Do you know why the Church is Catholic, Apostolic and Roman? Pope Francis explains it to you – Part 1

 

Did you know that the Catholic Church is constituted by 24 different rites? The Roman Catholic Church is the best known, because it depends legally on the Pope and is distributed throughout the world. But there are 23 oriental rites , which depend on their patriarchs (or eparchs, or metropolitans, or archbishops) for their liturgical and territorial order, but who dogmatically obey Pope Francis, who guides them all in charity.

Do you find it confusing? I tell you how I found out: in Argentina there is a strong Syrian-Lebanese immigration. The Syrians and Lebanese joined our country and are currently as Argentine as mate and Pope Francisco. But when they first started arriving, at the beginning of the 20th century, that integration was not so fast. So much was the migration that the Maronite Church decided to found an eparchy (a territorial division similar to a diocese) for the Syrians and Lebanese living in Argentina. One day, going to mass in Mendoza, where a sister of mine lives, she took me to the parish of San Juan Marón, of the Maronita rite, I was fascinated with the liturgy!

And then the doubt arose, why Catholic and apostolic? What do you mean each of these notes? The video that Rome Reports brings us today helps us to refresh it in a simple way, from the mouth of the Pope himself, who explains it in a simple and concrete way. I would like to add some details to what Pope Francis expressed.

Catholic

Because it is universal. In Greek καθολικός (katólikos) it means “universal”, that is, it is in the whole world. Before the Ascension, Our Lord told the disciples: ” Go, then, and make all the peoples my disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to fulfill all that I I sent them. And I am with you until the end of the world » (Mt, 28, 19-20). The mandate of the Lord was understood from the rejection of the Jews and the dispersion of the apostles and disciples by the world known at that time: the entire Roman Empire. Thus, Peter and Paul take the faith to Rome, St. James the Greater to Spain, St. Bartholomew to the East; and so, each one was fulfilling the mandate of Our Lord. When Saint John died, near the end of the first century, it can be said that the Church was already Catholic, that is, “universal” for the world known at that time. Saint Ignatius of Antioch says so in his letter to the Smyrnaeans, where he says, about the year 110: ” Where the bishop is the community, as well as where Jesus Christ is the Catholic Church.” This also tells us that the Church is united as the mystical body of Christ at its head.

Apostolic and Roman

This note has two characteristics: as Pope Francis indicates it is missionary, because from the apostles it received the mandate of Our Lord to teach the whole world. But it is also apostolic because it is founded on the succession of the apostles, that is, on those whom the Lord sent (that is to say, apostle: “envoy”) who are the bishops, who teach, sanctify and direct the Church that has been confident The “private”, that is to say territorial, churches are fully Catholic because of their communion with the Church of Rome, which, as Saint Ignatius of Antioch says, presides over “others” in charity.

From the ministry of Peter the bishop of Rome took the primacy over the other bishops. What does the primacy mean? That the other bishops have to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome, whom he eventually began to call “Pope.” Jesus, after the triple denial of Peter, confirmed his ministry by saying three times “feed my flock,” to affirm him in his mission.

What is this “primacy” of Peter and his successors? The Catechism of the Church tells us: « The Roman Pontiff, head of the episcopal college, enjoys this infallibility by virtue of his ministry when, as Pastor and Supreme Teacher of all the faithful who confirm in the faith his brothers, he proclaims for a final act doctrine in matters of faith and morals » (CCC 891). There is so much confusion regarding the papal infallibility that it is good to pause a little to examine what it consists of, and refer to the constitution “Pastor Aeternus” that defines it:

«The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine of faith or customs as to be held by all the Church, owns, by the divine assistance that was promised in the blessed Peter, that infallibility of which the divine Redeemer wanted to enjoy his Church in the definition of the doctrine of faith and customs. Therefore, these definitions of the Roman Pontiff are in themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable ».

