While insisting that this document is not an encyclical or a document aimed at defining Church dogma, "The Joy of the Gospel" is nonetheless an important message of the Successor of Peter in which Pope Francis exhorts all of us in the Church to embrace the Gospel with confidence and to live it with joy.
Recently we have been looking at eight tasks Catholics need to be about in order effectively to bear witness to Christ at this time in America. Today, we shall look at two more: Make Sunday the center of our life and defend the life and dignity of all persons.
The Holy Father has allowed the granting of Plenary indulgences for the faithful during the Year of Faith at places and dates determined by the local bishop. An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment for sin the guilt of which is already forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful obtains under certain conditions.
Since his election on March 13 of this year, he has caught the attention of the world. Even non-believers and non-practicing Catholics are paying attention. Pope Francis surprises and inspires, even as he challenges us to love the poor and in them to meet Jesus anew.
It should come as no surprise that Pope Francis has much to say about Jesus, since Peter and all his successors have been called by God to make Christ known and loved.
Pope Francis also hears their cry and has made service of the poor a top priority in his life and ministry. Repeatedly, since his election as pope, he has called for a Church of the poor, a Church for the poor. Let us see why pastoral concern for the poor is so important.
The Catholic standard for discerning the viability and wisdom of when to assimilate to a culture, or when to resist assimilation, must be the Gospel of Jesus as handed down to us within the Church, and as celebrated in the Sacred Liturgy.
That the popular culture in America has changed dramatically in the past half century is news to no one. Nor should it be surprising that such a dramatic change in culture would greatly impact Catholics since we make up nearly a quarter of our nation’s population.
With filial affection and deep gratitude, I greet you in my own name and the name of my Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares and all the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Phoenix, and I assure you of our best wishes and prayers as you prepare for retirement from the duties of the Petrine ministry.
On the first day after he was elected pope, our new Holy Father traveled across the city of Rome to pray at the most important Roman Shrine of Our Lady, found in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. On the first day of the New Year 2014, Pope Francis again made an unannounced visit to this Marian Shrine. In the nine months of his papacy, he has made similar pilgrimages to pray to the Mother of God and ask her loving protection for the Church and the world.