Tag:  Pope Francis

Pope Francis Auctions Off Custom-made Lamborghini To Raise Money For Iraqi Christians 

Pope Francis Auctions Off Custom-made Lamborghini To Raise Money For Iraqi Christians 

Pope Francis has auctioned off his custom made Lamborghini, raising nearly $1million for charity at an auction in Monaco on Saturday.

Painted in the Vatican City flag colours of white and gold, the pope signed and blessed the supercar which was gifted to him last November.

Complete with 5.2-litre V10 engine that can power the car to achieve 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, the car can reach a top speed of 198mph. But with the speed limit restricted to 9mph inside the Vatican, the pontiff was unlikely to get much use from it.

The one-off Huracan model was sold for more than four times its original value of £200,000 and most of the proceeds will be used to help Iraqi Christians who were besieged by ISIS on the Nineveh Plain.

Of the eye-watering final sale price of €715,000 (£630,000), £415,000 will go to help rebuild the city of Nineveh and the remainder will be split between three Catholic groups — the Pope John XXIII Community, which helps victims of human trafficking, and two Italian associations that provide aid for women and children in Africa.

Augustin Sabatié-Garat, auction manager at RM Sotheby’s Europe, who hosted the auction, said: ‘We are honoured to have hosted such a hotly contested bidding war for this unique Lamborghini Huracan.

‘We give thanks to His Holiness Pope Francis for donating the sale fee to charity, and for Automobili Lamborghini for gifting the car, as we are pleased to have played a part in sourcing money for good causes.

‘The fact that this car sold for nearly three times’ worth its estimate, and much higher than the model’s standard retail price, is telling of how much interest it attracted.’

Do You Know The True Meaning Of The Hail Mary Prayer? Pope Francis Explains 

Do You Know The True Meaning Of The Hail Mary Prayer? Pope Francis Explains 

Devout Catholics and some protestants pray the Hail Mary. But how many of us know its true meaning? What do we mean by this prayer?

In the book Maria, Mamma di Tutti  (editions San Pablo, published in Italy), it is Pope Francis himself who teaches us the meaning of the words we utter in this most important prayer. Check out!

Full Of Grace

The angel Gabriel refers to Mary, using the expression “full of grace” (Lk 1, 28): “there is no room for sin, because God has always chosen her as the mother of Jesus and also preserved her from Original sin. And the Word became flesh in his bosom. We too are called to hear the Word of God, who speaks to us, and to abide by his will. The Lord always speaks to us.”

The Lord Is With You.

“What happened to the Virgin, “explains Francis,” also happens to us on a spiritual level, when we accept the Word of God with good and sincere hearts and put it into practice. It is as if God became flesh in us. He comes to dwell in us, because he dwells in those who love him and follow his Word. It is not easy to understand this, but, yes, it is easy to feel in the heart. ”

Blessed Are You Among Women

How did Mary live this faith? The Pope replies: “she lived in the simplicity of the thousand daily occupations and concerns of any mother, such as providing food, clothing, care for the home … It was precisely this normal existence of the Virgin that was the ground where a singular relationship and a dialogue took place between her and God, between her and her Son. ”

And Blessed Is The Fruit Of Thy womb, Jesus

Francis clarifies that Mary is receptive, not passive: “physically, [she] receives the power of the Holy Spirit, but then gives flesh and blood to the Son of God who is formed in her. In this way, on the spiritual plane, he receives grace and corresponds to it with faith”. Hence, St. Augustine says that the Virgin ‘conceived before in the heart rather than in the womb’.

Holly Mary Mother Of God

The Pope continues: “The Mother of the Redeemer precedes us and continually confirms us in faith, vocation and mission. With his example of humility and willingness to God’s will, it helps us to imprint our faith in the proclamation of the Gospel.”

Pray For Us Sinners

To explain the meaning of this passage, Francis uses a story:

“I remember once in the sanctuary of Luján [in Buenos Aires, Argentina], I was in the confessional, before which there was a long line. There was also a whole young man with chains, tattoos, and all these things. And he came to tell me what was going on. It was a serious, difficult problem. And she told me: I told my mother this and she said to me: go to the Virgin and she will tell you what you have to do. She was a woman who had the gift of counsel. She did not know how to solve her son’s problem, but she showed him the right way: go to the Virgin and she will tell you. This is the gift of counsel. This humble and simple woman gave the child the best advice. In fact, the boy told me: I looked at the Virgin and I felt I had to do this, that and this … I had nothing to talk about, his mother had already told the young man everything. You, mothers, who have this gift, Ask for your children. The gift of giving counsel to children is a gift from God. “

