Pope Francis is Kissing A Horribly Disfigured Man

7 11 2013

God Loves You, Jesus Loves You And I love You

Like St Francis Who Kissed A Leper, Pope Francis is Kissing A Horribly Disfigured Man .God Loves You, Jesus Loves You, And Francis Loves You.

Disfigured man embraced by Pope: ‘I felt only love’

By Daniel Burke and Livia Borghese, CNN

Rome (CNN)  The photo roused emotions and sparked conversations around the world – but the man at the center of the image says the moment left him speechless.

“I tried to speak, to tell him something, but I couldn’t: The emotion was too strong,” says Vinicio Riva, the disfigured man embraced by Pope Francis in images that went viral.

“It all lasted not more than a minute, but it seemed an eternity,” Riva told the Italian magazine Panorama this weekend.

Riva, whose body is covered with tumors due to a rare disease, said his unusual appearance has led to a lifetime of living on the margins.

That is, until he showed up at St. Peter’s Square on November 6.

Riva went to Rome on the advice of a friend with whom he travels to Lourdes, the Catholic shrine in France visited by thousands of ailing and infirm pilgrims each year.

After meeting Francis, Riva said he kissed the Pope’s hand. Then the Pope pulled Riva toward him, hugging the 53-year-old Italian and kissing his face.

MORE ON CNN: Why the Pope’s embrace is so powerful

Riva, who lives in Vicenza in northern Italy, said he suffers from neurofibromatosis Type 1, which causes painful tumors to grow throughout his body. His younger sister and late mother also suffered from the rare disease, Riva told Panorama.

The first signs of the disease began when he was 15, Riva said, and since then, he has often felt ostracized because of his unusual appearance.

But the Pope showed no sign of discomfort as he approached, said Riva. Instead, the pontiff’s face broke into a calm smile.

“But what most astonished me is that he didn’t think twice on embracing me,” Riva said. “I’m not contagious, but he didn’t know. He just did it; he caressed all my face, and while he was doing that, I felt only love.”





The Poor Boy and the Rich Lady

31 10 2013

The Poor Boy and the Rich Lady

A little boy was sitting at the doorstep of a splendid mansion in a great city; he was cold and hungry, and his clothes were only rags. He was an orphan, for both his parents were dead, and he had been wandering over the country without a friend or a home. He hoped that someone would offer him a crust of bread, or allowed him to sleep under the stable.

As he was sitting there tired and weary, and tears running down his cheeks, the door opened and the lady of the house appeared. She was on the point of telling him to go away ; but when she saw his sad face, and heard his sorrowful tale, she had compassion, took him into her house, and gave him some food.

While she stood watching him, a thought suddenly came into her mind. “Would you like to stay with me?” she said. “I think you would be happier here than wandering about without a home.”

The little boy looked up and could not imagine what he had heard. So, she asked him a second time, and he threw himself on the ground at her feet, and for some moments could not speak, so great was his joy.

The lady was pleased with the boy, and in a short time adopted him as her child, and made him the heir of her great wealth; and the boy, in gratitude loved her tenderly all his life.

But God has done more for you than that. He created you and made you His child in this world, and has made you also the heir of eternal treasures in Heaven. Is He, then, not worthy of all your love?

 





Pope Francis Appeals Strongly For Peace and Declares September 7 Day of Prayers for Syria

31 10 2013

Pope francis ask for prayers

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

“May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

“What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

“I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

“May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

“To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Pope Francis

 





