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Vatican City, Jan 26, 2015 / 02:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Women in the family have a crucial role in transmitting the faith from one generation to the next, said Pope Francis during morning Mass for the feast of saints Timothy and Titus.

Addressing the congregation gathered in the Vatican's Santa Marta residence on Jan. 26, the Pope centered his reflection on Paul’s letter to Timothy – who writes that his “sincere faith” comes from the Holy Spirit “through his mother and grandmother”.

“Mothers and grandmothers are the ones who transmit the faith,” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio's translation.

He noted that faith is a gift which is passed from one generation to the next by the women in the family, namely “mothers and grandmothers,” or “maids and aunts.” The reason faith is passed by “mainly women,” the Pope said, is “because the one who brought us Jesus is a woman.”

“It is the path chosen by Jesus. He wanted to have a mother: the gift of faith comes to us through women, as Jesus came to us through Mary.”

 Pope Francis stressed the need for women, “in our own day,” to be “aware of the duty they have to transmit the faith.”

The Pope went on to make the distinction between passing on the faith and teaching on matters of the faith.

“Faith is a gift: it is not possible to study faith,” he explained. “We study the things of faith, yes, to understand it better, but with study (alone) one never comes to faith. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which surpasses all ('academic') formation.”

During his homily, the Pope also warned against timidity to avoid a faith that is watered down. In Paul's letter, Timothy is told to avoid “empty pagan chatter, empty chatter of the world.”  

“We have – all of us – received the gift of faith,” the Pope said. He warned of the importance of keeping the faith “in order that it not become watered down, so that it remains strong, with the power of the Holy Spirit who gave it to us.”

Pope Francis also touched on the “spirit of timidity,” which “goes against the gift of faith.”

“God has not given us a spirit of timidity,” Pope Francis said. Timidity, he added, “does not let faith grow, advance, be great. Shame, in turn, is the following sin, (which says): 'Yes, I have faith, but I cover it up, that it not be seen too much.'”

Referred to by “our forebears” as “rosewater” faith because of shame of living “it powerfully,” the Pope said “this is not the faith.”

“(Faith knows) neither timidity nor shame. What is it, then? It is a spirit of power and of love and of prudence: that is what faith is."

“We ask the Lord’s grace,” Pope Francis concluded, “that we might have a sincere faith, a faith that is not negotiable depending on the opportunities that come, a faith that every day I try to revive or at least ask the Holy Spirit to revive it, and make it bear much fruit.”

Vatican City, Jan 26, 2015 / 11:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a speech delivered on Saturday to participants in a conference on how to handle causes of nullity, Pope Francis encouraged a marriage process that is both sure of its judgements and prompt.

The three-day conference is sponsored by the Pontifical Gregorian University, and marks the 10th anniversary of Dignitas connubii, an instruction of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts to tribunals on handling causes of the nullity of marriage.

Pope Francis praised the document in his Jan. 24 address as “a modest but useful handbook that really takes the ministers of the tribunals by the hand toward the implementation of a process that is both secure and prompt.”

“A secure process because it indicates and explains with clarity the goal of the process itself, namely moral certainty: this requires that any prudent, positive doubt of error be totally excluded, even if the mere possibility of the contrary is not excluded. A prompt process because – as common experience teaches – he who knows the path to follow travels more quickly.”

The Pope greeted all those who came to the congress from across the world, calling their presence “a great consolation” because “it seems to me a generous response to the stresses that every authentic minister of the tribunals of the Church feels for the good of souls.”

“The knowledge and, I would say, the use” of Dignitas connubii, Pope Francis stated, “can, even in the future, help ministers of tribunals to shorten case proceedings, often perceived by spouses as long and wearisome.”  

“Up until now, not all of the resources that this instruction makes available for a prompt process, devoid of every formalism for its own sake, have been explored; nor can we exclude further legislative acts in the future aimed at the same end.”

He made reference to the defender of the bond, a position appointed in each diocese in marriage cases who, according to canon law, “is bound by office to propose and explain everything which reasonably can be brought forth against nullity or dissolution.”

Pope Francis said the role of the defender of the bond is a “proper and original” one in the marriage process, adding that “his presence and the faithful fulfillment of his task do not condition the judge, but allow and encourage the impartiality of his judgment, having set before him the arguments in favor of and contrary to the declaration of nullity of marriage."

Vatican City, Jan 25, 2015 / 07:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Jan. 24 stressed the need for dialogue between different faiths, saying that it is essential in preventing violence and promoting peace.

“Perhaps now more than ever such a need is felt, because the most effective antidote against all forms of violence is education towards the discovery and acceptance of differences,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

The Pope spoke to members of the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at an audience marking the 50th anniversary of the institute’s opening.

He praised the group’s efforts to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue, emphasizing the importance of such dialogue in achieving peace.

“If it is assumed that we all belong to human nature, prejudices and falsehoods can be overcome and an understanding of the other according to a new perspective can begin,” he said.

While progress has been made in inter-religious dialogue, the Pope said, more must be done. Listening to one another is necessary to understand shared beliefs and values.

“At the heart of everything is the need for an adequate formation so that, steadfast in one’s own identity, we can grow in mutual knowledge,” Pope Francis explained.

At the same time he warned against a false approach to dialogue that “says yes to everything in order to avoid problems.”

“It would end up becoming ‘a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others,’” he stated, according to Vatican Radio.

Ending his remarks, the Pope encouraged the institute to continue its work of fostering inter-religious dialogue and encouraging more work in this area.


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