March 26, 2017 The following items are condensed. For the complete articles, please read the print edition of The Catholic New World. To subscribe, call (312) 534-7777.
Pope apologizes for Catholics’ participation in Rwanda genocide
Meeting Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Pope Francis asked God’s forgiveness for the failures of the Catholic Church during the 1994 Rwanda genocide and for the hatred and violence perpetrated by some priests and religious.
“He implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the church and its members, among whom priests and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission,” said a Vatican statement released March 20 after the meeting of the pope and president.
Make confession more available, pope says
Hear confession every time someone asks, Pope Francis said, and don’t ever put limited hours on the sacrament of reconciliation.
“Please, let there never be those signs that say, ‘Confessions: Mondays and Wednesdays from this time to that time,’” he told hundreds of confessors and other participants attending an annual course sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court that handles issues related to the absolution of sin. “Hear confession every time someone asks you,” he said March 17.
Confession “is a pastoral priority,” and is a daily call to head to the “peripheries of evil and sin, and this is an ugly periphery,” he said.
Grandparents orient the family toward its future
“A plant without roots does not grow.” Pope Francis was thinking of grandparents when he made that statement in Tbilisi, capital of the country of Georgia.
In the pope’s lofty, inspiring view, grandparents fulfill a necessary role in families by linking generations and making grandchildren aware — through “their words, their affection or simply their presence” — that “history did not begin with them.” He spoke of this in “The Joy of Love,” his 2016 apostolic exhortation on the family.
The positive effects of prayer on your health
For people of faith who face health challenges, turning to God in prayer is not unusual. But over the past few decades, medical professionals have focused attention on whether prayer has effects that go beyond spiritual solace to impact physical health.
The Rev. John K. Graham is president and CEO of the Institute for Spirituality and Health at Texas Medical Center in Houston. An Episcopal priest and experienced physician, he is one of a growing number of medical professionals who study the effects of spirituality, including prayer, on health and coping with health challenges such as cancer and chronic illness.