A joy and a blessing

Between December 26, 2018 and January 6, 2019, a new Summer Mission of the San Juan Society took place in the Lavalleja and 40 Weeks neighborhoods. It was the first of three to be held in this area of ​​Montevideo. Until last year, the summer missions of the San Juan Society took place in the Cerro.

The mission brought together some 85 young people from the Fragua program who meet at the Nuestra Señora del Huerto Parish, who visited the homes, talked with the neighbors and prayed with them. These were accompanied by 3 priests of the San Juan Society and three sisters of the Society of Mary. In addition, Card. Daniel Sturla and Fr. William Bernasconi, parish priest of San José Esposo de María, parish in the area where the mission took place.

Go out to meet
A strong point in this mission, which repeated what happened in January 2018, was the baptism of more than 170 children in the area. They were held in 2 courses; one in the parish church, located in the Av. De las Instrucciones and the other in the San Francisco Chapel, in the 40 Weeks neighborhood. For Father William Bernasconi, the mission seeks to “reach people, give them the Good News of Jesus Christ, who is in our midst and was born to save us.” “We went out to meet the people and we had visits to very nice homes,” he added.

 

In addition, the Archbishop of Montevideo wanted to recall other initiatives that he described as “evangelical seeds” present in the neighborhood: the San Andrés oratory, in Aires Puros, Tacurú, the San Francisco Chapel and the people of St. Joseph Parish, husband of Mary. “There is a lot of work done, so now we have to collect the fruits of so much seed,” he said.

“There is a need for Christ”
Facundo Cuadro is one of the young missionaries who visited the Lavalleja neighborhood, visiting the neighbors, talking with them and inviting them to different activities. About these moments of meeting with neighbors Facundo said: “we had a field Mass, we were doing batucadas. There was also a procession with the Virgin and the people accompanied and she is very happy with this. ”

Facundo also told that from his experience “people get very touched by these experiences, that’s why we are putting them in depth. You see in the streets that there is a need for God. ” And he also wanted to refer to the baptism performed during the mission “every child who is baptized is light in his home. Sometimes we do not take dimension of the sacrament that is given today, but it has an echo in eternity. That boy or girl will be a child of God forever and that makes us very happy. It is the entrance of God to these families, a light that can not be extinguished. ”

baptisms-5

“The Lord is transforming families”
Another testimony of what was lived during the mission days was that of María Martirena. On the one hand, she expressed that she was very happy about the experience “but also tired, because she is demanding”. He also said that tiredness is mitigated because “with each mission you motivate yourself, I see that the Lord is transforming the families we are visiting.”

 

The House of the Word
An important instance in this mission, especially in its preparation and continuity, is the House of the Word. Manuel González, another of the young missionaries, told us what this instance is about. “During the year he comes to visit every Thursday in the neighborhood. Some Fragua boys come with some of the priests to continue going to the houses and getting to know the neighborhood, “he said.

 

Just from the experience of the House of the Word comes another of the missionaries, Andrea González. She lives in the Miracle neighborhood of the Andes, where the mission of the San Juan Society was also carried out and where there is a House of the Word.

Andrea, from her experience commented that “each mission is a new experience. Because people come to activities, they open the door of their house, they listen to you “. For her, that people know that God exists “is a joy and a blessing”.

How does the mission continue?
To talk about the future of the mission, we went to Fr Guillermo Striebeck, a member of the San Juan Society, who explained that “we are in the first mission of a cycle of 3 that we will develop here. This first mission is more to sensitize, to try to reach all houses. ”

Fr. Striebeck added that since August 2018 there has already been a Casa de la Palabra in the 40 Weeks neighborhood, in the San Francisco Chapel, “with this mission we seek to deepen a little more with the community that is already meeting and that some more person who is attracted. ” He also commented that the idea is to strengthen the House of the Word and perhaps open another within the parochial radio, “but that will be seen with the evolution of the mission.”

