• [1 of 2] VIS-News

    From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Sep 26 08:58:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 165
    DATE 26-09-2014

    Summary:
    - Pope Francis receives in audience the Focolare Movement
    - Holy Father's calendar for October 2014
    - Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
    - Cardinal Parolin encourages people of faith to condemn terrorist acts
    - Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
    - The KAICIID deplores the abuse of religion to justify violent conflict
    - Cardinals Nichols, Soo-Jung and Brenes Solorzano take possession of their titular churches
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    Pope Francis receives in audience the Focolare Movement
    Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) - Contemplate, go forth, and educate: these were the three directions Pope Francis gave this morning to the Focolare Movement, whose general assembly takes place in Rome this week.
    The Work of Mary, better known as the Focolare Movement, was born within the bosom of the Catholic Church "from a small seed that, over the years, has grown into a tree that now extends its branches in all the expressions of the Christian family and also among members of different religions, and among many who cultivate justice and solidarity alongside the search for truth".
    Pope Francis referred with great affection and admiration to Chiara Lubich, founder and firs president of the Focolare Movement, commenting that, "faithful to the charism from which it was born and by which it is nurtured, the Focolare Movement now finds itself faced with the same task that awaits the Church as a whole: offering, with responsibility and creativity, its special contribution to this new season of evangelisation". He gave three directions on how to achieve this: contemplate, go forth, and educate.
    To contemplate, it is necessary to "enlarge one's inner capacity to accommodate Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, to make contemplation the indispensable condition for a supportive presence and effective action that is truly free and pure". To contemplate means living in the company of brothers and sisters, breaking the bread of communion and fraternity with them, together crossing the threshold that leads to the Father, since contemplation that excludes others is a deception. It is narcissism".
    The next step is to "go forth like Jesus from the bosom of the Father to proclaim the word of love to all, unto His sacrifice on the Cross. We must learn from Him, from Jesus, the 'drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good seed'. We must not linger, but rather, with God's help, must aim high and broaden our horizons! And to do this, we must go forth with courage 'unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach'. He awaits us in the suffering and in the cries of our brothers, in the wounds of society and in the questions posed by the culture of our times. It pains the heart when we see a Church, faced with a humanity with many wounds - moral, existential, of war - making philosophical, theological and spiritual Byzantisms, while lacking a spirituality of action. It is necessary to go forth, because the Church is like a field hospital. In this type of hospital, the first thing you do is tend to the injured, rather than analysing their cholesterol levels; you do that later".
    Finally, the third direction: educate. "It is necessary, as the Gospel demands, to form new men and women, and to do this there must be a school in humanity that measures up to the humanity of Jesus. ... Without adequate education of the new generations, it is illusory to imagine the realisation of a serious and lasting project in the service of a new humanity".
    "Chiara Lubich, in her time, coined an expression that remains relevant in our times", concluded the Holy Father. "Today, she said, we need to form 'world-people', men and women with the soul, the heart and the mind of Jesus and therefore capable of recognising and interpreting the needs, worries and hopes that reside in the heart of every person".

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    Holy Father's calendar for October 2014
    Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations over which the Holy Father will preside during the month of October:
    Sunday 4: At 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, prayer vigil in preparation for the Synod on the family.
    Sunday 5: 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in the Papal Chapel of the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for the opening of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.
    Sunday 12: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for thanksgiving for the equipollent canonisation of the French Canadian Saints Marie de l'Incarnation, O.S.U. (1599-1672), and Francois de Montmorency-Laval, M.E.P. (1623-1708).
    Sunday 19: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10.30 a.m. in the Papal Chapel of the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family and the beatification of the Servant of God, Supreme Pontiff Paul VI.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
    Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) - The Holy See has communicated to the competent offices of the United Nations in Geneva the document "Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child". The Concluding Observations were presented by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 5 February, following the reports, written responses and interactive dialogue submitted to the Committee by the Holy See as a State signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
    The full English text of the Holy See's comments may be consulted at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2014/documents/rc-seg-st-20 140205_concluding-observations-rights-child_en.html ___________________________________________________________

    Cardinal Parolin encourages people of faith to condemn terrorist acts
    Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin participated in the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on terrorism, held last Wednesday, 24 September in New York, on "Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts". Cardinal Parolin began by congratulating the U.S.A. on assuming the presidency of the Security Council and applauded the timely convocation of the debate, which came "at a time when every region of the world faces the dehumanising impact of terrorism". He continued, "This is not a phenomenon which impacts only certain peoples, religions or regions, but rather is a crime which impacts the entire international community. The ongoing, and in some regions escalating use of terrorism is a reminder that such as shared challenge requires a shared commitment from all nations and all people of good will".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Oct 2 08:24:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 169
    DATE 02-10-2014

    Summary:
    - The Pope to the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East: there is no religious, political or economic justification for the condition of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria
    - To the prelates of Chad: the behaviour of the Church is a model for all society
    - To Justice and Peace: rising inequality and poverty endanger democracy
    - Pope Francis receives in audience the survivors of the Lampedusa shipwreck that claimed 368 lives
    - Papal representatives in the Middle East gather in the Vatican to discuss the situation of Christians in the region
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope to the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East: there is no religious, political or economic justification for the condition of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria
    Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) - "Our meeting is marked by the suffering we share on account of the wars that beset various regions of the Middle East and in particular for the violence suffered by Christians and members of other religious minorities, especially in Iraq and Syria", said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in audience His Holiness Mar Dinka IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. "When we think of their suffering, it is natural to overcome the distinctions of rite or confession; in them there is the body of Christ that, still today, is injured, beaten and humiliated. There are no religious, political or economic factors that can justify what is happening to hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. We are deeply united in our prayers for intercession and in charity towards these suffering members of the body of Christ".
    "Your visit is another step along the path of an increasing closeness and spiritual communion between us, after the bitter misunderstandings of previous centuries", continued the bishop of Rome. Twenty years ago, the joint Christological declaration you signed along with my predecessor, the Pope St. John Paul II, was a milestone in our path to full communion. In this declaration we acknowledged that we confess the sole faith of the apostles, faith in the divinity and humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, united in a single person, without confusion or alteration, without division or separation.
    Finally, the Pope referred to the work of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, which he accompanies with prayer "so that the blessed day may come in which we are able to celebrate at the same altar the sacrifice of praise, that will make us one in Christ. ... What unites us is far greater than what divides, and for this reason we feel urged by the Spirit to share from now the spiritual treasures of our ecclesial traditions, to live, like true brothers, sharing the gifts that the Lord does not cease to give to our Churches, as a sign of His goodness and mercy".

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    To the prelates of Chad: the behaviour of the Church is a model for all society
    Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) - The implementation of catechetical methods for inculturation, the defence of the family and the role of women, and the need for dialogue with other religions in a country where Catholics are a minority are the main themes of the discourse Pope Francis handed to the bishops of Chad this morning, at the end of their "ad Limina" visit. The Holy Father writes that the Catholic communities in this country "are growing, not only numerically, but also in terms of quality and the strength of their efforts", and expressed his satisfaction for the work carried out in the spheres of education, health and development. "The civil authorities are very grateful to the Catholic Church for her contribution to society as a whole in Chad. I encourage you to persevere along this path, as there is a strong bond between evangelisation and human development, a bond that must be expressed and developed in all the work of evangelisation. Service to the poor and the most disadvantaged constitutes a true testimony of Christ, Who made Himself poor in order to be close to us and to save us. Both the religious congregations and lay associations who work with them play an important role in this respect, and they are to be thanked for this".
    "However", he observes, "it is certain that this commitment to social service does not constitute the entirety of evangelizing activity; the deepening and strengthening of faith in the hearts of the faithful, that translates into an authentic spiritual and sacramental life, are essential to enable them to withstand the many trials of contemporary life, and to ensure that the behaviour of the faithful is more coherent with the requirements of the Gospel. ... This is especially necessary in a country where certain cultural traditions bear considerable weight, where less morally demanding religious possibilities are present everywhere, and where secularism begins to make headway".
    Therefore, "it is necessary for the faithful to receive a solid doctrinal and spiritual formation. And the first locus of formation is certainly catechesis. I invite you, with a renewed missionary spirit, to implement the catechetical methods used in your dioceses. First, the good aspects of their traditions must be considered and accorded their due value - because Christ did not come to destroy cultures, but rather to lead them to fulfilment - while that which is not Christian must be clearly denounced. At the same time, it is essential to ensure the accuracy and integrity of doctrinal content".
    The Pope goes on to refer to families, who are "the vital cell of society and the Church, and who are currently very vulnerable. ... And within the family, it is important that the role and the dignity of the woman are recognised, to bear eloquent witness to the Gospel. Therefore, in this respect, "behaviour within the Church must be a model for the whole of society".
    After reiterating the need for the permanent formation of the clergy and the closeness of bishops and priests, Pope Francis observes that the Church in Chad, "despite her vitality and development, is a minority in a population in which there is a Muslim majority and which is still partly bound to its traditional religions", and encouraged the prelates to ensure "that the Church, which is respected and listened to, occupies the space justly accorded to her in society in Chad, in which a significant element has converted, even though this remains a minority". He continues, "in this context, I must urge you to foster interreligious dialogue, which was fortunately initiated by the late Archbishop of N'Djamena, Mathias M'Garteri Mayadi, who did much to promote the co-existence of different religious communities. I believe that it is necessary to continue with this type of initiative to prevent the violence to which Christians have fallen victim in neighbouring countries".
    The Holy Father concluded by reiterating the importance of maintaining the good relations established with the civil authorities, and highlighted the recent signing of a Framework Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Chad that, once ratified, will greatly help the mission of the Church.

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    To Justice and Peace: rising inequality and poverty endanger democracy
    Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace": a meeting that coincides with the fifth anniversary of the publication of Benedict VI's encyclical "Caritas in veritate". Pope Francis described it as "a fundamental document for the evangelisation of the social sphere, which offers valuable guidance for the presence of Catholics in society, in the institutions, in the economy, in finance and in politics", which "has drawn attention to both the benefits and the dangers of globalisation, when the latter is not guided towards the good of the people. While globalisation has increased aggregate wealth and that of a number of individual States, it has also caused division between various social groups, creating inequality and new forms of poverty in within those same countries that are considered to be among the richest".
    The Pope remarked that one of the aspects of the current economic system is the exploitation of international imbalances in the costs of labour, which affects millions of people who live on less than two dollars a day. This imbalance not only fails to respect the dignity of those who provide low cost labour, but also removes sources of work from those areas where it is most protected. "This poses the problem of creating mechanisms for protecting working rights, as well as the environment, in the presence of an increasingly consumerist ideology, that does not demonstrate responsibility with regard to cities and to creation. Rising inequality and poverty put participatory and inclusive democracy at risk; the latter always presupposes an economy and a market that are fair and do not exclude. This therefore means that the structural causes of inequality and poverty must be dealt with". Frances remarked that in his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii gaudium" he indicated three basic instruments for the social inclusion of the those most in need: education, access to healthcare, and work for all.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Oct 3 07:36:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 170
    DATE 03-10-2014

    Summary:
    - Pope Francis receives the president of Sri Lanka
    - The Pope receives the Council of European Episcopal Conferences: "Be a prophetic voice for society"
    - To the clergy: do not limit yourselves to merely acting as priests - "be" priests
    - Second day of the meeting on the presence of Christians in the Middle East
    - Cardinal Baldisseri on the Synod on the Family
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis receives the president of Sri Lanka
    Vatican City, 3 October 2014 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
    During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on the country's current situation, with particular reference to signs of social and economic improvement, and conveyed their hope that solutions corresponding to the legitimate expectations of all citizens may be found.
    In this context, the Parties expressed their hope that the Holy Father's upcoming visit to Sri Lanka may be welcomed as a sign of closeness to the Sri Lankan population and may encourage those who work for the common good, reconciliation, justice and peace.

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    The Pope receives the Council of European Episcopal Conferences: "Be a prophetic voice for society"
    Vatican City, 3 October 2014 (VIS) - "Family and future of Europa" is the theme of the plenary assembly taking place in these days at the Council of European Episcopal Conferences. This morning Pope Francis received seventy of its members, to whom he delivered an off-the-cuff address. He subsequently handed them a written discourse underlining how, as pastors close to their flock, they well know the complexity of the panorama and the challenges the mission of the Church faces, even in Europe.
    "We are called to be an 'outbound' Church, in movement from the centre towards the peripheries to reach out to all, without fear, without distrust, and with apostolic courage", says the document.
    Addressing the theme of the plenary session, the Holy Father writes that it constitutes an important occasion for joint reflection on how to exalt the family as a valuable resource for pastoral renewal, emphasising the need for Pastors and families to work together, with a spirit of humility and sincere dialogue, so that parish communities become "families of families". In this respect, he observes that "there is no lack of diverse experiences of family pastoral care and political and social commitment to support families, both those that experience an ordinary married life and those afflicted by problems or breakdowns. It is important to gather together these significant experiences present in the different areas of the life of the men and women of our time, in relation to whom we must exercise an appropriate discernment, in order to then 'put them in the network', thus involving other diocesan communities".
    Collaboration between Pastors and families also extends to the field of education, "favouring the maturation of a spirit of justice, solidarity, peace, and the courage of one's own convictions. It involves supporting parents in their responsibility to education their children, protecting their fundamental right to give their children the education they consider most appropriate. Parents, indeed, remain the first and most important educators of their children, and therefore they have the right to educate them in conformity with their moral and religious convictions. In this regard, it is possible to outline common and coordinated pastoral directives, with the aim of offering valid promotion and support to Catholic schools".
    At the end of the text, Pope Francis encourages those present to continue in their efforts to favour communion between the various Churches in Europe, enabling appropriate collaboration for fruitful evangelisation. "I also invite you to be a 'prophetic voice' within society, especially where the process of secularisation in process throughout the European continent tends to make it increasingly marginal to speak about God", he concludes.

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    To the clergy: do not limit yourselves to merely acting as priests - "be" priests
    Vatican City, 3 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall the Holy Father received in audience the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy. "The vocation is truly a treasure that God places in the hearts of some men, chosen by Him and called to follow Him in this special state of life. This treasure, that must be discovered and brought to light, is not made to 'enrich' someone alone. He who is called to the ministry is not the 'master' of his vocation, but rather the administrator of a gift that God has entrusted to him for the good of all the people, or rather for all humanity, even those who have drifted away from religious practice or do not profess faith in Christ". Pope Francis added that "at the same time, all the Christian community is the custodian of the treasure of these vocations, destined to its service, and must always be aware of its task of promoting, welcoming and accompanying them with affection".
    Similarly, the Pope reminded the clergy that they too must play their role in formation. "This involves protecting and nurturing vocations, so that they bear mature fruit". He remarked that Jesus did not call his disciples by saying to them "come, I will explain to you", or "follow me, I will teach you". "The formation Christ offered his disciples instead took the form of 'come and follow me', 'do as I do', and this is the method that today, too, the Church must offer her ministers. ... For this reason, it is a task that is never completed, because priests never stop being Jesus' disciples; they never stop following him".
    Pope Francis spoke about evangelisation as the aim of vocation. "Every vocation is for the mission, and the mission of ordained ministers is evangelisation", he continued, adding that "the first form of evangelisation is the witness of fraternity and of communion between priests and bishop". He concluded by emphasising that it is necessary for the clergy to "be priests ... free of every spiritual worldliness, aware that it is their lives that evangelise rather than their works", rather than to take a limited view of priesthood as a profession", also asking the bishops to think of the good of the people of God, to study the itinerary of vocations carefully, and not to accept priests simply because there is a lack of them in the diocese.

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    Second day of the meeting on the presence of Christians in the Middle East
    Vatican City, 3 October 2014 (VIS) - The meeting of various Papal Representatives and Superiors of the competent dicasteries, convoked in the Vatican at the behest of the Holy Father to analyse "The presence of Christians in the Middle East", continued today. During this morning's meeting, the Secretary for Relations with States gave a general presentation on the political situation in the Middle East and on the principles guiding the action of the Holy See, demonstrating the global repercussions of what happens in the Region. Peace is to be sought by means of a "regional" and comprehensive solution that does not overlook the interests of any of the parties, through dialogue and not through unilateral decisions imposed by force. With reference to the phenomenon of terrorism, the Secretary for Relations with States emphasised the importance of combating the fundamentalism at its base. An important role should be played by religious leaders, favouring interreligious dialogue and in particular the collaboration of all for the good of society. The Holy See, in following the political situation in the Middle East, and more generally in its relations with countries with a Muslim majority, considers to be fundamental issues the protection and respect for Christians and other religious minorities as fully-entitled citizens, and human rights, especially that of religious freedom.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Oct 8 08:00:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 173
    DATE 08-10-2014

    Summary:
    - General Audience: "divisions between Christians wound Christ"
    - Fourth General Congregation: the Synod Fathers discuss current proposals on family pastoral and the situation in Africa, threatened by Ebola
    - Fifth General Congregation: critical situations within the family, the question of mixed marriages, and mercy and truth for the divorced and remarried
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    General Audience: "divisions between Christians wound Christ"
    Vatican City, 8 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning, punctual as always, the Holy Father entered St. Peter's Square in an open-top Jeep to greet the faithful in attendance at this Wednesday's general audience. He dedicated his catechesis to the "many brothers who share with us our faith in Christ, but who belong to other confessions or to traditions different to our own". He emphasised that even today the relations between Christians of different confessions are not always characterised by respect and cordiality, and asked, "What is our current attitude to this situation? Are we indifferent or do we firmly believe that we can and must walk towards reconciliation and full communion?".
    The Pope emphasised that the divisions between Christians wound the Church and Christ, and remarked that Jesus wanted his disciples to remain united in His love. This unity was already under threat in Jesus' time, explained Pope Francis, and He urged his disciples to speak unanimously, so "by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose".
    The bishop of Rome also mentioned that throughout history the devil has tempted the Church with the intention of dividing her. Unfortunately, the Church has been marked by serious and painful divisions that have at times been long-lasting, continuing until the present day. For this reason, "it is very difficult to reconstruct the reasons and, above all, to find possible solutions. ... What is certain is that, in one way or another, behind all these lacerations there is always arrogance and selfishness, which are the cause of every disagreement and which make us intolerant, incapable of listening and of accepting those who have a vision or a position different from our own".
    "Now, faced with this, is there anything that we as members of the Holy Mother Church, can and should do? Without doubt there must be no lack of prayer, in continuity and in communion with Jesus. And together with prayer, the Lord asks of us a renewed openness: He asks us not to close ourselves against dialogue and encounter, but rather to accept all that is valid and positive that is offered to us even from those who think differently to us or who adopt different positions. Let us not focus on what divides us, but rather on that which unites us, seeking to know and love Christ better and to share the richness of His love. ... We are divided against ourselves. However, we all have something in common: we believe in Jesus Christ, the Lord ... in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We walk together, we are on the same path ... let us help each other! Let us receive communion on the way. This is spiritual ecumenism: walking the path of life together in our faith in Jesus Christ the Lord".
    Continuing on the theme of communion, the Holy Father told the faithful present that today he is very thankful to the Lord, since it is seventy years since his first communion. "Receiving the First Communion means entering into communion with others, with our brothers in our Church, and also with all those who belong to different communities but who believe in Jesus".
    Francis concluded by encouraging all to walk together towards full unity. "History has separated us, but we are on the path to reconciliation and communion. And when it seems that our goal is too distant or we are discouraged, we may be comforted by the idea that God cannot cover His ears to the voice of His own Son, and cannot fail to respond to His prayer and ours, that all Christians are truly one".

