except to take care of ourselves and the little circle of our family and friends.
What can I do, as collector of paper, old clothes or used metal, a recycler, about all these problems if I barely make enough money to put food on the table? What can I do as a craftsman, a street vendor, a trucker, a downtrodden worker, if I don’t even enjoy workers’ rights? What can I do, a farmwife, a native woman, a fisher who can hardly fight the domination of the big corporations? What can I do from my little home, my shanty, my hamlet, my settlement, when I daily meet with discrimination and marginalization? What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to a neighborhood with their hearts full of hopes and dreams, but without any real solution for their problems? They can do a lot. They really can. You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands, through your ability to organize and carry out creative alternatives, through your daily efforts to ensure the three “L’s” – do you agree? – (labor, lodging, land) and through your proactive participation in the great processes of change on the national, regional and global levels. Don’t lose heart!
2. Secondly, you are sowers of change. Here in Bolivia I have heard a phrase which I like: “process of change”. Change seen not as something which will one day result from any one political decision or change in social structure. We know from painful experience that changes of structure which are not accompanied by a sincere conversion of mind and heart sooner or later end up in bureaucratization, corruption and failure. There must be a change of heart. That is why I like the image of a “process”, processes, where the drive to sow, to water seeds which others will see sprout, replaces the ambition to occupy every available position of power and to see immediate results. The option is to bring about processes and not to occupy positions. Each of us is just one part of a complex and differentiated whole, interacting in time: peoples who struggle to find meaning, a destiny, and to live with dignity, to “live well”, and in that sense, worthily.
As members of popular movements, you carry out your work inspired by fraternal love, which you show in opposing social injustice. When we look into the eyes of the suffering, when we see the faces of the endangered campesino, the poor laborer, the downtrodden native, the homeless family, the persecuted migrant, the unemployed young person, the exploited child, the mother who lost her child in a shootout because the barrio was occupied by drugdealers, the father who lost his daughter to enslavement…. when we think of all those names and faces, our hearts break because of so much sorrow and pain. And we are deeply moved, all of us…. We are moved because “we have seen and heard” not a cold statistic but the pain of a suffering humanity, our own pain, our own flesh. This is something quite different than abstract theorizing or eloquent indignation. It moves us; it makes us attentive to others in an effort to move forward together. That emotion which turns into community action is not something which can be understood by reason alone: it has a surplus of meaning which only peoples understand, and it gives a special feel to genuine popular movements.
Each day you are caught up in the storms of people’s lives. You have told me about their causes, you have shared your own struggles with me, ever since I was in Buenos Aires, and I thank you for that. You, dear brothers and sisters, often work on little things, in local situations, amid forms of injustice which you do not simply accept but actively resist, standing up to an idolatrous system which excludes, debases and kills. I have seen you work tirelessly for the soil and crops of campesinos, for their lands and communities, for a more dignified local economy, for the urbanization of their homes and settlements; you have helped them build their own homes and develop neighborhood infrastructures. You have also promoted any number of community activities aimed at reaffirming so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three “L’s”: land, lodging and labor.
This rootedness in the barrio, the land, the office, the labor union, this ability to see yourselves in the faces of others, this daily proximity to their share of troubles – because they exist and we all have them – and their little acts of heroism: this is what enables you to practice the commandment of love, not on the basis of ideas or concepts, but rather on the basis of genuine interpersonal encounter. We need to build up this culture of encounter. We do not love concepts or ideas; no one loves a concept or an idea. We love people... Commitment, true commitment, is born of the love of men and women, of children and the elderly, of peoples and communities… of names and faces which fill our hearts. From those seeds of hope patiently sown in the forgotten fringes of our planet, from those seedlings of a tenderness which struggles to grow amid the shadows of exclusion, great trees will spring up, great groves of hope to give oxygen to our world.
So I am pleased to see that you are working at close hand to care for those seedlings, but at the same time, with a broader perspective, to protect the entire forest. Your work is carried out against a horizon which, while concentrating on your own specific area, also aims to resolve at their root the more general problems of poverty, inequality and exclusion.
