Jesus shows what path to take, especially in times
of trouble, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christians have no need to be afraid or hopeless because Jesus always tells the faithful where they are going and how to get there, Pope Francis said.

“At times, especially when there are major problems to face and there is the sensation that evil is stronger, we ask ourselves: What should I do, what path should I follow?” he said May 7.

Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth and the life,” which means “Jesus himself is the way to follow to live in truth and to have life in abundance,” the pope said.

Before reciting the midday “Regina Coeli” prayer with about 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke about the day’s Gospel reading, John 14:1-12, which is among Jesus’ discourses at the Last Supper before his death.

“The disciples’ hearts are troubled, but the Lord speaks reassuring words to them, inviting them not to be afraid,” the pope said. Jesus “is not abandoning them but is going to prepare a place for them and to guide them toward that destination.”

An estimated 20,000 visitors and pilgrims join Pope Francis for the recitation of the “Regina Coeli” prayer May 7, 2023, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Jesus tells his disciples that “there is space for you, you are welcome, you will always be received with the warmth of an embrace, and I am in heaven to prepare a place for you,” the pope said. Jesus also “prepares for us that embrace with the Father, the place for all eternity.”

This is a source of consolation and hope for the faithful, he said. “So, when we experience fatigue, bewilderment and even failure, let us remember where our life is headed.”

“We must not lose sight of the destination,” he said, which is the “greatness and the beauty” of heaven.
Pope Francis said that once the faithful understand where they are going and what they are living for, the next question is “how can we get there, what is the way?”

Jesus says he is the path to follow, the pope said. “He is the way and therefore faith in him is not a ‘package of ideas’ in which to believe, but rather a road to be traveled, a journey to undertake, a path with him,” which “leads to unfailing happiness.”

The faithful are invited to follow Jesus and imitate him, “especially with deeds of closeness and mercy toward others, Pope Francis said. “This is the compass for reaching heaven: loving Jesus, the way, becoming signs of his love on earth.”

Giving voice to voiceless highlights their God-given dignity, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The life and ministry of the Catholic Church is enriched by listening to everyone, especially those who are often excluded by society, and by including their experiences and perspectives, Pope Francis said.

“For the church is like a rich tapestry, made up of many individual threads that come from various peoples, languages and cultures, yet woven into a unity by the Holy Spirit,” he told a delegation from Catholic Extension.

The pope greeted the delegation during an audience at the Vatican April 26. The group included: U.S. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, chancellor of the organization’s board of governors; retired Arizona Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, vice-chancellor; and Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, who received Catholic Extension’s “Spirit of Francis” Award this year for her work providing care to hundreds of thousands of people at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I congratulate Sister Norma Pimentel,” the pope said, “for her service to the many men, women and children arriving at the southern border of the United States.”

Speaking briefly in Spanish, the pope said the border was “caliente caliente,” that is, a hotbed of activity with so many people “in search of a better future.”

Pope Francis uses his wheeled walker after an audience with a delegation from Catholic Extension at the Vatican April 26, 2023. The group, which included U.S. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, chancellor of the organization’s board of governors, and retired Arizona Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, vice-chancellor, was in Rome April 23-28. The pope thanked the organization for its work “providing assistance to missionary dioceses, particularly in the United States, and in caring for the needs of the poor and most vulnerable.” (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

He thanked Catholic Extension, which had a delegation in Rome April 23-28, for its work “providing assistance to missionary dioceses, particularly in the United States, and in caring for the needs of the poor and most vulnerable,” especially in Puerto Rico “following the various hurricanes and earthquakes which brought such devastation to the island in recent years.”

“By giving a voice to those who are frequently voiceless,” he told the delegation,”you bear witness to the God-given dignity of every person.”

As the entire church is journeying together on the path of synodality, the pope said, “listening to and including the experiences and perspectives of all, especially those on the margins of society, enriches the church’s life and ministry.”

“I am pleased to know of your concern to place those who are often victims of today’s ‘throw-away culture’ at the heart of the church’s pastoral activity; in this way, their voices can be heard, and all can benefit,” he said.

Pope Francis encouraged them to serve others with “God’s style,” that is with closeness, compassion and tender love so that “God’s loving mercy becomes visible, and the fabric of society is strengthened and renewed.”

‘Keyboard warriors’ don’t evangelize, pope says,
they just argue

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Sharing the Gospel requires literally “going out,” witnessing to the joy of faith in person and not just sitting at home, being “keyboard warriors” who argue with others online, Pope Francis said.