Letter To My Atheist Friend by Benedict XVI

29 09 2013

Letter To My Atheist Friend by Benedict XVI

While the world was still digesting a wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis on Monday the Italian daily La Repubblica published excerpts from a letter Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sent to a well-known atheist, the mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi – the Richard Dawkins of Italy. Benedict was responding to a book Odifreddi wrote in 2011 titled, “Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You”, says Rome correspondent Edward Pentin. The book is a critique of certain arguments and lines of thought found in Benedict’s theological writings, beginning with his 1967 volume Introduction to Christianity and including the book Jesus of Nazareth, which he wrote as Pope. The extracts show Benedict as his usual gentlemanly, though frank, self, calmly weighing the popular writer’s claims and countering his exaggerations and omissions. It was Odifreddi himself who decided to publish Benedict’s letter. Writing in La Repubblica on Monday he said that few people “can understand the surprise and excitement” you feel on receiving “an unexpected letter from a pope.” He said the letter was delivered on September 3, and he waited to publish it to make sure he had Benedict XVI’s permission. The depth of his answer was “beyond reasonable hopes,” Odifreddi said, and he was particularly surprised that Benedict read his book from cover to cover and wanted to discuss it, as it had been billed as a “luciferian introduction to atheism.” Odifreddi said the entire 11-page letter will be included in a new edition of his book. He said that he and Benedict may disagree on almost everything, but they have “united in at least one common goal: the search for the Truth, with a capital ‘T.’” The published experts follow. * * * * * Dear Professor Odifreddi, (…) I would like to thank you for your very detailed critique of my books, and similarly aspects of my faith. Such an endeavour is largely what I meant by my address to the Roman Curia on the occasion of Christmas 2009. I have to thank you very much for the way you faithfully followed my text, seeking earnestly to do it justice. My opinion about your book as a whole, however, is itself rather mixed. I read some parts with enjoyment and profit. In other parts, however, I was taken aback by the aggressiveness and rash nature of your argument.(…) Several times you pointed out to me that theology must be science fiction. In this respect, I’m surprised that you still feel my book worthy of discussion. Let me make four points in relation to this issue: 1. Is it fair to say that “science” in the strictest sense of the word is just math? I learned from you that, even here, the distinction should be made between arithmetic and geometry. In all the specific scientific subjects each one has its own form, according to the particularity of its object. It is essential that you apply a verifiable method, which excludes arbitrariness and ensures rationality in their different ways. 2. You should at least recognize that, in history and in philosophical thought, theology has produced lasting results. 3. An important function of theology is to keep religion tied to reason and reason to religion. Both functions are of paramount importance for humanity. In my dialogue with [sociologist Jurgen] Habermas I have shown that there are pathologies of religion and — no less dangerous — pathologies of reason. Religion and reason need each other, and to keep them constantly connected is an important task of theology. 4. Science fiction exists, moreover, in the context of many sciences. What it offers are theories about the beginning and the end of the world as found in Heisenberg, Schrödinger and others. I would designate such works as science fiction in the best sense: they are visions which anticipate true knowledge, although they are, in fact, only imaginative attempts to get closer to reality. There is, however, science fiction on a grand scale even within the theory of evolution. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a classic example of science fiction. The great [molecular biologist] Jacques Monod wrote some sentences which he has inserted in his works which could only be science fiction. I quote: “The emergence of tetrapod vertebrates … originates from the fact that a primitive fish ‘chose’ to go and explore the land, on which, however, it was unable to move except by jumping clumsily and thus creating, as a result of a modification of behaviour, the selective pressure leading to the development of the sturdy limbs of tetrapods. Among the descendants of this bold explorer, of this Magellan of evolution, some can run at a speed of 70 miles per hour … ” (Quoted from the Italian edition of Chance and Necessity, Milan 2001, p. 117ff.). On the issues discussed so far this is a serious dialogue, for which – as I have said repeatedly – I am grateful . The situation is different in the chapter [of your book] on the priest and Catholic morality, and again in different parts of the chapters on Jesus. As for what you say about moral abuse of minors by priests, I can – as you know – only take note with deep concern. I have never tried to hide these things. That the power of evil penetrates to such an extent in the inner world of faith is for us a source of suffering which, on the one hand, we have to endure, while, on the other, we must at the same time do everything possible to ensure that such cases are not repeated. Nor is it reassuring to know that, according to the research of sociologists, the percentage of priests who are guilty of these crimes is not higher than that found in other similar professions. In any case, one must not present this deviance ostentatiously, as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism. On the other hand, if we may not remain silent about evil in the Church, neither can we keep silent about the great shining path of goodness and purity which Christian faith has traced through the centuries. You must remember the great and pure figures that faith has produced: Benedict of Nursia and his sister Scholastica, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, the great saints of charity like Vincent de Paul and Camillo de Lellis, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the great and noble figures of nineteenth century Turin. It is also true today that faith leads many people to selfless love, in service to others, sincerity and justice.(…) What you say about Jesus is not worthy of your scientific rank. You question whether, after all, we can know anything about Jesus, suggesting that we can know nothing about him as a historical figure, and so I can only invite you to become a bit more competent from a historical point of view. In this regard I recommend especially the four volumes that Martin Hengel (an exegete from the Protestant Theological Faculty of Tübingen) published together with Mary Schwemer: this work is an excellent example of historical accuracy and very broad historical information. In the face of this, what you say about Jesus is reckless talk that should not be repeated. That there has been too much exegesis written that lacks seriousness is, unfortunately, an indisputable fact. The American Jesus Seminar you have cited on pages 105 ff only confirms again what Albert Schweitzer noted in his Geschichte Leben-Jesu-Forschung (The Quest of the Historical Jesus) — that is, that the so-called “historical Jesus” mostly reflects ideas of the authors. These flawed historical works, however, do not compromise the importance of serious historical research, which has led us to true knowledge about the figure of Jesus and confidence in proclaiming him.(…) I also forcefully reject your statement (p. 126) that I presented the historical-critical method of exegesis as a tool of the Antichrist. In treating the story of Jesus’ temptations, I have merely presented Soloviev’s thesis, according to which historical-critical exegesis can also be used by the antichrist – which is an indisputable fact. At the same time, however, always — and in particular in the preface to the first volume of my book on Jesus of Nazareth — I explained clearly that historical-critical exegesis is necessary for a faith that does not propose myths with historical images, but calls for a genuine historicity and therefore must present the historical reality of its claims in a scientific manner. You are not even correct when you tell me that I would be interested only in meta-history; quite the contrary, all my efforts are aimed to show that the Jesus described in the Gospels is also the real historical Jesus, that it is a story that really happened. (…) By the 19th chapter of your book we return to the positive aspects of your dialogue with my thinking. (…) Even if your interpretation of John 1:1 is very far from what the evangelist meant, there is a convergence that is important. If, however, you want to replace God with “Nature”, it begs the question: Who or what is this nature? Nowhere do you define it, and thus it appears as an irrational deity which explains nothing. But I want especially to note that in your religion of mathematics three themes fundamental to human existence are not considered: freedom, love and evil. I’m astonished that you just give a nod to freedom, which has been and is the core value of modern times. Love, in his book, does not appear, and it says nothing about evil. Whatever neurobiology says or does not say about freedom, in the real drama of our history it is a present reality and must be taken into account. But your religion of mathematics doesn’t recognise any knowledge of evil. A religion that ignores these fundamental questions is empty. Dear professor, my criticism of your book is in part harsh. Frankness, however, is part of dialogue: Only in this way can understanding grow. You were quite frank, and so you will accept that I should be also. In any case, I very much appreciate that you, through your confrontation with my Introduction to Christianity, have sought to open a dialogue with the faith of the Catholic Church and that, notwithstanding all the contrasts in the central area, points of convergence are nevertheless not lacking.” (Translation by MercatorNet assisted by Google. For the Italian original see La Repubblica.) – See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/dear_pope_dear_professor#sthash.cqEt8eiK.dpuf

