Pope Francis: from the Holy Mass 12 April, 2015 (on the Armenian Genocide)

Greeting of the Holy Father

Mass for the Faithful of the Armenian Rite

12 April 2015

On a number of occasions I have spoken of our time as a time of war, a third world war which is being fought piecemeal, one in which we daily witness savage crimes, brutal massacres and senseless destruction.  Sadly, today too we hear the muffled and forgotten cry of so many of our defenceless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death – decapitated, crucified, burned alive – or forced to leave their homeland. Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: “What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?” (cf. Gen  4:9; Homily in Redipuglia, 13 September 2014). In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies.  The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century” (JOHN PAUL II and KAREKIN II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001), struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks.  Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered.  The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism.  And more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia.  It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood.  It seems that the enthusiasm generated at the end of the Second World War has dissipated and is now disappearing.  It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by.  We have not yet learned that “war is madness”, “senseless slaughter” (cf. Homily in Redipuglia, 13 September 2014). Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure.  It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester.  Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it! I greet you with affection and I thank you for your witness. … In the firm certainty that evil never comes from God, who is infinitely good, and standing firm in faith, let us profess that cruelty may never be considered God’s work and, what is more, can find absolutely no justification in his Holy Name.  Let us continue this celebration by fixing our gaze on Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, victor over death and evil!


Sister Cristina – Blessed Be Your Name

I love this song, and this version in particular, for many reasons:

  • Its message is “praise to the Lord – no matter what…” This is not just words, this is a statement right until its most costly consequence. On an almost daily basis we hear about Christians being killed, just because they are Christians, confessing Christ, and refusing to convert to another religion. Now latest the 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, but not so long ago it was small children in Iraq who tried to explain that “We love Jesus! We have always loved Jesus!” just before being cut into pieces.
  • It does not paint an unrealistic picture of life as always happy, prosperous, etc but of a life with both joy and suffering, either not affecting the relationship with God
  • Music and text fit well together, and the song works in a lot of different settings.
  • This song cuts through borders between different denominations. It was written A.D. 2002 by an Evangelical Christian, Mr Matt Redman, but is equally popular among Roman Catholics. (Sister Cristina is a Catholic, and I’ve heard it sung by another female Catholic singer in the program Catholic Jukebox on EWTN.)
  • Last but not least, Sister Cristina herself is lifting this song to a another level, with her act, her voice and with her wonderful personality. She is not just another quiet nun, she is Sister Cristina, and she is brave enough to show it! (My wife says she is a bit low in pitch on the higher notes, but I myself cannot tell.)

Lennart Wennberg

Suor Cristina http://www.sistercristinaofficial.com/

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