“One does not proclaim the Gospel standing still, locked in an office, at one’s desk or at one’s computer, arguing like ‘keyboard warriors’ and replacing the creativity of proclamation with copy-and-paste ideas taken from here and there,” the pope said April 12 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Holding the audience during the Octave of Easter, with tens of thousands of daffodils and tulips still decorating the square, the pope continued his series of audience talks about “evangelical zeal,” looking at how that differs from pretending to share the Gospel while really just seeking attention or pushing one’s own ideas.

Pope Francis greets a girl dressed in a traditional costume as he welcomes her and three other youngsters to take a ride with him in the popemobile before his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 12, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

At the end of the audience, before leading prayers for peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis noted that April 11 was the 60th anniversary of St. John XXIII’s encyclical, “Pacem in Terris” (“Peace on Earth”).

The encyclical, he said, offered humanity “a glimpse of serenity in the midst of dark clouds” of high tension between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The document, published in 1963, is as relevant as ever, Pope Francis said, reading one line as an example: “Relations between states, as between individuals, must be regulated not by armed force, but in accordance with the principles of right reason: the principles, that is, of truth, justice and vigorous and sincere co-operation.”

In his main talk, the pope focused on the need for missionary disciples to be ready to set out and to be open to exploring new paths as they seek to share the Gospel through word and deed.

Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis told people in the square, “I exhort you to be evangelizers who move, without fear, who go forward to share the beauty of Jesus, the newness of Jesus, who changes everything.”

The pope imagined someone replying to him that, “Yes, father, he changed the calendar because now we count years as ‘before Jesus’” and after.

But, even more, the pope said, Jesus “changes one’s heart.”

“Are you willing to let Jesus change your heart?” he asked those in the crowd. “Or are you a lukewarm Christian, who doesn’t move? Think about it a bit. Are you enthusiastic about Jesus and go forward? Think about it.”

“A herald is ready to go and knows that the Lord passes by in a surprising way,” the pope said, so one cannot be “fossilized” by human calculations about what is likely to be successful or by thoughts that “it has always been done this way.”

Being a missionary disciple means “not letting pass by the opportunities to promulgate the Gospel of peace, that peace that Christ knows how to give more and better than the world gives.”

Papa: ‘leones de teclado’ no evangelizan, sólo hacen polémicas

Por Cindy Wooden
CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) – Compartir el Evangelio requiere literalmente “salir”, dar testimonio de la alegría de la fe en persona y no quedarse sentado en casa, siendo “leones de teclado” que discuten con otros en línea, dijo el Papa Francisco.

“No se anuncia el Evangelio parados, encerrados en una oficina, en el escritorio o en el ordenador haciendo polémicas como ‘leones de teclado’ y sustituyendo la creatividad del anuncio con el corta y pega de ideas cogidas aquí y allí”, dijo el Papa el 12 de abril durante su audiencia general semanal en la Plaza de San Pedro. Durante la Octava de Pascua, con decenas de miles de narcisos y tulipanes decorando la plaza, el Papa continuó su serie de discursos sobre el “celo evangélico”, analizando cómo se diferencia de pretender compartir el Evangelio cuando en realidad sólo se busca llamar la atención o promover las propias ideas.

El Papa Francisco lava el pie de un recluso durante la Misa del Jueves Santo de la Cena del Señor en la prisión para menores Casal del Marmo de Roma, 6 de abril de 2023. (Foto de OSV News/Vatican Media)

Al final de la audiencia, antes de dirigir las oraciones por la paz en Ucrania, el Papa Francisco recordó que el 11 de abril se cumplía el 60º aniversario de la encíclica de San Juan XXIII “Pacem in Terris” (“Paz en la Tierra”). La encíclica, dijo, ofreció a la humanidad “un atisbo de serenidad en medio de nubes oscuras” de la alta tensión entre Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética durante la Guerra Fría.
El documento, publicado en 1963, es tan relevante hoy como en ese entonces, dijo el Papa Francisco, leyendo una línea como ejemplo: “Las relaciones internacionales, como las relaciones individuales, han de regirse no por la fuerza de las armas, sino por las normas de la recta razón, es decir, las normas de la verdad, de la justicia y de una activa solidaridad”.

En su discurso principal, el Papa se centró en la necesidad de que los discípulos misioneros estén dispuestos a ponerse en camino y estén abiertos a explorar nuevas sendas mientras tratan de compartir el Evangelio con palabras y obras.

Dejando de lado su texto preparado, el Papa Francisco dijo a la gente en la plaza: “Los exhorto a ser evangelizadores que se mueven, sin miedo, que van adelante para compartir la belleza de Jesús, para llevar la novedad de Jesús que cambia todo”.

