Religions together for humanitarian action

(Vatican Radio) Experts, academics and religious leaders will gather in Geneva at the United Nations Headquarters on May 27 for a day-long debate.

Entitled “Religions Together for Humanitarian Action” the Symposium organized by the Sovereign Order of Malta has been conceived within the framework of its participation in the World Humanitarian summit next year in Istanbul.

During the Symposium policy-makers, religious leaders and academics aim to tackle sensitive issues related to the 2016 summit, which is an initiative of UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon.

As the Order of Malta’s Gran Chancellor, Baron Albrecht von Boeselager explains to Vatican Radio, these issues include the contribution of faith-based organizations in war theatres and the role of religions in promoting reconciliation.

Listen to the interview:

Baron von Boeslager says the idea of holding the Symposium arose following discussions regarding what could be the contribution of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

He explains that the Summit will focus mainly on four different themes, the fourth being “Serving the needs of people in conflict” and he says that the Order he belongs to is deeply committed to providing humanitarian aid in armed conflict, so this is the theme they have decided to concentrate on.

He says it is also an occasion to “elaborate what the special vocation and possibilities of religious-based organizations is, or could be, to help during armed conflicts” he says.

During the Geneva Symposium von Boeslager says participants will also start a discussion with representatives of other religions to find out what could be a common proposal to the World Humanitarian Summit.

He says that recent and ongoing conflicts show that civilians continue to pay the highest price and those human rights are increasingly ignored. 

“To start with one figure: until the First World War, 90% of all victims were soldiers and 10% were civilians, and now it is exactly the other way around” he says.

He points out that not only are 90% of the victims civilians today, but they are mostly women, children and elderly people.

“So the situation for the civilian population in areas of armed conflict has dramatically worsened” he says.

Von Boeslager calls for action as world conventions that were drawn up after the 2 world wars conflicts to protect human rights in conflict situations are increasingly ignored.

He comments on how the values of religion, which are key for reconciliation and peace, are too often manipulated for pursuit of power and profit through violence.





(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: Franciscan vocation centered on littleness, fraternity

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday met with Franciscans taking part in the General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor.

In his address to the friars, the Holy Father focused on two “essential elements” of Franciscan identity: “minority” (It: minorità), a spirit of littleness; and “fraternity.”

The spirit of being a “minor,” he said, “calls one to be and to feel that one is little before God, entrusting oneself totally to His infinite mercy.” The recognition of one’s littleness and sinfulness allows a person to receive salvation. Those on the other hand, who do not feel needy cannot receive the mercy and salvation God offers them. “Minority,” the Pope continued, also means going out of oneself, beyond structures, attitudes, and feelings of security, in order to bear concrete witness of God’s mercy to the poor and needy “in an authentic attitude of sharing and service.”

Fraternity, or brotherhood, was the other aspect of being a Franciscan highlighted by Pope Francis. The Pope noted the witness of Christians in the early church, whose fraternal communion was “an eloquent and attractive sign of unity and charity.” Franciscans, he said, are called “to express this concrete fraternity, by means of a recovery of reciprocal confidence in interpersonal relationships, so that the world might see and believe” recognizing that Christ’s love can heal our wounds and make us one.

Recalling a story of the early days of the Order, Pope Francis noted that the early Franciscans recognized the whole world as their cloister, the space for their evangelical witness. “How important it is to live a Christian and religious existence without losing oneself in disputes and chattering, cultivating a serene dialogue with all, with meekness, mildness, and humility, with poor means, proclaiming peace and living soberly, content with what is offered to you.” Alluding gently to some difficulties the Franciscans have faced in recent years, the Pope said Franciscans must be committed to their vocation of poverty and littleness.

Pope Francis reminded the friars that it is the Holy Spirit who animates the religious life. “When consecrated persons live, allowing themselves to be illuminated and guide by the Spirit, they discover in this supernatural vision the secret of their fraternity, the inspiration of their service to the brethren, the strength of their prophetic presence in the Church and in the world.” The “light and strength” of the Holy Spirit, he said, will also help Franciscans confront the challenges posed by a decline in numbers and vocations, and by an aging congregation.


