Pope Francis, “Fratelli tutti” — as I sat to summarize the last parts of chapter one for this week’s bulletin I ended up coming back to this one paragraph because it highlights some of the problems that we face. In different areas of life ‘there exists a moral deterioration’ and ‘a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility’. Paragraphs 30 to 53 deal with some of those areas, including the virtual world of the internet. I am quoting n.29 because towards the end it focused on the most vulnerable of the world — today’s ‘Holy Innocents’. “With the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, we do not ignore the positive advances made in the areas of science, technology, medicine, industry and welfare, above all in developed countries. Nonetheless, “we wish to emphasize that, together with these historical advances, great and valued as they are, there exists a moral deterioration that influences international action and a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility. This contributes to a general feeling of frustration, isolation and desperation”. We see “outbreaks of tension and a buildup of arms and ammunition in a global context dominated by uncertainty, disillusionment, fear of the future, and controlled by narrow economic interests”. We can also point to “major political crises, situations of injustice and the lack of an equitable distribution of natural resources… In the face of such crises that result in the deaths of millions of children — emaciated from poverty and hunger — there is an unacceptable silence on the international level”. This panorama, for all its undeniable advances, does not appear to lead to a more humane future.” In this week leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem let us pray for those millions of children who starve in our world today. Two places that come to mind are Yemen and Syria — there are many other places in the world that have problems of this nature too, but let us not forget them, and their families who suffer with them, in our prayers. Jesus was born in a stable. Let us link that image of our Saviour with the image of the many children who, at this moment in time, are living with their families in refugee camps and lack the basics of life.
Quote: from Blessed Carlo Acutis, “To always be close to Jesus, that’s my plan”