Monday, February 08, 2010
by Joan Lewis
Monday, February 08, 2010
Pope Benedict’s weekend was fairly quiet. Saturday he welcomed Alfonso Roberto Matta Fahsen, Guatemala’s new ambassador to the Holy See who presented his Letters of Credence. He also received the president and staff of ACEA (Rome’s municipal energy and environment firm), which has just celebrated the centenary of its foundation.
Sunday the Pope recited the noon Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Before the Marian prayer he reflected on the theme of the “divine call” experienced by Isaiah, Peter and Paul who, feeling unworthy to serve the Lord and His Church, nonetheless recognize the grace He has given them to be” intrepid apostles and proclaimers of salvation.” He said, “the humility that Isaiah, Peter and Paul bear witness to, invites those who have received the gift of a divine calling not to focus on their own limits, but to keep their gaze fixed on the Lord and on his surprising mercy, to convert the heart and continue, with joy, to ‘leave everything’ for him.”
After the Angelus, Benedict XVI reflected on Italy’s celebration of the Day for Life, whose theme was “The Power of Life: A Challenge in Poverty.” “In the current economic difficulty,” he said, “those mechanisms that cause poverty and create major social inequality, wound and offend life, striking above all the weakest and most defenseless, become more harmful.” The Holy Father said, “such a situation calls for the promotion of an integral human development to overcome poverty and need, and above all reminds us that man’s destiny is not well-being but God himself, and that human existence must be defended and favored in all of its stages.”
Today the Pope gave a very important talk to the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family. However, before I bring you a summary of that talk prepared by VIS, I’d like to ask my readers who are involved in pro-life movements for some input.
I have been asked to address a gathering of U.S. collegiate pro-life movements who are having their annual meeting this year at the University of Notre Dame the weekend after Easter – significantly enough, Divine Mercy weekend. I would be interested to learn about your experiences: 1. Why did you become active in the pro-life movement instead of being a bystander? 2. What are your greatest challenges (family members not in agreement with you, etc)? 3. How have you been most successful in changing “pro-choicers” into “pro-lifers? Many thanks in advance!
THE FAMILY, A BENEFICIAL RESOURCE FOR THE COHESION, DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY
Monday morning, Pope Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, including council president Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. He began his remarks by recalling the late Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the council for eighteen years. He underscored how the council’s activities are taking place between the Sixth World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico in 2009, and the Seventh World Meeting of Families, to be held in Milan in 2012.
The Holy Father noted how the Pontifical Council undertakes various activities “to raise awareness of the fundamental importance of the family for the life of the Church and society.” Among these, he mentioned the project known as “The Family, Subject of Evangelization,” that aims “to organize a worldwide review of various experiences in the field of family pastoral care, to serve as inspiration and encouragement for new initiatives.”
He also referred to a project entitled “The Family, A Resource for Society” which, he said, “seeks to call public attention to the benefits the family brings to society, to its cohesion and its development. Another important commitment the dicastery has undertaken,” he went on, “is the compilation of a ‘vademecum’ of preparation for marriage” inspired by the ideas of John Paul II, who outlined how such preparation “includes three main stages: remote, proximate and immediate.”
Vademecum, from the Latin “go with me,” is an authoritative guidebook or handbook.