El Papa imaginó que alguien le respondía: “Sí, padre, él cambió el calendario, porque ahora contamos los años como ‘antes de Jesús'” y después. Pero, aún más, dijo el Papa, Jesús “cambia el corazón”. “¿Estás dispuesto a dejar que Jesús te cambie el corazón?”, preguntó a los presentes. “¿O eres un cristiano tibio, que no se mueve? Piensa un poco: ¿tú eres un entusiasta de Jesús, vas adelante? Piénsalo”.

“Un heraldo está preparado para partir, y sabe que el Señor pasa de forma sorprendente”, dijo el Papa, por lo que no se puede estar “fosilizado” por cálculos humanos sobre lo que es probable que tenga éxito o por pensamientos de que “siempre se ha hecho así”.

Ser discípulo misionero significa “no dejar pasar las ocasiones de promulgar el Evangelio de la paz, esa paz que Cristo sabe dar más y mejor de como la da el mundo”.

Pope Francis calls for ‘ethical and responsible’
AI development

By Justin McLellan
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis asked tech leaders to measure the value of their innovations not in processing power or profit potential, but in their capacity to promote human dignity.

In a meeting at the Vatican March 27 with scientists, engineers, businesspeople and lawyers working across the tech industry, the pope reflected on the social and cultural impact of artificial intelligence.  
The benefits of artificial intelligence and automated learning for humanity will be realized only if developers act in an “ethical and responsible way” that respects the intrinsic dignity of each person, the pope said.

But he expressed concern that such respect is missing when, for instance, artificially intelligent software is used in producing legal sentences by analyzing an individual’s criminal record and generalized data.

“An individual’s past behavior should not be used to deny him or her the opportunity to change, grow and contribute to society,” he said. “We cannot allow algorithms to limit or condition respect for human dignity, nor can we allow them to exclude compassion, mercy, forgiveness and, above all, an openness to hope for personal change.”

Technology experts fear that the data used to build algorithms in artificially intelligent legal software may amplify pre-existing biases in justice systems, further oppressing already marginalized groups.
“That data can be contaminated by prejudices and social preconceptions,” said the pope. “The fundamental value of a person cannot be measured by a set of data.”

He noted how digital technologies have increased global inequality both economically and in terms of political and social influence. Such inequality, he said, is rooted in a “false sense of meritocracy.”

“There is a risk of conceiving the economic advantage of a few as earned or merited, while the poverty of many is seen, in a certain way, as their fault,” he said.

Pope Francis invited the industry leaders to consider how their innovations may create a more equal and inclusive society.

“Are our national and international institutions able to hold technology companies accountable for the social and cultural impact of their products? Is there are a risk that increased inequality can compromise our sense of human and social solidarity?” he asked.

The pope recalled the ethical principles in AI development agreed to by religious, government and tech industry leaders at the Vatican: transparency, inclusion, responsibility, impartiality, reliability, security and privacy.

Pope Francis meets leaders from the tech industry at the Vatican March 27, 2023. The pope called for an “ethical and responsible” development of artificial intelligence. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

In January, executives from Microsoft and IBM as well as representatives from the Muslim and Jewish communities met at the Vatican to sign a document calling for a human-centered approach to AI development in which the principles were agreed upon.

The document advocated for establishing “an outlook in which AI is developed with a focus not on technology, but rather for the good of humanity and of the environment.”

At the March meeting, the pope thanked the tech leaders for engaging in discussions on responsible technology use that are “open to religious values,” and said that dialogue between religious believers and non-believers on science and ethics “is a path to peacebuilding and integral human development.”

Papa Francisco pide un desarrollo de IA ‘ético y responsable’

Por Justin McLellan

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) – El Papa Francisco pidió a los líderes tecnológicos que midieran el valor de sus innovaciones no en el poder de procesamiento o el potencial de ganancias, sino en su capacidad para promover la dignidad humana.

En una reunión en el Vaticano el 27 de marzo con científicos, ingenieros, empresarios y abogados que trabajan en la industria tecnológica, el Papa reflexionó sobre el impacto social y cultural de la inteligencia artificial.

Los beneficios de la inteligencia artificial y el aprendizaje automatizado para la humanidad solo se realizarán si los desarrolladores actúan de una “manera ética y responsable” que respete la dignidad intrínseca de cada persona, dijo el Papa.

Pero expresó su preocupación de que falta ese respeto cuando, por ejemplo, se usa software artificialmente inteligente para producir sentencias legales mediante el análisis de los antecedentes penales de un individuo y los datos generalizados.

