16 Notes & Comments

posted Mar 6, 2019, 8:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 8:53 AM ]

Give up gossiping for Lent, suggests Pope Francis

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Lent is a good time to concentrate on fighting the urge to gossip about others, and instead trying to correct one's own faults and defects, Pope Francis said. Reciting the Angelus prayer at noon, March 3, with pilgrims in St Peter's Square and visiting the parish of St Crispin in Labaro, a suburb on the northern edge of Rome, later that afternoon, Francis focused on the line from the day's Gospel: "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?"

"We all know it is usually easier or more comfortable to notice and condemn the defects and sins of others, rather than seeing our own with that kind of clarity," the Pope said at the Angelus. The Pope returned to the passage during his parish visit, telling parishioners that Jesus "wants to teach us to not go around criticising others, not go looking for others' defects, but look first at your own. If someone were to say, "but, Father, I don't have any," the Pope said he would explain that "I assure you if you don't notice you have any here, you'll find them in Purgatory! It's better to notice them here."

Unfortunately, he said, people seldom stop at just noticing others' defects—something "we are experts at." What almost always happens next, he said, is that "we talk about them," not telling the person to his or her face in a way that could help the person improve, but indulging freely and happily in gossip. "It's something that, because of original sin, we all have, and it leads us to condemn others," the Pope said. "We are experts in finding the bad things in others, and not seeing our own."


World Day of Migrants and Refugees


"It is not just about migrants" is the theme for this year's World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be celebrated on Sunday, September 29, 2019. The theme was announced by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

As Fr Michael Czerny SJ, Under-Secretary of the Section, explained, with this theme, Pope Francis wants to highlight that his frequent appeals for migrants, refugees, displaced and trafficked people should be understood as integral to his deep concern for all the inhabitants of today's existential peripheries.

Fr Czerny explained that observing the Day and the Pope's message aim to help us realise how deeply we are all involved, "as Christian communities and societies, and that we are all called to respond and to reflect how our faith life and commitments are engaged in responding to vulnerable people on the move."

Fr Czerny said that when "the Pope reminds us, repeatedly, of what Jesus Himself was saying with the words 'When I was a stranger, you welcomed me', this is a very direct application of Our Lord's words", and that indeed, "when people are knocking at our door because they are seeking protection, shelter and a better future, we are welcoming Him; It's very simple and very radical."