I congratulate you on this. It is essential that, along with the defense of their legitimate rights, peoples and their social organizations be able to construct a humane alternative to a globalization which excludes. You are sowers of change. May God grant you the courage, joy, perseverance and passion to continue sowing. Be assured that sooner or later we will see its fruits. Of the leadership I ask this: be creative and never stop being rooted in local realities, since the father of lies is able to usurp noble words, to promote intellectual fads and to adopt ideological stances. But if you build on solid foundations, on real needs and on the lived experience of your brothers and sisters, of campesinos and natives, of excluded workers and marginalized families, you will surely be on the right path.
The Church cannot and must not remain aloof from this process in her proclamation of the Gospel. Many priests and pastoral workers carry out an enormous work of accompanying and promoting the excluded throughout the world, alongside cooperatives, favouring businesses, providing housing, working generously in the fields of health, sports and education. I am convinced that respectful cooperation with the popular movements can revitalize these efforts and strengthen processes of change.
Let us always have at heart the Virgin Mary, a humble girl from small people lost on the fringes of a great empire, a homeless mother who could turn a stable for beasts into a home for Jesus with just a few swaddling clothes and much tenderness. Mary is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. I pray that Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of Bolivia, will allow this meeting of ours to be a leaven of change.
3. Third and lastly, I would like us all to consider some important tasks for the present historical moment, since we desire a positive change for the benefit of all our brothers and sisters. We know this. We desire change enriched by the collaboration of governments, popular movements and other social forces. This too we know. But it is not so easy to define the content of change – in other words, a social program which can embody this project of fraternity and justice which we are seeking. It is not easy to define it. So don’t expect a recipe from this Pope. Neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social reality or the proposal of solutions to contemporary issues. I dare say that no recipe exists. History is made by each generation as it follows in the footsteps of those preceding it, as it seeks its own path and respects the values which God has placed in the human heart.
I would like, all the same, to propose three great tasks which demand a decisive and shared contribution from popular movements:
3.1 The first task is to put the economy at the service of peoples. Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.
The economy should not be a mechanism for accumulating goods, but rather the proper administration of our common home. This entails a commitment to care for that home and to the fitting distribution of its goods among all. It is not only about ensuring a supply of food or “decent sustenance”. Nor, although this is already a great step forward, is it to guarantee the three “L’s” of land, lodging and labor for which you are working. A truly communitarian economy, one might say an economy of Christian inspiration, must ensure peoples’ dignity and their “general, temporal welfare and prosperity”.[1] (Pope John XXIII spoke this last phrase fifty years ago, and Jesus says in the Gospel that whoever freely offers a glass of water to one who is thirsty will be remembered in the Kingdom of Heaven.) All of this includes the three “L’s”, but also access to education, health care, new technologies, artistic and cultural manifestations, communications, sports and recreation. A just economy must create the conditions for everyone to be able to enjoy a childhood without want, to develop their talents when young, to work with full rights during their active years and to enjoy a dignified retirement as they grow older. It is an economy where human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life. You, and other peoples as well, sum up this desire in a simple and beautiful expression: “to live well”, which is not the same as “to have a good time”.
Such an economy is not only desirable and necessary, but also possible. It is no utopia or chimera. It is an extremely realistic prospect. We can achieve it. The available resources in our world, the fruit of the intergenerational labors of peoples and the gifts of creation, more than suffice for the integral development of “each man and the whole man”.[2] The problem is of another kind. There exists a system with different aims. A system which, in addition to irresponsibly accelerating the pace of production, and using industrial and agricultural methods which damage Mother Earth in the name of “productivity”, continues to deny many millions of our brothers and sisters their most elementary economic, social and cultural rights. This system runs counter to the plan of Jesus, against the Good News that Jesus brought.
Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment. It is about giving to the poor and to peoples what is theirs by right. The universal destination of goods is not a figure of speech found in the Church’s social teaching. It is a reality prior to private property. Property, especially when it affects natural resources, must always serve the needs of peoples. And those needs are not restricted to consumption. It is not enough to let a few drops fall whenever the poor shake a cup which never runs over by itself. Welfare programs geared to certain emergencies can only be considered temporary and incidental responses. They could never replace true inclusion, an inclusion which provides worthy, free, creative, participatory and solidary work.