 





Gay Lobby in Vatican

12 06 2013

Unconfirmed reports in Daily Telegraph said that Pope Francis has admitted that a “gay lobby” exists within the Vatican’s administration and is planning to take action about it, according to reports. The Pontiff supposedly made the claim during an audience last Thursday at the Vatican with a group of Latin American priests and nuns.

“Yes, it is difficult,” he reportedly said. “In the Curia there are holy people, truly holy people. But there is also a current of corruption, also there is, it is true … they speak of a ‘gay lobby’ and that is true, it is there … we will have to see what we can do.”
A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the statement, which was reported by the Chilean Catholic website, Reflexion y Liberation. “This was a private meeting held by the Pope and I will not comment on private meetings,” said Fr Federico Lombardi.

Asked about the scheduled reforms of the Roman Curia, the Pope said, “I cannot carry out the reforms myself,” he said, because “I am very disorganised” he said that the task will be handled by a commission of eight cardinals from around the world whom he appointed in April to help him govern the Catholic Church, set to meet for the first time in October.
“Pray for me, for me to make as few errors as possible,” the Pope who recently surprised the Muslim world by washing and kissing the feet of  a Muslim woman  something Muslim see fitting only for slaves. In observance of Holy Thursday, a day on which Catholic priests and bishops throughout the world recreate Jesus washing and kissing the feet of his Apostles at the Last Supper, Pope Francis did the same to a dozen juvenile inmates at a detention center in Rome, including Jewish, Muslim and two women detainees.

Before the 12 juveniles, Pope Francis kneeled on a stone floor, poured water over their feet, dried them with a towel, and then kissed each foot.

“This is a symbol, it is a sign — washing your feet means I am at your service,” the new Pope told the detainees. “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service.”

According to Fox News Latino, this is the first time a Pope has ever kissed the foot of a woman.As an archbishop in Argentina, Pope Francis used Holy Thursday as an opportunity to wash the feet of those in prisoners and the sick — including AIDS patients. I am sure all the women of the world now knows that the Pope loves them.





The Next big thing in Africa By Chinwuba Iyizoba

20 04 2013

The Next big thing in Africa

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

On Ash Wednesday, the 36th session of IFAD’s Governing Council convened in Rome with a focus on the power of partnerships to reduce rural poverty and ensure food security worldwide and Africa was once again on the agenda. In an address delivered by Pope Benedict XVI to the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)Mr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, one can see that Africa’s food problem is the Pope’s great concern. The Holy Father thanked the Organization for the constant attention given to Africa and the supporting projects of “rural credit” with which IFAD aims to endow small farmers with modest but essential financial resources to empower them.

