Twenty years after he became president, Vladimir Putin is proposing changes to the constitution and the power structure. Patriarch Kirill gives the move his seal of approval. Dmitri Medvedev remains Putin’s deputy, but trades in his cap as prime minister for that of deputy chair of the Security Council. An unknown bureaucrat, Mikhail Mishustin, is appointed prime minister.
“Jesus teaches us a simple thing when he goes to the essentials. The essential is health, overall [health]: that of the body and that of the soul. Let us protect that of the body, but also that of the soul. And let's go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive sins. Jesus came for this, [and] gave his life for it.”
Receiving an ecumenical delegation from the Lutheran Church of Finland, Francis said that "hospitality is likewise part of our shared witness of faith in daily life". The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins tomorrow, "shows us this ecumenical virtue, and above all recommends it to us".
"His compassion, He will take upon Himself our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything". " “Compassion gets involved, it comes from the heart and gets involved, and it leads you to do something. Compassion is “suffering with”, taking the suffering of the other person upon yourself in order to resolve it, to heal it."
The Church "although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus".
"Inconsistent" Christians and "schizophrenic" pastors who say one thing and do another harm the community. "Those who have responsibility for the people - in this case pastoral responsibility - but are not consistent are guilty of hypocrisy, they are not gentlemen, they have no authority".
Jesus teaches us "the attitude of simplicity, respect, moderation and concealment, required even today of the Lord's disciples".
Francis baptizes 32 babies, 17 boys and 15 girls. “This is the message that I would like to give you today. You bring your children today, [so they may have] the Holy Spirit within them. Now you must take care that they grow with light, with the power of the Holy Spirit within them, through catechesis, helping, teaching, the examples you will be for them in your homes ... This is the message ".
"We love God because He loved us first." The beginning of love comes from Him. "I begin to love, or I can begin to love, because I know that He loved me first". "Being a liar is the devil's way to behave: he is the Great Liar."
The "peace amongst the nations" or in a country "is sown in the heart". For the pontiff, “if we do not have peace in the heart, how can we imagine peace in the world?” Yet “normally” we don't think about it. “Usually our way of doing things in the family, in the neighbourhood, at work is a way of making war", it “is the devil’s temptation to make war.”
More shadows than lights in Pope’s New Year’s speech to the diplomatic corps. The situations in Libya, Yemen and Syria of concern, but also terrorism in Africa. The "great cemetery" of the Mediterranean and human trafficking. The "serious injuries" of sexual abuse. Young people’s sensitivity towards the ecology. The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar.
Putin and Erdogan officially opened the pipeline that transports Russian gas to southern Europe, via Turkey. A 930 km project, with a single 813 mm pipe at 2.2 km depth. When fully operational, it will be able to transport 31 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Moscow and Ankara revive dialogue and de-escalation in Libya and on the US-Iran front.
"Being sensitive to the many shipwrecked people of history who arrive exhausted on our shores, so that we too know how to welcome them with that brotherly love that comes from our encounter with Jesus".
In his Christmas message to the bishops, priests, monks and faithful of the Orthodox Church, Kirill mentions the contradictions of man before the birth of Christ who was born in a cave, in extreme poverty. Yet there is a worse place: the desert scorched by the sin of man who has moved away from God, presently neither hot nor cold, empty and enslaved by passions.
The Holy Spirit "is the guarantee that God remains in us", whilst worldliness makes us thoughtless, to the point of not distinguishing good from evil. It is "even worse than sinning.” For the pontiff, the faithful should not trust every spirit, trust what they feel, but put it to a test instead. Thus “we will know what happens in our heart” because "many Christians have hearts like a road and do not know who is going and who is returning; they come and go because they do not know how to see what happens inside.”