Pope says: Speak out against injustice

God needs Christians to be his hands and feet on earth, and to speak out about injustice wherever it happens or not, especially when hidden by silence, the pope francis said that in an interview published on Friday.
Speaking with “Sole 24 ore,” a daily Italian newspaper, Pope Francis said, “the Lord promises rest and liberation to all the oppressed in the world, but he needs us to make his promise effective.”

“He needs our eyes to see the needs of our brothers and sisters. He needs our hands to help. He needs our voice to denounce the injustices committed in silence, sometimes complicit, of many.”
“Above all,” he continued that, “the Lord needs our heart to manifest God’s merciful love for the least, the rejected, the abandoned, the marginalized.”

Speaking in the context of migration and helping those in need, Pope said that Catholics must “not stop being witnesses of hope.”

It is important for migrants to be respectful of the laws and culture of the country they have come to, and it is important for governments to help them immigrants to integrate and to not stoke fear, giving a “dignified welcome to many brothers and sisters who call for help,” he said.

“It is important that our projects and proposals be inspired by compassion, vision and courage, so as to seize every opportunity to advance the construction of peace.”

In an almost 4,000-word interview for the economics-focused newspaper, the pope spoke at-length about community, the dignity of work, and also the importance of the economy being at the service of the human person, rather than the idol of money.

“When the person is no longer at the center, when making money becomes the primary and only objective we are outside ethics and we build structures of poverty, slavery and waste,”After that he stated, pointing out that current economic structures “need conversion.”

“There is a lack of awareness of a common origin, of belonging to a common root of humanity and of a future to be built together,” he said, and to gain this awareness would provide the stimulus for new attitudes and lifestyles.
Noting that economic activity originates with the human person, he said some people wrongly think that “money is made with money,” when real money is created by human work and “it is work that gives dignity to man, not money.”

Pope Francis also decried the high rates of unemployment affecting several European countries, saying it is one consequence of an economic system which worships money.
But in the midst of these and other problems, there is still hope, he said. And Christians can struggle together to put the family and the human person at the center.

More than simple optimism, hope “carries us forward.” It is “like the embers under the ashes,” he said, and urged Catholics to help themselves by “blowing on the ashes.”

He said that it is important to work together for the common good and to build a “new humanism of work,” promoting work that respects the dignity of the person, “knowing that the good of people and the good of the company go hand in hand.”

“Let us help ourselves for,to develop solidarity and to realize a new economic order that no longer generates waste,” he said, “by enriching economic activity with attention to the poor and the reduction of inequality.”

Half the world’s teenagers victims of violence in school :UNICEF

Bullying in school is not unusual. But just because something is not unusual it should not be normalised. It is not normal because of that 150million adolescents have reported being victims of violence in school. The UN defines that violence: bullying, cyberbullying, fights and physical attacks, violence used as a form of punishment, sexual violence, and violence as a consequence of schools in conflict-ridden areas of the world.

What a difference light can make
"It is a basic human right for children to go to school and to learn in a safe environment. The committee on the Rights of the Child specifically states that “children do not lose their human rights by virtue of passing through the school gate.” So why do 720million children attend schools where corporal punishment is still allowed? Why are good quality infrastructures not enforced in schools, given the fact that poor infrastructures can facilitate violent acts, such as sexual assault in poorly-lit bathrooms"?

Disabled and alone are not synonyms
Violence in schools affects children’s mental health, often causing incessant fear to the point of skipping the school altogether. Children who are victims of violence are marginalised,and they also suffer loneliness and isolation. They are especially targeted if they are from a minority group, defined by their ethnicity, whether they have a disability, whether they are extremely poor and numerous other factors.

School or battlefield?
When children are afraid of attending school, they are likely to drop out as soon as they are allowed to do so. 150million children and adolescents who live in conflict-affected areas and according to the UNICEF report,so their “classrooms are no safer than their communities” and their “routes to and from school become frontlines.”
This report states that schools should “buffer children from the risks of child labour, exploitation and child marriage.” They should be a place where children “can find shelter from violence and choose a more peaceful future.”.

