- ‘Do you hear the cry of the poor?’
The fate of millions of people in this war-ravaged corner of East Africa depends on an uncertain peace agreement signed this week. A former British government minister, just back from visiting refugee projects in the area, assesses the country’s prospects
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Former Apostolic Nuncio to Dominican Republic Wesolowski dies inside the Vatican
- New Dow Jones 'socially responsible' index announced to guide Catholic investors
- Fall in number of Catholic MPs in the House of Commons ahead of landmark debate on assisted dying
- Cardinal Koch praises Pope's fresh approach to ecumenism that 'sets him apart' from predecessors
- Time for one-day migrant strike Paul Donovan
- Why are the Kenyan bishops being so difficult about vaccine campaigns? Maureen Duggan MD FRCPCH Sheffield
- Better a prenup than a fearful avoidance of marriage Ayesha Vardag
Pope Francis insisted yesterday that no one should be barred from the sacraments and to emphasise his point said humorously that even an extraterrestrial requesting baptism should be welcomed.
The Pope was delivering a homily on the initial resistance from St Peter and other disciples to baptising Gentiles, and in doing so fulsomely expounded on the offer of God’s grace to all.
"If tomorrow an expedition of Martians were to land, and some of them came to us, Martians right? Green with long noses and big ears, as children paint them. If one of these were to say: 'I want to be baptised’. What would happen?”
On the “internal crisis” that faced the early Church over the issue of whether Gentiles should be baptised, Pope Francis said that the dismay felt by the disciples at this new situation was understandable. St Peter, he went on, was enlightened when a vision showed him a fundamental truth: What has been purified by God cannot be called "profane" by anyone.
“When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say ‘no Lord, it isn't prudent’. Do we do this? Peter in this first diocese takes this decision: “Who am I to put obstacles in the way? This is a good point for bishops, priests and all Christians. Who are we to close doors?”
Some commentators have linked the Pope’s remarks with the two forthcoming synods when bishops will consider the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics and cohabiting couples should be admitted to the sacraments. Others have linked Francis’ comments to his insistence that the children of unmarried couples should be offered baptism.