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    Fourth General Congregation: the Synod Fathers discuss current proposals on family pastoral and the situation in Africa, threatened by Ebola
    Vatican City, 8 October 2014 (VIS) - The general debate continued during the fourth general Congregation, following the order of the Instrumentum Laboris. The theme was "The Pastoral Program for the Family: Various Proposals Underway" (Part II, Chapter 1).
    Firstly, the link between the crisis of faith and the crisis of the family was underlined: it was said that the first generates the second. This is because faith is seen mostly as a set of doctrinal mores, whereas it is primarily a free act by which one entrusts oneself to God. This gave rise, among other things, to the suggestion of devising a "Vademecum" dedicated to the catechesis of the family, so as to strengthen its evangelising mission. Furthermore, the weakness of the faith of many baptised persons was underlined; this often leads to the marriage of couples who do are not appropriately aware of what they are undertaking.
    Secondly, a great challenge facing families today was mentioned: that of the "dictatorship of unitary thought" that aims to introduce into society those countervalues that distort the vision of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The crisis of values, atheist secularism, hedonism, and the ambition of power destroy families today, distorting it, weakening people and consequently rendering society fragile. It is therefore important to recover in the faithful the awareness of belonging to the Church, as the Church grows by attraction and the families of the Church attract other families.
    For its part, the Church, an expert in humanity, must underline the beauty and the need everyone has for the family, as it is indispensable. It is necessary to reawaken in humanity the sense of belonging to the family unit. In addition, as a reflection of God's love, which is never an isolated love, the family opens one to relationships and bonds with others, thus becoming the foundation for society.
    Mention was also made of the link between priests and families: they accompany families in all the most important stages of their lives, sharing in their joys and difficulties; families, in turn, help priests to experience celibacy as a full and balanced emotional life, rather than as a sacrifice. In addition, the family was defined as the "cradle of vocations" as it is precisely within the domestic walls, in common prayer, that the call to the priesthood is frequently heard.
    A further link that was underlined is that between baptism and marriage: without a serious and in-depth Christian initiation, the meaning of the sacrament of marriage is diminished. Therefore, it is to be emphasised that Christian marriage cannot be seen solely as a cultural tradition or a social need, but rather must be understood as a vocational decision, undertaken with suitable preparation that cannot be improvised in a few meetings, but must be carried out over a period of time.
    Attention then turned to how work affects the dynamics of the family: these are two dimensions that must be reconciled, through increasingly flexible working hours, new contractual models, and attention to geographical distances between home and work. Furthermore, technology can lead to work being brought home, making family dialogue difficult.
    Numerous interventions, especially in relation to Africa, drew attention to the many challenges the family must face in this continent: polygamy, levirate marriage, sects, war, poverty, the painful crisis of migration, international pressure for birth control, and so on. These are problems that undermine family stability, placing it in crisis. In the face of such challenges, it is necessary to respond with in-depth evangelisation, able to promote the values of peace, justice and love, an adequate promotion of the role of women in society, thorough education of children and the protection of rights for all victims of violence.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Oct 8 08:48:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 173
    DATE 08-10-2014

    Summary:
    - General Audience: ?divisions between Christians wound Christ?
    - Fourth General Congregation: the Synod Fathers discuss current proposals on family pastoral and the situation in Africa, threatened by Ebola
    - Fifth General Congregation: critical situations within the family, the question of mixed marriages, and mercy and truth for the divorced and remarried
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    General Audience: ?divisions between Christians wound Christ?
    Vatican City, 8 October 2014 (VIS) ? This morning, punctual as always, the Holy Father entered St. Peter's Square in an open-top Jeep to greet the faithful in attendance at this Wednesday's general audience. He dedicated his catechesis to the ?many brothers who share with us our faith in Christ, but who belong to other confessions or to traditions different to our own?. He emphasised that even today the relations between Christians of different confessions are not always characterised by respect and cordiality, and asked, ?What is our current attitude to this situation? Are we indifferent or do we firmly believe that we can and must walk towards reconciliation and full communion??.
    The Pope emphasised that the divisions between Christians wound the Church and Christ, and remarked that Jesus wanted his disciples to remain united in His love. This unity was already under threat in Jesus' time, explained Pope Francis, and He urged his disciples to speak unanimously, so ?by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose?.
    The bishop of Rome also mentioned that throughout history the devil has tempted the Church with the intention of dividing her. Unfortunately, the Church has been marked by serious and painful divisions that have at times been long-lasting, continuing until the present day. For this reason, ?it is very difficult to reconstruct the reasons and, above all, to find possible solutions. ? What is certain is that, in one way or another, behind all these lacerations there is always arrogance and selfishness, which are the cause of every disagreement and which make us intolerant, incapable of listening and of accepting those who have a vision or a position different from our own?.
    ?Now, faced with this, is there anything that we as members of the Holy Mother Church, can and should do? Without doubt there must be no lack of prayer, in continuity and in communion with Jesus. And together with prayer, the Lord asks of us a renewed openness: He asks us not to close ourselves against dialogue and encounter, but rather to accept all that is valid and positive that is offered to us even from those who think differently to us or who adopt different positions. Let us not focus on what divides us, but rather on that which unites us, seeking to know and love Christ better and to share the richness of His love. ? We are divided against ourselves. However, we all have something in common: we believe in Jesus Christ, the Lord ? in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We walk together, we are on the same path ? let us help each other! Let us receive communion on the way. This is spiritual ecumenism: walking the path of life together in our faith inJesus Christ the Lord?.
    Continuing on the theme of communion, the Holy Father told the faithful present that today he is very thankful to the Lord, since it is seventy years since his first communion. ?Receiving the First Communion means entering into communion with others, with our brothers in our Church, and also with all those who belong to different communities but who believe in Jesus?.
    Francis concluded by encouraging all to walk together towards full unity. ?History has separated us, but we are on the path to reconciliation and communion. And when it seems that our goal is too distant or we are discouraged, we may be comforted by the idea that God cannot cover His ears to the voice of His own Son, and cannot fail to respond to His prayer and ours, that all Christians are truly one?.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Fourth General Congregation: the Synod Fathers discuss current proposals on family pastoral and the situation in Africa, threatened by Ebola
    Vatican City, 8 October 2014 (VIS) ? The general debate continued during the fourth general Congregation, following the order of the Instrumentum Laboris. The theme was ?The Pastoral Program for the Family: Various Proposals Underway? (Part II, Chapter 1).
    Firstly, the link between the crisis of faith and the crisis of the family was underlined: it was said that the first generates the second. This is because faith is seen mostly as a set of doctrinal mores, whereas it is primarily a free act by which one entrusts oneself to God. This gave rise, among other things, to the suggestion of devising a ?Vademecum? dedicated to the catechesis of the family, so as to strengthen its evangelising mission. Furthermore, the weakness of the faith of many baptised persons was underlined; this often leads to the marriage of couples who do are not appropriately aware of what they are undertaking.
    Secondly, a great challenge facing families today was mentioned: that of the ?dictatorship of unitary thought? that aims to introduce into society those countervalues that distort the vision of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The crisis of values, atheist secularism, hedonism, and the ambition of power destroy families today, distorting it, weakening people and consequently rendering society fragile. It is therefore important to recover in the faithful the awareness of belonging to the Church, as the Church grows by attraction and the families of the Church attract other families.
    For its part, the Church, an expert in humanity, must underline the beauty and the need everyone has for the family, as it is indispensable. It is necessary to reawaken in humanity the sense of belonging to the family unit. In addition, as a reflection of God?s love, which is never an isolated love, the family opens one to relationships and bonds with others, thus becoming the foundation for society.
    Mention was also made of the link between priests and families: they accompany families in all the most important stages of their lives, sharing in their joys and difficulties; families, in turn, help priests to experience celibacy as a full and balanced emotional life, rather than as a sacrifice. In addition, the family was defined as the ?cradle of vocations? as it is precisely within the domestic walls, in common prayer, that the call to the priesthood is frequently heard.
    A further link that was underlined is that between baptism and marriage: without a serious and in-depth Christian initiation, the meaning of the sacrament of marriage is diminished. Therefore, it is to be emphasised that Christian marriage cannot be seen solely as a cultural tradition or a social need, but rather must be understood as a vocational decision, undertaken with suitable preparation that cannot be improvised in a few meetings, but must be carried out over a period of time.
    Attention then turned to how work affects the dynamics of the family: these are two dimensions that must be reconciled, through increasingly flexible working hours, new contractual models, and attention to geographical distances between home and work. Furthermore, technology can lead to work being brought home, making family dialogue difficult.
    Numerous interventions, especially in relation to Africa, drew attention to the many challenges the family must face in this continent: polygamy, levirate marriage, sects, war, poverty, the painful crisis of migration, international pressure for birth control, and so on. These are problems that undermine family stability, placing it in crisis. In the face of such challenges, it is necessary to respond with in-depth evangelisation, able to promote the values of peace, justice and love, an adequate promotion of the role of women in society, thorough education of children and the protection of rights for all victims of violence.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Oct 10 07:48:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 175
    DATE 10-10-2014

    Summary:
    - Eighth General Congregation: Christian education in difficult family situations
    - Ninth General Congregation: listen to the laity
    - Message for families affected by conflicts
    - "Useless slaughter": believers and the Holy See during the First World War
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Eighth General Congregation: Christian education in difficult family situations
    Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) - During the eighth general Congregation, held yesterday afternoon, the general debate continued to follow the agenda of the Instrumentum Laboris, focusing on the theme "The Church and the Family in the Challenge of Upbringing (Part III, Chapter 2). The Challenge of Upbringing in General / Christian Education in Difficult Family Situations".
    Firstly, the vocation of life as a basic element of the family was emphasised; this led to an invitation to the faithful to deepen their knowledge of Paul VI's Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, thus better understanding the meaning of the use of natural methods of fertility control and the non-acceptance of contraception. Union and procreation, it was said, are not separate from the conjugal act. The condemnation of genetic manipulation and cryopreservation of embryos was therefore reiterated forcefully.
    From various quarters there emerged the tendency of several states and organisations based in the Western world to present, especially in the context of Africa, various concepts (including abortion and homosexual unions) as "human rights", linked to economic aid and strong pressure campaigns for the promotion of such concepts. In this respect, it was highlighted that the expression "rights to sexual and reproductive health" does not have a precise definition in international law and ends up encompassing mutually contradictory principles such as the condemnation of forced abortion and the promotion of safe abortion, or the protection of maternity and the promotion of contraception. Also without any binding value, the promotion of such "rights" represents a risk, as it may influence the interpretation of other norms, especially in combating discrimination against women.
    The Assembly reiterated the importance of adequate preparation for marriage, as its celebration seems to be increasingly reduced to the social and legal status, rather than a religious and spiritual bond. The preparatory course, it was noted, is often perceived by couples as an imposition, a task to complete without conviction, and as a result it is too brief. Since marriage is a vocation for life, preparation for it should be long and detailed, as in the case of preparation for religious life. It was also shown that, among couples, there is a frequent lack of awareness of the sacramental value of the marriage bond, so much so that the celebration of the marriage rite, it was said, is not automatically the celebration of the marriage sacrament.
    With regard to the streamlining of procedures for the process of verifying matrimonial nullity, it was recalled that a special study Commission for the reform of the canonical marriage nullification process was instituted by the Holy Father Francis on 20 September 2014, and the hope was expressed that it will enable a simpler procedure to be put into effect, which must however be single and uniform for all the Church. Furthermore, with regard to the double confirming sentences consequent to mandatory appeal, it was asked whether the possibility had been raised of leaving the decision of recourse to appeal to the discretion of the bishop. At the same time, the hope was expressed that there would be a greater presence of suitably prepared lay judges, women in particular.
    The Assembly went on to insist on the importance of good preparation for priests in relation to the pastoral care of marriage and the family, and remarked that homilies can be used as a special and effective moment for proclaiming the Gospel of the family to the faithful. It was commented that there is a need for formation and information, as the spiritual holiness of the priest, his creativity and his direct relationship with families are particularly appreciated by the faithful.
    There were further reflections on the relationship between migration and family, in which it was reiterated that the family unit is a fundamental right to be accorded to every migrant, and the importance of protection for the right to family unity through international migratory policies was emphasised. It was said that the family is an essential element for the integration of migrants in host countries.
    During the hour dedicated to free discussion - between 6 and 7 p.m. - three themes emerged in particular: with regard to divorced and remarried persons, the need for a penitential path was highlighted, to be accompanied by reflection on the case of divorced persons who remain alone and suffer in silence, at the margins of social life. Secondly, mention was made of the need to protect the children of divorced couples from suffering the psychological affects of their parents' divorce. In this respect, it was recalled that adequate pastoral care of children often causes their parents to draw closer to the Church.
    Thirdly, the importance of the relationship between the family and the education of children was affirmed, with particular reference to parents' right to choose the most suitable educational plan for their children, so that they may receive a quality education.
    Finally, the Secretary General of the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, announced that during the eight general Congregations, there had been a total of 180 interventions from the Synod Fathers, with the addition of 80 more during the hours of open debate.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Ninth General Congregation: listen to the laity
    Vatican City, 10 October 2014 (VIS) - During the ninth general Congregation, which took place this morning, 15 interventions were heard (6 from couples and 9 from single Auditors), almost all laypersons engaged in the fields of family pastoral care, bioethics and human ecology. From various countries throughout the world and representing almost all the continents, the Auditors brought to the Assembly their living testimony of family apostolate lived in everyday life.
    Firstly, mention was made of the difficulties experienced by families living in the Middle East, especially in Iraq: these numerous conflicts have serious repercussions on families, divided by the death of their members, forced to migrate in search of a safe place to live, deprived of a future for the young who are removed from schools or for the elderly who are abandoned to their own devices. The unity of the Christian family in the Middle East is profoundly disrupted, with consequences also for the social and national unity of the countries in the region. Faced with such dramatic situations, the Church truly represents a safe haven, a "family of families" that offers comfort and hope. It is also necessary to prepare married couples to be "mediators" of peace and reconciliation.
    Another point highlighted by the Auditors was the need for the Church to listen more to laypeople in the search for solutions to the problems of families, especially in relation to the sphere of intimacy in the life of couples. For this reason it is important for there to be synergy between the academic world and the pastoral world, so as to form not "technicians" but rather pastoral workers who know and understand how to promote the themes of family and life through a solid Catholic overall anthropological vision.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 13 08:36:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 176
    DATE 13-10-2014

    Summary:
    - Relatio post disceptationem: listen to the family and discuss pastoral perspectives, with a gaze fixed on Christ
    - The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world: theme of the next Synod
    - Consistory for the canonisation of the Blesseds Joseph Vaz and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception
    - Mass of thanks for the new Canadian saints
    - Angelus: respond to the Lord's invitation with witness to charity
    - Genoa in the Pope's prayers
    - Synod Fathers to draw up the Relatio Synodi
    - Tenth General Congregation: Fraternal Delegates
    - Declaration from the director of the Holy See Press Office
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Relatio post disceptationem: listen to the family and discuss pastoral perspectives, with a gaze fixed on Christ
    Vatican City, 13 October 2014 (VIS) - The "post-discussion report" of the Extraordinary Synod on the family was presented this morning by the General Rapporteur of the Assembly, Cardinal Peter Erdo. It summarises the Synod Fathers' main reflections that have emerged during the General Congregations during recent days, and forms the basis of the final documents of the Synod.
    The Report sets out three main guidelines: listening to the socio-cultural context in which families live today; discussing the pastoral perspectives to be taken, and above all, looking to Christ and to His Gospel of the family.
    The family, therefore, is "decisive and valuable", the "source of joys and trials, of deep affections and relations, at times wounded", a "school of humanity", and must first be listened to in its "complexity". Exasperated individualism, the "great test" of solitude, the "narcissistic affectivity" linked to the "fragility" of sentiments, the "nightmare" of precariousness in the workplace, along with war, terrorism and migrations increasingly cause deterioration in family situations. It is here, according to the Relatio, that the Church must give "hope and meaning" to the life of modern humanity, ensuring that "the doctrine of faith" is better known, but proposing it "with mercy".
    Turning our gaze to Christ "reaffirms the indissoluble union between a man and a woman", but also allows us to "interpret the nuptial covenant in terms of continuity and novelty". The principle, explains Cardinal Erdo, must be that of "gradualness" for couples in failed marriages, with an "inclusive perspective" for the "imperfect forms" of nuptial reality: "Realizing the need, therefore, for spiritual discernment with regard to cohabitation, civil marriages and divorced and remarried persons, it is the task of the Church to recognise those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. ... The Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings".
    There is a need, therefore, for a "new dimension of family pastoral" able to nurture seeds in the process of maturation, such as civil marriages characterised by stability, deep affection, and responsibility in relation to offspring, and which may lead to a sacramental bond. Frequently cohabitation or de facto unions are not dictated by a rejection of Christian values, but rather by practical needs, such as waiting for a stable job. The Church, a true "House of the Father", a "torch carried among the people", continued the Cardinal, must accompany "her most fragile sons and daughters, marked by wounded and lost love, with attention and care", restoring trust and hope to them.
    In the third part, the "post-discussion Report" goes on to face the "most urgent pastoral issues", the implementation of which is entrusted to the individual local Churches, always in communion with the Pope. First, the "proclamation of the Gospel of the family" is "not to condemn, but to cure human fragility". This proclamation also involves the faithful: "Evangelising is the shared responsibility of all God's people, each according to his or her own ministry and charism. Without the joyous testimony of spouses and families, the announcement, even if correct, risks being misunderstood or submerged by the ocean of words that is a characteristic of our society. Catholic families are themselves called upon to be the active subjects of all the pastoral of the family".
    The Gospel of the family is "joy", underlined Cardinal Erdo, and therefore requires "a missionary conversion" so as not to stop at a proclamation that is "merely theoretical and has nothing to do with people's real problems". At the same time, it is also necessary to act in relation to language: "Conversion has, above all, to be that of language so that this might prove to be effectively meaningful. ... This is not merely about presenting a set of regulations but about putting forward values, responding to those who find themselves in need today even in the most secularised countries".
    Adequate preparation for Christian marriage is also essential, as this is not merely a cultural tradition or a social obligation, but rather a "vocational decision". Without "complicating the cycles of formation", the aim should be that of exploring the issue in depth, not limiting the issue merely to "general orientations" but instead renewing also "the formation of presbyters and other pastoral operators" on the matter, with the involvement of families themselves, whose witness is to be privileged. The accompaniment of the Church is also suggested following marriage, a "vital and delicate" period in which couples mature their understanding of the sacrament, its meaning and the challenges that it poses.
    In the same way, the Church, continues the Report, must encourage and support laypersons occupied with culture, politics and in society, to ensure that those factors that impede authentic family life, leading to discrimination, poverty, exclusion and violence, are denounced.
    Moving on to the issue of separated couples, divorced persons, including those subsequently remarried, Cardinal Erdo underlined that "it is not wise to think of single solutions or those inspired by a logic of aall or nothing'"; dialogue must therefore continue in the local Churches, "with respect and love" for every wounded family, thinking of those who have unjustly suffered abandonment by their spouse, avoiding discriminatory attitudes and protecting children: "It is indispensable to assume in a faithful and constructive way the consequences of separation or divorce on the children; they must not become an 'object' to be fought over and the most suitable means need to be sought so that they can get over the trauma of family break-up and grow up in the most serene way possible".
    With regard to the streamlining of procedures for the recognition of matrimonial nullity, the General Rapporteur of the Synod reported the proposals made by the Assembly: to abandon the need for the double conforming sentence, to establish an administrative channel at diocesan level, and the introduction of a summary process in the case of clear nullity, and the possibility of "giving weight to the faith of those about to be married in terms of the validity of the sacrament of marriage". The Cardinal emphasised that this all requires suitably prepared clergy and laypersons and a greater responsibility on the part of local bishops.
    With regard to access to the sacrament of the Eucharist for divorced and remarried persons, the Report lists the main suggestions that emerged from the Synod: maintaining the current discipline; allowing greater openness in particular cases, that may not be resolved without further injustice or suffering; or rather, opting for a "penitential" approach: partaking of the sacraments might occur were it preceded by a penitential path - under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop -, and with a clear undertaking in favour of the children. This would not be a general possibility, but the fruit of a discernment applied on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of gradualness, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.
    The question of "spiritual communion", for which a greater theological examination was called for, remains open; again, further reflection was required on mixed marriages and "serious problems" linked to the different nuptial discipline of Orthodox Churches.
    With regard to homosexuals, it was underlined that they have "gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community": the Church must therefore be, for them, a "welcoming home". The Church affirms that same-sex unions are not "on the same footing" as marriage between a man and a woman and stated that it was unacceptable for international bodies to place pressure on pastors to make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology. However, "without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasising that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority".
    In the final part, the Report returns to the theme of Pope Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae Vitae", and focuses on the question of openness to life, defining it as an "instrinsic requirement of conjugal love". This gives rise to the need for a "realistic language" able to explain "the beauty and truth" of opening oneself to the gift of a child, also thanks to "appropriate teaching regarding natural methods of fertility control" and a "harmonious and aware" communication between spouses, in all its dimensions. Furthermore, the challenge of education is central, in which the Church has a valuable role of support for families, to support them in their choices and their responsibilities.
    Finally, Cardinal Erdo underlines that the synodal dialogue took place "in great freedom and with a spirit of reciprocal listening", and recalls that the reflections proposed so far do not represent decisions that have already been taken: indeed, the itinerary will continue with the Ordinary General Synod, again on the theme of the family, to be held in October 2015.
    The full text of the Relatio post disceptationem may be consulted at:

    http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/13/07 51/03037.html
    ___________________________________________________________

