18 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 12, 2018, 9:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 9:46 AM ]

Pope condemns media that bears false witness


Christians are getting caught up in online "verbal violence" while defamation, slander and an abandonment of ethical standards are becoming commonplace in parts of the Catholic media, according to Pope Francis.

In his new document on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate, the Pope argues that people are looking to "compensate for their own discontent by lashing out at others" on social media, and in turn, are breaching one of the Ten Commandments - "not to bear false witness".

"Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forms of digital communication," Pope Francis writes in the apostolic exhortation, aimed at helping people achieve sanctity in daily life. "Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped; defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned."

The Pope continues: "Here we see how the unguarded tongue, set on fire by hell, sets all things ablaze."

Criticism of the Pope has been particularly fierce on Twitter and on some Catholic sites, and there has been impassioned online debate about Pope Francis' family document, Amoris Laetitia.

The document was presented to reporters at the Vatican on April 9, by Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Rome, Gianni Valente, a journalist for La Stampa and Paola Bignardi of Catholic Action. Archbishop De Donatis told the packed press hall that Pope Francis had written the document "to show where the Church is going, where we are going" and that beyond internal debates and discussions sets out "the goal of the Church" today.


Pope Francis: Experience Love by allowing forgiveness


"As today we enter, through Christ's wounds, into the mystery of God, we come to realise that mercy is not simply one of His qualities among others, but the very beating of His heart," said Pope Francis in his homily for Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated in St Peter's Square on April 8, 2018. "Then, like Thomas, we no longer live as disciples, uncertain, devout but wavering. We too fall in love with the Lord! We must not be afraid of these words: to fall in love with the Lord."

The Holy Father referred to the day's Gospel from John, in which the disciples see the risen Lord, but Thomas is not present and doubts their story. But when he later sees Jesus himself, Thomas believes. Despite his lack of faith, we should be grateful to Thomas, because he was not content to hear from others that Jesus was alive, or merely to see him in the flesh," explained the Pope. "He wanted to see inside, to touch with his hand the Lord's wounds, the signs of His love.

"The Gospel calls Thomas Didymus (v. 24), meaning the Twin, and in this, he is truly our twin brother. Because for us too, it isn't enough to know that God exists. A God who is risen but remains distant does not fill our lives; an aloof God does not attract us, however just and holy He may be. No, we too need to "see God", to touch Him with our hands and to know that He is risen, and risen for us."

Like Thomas, we see Jesus through His words, according to Pope Francis. And we need to seek His love and forgiveness.


Cardinal honours pioneer of Catholic education in India

Nirmala Carvalho, CRUX contributor

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, has instituted the 'Msgr Nereus Rodrigues Educator Award' to honour a longtime advocate for education in the archdiocese.

Cardinal Gracias made the announcement, after a meeting with the Board of Trustees of St Andrew's College, at Mount Mary's Basilica. "It is my joy to announce that we will be giving Msgr Nereus Rodrigues 'A Lifetime Achievement Award' to honour him for his pioneering service in the field of Education, to the Archdiocese of Bombay and the Church in India." The day also marked Msgr Nereus' 95th birthday.

Cardinal Gracias added, "We have decided to institute a new award named for Msgr Nereus Rodrigues, which will go to the "best educator" in the Archdiocese of Bombay. I 'learnt' education, under Msgr Nereus, when I was a headmaster of a middle school, and Msgr Nereus was Principal. That was my only experience in Education, and I learnt from the best."

"During his time in education ministry, Msgr Nereus served as the inspector of Catholic Schools. He also headed the Headmasters' Association, which represented all schools— religious and secular, and was once awarded the State's Best Teacher Award. Later, he was elected the President of the All-India National Association of Catholic Schools. This year, Msgr Nereus also celebrates 60 years in the archdiocese's education apostolate," said Cardinal Gracias.

Msgr Nereus Rodrigues still serves as a trustee to St Andrew's College in the archdiocese. Msgr Nereus was the college's founding trustee and first Principal, and continued as Rector until 2011. The honours have not stopped coming. In 2018, St Andrew's College received the Best College Award from the University of Mumbai.