Now And At The Hour Of Our Death

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI added: “Let us entrust ourselves to Mary so that she, as Mother, the mother of our first-born brother, Jesus, may teach us to have the same maternal spirit in relation to our brothers, with the sincere capacity to welcome, give strength and lead trust and hope. That’s what a mother does. Mary’s way to heaven began in that YES pronounced at Nazareth in response to the heavenly messenger who announced God’s will for her … Every YES to God is a step to heaven, to eternal life. ”

Pope Francis, The Devil And Hell

Pope Francis, The Devil And Hell

Pope Francis has been unequivocal, consistent and emphatic throughout his papacy, regarding and affirming the existence of the devil.

But when it comes to the existence of hell, his teaching has been less unambiguous.

On the morning of April 11, 2014, Pope Francis used his daily homily at the Mass in the chapel of the St. Martha residence in Vatican City to focus on a theme that has long been among his concerns: Satan.

“Jesus’ life was a battle,” Francis said. “He came to conquer evil, to conquer the prince of this world, to conquer the devil.” He added, “Our spiritual life, our Christian life, is a battle. … The devil does not want us to become holy; he does not want us to follow Jesus.”

The Pope continued, “Of course, one of you will say: ‘But Father, you are so old-fashioned, speaking about the devil in the 21st century!’ … Watch out, the devil exists! The devil exists even in the 21st century. And we must not be naive. We must learn from the Gospel how to battle against him.”

The homily of Pope Francis was consistent with his teachings on the reality of the devil from the very start of his pontificate to only a few weeks ago, when he issued his latest apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate (The Call to Holiness in Today’s World), in which he devoted an entire chapter to spiritual combat, discernment and Satan.

On March 14, 2013, the day after his election, he told the cardinals who had elected him, “When one does not profess Jesus Christ — I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy, ‘Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil’ — one professes the worldliness of the devil.”

And this was not some postelection embrace of the Catechism. In his time as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he made many similar declarations.

In his famous conversation with his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka, published as On Heaven and Earth (Image, 2013), then-Cardinal Bergoglio said, “In my personal experience, I feel him every time that I am tempted to do something that is not what God wants for me. I believe that the devil exists.”

The Catechism, of course, teaches bluntly about the reality of the devil:

“Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called ‘Satan’ or the ‘devil’” (391).

The Catechism goes on to emphasize: “The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature.”

The devil as a creature is reiterated by Francis in his new exhortation, with the vital point, “We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea.”

This point is important because here Francis is articulating a position — the one the Church has always taught — that now is held only by a minority of Catholics.

A recent analysis by CARA (the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University) found that while belief in the devil has held steady over the last decades (with 70% of U.S. adults believing in the devil), belief in Satan as a creature has declined in favor of the devil as a mere symbol. Overall, 69% consider Satan to be a symbol, while 31% believe Satan is a “living being.”

As for Catholics, only 17% see Satan as a “living being,” the lowest among Christian groups and only one percentage higher than the “Nones.” CARA’s assessment is sobering:

“What does that mean? Well, symbols aren’t really going to stir the same concerns in someone that a being might. … Catholics who believe in the devil and hell are more likely than those who do not to be religiously active. But there are other impacts we can see in the survey. For example, Catholics who believe Satan is a being are more likely than those who believe Satan is a symbol to say they believe the world is ‘clearly divided into good and evil’ (42% compared to 22%). Those who see Satan as a symbol are more likely to believe that the world is ‘more complex’ than being clearly divided into good and evil forces.”

Which raises the related question: How do people today perceive hell, and what does Francis have to say about that?

During Holy Week, the 93-year-old atheist founder of La Repubblica, Eugenio Scalfari, caused uproar with the claim that Francis had told him, “Hell does not exist; the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”

Scalfari, who has said he doesn’t take notes and recreates his interviews from memory, has previously made similar assertions about the Pope, and the Vatican then and now has responded with various disclaimers that the “quotation” should not “be considered as a faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words.”

However, a far more fulsome denial of Scalfari is in order from the Holy See and from Francis himself.

Since his election, Francis has spoken on hell as he obviously has the devil, but Scalfari, who has been granted a papal interview several times, has claimed more than once that the Pope has denied the existence of hell.

Given the seriousness of Scalfari’s repeated claim, which implies the Pope might subscribe to the old but persistent heresy of Annihilationism, this assertion demands a clear refutation — most effectively from Francis himself, since he has yet to repudiate Scalfari’s remarks personally and publicly.