    The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world: theme of the next Synod
    Vatican City, 13 October 2014 (VIS) - During the General Congregation of the Synod, held this morning, it was announced that Pope Francis has convoked the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world", which will be held in the Vatican from 4 to 25 October 2015.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Consistory for the canonisation of the Blesseds Joseph Vaz and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception
    Vatican City, 13 October 2014 (VIS) - On Monday, 20 October, in the New Synod Hall, the Holy Father Francis will preside at a celebration of Terce and the Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonisation of the Blesseds Joseph Vaz, Indian priest of the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa, India, and missionary in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Kanara, India, and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, Italian foundress of the Congregation of the Oblation Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The Pope also informed the members of the College of Cardinals on the current situation faced by Christians in the Middle Eaast, and the Church's commitment to peace in the region.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 27 09:00:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 187
    DATE 27-10-2014

    Summary:
    - Audience with the President of Uganda: peaceful co-existence between social and religious groups
    - Francis in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emphasises the responsibility of humanity in creation
    - Angelus: love is the measure of faith
    - Pope's message to participants in the congress "In precariousness, hope"
    - Cardinal Parolin: the obstacles to development derive from a distorted vision of the human being and economic activity
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Audience with the President of Uganda: peaceful co-existence between social and religious groups
    Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the president of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on certain aspects of life in the country and the good relations existing between the Holy See and the Republic of Uganda were highlighted, with particular reference to the fundamental contribution of the Catholic Church and her collaboration with institutions in the educational, social and healthcare sectors. Furthermore, the importance of peaceful co-existence between the various social and religious components of the country was underlined.
    Finally, mention was made of various questions of an international nature, with special attention to the conflicts affecting certain areas of Africa.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emphasises the responsibility of humanity in creation
    Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father attended the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held in the Casina Pio IV, during which he inaugurated a bust of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, whom he described as "a great Pope. Great for the strength and penetration of his intelligence, great for his important contribution to theology, great for his love of the Church and of human beings, great for his virtue and religiosity". He recalled that Benedict XVI was the first to invite a president of this Academy to participate in the Synod on new evangelisation, "aware of the importance of science in modern culture".
    Pope Francis chose not to focus on the complex issue of the evolution of nature, the theme the Academy will consider during this session, emphasising however that "God and Christ walk with us and are also present in nature". "When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magus, with a magic wand able to make everything. But it is not so. He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive and their fullness of being. He gave autonomy to the beings of the Universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality. And so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a conjurer, but the Creator who gives being to all things. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Origin that creates out of love. The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve".
    He continued, "With regard to man, instead, there is a change and something new. When, on the sixth day of the account in Genesis, man is created, God gives the human being another autonomy, an autonomy that is different to that of nature, which is freedom. And he tells man to name everything and to go ahead through history. This makes him responsible for creation, so that he might dominate it in order to develop it until the end of time. Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature. But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realise, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the Creator. So, while limited, the action of humanity is part of God's power and is able to build a world suited to his dual corporal and spiritual life; to build a human world for all human beings and not for a group or a class of privileged persons. This hope and trust in God, the Creator of nature, and in the capacity of the human spirit can offer the researcher a new energy and profound serenity. But it is also true that the action of humanity - when freedom becomes autonomy - which is not freedom, but autonomy - destroys creation and man takes the place of the Creator. And this is the grave sin against God the Creator", he concluded.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: love is the measure of faith
    Vatican City, 26 October 2014 (VIS) - More than eighty thousand people prayed the Angelus with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square this Sunday. Before the Marian prayer the Holy Father commented on today's Gospel reading, in which he reiterated that all of the divine Law may be summarised in love for God and neighbour: two sides of the same coin.
    Pope Francis explained that according to the evangelist Matthew, some Pharisees agreed to put Jesus to the test by asking him which commandment was the most important in the Law. Jesus, citing the book of Deuteronomy, answered: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment". "He could have stopped there", said the bishop of Rome. "Instead, Jesus adds something else that was not asked by the expert of the Law. Indeed, he said: 'And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself'. Even this second commandment is not invented by Jesus, but rather taken from the Book of Leviticus. Its newness consists precisely in putting together these two commandments - the love for God and love for one's neighbour - revealing that they are inseparable and complementary, they are two sides of the same coin. You cannot love God without loving your neighbour and you can't love your neighbour without loving God".
    Indeed, "the visible sign that a Christian can show to give witness to the world ... of the love of God is the love of his brethren. The commandment of love for God and one's neighbour is the first not because it is the first in the list of commandment. Jesus does not place it at the top, but rather at the centre since it is the heart from which everything must begin and to which everything must return and refer to. ... In the light of Jesus' words, love is the measure of faith, and faith is the soul of love. We can never separate religious life from the service of the brothers and sisters, to those real brethren we meet. We can never divide prayer, the encounter with God in the Sacraments, from listening to others, from closeness to their lives and especially to their wounds".
    "In the midst of the dense forest of precepts and prescriptions - the legalisms of yesterday and today - Jesus opens up a gap through which we can glimpse two faces: the face of the Father and that of the brother. He does not give us two rules or two precepts: he gives us two faces. Or rather, it is one face: that of God that is reflected in the faces of so many, because in the face of every brother and sister, especially the least, the fragile, the helpless and the needy, the very image of God is present".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Nov 3 14:55:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 192
    DATE 03-11-2014

    Summary:
    - The communion born of faith is not interrupted by death
    - All Saints' Day: a multitude of unknown and suffering saints
    - Commemoration of the departed faithful: pray for those the world has forgotten
    - The Pope celebrates Mass for the cardinals and bishops departed during the last year
    - The Holy See at the United Nations advocates a peaceful use of space
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The communion born of faith is not interrupted by death
    Vatican City, 1 November 2014 (VIS) - "The first two days of November represent for all of us an intense moment of faith, prayer and reflection on the 'last things' in our lives. Indeed, celebrating all the Saints and commemorating all the departed faithful, the earthly pilgrim Church lives and expresses in the liturgy the spiritual bond that unites her with the heavenly Church", explained the Holy Father to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.
    "Today's Solemnity thus helps us to consider a fundamental truth of the Christian faith that we profess in the 'Creed': the communion of saints. It is the communion that comes from faith and unites all those who belong to Christ by Baptism. It is a spiritual union that is not broken by death, but continues in the next life. In fact there is an unbreakable bond between us living in this world and those who have crossed the threshold of death. We here on earth, along with those who have entered into eternity, form one great family. This beautiful communion between heaven and earth achieves its highest and most intense manifestation in the Liturgy, and especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, which expresses and fulfils the deepest union between the members of the Church. In the Eucharist, we encounter the living Jesus and His strength, and through Him we enter into communion with our brothers and sisters in the faith, those who live with us here on earth and those who have gone before us into the next life, life without end. This reality of communion fills us with joy: it is good to have so many brothers and sisters in the faith who walk alongside us, supporting us with their help and together we travel the same road toward heaven. And it is comforting to know that we have other brothers and sisters who have already reached heaven ahead of us and who pray for us, so that together in eternity we can contemplate the glorious and merciful face of the Father".
    Finally, the Pope emphasised that in the great assembly of the saints, "God has reserved the first place for the Mother of Jesus. Mary is at the centre of the communion of saints, as a unique custodian of the bond between the universal Church and Christ, the bond of th family. ... For those who want to follow Jesus on the path of the Gospel, she is a safe guide because she is the first disciple, an attentive and caring Mother, to whom we can entrust every desire and difficulty".
    After the Angelus prayer, Francis commented that this Sunday's liturgy refers to the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem, and invited the faithful to pray that the "The Holy City, dear to Jews, Christians and Muslims, that in these days bears witness to different tensions, may increasingly be the sign and harbinger of the peace that God wishes for all the human family".
    He also recalled that today in Vitoria, Spain, the martyr Pedro As.a Mend0a is beatified. "A humble and austere priest, he preached the Gospel with the sanctity of his life, catechesis and devotion to the poor and needy. Arrested, tortured and killed for having expressed his desire to remain faithful to the Lord and to the Church, he is a wonderful example of strength in the faith and witness of charity for us".

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    All Saints' Day: a multitude of unknown and suffering saints
    Vatican City, 2 November 2014 (VIS) - Yesterday, 1 November, Pope Francis presided at the mass for the Solemnity of All Saints at the ceremony of Verano, attended by numerous Roman faithful. During the celebration the relics of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, the two recently canonised popes, were displayed for veneration, and at the end of the ceremony the Holy Father blessed the tombs.
    Commenting on the reading from the Book of Revelation, Francis spoke in his homily on the devastation of creation by humanity and the many suffering peoples whose only hope is placed in God. "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees", cried the Angel to the four Angels who were to devastate the earth and the sea and to destroy everything, and the Pope affirmed that "We are capable of devastating the Earth more fully than the Angels. And this is what we are doing. We devastate Creation ... we devastate life, we devastate culture, we devastate values, we ravage hope. And how we are in need of the Lord's strength, to seal us with his love and his strength, to stop this mad race of destruction! The destruction of what He gave us, of the most beautiful things that He made for us, for us to nurture, to make them grow and bear fruit. Man has appropriated everything, believing himself to be God, believing himself to be king. And wars: wars continue, and as a system it is not exactly helping to sow the seeds of life, but is instead destroying it. It is an industry of destruction. And it is also a system in which that which cannot be fixed is discarded; children are discarded, the elderly are discarded, the young unemployed are discarded ... entire populations are discarded".
    In the same passage St. John speaks about an immense and uncountable crowd, including every nation, tribe, people and language, an uncountable multitude that the Pope associated with the poor who, "to save their lives, have to flee their homes ... and live in tents, suffering the cold, without medicine, hungry, because the 'god-man' has appropriated Creation, all that is good that God made for us. ... And this is not ancient history - it is happening today. ... It is as if these people, these hungry and sick children, did not count; as if they were of another species, as if they were not human. And this multitude stands before God and begs: 'Salvation, please! Peace, please! Bread, please! Work, please! ... And among these persecuted people, there are also those who are persecuted for their faith".
    The Pope compared this multitude to the crowd dressed in white who washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb, as narrated in the Book of Revelation, and affirmed: "Today, on All Saints' Day, I would like us to think of all of them, all of these unknown saints, ... all these people who suffer great tribulation. Most of the world experiences this tribulation. And the Lord sanctifies these people, sinners like us, but sanctifies them with tribulation".
    The third image the Pope evoked was that of God, or rather, hope. "And this is the Lord's blessing, that we still have: hope. The hope that He will take pity on His people, that he will take pity on those in their great tribulation, that He will take pity on the destroyers, so that they convert. ... What must our attitude be, if we want to become part of this people who walk the path towards the Father, in this world of devastation, in this world of wars, in this world of tribulation? Our attitude, we have heard in the Gospel, is that of the Beatitudes. Only that path can lead us to the encounter with God. Only that path can save us from destruction, from the devastation of the land, of Creation, of morals, of history, of the family, of everything. Only that road: but it will not be easy. It will bring problems and persecution. But it is the only route that will take us forward".
    "May the Lord help us and give us the grace of this hope, but also the grace of the courage to leave behind all that is destruction, devastation, relativism of life, exclusion of others, exclusion of values, exclusion of all that the Lord has given us: the exclusion of peace. May He free us from this and give us the grace to walk with the hope of finding ourselves face-to-face with Him one day. And this hope, brothers and sisters, does not disappoint".

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    Commemoration of the departed faithful: pray for those the world has forgotten
    Vatican City, 2 November 2014 (VIS) - The Solemnity of All Saints and the commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, are "intimately linked to each other, just as joy and tears find a synthesis in Jesus Christ, Who is the foundation of our faith and our hope", said Pope Francis to the faithful gathered to pray the Angelus in St. Peter's Square today.
    On the one hand, in fact, the Church, a pilgrim in history, rejoices through the intercession of the saints and blessed who support her in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel; on the other, she, like Jesus, shares the tears of those who suffer the separation from loved ones, and like Him and through Him echoes thanks to the Father who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and death.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Nov 6 08:48:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 195
    DATE 06-11-2014

    Summary:
    - Pope Francis to the World Evangelical Alliance: "We can learn so much from each other"
    - To the bishops of Malawi: the apostolate of the family will bring inestimable benefits to the Church and society as a whole
    - The Pope receives the president of the "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo"
    - The Holy See at the United Nations: a lack of food is not the root cause of hunger
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    Pope Francis to the World Evangelical Alliance: "We can learn so much from each other"
    Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the World Evangelical Alliance, a network of evangelical churches in 128 nations, based in New York, U.S.A., which has formed an alliance with over 100 international organisations, giving voice to more than 400 million evangelical Christians throughout the world.
    The Holy Father began his address to the Alliance by emphasising that Baptism is a priceless gift from God, which we have in common. "Thanks to this gift, we no longer live a purely earthly existence; we now live in the power of the Spirit". He went on to remark that from the beginning, there have been divisions among Christians and "sadly, even today, conflicts and rivalries exist between our communities. This weakens our ability to fulfil the Lord's commandment to preach the Gospel to all peoples. Our divisions mar the beauty of the seamless robe of Christ, yet they do not completely destroy the profound unity brought about by grace in all the baptised. The effectiveness of the Christian message would no doubt be greater were Christians to overcome their divisions, and together celebrate the sacraments, spread the word of God, and bear witness to charity".
    The Bishop of Rome went on to express his joy to know that "in various countries Catholics and Evangelicals enjoy good relations and work together as brothers and sisters. The joint efforts of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance have also opened up new horizons by clarifying misunderstandings and by showing the way to overcoming prejudices". He continued, "It is my hope that these talks may further inspire our common witness and our efforts to evangelise: if we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us. I am confident that the document 'Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct' can prove helpful for the preaching of the Gospel in multi-religious contexts".
    "I trust that the Holy Spirit, who inspires the Church to persevere in seeking new methods of evangelisation, will usher in a new era of relations between Catholics and Evangelicals, so that the Lord's will that the Gospel be brought to the ends of the earth may be more fully realised. I assure my prayers for this cause, and I ask you to pray for me and for my ministry", concluded Pope Francis.

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    To the bishops of Malawi: the apostolate of the family will bring inestimable benefits to the Church and society as a whole
    Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) - "I offer a joyful welcome to you who have come from the 'warm heart of Africa', as you make your pilgrimage to Rome, 'the warm heart of the Church'"; thus Pope Francis greets the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi in the written discourse he handed to them this morning as he received them in audience at the end of their five-yearly "ad Limina" visit. He also notes that the effectiveness of their pastoral and administrative efforts is the fruit of your faith as well as of the unity and fraternal spirit that characterise their episcopal conference.
    The Holy Father also expresses his appreciation for "the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life", as it is in this institution, which teaches "love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity", that the Church and society in Malawi will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity. "You yourselves know well the challenges and the value of family life, and, as fathers and shepherds, you are called to nurture, protect and strengthen it in the context of the "family of faith", which is the Church. ... There is scarcely a greater commitment that the Church can make to the future of Malawi - and indeed, to her own development - than that of a thorough and joyful apostolate to families. ... Thus, by doing everything you can to support, educate and evangelise families, especially those in situations of material hardship, breakdown, violence or infidelity, you will bring inestimable benefit to the Church and all of Malawian society".
    Among the results of this apostolate, it is hoped that there will be "an increase in young men and women who are willing and able to dedicate themselves to the service of others in the priesthood and religious life", based on "the strong foundations laid by generations of faithful missionaries" and fortified by the evangelising work of local men and women. The Bishop of Rome exhorted the local prelates to be close to their priests and seminarians, loving them "as a father should" and furthering their efforts to guarantee a complete spiritual as well as intellectual and pastoral formation.
    The "tragedy" of the limited life expectancy and extreme poverty experienced by the majority of the people of Malawi is another of the Pope's concerns. "My thoughts go to those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and particularly to the orphaned children and parents left without love and support as a result of this illness", he writes, encouraging the bishops to be close to those in distress, to the sick, and especially to the children. "I ask you, particularly, to offer my gratitude to the many men and women who present Christ's tenderness and love in Catholic healthcare institutions. The service which the Church offers to the sick, through pastoral care, prayer, clinics and hospices, must always find its source and model in Christ, who loved us and gave himself up for us. Indeed, how else could we be followers of the Lord if we did not personally engage in ministry to the sick, the poor, the dying and the destitute? Our faith in Christ, born of having recognised our own need for Him, He Who has come to heal our wounds, to enrich us, to give us life, to nourish us, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society's most neglected members".

