Soline Humbert reminds us of an international day of prayer against human trafficking on 08 February.
A gathering of peoples
Chris McDonnell responding to Brendan Hoban's article and recent events sees hope in the meeting of Pope Francis and Hindu priest Kurakkal Somasundaram and its message of "peaceful understanding between peoples, of religious tolerance and of care not to offend."
However the reality of the world is that some will continue to go on insulting anyone they choose and "This is the reality we must live with, always willing to respond to what we perceive as unjust comment, always preserving the right for opinion to be expressed, but always careful that violent reaction is not the outcome of thoughtless words."
Let Battle Commence
Gabriel Daly OSA writes that " In a body as large and as culturally diverse as the Catholic Church, discrepant and irreconcilable attitudes are inevitable. We should try to live with them, not pretend that it is necessary – or even desirable – to smooth them over. "
Gabriel reminds us that "The truth and the will of God may actually be found in the clash of ideas and convictions expressed freely and without the threat of institutional interference."
Brendan Hoban, in the Western People, advises that we need to listen to what Pope Francis is saying. Francis means what he says. His plain speaking in the scathing demolition of the assembled curia in his pre-Christmas address left no room for dilution through interpretation, translation or contextualisation.
Nor should we be distracted from his message by the speculative kite of a Papal visit being hoisted aloft. Such a visit is 'exactly what the Irish Church doesn’t need at present.'
Homily of Pope Francis for the Epiphany. Francis tells his congregation that "The wise men are thus models of conversion to the true faith, since they believed more in the goodness of God than in the apparent splendour of power."
In his weekly Western People column Brendan Hoban thanks God for another Christmas season almost done and for being able to face another new year. 'There’s nothing like a serious illness when the future hangs in the balance to give you a sense of the precious breadth and delicious texture of the ordinary bits and pieces of life.'
Reports from Rome suggest Pope Francis delivered a Christmas message with a bite to the Roman Curia. We carry the report from the National Catholic Reporter by Joshua J McElwee.
Brendan Hoban, in his Western People column, offers a seasonal reflection.
"Christmas is a strange time. It has a funny way of creating an empty space
around us. Despite the hype, Christmas has a way of stripping our lives down
to the essentials. In the midst of Christmas cheer, a small thin voice
insists on posing a series of difficult questions: what does it all mean? Am
I happy? what is my life for? how can I satisfy that itch within me? how can
I satisfy that part of me that nothing seems to satisfy? "
On the dark wet windy shortest day of 2014 Tony Flannery shares some thoughts saying that "Of the three great Christian virtues, faith, hope and love, I have always considered that hope is the most important of all."
Tony Conry is a missionary priest working in Brazil. Tony suggests that we can and should be creative in making up our own homespun blessings because 'the English language robbed us of our Celtic heritage and gave us all a sterile cold communications system bereft of all emotional warmth and spiritual nourishment.'