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Pope Francis meets Order of Malta as it turns ‘a very important page of history’

2023-02-01T12:01:08+08:00

Pope Francis meets with the Order of Malta on Jan. 30, 2023, as the sovereign state and religious order turned a new page in its history. / Vatican Media Rome Newsroom, Jan 31, 2023 / 09:15 am (CNA). Pope Francis met with the Order of Malta on Monday as the sovereign state and religious order turned a new page in its history.On Jan. 25-29, 111 members of the Order of Malta assembled to elect new leadership in an extraordinary chapter general convened by Pope Francis last year.“You have written a very important page of history for the Order of Malta; thank you, you can be proud of it,” the pope told the capitulars in a Jan. 30 audience at the Vatican.The Order of Malta held elections to choose nine councilors of the Sovereign Council as well as the four High Offices: grand commander, grand chancellor, grand hospitaller, and receiver of the common treasure.The leader of the Order of Malta remains Lt. Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap, who was appointed by Pope Francis after the sudden death of his predecessor, Fra’ Marco Luzzago.This month’s chapter general was overseen by Fra’ Dunlap, the pope’s special delegate Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, and the interim Sovereign Council appointed by Pope Francis last year.Francis had also approved the order’s new constitutional charter and regulations last year.With the Sovereign Council elections completed, the Order of Malta can now hold The Council Complete of State to elect the 81st grand master.The position of grand master of the Order of Malta has been vacant since the death in 2020 of Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto.The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is both a lay religious order of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state subject to international law. In 2017, Pope Francis ordered reforms of both the order’s religious life and its constitution.Concerns have been raised throughout the reform process that some of Pope Francis’ actions threaten the Order of Malta’s sovereignty.Pope Francis addressed the topic of the order’s sovereignty in the Jan. 30 meeting, noting that it “is an entirely singular sovereignty, assumed over the centuries and confirmed by the will of the popes.”“It enables you to make generous and demanding gestures of solidarity, putting yourselves close to those most in need, under international diplomatic legal protection,” he added.Francis also commented on the forthcoming election of the grand master, in whom, he said, “you will find a sure guide, a guarantor of the unity of the whole order in fidelity to the successor of Peter and the Church.”Pope Francis also sent a written message to the Order of Malta on Jan. 25 at the opening of the extraordinary chapter general in which he referred to the group’s challenges during the last few years’ reform process.The reform was a necessary, if at times “arduous,” journey, the pope said.“Forgive the offenses!” he urged. “I heartily ask you to come to sincere mutual forgiveness, reconciliation, after the moments of tension and difficulties you have experienced in the recent

Pope Francis meets Order of Malta as it turns ‘a very important page of history’2023-02-01T12:01:08+08:00

Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before flight to Africa

2023-02-01T00:01:22+08:00

Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before his flight to Africa on Jan. 31, 2023. / Centro Astalli Vatican City, Jan 31, 2023 / 06:15 am (CNA). Before departing on his flight to Africa on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis met with a group of refugees and migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan at the Vatican.Among the refugees who met with the pope was Bidong, who spent much of his childhood from the age of 9 onwards in a refugee camp in Ethiopia after fleeing the war in his home of South Sudan. Bidong is currently studying International Developmental Cooperation at Rome’s Sapienza University and receives support from Centro Astalli, the Italian branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service. He is one of 2.3 million displaced refugees from South Sudan, over half of whom are children, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.In an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, a spokesperson for the Centro Astalli shared that nine of the refugees that the center works with in Rome were able to meet the pope at his residence at the Casa Santa Marta in Vatican City on Jan. 31.Cedric, a Congolese refugee, lives in Rome with his wife and three young children. He was an actor and human rights activist who was jailed for his civil activism in Kinshasa before seeking asylum in Italy, according to the Centro Astalli.Two of the young migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo have albinism, a condition that affects the pigmentation of the skin and has been a cause of violent discrimination in the Congo.Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before his flight to Africa on Jan. 31, 2023. Centro Astalli“It was a significant moment before a trip in which, once again, Pope Francis focused on the existential and geographical peripheries of the world, crisis areas from which thousands of people flee every day in search of salvation,” the Centro Astalli representative said.The suffering of migrants and refugees was still on the mind of the pope as he traveled to the first leg of his journey to Africa, the Congolese capital of Kinshasa.While on board the papal flight to Kinshasa, which departed Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport at 8:29 a.m. with more than 70 journalists, Pope Francis asked everyone on the plane to spend a moment in silent prayer thinking of those who cross the Sahara Desert seeking a better life.Pope Francis speaks to journalists on the flight to Kinshasa on Jan. 31, 2023. Elias Turk/EWTN“Right now we are crossing the Sahara. Let’s spend a short moment in silence, a prayer for all the people who, looking for a little bit of comfort, a little bit of freedom, have crossed and did not make it,” Pope Francis said.“So many suffering people who arrive at the Mediterranean and after having crossed the desert are caught in the camps and suffer there. We pray for all those people.”Pope Francis also expressed disappointment that he was unable

Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before flight to Africa2023-02-01T00:01:22+08:00

Pope Francis entrusts trip to Congo and South Sudan to Blessed Virgin Mary

2023-01-31T12:02:34+08:00

Pope Francis visits the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, to entrust his upcoming trip to Africa to the Blessed Virgin Mary. / Vatican Media Rome Newsroom, Jan 30, 2023 / 12:00 pm (CNA). Pope Francis visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Monday to entrust his upcoming trip to Africa to the Blessed Virgin Mary.The pope will depart Rome on Tuesday morning for the capital city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country home to more than 52 million Catholics.It will be the first papal trip to Congo in 37 years, since John Paul II visited Kinshasa in 1985 when it was the capital of Zaire.Pope Francis will visit Kinshasa Jan. 31-Feb. 3 before traveling to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Feb. 3-5.Francis has called his visit to South Sudan “an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace.” The pope will travel together with the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit South Sudan, the world’s newest country, which declared independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011.The pope’s trip to Congo and South Sudan was scheduled to take place last year but was postponed for six months for health reasons.A stop in the eastern Congolese city of Goma was cut from the pope’s updated schedule amid a resurgence of fighting between the army and rebel groups. Earlier this month, Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing of a church service in the eastern Congolese town of Kasindi that killed at least 14 people. Another armed rebel group, the M23, executed 131 people “as part of a campaign of murders, rapes, kidnappings, and looting against two villages,” the U.N. reported in December.The pope is scheduled to meet with victims of violence from eastern Congo on Feb. 1 in Kinshasa following a Mass that is expected to draw 2 million people.South Sudan’s security situation also poses significant challenges to the papal trip. The U.N. reported last month that an escalation in violent crashes in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state had killed 166 people and displaced more than 20,000 since August.Pope Francis has been personally involved with South Sudan’s peace process, inviting formerly warring leaders for a spiritual retreat at the Vatican in 2019. Tens of thousands of people were killed in South Sudan’s civil war, which ended with a peace agreement in 2018.The pope asked people to pray for his trip to Congo and South Sudan, his first apostolic journey of 2023, in his Sunday Angelus address ahead of the trip.Pope Francis greets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir at the Vatican on March 16, 2019. Vatican Media.“These lands, situated in the center of the great African continent, have suffered greatly from lengthy conflicts. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in the east of the country, suffers from armed clashes and exploitation. South Sudan, wracked by years of war, longs for an end to the constant violence

Pope Francis entrusts trip to Congo and South Sudan to Blessed Virgin Mary2023-01-31T12:02:34+08:00

Synod organizers tell Continental Assemblies not to ‘impose an agenda’ on discussions

