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Pope Francis has been a consistent and vocal personality in condemning the arms trade and urging world leaders to do the same, and he raised his voice on the issue again in his latest prayer video.

Published June 2, the video begins showing two world leaders sitting at a table to sign a join-accord, exchanging copies of the agreement to sign while Pope Francis says that “it’s an absurd contradiction to speak of peace, to negotiate peace, and at the same time promote or permit the arms trade.”

“Is this war or that war really a war to solve problems, or is it a commercial war for selling weapons in illegal trade, and so that the merchants of death get rich?” he asks, as images of explosions and gunfire interchange with frames of the leaders shaking hands dripping with blood.

“Let us put an end to this situation,” he said. “Let us pray all together that national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade which victimizes so many innocent people.”

The topic is one Pope Francis has spoken out about since the beginning of his pontificate, and which he continues to bring up in any relevant occasion.

In fact, the first line of the video is taken almost verbatim from the Pope’s May 2014 speech to seven new ambassadors to the Holy See who presented him with their credentials.

In the speech, Francis spoke about peace, saying “everyone talks about peace (and) everyone claims to want it, (but) the proliferation of weapons of every type leads in the opposite direction.”

He said the arms trade both complicates and distances us from finding solutions to conflicts, especially because “it takes place to a great extent outside the boundaries of the law,” and urged the new ambassadors to work toward eradicating the proliferation of weapons.

The Pope was also outspoken about the topic during his September 2015 speech to the U.S. Congress, in which he emphasized that Christians must ask “why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”

“Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade,” he said.

Last July, in a video message promoting peace in Syria, he lamented that “while the people suffer, incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters.”

Some of the arms suppliers “are also among those that talk of peace,” he said. “How can you believe in someone who caresses you with the right hand and strikes you with the left hand?”

In his Jan. 22 , 2017, speech to the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, he said part of the peace-building process means eradicating the causes of violence and injustice, one of which is the “deplorable arms trade and the never-ending race to create and spread ever more sophisticated weaponry,” particularly nuclear weapons.

Coincidentally, the Pope’s prayer video was published just days before six countries decided to cut diplomatic ties with the Middle-Eastern country of Qatar over it’s alleged support or terrorism.

On Monday it was announced that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Libya have severed diplomatic relations with Qatar over the terrorism problem, giving Qatari ambassadors just a few days to leave their countries.

The move was made over allegations that Qatar is backing Islamist groups such as ISIS and AL-Qaeda, providing financial support despite recently joining the U.S.-led coalition against IS. Part of the decision also arose from concern that Qatar is getting too cozy with Iran, the growing regional rival of Saudi Arabia and which presents a significant nuclear threat.

What progress will actually come from the decision to cut ties is unknown, especially since Saudi Arabia itself has also been accused by many neighboring countries of financially supporting ISIS. So while the long-term effects of the decision remain to be seen, the move seems to make Francis’ prayer intention all the more timely.

His prayer videos first launched during the Jubilee of Mercy and are part of an initiative of the Jesuit-run global prayer network Apostleship of Prayer. They are filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center and the Argentinian marketing association La Machi.

The Apostleship of Prayer, which produces the monthly videos on the Pope’s intentions, was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, particularly for the needs of the Church.

Since the late 1800s, the organization has received a monthly, “universal” intention from the Pope. In 1929, an additional missionary intention was added by the Holy Father, aimed at the faithful in particular.

Starting in January, rather than including a missionary intention, Pope Francis has elected to have only one prepared prayer intention – the universal intention featured in the prayer video – and will add a second intention focused on an urgent or immediate need if one arises.

The prayer intentions typically highlight issues of importance not only for Pope Francis, but for the world, such as families, the environment, the poor and homeless, Christians who are persecuted, youth, women and a swath of other relevant topics in the world today.

https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/vocations/documents/papa-francesco_20151129_53-messaggio-giornata-mondiale-vocazioni.html

Francis spoke at an event to mark the close of the Year for Consecrated Life

Respond to the crisis of vocations with intensified prayer, rather than despair or a lax admissions process, Pope Francis told women and men religious.

He said he is tempted to lose hope, too, asking God, “What is happening? Why is the womb of consecrated life sterile?”

But he warned against fast fixes, saying some religious “congregations experiment with ‘artificial insemination,’” in which they accept anybody, leading to a host of problems.

The vocations process must be done “with seriousness, and one must discern well that this is a true vocation and help it grow,” he told members of religious orders, secular institutes and consecrated virgins on Monday in the Vatican audience hall.