(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: worldly Christians can’t have both heaven and earth

(Vatican Radio)  It's sad to see a Christian who wants to "follow Jesus and the things of this world." That’s what Pope Francis said at Tuesday morning’s Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, stressing that a Christian is called to make a radical choice in life:  you can’t be “half” Christian or have both "heaven and earth."

In his homily Pope Francis reflects on Peter’s query to Jesus:  what would he and the disciples get in return for following Him?  Peter asks the question after the Lord told the rich young man to sell all his possessions and give everything to the poor.

A Christian cannot have heaven and earth; do not be attached to things

The Pope notes that Jesus responds in an unexpected way:  He does not speak of riches to his disciples,  but promises instead the Kingdom of Heaven "but with persecution, with the cross:"

"So when a Christian is attached to [worldly] things, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: [both] heaven and earth. And the touchstone of comparison precisely, is what Jesus says: the cross, the persecutions. This is to deny oneself, to suffer the cross every day... The disciples had this temptation, to follow Jesus but then:  how will this bargain end up?”  

The Pope then refers to the reading from Mathew where James and John’s mother asks Jesus to secure a place at His side for her children:

“’Ah, make this one prime minister for me - this one, the minister of the economy ...', and she took the worldly interest in following Jesus," the Pope says with irony.

But , Francis notes, "the heart of these disciples was cleansed," through to Pentecost, when "they understood everything." "The gratuitousness  of following Jesus,” the Pope says, is the answer to the gratuitousness of love and salvation that Jesus gives us." And when "one wants to go and be with both Jesus and with the world, with both poverty and with riches,” he warns, “this is half-way Christianity that desires material gain. It is the spirit of worldliness."

Riches, vanity and pride take us away from Jesus

Echoing the words of the prophet Elijah, Pope Francis alludes to this kind of Christian as one "limping on two legs" because he "does not know what he wants." So, the Pope affirms, in order to understand this,  we must remember that Jesus says "the first shall be last and the last shall be first," meaning "the one who believes or who is the greatest" must be "the servant, the smallest one ":

"Following Jesus from the human point of view is not a good deal: it’s serving. He did so, and if the Lord gives you the opportunity to be the first, you have to act like the last one, that is, in service. And if the Lord gives you the ability to have possessions, you have to act in service, that is, to others. There are three things, three steps that take us away from Jesus: wealth, vanity and pride. This is why they are so dangerous, the riches, because they immediately make you vain and you think you are important. And when you think you are important, you lose your head and you lose yourself."

A worldly Christian is a counter-witness

What the Lord wants from us is to "strip" ourselves of worldy things the Pope stresses.  And it took Jesus a long time to get this message across to His disciples “because they did not understand well."   We too must ask Him to teach us “this science of service” the Pope says, “this science of humility, this science of being the last to serve our brothers and sisters in the Church."

"It's sad to see a Christian, whether it’s a lay person, consecrated priest, bishop -  it’s sad when you see he wants two things: to follow Jesus and worldly things, to follow Jesus and worldliness. And this is a counter-witness and furthers people from Jesus. We continue now the celebration of the Eucharist, thinking of Peter's question. 'We left everything: what will you give us in return?' And thinking about Jesus’ response.  The recompense that He will give us is resemblance to Him. This will be our 'recompense'. Big 'recompense', to be like Jesus!”

(from Vatican Radio)

The whole world continues to be your cloister, says the Pope to the Order of Friars Minor

Vatican City, 26 May 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor, dedicated this time to two key aspects of their identity: minority and fraternity.

In his address, the Holy Father remarked that minority “calls us to be and to feel small before God, entrusting ourselves entirely to his infinite mercy. The perspective of mercy is incomprehensible to those who do not recognise themselves as 'minor': that is, as small, needy and sinners before God. The more aware we are of this, the closer we are to salvation; the more convinced we are of being sinners, the more disposed we are to be saved. … Minority also means coming out of ourselves, of leaving behind our preconceptions and personal views; it also means going beyond structures – that are of course useful if used wisely – and beyond our habits and certainties, to bear witness to real closeness to the poor, needy and marginalised, with an authentic attitude of sharing and service”.

