World Report

Vatican Roundup

Flooding in South Asia

Laugh at yourself, don’t be vain Pope tells youth

Pope Francis told youth to steer clear of modern society’s narcissistic tendencies, which he referred to as a vain “illness”. The Pontiff spoke off-the-cuff to Spanish members of the Catholic Shalom Community during an audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall this week. He said they should instead concentrate on helping others and on developing a healthy ability to laugh at oneself.

“This culture that we live in, which is very selfish, (always) looking at yourself, has a very strong dose of narcissism, (of) contemplating oneself and ignoring others,” the Pope said.

In turn, narcissism “produces sadness, because you live worried about ‘dressing up’ your soul everyday to appear better than you are, contemplating to see if you are more beautiful than others”.

Instead, “look outside, look at others. And if one day you want to look at yourself in the mirror, I will give you a mirror: look in the mirror to laugh at yourself.” Doing this, he said “will refresh your soul”.

To know how to laugh at ourselves, he added “gives us joy and saves us from the temptation of narcissism”.

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Pope comforts flood victims in US and South Asia

As millions of children are left without homes due to flooding in South Asia the Pope expressed his closeness with the suffering people.

This summer over 1,000 people died in floods across South Asia, the UN has said at least 41 million people in Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been affected by landslides and exceptional rainfall.

The UN Children’s Fund said 16 million children need “urgent life-saving support”.

The flooding has continued for two months in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, forcing tens of thousands of people into relief camps.

In his Angelus address on Sunday, the Holy Father also had words of comfort for the residents of Texas and Louisiana in the US who are suffering as a result of Hurricane Harvey which has caused material damage and displaced thousands of people.

The Pope asked Mary the Most Holy, consoler of the afflicted, to obtain “from the Lord the grace of comfort for the whole Texan community in these painful circumstances”.

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Moral decay has led to destruction of nature

Environmental destruction is a sign of a “morally decaying scenario” as too many people ignore or deny its existence.

“God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment,” said the leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Marking the World Day of Prayer for Creation, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople issued a joint message. They urged government and business leaders “to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation”.

Looking at the description of the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis, the Pope and Patriarch said: “The Earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy.”

However, “our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation.“We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession,” the two leaders said.