Continue firmly with this task, always with rigor and transparency, to protect the little ones…

Pope Francis suggested this during his address this afternoon to the participants in the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Jan. 30, in the Vatican.

Greeting those present, Francis began expressing his gratitude “for all the work you do at the service of the universal Church, in aid of the Bishop of Rome and the Bishops of the world, in the promotion and protection of the integrity of Catholic Doctrine on faith and morals.”

“Christian Doctrine,” Francis pointed out, “isn’t a rigid system closed in itself, but neither is it an ideology that changes with the passing of seasons. It is a dynamic reality that, remaining faithful to its foundation, is renewed from generation to generation and can by summed up in a face, in a body and in a name: Jesus Christ Risen.”

Sanctity of Sacraments, Protecting the Little Ones

The Holy Father expressed his appreciation for the study they have undertaken regarding the revision of the norms on delicta graviora, reserved to their dicastery, contained in John PauI II’s Motu Proprio “Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela.”

“Your commitment,” he said, “is placed in the right direction to update the normative in view of greater efficiency in the procedures, to make it more orderly and organic, in the light of the new situations and problems in the present socio-cultural context.”

“At the same time,” Pope Francis appealed, “I exhort you to continue firmly in this task, to offer a valid contribution, in a realm in which the Church is directly involved, to proceed with rigor and transparency in protecting the sanctity of the Sacraments and violated human dignity, especially of little ones.”

Faith Makes Us Pay Attention to Our Neighbors & Their Needs

The transmission of the faith, Francis said, calls for taking into account its recipient, “that he be known and loved actively.” In this context, he applauded the plenary’s reflection on the care of people in the critical and terminal phases of life.

“The present socio-cultural context,” the Pope lamented, “is eroding progressively awareness regarding what makes human life precious. It, in fact, is valued ever more often by reason of its efficiency and usefulness, to the point of considering “discarded lives” or “unworthy lives” those that don’t respond to such criteria. In this situation of loss of authentic values, the imperative human and Christian duties of solidarity and fraternity also fail.”

“In reality,” the Holy Father stressed, “a society merits the qualification of “civil” if it develops antibodies against the throwaway culture; if it recognizes the intangible value of human life; if solidarity is actively practiced and safeguarded as foundation of coexistence.”

Never Abandon Anyone in Presence of Incurable Illness

Francis reminded “the duty” to “never abandon anyone in the presence of incurable illnesses.”

“Human life, given its eternal destiny, keeps all its value and all its dignity in any condition, also of precariousness and fragility, and, as such, is always worthy of the greatest consideration,” the Pontiff said. “Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who lived the style of proximity and sharing, keeping up to the end the recognition and respect of human dignity, and rending dying more human, said thus; ‘One who in the path of life has lighted even just one torch in someone’s dark hour has not lived in vain.’”

“I think,” Francis reflected, “of how much good hospices do for palliative care, where the terminally sick are accompanied by qualified medical, psychological and spiritual support, so that they can live with dignity, comforted by the closeness of dear persons, the final phase of their earthly life. I hope that such centers will continue to be places in which the “therapy of dignity” is practiced with commitment, thus nourishing love and respect for life.”

The Holy Father concluded, congratulating them for their recent publication of the document elaborated by the Pontifical Biblical Commission regarding fundamental topics of biblical anthropology. .

Pope Francis thanked all the members and collaborators of the CDF for the “precious service” they carry out, blessing them and reminding them to pray for him.


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