2023-01-31T12:02:32+08:00

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg, (left) and Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA Rome Newsroom, Jan 30, 2023 / 09:18 am (CNA). Cardinals organizing the Synod on Synodality have written a letter to all of the world’s bishops sharing urgent considerations for the Continental Assemblies, seven of which are set to take place by the end of March.In the letter published by the Vatican on Jan. 30, Cardinal Mario Grech and Cardinal Jean Claude Hollerich stressed that the Synod of Bishops is not meant “to address all the issues being debated in the Church.”“There are in fact some who presume to already know what the conclusions of the synodal assembly will be. Others would like to impose an agenda on the synod, with the intention of steering the discussion and determining its outcome,” the cardinals wrote.“However, the theme that the pope has assigned to the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is clear: ‘For a Synodal Church: communion, participation, mission.’ This is therefore the sole theme that we are called to explore in each of the stages within the process.”The cardinals added that “those who claim to impose any one theme on the synod forget the logic that governs the synod process: we are called to chart a ‘common course’ beginning with the contribution of all.”While the North American Continental Assembly has already begun to meet virtually, other continents are hosting in-person meetings in February and March:Europe and Oceania will both begin their Continental Assemblies on Feb. 5.Two hundred delegates will meet in Prague, Czech Republic, for the first part of the European Continental Assembly Feb. 5-9 followed by a meeting of the 39 European bishops, who each serve as the president of his country’s bishops’ conference, from Feb. 9-12 with an additional 390 delegates participating online (10 for each bishops’ conference.)Bishops from Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea will join together with delegates from other parts of Oceania for a five-day meeting in Suva, Fiji, for the Oceania Continental Assembly Feb. 5-9.The Middle East Continental Assembly will take place in Beirut, Lebanon, Feb. 12-18, with the participation of clergy from at least seven Eastern Catholic Churches.Bishops and delegates from across Asia will meet in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 24-26 for the Asian Continental Assembly with 100 expected participants.The African Continental Assembly will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the participation of 95 laypeople, 12 religious sisters, 18 priests, 15 bishops, and seven cardinals, a total of 155 delegates, March 1-6.The Latin American and Caribbean Continental Assembly will be held as four separate meetings across the region. The first will be in El Salvador Feb. 13-17 with participants from Mexico and Central America. The second for the Caribbean is in the Dominican Republic Feb. 20-24. The third is in Quito, Ecuador, Feb. 27-March 3, and the fourth is in Brasilia, Brazil, March 6-10.The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops describes these Continental Assemblies as a meeting to

Synod organizers tell Continental Assemblies not to ‘impose an agenda’ on discussions2023-01-31T12:02:32+08:00

Pope Francis accepts Ouellet’s resignation, appoints American to lead Dicastery for Bishops

2023-01-31T00:01:08+08:00

Bishop Robert Francis Prevost was named prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Bishops on Jan. 30, 2023. / Credit: Frayjhonattan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Rome Newsroom, Jan 30, 2023 / 07:27 am (CNA). Pope Francis on Monday named an American as the next prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Bishops to succeed Cardinal Marc Ouellet.Bishop Robert Francis Prevost will lead the Vatican office responsible for evaluating new members of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy, the Vatican announced Jan. 30.Prevost, 67, has served as a bishop of the Diocese of Chiclayo in Peru since 2015. He is a member of the Order of St. Augustine and led the Augustinian order as prior general from Rome for more than a decade after serving as a missionary priest for the order in Peru in the 1990s.Born in Chicago in 1955, Prevost entered the Augustinian order as a novice at the age of 21. He studied philosophy at Villanova University and theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago before being ordained to the priesthood in Rome in 1982.Prevost earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome in 1985.He helped to establish in 1988 the order’s formation house in Trujillo, Peru, where he went on to serve as prior, formation director, judicial vicar, and a director of seminary studies. He returned to the U.S. in 1999 after being elected prior of the order’s Chicago province.After becoming a bishop in Peru, Prevost was appointed by the pope as a member of the Dicastery for Bishops and the Dicastery for Clergy.As the prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, Prevost will play a key role in the selection process for diocesan bishops and in the investigation of allegations against bishops.The ultimate decision in appointing bishops rests with the pope, and he is free to select anyone he chooses. Usually, the pope’s representative in a country, the apostolic nuncio, passes on recommendations and documentation to the Vatican. The Dicastery of Bishops then discusses the appointment in a further process and takes a vote. On being presented with the recommendations, the pope makes the final decision.Prevost will begin his new post on April 12 and will receive the title of archbishop. He will succeed Ouellet in both the position of prefect and as the next president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Francis had accepted Cardinal Ouellet’s resignation at the age of 78, more than three years past the usual retirement age for bishops.Pope Benedict XVI appointed Ouellet as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in 2010. A member of the Society of the Priests of St. Sulpice (Sulpicians), he was a theology professor, a missionary in Colombia, and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity before being appointed archbishop of Quebec — and thus primate of Canada — by Pope John Paul II in 2002.After the cardinal was accused of sexual assault in a civil suit in August