Similarly, the dimension of fraternity is essential for bearing witness to the Gospel. “In the primitive Church, Christians lived in fraternal community to the extent that … the people were surprised to see them so united in love, so willing to give and to forgive each other”, commented the Pope. “Your religious family is called upon to express this concrete fraternity, by recovering this mutual trust in interpersonal relations, so that the world may see and believe, acknowledging that Christ's love heals wounds and renders us as one”.

In this respect, Francis invited the Franciscans to be “bringers of mercy, reconciliation and peace”, in obedience to their charism which has made them an “outbound congregation” since their origins. “It is said that when the first friars were asked to show their cloisters, they climbed a hill and, showing the land around, as far as the eye could see, they answered, 'This is our cloister'. Dear brothers, continue to go into this cloister, which is the whole world, driven by Christ's love, as St. Francis invites you to do … when he says … 'I counsel, warn and exhort my friars in the Lord Jesus Christ, that when they go about through the world, they are not to quarrel nor contend in words, nor are they to judge others, but they are to be meek, peaceable and modest, meek and humble, speaking uprightly to all, as is fitting. … Into whatever house they may enter, first let them say: 'Peace to this house', and … it is lawful to eat any of the foods which are placed befor them”.

The Pope stressed that St. Francis' exhortation remains valid. “It is a prophecy of fraternity and minority for today's world too. How important it is to live a Christian and religious existence without losing oneself in disputes and gossip, cultivating a serene dialogue with all, … with modest means, announcing peace and living in a sober fashion, content with what is offered to you. This also requires decisive commitment to transparency, to the ethical and fraternal use of goods, in a style of sobriety. If, instead, you are attached to worldly goods and wealth, and place your security there, it will be the Lord Himself Who will despoil you of this spirit of worldliness in order to preserve this valuable heritage of minority and poverty to which He has called you through St. Francis. You will either be freely poor and minor, or find yourselves denuded”.

“The Holy Spirit is the inspiration for religious life”, continued Pope Francis. “When consecrated persons let themselves be enlightened and guided by the Spirit, they discover in this supernatural vision the secret of their fraternity, the inspiration for their service to their brothers, the strength of their prophetic presence in the Church and in the world. The light and the strength of the Spirit will also help you face the challenges that lie before you, especially the numerical decrease, ageing and diminution of new vocations”.

“The people of God love you. Cardinal Quarracino once said: 'In our cities there are groups or people who are against the clergy, and when a priest passes by they say certain things to him – in Argentina they call them “crows”. But I have never, ever heard these remarks in the presence of a Franciscan habit. Why? You have inherited authority with the people of God with your minority, fraternity, meekness, humility, and poverty. Please preserve this! Do not lose it. The people love you”.

Meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops closes

Vatican City, 26 May 2015 (VIS) – The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops today completed its two-day meeting to prepare for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly on the theme “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world”, to be held from 4 to 25 October in the Vatican. The Council was chaired by the Holy Father, who met with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri and Bishop Fabio Fabene (respectively secretary general and under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops) last week, and whose presence underlined the importance he attributes to the current Synod path.

Yesterday, 25 May, and this morning, the Council closely examined the plan for the Instrumentum laboris resulting from the Relatio Synodi of the Extraordinary Assembly, integrated with numerous contributions provided by the answers to the questions included in the Lineamenta sent by the Episcopal Conferences and other competent entities, as well as the many contributions received by the Secretariat General from various ecclesial bodies and individual faithful. An extensive and detailed study of the text has generated proposals and contributions for its integration and improvement. The text, thus revised and shared by the members of the Council, has been entrusted to the Secretariat General for its final redaction, translation in various languages and publication, which will take place in a few weeks' time.

Following the examination of the Instrumentum laboris, proposals from the Secretariat General for updating the working method for the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops were presented.

Pope sends Message to mark 5th centenary of St. Philip Neri

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the Procurator-General of the Congregation of the Oratory, Fr. Mario Alberto Avilés, C.O., to mark the fifth centenary of the birth of the founder of the “Oratorians”, St. Philip Neri. The Message was sent to coincide with the liturgical memory of St. Philip Neri on May 26th, though the Saint’s 500th birthday is later this year: on July 15th.