All that’s painful hurts
Boys and girls succumb to the same amount of violence in schools. It is more common for boys to have to bear physical abuse, whereas girls are often victims of psychological abuse. The UN report highlights that pain does not need to be physical in order for it to have long-term effects. All forms of violence instigated at a young age can harm a child’s growth. The repercussions of violence in schools can “become imprinted on a child’s body and mind in the form of physical injury, sexually transmitted infections,depression, suicidal thoughts and unplanned pregnancy”. Exposure to such violence at such a young age can interfere with healthy brain development, it can instigate substance abuse, cause aggressive behavior, anti-social behavior and risky sexual behavior. At the same times, the daily fear children face in school as a consequence of routinely instigated violence has led to suicide.

How strength can help weakness
The UN is urging governments to develop and enforce laws and policies that will keep students safe. This all includes online policies. Social media has caused a lot of violence but is slowly becoming a valuable tool in helping end it.

UNICEF asks that security measures in schools be strengthened, including separate and well-lit bathrooms and curricula tailored to peacebuilding and positive discipline. They ask that targeted investments be introduced and that those resources be used specifically for violence-prevention programmes.

Finally, the UN urges communication. Violence in schools should not be seen as a taboo. Community members, along with parents and teachers, they should speak up about violence and its devastating effects. Generating evidence of what works and what doesn’t will help them to identify promising solutions in order to win a battle whose victims are too vulnerable to fight for themselves.

Mother Teresa: Dispenser of divine mercy

For Mother Teresa, mercy was the “salt” which gave flavour for her work, it was the “light” which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering. These were  Pope Francis says’ words during homily at mass on the occasion of Mother Teresa’s canonization ceremony. 

Mother Teresa chose to serve the poorest people of the poor and there manifested  God’s merciful love. She said that, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.  She exhorted through her life to meet each other  with a smile, for the smile she said is the beginning of love".

Pope Francis on her canonization day urged the faithful gathered that we should carry her smile in our hearts and give them to those whom we meet along our journey especially those who suffer, opening up opportunities of joy and hope for our many brothers and sisters who are discouraged and who stand in need of understanding and tenderness.   

Pont Commission for the Protection of Minors ‘feel supported’ by Pope’s letter

Members of the Vatican Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) issued a statement on Tuesday, just one day after the Pope Francis’ letter to all the People of God.

The Commission begins by saying it is encouraged by Pope Francis’ letter and also thanked him for “his strong words recognizing the pain and suffering endured by people who have suffered sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by the some members of the church”.

Zero tolerance and accountability
In addition, they state that “members of the Commission feel supported by Holy Father’s call…to ‘implement zero tolerance’ ” and to make accountable “ ‘those who perpetrate or cover up’ ” crime. The PCPM said that they heard reinforced in the Pope Francis' letter their own message that “zero tolerance and accountability are a pre-requisite in safeguarding vulnerable people from abuse”.

Abuse of power
Commission member and canon lawyer Prof. Myriam Wijlens summarized by the Pope Francis’ letter into three points. The first is the clearly expressed “connection between sexual abuse, abuse of power and abuse of conscience” which, Prof Wijlens says, “many do not want to see connected". Second, is that the abuse of power has two levels: “There are those who use their position to sexually abuse minors and vulnerable adults and…those in leadership positions” who cover the abuse up.

Children's safety comes first
The third point Prof. Wijlens write of is that a looking backward approach consisting of “asking for pardon and seeking repair” is not sufficient. The approach that looks forward “implies asking for a radical change of culture where the safety of children enjoys top priority”. She saying that the Church’s reputation requires “putting the safety of children first”, a task requiring “radical change” which “the clergy alone will not be able to bring about”. Thus they need for “humility” and of asking for and receiving “help from the whole community”, Prof. Wijlens concludes.