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    The Pope receives the president of the "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo"
    Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in private audience Estela de Carlotto, president of the Association of the "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo", accompanied by her grandson with whom she was reunited, Ignacio Guido Montoya Carlotto. The meeting took place in one of the rooms adjacent to Paul VI Hall.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Nov 10 08:25:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 197
    DATE 10-11-2014

    Summary:
    - Pope Francis receives the president of Ghana
    - The Pope receives the bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau: focus on the quality rather than the quality of priests
    - The Pope deeply saddened by the traffic accident in Cartagena
    - Angelus: by virtue of Baptism we are part of God's edifice
    - "We need bridges, not walls", says Pope Francis on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
    - The seminary, training in fraternity, prayer and mission
    - Witness the Salesian charism of encounter, says Francis to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
    - The Pope to the Adult Scouts Movement: respecting nature and eliminating wastefulness
    - Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    Pope Francis receives the president of Ghana
    Vatican City, 10 November 2014 (VIS) - Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience John Dramani Mahama, president of the Republic of Ghana, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, the Parties noted the good relations between the Holy See and Ghana and underlined the positive contribution offered by the Catholic Church in the social, educational and healthcare spheres, as well as in relation to the promotion of dialogue between different members of society. Furthermore, mention was made of the promotion of the good of the family.
    Finally, attention turned to various current issues of an international nature, and in particular the serious humanitarian crisis caused by the recent epidemic of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

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    The Pope receives the bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau: focus on the quality rather than the quality of priests
    Vatican City, 10 November 2014 (VIS) - The prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau were received in audience by the Holy Father this morning, at the end of their five-yearly "ad Limina" visit. In the written discourse that he handed to them at the end of the visit, the Pope writes that the bishops' visit to the See of Peter is "an opportunity to strengthen the communion the particular Churches maintain with the Church of Rome and with her bishop. However, it is also an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of love between you ... and to experience collegiality. This represents a great challenge for an episcopal conference that groups together the bishops of four countries - Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau - that are different in terms of language, geography, culture and history, but which nonetheless feel the need to be united and to support each other in their ministry".
    "Among the challenges you face, there is that of rooting faith more deeply in hearts so that it is put into practice in life. This is particularly true in areas experiencing first evangelisation, but it also applies where the Gospel has been announced a long time ago, as faith is a gift that must always be strengthened and which is under threat in many ways nowadays, owing to other religious proposals that prove easier and more attractive from a moral point of view, and as a result of the phenomenon of the secularisation that affects African societies".
    Therefore, "it is useful for laypeople to receive a solid doctrinal and spiritual formation, and continual support so that they are able to become witnesses of Christ in all areas of their lives, and to imbue society with the principles of the Gospel, avoiding the marginalisation of faith in public life. The pastoral care of families, as shown in the recent Synod of Bishops, must receive special attention since the family ... is the place where the foundations of faith are laid, where the basic principles of community life are learned, and frequently where the priestly and religious vocations are nurtured - vocations your Churches need".
    "Priestly formation is decisive for the future", writes Francis. "Your countries experience very different situations, but the primacy of quality above quantity is always important. I invite you to be close to your priests, especially those who are young, to ensure that after their ordination they continue their formation, persevere in their life of prayer, and are able to count on a spiritual guide, so that they are able to meet the challenges presented to them: for some, this means a certain isolation, for others, material poverty and the lack of resources, or worldly attractions. Contact with other religions is an important issue in many of your dioceses where there is an Islamic majority, in terms of mutual relations between different communities. I believe that it is important for the clergy to receive a formation to establish a constructive dialogue with Muslims, a dialogue that is increasingly necessary for peaceful coexistence. If we all, believers in God, wish to contribute to reconciliation, justice and peace, we need to work together to prevent all forms of discrimination, intolerance and religious fundamentalism".
    "More generally, it seems to me that it is important not to hesitate in occupying all the space that is yours in civil society. I know that you work tirelessly, in particular in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, for peace and reconciliation, and for this I rejoice. I urge you to maintain good relations with the political authorities in order to promote the official acknowledgement of Church structures, which will be of great help in facilitating evangelisation. Some of you, such as the bishops of Cape Verde, already benefit from the existence of a framework agreement between the State and the Holy See. Even where the Church is in a minority, or is completely at the margins of civil life, she is appreciated and recognised for her important contribution in the fields of human development, healthcare and education. I thank you for what you achieve in your dioceses, often due to the efforts of many religious congregations and laypeople".
    "Dear brothers", the Pontiff concludes, "some of your Churches are small and fragile, but they are courageous and generous in the proclamation of faith and you are witnesses to their dynamism. I offer thanks to God for the wonders He performs through you, and likewise I thank again those who participate in our common task of evangelisation".

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    The Pope deeply saddened by the traffic accident in Cartagena
    Vatican City, 10 November 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father sent a telegram to Bishop Jose Manuel Lorca Planes of Cartagena, Spain, upon hearing of the news of a serious road accident in the city of Cieza that has claimed many victims, including the young priest of Bullas, Rev. Fr. Miguel Conesa Andujar. Pope Francis, deeply saddened, raises fervent prayers to God for the eternal repose of the souls of the departed, for the full recovery of the injured, and for the consolation of those who have lost their loved ones.
    "I urge the sons and daughters of these noble lands to find in faith the encouragement and the strength of spirit to overcome these painful circumstances, and impart to them the comfort of my apostolic blessing, as a sign of hope in the risen Christ", he writes.

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    Angelus: by virtue of Baptism we are part of God's edifice
    Vatican City, 9 November 2014 (VIS) - At midday the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, explaining that today's liturgy recalls the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome, traditionally defined as the "mother of all the churches in the city and in the world".
    "The term 'mother' refers not only to the sacred building of the Basilica, but also to the work of the Holy Spirit, made manifest in this building and fruitful through the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, in all the communities in unity with the Church over whom He presides", he explained. "Every time we celebrate the dedication of a church, an essential truth is recalled to us: the material temple made of bricks is a sign of the living Church at work in history, that 'spiritual temple' ... of which Christ Himself is 'a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight'".
    In the Gospel of today's liturgy, Jesus speaks about the "temple", revealing a surprising truth: the temple of God is not merely the edifice built of bricks, but it is His body, made up of living stones. "By virtue of Baptism, every Christian forms part of God's edifice, or rather, becomes the God's Church. The spiritual edifice, the Church that is the community of men and women sanctified by Christ's blood and the Spirit of the Risen Lord, asks each one of us to be consistent with the gift of faith and to take the path of Christian witness. ... The Church, at the origin of her life and her mission in the world, was none other than a community constituted to confess faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Redeemer of humanity, a faith that works through charity. ... Today, too, the Church is required to take her place in the world as a community that, rooted in Christ through Baptism, professes faith in Him with humility and courage, bearing witness to it through charity. In the same way, institutional elements, structures and pastoral entities must be ordered in accordance with this essential objective".
    "Today's celebration invites us to reflect on the communion of all the Churches, of this Christian community, and by analogy, it stimulates us to make efforts to enable humanity to overcome the barriers of enmity and indifference, to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make the entire world into a family of peoples, reconciled among themselves, fraternal and in solidarity".

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    "We need bridges, not walls", says Pope Francis on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
    Vatican City, 9 November 2014 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, the Pope commented that 25 years ago today, on 8 November 1989, saw the fall of the Berlin Wall "which had long divided the city in two and was a symbol of the ideological division of Europe and the entire world. It took place suddenly, but it had been made possible by the long and tireless efforts of many people who fought, prayed and suffered for it; some of them even sacrificed their lives". Among these people, St. John Paul II played a central role. Let us pray that, with the Lord's help and the collaboration of all persons of good will, a culture of encounter may become ever more widespread, able to bring down all the walls that continue to divide the world; and that innocent people will never more be persecuted and even killed for their beliefs and their religion. Where there is a wall, there is a closed heart. We need bridges, not walls!"
    He added that today Italy holds a day of thanksgiving, the theme of which this year is "Feed the planet, energy for life", and the Holy Father joined with the bishops in expressing his hope that renewed efforts might ensure "that no-one lacks the daily sustenance that God gives to all". He added, "I assure my closeness to the world of agriculture, and urge you to cultivate the land in a sustainable and fair way. In this context, the Diocese of Rome is holding a day for the protection of the creation, the aim of which is to promote lifestyles based on respect for the environment, reaffirming the alliance between human beings, guardians of creation, and the Creator".

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    The seminary, training in fraternity, prayer and mission
    Vatican City, 10 November 2014 (VIS) - In the evening of Saturday 8 November Pope Francis sent a message to the 750 French seminarians gathered at the Marian shrine at Lourdes, France from 8 to 10 November, for the autumn Plenary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of France. In the text, the Pope urges them to remember the three key words in their lives as seminarians: fraternity, prayer and mission.
    In relation to fraternity, he emphasises that "the priestly mission cannot in any case be individual, and certainly not individualistic"; instead, together they should "bear witness to the love with which we recognise Jesus' disciples". With regard to prayer, he remarks that "everything that you learn comes to life in prayer", and recalls that Jesus Himself retired in silence and solitude to immerse himself in the mystery of His Father. "May your prayer be an appeal to the Spirit, Who builds the Church, leads the disciples and infuses with pastoral charity. ... At the foundation of your formation there is the Word of God, that enters you, nourishes you, and enlightens you", he writes, urging the seminarians to dedicate long periods each day to prayer, since "it is in prayer that you encounter the loving presence of the Lord and allow yourselves to be transformed by Him".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Nov 17 08:12:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 202
    DATE 17-11-2014

    Summary:
    - International interreligious colloquium on complementarity, foundation of marriage and the family
    - To the bishops of Zambia: evangelise cultures to inculturate the Gospel
    - Angelus: Jesus does not ask us to conserve talents in a safe
    - Immigrants and citizens: do not yield to the temptation of confrontation
    - Francis receives Catholic doctors: no life is qualitatively more significant than another
    - The Holy See at the United Nations: defending the civil population from remnants of war
    - Cardinal Gracias, Pope's special envoy at the 500th anniversary of the evangelisation of Myanmar
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    International interreligious colloquium on complementarity, foundation of marriage and the family
    Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) - "Complementarity is a valuable word, with multiple meanings. It may refer to different situations in which one element completes another or compensates for a lack. However, complementarity is much more than this", said the Pope this morning to the participants in the international interreligious colloquium on complementarity between man and woman, organised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in collaboration with the Pontifical Councils for the Family, for Interreligious Dialogue, and for Promoting Christian Unity.
    He continued, "This complementarity is the foundation of marriage and the family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our gifts and those of others, and where we begin to learn the art of living together. For most of us, the family constitutes the principal environment in which we begin to 'breathe' values and ideals, as well as to realise our potential for virtue and charity. At the same time, as we know, families may be the locus of tensions: between selfishness and altruism, reason and passion, between immediate desires and long-term aims.
    The Pontiff spoke about the crisis that currently affects marriage and the family, and recalled that in the throwaway culture in which we live, increasing numbers of people reject the public commitment of marriage. "This revolution in habits and morality has often flown the flag of freedom, but in reality it has led to spiritual and material devastation for countless human beings, especially the most vulnerable. Evidence is mounting that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with an increase in poverty and a series of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly". Similarly, he explained that the crisis in the family has given rise to a crisis in human ecology, "as social environments, like natural environments, need to be protected", and he emphasised the need to promote a "new human ecology".
    It is important, he added, to promote the fundamental pillars that support a nation: its immaterial goods. "The family remains the foundation of coexistence and the guarantee against social fracture. Children have the right to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother, able to create an environment suitable for their development and their emotional maturation. ... The young represent the future: it is important that they are not left to be swept up by this damaging mentality of the temporary, and that they are revolutionary for their courage to seek a strong and lasting love".
    The Holy Father concluded by expressing his hope that this colloquium may be "a source of inspiration for all those who seek to support and strengthen the union between man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful asset for people, families, communities and society", and confirmed his intention to attend the next World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., in September 2015.

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    To the bishops of Zambia: evangelise cultures to inculturate the Gospel
    Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) - The fruits of the labour of missionaries, attention to the family, guidance of the young, care for AIDS sufferers and the need to collaborate with political leaders for the common good are the central points of the written discourse that Pope Francis handed to the bishops of the Zambia Episcopal Conference whom he received in audience this morning at the end of their five-yearly "ad Limina" visit.
    The Pope recalls the "rich deposit of faith" brought to Zambia by missionary religious, remarking that "despite the sometimes painful meeting of ancient ways with the new hope that Christ the Lord brings to all cultures, the word of faith took deep root". The "plentiful spiritual harvest is evident in the many Catholic-run clinics, hospitals and schools, and parishes throughout Zambia, a wide diversity of lay ministries, and substantial numbers of vocations to the priesthood in a society that has been transformed by Christian values.
    The great challenges that pastors face in this moment relate in particular to the family, since, as the prelates affirmed in their meeting with the Pontiff, "many, especially the poor in their struggle for survival, are led astray by empty promises in false teachings that seem to offer quick relief in times of desperation". Therefore, Francis urges the bishops, alongside their priests, to form solid Christian families through catechesis, who "will know, understand and love the truths of the faith more deeply", and "affirm Catholic couples in their desire for fidelity in their conjugal life and in their yearning to provide a stable spiritual home for their children". He also urged them to be close to the young "as they seek to establish and articulate their identity in a disorienting age". He adds, "Help them to find their purpose in the challenge and joy of co-creation with God that is the vocation to married life ... or in the vocations to the priesthood or religious life, which the Church has been given for the salvation of souls".
    "In a special way, invite those who have grown lukewarm and feel lost to return to the full practice of the faith. As pastors of the flock, do not forget to seek out the weakest members of Zambian society, among whom are the materially poor and those afflicted with AIDS; for the great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them His friendship, His blessing, His word, the celebration of the Sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith".
    "Never tire of being kind and firm fathers to your priests, helping them resist materialism and the standards of the world, while recognising their just needs. Continue also to promote the treasure of religious life in your dioceses. ... In this challenging time after the death of President Sata, I invite you to continue working with your political leaders for the common good, deepening your prophetic witness in defence of the poor in order to uplift the lives of the weak", concludes Francis, reminding the prelates that "the Church's mission to evangelise never ends: 'it is imperative to evangelise cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel... Each culture and social group needs purification and growth'".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: Jesus does not ask us to conserve talents in a safe
    Vatican City, 16 November 2014 (VIS) - At midday, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father commented on this Sunday's Gospel reading, the parable of the talents in which a man, before departing on a trip, entrusts to three servants his wealth in talents, coins of great value, asking that they make the fortune fruitful. The first two servants doubled the wealth, but the third, for fear of losing his portion, hid it in a hole. Upon his return, the master asks for the accounts and, while he rewards the first two, punishes the third.
    Francis explains that the master in the parable is Jesus, we are the servants, and the talents are the patrimony that the Lord entrusts to us. "The patrimony of His Word, the Eucharist, faith in the Heavenly Father, his forgiveness ... in summary, many things, his most precious goods. Not just to guard them, but to make them grow. While in common usage the term 'talent' refers to a marked individual quality, such as talent in music, in sport, and so on, in the parable the talents represent the gifts of the Lord. ... The hole that the 'wicked and lazy' servant digs in the ground indicates the fear of risk that obstructs creativity and the fruitfulness of love. ... Jesus does not ask us to preserve his grace in a safe ... but instead wants us to put it to the good of others. All the gifts that we have received are to be given to others, and in this way they grow. ... And as for us, what have we done with them? Who have we 'infected' with our faith? How many people have we encouraged with our hope? How much love have we shared with our neighbour? ... Any environment, even the most distant and impracticable, may become a place where the talents may bear fruit. There are no situations or places that are precluded from Christian presence and witness. The testimony that Jesus asks of us is not closed, it is open, and it depends on us".
    The parable of the talents "urges us not to hide our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel, but to make it circulate in our life ... as a power that disrupts and renews. The same is true of forgiveness, that the Lord gives us especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; let us not keep it closed up in ourselves, but instead let it break down the walls that our selfishness has built up, and take the first step in reactivating paralysed relationships, resuming dialogue where there is no longer communication". Pope Francis encouraged those present to re-read the parable in the Gospel of St. Matthew to reflect on how we use or hide the talents we receive.
    "Also, the Lord does not give everyone the same things, or in the same way: he knows us personally and entrusts what it right for us, but there is one thing that is the same in everyone: the same, immense trust. God trusts us, God has hope in us. Let us not disappoint Him! Let us not be deceived by fear, but rather reciprocate trust with trust".

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    Immigrants and citizens: do not yield to the temptation of confrontation
    Vatican City, 16 November 2014 (VIS) - After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis spoke about the tensions that have emerged during recent days between residents and immigrants in various areas of Rome.
    "These are events that have occurred in various European cities, especially in outlying areas where other hardships are experienced. I invite all institutions, at all levels, to consider as a priority what now constitutes a social emergency and which, if not faced as soon as possible and in an appropriate manner, risks degenerating further. The Christian community makes concrete efforts to ensure that encounter takes the place of confrontation. Citizens and immigrants, with representatives of institutions, can meet, even in a room in the parish, and speak together about the situation. The important thing is not to yield to the temptation of confrontation, rejecting every form of violence. It is possible to engage in dialogue, to listen, to plan together and, in this way, overcome suspicion and prejudice, and to build a safer, more peaceful and inclusive co-existence".
    He also remarked that today is World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. "Let us remember in prayer those who have lost their lives in these circumstances". He concluded, "I hope for constant efforts in the prevention of road accidents, as well as prudence and respect for traffic laws by drivers".

