Dear Friends,

Here is our news and reflection on Sunday, 4th October, in Rome.

At ten the big opening ceremony started in St. Peter’s. While Renate and I went to St. Peter’s square to look at the big electronic billboards which broadcasted the Eucharist to those outside, Christian tried to get a German translation on his PC. That did not really work. So Renate went to Sala Stampa to get a written translation of the Pope’s homily.

We were quite happy with what Francis said. He started with the tragedy of loneliness, “the drama of solitude” he called it (he did not mention the lonely priests) and mentioned the many tragedies of our globalized world. “Our experience today” he said “is, in some way, like that of Adam: so much power and at the same time so much loneliness and vulnerability. Therefore the love between man and woman is so important. God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone. A never ending love: what a gift of God!”  (We noted he said nothing about celibacy.)

“What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mk 10:9). He explained what it means for the Church to be called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love:

Fidelity means the defending of the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace. Truth protects the fruitful love from turning into selfishness. Love and charity mean not to point a finger in judgement of others. The Church has the duty to seek out and care for hurt couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy, “to be a field hospital with doors wide open”.

For me it was an exciting example of faithfulness and loyalty to the Church’s teaching – and at the same time an intense appeal not to punish but to help. He mentioned also the former popes to underline his opinion – how clever! I am really a fan of his!

At noon Christian had a telephone-interview with Deutschland Radio Kultur.

The afternoon seemed to be a real holiday to all, even to the journalists. So we decided to have a little walk: we went to Villa Borghese, the big park, enjoyed Italian ice cream and espresso.  Then we went in search of the “Martin Luther Square” near the Colosseum. Finally, after so many years, the great (excommunicated) reformer has got a place in Rome!

In the evening we met Kate McElwee from WOW, Susanne Birke from the very new Swiss “Global Network of Rainbow Catholics“ and – hot foot from the USA – Deborah Rose-Milavec (FutureChurch). Also Theo Dirke (WDR) came again and we all discussed a helpful procedure to install a “Women’s commission” for the Pope, a kind of W8 (Women’s Eight) to advise him on women’s issues. Where will we find allies?

As always we enjoyed pizza, noodles, wine and Limoncello.

Eat, pray, love – there is great joy being among the community of Reformers! 

Martha