Family, identity and mission

The preparatory document for the Synod is very hopeful for the Church and the family today. Without departing from what he considers non-negotiable points of his doctrine, the Church presents a tone of openness and adaptation to the new times in which the family, like all other institutions, is called to live.The Catholic Church always saw in the family one of its great hopes in terms of evangelization and the formation of people and mentalities.Considered as a “domestic church” and a prime space for evangelization, it remains prominent in official documents. In it, the ecclesial community places a large part of its expectations regarding the dissemination of the Gospel message and the transformation of the unjust structures of society. Also, and no less important, as a germinating field of priestly and religious vocations, that is, cradle of the formation of people who could dedicate their lives, their strength and their energies to the proclamation of the Gospel and to the service of the ecclesial institution itself. .

It is understandable, therefore, that the family is the object of special pastoral care on the part of the Church. And, also, object of great concern to perceive that the process of secularization and modernization places the faithful in a state of confusion and mixture of concepts and levels, without distinctions between the sacred and the profane, means and ends, values ​​and habits, the perennial and the transitory, distancing them from the direct reference of the parish and the community of faith and exposing them to the most varied influences, beginning with the media.

The generations after the 60s, already born under the seal of sexual liberation and no longer heirs of a sociological Christianity, received along with the surname, the color of the skin and the social level, perceive (often inadvertently) that their life and values ​​are developed on the margin, and even in contraband, of the orientations and discourse of the Catholic ecclesial institution.

Frequently their connection with the institution is given in terms of communal, celebratory, ritual belonging. But it fails to touch its ethos, its deeper values, its behavioral criteria and concrete attitudes towards life situations.

There is a point, however, that seems central to me in the reflection that the Synod can make about the family: the identity of an institution called to enter into dialogue with the Church. With the mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel, the Church is today more than ever called to not forget that the family does not exist for itself or to build itself and to indulge in its own community excellence. Although affective ties and relational coexistence are fundamental for personal growth, emotional balance and realization of the full potential of the members of the family, every family will be failing in its vocation not only Christian, but human, if it succumbs to the temptation of the bourgeois model, closed in on itself, confined to the sphere of the private,

The family exists in the world and for the world. And it is attentive to the needs and priorities of this society, where it must develop its identity and priorities. The family is not an end in itself, but it exists to make the world better and more human. The preparation document allows us to hope that this point is an integral and constitutive part of the synodal event that will take place next year.

THE MISSION HAS A CHURCH

CHURCH AND MISSION ARE TWO INSEPARABLE AND CLOSELY LINKED REALITIES, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO THINK OF ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. THE CHURCH HAS RECEIVED FROM HER LORD HER SAME MISSION THAT MUST CONTINUE, MISSION OF LIBERATION, HOPE AND JOY (LK 4, 18-21). THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IS AT THE SERVICE OF THE MISSION, THE MISSION HAS A CHURCH AT ITS SERVICE TO CARRY IT FORWARD. THE CHURCH DOES NOT EXIST FOR ITSELF, BUT FOR THE GOSPEL, FOR THE WORLD, FOR THE KINGDOM.
The Trinity, being the origin of the mission of the Church, is also its horizon and goal: a life of full, joyful communion towards which -humanity and the universe- we go. The mission is to make the world a family. This was one of the strong desires that warmed the heart and spiritual experience of our founder, Guido María CONFORTI. We have also alluded to that parallelism between the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and Pentecost: the baptism of the first – and of all – Christian community. Without Spirit there is no community, there is no mission, there is no way out. There is a comfortable, deceitful, fearful, evasive ghetto. The Church is only Church if it is missionary. Jesus begins his mission guided by the Spirit. The Church too. It is born missionary, “pushed and forced” by the Spirit to appear before all peoples, fragile but with a precious treasure in his hands: the gospel of Jesus, the reconciliation, the mercy, the compassion, the peace that he offers us with his death and with his resurrection. Sent by Jesus, she knows that she is inhabited by the Spirit and led by him to all places, areas, situations where it is necessary to proclaim the salvation of God, without forgetting that the criteria of her action are received from the Gospel that announces and constantly challenges her. , inviting her to let herself be converted and evangelized.