Along this path, popular movements play an essential role, not only by making demands and lodging protests, but even more basically by being creative. You are social poets: creators of work, builders of housing, producers of food, above all for people left behind by the world market.
I have seen first hand a variety of experiences where workers united in cooperatives and other forms of community organization were able to create work where there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy. I have seen some of you here. Recuperated businesses, local fairs and cooperatives of paper collectors are examples of that popular economy which is born of exclusion and which, slowly, patiently and resolutely adopts solidary forms which dignify it. How different this is than the situation which results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!
Governments which make it their responsibility to put the economy at the service of peoples must promote the strengthening, improvement, coordination and expansion of these forms of popular economy and communitarian production. This entails bettering the processes of work, providing adequate infrastructures and guaranteeing workers their full rights in this alternative sector. When the state and social organizations join in working for the three “L’s”, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity come into play; and these allow the common good to be achieved in a full and participatory democracy.
3.2. The second task is to unite our peoples on the path of peace and justice.
The world’s peoples want to be artisans of their own destiny. They want to advance peacefully towards justice. They do not want forms of tutelage or interference by which those with greater power subordinate those with less. They want their culture, their language, their social processes and their religious traditions to be respected. No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice. For “peace is founded not only on respect for human rights but also on respect for the rights of peoples, in particular the right to independence”.[3]
The peoples of Latin America fought to gain their political independence and for almost two centuries their history has been dramatic and filled with contradictions, as they have striven to achieve full independence.
In recent years, after any number of misunderstandings, many Latin American countries have seen the growth of fraternity between their peoples. The governments of the region have pooled forces in order to ensure respect for the sovereignty of their own countries and the entire region, which our forebears so beautifully called the “greater country”. I ask you, my brothers and sisters of the popular movements, to foster and increase this unity. It is necessary to maintain unity in the face of every effort to divide, if the region is to grow in peace and justice.
Despite the progress made, there are factors which still threaten this equitable human development and restrict the sovereignty of the countries of the “greater country” and other areas of our planet. The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain “free trade” treaties, and the imposition of measures of “austerity” which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor. We, the bishops of Latin America, denounce this with utter clarity in the Aparecida Document, stating that “financial institutions and transnational companies are becoming stronger to the point that local economies are subordinated, especially weakening the local states, which seem ever more powerless to carry out development projects in the service of their populations”.[4] At other times, under the noble guise of battling corruption, the narcotics trade and terrorism – grave evils of our time which call for coordinated international action – we see states being saddled with measures which have little to do with the resolution of these problems and which not infrequently worsen matters.
Similarly, the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism. It is ideological colonialism. As the African bishops have observed, poor countries are often treated like “parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel”.[5]
It must be acknowledged that none of the grave problems of humanity can be resolved without interaction between states and peoples at the international level. Every significant action carried out in one part of the planet has universal, ecological, social and cultural repercussions. Even crime and violence have become globalized. Consequently, no government can act independently of a common responsibility. If we truly desire positive change, we have to humbly accept our interdependence, that is to say, our healthy interdependence. Interaction, however, is not the same as imposition; it is not the subordination of some to serve the interests of others. Colonialism, both old and new, which reduces poor countries to mere providers of raw material and cheap labor, engenders violence, poverty, forced migrations and all the evils which go hand in hand with these, precisely because, by placing the periphery at the service of the center, it denies those countries the right to an integral development. That is inequality, brothers and sisters, and inequality generates a violence which no police, military, or intelligence resources can control.