Pope Francis accepts Ouellet’s resignation, appoints American to lead Dicastery for Bishops2023-01-31T00:01:08+08:00

Pope Francis expresses sorrow over ‘spiral of death’ in the Holy Land

2023-01-30T00:01:45+08:00

Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Holy Land at the end of his Angelus address on Jan. 29, 2023. / Vatican Media Vatican City, Jan 29, 2023 / 08:10 am (CNA). Pope Francis appealed for peace in the Holy Land on Sunday, calling the recent spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence a “spiral of death” that accomplishes nothing.In his Sunday Angelus address on Jan. 29, the pope expressed “great sorrow” for the death of Palestinians killed in an Israeli military raid, as well as seven Israelis killed in a shooting outside of a synagogue in east Jerusalem. “The spiral of death that increases day after day does nothing other than close the few glimpses of trust that exist between the two peoples,” Pope Francis said.“From the beginning of the year, dozens of Palestinians have been killed during firefights with the Israeli army. I appeal to the two governments and to the international community so that, immediately and with delay, other paths might be found that include dialogue and a sincere search for peace. Brothers and sisters, let us pray for this.”The pope spoke following a wave of violence in Israel and Palestine this week. On Friday night, seven Israelis were killed and three wounded in a shooting outside of a synagogue in east Jerusalem on the Jewish Sabbath, the deadliest attack on Israelis in 15 years, according to the Associated Press.The synagogue shooting occurred the day after an Israeli military raid in the West Bank killed nine Palestinians and another Palestinian man was shot by Israeli forces in al-Ram, north of Jerusalem.The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem joined other Christian leaders in Jerusalem on Sunday in warning that the current “state of affairs will almost certainly bring further atrocities and anguish, driving us away from the much sought-after peace and stability that we all seek.”In a joint statement issued by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem on Jan. 29, the Christian leaders called upon all parties “to practice restraint and self-control.”“In closely monitoring this regrettable situation, we have concluded that this proliferation of violence that has led to the unwarranted deaths of 32 Palestinians and 7 Israelis since the start of the New Year seems to be self-perpetuating. It will surely continue and even escalate unless a robust intervention is resolutely undertaken by community and political leaders on all sides,” it said.“Everyone must work together to defuse the current tensions and to launch a political process based upon well-established principles of justice that will bring about a lasting peace and prosperity for all. Consonant with this, in these most difficult of times we call upon all parties to reverence each other’s religious faith and to show respect to all holy sites and places of worship.”The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem asked God to grant wisdom and prudence to political leaders seeking to find ways to overcome the violence and to bring about “a just and peaceful solution for our beloved Holy Land.”

Pope Francis expresses sorrow over ‘spiral of death’ in the Holy Land2023-01-30T00:01:45+08:00

Letter from Benedict XVI reveals the ‘central motive’ for his resignation, biographer says

