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Pope: Mass is for the Eucharist, Not Pictures. Put the Phone Away

Pope Francis chastised those who spend Mass talking to others, looking at their phone or even taking pictures during papal liturgies, saying these are distractions that take focus away from the “heart of the Church,” which is the Eucharist.

“The Mass is not a show: it is to go to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord,” the Pope said Nov. 8. “The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, we look at things and chat among ourselves while the priest celebrates the Eucharist... But it is the Lord!”

In particular, Francis condemned the use of cell phones to take photos at papal Masses. At one point during the Mass the priest says, “we lift up our hearts,” he said. “He does not say, ‘We lift up our phones to take photographs!’”

During the general audience, Pope Francis said the Eucharist would be the new focus of his weekly catechesis for the year, because “it is fundamental for us Christians to understand well the value and meaning of the Holy Mass to live more and more fully our relationship with God.”

In the Eucharist we rediscover, through our senses, what is essential, he said. Just as the Apostle Thomas asked to see and touch the wounds of Jesus after his resurrection, we need the same thing: “to see him and touch him to be able to recognize him.” In this way, the Sacraments meet this very "human need" of ours, he said. And in the Eucharist, in particular, we find a privileged way to meet God and his love.

Concluding his reflection on the Mass and the Eucharist, Pope Francis said that he hopes that through these brief weekly lessons, everyone will rediscover the beauty "hidden in the Eucharistic celebration, and which, when revealed, gives a full meaning to the life of everyone."
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Pope Francis Bans Sale of Cigarettes to Vatican Employees

Pope Francis has decided to ban the sale of cigarettes inside the City State on the grounds that the Holy See cannot profit from a proven health hazard.

In a Nov. 9 statement, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the reason for the decision “is very simple: the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people.”

Available for sale exclusively at “Palazzo della Stazione,” the building that sits in front of the Vatican's small train station, the cigarettes have until now been sold at a lower price than in tobacco stores around Rome, making it an ideal place for smokers holding a Vatican employee card to pick up their next pack.

However, citing numbers from the World Health Organization, Burke noted how each year some 7 million people throughout the world die due to smoking-related causes.

Despite the fact the cigarettes sold to Vatican employees and pensioners have been a source of revenue for the Holy See, “no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk,” Burke said.

The sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican will officially cease as of 2018.
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John Paul I moves forward on path to sainthood

he Vatican announced that Albino Luciani – better know as Pope John Paul I – has moved forward on the path to sainthood, and can now officially be called “Venerable” by faithful around the world.

With Francis' approval of his heroic virtue, “Papa Luciani,” who until now has held the title “Servant of God,” can be called “Venerable,” which is the step before beatification.

He sent shock waves around the world when he died unexpectedly just 33 days later, making his one of the shortest pontificates in the history of the Church.

The first Pope to born in the 20th century, he is also the most recent Italian-born Pontiff and is often referred to as “the Smiling Pope” by those who knew him or remember his election.

With the approval of his heroic virtue, the path is now open for Pope John Paul I's beatification, which requires that there be miracles attributed to his intercession. One miracle is needed for him to be beatified and declared “Blessed,” and two are needed for his canonization as a Saint.