VATICAN CITY — The world will not know peace unless there is an end
to violence against women, the exploitation of their bodies and the
denial of their dignity, Pope Francis said on the feast of Mary, Mother
Celebrating Mass Jan. 1 for the feast day and the World
Day of Peace, the pope said: “If we want a better world that is a house
of peace and not a courtyard of war, we must take to heart the dignity
of every woman.”
Jesus, the prince of peace, was born of a woman,
he said. “The woman is a giver and mediator of peace and must be fully
involved in decision-making processes because when women can share their
gifts, the world will find itself more united and more at peace.”
“A victory for women is a victory for all of humanity,” the pope said.
Christmas season and the feast of Mary, Mother of God, he said, are
celebrations of the great gift of God sending His son into the world as a
human baby, born of a woman so that he would have the same human flesh
of all those He came to save.
Catholics begin the new year
honoring Mary, the “woman who wove the humanity of God,” the pope said.
“If we want to weave humanity into the plot of our days, we must start
from the woman.”
Every human life is born of a woman, and the rebirth promised in Christ also was born of a woman, he said.
are the source of life, yet they are continually offended, beaten,
molested, coerced into prostitution and to terminate the life they carry
in their wombs,” the pope said.
“Every violence inflicted on a
woman is a profanation of God, who was born of a woman,” he said.
“Humanity’s salvation was accomplished through the body of a woman; how
we treat a woman’s body is an indication of our level of humanity.”
“Today maternity is humiliated because the only growth that interests people is economic growth,” he said.
Francis also drew attention to migrant women, “mothers who risk arduous
journeys desperately seeking a better future only to be judged as
excess numbers by people who have a belly full of things and a heart
empty of love.”
The newborn Jesus received His first caresses from
Mary and exchanged His first smiles with her, the pope said. “With her,
He inaugurated the revolution of tenderness. The Church, looking upon
baby Jesus, is called to continue it.”
The Church, like Mary, “is
woman and mother, and finds its distinctive traits in Our Lady,” he
said. “It sees her, the immaculate one, and says ‘no’ to sin and
worldliness. It sees her, fruitful, and feels called to proclaim the
Lord, to generate lives in Him. It sees her, mother, and feels called to
welcome every man and woman as a son or daughter.”
closer to Mary, he said, the Church will become more of what it is meant
to be, more focused on Jesus and more united.
“The enemy of human
nature, the devil, seeks to divide it,” the pope said. The devil
entices people to put their “differences, ideologies, thoughts of sides
and parties” first.
“Structures, programs and tendencies,
ideologies and functions” may tell people something about the church, he
said, but those are not “the heart of the church, because the church
has the heart of a mother.”
“We her children today invoke the
Mother of God who unites us as a believing people,” he said, praying: “O
Mother, generate in us hope, bring us unity. Woman of salvation, we
entrust this year to you, watch over it in your heart.”
Pope begins New Year with apology, prayers for peace
CITY — Pope Francis began the New Year with an apology for losing his
patience the night before with a woman who grabbed his hand and yanked
him closer to her while he was greeting people in St. Peter’s Square.
To get away, the pope had slapped her hand and gave her a very serious scowl. A video of the incident went viral on Twitter.
the midday Angelus prayer Jan. 1, Pope Francis was talking about how
God’s offer of salvation in Jesus is “not magic, but patient, that is,
it involves the patience of love, which takes on inequity and destroys
Then, briefly departing from his prepared text, the
pope said that “love makes us patient. We often lose our patience; me,
too, and I apologize for my bad example last night.”
his text, Pope Francis said that in gazing upon the Nativity scene with
the eyes of faith, “we see the world renewed, freed from the dominion of
evil and placed under the regal lordship of Christ, the baby lying in
The Church marks Jan. 1 as both the feast of Mary,
Mother of God, and World Peace Day, he said, urging Catholics to pray
for peace and to recognize their responsibility to work for peace.
the 2020 celebration of World Peace Day, he said, the focus was on
peace as a “journey of hope, a journey which proceeds through dialogue,
reconciliation and ecological conversion.”
“Jesus is the blessing of those oppressed by the yoke of slavery, both moral and material,” he said. “He frees with love.”
those who are enslaved by vice and addiction, the pope said, Jesus
bears the message that “the Father loves you, he will not abandon you,
with unshakable patience he awaits your return.”
Jesus opens the
doors of fraternity, welcome and love to those who are victims of
injustice or exploitation; pours “the oil of consolation” on the sick
and the discouraged; and opens windows of light for prisoners who feel
they have no future, he said.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he told
the people in the square, “let’s get down from the pedestals of our
pride and ask for the blessing of the holy Mother of God. She will show
us Jesus. Let’s let ourselves be blessed, let’s open our hearts to
goodness and that way the year that is beginning will be a journey of
hope and peace, not through words, but through daily gestures of
dialogue, reconciliation and care for creation.”