UNSTOPPABLE MOVEMENT
The resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit put the Church “outside of itself”. The first Church considered itself and lived as a missionary movement, an unstoppable movement. Inside it had begun to beat strongly a new hope, the Good News of salvation for all, the life of Jesus; a new life not only for the hereafter, but for our world, for the hereafter. Jesus transforms human relationships, those who follow him can live new relationships among them. To believe is to allow oneself to be transformed in the deepest by Jesus. His message is to be preached, but before lived. In this way, their community becomes a “sacrament of universal reconciliation.”

First comes life, then the experience is transformed into conviction, into a commandment: “As the Father sent me, I also send you …”, “Go into all the world …” First is life. The greatest commandment of Jesus-that of brotherly love-is a missionary commandment: “Look how they love each other”. An overflowing love always becomes attractive. The risen Jesus sends his people with the mandate to proclaim the Kingdom, to make possible that society more just, solidary, fraternal, more in accordance with the dream of God; and with the mandate to make disciples, that is, enthusiastic followers, convinced, serene, willing to share – in their fragility – their criteria and their way of life.

CALL TO LEAVE
A muted mouth may be the expression of a resigned, dull, frightened heart. Is this the heart of some of our Christian communities? Every mature local church feels in its bosom, if it is truly adult, the call to leave, to create new churches that in turn will be inserted in that unstoppable missionary movement. This birth of new Christian communities is not simply the visible growth of an organization, it is, rather, a process by which the Church is present in the midst of all peoples as a sacrament of salvation, to make the presence more visible and explicit. of Christ, since He is already by his incarnation and resurrection. The Church wants to be a privileged place of the saving action of Christ and of his Spirit. to make the presence of Christ more visible and explicit, since He is already in his incarnation and resurrection. The Church wants to be a privileged place of the saving action of Christ and of his Spirit. to make the presence of Christ more visible and explicit, since He is already in his incarnation and resurrection. The Church wants to be a privileged place of the saving action of Christ and of his Spirit.

 

DIALOGUE, OPENING

The Church that is born of the Spirit – as we see in the NT – is a Church with an intense inner life of community. It is also a servant, ministerial church: attentive to the real needs of inside and outside. A dialoguing, polyglot Church: called to respect the particularity and cultural plurality of the peoples in which it is inserted. When the Church does not know how to listen or does not make enough effort to do so, it also becomes mute, since what she says no longer tunes in or responds to the demands, needs, sensitivities of her time, which does not mean that we have to accept, without evangelical discernment, all that different cultures live. Discerning is always necessary to perceive, in our world, the signs of the Kingdom of God – the seeds of the Word – or of the anti-kingdom. Is under all, a charismatic Church: overflowing -in its smallness- with gifts of the Spirit. The first Christians were not numerous, but their presence gave a different air to society, questioned, raised questions and admiration and endeavored to transform their society and culture. A Church open to all the good that we find in every human reality, people, culture, time. A pilgrim Church, walker, People of God in progress living fraternity and service, placing people above all, and the “little ones” in the center, as Jesus wanted. A Church open to all the good that we find in every human reality, people, culture, time. A pilgrim Church, walker, People of God in progress living fraternity and service, placing people above all, and the “little ones” in the center, as Jesus wanted. A Church open to all the good that we find in every human reality, people, culture, time. A pilgrim Church, walker, People of God in progress living fraternity and service, placing people above all, and the “little ones” in the center, as Jesus wanted.

RISKS, AUDACITY

How many times do we lack the courage to open ourselves to new paths, sometimes we do not even intuit or glimpse them? We lack openness to the Spirit that makes all things new, we do not trust Him, that is why we are so prudent and take few risks.

The horizon of the mission is not the Church but the Kingdom. The Church is at the service of the Kingdom, so the mission means “to proclaim the Kingdom where it is not yet recognized, to denounce what is opposed to it, to show it already present in the signs and to collaborate at his coming”. The Kingdom decentrates us, pushes us to live open of mind and spirit to perceive the beating of the Spirit in our world.