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    Francis receives Catholic doctors: no life is qualitatively more significant than another
    Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received in audience six thousand doctors, members of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of its foundation. In his address, he commented that "the conquests of science and medicine can contribute to the improvement of human life, provided that they do not drift away from the ethical root of such disciplines".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Nov 20 08:24:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 205
    DATE 20-11-2014

    Summary:
    - The Pope at the Conference on Nutrition at the FAO: "the hungry ask for dignity, not charity"
    - Intense work by the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops
    - The joy of the Gospel is a missionary joy
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    The Pope at the Conference on Nutrition at the FAO: "the hungry ask for dignity, not charity"
    Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis visited the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, on the occasion of the second International Conference on Nutrition, taking place in Rome from 19 to 21 November.
    Upon arrival the Holy Father was received by the director general of the FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva, the adjunct director, Oleg Chestnov and Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, Holy See Permanent Observer at the FAO.
    The full text of the Pontiff's address, delivered in the Plenary Hall, is published below:
    "I am pleased and honoured to speak here today, at this Second International Conference on Nutrition. I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm greeting and the words of welcome addressed to me. I cordially greet the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, and the Director General of the FAO, Professor Joso Graziano da Silva, and I rejoice in their decision to convene this conference of representatives of States, international institutions, and organisations of civil society, the world of agriculture and the private sector, with the aim of studying together the forms of intervention necessary in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, as well as the changes that must be made to existing strategies. The overall unity of purpose and of action, and above all the spirit of brotherhood, can be decisive in finding appropriate solutions. The Church, as you know, seeks always to be attentive and watchful regarding the spiritual and material welfare of the people, especially those who are marginalised or excluded, to ensure their safety and dignity.
    "The fates of nations are intertwined, more than ever before; they are like the members of one family who depend upon each other. However, we live in a time in which the relations between nations are too often damaged by mutual suspicion, that at times turns into forms of military and economic aggression, undermining friendship between brothers and rejecting or discarding what is already excluded. He who lacks his daily bread or a decent job is well aware of this. This is a picture of today's world, in which it is necessary to recognise the limits of approaches based on the sovereignty of each State, intended as absolute, and national interest, frequently conditioned by small power groups. Your working agenda for developing new standards and greater commitments to feed the world shows this well. From this perspective, I hope that, in the formulation of these commitments, the States are inspired by the conviction that the right to food can only be ensured if we care about the actual subject, that is, the person who suffers the effects of hunger and malnutrition.
    "Nowadays there is much talk of rights, frequently neglecting duties; perhaps we have paid too little heed to those who are hungry. It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by "market priorities", the "primacy of profit", which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, and ask to be recognised as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity.
    "These criteria cannot remain in the limbo of theory. Persons and peoples ask for justice to be put into practice: not only in a legal sense, but also in terms of contribution and distribution. Therefore, development plans and the work of international organisations must take into consideration the wish, so frequent among ordinary people, for respect for fundamental human rights and, in this case, the rights of the hungry. When this is achieved, then humanitarian intervention, emergency relief and development operations - in their truest, fullest sense - will attain greater momentum and bring the desired results.
    "Interest in the production, availability and accessibility of foodstuffs, climate change and agricultural trade should certainly inspire rules and technical measures, but the first concern must be the individual as a whole, who lacks daily nourishment and has given up thinking about life, family and social relationships, instead fighting for survival. St. John Paul II, in the inauguration in this hall of the First Conference on Nutrition in 1992, warned the international community against the risk of the "paradox of plenty", in which there is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes. Unfortunately, this "paradox" remains relevant. There are few subjects about which we find as many fallacies as those related to hunger; few topics as likely to be manipulated by data, statistics, the demands of national security, corruption, or futile lamentation about the economic crisis. This is the first challenge to be overcome.
    "The second challenge to be faced is the lack of solidarity; we suspect that subconsciously we would like to remove this word from the dictionary. Our societies are characterised by growing individualism and division: this ends up depriving the weakest of a decent life, and provokes revolts against institutions. When there is a lack of solidarity in a country, the effects are felt throughout the world. Indeed, solidarity is the attitude that makes people capable of reaching our to others and basing their mutual relations on this sense of brotherhood that overcomes differences and limits, and inspires us to seek the common good together.
    "Human beings, as they become aware of being partly responsible for the plan of creation, become capable of mutual respect, instead of fighting between themselves, damaging and impoverishing the planet. States, too, understood as a community of persons and peoples, are required to act concertedly, to be willing to help each other through the principles and norms offered by international law. A source of inspiration is natural law, inscribed in the human heart, that speaks a language that everyone can understand: love, justice, peace, elements that are inseparable from each other. Like people, States and international institutions are called to welcome and nurture these values - love, justice, peace - and this must be done with a spirit of dialogue and mutual listening. In this way, the aim of feeding the human family becomes feasible.
    "Every woman, man, child and elderly person everywhere should be able to count on these guarantees. It is the duty of every State that cares for the wellbeing of its citizens to subscribe to them unreservedly, and to take the necessary steps to ensure their implementation. This requires perseverance and support. The Catholic Church also offers her contribution in this field through constant attention to the life of the poor in all parts of the world; along the same lines, the Holy See is actively involved in international organisations and through numerous documents and statements. In this way, it contributes to identifying and assuming the criteria to be met in order to develop an equitable international system. These are criteria that, on the ethical plane, are based on the pillars of truth, freedom, justice and solidarity; at the same time, in the legal field, these same criteria include the relationship between rights and food, and the right to life and a dignified existence, the right to be protected by law, not always close to the reality of those who suffer from hunger, and the moral obligation to share the economic wealth of the world.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Nov 21 08:36:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 206
    DATE 21-11-2014

    Summary:
    - The Pope to participants in the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants: "Migration is an aspiration to hope"
    - Video message to the participants in the 4th Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church
    - Francis: a strong and widespread desire to walk together
    - The Virgin Mary, protagonist of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Appointment of the deputy editor of "L'Osservatore Romano"

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    The Pope to participants in the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants: "Migration is an aspiration to hope"
    Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) - "Migration is still an aspiration to hope, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic", said the Pope in his address to the participants in the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, affirming the powerful hope that inspires many inhabitants of troubled areas throughout the world to seek a better future for their families in other places, even at the risk of disappointment and failure. This, he remarked, is caused in great part by the economic crisis which, to differing degrees, affects every country.
    The three-day Congress highlighted the dynamics of cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migrants. "First and foremost you have analysed the factors which cause migration, in particular: inequality, poverty, overpopulation, the growing need for employment in some sectors of the global job market, disasters caused by climate change, wars and persecution, and the desire of younger people to relocate as they seek new opportunities. Moreover, the link between cooperation and development shows, on the one hand, the difference of interests between states and migrants, and, on the other hand, the opportunities which derive for both".
    "In effect, receiving nations draw advantages from employing immigrants for production needs and national prosperity, not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis", observed the Holy Father. "In turn, the nations which migrants leave show a certain reduction in unemployment and, above all, benefit from earnings which are then sent back to meet the needs of families which remain in the country. Emigrants, in the end, are able to fulfil the desire for a better future for themselves and their families. Yet we know that some problems also accompany these benefits. We find in the countries of origin, among other things, an impoverishment due to the so-called 'brain drain', the effects on infants and young people who grow up without one or both parents, and the risk of marriages failing due to prolonged absences. In the receiving nations, we also see difficulties associated with migrants settling in urban neighbourhoods which are already problematic, as well as their difficulties in integrating and learning to respect the social and cultural conventions which they find. In this regard, pastoral workers play an important role through initiating dialogue, welcoming and assisting with legal issues, mediating with the local population. In the countries of origin, on the other hand, the closeness of pastoral workers to the families and children of migrant parents can lessen the negative repercussions of the parents' absence".
    However, the Congress affirmed that the implications of the Church's pastoral concern in the overall context of cooperation, development and migration go much further, and "it is here that the Church has much to say. The Christian community, in fact, is continuously engaged in welcoming migrants and sharing with them God's gifts, in particular the gift of faith". Furthermore, the Church "promotes pastoral plans for the evangelisation and support of migrants throughout their journey from their country of origin, through countries of transit, to the receiving countries. She gives particular attention to meeting the spiritual needs of migrants through catechesis, liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments".
    "Sadly", he added, "migrants often experience disappointment, distress, loneliness and marginalisation. In effect, the migrant worker has to deal with the problem both of being uprooted and needing to integrate. Here the Church also seeks to be a source of hope: she develops programs of education and orientation; she raises her voice in defence of migrants' rights; she offers assistance, including material assistance to everyone, without exception, so that all may be treated as children of God. When encountering migrants, it is important to adopt an integrated perspective, capable of valuing their potential rather than seeing them only as a problem to be confronted and resolved. The authentic right to development regards every person and all people, viewed integrally. This demands that all people be guaranteed a minimal level of participation in the life of the human community. How much more necessary must this be in the case of the Christian community, where no one is a stranger and, therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported".
    "The Church, beyond being a community of the faithful that sees the face of Jesus Christ in its neighbour, is a Mother without limits and without frontiers. She is the Mother of all and so she strives to foster the culture of welcome and solidarity, where no one is considered useless, out of place or disposable. ... Migrants, therefore, by virtue of their very humanity, even prior to their cultural values, widen the sense of human fraternity. At the same time, their presence is a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses. In that way, migrants will be able to become partners in constructing a richer identity for the communities which provide them hospitality, as well as the people who welcome them, prompting the development of a society which is inclusive, creative and respectful of the dignity of all".
    The Pope concluded by invoking upon the participants in the Congress "the protection of Mary, Mother of God, and St. Joseph, who themselves experienced the difficulty of exile in Egypt".

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    Video message to the participants in the 4th Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church
    Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) - Pope Francis has sent a video message to the participants in the fourth edition of the Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which this year focuses on the theme, "Beyond places, in time". The title, he says, suggests various points for reflection, the first of which is the concept of "going beyond". "The current situation of social and economic crisis can frighten us, disorientate us or seem so difficult that we conclude there is nothing we can do. The great temptation is to stop and tend to our own wounds, and find in that an excuse not to listen to the cry of the poor and the suffering of those who have lost the dignity of being able to put bread on the table because they have lost their jobs. And those who seek only to cure their own wounds end up preening themselves. This is a trap. The risk is that indifference makes us blind, deaf and mute, present only to ourselves, before the mirror, so that everything happens outside us. Men and women closed up in themselves". This narcissism, he says, is not the right approach.
    "We are required to go beyond this and to respond to real needs", he continues. "To go overcome, it is necessary to take the initiative. ... Nowadays, even in the economic sphere it is urgent to take the initiative, as the system tends to sanction everything and money takes control. The system leads to this form of globalisation which is not good and which sanctions everything. ... Taking the initiative in these spheres means having the courage not to let oneself be imprisoned by money and short-term gains which enslave us. We need to find a new way of seeing things!"
    "The real problem is not money though, but rather people: we cannot ask of money that which only people can do or create. Money alone does not lead to development: development requires people who have the courage to take initiative. And taking the initiative means developing activity capable of innovation, not only of a technological nature; it is also necessary to renew working relations, experimenting with new forms of participation and responsibility for workers, inventing new ways of entering the world of work, creating a bond of solidarity between business and territory. Taking initiative means overcoming 'assistentialism'".
    "Taking initiative also means considering love as the true motor of change", he adds. "Freeing talents is the beginning of change; this action allows envy, jealousy, rivalry, disagreement and prejudice, and opening up to joy, to the joy of the new". He emphasises that the question of talent is of particular relevance to the young: "If we want to go ahead, we must make decisive investments in them and trust in them".
    "'Going beyond places' is not the result of individual chance but of sharing an aim: history is a path towards fulfilment. If we act as a population, if we go ahead together, our existence will illustrate this meaning and this fullness".

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    Francis: a strong and widespread desire to walk together
    Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) - "This anniversary invites us to give thanks to God for the many fruits harvested in this last half-century. In particular, there has occurred what the Council recommended: the appreciation of how much there is that is good and true in the life of Christians in every community". Thus Pope Francis greeted the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the theme of which is "The aim of ecumenism: principles, opportunities and challenges, fifty years after Unitatis Redintegratio".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Nov 24 08:48:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 207
    DATE 24-11-2014

    Summary:
    - The Pope to the faithful of the Malabar rite: St. Kuriakose Elias and St. Euphrasia, examples and encouragement to the people
    - The Pope canonises six new blesseds: the Kingdom of God is built on tenderness and proximity
    - Angelus: the example of the new saints revives spirit of harmony and reconciliation
    - The poor are also evangelisers as they show us the peripheries the Gospel has not reached, says Francis at the 4th Missionary Convention of the CEI
    - Francis: overcome the isolation that burdens the autistic and their families - Ecclesial movements and new communities: conserve freshness of charism, respect freedom and seek communion
    - Telegram for the death of Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini
    - Private meeting between the Pope and the president of the Italian Republic
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope to the faithful of the Malabar rite: St. Kuriakose Elias and St. Euphrasia, examples and encouragement to the people
    Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica Pope Francis met with a group of faithful of Syro-Malabar rite, gathered in Rome for the canonisation on Sunday of Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family, and Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart. The Holy Father took the opportunity to thank the Church in India, and specifically in Kerala, for "all its apostolic strength and for the witness of faith you have", he said. "Continue in this way! Kerala is a land that is very fertile in religious and priestly vocations. Carry on working in this way, with your witness".
    "May this time of celebration and intense spirituality help you to contemplate the marvellous works accomplished by the Lord in the lives and deeds of these new saints. ... who remind each of us that God's love is the source, the support and the goal of all holiness, while love of neighbour is the clearest manifestation of love for God."
    Pope Francis described St. Kuriakose Elias as "a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for the Syro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim 'sanctification of oneself and the salvation of others'", while St. Euphrasia "lived in profound union with God, so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her 'Praying Mother'. He encouraged those present to "treasure their lessons of evangelical living ... follow in their footsteps and imitate them, in a particular way, through love of Jesus in the Eucharist and love of the Church. Thus you will advance along the path to holiness".

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    The Pope canonises six new blesseds: the Kingdom of God is built on tenderness and proximity
    Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) - During the Mass celebrated this morning on the Solemnity of Christ King of the Universe, the Holy Father canonised blesseds Giovanni Antonio Fraina (1803-1888), Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family (1805-1871), Ludovico da Casoria (1814-1885), Nicola da Longobardi (1650-1709), Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart (1877-1952) and Amato Ronconi (c. 1226-c.1292).
    In his homily, the Pope remarked that the kingdom of Jesus is the "kingdom of truth and life, the kingdom of sanctity and grace, the kingdom of justice, love and peace", and he commented on today's readings show how the Lord established his kingdom, how He brings it about as history unfolds, and what He now asks of us.
    Jesus brought about his kingdom "through his closeness and tenderness towards us", as the prophet Ezekiel foresaw in the first reading that describes the attitude of the Shepherd towards His flock, using the verbs such as to seek, to keep watch, to round up, to lead to pasture, to bring to rest; to seek the lost sheep, to tend to the wounded, to heal the sick, to care for and to graze. "Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings. In this respect, the People of God have an unerring sense for recognising good shepherds and distinguishing them from hirelings".
    After his victory, that is, after the Resurrection - Jesus' kingdom grew, but it was not a kingdom according to earthly models. "For Him, to reign was not to command, but to obey the Father, to give Himself over to the Father, so that His plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfilment. ... The Gospel teaches what Jesus' kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged. ... The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus' works of mercy through which He brought about his kingdom". He explained that those who accomplish these works show that they have understood and welcomed Jesus' sovereignty, because they have opened their hearts to God's charity. "In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. ... Jesus has opened to us His kingdom to us, but it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now - his kingdom begins now - by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who as for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity, catechesis".
    "Today the Church places before us the examples of these new saints. Each in her or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters. They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. They dedicated themselves without reserve to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and the measure of their unconditional love of God. In fact, they sought and discovered love in a strong and personal relationship with God, from whence springs forth love for one's neighbour". Pope Francis concluded, "Through the rite of canonisation, we have confessed once again the mystery of God's kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for His sheep. May our new saints, through their witness and intercession, increase within us the joy of walking in the way of the Gospel and our resolve to embrace it as the compass of our lives".

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    Angelus: the example of the new saints revives spirit of harmony and reconciliation
    Vatican City, 23 November 2014 (VIS) - After celebrating Holy Mass for the canonisation of six blesseds, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and greeted in particular the official delegations from Italy and India, the homelands of the new Saints.
    "The example of the four Italian saints born in the provinces of Vicenza, Naples, Cosenza and Rimini helps the Italian people to revive the spirit of collaboration and harmony for the common good, and to look to the future with hope, united and trusting in the closeness of God Who never abandons us, even in the most difficult moments".
    "Through the intercession of the two new Indian saints from Kerala, a great land of faith and priestly and religious vocations, may the Lord grant a new missionary impulse to the Church in India, which is very great, so that inspired by their example of harmony and reconciliation, Christians from India may continue on the path of solidarity and fraternal coexistence".

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    The poor are also evangelisers as they show us the peripheries the Gospel has not reached, says Francis at the 4th Missionary Convention of the CEI
    Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Pope received in audience the participants in the 4th Missionary Convention of the Italian Episcopal Conference, around eight hundred people. "Every generation is called to be missionary ... from the very beginning", affirmed the Holy Father. "Remember how the apostles Andrew and John encountered the Lord and then ... set out, enthusiastic. The first thing they did was become missionaries. They went to their brothers and said, 'We have found the Lord, we have found the Messiah'".
    Following these unscripted remarks, Pope Francis went on to cite his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, in which he speaks of an outbound Church, and reiterated that a missionary can only be outbound, without fear of encounters, of discovering new things, and of speaking about the joy of the Gospel. "Not to proselytise, but to say what we have and want to share without imposition, with all and without distinction. ... The particular Churches in Italy have done much. ... I would like to repeat something that a Brazilian cardinal said to me: 'When I go to Amazonia - because he has the task of visiting dioceses in Amazonia - I go to the cemetery and see the tombs of missionaries. And there are many of them. And I think, these people could be canonised now!' It is the Church; they are the Churches of Italy".
    "Today I thank you for what you do in many areas ... and I ask you to work with passion to keep this spirit alive. I see many laypeople alongside bishops and priests. The mission is the task of all Christians, not just the few. ... The Italian Church, I repeat, has given many priests and laypeople fidei donum, who decide to spend their lives building up the Church in the peripheral areas of the world, among the poor and those who are far away. ... I urge you, do not let yourselves be robbed of hope and the dream of changing the world with ... the leaven of the Gospel, starting out from the human and existential peripheries. Reaching out means overcoming the temptation to talk among ourselves, forgetting the many who await from us a word of mercy, of consolation, of hope. Jesus' Gospel is fulfilled in history. Jesus Himself was a man from the outskirts, from Galilee, far from the centres of power of the Roman Empire and of Jerusalem. ... However, His Word was the beginning of a transformation in history, the start of a spiritual and human revolution, the good news of a Lord Who died and rose again for us".
    The Pope encouraged those present to intensify their missionary spirit and their enthusiasm for the mission, without allowing themselves to be discouraged by difficulties and, above all, "beginning with children, who must receive a missionary catechesis. At times, even in the Church we are overcome by pessimism, which risks depriving many men and women of the announcement of the Gospel. Let us go ahead with hope! The many missionary martyrs to faith and charity are show us that victory is only in love and in a life spent for the Lord and for our neighbour, starting with the poor. The poor are the travelling companions of an outbound Church, as they are the first She encounters. The poor are also your evangelisers, as they show you those peripheries where the Gospel has yet to be proclaimed and lived".
    "Reaching out means not remaining indifferent to destitution, war, the violence in our cities, the neglect of the elderly, the anonymity of many people in need and marginalisation from little ones. Reaching out means not accepting that in our Christian cities the are many children who do not know how to make the sign of the Cross. This is reaching out. It means being builders of peace, of the 'peace' that the Lord gives us every day and of which the world is so in need. Missionaries never give up their dream of peace, even when they experience difficulties and persecution, which make their presence strongly felt today".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis: overcome the isolation that burdens the autistic and their families
    Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience the participants in the 29th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Workers (for Health Pastoral Care), dedicated to autism, including persons affected by this disorder and their families.
    The Pope thanked the organisers of the Conference for having chosen such a complex theme, "which appeals directly to the responsibility of governments and institutions, without forgetting, of course, Christian communities", and he emphasised the need for common efforts to promote "acceptance, encounter and solidarity ... to break through the isolation and, in many cases, the stigma that burdens people affected by autism spectrum disorders, and frequently also their families".
    "This does not mean an anonymous and impersonal accompaniment, but instead and above all listening to the profound needs that emerge from within a disorder that is not only often difficult to diagnose, but which does not easily find acceptance without shame and solitude. In the assistance of those affected ... it would be helpful to create, throughout the country, a network of support and services, complete and accessible, involving not only parents but also grandparents, friends, therapists, teachers and pastoral workers. These figures may help families to overcome the sensations of inadequacy, inefficacy and frustration that may emerge".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Nov 26 08:24:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 209
    DATE 26-11-2014

