16 Notes & Comments

posted Jan 9, 2019, 8:37 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 9, 2019, 8:37 AM ]

Pope Francis: Like the Magi, follow Christ's light


In a homily at Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Pope Francis reflected on the three Magi, or wise men, who, bearing gifts, came to see the Child Jesus in Bethlehem.

“We need to arise, to get up from our sedentary lives and prepare for a journey,” he said Jan. 6. “We also need to shine, to be clothed in God who is light, day by day, until we are fully clothed in Jesus.”

“Yet, to be clothed in God, who like the light is simple, we must first put aside our pretentious robes,” he continued. “Otherwise, we will be like Herod, who preferred the earthly lights of success and power to the divine light.”

“The Magi, instead, fulfil the prophecy. They arise and shine, and are clothed in light. They alone see the star in the heavens: not the scribes, nor Herod, nor any of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

This feast asks Catholics to imitate the Magi, the Pope said. “They do not debate; they set out. They do not stop to look, but enter the house of Jesus. They do not put themselves at the centre, but bow down before the One who is the centre. They do not remain glued to their plans, but are prepared to take other routes.”


Indian bishops begin plenary assembly in Chennai

Nirmala Carvalho , cruxnow

Bishops in India are holding their plenary assembly in Chennai Jan. 7-14, focusing on “the ministry of love and compassion” in the country of 1.3 billion people.

The theme of the meeting is ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ - based on Pope Francis’ 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium - and will look at developing action plans to revitalise the outreach of the Church in India at the diocesan and parish level.

Christians make up only 2.3 per cent of the population of the Hindu-majority country, and the majority of them belong to the Catholic Church. Catholics belong to three major liturgical rites in the country: The Latin rite and two eastern rites - the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) is canonically the National Episcopal Conference for the Latin-rite Catholics. It is the largest Bishops’ Conference in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. It consists of 132 dioceses with 189 bishops.

Much of the week-long meeting will deal with the bureaucratic work of the CCBI, and the bishops will hear presentations from the fourteen Commissions and the three departments of the CCBI. The bishops will also look at the state of the Church in the country.


Robots & AI: Papal Academy decodes newest Pro-life challenges

Carol Glatz, CNS

Even though today's modern tools and technologies are hardly human, the Pontifical Academy for Life is zeroing in on the world of robots and machines powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

While the Academy's focus is on the protection of human life and dignity, the rapidly shifting and radical capabilities of robotics are having an ever-increasing impact on human lives, people's relationships, communities and Creation, said Jesuit Fr Carlo Casalone, an Academy member and consultant.

The need to reflect on the effects, opportunities and risks posed by artificial intelligence and robotics has led the Pro-life Academy to launch a special look at this complex field, adding robotics to its list of specialised projects, which already include palliative care, neuroscience, bio-ethics and human genome editing.

A major workshop on ‘Robo-ethics: Humans, Machines and Health’ will be held at the Vatican Feb. 25-26 as part of this increased study; the workshop will focus on the use of robots and artificial intelligence, specifically in medicine and healthcare.