Category Archives: Pope Francis

Behold! I will save my people

“By an utterly free and mysterious decree of his own wisdom and goodness, the eternal Father created the whole world.  His plan was to dignify men with a participation of his own divine life.  When in Adam men had fallen, he did not abandon them, but ceaselessly offered them help to salvation, in anticipation of Christ the Redeemer, ‘who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature’.  All the elect, before time began, the Father ‘foreknew and predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he should be the firstborn among many brethren’.

“All those who would believe in Christ he planned to assemble in the holy Church, which was already foreshadowed from the beginning of the world.  In a remarkable way the Church was prepared for throughout the history of the people of Israel and by means of the Old Covenant.  Established in the present era of time, she was made manifest by the outpouring of the Spirit.  At the end of time she will achieve her glorious fulfillment.  Then, as may be read in the holy Fathers, all just men from the time of Adam, ‘from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect’, will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church.

“Finally, those who have not yet received the gospel are related in various ways to the People of God.

“In the first place there is that people to whom the covenants and promises were made and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.  On account of their fathers, this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues.

“But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the creator.  In the first place among these there are the Muslims; they profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and along with us adore the one and merciful God, who will judge mankind on the last day.”

Excerpt from the Constitution of the Church of the Second Vatican Council Nn 2,16

Rabbi Abraham Skorka,Omar Abboud, Muslim leader from Argentina, and Pope Francis, after praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26, 2014.

Pope Francis suggests ‘Divine Comedy’ as important reading for Year of Mercy

By Elliot Williams
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is more than a literary masterpiece, it is an invitation “to rediscover the lost or obscured meaning of our human path and to hope to see again the glowing horizon on which the dignity of the human person shines in its fullness,” Pope Francis said.

Dante Running from the Three Beasts, by William Blake. From Blake's Illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy
Dante Running from the Three Beasts, by William Blake.
From Blake’s Illustrations to Dante’s Divine Comedy

As the Italian government formally celebrated the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth May 4, Pope Francis sent a message saying that while the centuries have passed Dante “still has much to say and to offer through his immortal works to those who wish to follow the route of true knowledge and authentic discovery of the self, the world and the profound and transcendent meaning of existence.”

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, read the pope’s message at the celebration in the Italian Senate where Oscar-winning actor Roberto Benigni read from Dante’s “Paradise.”

“Paradise” is the final portion of the “Divine Comedy,” an epic poem written between 1308 and 1320, recounting Dante’s allegorical journey through hell, purgatory and heaven.

“We are able to enrich ourselves with his experience in order to cross the many dark forests still scattered on our earth,” the pope said, “and to happily complete our pilgrim story, to reach the destination dreamed of and wished for by everyone: ‘The love that moves the sun and other stars.'”

Pope Francis said he hoped that as Catholics prepare to celebrate the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy they would pick up Dante’s work and allow it to be a spiritual guide.

Dante, he said, is “a prophet of hope, herald of the possibility of redemption, liberation and the profound transformation of every man and woman, of all humanity.

The Year of Mercy begins on this year‘s feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015 A.D. It will close on November 20, 2016 A.D., that year‘s feast of Christ the King.