St. Philip Neri was a priest of Rome, and a renowned pastor and confessor in his own time, who had special care for the poor children of the city, founding for them a school and later a college. He also instituted the Visit to the Seven Churches – a pilgrimage that took people from all walks of life on long treks to visit the ancient basilicas in the Roman countryside.

Click below to hear our report

In his Message, Pope Francis writes, “Thanks also to the apostolate of St. Philip, commitment to the salvation of souls returned to be a priority for the Church; once again, the Church recovered its understanding that pastors have to be with their people to guide and support their faith.” The Pope goes on to say, “St. Philip Neri remains a luminous model of the permanent mission of the Church in the world.”

The Congregation of the Oratory, which St. Philip Neri founded, is the first example of secular priests living a communal life: The idea of the Oratory soon spread through Italy and Europe, and today, Oratories can be found in many nations throughout the world.

(from Vatican Radio)

Vatican bank posts big jump in net profits for 2014

(Vatican Radio)  The IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion, released its Annual Report for 2014 on Monday, showing a net profit of 69.3 million Euros, a substantial increase from the 2.9 million reported in 2013.

IOR media officer Max Hehnberg told Vatican Radio that 2014 was a positive year financially, but "within the norm" for what is widely known as the Vatican bank. The net gains, the Institute said, are the result of a reorganization of the accounts and “mainly due to an increase in the Net Trading Income from securities and a decline in extraordinary operating expenses.”

“The main focus is on fundamentally improving our overall client service standards and further professionalizing our asset management services”, said Jean-Baptiste de Franssu in a statement.  "Next to providing seamless and reliable payment solutions this is at the core of our plan within the new regulatory framework introduced in the Vatican and given the recently signed tax agreement between the Holy See and Italy".

The statement said further strengthening of IOR compliance culture and resources is a priority coupled with the establishment of new internal audit and risk management functions. In particular, the systematic efforts towards implementation of anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures under supervision of Vatican regulator AIF have continued and procedures are regularly monitored and further developed where necessary.

The Vatican Bank serves some 15,000 customers who maintain 6 billion euro in assets entrusted to the IOR.   From May 2013 to 31 December 2014 the IOR closed 4,614 relationships with its customers, of which 2,600 were "dormant" or inactive or small balance accounts.  554 accounts were closed which did not fit in the categories of authorized client accounts and a further 1,460 were terminated for natural attrition.  Another 274 accounts are in the process of termination.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope speaks with open heart to Argentinean newspaper

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says that being with people does him good.

In a long and very personal interview with Juan Beretta, a reporter from the Argentinean newspaper “La Voz Del Pueblo”, the Pope speaks of his feelings of when he was elected Pope, of how he misses walking the streets, using public transport and sitting down for a pizza, of how he feels moved and sad when he meets sick children, prison inmates and people who’ve had no opportunities in life, of how he would like to be remembered “as someone who did some good”.

The interview, conducted in the privacy of his residence at Casa Santa Marta, offers some insights into the everyday life of Francis who says that never would he have expected to be elected as the Successor of Peter, but of how the life of a religious, “a Jesuit, undergoes change according to necessity”.

Did not expect to be elected Pope

To the question whether he had ever “dreamt” of becoming Pope, Francis says: “Never! Nor, for that matter, of becoming a President or an Army General – as some children do! I never did. ”

He speaks of the years in which his life, as a Jesuit, changed according to the situations. And he says that when he travelled to Rome to vote in the last Conclave, he had a return ticket in his pocket and an unfinished homily on his desk at home. “For British bookmakers the odds of me becoming Pontiff were given at 46 to 1!” he laughs.

Asked how he felt when he was elected Pope on March 13, 2013, Francis said he felt “great peace”. During the casting of the last ballots he was left alone to pray the rosary and was given words of encouragement by his friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes who told him not to worry because “the Holy Spirit was taking care of everything”.

Afterwards, he says, he was led into the Sacristy where he changed his cassock, and stepping out on the balcony, the words he pronounced just came to him: “I felt so much peace and the words came from my heart”. 

Being with people makes me feel good

Regarding his exceptional relationship with people, Pope Francis says that “being with people does me good”. He says that people understand him and comprehend what he wants to say. “Psychologically I can’t be far from people”.

