Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Benemerenti Medal Awarded

Congratulations to Rose and Pat Murphy as Pat receives the Benemerenti medal from Pope Francis!

Benemerenti 1

During his recent pastoral visit, Bishop Tom presented the award on behalf of Pope Francis for Pat’s contribution to Catholic Education and Catechesis.

Both Pat and Rose have spent many years and much effort in actively promoting the vision of the Church which the Bishops of the World put forward at the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council – a vision which saw a notably increased role of the laity through their active participation in the life of the Church.

In his homily, bishop Tom made reference to the Church being more than just a stone building which can be burnt down, but that it is the living body of the people of Christ – the laity and the clergy – who bring their God-given gifts together for the good of all. In his acceptance speech Pat made reference to all the good that had been done in this area, but noted that there is still some way to go. Here in Haverfordwest he invited everyone to be more active in shaping the Local Church and indicated one way to do that would be to get involved in the up-comming discussions concerning the Synod on Marriage and Family Life.

Pat and Rose, all in the parish wish you well, and we all offer our heartfelt congratuations and blessings. May you continue to work hard for the promotion and deeper understanding of our Catholic Faith.

More pictures may be found here.

Free Speech and the Media

Media

On his way to Manila for a visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis said that that killing in the name of religion is an “aberration.” He defended freedom of expression following last week’s attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – but also stressed its limits. He added that there were limits, especially when people mocked religion: “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. There is a limit.”

So what is the limit on what the media can publish? Should the press poke fun at religion?

The Church teaches that ‘information provided by the media is at the service of the common good’[1] and says that news communicated ‘should always be true and complete, within the bounds of justice and charity. In addition, the manner in which the news is communicated should be proper and decent.’[2]

So what is this “common good”? The common good often serves as a yard-stick against which can be measured the moral value of certain acts. The Church has long held that ‘that which is beneficial to the common good must be paramount, indeed it is the very end of civic society to exist for the common good.’[3]

The common good should not be seen as what benefits most of the people most of the time, as this would mean the common good would always be changing (and, as such, society would be in a perpetual state of moral flux).

No, the common good may be understood to be those good decisions, motives and aspirations which, in conformity with the way God created his world, allows all the people of the world to flourish and fully realise their human potential. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the common good thus:

‘The sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily.’ [4]

So how is this applied to the media, and the difficulties journalists, broadcasters, and media moguls face? Well, here’s what the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church has to say:[5]

In the world of the media the intrinsic difficulties of communications are often exacerbated by ideology, the desire for profit and political control, rivalry and conflicts between groups, and other social evils. Moral values and principles apply also to the media. “The ethical dimension relates not just to the content of communication (the message) and the process of communication (how the communicating is done) but to fundamental structural and systemic issues, often involving large questions of policy bearing upon the distribution of sophisticated technology and product (who shall be information rich and who shall be information poor?)”.a

In all three areas — the message, the process and structural issues — one fundamental moral principle always applies: the human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media. A second principle is complementary to the first: the good of human beings cannot be attained independently of the common good of the community to which they belong.b It is necessary that citizens participate in the decision-making process concerning media policies. This participation, which is to be public, has to be genuinely representative and not skewed in favour of special interest groups when the media are a money-making venture.c

The question me must all ask ourselves then is this: is what we publish and what we read in conformity with the way God created his world, and does it allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily? If not, then maybe we should question why we allow such publications and read them? It is right that we should have the principle of freedom of speech, the Pope himself has today defended this right – but that freedom comes with  responsibility to build up, not to destroy. What we publish needs to be within the bounds of justice and charity.

Notes: [1] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Vatican City, 2004) 415.

[2] Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, Decree on the Media of Social Communications Inter Mirifica, 5: AAS 56(1964), 147.

[3] Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum, 37§2: Acta Leonis XIII, 11 (1892) 97-144.

[4] Catchism of the Catholic Church 1906; cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 26§1: AAS 58 (1966), 1046-1047.

[5] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Vatican City, 2004), 416.

a Pontifical Council for Social communications, Ethics in Communications, 20, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Vatican City, 2000) p. 22.

b Cf. Ibid., 22, p. 23-25.

c Cf. Ibid., 24, p. 26-28.

A day of prayer for the Synod of Bishops on the Family 2014

Today, Sunday 28th September, has been marked out as a special day of prayer for the preparations of the Synod on the Family.

Synod family pic

The Synod – a meeting of bishops – will take place from the 5th to the 9th October and will discuss the matters which were raised last year when the Church invited every member to fill out a questionnaire on family life. Pope Francis has asked for the following prayer to be recited by all the faithful during liturgical celebrations.

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod

 Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

in you we contemplate

the splendour of true love,

to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

grant that our families too

may be places of communion and prayer,

authentic schools of the Gospel

and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may families never again

experience violence, rejection and division:

may all who have been hurt or scandalized

find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

may the approaching Synod of Bishops

make us once more mindful

of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,

and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

graciously hear our prayer.

AMEN.

The bishops’ conference of England and Wales have more information which can be found here.

Crisis in Iraq

Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP

Sir, over the past few days I have watched with horror at the events unfolding in Iraq. Only this morning I saw a video from the Iraqi parliament of a Yazidi MP making an impassioned plea for help for her community (link below).

The Yazidi and Christian populations, among others, are facing slaughter by IS (formerly ISIS).

Recently the Papal Nuncio issued a letter to Cardinal Vincent Nichols asking for him to offer assistance in spreading a request from Pope Francis that initiatives be undertaken to highlight the plight of these people, and to offer them help and support.

Mr Crabb, please, I urge you, speak out on their behalf in our parliament, that something may be done to rescue, protect or offer humanitarian support to these most vulnerable people.

Many of my parishioners are also duly concerned, and I am sure would welcome a statement from you on this matter.

I look forward to your reply and I offer you my prayers and support for your ministry of service.

I am, yours faithfully,

Fr Liam Bradley.

 

And here’s the reply:

Dear Father Liam,

 Thank you for your recent email regarding the current situation in Iraq.

 I too am appalled by the persecution of minority groups in the country and the desperate situation many of them face. The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the treatment of the minority Yazidi community who have been trapped on Mount Sinjar. The brutal events we have seen just in the last 48 hours underline again what an abhorrent force is at work in Iraq.

 You may be aware that we are already providing humanitarian aid to the region. UK advisers have also been sent to cities under threat of occupation. We fully support the decision of the United States to agree to the Iraqi Government’s request for help in the form of targeted airstrikes. They have already destroyed some arms and equipment belonging to Islamic State, and have provided supplies to Kurdish forces who are opening a road for trapped Yazidis. While we are not joining the United States in a military capacity, we will be providing logistical support in terms of refuelling and surveillance.

 Please be assured that my Ministerial colleagues will be monitoring the developing situation in Iraq very closely.

 Thank you again for your email. If you would like to discuss this important matter further, please get in touch.

 Kind regards

 Stephen