Found among some Protestant theologians, as well as a few modern Catholic ones, Annihilationism argues that, rather than face eternal damnation, the souls of unrepentant sinners simply cease to exist. There is more that can be said about the lingering heresy, but the Catechism declares:

“The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death, the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (1035).

Is Francis somehow an Annihilationist? Compare the Catechism to Francis’ Message for Lent in 2016 that noted that “the danger always remains that, by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ, who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude, which is hell.” 

This is rather obscure, and the timing of the Pope’s new controversy over hell is particularly problematic because, while belief in the devil as a creature rather than a myth or symbol has waned among Catholics, so, too, has belief in hell.

According to the 2014 “Religious Landscape Study” by the Pew Research Center, 58% of U.S. adults believe in hell, essentially unchanged from 2007.

Among Catholics, however, only 69% believe in hell, and 29% do not. By comparison, 82% of evangelicals believe in hell, and 11% do not, while 60% of mainline Protestants believe, and 29% do not.

And just as the denial of Satan’s reality is toxic for other aspects of faith and morals, so, too, does a waning belief in hell form part of a withering of wider belief and practice and a severely malnourished eschatology.

Consider the latest findings by Gallup that Mass attendance is down to 39%, a 6% decline from 2014 to 2017.

Pew found that the less one attends church and prays, the less one believes in hell.

In an era of declining belief in the Real Presence, collapsing Mass attendance and the denial by many theologians of objective moral truth, the idea of the devil as a hazy symbol of evil is hardly surprising. 

Gaudete et Exsultate provides a helpful doctrinal corrective on the devil to an increasingly disbelieving Catholic faithful.

However, a friend with whom Francis has spoken repeatedly and candidly is claiming the pontiff is suggesting heresy regarding hell.

It is vital for the Church — starting with Pope Francis — to teach with coherence and vigor on the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven and hell.

Consequently, it is also vital to have a manifest and specific denial of Scalfari and a public declaration of what the Holy Father believes about the destiny of our souls.

The devil may be in the details, but even more so in their absence.

Alfie Evans’ Father Flies To Rome, Pleads With Pope Francis To Help Save His Son

Alfie Evans’ Father Flies To Rome, Pleads With Pope Francis To Help Save His Son

Alfie Evans’ Father Flies to Rome, Pleads With Pope Francis to Help Save His Son

Tom Evans, Father of two-year old toddler at the center of battles between his parents and UK authorities to keep him alive appeals to the Holy Father for Alfie to receive care at the Vatican-run Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.

The father of toddler Alfie, who UK authorities have ruled must have his life support switched off against his parent’s wishes, met with Pope Francis Wednesday morning to plead that his son be given asylum to receive alternative medical care.

At the private audience early Wednesday morning in the Pope’s Santa Marta residence, Evans read out a statement in which he stressed that little Alfie is “sick but not dying” and pleaded with the Holy Father that he be brought to Italy to receive treatment at the Vatican-run Bambino Gesù hospital.

Evans and Alfie’s mother, Kate James, are battling with the Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool and English courts to continue to keep him on life support.

Hospital doctors say there is nothing they can do for the toddler who they say has an undiagnosed degenerative brain disease, but his parents have been fighting to keep him on a ventilator.

A later appeal to the European Court of Human Rights failed, and the parent’s appeal earlier this week to have Alfie taken to Italy for treatment was also dismissed by the UK’s Court of Appeal.

“We do not understand why our child amongst many more are being treated like this,” Evans said. “We believe it is because he is disabled and the U.K. want to legalize euthanasia. Please help us save our innocent child and give us the grace of asylum to keep our family safe and to stop all of this,” he added.

In a video press statement not shown by the Liverpool Echo newspaper which Alfie’s supporters say has had a “monopoly on the story” but has been “obscuring the facts of the case,” Evans listed the kind of care his son, and he and Kate, have been receiving from Alder Hey hospital.

“How can this Trust get away with this?,” he asked. “They should forfeit any ability to dictate Alfie’s best interests and let people and doctors who care look after our son, not terminate his life because of their failure to diagnose him and treat him effectively! Alfie, the family and all of our supporters are stronger than ever and will keep fighting all the way,” Evans said.  “We will never give up on Alfie!”

The Italian Catholic newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana reports that the meeting was made possible by Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi, who accompanied Evans to the audience. 

The Pope instructed Bishop Cavina to maintain contact between the family and Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to find ways to ensure respect for the dignity of the child.

At his weekly general audience this morning, the Pope drew attention to little Alfie and Vincent Lambert, a 42 year old disabled Frenchman who is also facing state imposed execution against the will of his parents.

