Saturday, 17 January 2015

Pope Francis in Sri Lanka and the Philippines

I have not been able to follow Pope Francis journey to Sri Lanka and the Philippines as closely as I would have liked.

Catholic News Agency have good coverage at their page dedicated to the visit: Pope in Sri Lanka and the Philippines 2015 , Pope in Sri Lanka - Latest News and Pope in Philippines - Latest News . The Vatican website has a page dedicated to the visit, though the links to the English language texts from this page are not complete at the time of my posting: Apostolic Journey to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

As I often suggest, I think it is valuable to read the original sources, and to read them whole not in part. One can often find that the headline picked out by one or other media outlet fails to do justice to the whole and, indeed, sometimes misrepresents the very point that it picks out.

There is a full transcript of the questions and answers with journalists on the flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines here, for example. The items that have caught my attention from this interview:

The answer to the question about the forthcoming encyclical on man's relationship with the created world: I was struck by the range of consultation behind the encyclical, by the reference to the writings of Patriarch Bartholomew and Romano Guardini and by the issues of deforestation and lack of crop rotation cited as examples that Pope Francis has considered. There does not seem to me to be anything here indicating the kind of adherence to climate change as an ideology that has been decried by much of the speculative media coverage of the forthcoming encyclical.

Pope Francis' response to being given an image of St Therese of Lisieux: this is at the end of the interview, and reported more fully by Abbey Roads here with a link to CNA News/EWTN.

Pope Francis' reply to a question about a commission for truth and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, following the civil strife there: It is fascinating to read Pope Francis' account of his meeting with the President of Sri Lanka, of how the President spoke of creating "harmony in the people" and of his affirmation that "we must touch peoples hearts" to achieve peace. It reminded me of Pope Francis influence for peace in the Middle East in meeting with the President of Israel and the President of the Palestinian Territories.

Catholic News Agency are carrying a report of Pope Francis' address during a meeting with families in Manila (though with a mistranslation which uses the word "professors" where the original text is "confessors") under the title Paul VI was right to warn against contraception, Pope Francis says. This report highlights Pope Francis' praise for Pope Paul VI's teaching in Humanae Vitae. An unremarked aspect of the controversial-for-some relatios of last October's Synod was the clear presumption in favour of the teaching of Humanae Vitae, with no suggestion being made that that teaching should be overturned. The full text of Pope Francis' address is at the Vatican website, and reading that text, the following passage also struck me. Pope Francis was speaking in the context of the way in which St Joseph was twice guided in his dreams by angels:
I am very fond of dreams in families. For nine months every mother and father dream about their baby. Am I right? [Yes!] They dream about what kind of child he or she will be... You can’t have a family without dreams. Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies. So I ask you each evening, when you make your examination of conscience, to also ask yourselves this question: Today did I dream about my children’s future? Today did I dream about the love of my husband, my wife? Did I dream about my parents and grandparents who have gone before me? Dreaming is very important. Especially dreaming in families. Do not lose this ability to dream!
How many difficulties in married life are resolved when we leave room for dreaming, when we stop a moment to think of our spouse, and we dream about the goodness present in the good things all around us. So it is very important to reclaim love by what we do each day. Do not ever stop being newlyweds!

Isn't Pope Francis just wonderful!


Jackie Parkes said...


Anonymous said...

I agree he is.dreaming is too!