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Pope Francis urges Catholics to follow ‘God’s logic’

Vatican City, Aug 2, 2020 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis urged Catholics Sunday to follow “God’s logic” by taking responsibility for the welfare of others.

In his Angelus address Aug. 2, he reflected on Sunday’s Gospel, the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21).

He noted that at sundown the “practical” disciples had urged Jesus to send away the hungry crowd to find food. But Jesus replied: “You give them something to eat.” 

“Jesus wants to use this situation to educate His friends, both then and now, about God’s logic,” the pope said, according to an unofficial translation provided by the Holy See press office.

“And what is God’s logic that we see here? The logic of taking responsibility for others. The logic of not washing one’s hands, the logic of not looking the other way.” 

“No. The logic of taking responsibility for others. That ‘let them fend for themselves’ should not enter into the Christian vocabulary.”

Pope Francis recalled that, after the disciples had presented Jesus with five loaves of bread and two fish, Christ performed a miracle enabling everyone to eat as much as they wanted. 

He said: “With this gesture, Jesus demonstrates His power; not in a spectacular way but as a sign of charity, of God the Father’s generosity toward His weary and needy children. He is immersed in the life of His people, He understands their fatigue and their limitations, but He does not allow anyone to be lost, or to lose out: He nourishes them with His word and provides food in plenty for sustenance.”

Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the pope pointed out the connection between the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and the Eucharist.

“It is noteworthy how close the link is between the Eucharistic bread, nourishment for eternal life, and daily bread, necessary for earthly life,” he observed. 

“Before offering Himself to the Father as the Bread of salvation, Jesus ensures there is food for those who follow Him and who, in order to be with Him, forgot to make provisions. At times the spiritual and the material are in opposition, but in reality spiritualism, like materialism, is alien to the Bible. It is not biblical language.”

He continued: “The compassion and tenderness that Jesus showed towards the crowds is not sentimentality, but rather the concrete manifestation of the love that cares for the people’s needs.” 

The pope said that Catholics should approach the Eucharist with the same compassionate attitude that Jesus displayed during the feeding of the 5,000. 

“Compassion is not a purely material feeling; true compassion is ‘patire con’ (to suffer with), to take others’ sorrows on ourselves,” he said. 

“Perhaps it would do us good today to ask ourselves: Do I feel compassion when I read news about war, about hunger, about the pandemic? So many things... Do I feel compassion toward those people? Do I feel compassion toward the people who are near to me? Am I capable of suffering with them, or do I look the other way, or ‘they can fend for themselves’?” 

He concluded: “Let us not forget this word ‘compassion,’ which is trust in the provident love of the Father, and means courageous sharing.” 

After reciting the Angelus, the pope expressed his sorrow at a firebomb attack on a cathedral in Nicaragua on July 31.

He also highlighted the feast of the Pardon of Assisi, which is celebrated on August 1-2. The Pardon of Assisi, or Porziuncola Indulgence, enables Catholics to gain a plenary indulgence, removing all of the temporal punishment due to sin.

Describing the indulgence as a spiritual gift that St. Francis of Assisi received from God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Pope Francis noted the conditions for obtaining the indulgence. They consist of Confession, reception of the Eucharist, visiting a parish or Franciscan church, recitation of the Creed and Our Father, and prayer for the pope and his intentions. The indulgence may be applied to the living or the dead. 

He said: “How important it is to always put God’s forgiveness, which ‘generates heaven’ in us and around us, back at the center, this pardon that comes from God’s heart who is merciful!”

Looking at pilgrims gathered in the square below, the pope greeted a group from Palosco, in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, Brazilians holding their national flag, and those devoted to Mary Immaculate. 

He said he hoped that in the coming days everyone would be able to rest, spend time in nature, and be spiritually refreshed.

“At the same time I hope that, with the converging commitment of all political and economic leaders, work might resume: families and society cannot continue without work. Let us pray for this,” he said. 

“It is and will be a problem in the aftermath of the pandemic: poverty and lack of work. A lot of solidarity and creativity will be needed to resolve this problem.”

Pope Francis deplores firebomb attack on Catholic cathedral in Nicaragua

Vatican City, Aug 2, 2020 / 04:35 am (CNA).- Pope Francis deplored a firebomb attack on a cathedral in Nicaragua Sunday.

Speaking after his Angelus address Aug. 2, he condemned the incident in which an unidentified man threw a firebomb into a chapel of Managua’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, severely damaging the chapel and a devotional image of Christ more than three centuries old.

The attack took place July 31 amid rising tensions between the Church and the Nicaraguan government. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes of Managua described the attack as “a terrorist act.”

Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the pope said: “I am thinking of the people of Nicaragua who are suffering because of the attack in the Cathedral of Managua, where an image of Christ that is highly venerated, that has accompanied and sustained the life of the faithful people for centuries, was greatly damaged -- almost destroyed.”

“Dear brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, I am near you and am praying for you.”

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