“I would repeat and strongly confirm that the only master of life from beginning to natural end is God! Our duty is to do everything to protect life. Let us think in silence and pray that the lives of all people and especially of these two brothers are respected. Let us pray in silence.”

On Sunday, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for Vincent and Alfie who he said are facing a “delicate, very painful and complex situations.” 

“We pray that every patient is always respected in his dignity and treated in a way that is appropriate to his condition, and with the agreement of family members, doctors and other health professionals, with great respect for life,” he said.

On Tuesday, Father Gabriele Brusco, an Italian priest serving in the archdiocese of Westminster, traveled to Liverpool to give little Alfie the Anointing of the Sick. 

But today’s private audience comes amid silence from Evans’ bishop, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, and the bishops’ conference of England and Wales.  

Here below are Tom Evans’ statements in full:

Tom Evans’ Message Delivered to the Holy Father

I cannot thank you enough for allowing me the opportunity to be here in front of Your Holiness today.

Our child is sick but not dying and does not deserve to die. He is not terminally ill nor diagnosed. 

We have been trying our best to find out his condition, to treat or manage it.

I am now here, in front of Your Holiness, to plead for asylum. Our hospitals in the U.K. do not want to give disabled children the chance of life and instead assisting in the death of children.

We now have realized our son’s life does not mean much to the NHS [National Health Service].

We plead to you to help our son.

Alder Hey hospital do not want to let Alfie leave the hospital unless he is dead!

Alfie is not dying, so we don’t want to take him out in the way the hospital wish us to.

We see life and potential in our son and we want to bring him here to Italy, to the Bambino Gesù, where we know he is safe and he will not be euthanized.

When Alfie shows me and his mum any sign of suffering or dying, we will enjoy every last moment with him, but Alfie has not yet shown us he is ready to go, so we continue to fight just as he shows us to.

If Your Holiness helps our child, you will be potentially saving the future for our children in the U.K., especially the disabled. We pray the problem we are facing is solved peacefully and respectfully. No child deserves this.

Especially not a child of God.

The judges in the U.K. have not told the truth about our son and his condition. They have listened to everything the hospital have said and agreed with them. But there is no real medical evidence to say Alfie will die, or that he has this form of disease.

Since Dec. 14, Alder Hey have asked us more than 100 times to remove Alfie’s ventilation, even when he came off the life support three times. Doctors in the U.K. said he would never be able to do this, but Alfie proved top experts wrong and they still pushed me and his 19 year old mum to let him die, even when he came off life support.

Alfie has been on life support, with a tube down his nose and throat, for 15 months. This is very wrong. He should be, and needs to be, on a tracheostomy. This is clinically and professionally very wrong.

We do not understand why our child amongst many more are being treated like this. We believe it is because he is disabled and the U.K. want to legalize euthanasia.

Please help us save our innocent child and give us the grace of asylum to keep our family safe and to stop all of this.

The hospital is depriving us from sleep and not allowing us to sleep with our own son we have to sit in a chair all night with him to comfort and protect him.


Press Statement:

We would firstly like to thank all of our supporters and those who have helped us with our fight, from the bottom of our hearts — from me, Kate and Alfie!

It means the world to us and gives us the strength to continue!

Secondly , we would like to thank Alder Hey for their treatment of Alfie and his family this last week!

For lying to the police, claiming that Alfie was ward of court

For keeping him prisoner under police guard

For stripping him of his dignity

For banning his mum Kate from the hospital and stopping them from being together at this time and stealing precious moments

For taking away our seating arrangements in his cubical

For taking away the rights of him and his family to be together

For depriving Alfie of the comfort, touch and love of his family that he has been used to every day of his life

For depriving me of sleep when it seems perfectly OK for the nursing staff to fall asleep instead of looking after him! I have video evidence of this.

And for trying to dictate what is in Alfie’s best interests when we have several pieces of evidence showing Alder Hey to be acting contrary to his best interests!

Leaving him in poor and squalid conditions, in urine and feces and with moldy feeding tubes!

How can this Trust get away with this? They should forfeit any ability to dictate Alfie’s best interests and let people and doctors who care look after our son, not terminate his life because of their failure to diagnose him and treat him effectively!

But we want them to know they can’t break us or wear us down.

Alfie, the family and all of our supporters are stronger than ever and will keep fighting all the way.

We will never give up on Alfie!

Thank you.

Tom Evans with supporters and a member of the Swiss Guard outside the Casa Santa Marta residence. 

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