TEXTS

“Evangelizing, the Church begins by evangelizing herself. A community of believers, a community of hope lived and communicated, a community of fraternal love, needs to listen without ceasing to what it must believe, the reasons to wait, the new commandment of love. People of God immersed in the world and often tempted by idols, need to know how to proclaim “the greatness of God” that has converted them to the Lord, and be summoned and reunited by Him. In a word, this means that The Church always needs to be evangelized, if it wants to preserve its freshness, its impulse and its strength to proclaim the Gospel. ” Paul VI The Evangelization of the Contemporary World No. 15

“To evangelize means for the Church to bring the Good News to all the environments of humanity and, with its influence, to transform from within, to renew humanity itself … For the Church, it is not only a matter of preaching the Gospel in geographical areas every time larger or more numerous populations, but to reach and transform with the force of the Gospel the criteria of judgment, the determining values, the points of interest, the lines of thought, the inspiring sources and the models of life of humanity, that are in contrast with the Word of God and with the plan of salvation “(Paul VI, EN 18-19)

QUESTIONS

Mission of the Church in culture is to keep searching for the truth

The Church considers its priority mission in today’s culture to keep awake the search for truth affirms the Pope 

In his speech this morning to the world of culture at the Cultural Center of Belém in Lisbon, Pope Benedict XVI noted that “the Church considers its priority mission in today’s culture to keep awake the search for truth”. 

The Holy Father began his speech by making a diagnosis of today’s culture, which reflects, he explained, “an ‘tension’ between the present and the tradition, which sometimes takes the form of ‘conflict.’ The dynamics of society it absolutizes the present, isolating it from the cultural heritage of the past and without the intention of projecting a future “.

“This ‘conflict’ between tradition and the present is expressed in the crisis of truth, but only this can guide and trace the course of a successful existence, as an individual or as a people, in fact, a people that stops knowing which it is its own truth, it ends up losing itself in the labyrinth of time and history, without well-defined values, without clearly stated big objectives “.

“Dear friends, it remains to make a great effort to learn the way in which the Church is placed in the world, helping society to understand that the announcement of truth is a service that it offers, opening new horizons for the future, In fact, the Church has “a mission of truth that must be fulfilled in every time and circumstance in favor of a society (…) For the Church, this mission of truth is inalienable,” said the Holy Father. 

Benedict XVI warned later that “for a society formed mainly by Catholics, and whose culture has been deeply marked by Christianity, it is dramatic to try to find the truth outside of Jesus Christ”.

After commenting that the Church seeks dialogue in the truth and therefore the Holy See is present in various international organizations, the Pope indicated that “taking into account cultural diversity, it is necessary to ensure that people not only accept the existence of the culture of the another, but also aspire to enrich themselves with it and offer what is good, true and beautiful “. 

“Dear friends, the Church considers her priority mission in today’s culture to keep awake the search for the truth and, consequently, for God, to lead people to look beyond the penultimate things and to search for the latter. I invite you to deepen in the knowledge of God, in the same way that he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our full realization “. 

“Do beautiful things, but above all, turn your lives into places of beauty, intercede for you Saint Mary of Bethlehem, venerated for centuries by the navigators of the ocean and today by the navigators of Good, Truth and Beauty”, concluded.

Misión de la Iglesia y Doctrina social de la Iglesia

 In the last months and especially with the announcements of the Synod on the New Evangelization and the beginning of the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has invited us to deepen on the New Evangelization.

