14 Notes & Comments

posted Jul 11, 2018, 10:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 11, 2018, 10:44 AM ]

Cardinal Jean- Louis Tauran, RIP


We are shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. In him, the world has lost a great leader who could build bridges, and a diplomat of rare quality who could speak the truth with charity, grace and compassion. He was much appreciated by State and Government officials around the world

Cardinal Tauran was appointed as President of the Pontifical Council for lnter-religious Dialogue on June 25, 2007. In addition to his duties as President of the Pontifical Council for lnter-religious Dialogue, he was a member of the Secretariat of State (Second Section), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and many other Congregations in Rome. Earlier, he held very responsible duties in the Secretariat of State for many years.

To me, he was a brother Cardinal, but even more, a personal friend with whom I could share many of my concerns about the Church, and about peace and harmony in the world. He was a special friend of India, and came to Mumbai several times. In my various meetings with him, he manifested his deep love for our country. He visited India several times, and most memorably, led the Vatican delegation for inter-religious dialogue with very senior representatives of Hinduism at a two-day Colloquium in Mumbai, a Colloquium that was a major step forward in fostering inter-religious dialogue in India. He knew how to respect every religion, and understood the dignity and values that different expressions of faith contribute to wellbeing in the world.


Ecumenical prayer in Bari


Pope Francis hosted an ecumenical reflection and prayer meeting on July 7, in the southern Italian city of Bari for peace in the Middle East. Nineteen heads and representatives of Christian Churches prayed with the Holy Father and held a closed-door dialogue with him in the Pontifical Basilica of St Nicholas.

The Pope also took time to venerate the relics of St Nicholas, a saint who recalls a time before the Great Schism of 1054 that split the Eastern and Western Churches.

At the prayer meeting, Pope Francis denounced the “murderous indifference” and “complicit silence” of the world regarding the tragedy taking place in the Middle East.

He later addressed the faithful gathered in the square outside the Basilica of St Nicholas, after meeting with Catholic and Orthodox leaders. He reflected on the Middle Eastern origins of the Christian tradition, and of the commitment undertaken by the religious leaders to walk, pray and work together “in the hope that the art of encounter will prevail over strategies of conflict.”

A renewed conversion to the Gospel is the only means by which to confront the agony that the Middle East lives daily. In imitation of Jesus, our response cannot be “flight or the sword that will lead to the radiant dawn of Easter.” Like Jesus, our response must be the gift of self, the Pope said.


More women keen to become 'consecrated virgins'


An increasing number of Catholic women are taking life-long chastity vows in order to “dedicate themselves” to God, according to the Vatican.

The Holy See has issued new guidance on consecrated virginity in response to growing interest across the world in the little-known spiritual “vocation”.

Consecrated virgins are unmarried women who pledge to remain celibate for their entire lives, eschewing romantic or sexual relationships to devote themselves exclusively to being mystical “brides of Christ”. Unlike nuns, they take on no role within the Church. Instead of joining a religious order, they continue to live in their own homes and work in conventional jobs. There are thought to be up to 5,000 consecrated virgins across the world, including an estimated 200 in the UK.

Their lifestyle is considered to be Christianity’s oldest form of total devotion to God, with roots in ancient Rome. During the Middle Ages, the practice all but disappeared, following the emergence of communal forms of consecration, such as convents.

But in the 1960s, the Vatican revived the ancient Order of Virgins, which reintroduced the concept of women being betrothed to God, while living alone or with families, rather than in religious communities.


Pope Francis sets two teenagers on path to canonisation


Pope Francis has issued decrees advancing the Causes of four candidates, including two teenagers who heroically lived the Christian virtues.

González was born in Madrid in 1971. Her parents were members of Opus Dei, and passed on their faith to their five children. She made her first Communion in Rome, and the following day, attended the weekly general audience on May 9, 1979. She ran up to St John Paul II, as he greeted pilgrims and received a blessing and a kiss from the Pope.

Several years later, her life dramatically changed, when doctors discovered a tumour that gradually paralysed her. Throughout her illness, she offered her sufferings for the Church and the Pope, and would often pray, “Jesus, I want to feel better; I want to be healed; but if you do not want that, I want what you want.” She died on December 5, 1985, aged 14.

Pope Francis also recognised the heroic virtues of Carlo Acutis, a teenager who used his computer skills to catalogue Eucharistic miracles around the world before his death at the age of 15, due to leukaemia.