Read the full article at the Catholic Herald

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has released his pastoral letter to the clergy, religious and layfaithful of the Catholic Archdiocese of sydney for the Year of Csonecrated Life on All Saints Day, 2015.

Watch the video:

 

You may download and read the letter from the Archdiocese of Sydney website: http://www.sydneycatholic.org/pdf/Archbishops Pastroal Letter – For All The Saints ecopy.pdf

 

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP Ordains Four New Priests

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
2 Nov 2015

Four new priests for the Archdiocese of Sydney

More than a thousand of the ordinands’ family, friends and community members packed Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral last Saturday to witness Archbishop Fisher ordain the “international peacekeeping force” of Father Gustavo Criollo Farfan, Father Daney Suresh Iruday Doss, Father Mate Litric and Father Joshua Miechels who hail from Ecuador, India, Croatia and Australia respectively.

Sydney’s four new priests not only give witness to the universality of the Church, but also to the fruitfulness of the new ecclesial movements.

Fathers Gustavo, Daney and Mate each discerned their vocation to the Priesthood as members of the Neocatechumenal Way, and Father Joshua as a member of the Emmanuel Community.

Scores of clergy from Sydney, France and other parts of the world processed in to the Cathedral to the hymn of St Patrick’s Breastplate, an appropriate forerunner to a powerful homily from the ordaining Archbishop.

Archbishop Fisher began by describing images of Mass being celebrated in wartimes – in the ruins of villages, in tents, or in shelled out Cathedrals, with the Sacrifice being offered on makeshift altars of jeeps or cardboard boxes.
Australia, he said, was in a time of peace where Catholics had daily access to mass and the Sacraments from “generous priests ready to baptise, absolve, preach, educate, marry, pray, anoint, console, and bury them.”
The new Sydney priests would nonetheless be ministering in a warzone, said the Archbishop.

Noting that St Mary’s Cathedral had held two memorial services for victims of terror in the past year, Archbishop Fisher acknowledged the problem of fundamentalist theists but said that the problem in Australia is more often from fundamentalist atheists who “dream of a secular caliphate, in which all religious belief is eliminated from law, institutions such as marriage, culture and the human heart.”

From a variety of background, families and friends referred to the new priests as the “international Peacekeeping force”

The Archbishop told the soon-to-be-ordained that even these battles were internal ones against the very human “fight or flight” response to opposition.  He exhorted them to resist following the desire to always be right regardless of who gets hurt in the process, and also to resist satisfying the desire to be loved through inactivity in the defence of the faith in the name of “inclusiveness.”  Echoing Pope Francis, he instead advised them to instead minister in the “field hospital.”

Each of Sydney’s newly ordained priests had considered the particular “battle” in which they will focus their priestly ministry.

Father Gustavo is the ninth of fifteen children, and was formerly an electronics technician.  In his priestly ministry, Father Gustavo will seek to proclaim God’s unconditional love in a world crying out for love.

Father Daney grew up in the slums in India amongst people of other faiths.  He hopes that through his priesthood, he will reach out to the lost and point them towards Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Father Mate hails from Croatia, and the oldest of the newly ordained priests.  His hope for his priestly ministry is to reach out to those on the peripheries and encourage them to trust in God.

Celebrations followed the Ordination

Father Joshua, a “World Youth Day vocation” said that he realised that all true priests were mission men, and not just maintenance men, and hopes that he will offer the battle-weary the freedom, peace and abiding joy which comes from God.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Father Joshua expressed words of gratitude on behalf of the newly ordained.  He thanked the Holy Trinity and Our Lady for their role in the vocations of these new priests.  He also thanked family members, the Neochatechumenal Way, the Emmanuel Community seminary formators and staff, as well as all of those who had contributed to the Ordination Mass.  Father Josh also acknowledged the generosity and confidence of Cardinal George Pell and Archbishop Fisher, and expressed the pride of the newly ordained to join Fathers Thomas Stevens and Lewi Barakat (who were ordained in August) as a new generation of fishermen.
He urged the congregation to pray for and help their priests.

He also addressed the young men gathered: “Won’t you join us?  There is no risk.  You are on the winning side”, he said.  He also encouraged them to act with urgency, advising them to “contact the vocations director, Father Epeli, today!”

The new priests will be assigned to parishes in the Sydney Archdiocese.

The full Ordination Mass can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAU4xWZKjxk
The full text of the Archbishop’s homily can be found here:
http://sydneycatholic.org/people/archbishop/homilies/2015/2015112_1281.shtml

Used with permission, Catholic Communications Archdiocese of Sydney. Original article: http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2015/2015112_665.shtml