Un robot equipado con inteligencia artificial se ve en el AI Xperience Center en Bruselas el 19 de febrero de 2020. (Foto OSV News/Yves Herman, Reuters)

“El comportamiento pasado de un individuo no debe usarse para negarle la oportunidad de cambiar, crecer y contribuir a la sociedad”, dijo. “No podemos permitir que los algoritmos limiten o condicionen el respeto a la dignidad humana, ni que excluyan la compasión, la misericordia, el perdón y, sobre todo, la apertura a la esperanza del cambio personal”.

Los expertos en tecnología temen que los datos utilizados para construir algoritmos en software legal artificialmente inteligente puedan amplificar los sesgos preexistentes en los sistemas de justicia, oprimiendo aún más a los grupos ya marginados.

“Esos datos pueden estar contaminados por prejuicios y preconcepciones sociales”, dijo el Papa. “El valor fundamental de una persona no se puede medir por un conjunto de datos”.

“Se corre el riesgo de concebir la ventaja económica de unos pocos como ganada o merecida, mientras que la pobreza de muchos es vista, en cierto modo, como su culpa”, dijo.

El Papa Francisco invitó a los líderes de la industria a considerar cómo sus innovaciones pueden crear una sociedad más igualitaria e inclusiva. En la reunión de marzo, el Papa agradeció a los líderes tecnológicos por participar en debates sobre el uso responsable de la tecnología que están “abiertos a los valores religiosos”, y dijo que el diálogo entre creyentes religiosos y no creyentes sobre ciencia y ética “es un camino hacia la consolidación de la paz y desarrollo humano integral”.

El Papa envía medicinas a las víctimas del terremoto de Turquía

Por Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) — El Papa Francisco envió productos farmacéuticos a las víctimas del terremoto en Turquía, donde dos terremotos mortales en febrero mataron al menos a 50,000 personas y dejaron más de 200,000 edificios gravemente dañados o arrasados.

El cardenal Konrad Krajewski, el limosnero papal, y la Embajada de Turquía ante la Santa Sede coordinaron la última ronda de ayuda del Papa, dijo el Dicasterio para el Servicio de la Caridad en un comunicado el 28 de marzo.

Unas 10,000 unidades de medicamentos sin especificar debían llegar por vía aérea a Turquía antes del 28 de marzo, indicó.

Inmediatamente después del terremoto, que desplazó a casi 2 millones de personas en Turquía, el Dicasterio para el Servicio de la Caridad envió alimentos enlatados, pañales y otros suministros que se necesitaban con urgencia, dijo.

También envió unas 10,000 camisetas térmicas a mediados de febrero para distribuirlas entre Turquía y Siria, también afectada por los sismos. A finales de febrero se enviaron tres paletas de medicinas, añadió.

Dos terremotos de magnitud 7.8 y 7.5 devastaron la región el 6 de febrero, matando a más de 55,000 personas.

Mustafa Avci, un sobreviviente del terremoto que estuvo atrapado bajo los escombros durante más de 10 días, conoce a su hija, Almile, por primera vez y se reúne con su esposa, Bilge, en un hospital en Mersin, Turquía, el 17 de febrero de 2023. Almile nació el día del terremoto. (Foto OSV News/Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters)

El Papa dice en un telegrama que el tiroteo de Nashville fue un ‘acto de violencia sin sentido’

Por Carol Glatz

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) — El papa Francisco calificó el mortal tiroteo en una escuela de Nashville como un “acto de violencia sin sentido” y rezó para que las familias en duelo se mantengan firmes en su fe y “saquen el bien de un mal indecible”.

En un telegrama enviado al obispo Joseph M. Spalding de Nashville y firmado por el cardenal Pietro Parolin, secretario de Estado del Vaticano, el Papa dijo que estaba “profundamente entristecido al enterarse del reciente tiroteo en The Covenant School”.

“El Papa Francisco le pide que transmita su más sentido pésame y la certeza de sus oraciones a todos los afectados por este acto de violencia sin sentido”, dijo el telegrama, difundido por el Vaticano el 29 de marzo.

“Se une a toda la comunidad en el duelo por los niños y adultos fallecidos y los encomienda al abrazo amoroso del Señor Jesús”, dijo.

“Asimismo, invoca el consuelo y la fuerza del Espíritu Santo sobre las familias en duelo y reza para que sean confirmadas en su fe en el poder del Señor resucitado para curar todo daño y sacar el bien de males indecibles”, continuó.

Seis personas fueron asesinadas, entre ellas tres niños de 9 años, en la escuela cristiana privada a media mañana del 27 de marzo. El tirador, que iba armado con dos fusiles de asalto, fue abatido por las fuerzas del orden en el lugar de los hechos.

