In his Angelus address last Sunday, Pope Francis said: “The mountains and hills that must be lowered are pride, haughtiness and arrogance. Where there is pride, where there is arrogance, where there is haughtiness, the Lord cannot enter because that heart is full of pride, arrogance and haughtiness. Therefore, we must bring down this pride. We must assume attitudes of meekness and humility, without shouting; listening and speaking meekly and thus preparing for the coming of our Saviour.

“Then we are asked to eliminate all the obstacles we place in our union with the Lord. These actions must, however, be carried out with joy, because they are geared to the preparation for the arrival of Jesus. When we await at home the visit of a person dear to us, we prepare everything with care and good cheer. In the same way we wish to predispose ourselves for the coming of the Lord: awaiting Him every day with solicitude, so as to be filled with His grace when He arrives.”

Bishops on respect for religious freedom

Commenting about the case of Christian baker Jack Phillips who in 2012 declined to create a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony, the US bishops said: “Ame­rica has the ability to serve every person while making room for valid conscientious objection. We pray that the court will continue to preserve the ability of people to live out their faith in daily life, regardless of their occupation. Artists in particular deserve to have the freedom to express ideas – or to decline to create certain messages – in accordance with their deeply-held beliefs.

“Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged in the Obergefell decision in 2015 that people who oppose same-sex marriage ‘reach that conclusion based on decent and honourable religious or philosophical premises’. Creative professionals should be allowed to use their artistic talents in line with these decent and honourable convictions.”

Pope Francis’s simple, direct way of speaking

Vatican culture department secretary Bishop Paul Tighe said the Pope had a communication style that is “very direct and simple”. He told the Jesuit Post that the faithful were “blessed” to have a Pope who is “rather visual in his style of communication”.

He said he believes Francis would be disappointed if people didn’t look beyond this visual representation of the Pope and see “where he’s trying to point people”, which is the Gospel itself.

Pope Francis has over 40 million followers on Twitter ac­counts in nine languages and, through Twitter, is reaching out to “people who don’t follow him”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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