2023-01-30T00:01:44+08:00

Pope Benedict XVI revealed in a letter to his biographer that insomnia was the "central reason" why resigned in 2013. / Paul Badde/CNA CNA Newsroom, Jan 29, 2023 / 07:15 am (CNA). According to papal biographer Peter Seewald, chronic insomnia ultimately led to Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign in 2013. In his last letter to the biographer — dated Oct. 28, 2022 — Benedict wrote the “central motive” for his resignation from office was “insomnia,” Seewald said according to a Jan. 27 report by CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. The pontiff, who died Dec. 31, 2022, also wrote that insomnia had accompanied him “continuously since World Youth Day in Cologne.”The 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne took place a few months after Benedict’s election and was his first papal journey. The Bavarian-born pontiff served for nearly eight more years before announcing he was stepping down — citing waning strength — on Feb. 11, 2013.Confirming a German media report, Seewald told agency KNA that Benedict XVI had not wanted to “make a fuss about the closer circumstances of his resignation, which was justified by his exhaustion,” while still alive.Since the rumors and speculations about Benedict's resignation have not died down, Seewald said he was obliged “to publish the decisive detail entrusted to me about the medical history of the German Pope.”The biographer said that Benedict XVI had used strong sleeping pills.On his trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, Benedict told Seewald, he realized he must have “bumped into something in the bathroom and fallen” after waking up only to discover his handkerchief was “blood-soaked.”After seeking medical attention, Benedict was able to continue his program. However, following the incident, the pope’s personal physician ordered Benedict to reduce his intake of sleeping pills and stressed that he should only attend public appointments in the morning when traveling abroad.On this account, Benedict reasoned he should make way for a new pope who would be able to attend World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. 

Letter from Benedict XVI reveals the ‘central motive’ for his resignation, biographer says2023-01-30T00:01:44+08:00

Pope Francis decries culture that ‘throws away’ unborn children, elderly, poor

2023-01-30T00:01:40+08:00

Pope Francis greets the crowd at his Sunday Angelus address on Jan. 29, 2023. / Vatican Media Vatican City, Jan 29, 2023 / 05:55 am (CNA). In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis decried a culture that “throws away” unborn children, the elderly, and the poor if they are not useful.“The throw-away culture says, ‘I use you as much as I need you. When I am not interested in you anymore, or you are in my way, I throw you out.’ It is especially the weakest who are treated this way – unborn children, the elderly, the needy, and the disadvantaged,” Pope Francis said on Jan. 29.“But people are never to be thrown out. The disadvantaged cannot be thrown away. Every person is a sacred and unique gift, no matter what their age or condition is. Let us always respect and promote life! Let us not throw life away.”Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace, the pope noted that the "throw-away culture" is predominant in more affluent societies.“It is a fact that about one-third of total food production goes to waste in the world each year, while so many die of hunger,” he said.“Nature’s resources cannot be used like this. Goods should be taken care of and shared in such a way that no one lacks what is necessary. Rather than waste what we have, let us disseminate an ecology of justice and charity, of sharing.”Pope Francis underlined that Jesus’ call in the beatitudes to be “poor in spirit” includes the “desire that no gift should go to waste.” He said that this includes not wasting “the gift that we are.”“Each one of us is a good, independent of the gifts we have. Every woman, every man, is rich not only in talents but in dignity. He or she is loved by God, is valuable, is precious,” he said.“Jesus reminds us that we are blessed not for what we have, but for who we are.”A small stage was set up in St. Peter’s Square ahead of the pope’s Angelus address where young people gathered with balloons and banners singing hymns as part of Catholic Action’s “Caravan of Peace.”At the end of the Angelus, a young boy and girl in blue sweatshirts joined Pope Francis in the window of the Apostolic Palace and read aloud a letter sharing their commitment to peace.A young boy and girl in blue sweatshirts joined Pope Francis in the window of the Apostolic Palace and read aloud a letter sharing their efforts as part of Catholic Action’s “Caravan of Peace.”. Vatican MediaPope Francis thanked Catholic Action for the initiative, adding that it is especially important this year with the war in Ukraine.“Thinking of tormented Ukraine, our commitment and prayer for peace must be even stronger,” he said.The pope also appealed for peace in the Holy Land, expressing sorrow for the death of ten Palestinians killed in the West Bank in an Israeli military raid and a shooting outside of a synagogue in east Jerusalem in

Pope Francis decries culture that ‘throws away’ unborn children, elderly, poor2023-01-30T00:01:40+08:00