And speaking of everyday life in the Casa Santa Marta he explains it is an ordinary guest house for some 40 people who work for the Holy See and for visiting bishops, priests and lay people. He says they all share their meals in the dining room and attend Mass together four mornings a week.   

I miss going out for a “pizza,” but I do not like “protocol”

Talking about what he misses most today, the Pope says: “walking”. Going out into the streets and sitting down for pizza: “Ordering one in the Vatican is not the same thing.” He reveals that he has always been a big walker and back in Argentina he used to catch the subway and really “live the city”. He tells of the time when he forgot to roll up the window in the vehicle he was being driven in “and chaos erupted” when the people in the street realized it was the Pope in the car and they crowded around in excitement “and the car couldn’t get passed”. He says he known for “lacking in discipline” and confesses that although he finds protocol cold, today he says that in official occasions he “keeps to it totally”.

Wakeup at 4am after a good night’s sleep

Notwithstanding the grave responsibilities tied to his role, Pope Francis says he sleeps deeply for six hours in a row. He awakes (no need for an alarm clock!) at 4am and recharges thanks to a 40” siesta during the day.
Before falling asleep in the evening Francis reads a little; he reveals he is currently reading a book about the great spiritual teacher Saint Silouan the Athonite.

Does the Pope cry?

In his homilies Pope Francis often refers to the importance of “being able to cry” and feel “tenderness”. He speaks in the interview of the times he himself has been moved to tears when confronted with “human dramas” – in particular, he speaks of the drama of the “Rohinga people” and more generally of his sadness when he meets sick children: When I see them – he says – I ask the Lord ‘why them and not me?’

The Pope also speaks of being deeply moved when visiting people who are in prison because “no one can be sure he will never commit a crime and end up in prison”. And speaking of inmates Francis says he asks himself why is it that they have never had the same opportunities in life that he has?.

The Pope says he does not cry publically, but it has happened that he has just managed to keep back his tears, such as when recently he was talking about “the persecutions of Christians in Iraq and the fate of the children there”.

Keeping on working at a fast pace

Francis describes himself as having quite a bold and daring character, therefore generally – he says - he is not afraid. As regards the possibility of being the target of an attack he says he is serene “and in the hands of God”, but he confesses to fear physical pain and suffering.

Regarding the pressure he feels as he carries out his Ministry, the Pope says the work is intense and sometimes he suffers from a sort of an “end-of-year” syndrome when one is faced with an intense workload and the fatigue of having to tackle exams.

In his work, he mentions specifically the peril of being taken out of context by the media,  and  he says he does not follow the political evolution of his homeland, Argentina, which he says is land of much potential and many wasted opportunities.

Does not watch TV, surf the internet or follow football

Helping him keep up to date with world affairs, Pope Francis leafs through the Italian daily newspaper “La Repubblica” in the morning for not more than ten minutes.  

He says he has not watched television since 1990 when he made a promise to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  

And regarding his being a football fan who roots for Buenos Aires’ San Lorenzo team, Pope Francis says he does not watch games any more but there is a Swiss Guard in the Vatican who keeps him up to date with results.

The Pope of the poor

When asked whether he is happy to be called the Pope of the poor, Francis says that poverty is at the heart of the Gospel: “Jesus came to preach to the poor, it is impossible to take poverty away from the Gospel”.

The Pope says the worst evils in the world today are “poverty, corruption, human trafficking”.

Although many believe that the eradication of poverty is a utopia, the Pope says ideals are what move us forward. He says that it would be very sad if young people were not utopian and idealistic. He lists three things we should all keep in mind as we face the problems that arise: “memory, the capacity to see the present, a utopian vision for the future”.

In conclusion, when asked how he would like to be remembered, Francis’s answer is simple: “As a person who has done his best to do good. I have no other claim”.          


(from Vatican Radio)

Cardinal Turkson’s message to Africa on Africa Day 2015

Speaking on the occasion of Africa Liberation Day or Africa Freedom Day being celebrated by many African countries on 25 May 2015, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson has spoken passionately about the need for African governments to work towards nation building. Cardinal Turkson, who originates from Ghana, was speaking in Rome in an interview with Fr. Paul Samasumo of Radio Vatican’s English Service for Africa.