Let us say NO, then, to forms of colonialism old and new. Let us say YES to the encounter between peoples and cultures. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Here I wish to bring up an important issue. Some may rightly say, “When the Pope speaks of colonialism, he overlooks certain actions of the Church”. I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God. My predecessors acknowledged this, CELAM, the Council of Latin American Bishops, has said it, and I too wish to say it. Like Saint John Paul II, I ask that the Church – I repeat what he said – “kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters”.[6] I would also say, and here I wish to be quite clear, as was Saint John Paul II: I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America. Together with this request for forgiveness and in order to be just, I also would like us to remember the thousands of priests and bishops who strongly opposed the logic of the sword with the power of the Cross. There was sin, a great deal of it, for which we did not ask pardon. So for this, we ask forgiveness, I ask forgiveness. But here also, where there was sin, great sin, grace abounded through the men and women who defended the rights of indigenous peoples.
I also ask everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike, to think of those many bishops, priests and laity who preached and continue to preach the Good News of Jesus with courage and meekness, respectfully and pacifically – though I said bishops, priests and laity, I do not wish to forget the religious sisters who have been so present to our poor neighborhoods, bringing a message of peace and wellbeing – ; who left behind them impressive works of human promotion and of love, often standing alongside the native peoples or accompanying their popular movements even to the point of martyrdom. The Church, her sons and daughters, are part of the identity of the peoples of Latin America. An identity which here, as in other countries, some powers are committed to erasing, at times because our faith is revolutionary, because our faith challenges the tyranny of mammon. Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. This too needs to be denounced: in this third world war, waged peacemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide – I insist on the word – is taking place, and it must end.
To our brothers and sisters in the Latin American indigenous movement, allow me to express my deep affection and appreciation of their efforts to bring peoples and cultures together – a coming together of peoples and cultures - in a form of coexistence which I like to call polyhedric, where each group preserves its own identity by building together a plurality which does not threaten but rather reinforces unity. Your quest for an interculturalism, which combines the defense of the rights of the native peoples with respect for the territorial integrity of states, is for all of us a source of enrichment and encouragement.
3.3. The third task, perhaps the most important facing us today, is to defend Mother Earth.
Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin. We see with growing disappointment how one international summit after another takes place without any significant result. There exists a clear, definite and pressing ethical imperative to implement what has not yet been done. We cannot allow certain interests – interests which are global but not universal – to take over, to dominate states and international organizations, and to continue destroying creation. People and their movements are called to cry out, to mobilize and to demand – peacefully, but firmly – that appropriate and urgently-needed measures be taken. I ask you, in the name of God, to defend Mother Earth. I have duly addressed this issue in my Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, which I believe will be distributed at the end.
4. In conclusion, I would like to repeat: the future of humanity does not lie solely in the hands of great leaders, the great powers and the elites. It is fundamentally in the hands of peoples and in their ability to organize. It is in their hands, which can guide with humility and conviction this process of change. I am with you. Each of us, let repeat from the heart: no family without lodging, no rural worker without land, no laborer without rights, no people without sovereignty, no individual without dignity, no child without childhood, no young person without a future, no elderly person without a venerable old age. Keep up your struggle and, please, take great care of Mother Earth. Believe me; I am sincere when I say from the heart that I pray for you and with you, and I ask God our Father to accompany you and to bless you, to fill you with his love and defend you on your way by granting you in abundance that strength which keeps us on our feet: that strength is hope. It is something important: hope does not disappoint. I ask you, please, to pray for me. If some of you are unable to pray, with all respect, I ask you to send me your good thoughts and energy. Thank you.


[1] JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra (15 May 1961), 3: AAS 53 (1961), 402.
[2] PAUL VI, Encyclical Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 14: AAS 59 (1967), 264.
[3] PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 157.
[4] FIFTH GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN BISHOPS, Aparecida Document (29 June 2007), 66.
[5] JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa (14 September 1995), 52: AAS 88 (1996), 32-22; ID., Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 22: AAS 80 (1988), 539.
[6] Bull of Indiction of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 Incarnationis Mysterium (29 November 1998),11: AAS 91 (1999), 139-141.

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We often begin things with a bang and then end them with a whimper. This is because sometimes our enthusiasm runs away with us. What is required is perseverance and this is more likely if we start slowly and steadily (as Jesus himself did) and then let things build up gradually than if we start with much fanfare, which soon fizzles out.