    Summary:
    - The Pope addresses press on the return flight from Strasbourg: "I never give up a cause for lost"
    - General Audience: the Church on the path to the Kingdom of Heaven
    - Francis asks for prayers for his trip to Turkey
    - Pope Francis' message to the International Pastoral Congress on the World's Big Cities
    - First International Prayer Day and reflection on human trafficking
    - In brief
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    The Pope addresses press on the return flight from Strasbourg: "I never give up a cause for lost"
    Vatican City, 26 November 2014 (VIS) - During his return journey from Strasbourg, where he addressed both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis answered questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the flight. The questions and the Holy Father's answers are published below.
    Q: "Your Holiness addressed the European Parliament with pastoral works that may also be regarded as political words, and which may be linked, in my opinion, to a social-democratic stance - for example, when you say that we must ensure that the true expressive force of populations is not removed by multinational powers. Could we say that you are a social-democrat Pope?"
    Pope Francis: "This would be reductive. It makes me feel as if I am part of a collection of insects: 'This is a social-democratic insect ...'. No, I would say not. I don't know if I am a social-democrat Pope or not. I would not dare to define myself as belonging to one side or another. I dare say that this comes from the Gospel: this is the message of the Gospel, taken up by the social doctrine of the Church. In reality, in this and in other things - social and political - that I have said, I have not detached myself from the social Doctrine of the Church. The social Doctrine of the Church comes from the Gospel and from Christian tradition. What I said - the identity of the people - is a Gospel value, is it not? In this sense, I say it. But you have made me laugh, thank you!"
    Q: "There is almost no-one on the streets of Strasbourg this morning. The people say they are disappointed. Do you regret not visiting the Cathedral of Strasbourg, that celebrates is millennium this year? And when will you make your first trip to France, and where? Lisieux, perhaps?"
    Pope Francis: "No, it is not yet planned, but one should certainly go to Paris. Then, there is a proposal to go to Lourdes. I have asked to visit a city where no Pope has yet been, to greet the citizens. But the plan has not yet been made. No, for Strasbourg, a visit to the cathedral was considered but it would have mean already making a visit to France, and this was the problem".
    Q: During your address to the Council of Europe I was struck by the concept of transversality, especially with reference to your meetings with young politicians in various countries, and indeed you spoke of the need for a sort of pact between generations, an intergenerational agreement at the margins of this transversality. Also, if I may ask, is it true that you are devoted to St. Joseph, and have a statue of him in your room?"
    Pope Francis: "Yes, it is true. Whenever I have asked something of St. Joseph, he has granted it to me. The fact of 'transversality' is important. I have seen in dialogue with young politicians in the Vatican, from different parties and nations, that they speak with a differetn music, that tends towards transversality, and this is valuable. They are not afraid of coming out of their own territory, without denying it, but coming out in order to engage in dialogue. They are courageous! I believe that we must imitate this, along with intergenerational dialogue. This tendency to come out to find people of other origins and to engage in dialogue: Europe needs this today".
    Q: "In your second discourse, to the Council of Europe, you spoke about the sins of the sons of the Church. I would like to know if you have received the news on the events in Granada [alleged sexual abuse of minors by priests in the archdiocese, Ed.], that in a certain sense you brought to light..."
    Pope Francis: "I received the news - it was sent to me, I read it, I called the person and I said, 'Tomorrow you must go to the bishop', and I wrote to the bishop asking him to begin work, to start the investigation and go ahead. How did I receive the news? With great pain, with very great sadness. But the truth is the truth, and we cannot hide it".
    Q: "In your addresses in Strasbourg, you spoke frequently of both the threat of terrorism and the threat of slavery: these are attitudes that are also typical of the Islamic State, which threatens much of the Mediterranean, which threatens Rome and also threatens you personally. Do you think it is possible to engage in dialogue with these extremists, or do you think this is a lost cause?"
    Pope Francis: "I never give something up as a lost cause: never. Perhaps dialogue is not possible, but never close the door. It is difficult, one might say almost impossible, but the door is always open. You have used the word 'threaten' twice: it is true, terrorism is a threat. ... But slavery is a real situation embedded in the today's social fabric, and has been for some time. Slave labour, human trafficking, the trade in children ... it is a crisis! We must not close our eyes to this. Slavery, today, is a reality, the exploitation of people ... And then there is the threat of these terrorists. But there is another threat, and it is State terrorism. When the situation becomes critical, and each State believes it has the right to massacre the terrorists, many who are innocent fall prey alongside the terrorists. This is a form of high-level anarchy that is very dangerous. It is necessary to fight terrorism, but I repeat what I said during my previous trip: when it is necessary to stop an unjust aggressor, it must be done with international consensus".
    Q: "In your heart, when you travel to Strasbourg, do you travel as Peter's Successor, as the bishop of Rome, or as the archbishop of Buenos Aires?"
    Pope Francis: "As all three, I think. My memory is that of the archbishop of Buenos Aires, but I am no longer in that role. Now I am the bishop of Rome and Peter's Successor, and I think that I travel with this memory but with these realities; I travel with all these things. Europe worries me at the moment; it is good for me to go ahead in order to help, as the bishop of Rome and Peter's Successor; in this respect I am Roman".

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    General Audience: the Church on the path to the Kingdom of Heaven
    Vatican City, 26 November 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated the catechesis of this morning's general audience to "a fundamental truth that Vatican Council II kept clearly in mind, and which must never be forgotten: the Church is not a static reality, still, an end in itself, but is instead continually in progress through history, towards the final, marvellous destination that is the Kingdom of Heaven, of which the earthly Church is the seed and the beginning". He continued, "When we face this horizon, we realise that our imagination stops and discovers that it is only just able to intuit the splendour of the mystery that overcomes our senses. And certain questions arise spontaneously in us: when will this final passage take place? What will the new dimension in which the Church enters be like? What will become of humanity? And of the Creation that surrounds us? But these questions are not new; they had already been posed by Jesus' disciples in those times".
    Francis explained that, faced with these questions, the Council Constitution "Gaudium et spes" affirms that "we are unaware of when the earth and humanity will come to an end, and we do not know how the universe will be transformed. Certainly, the appearance of this world, deformed by sin, will pass away. However, we know from Revelation that God prepares a new home and a new land, in which justice will abide, and whose joy will superabundantly satiate all the desires for peace that arise from the heart of man. ... We will finally be clothed in joy, peace and God's love, completely and without any limit, face to face with Him".
    In this way, the Pontiff emphasised that it is good to perceive that there is a basic continuity and communion between the Church in Heaven and the Church in her earthly path, without forgetting that we are always invited to offer good works, prayers and the Eucharist to alleviate the suffering of souls that still await endless beatitude. "From a Christian perspective the distinction is no longer between those who are already dead and those who are not, but between those who are with Christ and those who are not. This is the decisive element for our salvation and for our happiness".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Nov 27 09:12:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 210
    DATE 27-11-2014

    Summary:
    - Serve new wine in new wineskins says the Pope to representatives of consecrated life
    - Migrants and the poor, dual challenge of urban pastoral ministry
    - To the Pauline family: take the breath of the Gospel to the most diverse cultures and social contexts
    - Holy Father's calendar for December 2014 and January 2015
    - Christians and Muslims condemn extremism and violence committed in the name of religion
    - Audiences

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    Serve new wine in new wineskins says the Pope to representatives of consecrated life
    Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) - The Congregration for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life celebrated their plenary assembly reflecting on the current state of consecrated life in the Church, fifty years after the Conciliar documents "Lumen gentium" and "Perfectae caritatis". The theme chosen was "New wine in new wineskins", and Pope Francis, who received eighty participants in audience this morning, based his discourse on the multiple meanings of this phrase.
    "In the part of the Lord's vineyard selected by those who have chosen to imitate Christ more closely through the profession of evangelical counsels, new grapes are matured and new wine is obtained", said the Holy Father. "In these days you have been offered the chance to discern the quality and ageing of the 'new wine' that has been produced during the long season of renewal, and at the same time to evaluate whether the wineskins that contain it, represented by the institutional forms present today in consecrated life, are adequate to contain this 'new wine' and to favour its full maturation. As I have recalled many times, we must not be afraid of setting aside the 'old wineskins': of renewing those habits and those structures that, in the life of the Church and therefore also in consecrated life, we realise no longer respond to what God asks of us today to further His Kingdom in the world: the structures that give us false protection and that condition the dynamism of charity; the habits that distance us from the flock to which we are sent and prevent us from hearing the cry of those who await the Good News of Jesus Christ".
    "You do not hide those areas of weakness that it is possible to find today in consecrated life (such as the resistance to change of certain sectors, the diminished power of attraction, the not insignificant number of those who abandon the vocation, the fragility of certain formative itineraries, concern for institutional and ministerial tasks at the expense of spiritual life, the difficult integration of cultural and generational diversity, and a problematic balance in the exercise of authority and the use of goods), but you wish to continue to listen for signals from the Spirit, that opens up new horizons and leads to new paths, always starting out from the supreme rule of the Gospel and inspired by the bold creativity of your founders".
    The Pope went on to list the criteria to follow for guidance in the "arduous task of evaluating the new wine and testing the quality of the wineskins": the evangelical originality of the choices, charismatic fidelity, the primary of service, attention to the least and most fragile, and respect for the dignity of every person.
    He encouraged those present to "continue to work with generosity and resourcefulness in the Lord's vineyard", to obtain "that generous wine that will be able to reinvigorate the life of the Church and to bring cheer to the heart of the many brothers and sisters in need of your care", and he underlined that "even the substitution of old for new wineskins ... does not take place automatically, but requires commitment and ability, to offer the suitable space for welcoming and bringing to fruition the new gifts with which the Spirit continues to embellish the Church, His spouse". He concluded, "do not forget ... to carry on the process of renewal that has been initiated and to a great extent accomplished in these fifty years, examining every novelty in the light of the Word of God and in listening to the needs of the Church and of the contemporary world".

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    Migrants and the poor, dual challenge of urban pastoral ministry
    Vatican City, 27 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the second phase of the International Pastoral Congress on the World's Big Cities, held in Barcelona, Spain from 24 to 26 November. The Holy Father took the opportunity to explore in depth four challenges and possible prospects for urban pastoral ministry. "The places where God is calling us to ... and the aspects to which we should pay special attention".
    Firstly, he mentioned the need to "implement a change in our pastoral mentality". We are no longer in the era "in which the Church was the sole point of reference for culture". Previously, "as an authentic teacher, she was aware of her responsibility to outline and to impose not only cultural forms but also values". He continued, "Today we are no longer the only ones who produce culture, nor are we the first or the most listened to. We are therefore in need of a change in pastoral mentality, but not a 'relativist pastoral'", that in its wish to be part of the cultural mix, "loses its evangelical perspective, leaving humanity to its own devices and freed from God's hand. No, this is the path of relativism, the easy route. This cannot be considered as pastoral ministry! He who acts in this way is not truly interested in man, but instead leaves him to the mercy of two equally grave dangers: concealing both Jesus, and the truth of man himself, from him - a way that leads humanity to solitude and death". Therefore, the Pope added, "we need to have the courage to carry out an evangelising pastoral ministry, bold and without fear, as men, women, families and the various groups that inhabit the city expect from us, and need for their lives, the Good News that is Jesus and His Gospel".
    As a second challenge, he emphasised "dialogue with multiculturality" and the need for pastoral dialogue without relativism, that does not negotiate its own Christian identity, but that instead seeks to reach the heart of others, of those different to ourselves, and to sow the Gospel there. We need a contemplative attitude, that without denying the contribution of the different sciences in understanding the urban phenomenon - these contributions are important - seeks to discover the foundation of cultures, that in their deepest core are always open to and thirst for God". To face this challenge, Francis underlined that it would help us greatly to know the "invisible cities, the groups or human territories that are identified by their symbols, languages, rites and ways of narrating life".
    "The religiosity of the people" was the third point he focused on. "We must discover, in the religiosity of our populations, the authentic religious substratum, that in many cases is Christian and Catholic. We must not fail to recognise, or regard with disdain, this experience of God that, although at times dispersed or mixed with other things, needs to be discovered and not constructed. He we find the semina Verbi sown by the Spirit of the Lord". The Pope also commented on the many migrants and poor people who fill our cities, "pilgrims of life, in search of salvation", who pose a "dual challenge": that of "being hospitable to the poor and migrants, not generally the case in the city, which pushes them away, and of recognising the value of their faith". "The urban poor", who constitute the fourth point with which the Holy Father concluded his discourse, are "excluded and discarded. The Church cannot ignore their cry, nor can she enter into the game of unjust, mean and self-serving systems that seek to render them invisible".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sun Nov 30 06:36:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 212
    DATE 30-11-2014

    Summary:
    - Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit: the Church shows fidelity to the Holy Spirit when she does not seek to control or tame Him
    - Prayer at the Ecumenical Patriarchate: brothers in hope of Jesus resurrected - Francis participates in the Divine Liturgy on the Solemnity of St. Andrew, patron of the Church of Constantinople
    - Joint declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomaios I: "We call on all religious leaders to pursue and strengthen interreligious dialogue"

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    Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit: the Church shows fidelity to the Holy Spirit when she does not seek to control or tame Him
    Vatican City, 30 November 2014 (VIS) - Early yesterday afternoon, Pope Francis visited the Latin Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, opened for worship in 1846. In the courtyard there is a statue of Pope Benedict XV, erected by the Turks in 1919 during the Pope's lifetime, to thank him for his efforts in favour of the Turkish victims of the First World War. It bears the inscription: "To the great Pope of the world's tragic hour, Benedict XV, benefactor of the people, without discrimination of nationality or religion, a token of gratitude from the Orient". During his papacy, Armenian Christians were massacred in the Ottoman Empire, and Benedict XV used every means available to him - words, humanitarian aid and diplomatic activity - to bring an end to the slaughter.
    Pope Francis celebrated an inter-ritual Mass with prayers in Armenian, Turkish, Aramaic (Chaldean rite), Syro-Turkish, Italian, French, English and Spanish , attended by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, the Syro-Catholic Patriarch Ignacio III Youna, the patriarchal Armenian apostolic vicar of Istanbul, Archbishop Aram Ateshian, the Syro-Orthodox Metropolitan of Istanbul Filuksinos Yusf Cetin and other representatives of various evangelical confessions.
    "In the Gospel", explained Pope Francis, "Jesus shows himself to be the font from which those who thirst for salvation draw upon, as the Rock from whom the Father brings forth living waters for all who believe in him. In openly proclaiming this prophecy in Jerusalem, Jesus heralds the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the disciples will receive after his glorification, that is, after his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. He gives life, he brings forth different charisms which enrich the people of God and, above all, he creates unity among believers: from the many he makes one body, the Body of Christ. The Church's whole life and mission depend on the Holy Spirit; he fulfils all things".
    The profession of faith itself, as Saint Paul reminds us in today's first reading, "is only possible because it is prompted by the Holy Spirit: 'No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit'. When we pray, it is because the Holy Spirit inspires prayer in our heart. When we break the cycle of our self-centredness, and move beyond ourselves and go out to encounter others, to listen to them and help them, it is the Spirit of God who impels us to do so. When we find within a hitherto unknown ability to forgive, to love someone who doesn't love us in return, it is the Spirit who has taken hold of us. When we move beyond mere self-serving words and turn to our brothers and sisters with that tenderness which warms the heart, we have indeed been touched by the Holy Spirit".
    "It is true", observed the Pontiff, "that the Holy Spirit brings forth different charisms in the Church, which at first glance, may seem to create disorder. Under His guidance, however, they constitute an immense richness, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which is not the same thing as uniformity. Only the Holy Spirit is able to kindle diversity, multiplicity and, at the same time, bring about unity. When we try to create diversity, but are closed within our own particular and exclusive ways of seeing things, we create division. When we try to create unity through our own human designs, we end up with uniformity and homogenisation. If we let ourselves be led by the Spirit, however, richness, variety and diversity will never create conflict, because the Spirit spurs us to experience variety in the communion of the Church.
    "The diversity of members and charisms is harmonised in the Spirit of Christ, Whom the Father sent and whom He continues to send, in order to achieve unity among believers. The Holy Spirit brings unity to the Church: unity in faith, unity in love, unity in interior life. The Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities are called to let themselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, and to remain always open, docile and obedient".
    He continued, "Ours is a hopeful perspective, but one which is also demanding. The temptation is always within us to resist the Holy Spirit, because He takes us out of our comfort zone and unsettles us; He makes us get up and drives the Church forward. It is always easier and more comfortable to settle in our sedentary and unchanging ways. In truth, the Church shows her fidelity to the Holy Spirit in as much as she does not try to control or tame Him. We Christians become true missionary disciples, able to challenge consciences, when we throw off our defensiveness and allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. He is freshness, imagination and newness".
    Our defensiveness is evident "when we are entrenched within our ideas and our own strengths - in which case we slip into Pelagianism - or when we are ambitious or vain. These defensive mechanisms prevent us from truly understanding other people and from opening ourselves to a sincere dialogue with them. But the Church, flowing from Pentecost, is given the fire of the Holy Spirit, which does not so much fill the mind with ideas, but inflames the heart; she is moved by the breath of the Spirit which does not transmit a power, but rather an ability to serve in love, a language which everyone is able to understand. In our journey of faith and fraternal living, the more we allow ourselves to be humbly guided by the Spirit of the Lord, the more we will overcome misunderstandings, divisions, and disagreements and be a credible sign of unity and peace".
    The Pope extended his embrace "with this joyful conviction" to all those present at the Mass, and expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the Protestant communities, who joined in prayer with the Catholic faithful for this celebration. He also greeted the Armenian Patriarch, His Beatitude Mesrob II, who was unable to attend.
    "Brothers and sisters", he concluded, "let us turn our thoughts to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. With her, she who prayed with the Apostles in the Upper Room as they awaited Pentecost, let us pray to the Lord asking him to send his Holy Spirit into our hearts and to make us witnesses of his Gospel in all the world".