Los carteles colocados por los niños de la Academia Cristiana St. Paul se exhiben a lo largo de la calle en Nashville, Tennessee, el 28 de marzo de 2023, en recuerdo de las víctimas de un tiroteo mortal en la Escuela Covenant. Tres adultos y tres niños, todos de 9 años, recibieron disparos fatales el 27 de marzo. (Foto OSV News/Austin Anthony, Reuters)

El Papa Francisco reza por los migrantes muertos en un ‘trágico’ incendio cerca de la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos

Por Justin McLellan

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) — El Papa Francisco rezó por las víctimas de un “trágico” incendio que mató al menos a 38 personas e hirió a otras 29 en un centro de procesamiento de migrantes en Ciudad Juárez, México, el 27 de marzo.

Durante su saludo a los fieles de habla hispana en su audiencia general del 29 de marzo en la Plaza de San Pedro, el papa dedicó una oración silenciosa a las víctimas y sus familias.

“Recemos por los migrantes que fallecieron ayer en un trágico incendio en Ciudad Juárez, México, para que el Señor los reciba en su Reino y dé consuelo a sus familias”, dijo antes de inclinar la cabeza en silencio.

Una mujer entre la multitud en la Plaza de San Pedro se puso en pie y ondeó una bandera mexicana.

Según autoridades mexicanas, el incendio se produjo cuando los migrantes prendieron fuego a unos colchones tras enterarse de que iban a ser deportados.

El centro de procesamiento de migrantes de Ciudad Juárez se encuentra frente a El Paso (Texas), en la frontera de Estados Unidos con México. Entre los muertos y las decenas de heridos había personas procedentes de Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia y Ecuador que pretendían entrar a Estados Unidos.

Una migrante venezolana llora afuera de una ambulancia por su esposo herido mientras las autoridades mexicanas y los bomberos sacan a los migrantes heridos, en su mayoría venezolanos, del interior del edificio del Instituto Nacional de Migración durante un incendio, en Ciudad Juárez, México, el 27 de marzo de 2023. Al menos 39 personas en el centro de detención de inmigrantes en la frontera de EE. UU. murió en el incendio que se desató en la instalación durante la noche, según un comunicado emitido por el centro. (Foto OSV News/José Luis González, Reuters)

To be an apostle is to serve, not move up church’s hierarchy, pope says

By Justin McLellan
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Being an apostle does not mean climbing up the church’s hierarchy to look down on others but humbling oneself in a spirit of service, Pope Francis said.

During his general audience in St. Peter’s Square March 15, the pope explained that apostleship as understood by the Second Vatican Council produces an equality – rooted in service – among laypeople, consecrated religious, priests and bishops.

“Who has more dignity in the church? The bishop? The priest? No, we are all Christians at the service of others,” he said. “We are all the same, and when one part (of the church) thinks it is more important than the others and turns its nose up (at them), they are mistaken.”

Vatican II, the pope said, did not focus on the laity’s relationship with the church’s hierarchy as a “strategic” move to adapt to the times, but as “something more that transcends the events of that time and retains its value for us today.”

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity states that collaboration between the hierarchy and the laity is essential for the church to fully live out its mission.

Viewing Christian life as a chain of authority “where the person on top commands the rest because they were able to climb up (the ladder)” is “pure paganism,” said the pope.

Reflecting on the passage from St. Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus sends out 72 apostles ahead of him two-by-two, Pope Francis said that service is the vocation Jesus gives to all, including “to those that seem to be in more important positions.”

“Listening, humbling yourself, being at the service of others: this is serving, this is being Christian, this is being an apostle,” he said.

The pope encouraged Christians to pray for members of the church’s hierarchy who appear conceited since “they have not understood the vocation of God.”

Pope Francis also asked that all members of the church reflect on their relationships and consider how that impacts their capacity for evangelization.

Pope Francis addresses the crowd in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican during his general audience March 15, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

“Are we aware that with our words we can harm people’s dignity, thus ruining relationships?” he asked. “As we seek to dialogue with the world, do we also know how to dialogue among ourselves with believers? Is our speech transparent, sincere and positive, or is it opaque, ambiguous and negative?”

“Let us not be afraid to ask ourselves these questions,” the pope said, because examining the responses can help lead Christians toward a more apostolic church.

In his greetings to the faithful, Pope Francis also asked that religious sites in Ukraine be respected in the midst of the war. He expressed his closeness to the Ukrainian Orthodox religious community at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery complex after the Ukrainian government said it would not renew a lease for the monks who belong to the Orthodox community related to the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared its independence from Moscow May 27, 2022, yet members of its senior clergy have since been accused of openly collaborating with the Russian army in Ukraine.