The Pope invites us to a new evangelization to evangelize today’s society. “With its social doctrine, the Church takes charge of the announcement that the Lord has entrusted to it, updates the message of liberation and redemption of Christ in the historical events, the Gospel of the Kingdom.” The Church, proclaiming the Gospel, teaches man, in the name of Christ, his own dignity and his vocation to the communion of people, and he discovers the demands of justice and peace, in conformity with divine wisdom, to evangelize the social sphere means to infuse into the hearts of men load of meaning and liberation of the Gospel, to promote a society tailored to man in so far as it is, according to Christ: to build a city of man more human because it is more in conformity with the Kingdom of God. (Ibid no. 63)

 

Faced with these dangers in today’s world, the Church must propose a new evangelization and what are its essential components: a convincing presentation of a Christian vision of man and society; formation of lay leaders engaged in public debate with a strong critical sense in the face of the dominant culture and to counteract those who want to delegitimize the Church’s participation in the fundamental issues of each country. Another component is catechesis at all levels, which must contain the vision and objectives of the new Evangelization. In addition, the permanent formation of the laity is necessary to give public testimony of their faith, especially in the face of the great moral questions of our time: respect for God’s gift of life,

“Social doctrine is an integral part of the evangelizing ministry of the Church, everything that concerns the community of men (situations and problems related to justice, liberation, development, relations between peoples, peace), it is not alien to evangelization, it would not be complete if it did not take into account the mutual connection that is constantly presented between the Gospel and the concrete, personal and social life of man … Social doctrine has in itself the value of a instrument of evangelization and is developed in the ever renewed encounter between the Gospel message and human history, that is why this doctrine is a peculiar path for the exercise of the ministry of the Word and of the prophetic function of the Church.for the Church to teach and spread social doctrine belongs to its evangelizing mission and is an essential part of the Christian message, since this doctrine exposes its direct consequences in the life of society and frames even the daily work and struggles for justice in the testimony to Christ the Savior “(Ibid, nos. 66-68).

Open Arms opens a mission in Africa to prevent the exodus from its origin

Proactiva Open Arms has announced today a new mission of the Catalan organization in Africa to inform potential immigrants about the dangers of the journey to Europe through testimonies, in order to prevent the exodus from the place of origin of these people.

As explained in a press conference in Badalona, ​​the director of Proactiva Open Arms, Óscar Camps, the new project has started in Ghana with the collaboration with the NGO NASCO Feeding Minds and a joint objective: “to save lives”.

The mission aims to inform the most vulnerable groups of African countries, which are at risk of making the decision to embark on an exodus to Europe risking their lives, the dangers that the trip has for them, through testimonies of the people who have crossed the sea.

“We have to let them know what the trip holds, 90% of those who get it say they would not do it again, and we can give their testimony,” explained the director of Open Arms.

Through Feeding Minds, founded by Ousman Oumar, the Catalan organization has launched the new mission in Ghana, where they have carried out awareness-raising work for 1,500 schoolchildren, as well as politicians and religious leaders from the most vulnerable regions of the country.

“If I had had access to this information, I would have hesitated about starting the trip and would not have fallen so easily into the trap,” said Oumar, who arrived in Barcelona in 2005 from Ghana after five years of a hard exodus.

 

“I know what I’m talking about: 95% of the comrades who traveled with me did not arrive alive,” says Oumar, who considers the Open Arms project to be “a great alliance” and “a way to put a firm solution on the table “to the deaths that happen daily in the Mediterranean.

“The solution is to prevent them from leaving, and get them to have the information capacity to make decisions,” said the Director of Proactiva Open Arms, who will extend this awareness project to other countries such as Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea. , Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

The initiative operates through the local media, as well as the embassies and political figures of the country, and reaches the schools where vulnerable people are, who may have the intention to emigrate, to whom they ” explains to reality through testimonies and images “.

“We believe that we can contribute something more from the origin of these people, more than just rescue them at sea,” Camps said about the idea behind the project, which completes the rescue work at sea that began Open Arms in Lesbos ( Greece) the year 2015.

After nearly 30 months of work, the Catalan organization has saved the lives of some 60,000 people and has served as a witness and spokesman for the rest of thousands who have perished at sea without reaching their destinations.

“We are very small but very determined, we know that we are not the first to go to Africa but we do what we think should be done, which right now is to work from the place of origin of these people,” said Camps.