“A number of people in Africa value the sense of solidarity and belonging to tribal groups than to national groups,” he has said.

According to Cardinal Turkson, most African governments have not been able to achieve nation building and nationhood. The Cardinal says, “The historical creation of country boundaries in Africa was not done with a sense of dignity by colonial powers.  The boundary making disregarded the question of who lives where and other crucial factors.  Hence, this has contributed to challenges of nation building on the African continent,” the Cardinal Turkson said.

Christians in Africa, the Cardinal emphasised, should particularly be at the forefront and speak the language of Saint Paul who says, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).  “This has not happened in several places in Africa - and Europe as well.  If that happens, one would expect that at least in the Church our sense of communion would supersede that of our tribal belonging.  The value of ‘Family of God’ should drive people to realise that in a family there is belonging and fairness; in a family, relationships are reconciled and built,”  he said.

Asked about one of Africa’s present challenges, migration and the current tragedies of young people dying in the Mediterranean sea on their way to Europe, Cardinal Turkson said that he appreciates what the European Union and what all other concerned groups are trying to do. He however says, “We should first learn to turn off the tap and not limit ourselves to mopping the water. It is of paramount importance to investigate questions about where the migrants are coming from and what is making them flee,” he said.  

The Cardinal says that migration is a challenging issue that heads of states and governments in Africa need to look at seriously.  He says that African youth are the ones who are capable of carrying out development on the continent and if they are abandoning the continent it would be difficult to develop Africa.  “The human person, human capital is one of the greatest assets we have for development in Africa hence the need to invest in the capabilities of these young people and making them contribute to nation building is the way forward for Africa,” he said.

The Cardinal further challenged Africa to invest in the education of its people and make resources available to them.

(By Rudolph Nyamudo and Fr. Paul Samasumo/Vatican Radio)


(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: wealth that is not shared generates corruption

(Vatican Radio)  If you are wealthy, you should make sure your riches serve the "common good." An abundance of things lived selfishly is "sad", steals "hope," and is the origin "of all kinds of corruption," large or small. That was Pope Francis’ reflection in his Homily at this morning’s Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.

Listen to this report by Tracey McClure:

In his Homily, Pope Francis reflects on one of the most famous passages of the Gospel: Jesus meets the rich young man who enthusiastically asks to follow Him and assures Him he will always live by the commandments.  But when Jesus tells him one last thing is needed - to sell his things, give everything to the poor and then follow Him - the young man’s attitude and willingness swiftly change. Suddenly, "the joy and hope" in the rich young man vanish, because he does not want to give up his riches.

"The attachment to riches is the beginning of all kinds of corruption, everywhere: personal corruption, corruption in business, even small commercial bribery, the kind that shortchanges you at the counter, political corruption, corruption in education ... Why? Because those who live attached to their own power, their own wealth, they believe they’re in heaven. They are closed; they have no horizon, no hope. Eventually they will have to leave everything."

Rich and sterile

"There is a mystery in the possession of wealth," says Francis. "Riches have the ability to seduce, to take us to a seduction and make us believe that we are in a paradise on earth." Instead, says the Pope, that earthly paradise is a place without "horizon", similar to that neighborhood the pontiff  remembers seeing in the seventies, inhabited by wealthy people who had built walls and fences to defend their property from thieves:

"And living without horizons is a sterile life; living without hope is a sad life. The attachment to wealth makes us sad and makes us sterile. I say 'attachment,' I am not saying 'good administration of one’s riches', because riches are for the common good, for everyone. And if the Lord gives them to one person it is so that they are used for the good of all, not for oneself, not so they are closed in one’s heart, which then becomes corrupt and sad."

Open your hand and your horizons

Wealth without generosity, insists Pope Francis, "makes us believe that we are powerful like God. And in the end it takes away the best: hope." But Jesus, he concludes, indicates in the Gospel the right way to live.

"The first Beatitude: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit,' or the stripping off of this attachment and making sure that the riches that the Lord has given one are for the common good. It’s the only way. Open your hand, open your heart, open up the horizon. But if you have a closed hand, your heart is closed as the man’s who threw banquets and wore expensive clothes;  you have no horizons, you do not see others who are in need and you'll end up like that man: far from God. "

(from Vatican Radio)