In Africa, big farms are often divided amongst children as inheritance, sometimes leaving each a patch, large enough to grow a handful of corn. Collectivizing these small farms into large holders could breed trouble, unless the government intervenes. But many African governments do not invest in agriculture. Thus small holder farms represent 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa and contribute up to 90 per cent of production in some countries. At the meetings in the Ethiopian capital last year, the IFAD President said that smallholder farmers are at the centre of any plan for post-2015 and a key challenge IFAD is helping build the capacity of smallholder farmers and their organizations so that they can become viable rural businesses, particularly for women and young people who shoulder the future of African smallholder farming.

In Nigeria, at least, the Holy father’s concerns are already being addressed, thanks to the Harambe initiative, a non-profit organization aimed at helping hardworking and ambitious youths to see opportunities in farming, train them to start smallholder farms and support already existing small holder farms in their local community. According to 25 years old Tola Sunmonu, the President of Harambe Nigeria and graduate of Stanford University, California, “We intend to provide the necessary information to get young people to start thinking about agriculture as a lucrative career. Rebuilding of the agriculture sector is one of the smartest strategies towards rebuilding the Nigerian economy. We believe that the sector is extremely undervalued and there are a lot of opportunities available, especially for hardworking and ambitious youth.”

But this is not an easy task considering that young people in Africa are often averse to farming as observed by Ezekwesili Oby, Vice President for the World Bank’s Africa Region. “Africans do not want to be the farmers their grandparents were: hoe in hand, tilling the soil in scorching sun all year round, harvesting barely enough to feed, shelter and house their families,” she said, “making the sector more attractive to the African youth – seven-to-ten million of whom join the labor force each year – must entail modernizing agriculture, raising productivity, boosting incomes, and expanding links to export markets.”

Before 1970, many Nigerians were farmers, and Agriculture contributed more than 75 percent of export earnings. Northern Nigeria, though the least educated at that time was in the fore front of agriculture with gigantic ground-nut pyramids dotting the skyline. By the mid-1990s, agriculture’s share of exports had declined to less than 5 percent, due to the neglect. In the North, rolling pastures have gave way to arid fields, and swathes of Muslims youths took up Islamic militancy, hundreds thrive on government contract and thousands of families rely on state governments food hand-out.

“It is essential to provide farmers with solid formation, constant updating and technical assistance in their activity, as well as support for initiatives to build associations and cooperatives capable of proposing effective models of production…some peoples could greatly improve upon the conditions of their life if they would change over from antiquated methods of farming to the new tech,” the holy father said.

But the directors of Harambe initiative has already heeded the Holy father logic by integrating farming with the IT industry, a mix that has the potential of attracting young people by getting rid of the stigma that often associates farmers with the illiterate. It has a website called the Farmland which provides resources that give young people access to the skills, network and capital that they need to establish themselves in the sector. Harambe provide resources that give young people access to the skills, network and capital that they need to establish themselves in the sector in some cases. “Our main project is the Harambe Incubator for Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (HISARD),” says Tola. HISARD comprises a two-year scholarship program in which selected students engage in extensive training and research which they use to develop and implement innovative solutions to the agricultural problems facing the small holders farms in local communities.

“If you ask me what the next ‘big thing’ in Africa will be, I’d say without hesitation agriculture and agri-business,” Ezekwesili said at an investor forum organized by Africa investor, in 2010. But Government yet still needs to do its part. It needs to guarantee land rights for farmers, ensuring that large commercial farms – which are bound to employ fewer people — co-exist with the millions of smallholder farms.”

According to Ezekwesili, smallholder farmers must gain access, not only to more productive seeds and other farm inputs, but also to finance, irrigation, research and technology. Equally important are land reforms, the building and maintenance of adequate infrastructure (farm- to-market roads, for example), and the implementation of effective post harvest marketing strategies.

Even in Rwanda, the Holy Father’s logic resonates. Addressing the 35th session of the Governing Council, last year, Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda said, “If the world is to meet the twin objectives of feeding the growing population and protecting the environment we will have to do what we know works…and that is targeted support and investment in smallholder farming to raise agricultural productivity, contribute to food security and reduce poverty, while protecting our planet.” Using Rwanda’s experience, Kagame said that the world’s growing population can get enough food only if smallholder farmers have access to basic modern farming tools including fertilizers, improved seeds and professional advices. What is clear is that in the absence of strong government like Rwanda, non government organization like Harambe might be the only hope of other African countries.

Finally, though the United Nations Food Agency, distributes food vouchers worth millions of dollar to Africans every year, the Holy Fathers vision, like axiom that says “give a child fish, he eats for a day, teach him to fish, he eats for life”, offers a more enduring solution to Africa’s food problems.

Chinwuba Iyizoba is an Engineer. He is also the author of “ After the Juju Man

 








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