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    Prayer at the Ecumenical Patriarchate: brothers in hope of Jesus resurrected
    Vatican City, 30 November 2014 (VIS) - After celebrating Holy Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Francis transferred at midday to the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar, the world centre of Orthodoxy.
    The Orthodox Church has 300 million faithful, present especially in Eastern and Northern Europe, along the north-east coast of the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. It consists of various patriarchal Churches who maintain their autonomy while remaining linked to each other in a spirit of faith. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is the "primus inter pares" with respect to the other Orthodox patriarchates, and co-ordinates their activities. Its ecclesiastical jurisdiction includes not only Istanbul, but extends also to four other Turkish dioceses, Mount Athos, Crete, Patmos and the Islands of the Dodecanese and, following emigration, dioceses in Central and Western Europe, the Americas, Pakistan and Japan. Finally, it is the point of reference for Orthodox faithful throughout the world in territories not under the direct jurisdiction of the other Orthodox patriarchates. For centuries, the seat of the Patriarchate was next to the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia. Following the fall of Constantinople in 1453, it was transferred from 1601 to the quarter of Phanar. The Ecumenical Patriarch is His Holiness Bartholomaios I, whose commitment to inter-orthodox cooperation and ecumenical dialogue is well-known, as well as his interest in the protection of the environment, earning him the moniker "the green Patriarch".
    The Pope was received by the Patriarch in the Church of St. George, where an ecumenical liturgy took place in which both prayed for the unity of God's holy Churches. After Bartholomaios' discourse, Pope Francis addressed those present.
    "Each evening brings a mixed feeling of gratitude for the day which is ending and of yearning trust before the oncoming night. This evening my heart is full of gratitude to God who allows me to be here in prayer with Your Holiness and with this sister Church after an eventful day during my Apostolic Visit. At the same time my heart awaits the day which we have already begun liturgically: the Feast of the Apostle Saint Andrew, Patron of this Church. In the words of the prophet Zachariah, the Lord gives us anew in this evening prayer, the foundation that sustains our moving forward from one day to the next, the solid rock upon which we advance together in joy and hope. The foundation rock is the Lord's promise: 'Behold, I will save my people from the countries of the east and from the countries of the west... in faithfulness and in righteousness'.
    "Yes, my venerable and dear Brother Bartholomaios, as I express my heartfelt 'thank you' for your fraternal welcome, I sense that our joy is greater because its source is from beyond; it is not in us, not in our commitment, not in our efforts - that are certainly necessary - but in our shared trust in God's faithfulness which lays the foundation for the reconstruction of his temple that is the Church. 'For there shall be a sowing of peace'; truly, a sowing of joy. It is the joy and the peace that the world cannot give, but which the Lord Jesus promised to his disciples and, as the Risen One, bestowed upon them in the power of the Holy Spirit".
    He continued, "Andrew and Peter heard this promise; they received this gift. They were blood brothers, yet their encounter with Christ transformed them into brothers in faith and charity. In this joyful evening, at this prayer vigil, I want to emphasise this; they became brothers in hope. What a grace, Your Holiness, to be brothers in the hope of the Risen Lord! What a grace, and what a responsibility, to walk together in this hope, sustained by the intercession of the holy Apostles and brothers, Andrew and Peter! And to know that this shared hope does non deceive us because it is founded, not upon us or our poor efforts, but rather upon God's faithfulness".
    "With this joyful hope, filled with gratitude and eager expectation, I extend to Your Holiness and to all present, and to the Church of Constantinople, my warm and fraternal best wishes on the Feast of your holy Patron".
    Francis and Bartholomaios then recited the Lord's Prayer together in Latin and imparted their blessing, the Pope in Latin and the Patriarch in Greek, after which they retired to the second floor for a private meeting.

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    Francis participates in the Divine Liturgy on the Solemnity of St. Andrew, patron of the Church of Constantinople
    Vatican City, 30 November 2014 (VIS) - Pope Francis' final day in Turkey began with a meeting, early in the morning at the Pontifical Representation in Istanbul, of the Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Ishak Haleva. The Jewish community in Turkey, consisting of around 25 thousand people, is numerically the second largest in an Islamic country, following that of Iran. The most substantial Jewish settlement in Turkey dates from the period of the Spanish Inquisition (1492). At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were around 100 thousand, but this figure dropped drastically as a result of emigration to America and Israel. Pope Benedict XVI also met with the Chief Rabbi during his trip to Turkey in 2006.
    Following the celebration and after listening to the Patriarch's words, the Pope addressed those present, recalling how as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he had frequently participated in the Divine Liturgy of the city's Orthodox communities, but "today, the Lord has given me the singular grace to be present in this Patriarchal Church of Saint George for the celebration of the Feast of the holy Apostle Andrew, the first-called, the brother of Saint Peter, and the Patron Saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate".
    He continued, "Meeting each other, seeing each other face to face, exchanging the embrace of peace, and praying for each other, are all essential aspects of our journey towards the restoration of full communion. All of this precedes and always accompanies that other essential aspect of this journey, namely, theological dialogue. An authentic dialogue is, in every case, an encounter between persons with a name, a face, a past, and not merely a meeting of ideas.

    --- MPost/386 v1.21
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    # Origin: LiveWire BBS -=*=- telnet://livewirebbs.com (1:2320/100)
    * Origin: LiveWire BBS - Synchronet - LiveWireBBS.com (1:2320/100)
  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Dec 22 09:36:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 228
    DATE 22-12-2014

    Summary:
    - Francis: a Curia that is outdated, sclerotic or indifferent to others is an ailing body
    - To employees of the Holy See: "Transform this Holy Nativity into an opportunity to heal"
    - Angelus: at Christmas, Jesus calls out again to the heart of every Christian - The Pope receives the Community of Pope John XXIII and praises its generosity in helping people rise above material and moral degradation
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis: a Curia that is outdated, sclerotic or indifferent to others is an ailing body
    Vatican City, 22 December 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall the Holy Father held his annual meeting with the Roman Curia to exchange Christmas greetings with the members of its component dicasteries, councils, offices, tribunals and commissions. "It is good to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, a body that seeks, seriously and on a daily basis, to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ".
    "The Curia is always required to better itself and to grow in communion, sanctity and wisdom to fully accomplish its mission. However, like any body, it is exposed to sickness, malfunction and infirmity. ... I would like to mention some of these illnesses that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia. They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord", continued the Pontiff, who after inviting all those present to an examination of conscience to prepare themselves for Christmas, listed the most common Curial ailments:
    The first is "the sickness of considering oneself 'immortal', 'immune' or 'indispensable', neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Curia that is not self-critical, that does not stay up-to-date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing body. ... It is the sickness of the rich fool who thinks he will live for all eternity, and of those who transform themselves into masters and believe themselves superior to others, rather than at their service".
    The second is "'Martha-ism', or excessive industriousness; the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work, inevitably neglecting 'the better part' of sitting at Jesus' feet. Therefore, Jesus required his disciples to rest a little, as neglecting the necessary rest leads to stress and agitation. Rest, once one who has brought his or her mission to a close, is a necessary duty and must be taken seriously: in spending a little time with relatives and respecting the holidays as a time for spiritual and physical replenishment, it is necessary to learn the teaching of Ecclesiastes, that 'there is a time for everything'".
    Then there is "the sickness of mental and spiritual hardening: that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, vivacity and boldness and conceal themselves behind paper, becoming working machines rather than men of God. ... It is dangerous to lose the human sensibility necessary to be able to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! It is the sickness of those who lose those sentiments that were present in Jesus Christ".
    "The ailment of excessive planning and functionalism: this is when the apostle plans everything in detail and believes that, by perfect planning things effectively progress, thus becoming a sort of accountant. ... One falls prey to this sickness because it is easier and more convenient to settle into static and unchanging positions. Indeed, the Church shows herself to be faithful to the Holy Spirit to the extent that she does not seek to regulate or domesticate it. The Spirit is freshness, imagination and innovation".
    The "sickness of poor coordination develops when the communion between members is lost, and the body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony because the members do not collaborate and do not work with a spirit of communion or as a team".
    "Spiritual Alzheimer's disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the 'first love': this is a progressive decline of spiritual faculties, that over a period of time causes serious handicaps, making one incapable of carrying out certain activities autonomously, living in a state of absolute dependence on one's own often imaginary views. We see this is those who have lost their recollection of their encounter with the Lord ... in those who build walls around themselves and who increasingly transform into slaves to the idols they have sculpted with their own hands".
    "The ailment of rivalry and vainglory: when appearances, the colour of one's robes, insignia and honours become the most important aim in life. ... It is the disorder that leads us to become false men and women, living a false 'mysticism' and a false 'quietism'".
    Then there is "existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of the hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honours. This ailment particularly afflicts those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality and with real people. They create a parallel world of their own, where they set aside everything they teach with severity to others and live a hidden, often dissolute life".
    The sickness of "chatter, grumbling and gossip: this is a serious illness that begins simply, often just in the form of having a chat, and takes people over, turning them into sowers of discord, like Satan, and in many cases cold-blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren. It is the sickness of the cowardly who, not having the courage to speak directly to the people involved, instead speak behind their backs".
    "The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honouring people rather than God. They are people who experience service thinking only of what they might obtain and not of what they should give. They are mean, unhappy and inspired only by their fatal selfishness".
    "The disease of indifference towards others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships. When the most expert does not put his knowledge to the service of less expert colleagues; when out of jealousy ... one experiences joy in seeing another person instead of lifting him up or encouraging him".
    "The illness of the funereal face: or rather, that of the gruff and the grim, those who believe that in order to be serious it is necessary to paint their faces with melancholy and severity, and to treat others - especially those they consider inferior - with rigidity, hardness and arrogance. In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity".
    "The disease of accumulation: when the apostle seeks to fill an existential emptiness of the heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity but simply to feel secure. ... Accumulation only burdens and inexorably slows down our progress".
    "The ailment of closed circles: when belonging to a group becomes stronger than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ Himself. This sickness too may start from good intentions but, as time passes, enslaves members and becomes a 'cancer' that threatens the harmony of the Body and causes a great deal of harm - scandals - especially to our littlest brothers".
    Then, there is the "disease of worldly profit and exhibitionism: when the apostle transforms his service into power, and his power into goods to obtain worldly profits or more power. This is the disease of those who seek insatiably to multiply their power and are therefore capable of slandering, defaming and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally in order to brag and to show they are more capable than others".
    After listing these ailments, Pope Francis continued, "We are therefore required, at this Christmas time and in all the time of our service and our existence - to live 'speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love'".
    "I once read that priests are like aeroplanes: they only make the news when they crash, but there are many that fly. Many criticise them and few pray for them", he concluded. "It is a very nice phrase, but also very true, as it expresses the importance and the delicacy of our priestly service, and how much harm just one priest who falls may cause to the whole body of the Church".

    ___________________________________________________________

    To employees of the Holy See: "Transform this Holy Nativity into an opportunity to heal"
    Vatican City, 22 December 2014 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis met with employees of the Holy See, whom he thanked fervently for their work during the last year. He dedicated some special words to the Italians present, as "during all the history of the Church and the Roman Curia they have worked regularly with a generous and faithful spirit, placing at the service of the Holy See and Peter's Successor their unique laboriousness and filial devotion, offering the Church great Saints, Popes, martyrs, missionaries and artists that no passing cloud in history will be able to obscure". He also thanked workers from other countries, "who generously work in the Curia, far from their homelands and their families, representing for the Curia the face of the Church's 'Catholicity'".
    The Pope encouraged those present to consider a text that he had mentioned in his discourse to the Roman Curia shortly beforehand, treating it as a "starting point for a fruitful examination of conscience in preparation for the Holy Nativity and the New Year. He exhorted them to receive the Sacrament of Confession "with a docile heart, to receive the mercy of the Lord, who knocks on the door of our heart, in the joy of the family".
    Francis emphasised the word "care" and explained that "caring means manifesting diligent and thoughtful interest, that directs our heart and our activities towards someone or something; it means looking with attention to those who are in need of care without thinking of anything else; it means accepting to give or receive care". To "transform this Holy Nativity into a true opportunity to heal every wound and every lack", he urged those present to take care of their spiritual life, their relationship with God, and to look after their family life and relationships with others. This means caring about one's way of speaking, purifying language of offensive words; healing the wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness; caring for one's work, performing it with enthusiasm, humility and passion; curing oneself of envy, lust, hatred and the negative feelings that devour our inner peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people; curing oneself of the rancour that leads us to revenge and the idleness that leads to existential euthanasia. Caring for the poorest, the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and foreigners, and making sure that the Holy Nativity never becomes a celebration of commercial consumerism, appearances and pointless gifts, or superfluous waste, but rather of the joy of welcoming the Lord into the creche of the heart".

    --- MPost/386 v1.21
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    * Origin: LiveWire BBS - Synchronet - LiveWireBBS.com (1:2320/100)
  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Dec 29 09:12:02 2014
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 228
    DATE 29-12-2014

    Summary:
    - Francis' visit to Naples to begin in Pompeii
    - Enthusiastic participation in Pope Francis' encounters with the faithful in 2014
    - Angelus: Jesus brings the generations together
    - Large families are the hope of society
    - Telegram for the death of Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, S.J.
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - The Nativity of the Lord
    - Midnight Mass: "do I allow God to love me?"
    - Christmas Message: "many tears, together with the tears of the Infant Jesus" - The gift of Christian integrity is coherence: think, feel and live as Christians

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis' visit to Naples to begin in Pompeii
    Vatican City, 29 December 2014 (VIS) - Pompeii will be the first port of call on Pope Francis' trip to the Italian region of Campania. On 21 March the Holy Father will begin his pilgrimage to Naples, starting from the statue dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii, according to the prelate archbishop and pontifical delegate of the shrine, Tommaso Caputo, who added that the Pope's visit constitutes an event of extraordinary ecclesial importance.
    "The filial and tender Marian devotion that the Pope continues to show is also at the root of the Church of Pompeii's strong commitment towards the humblest and neediest among us", explained the prelate. "Today, more than ever before, the motivating forces of charity, intimately linked to the needs of justice and respect for the dignity of every person, are strongly felt. Aside from our joy for his visit, we hope that Pope Francis will show us the path to take to be even closer to and more united with our people".
    St. John Paul II also visited Pompeii on 21 October 1979, during his visit to Naples, and he returned there on 7 October 2003 for the conclusion of the Year of the Rosary. Benedict XVI also visited the shrine, again during the month of the Rosary, October 2008.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Enthusiastic participation in Pope Francis' encounters with the faithful in 2014
    Vatican City, 29 December 2014 (VIS) - In a communique published today, the Prefecture of the Papal Household reports that during the year 2014, more than 5,900,000 faithful participated in the various encounters with Pope Francis: audiences, both general (1,199,000) and special (567,100); liturgical celebrations in the Vatican Basilica and St. Peter's Square (1,110,700), and the Angelus and Regina Coeli (3,040,000). These data refer only to the encounters that took place in the Vatican and do not include other activities that involved a high level of participation among the faithful, such as the apostolic trips to the Republic of Korea, Turkey or the Holy Land, or the various trips in Italy and visits within the diocese of Rome. The total number of faithful involved in the Vatican events is estimated at 5,916,800.
    The Prefecture of the Papal Household reiterates that these are approximate data, calculated on the basis of requests for attendance at events and the invitations distributed by the Prefecture. Similarly, the data regarding participation in the Angelus and large celebrations in St. Peter's Square are based on estimates.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: Jesus brings the generations together
    Vatican City, 28 December 2014 (VIS) - "Jesus brings the generations together", affirmed Pope Francis, addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square today for the midday Angelus. The Gospel reading narrated the episode of the Presentation in the Temple, when Mary and Joseph, forty days after Jesus' birth, take Him to the temple in Jerusalem, in obedience to the Law of Moses. There, they meet the elderly people Simeon and Anna.
    "We can imagine this little family, in the midst of so many people, in the great courtyard of the temple. They do not stand out, they are not distinguished. However", observed the Holy Father, "they do not go unnoticed. Two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, moved by the Holy Spirit, approach them and praise God for that Child, in Whom they recognise the Messiah, the light of the peoples and the salvation of Israel. It is a simple moment, yet rich in prophecy: the meeting between a young couple full of joy and faith by the grace of the Lord, and two elderly people also full of joy and faith by the action of the Spirit. Who brings them together? Jesus. Jesus brings about the encounter between the young and the elderly. Jesus is the One who brings the generations together. He is the source of that love that unites families and people, overcoming all distrust, all isolation, every distance. ... Good relations between the young and the elderly are fundamental to the path of civil and ecclesial community. Looking at these two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, we greet with applause all the grandparents in the world", exclaimed Francis.
    "The message that comes from the Holy Family is above all a message of faith", he continued. "This is why the family of Nazareth is holy. Why? Because it is centred on Jesus. When parents and children breathe together the same climate of faith, they possess an energy that allows them to face difficult trials, as shown by the experience of the Holy Family, for example, during the dramatic events of the flight into Egypt".
    The child Jesus with his mother Mary and St. Joseph are the icon of the family, simple yet illuminating. The light they radiate is a light of mercy and salvation for the whole world, a light of truth for every man, for the human family. ... The light that comes from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in those family situations that, for various reasons, lack peace, harmony or forgiveness. Our concrete solidarity is not lacking, especially in relation to those families who experience difficult situations such as sickness, unemployment, discrimination, or the need to migrate". He concluded by asking those present to pray a moment in silence for these families.
    Following the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned the passengers on the aircraft that disappeared in flight between Indonesia and Singapore, and those on the ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea. "I am close, with affection and prayer, to the relatives of the victims, those who are living through these difficult situations with anxiety and suffering, and those involved in the rescue operations".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Large families are the hope of society
    Vatican City, 28 December 2014 (VIS) - On the feast day of the Holy Family, Pope Francis received in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall a group of large Italian families, present in Rome for to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Associazione Nazionale Famiglie Numerose (National Association for Large Families). The audience was also attended by families from other countries throughout Europe.
    "You have come here with the most beautiful fruits of your love. Maternity and paternity are gifts from God, your task is to receive this gift, to be amazed by its beauty and to let it shine in society. Each one of your children is a unique creation that will never be repeated in the history of humanity. When we understand this, that each person is willed by God, we are astonished by the great miracle that is a child".
    "And you, boys and girls", he continued, addressing the children present, "are precisely this: each one of you is the unique fruit of love, you come from love and grow in love. You are unique, but you are not alone. And the fact of having brothers and sisters is good for you: the sons and daughters of large families are more inclined to fraternal communion from early childhood. In a world that is frequently marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and these attitudes are of benefit to all society".
    "You, children and young people, are the fruit of the tree that is the family: you are good fruit when the tree has good roots - grandparents - and a good trunk - the parents. ... The presence of large families is a hope for society. This is why the presence of grandparents is very important: a valuable presence both in terms of practical assistance, but above all for their contribution to education. Grandparents conserve the values of a people, of a family, and they help parents transmit them to their children. Throughout the last century, in many countries in Europe, it was the grandparents who transmitted faith".
    "Dear parents, thank you for your example of love for life that you protect from conception to its natural end, in spite of all the difficulties and burdens of life, that unfortunately public institutions do not always help you to bear. ... Every family is a cell of society, but the large family is a richer, more vital cell, and the state has much to gain by investing in it", Francis remarked. He concluded by praying for those families who are most affected by the economic crisis, those in which the mother or father have lost their jobs and in which the young are unable to find work, and those families in which the closest relationships are marked by suffering and who are tempted to give in to loneliness and separation".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Telegram for the death of Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, S.J.
    Vatican City, 2 December 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to the Prepositor General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, for the death in Tokyo, Japan of Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, S.J., former secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, at the age of 86.
    The Pope describes the archbishop as an "exemplary minister of God, who lived for the cause of the Gospel" and underlines his "generous missionary apostleship" in Japan, where his earthly existence came to an end. He also gives thanks to the Lord for the service Archbishop Pittau rendered to the Apostolic See as Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, for his commitment as rector of the Sophia University of Tokyo, and as Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, as well as for his devotion to the Society of Jesus. The Pope entrusts the soul of the departed to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, "in the light of Christ's resurrection", and imparts an apostolic blessing to those who mourn the late archbishop's passing.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Other Pontifical Acts
    Vatican City, 29 December 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Angel Javier Perez Pueyo as bishop of Barbastro-Monzon (area 8,321, population 101,320, Catholics 95,127, priests 96, permanent deacons 3, religious 171), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Ejea de los Caballeros, Spain in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He holds a licentiate in philosophy and science of education from the Civil University of Salamanca, Spain. He has served in a number of roles, including formator and professor in the seminaries of Tarragona and Salmanca and member of the Central Council of the Fraternity of Working Diocesan Priests and pastoral coordinator of the same Fraternity. He has collaborated in courses for formators in various seminaries in Latin America and in those organised by the Episcopal Commission of Seminaries of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. He is currently rector of the "San Jose" Pontifical Spanish College in Rome. He succeeds Bishop Alfonso Milian Sorribas, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Nativity of the Lord

    ___________________________________________________________

    Midnight Mass: "do I allow God to love me?"
    Vatican City, 24 December 2014 (VIS) - This evening at 10 p.m. the Holy Father celebrated Midnight Mass on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 2014. During the Eucharistic celebration, following the reading of the Holy Gospel, Pope Francis pronounced the following homily:
    "'The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined'. 'An angel of the Lord appeared to [the shepherds] and the glory of the Lord shone around them'. This is how the liturgy of this holy Christmas night presents to us the birth of the Saviour: as the light which pierces and dispels the deepest darkness. The presence of the Lord in the midst of his people cancels the sorrow of defeat and the misery of slavery, and ushers in joy and happiness.