Pope Francis clarifies comments on sin and homosexuality

2023-01-29T00:01:20+08:00

Pope Francis speaks at his general audience in Paul VI Hall on Jan. 18, 2023. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA Rome Newsroom, Jan 28, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA). Pope Francis has written a letter to clarify his comments on sin and homosexuality from a recent interview with the Associated Press.“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin,” the pope wrote to Jesuit Father James Martin in response to a request for clarification.Francis said he was trying to say in the interview that criminalization of homosexuality “is neither good nor just.”“As you can see, I was repeating something in general,” he wrote. “I should have said ‘It is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of marriage.’ This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sin, but we know well that Catholic morality not only takes into consideration the matter but also evaluates freedom and intention; and this, for every kind of sin.”Martin published the pope’s Spanish-language letter and an English translation on the website of Outreach on Jan. 27. Martin is the editor of Outreach, which describes itself as “an LGBT Catholic resource” operating under the auspices of America Media.In an interview published Jan. 25 by AP, Pope Francis said: “Being homosexual is not a crime. It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”The Outreach article posited that the pope’s comment that “yes, but it’s a sin” was intended to be from a hypothetical interlocutor to whom Pope Francis was responding.In his Jan. 27 letter, Pope Francis ascribed the confusing statement to the conversational tone of the interview.“It is understandable that there would not be such precise definitions,” he said.The pope also noted that the AP interview was “not the first time that I speak of homosexuality and of homosexual persons.”When speaking about the sin of sexual activity outside of marriage, he added that “of course, one must also consider the circumstances, which may decrease or eliminate fault.”The Catholic Church does not teach that homosexuality, that is having same-sex attraction, is a sin. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, people with homosexual tendencies should be treated with respect, and unjust discrimination against them should be avoided, while “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”The Catechism also teaches that for a sin to be mortal, three conditions must be met: It must be grave matter, which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.

Pope Francis clarifies comments on sin and homosexuality2023-01-29T00:01:20+08:00

Pope Francis: Marriage is a lifelong union between a man and woman

2023-01-28T12:01:13+08:00

Pope Francis greets a married couple at a Wednesday General Audience. / Daniel Ibáñez Rome Newsroom, Jan 27, 2023 / 11:40 am (CNA). Pope Francis on Friday reiterated the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman.“Today I would like to share with you some reflections on marriage, because there is a strong need in the Church and in the world to rediscover the meaning and value of the conjugal union between a man and a woman on which the family is founded,” the pope said Jan. 27 in the Vatican’s apostolic palace.“Indeed,” he added, “a certainly not minor aspect of the crisis affecting so many families is the practical ignorance, personal and collective, about marriage.”Pope Francis spoke about marriage during a meeting with the lawyers, auditors, and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for the inauguration of the judicial year.Pope Francis spoke about marriage during a meeting with the lawyers, auditors, and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for the inauguration of the judicial year on Jan. 27, 2023. Vatican MediaThe Roman Rota is one of three courts within the Holy See and is akin to a court of appeals or court of “last instance.” It is also where marriage nullity cases are judged.Quoting from his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, Pope Francis underlined that marriage “is a reality with its own precise essence, not ‘a mere form of affective gratification that can be constituted in any way and modified according to each person's sensitivity.’”One may ask, he said, how it is possible for men and women, with all the limitations and fragility of human beings, to commit to “a union that is faithful and forever and from which a new family is born?”Confronted with this question, and with the crises facing many families today, the Church needs to renew awareness in the gift of grace received through a sacramental marriage, he said.The gift received in the sacrament of matrimony, he said, is “an irrevocable gift, a source of grace which we can always count on.”Pope Francis also emphasized, quoting the constitution Gaudium et spes, that “God himself is the author of marriage.”“And this can be understood to refer to every single conjugal union,” he added.The pope told the tribunal that the Church needs “to rediscover the permanent reality of marriage as a bond.”Pope Francis spoke about marriage during a meeting with the lawyers, auditors, and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for the inauguration of the judicial year on Jan. 27, 2023. Vatican MediaThe Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a lifelong partnership. When a Church tribunal issues a declaration of nullity of a marriage, it means that the marriage never existed.The word “bond,” Francis noted, “is sometimes looked upon with suspicion, as if it were an external imposition, a burden, a ‘tether’ in opposition to the authenticity and freedom of love.”“If, on the other hand, the bond is understood precisely as a bond of

Pope Francis: Marriage is a lifelong union between a man and woman2023-01-28T12:01:13+08:00