    --- MPost/386 v1.21
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    * Origin: LiveWire BBS - Synchronet - LiveWireBBS.com (1:2320/100)
  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Jan 2 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 001
    DATE 02-01-2015

    Summary:
    - Angelus: prayer lets peace germinate
    - Jesus cannot be understood without His mother
    - New Year's Eve Vespers: "Give thanks and ask forgiveness"
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: prayer lets peace germinate
    Vatican City, 2 January 2014 (VIS) - Following the celebration of Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Holy Mary, Mother of God, and on the 48th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff gave a short address.
    "On this first day of the year, in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas, the Church invites us to fix our gaze of faith and of love on the Mother of Jesus. ... It is impossible to separate contemplation of Jesus, the Word of life Who is made visible and tangible, from contemplation of Mary, who has given Him her love and her human flesh. At the beginning of a new year, it is good to remember the day of our Baptism: we rediscover the gift received in that Sacrament which has regenerated us to new life, the divine life. And this is through the Mother Church, which has as its model the Mother Mary. Thanks to our Baptism we have been introduced to communion with God and are no longer at the mercy of evil and sin, but instead receive the love, tenderness, and mercy of the heavenly Father".
    "This closeness of God to our existence gives us true peace, the divine gift we especially wish to implore today, World Day of Peace. ... Peace is always possible and our prayer is at the root of peace. Prayer enables peace to germinate. Today, World Day of Peace, 'Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters': this is the message of this Day. Because wars make slaves of us, always. It is a message that affects all of us. We are all required to fight against every form of slavery and to build fraternity. All of us - each person according to his or her own responsibility".
    Pope Francis urged those present to pray to Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother, to present her our good intentions and to ask her to extend the mantle of her maternal protection over us, every day of the new year. Following the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted the faithful in the square and wished them a happy new year. Shortly after the tolling of the "Maria Dolens" bell in Trentino, made in honour of the fallen in all the wars and blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1965, was heard by live connection. "May there never again be wars, but always a desire for and commitment to peace and brotherhood among peoples", he concluded.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Jesus cannot be understood without His mother
    Vatican City, 2 January 2014 (VIS) - This Thursday, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave of Christmas, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica. Today is also the 48th World Day of Peace, which takes as its theme "Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters".
    The full text of the homily pronounced by the Pope is given below:
    "Today we are reminded of the words of blessing which Elizabeth spoke to the Virgin Mary: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?'. This blessing is in continuity with the priestly blessing which God had given to Moses to be passed on to Aaron and to all the people: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace'. In celebrating the Solemnity of Mary the Most Holy Mother of God, the Church reminds us that Mary, more than anyone else, received this blessing. In her the blessing finds fulfilment, for no other creature has ever seen God's face shine upon it as did Mary. She gave a human face to the eternal Word, so that all of us can contemplate Him.
    "In addition to contemplating God's face, we can also praise him and glorify Him, like the shepherds who came away from Bethlehem with a song of thanksgiving after seeing the Child and His young mother. The two were together, just as they were together at Calvary, because Christ and His mother are inseparable: there is a very close relationship between them, as there is between every child and his or her mother. The flesh of Christ - which, as Tertullian says, is the hinge of our salvation - was knit together in the womb of Mary. This inseparability is also clear from the fact that Mary, chosen beforehand to be the Mother of the Redeemer, shared intimately in His entire mission, remaining at her Son's side to the end on Calvary.
    "Mary is so closely united to Jesus because she received from Him the knowledge of the heart, the knowledge of faith, nourished by her experience as a mother and by her close relationship with her Son. The Blessed Virgin is the woman of faith who made room for God in her heart and in her plans; she is the believer capable of perceiving in the gift of her Son the coming of that 'fullness of time' in which God, by choosing the humble path of human existence, entered personally into the history of salvation. That is why Jesus cannot be understood without His Mother.
    "Likewise inseparable are Christ and the Church; the salvation accomplished by Jesus cannot be understood without appreciating the motherhood of the Church. To separate Jesus from the Church would introduce an 'absurd dichotomy', as Blessed Paul VI wrote. It is not possible 'to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church'. For the Church is herself God's great family, which brings Christ to us. Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God Who became man, was put to death, rose from the dead to save us, and is now living in our midst. Where can we encounter Him? We encounter Him in the Church. It is the Church which says today: 'Behold the Lamb of God'; it is the Church which proclaims Him; it is in the Church that Jesus continues to accomplish His acts of grace which are the sacraments.
    "This, the Church's activity and mission, is an expression of her motherhood. For she is like a mother who tenderly holds Jesus and gives Him to everyone with joy and generosity. No manifestation of Christ, even the most mystical, can ever be detached from the flesh and blood of the Church, from the historical concreteness of the Body of Christ. Without the Church, Jesus Christ ends up as an idea, a moral teaching, a feeling. Without the Church, our relationship with Christ would be at the mercy of our imagination, our interpretations, our moods.
    "Dear brothers and sisters! Jesus Christ is the blessing for every man and woman, and for all of humanity. The Church, in giving us Jesus, offers us the fullness of the Lord's blessing. This is precisely the mission of the people of God: to spread to all peoples God's blessing made flesh in Jesus Christ. And Mary, the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus, the model of the pilgrim Church, is the one who opens the way to the Church's motherhood and constantly sustains her maternal mission to all mankind. Mary's tactful maternal witness has accompanied the Church from the beginning. She, the Mother of God, is also the Mother of the Church, and through the Church, the mother of all men and women, and of every people.

    --- MPost/386 v1.21
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    * Origin: LiveWire BBS - Synchronet - LiveWireBBS.com (1:2320/100)
  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Jan 7 08:48:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 003
    DATE 07-01-2015

    Summary:
    - First general audience of 2015: the central role of mothers in the Church and in the Christian community
    - To circus performers, creators of beauty: humanity needs beauty
    - Epiphany: "the Magi did not reject the smallness of the child Jesus"
    - Angelus: the path of the Magi is a journey of the soul towards Christ
    - The Holy See intensifies its fight against the Ebola virus
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    First general audience of 2015: the central role of mothers in the Church and in the Christian community
    Vatican City, 7 January 2014 (VIS) - "The first day of the year is the feast day of the Mother of God, followed by the Epiphany, which recalls the visit of the Magi. The evangelist Matthew writes, 'And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him'. It was the Mother who, after having generated Him, who presents the Son to the world. She gives us Jesus, she shows Jesus to us". With these words Pope Francis began the first catechesis of the Wednesday morning general audiences of 2015, which he dedicated to the figure of the mother, both in the family and in the Christian community.
    "Every human being owes his or her life to a mother, and almost always owes much of his or her subsequent existence, human and spiritual formation, to her", affirmed the Pope. "However, although the mother is highly exalted from a symbolic point of view, she is listened to and helped very little in daily life, and her central role in society is not given much consideration. On the contrary, often the willingness of mothers to sacrifice themselves for their children is exploited in order to save on social expenditure".
    Even in the Christian community, the mother is not always given due consideration. "Yet at the centre of the life of the Church there is the Mother of Jesus. ... It is necessary to better understand their daily struggle to be efficient at work and attentive and affectionate at home; we must better understand what they aspire to in order to express the best and most authentic results of their emancipation".
    Mothers are "the strongest antidote to individualism. ... They are those who most hate war, which kills their children. They bear witness to the beauty of life. Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero said that mothers live a 'maternal martyrdom'. In his homily at the funeral of a priest killed by death squads, he said, echoing Vatican Council II, 'We must all be willing to die for our faith, even if the Lord does not grant us this honour... Giving life does not only mean being killed; giving life, having the spirit of martyrdom, is giving in duty, in silence, in prayer, in the honest fulfilment of one's duty; in that silence of everyday life, giving life a little at a time. Yes, as it is given by a mother, who without fear, with the simplicity of maternal martyrdom, conceives a child in her womb, gives him life, nurses him, nurtures him and cares for him with affection. It is giving life. It is martyrdom'. Yes, being a mother does not mean merely bringing a child into the world, but it is also a choice of life, the decision to give life".
    "A society without mothers would be an inhuman society, as mothers always know how to show tenderness, devotion and moral strength, even in the moments of greatest difficulty. Mothers often also transmit the deepest sense of religious practice. ... It is a message that mothers who believe know how to transmit without much explanation; this arrives later, but the seed of faith is planted in those first precious moments. Without mothers ... faith would lose a good part of its simple, profound warmth".
    "And the Church is a mother", exclaimed the Pope. "We are not orphans; we are children, we have a mother - the Virgin, the mother Church and our mother. We are not orphans, we are children of the Church, we are the children of Mary and of our mother. Thank you, dear mothers, for what you are in the family and for what you give to the Church and to the world. And to you, our beloved Church, thank you for being a mother. And to you, Mary, mother of God, thank you for presenting us to Jesus".
    Following the catechesis, the Holy Father greeted, among others, a delegation of French imams engaged in dialogue between Islam and Christianity, and a group of Polish survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp, freed seventy years ago.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To circus performers, creators of beauty: humanity needs beauty
    Vatican City, 7 January 2014 (VIS) - "The people who perform in the circus create beauty - they are creators of beauty. And this is good for the soul. How we are in need of beauty!" exclaimed Pope Francis, in his greetings to the performers of the Liana Orfei Golden Circus, who performed before the Pontiff at the end of today's general audience. "Our life is very practical - we do things, we carry out our work, we do what we have to do - 'doing' is the language of the hands. But our life is also about thinking and reason. And this is important, as we are animals who think - we do not think like animals! Thought, the language of the mind, is important. We are also people who love, who have this capacity to love: the language of the heart. ... And all these three languages unite to create the unity of the person. And there beauty lies: and those of you who performed today are creators of harmony, creators of beauty, who show us the high road of beauty".
    He continued, "God is certainly true, God is certainly good, God certainly knows how to do things, He created the world - but above all, God is beautiful! The beauty of God. Very often we forget about beauty. Let us not forget this, and let us thank these people who are good at doing things, good at maintaining balance, at performing, but most of all, good at creating beauty".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Epiphany: "the Magi did not reject the smallness of the child Jesus"
    Vatican City, 6 January 2014 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father celebrated Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The ceremony was accompanied by the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir and, as is customary, was attended by the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.
    In his homily, Pope Francis commented that the child, born in Bethlehem, "came not only for the people of Israel, represented by the shepherds of Bethlehem, but also for all humanity, represented today by the wise men from the East". He added, "it is on the Magi and their journey in search of the Messiah that the Church today invites us to meditate and pray".
    The wise men from the East were "the first in that great procession of which the prophet Isaiah spoke in today's first reading: a procession which from that time on has continued uninterrupted; in every age it hears the message of the star and finds the Child Hho reveals the tenderness of God. New persons are always being enlightened by that star; they find the way and come into His presence".
    According to tradition, the Pontiff explained, "the wise men were sages, watchers of the constellations, observers of the heavens, in a cultural and religious context which saw the stars as having significance and power over human affairs. The wise men represent men and woman who seek God in the world's religions and philosophies: an unending quest. Men and women who seek God".
    They indicate to us "the path of our journey through life. They sought the true Light. As a liturgical hymn of Epiphany which speaks of their experience expresses: 'Lumen requirunt lumine'; by following a light, they sought the light, 'Lumen requirunt lumine'. They set out in search of God. Having seen the sign of the star, they grasped its message and set off on a long journey.The Holy Spirit called them and prompted them to set out; during their journey they were also to have a personal encounter with the true God".
    Along the way, the wise men encountered many difficulties. "Once they reached Jerusalem, they went to the king's palace, for they thought it obvious that the new king would be born in the royal palace. There they lost sight of the star. How often sight of the star is lost! And, having lost sight of the star, they met with a temptation, placed there by the devil: it was the deception of Herod. King Herod was interested in the child, not to worship Him but to eliminate Him. Herod is the powerful man who sees others only as rivals. Deep down, he also considers God a rival, indeed the most dangerous rival of all. In the palace the wise men experience a moment of obscurity, of desolation, which they manage to overcome thanks to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who speaks through the prophecies of sacred Scripture. These indicate that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Jan 13 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 007
    DATE 13-01-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis begins his apostolic trip to Sri Lanka
    - Interreligious meeting: religious beliefs must never be abused in the cause of violence and war
    - Pope's greetings to the presidents of Doctrinal Commissions of the European Episcopal Conferences

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    Francis begins his apostolic trip to Sri Lanka
    Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis began his visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the seventh apostolic trip of his papacy. Like his predecessor St. John Paul II, he will visit the two Asian countries with the greatest number of Catholics in a single trip. The visit to Sri Lanka will last for two days and will include an interreligious meeting, the canonisation of Joseph Vaz and a Marian prayer at the shrine of Our Lady of Madhu. During his three-day visit to the Philippines the Holy Father will meet, among others, victims of the typhoon Yolanda. The last day of his trip will coincide with the feast day of the Holy Child of Cebu in the Philippines, whose shrine receives millions of pilgrims.
    The Holy Father, who left from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 6.50 p.m. yesterday evening, and arrived in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, at 9 a.m. today, local time, where he was received by representatives of the religious and civil authorities including the apostolic nuncio of Sri Lanka, Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot, and the president of the country, Maithripala Sirisena. Two young girls offered him a floral garland and he was welcomed with hymns sung by a choir and greetings from around two thousand children.
    The welcome ceremony took place at the same airport, and following the president's speech, the Pope addressed those present.
    "My visit to Sri Lanka is primarily pastoral", he began. "As the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, I have come to meet, encourage and pray with the Catholic people of this island. A highlight of this visit will be the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, whose example of Christian charity and respect for all people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, continues to inspire and teach us today. But my visit is also meant to express the Church's love and concern for all Sri Lankans, and to confirm the desire of the Catholic community to be an active participant in the life of this society.
    "It is a continuing tragedy in our world that so many communities are at war between themselves. The inability to reconcile differences and disagreements, whether old or new, has given rise to ethnic and religious tensions, frequently accompanied by outbreaks of violence. Sri Lanka for many years knew the horrors of civil strife, and is now seeking to consolidate peace and to heal the scars of those years. It is no easy task to overcome the bitter legacy of injustice, hostility and mistrust left by the conflict. It can only be done by overcoming evil with good and by cultivating those virtues which foster reconciliation, solidarity and peace. The process of healing also needs to include the pursuit of truth, not for the sake of opening old wounds, but rather as a necessary means of promoting justice, healing and unity.
    "Dear friends, I am convinced that the followers of the various religious traditions have an essential role to play in the delicate process of reconciliation and rebuilding which is taking place in this country. For that process to succeed, all members of society must work together; all must have a voice. All must be free to express their concerns, their needs, their aspirations and their fears. Most importantly, they must be prepared to accept one another, to respect legitimate diversities, and learn to live as one family. Whenever people listen to one another humbly and openly, their shared values and aspirations become all the more apparent. Diversity is no longer seen as a threat, but as a source of enrichment. The path to justice, reconciliation and social harmony becomes all the more clearly seen.
    "In this sense, the great work of rebuilding must embrace improving infrastructures and meeting material needs, but also, and even more importantly, promoting human dignity, respect for human rights, and the full inclusion of each member of society. It is my hope that Sri Lanka's political, religious and cultural leaders, by measuring their every word and action by the good and the healing it will bring, will make a lasting contribution to the material and spiritual progress of the Sri Lankan people". The Pontiff concluded, "Mr President, dear friends, I thank you once again for your welcome. May these days we spend together be days of friendship, dialogue and solidarity. I invoke an abundance of God's blessings upon Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and I pray that its beauty may shine forth in the prosperity and peace of all its people".
    Following his address, the Holy Father made the 28-kilometre journey from the airport to the apostolic nunciature in Colombo by car. The transfer took longer than expected due to the large number of faithful who greeted the Pope as he passed. He therefore cancelled the scheduled visit to the archbishop's residence to meet with the twenty bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Sri Lanka, whom he encountered recently in the Vatican. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin attended as the Pope's envoy.
    Upon arrival at the archbishop's residence, Pope Francis lunched privately, after which he transferred by car to the presidential residence in Colombo to pay a courtesy visit to President Maithripala Sirisena, with whom he had a private discussion. The president subsequently accompanied the pontiff to the great hall where there was a presentation by the State authorities and dignitaries, and a short ceremony for the issue of commemorative stamps.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Interreligious meeting: religious beliefs must never be abused in the cause of violence and war
    Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) - The second stage of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Sri Lanka was his visit to the BMICH (Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall) in Colombo, where he participated in a meeting with representatives of other religious confessions.
    The main religious groups in the country are Buddhism (70% of the population), Hinduism (12.6%), Islam (9.7%) and Catholicism (7.16%). From a chronological perspective, Hinduism was the predominant belief on the island until the arrival of Buddhist missionaries in the third century B.C.; currently its followers are concentrated geographically in the north and east of the country, and the majority belong to the Tamil ethnic group. Theravada Buddhism reached the island in around 246 B.C., and was declared the official religion around 200 B.C.; from the mid-nineteenth century onwards it enjoyed a revival linked to national movements. Islam spread from the fifteenth century, brought by Arab merchants who controlled the South Indian Ocean trade routes, until the arrival of Franciscan missionaries along with the Portuguese. According to tradition St. Thomas arrived on the island in the first century after crossing Kerala in southern India. However, the earliest documentation of Christianity on the island dates from 1322, when the Franciscan Odorico da Pordenone stayed briefly, and then from 1517 onwards, with the arrival of Franciscan missionaries.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Jan 14 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 008
    DATE 14-01-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis canonises Joseph Vaz, Sri Lanka's first saint
    - At the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu: Mary accompanies Tamils and Sinhalese in rebuilding their lost unity
    - Pope Francis' telegram to the President of the Italian Republic
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    Francis canonises Joseph Vaz, Sri Lanka's first saint
    Vatican City, 14 January 2014 (VIS) - On the morning of Wednesday 14 January, the Holy Father transferred from the apostolic nunciature in Colombo to Galle Face Green. This urban park in the heart of the financial district of Colombo spreads over five hectares up to the coast of the Indian Ocean and can hold up to half a million people. Twenty years ago, on 15 January 1995, St. John Paul II celebrated Holy Mass in the same location and proclaimed Joseph Vaz blessed. Francis then left the car in favour of the Popemobile to tour the many faithful - more than half a million - gathered in the park. Before entering the sacristy, the Pope was greeted by the mayor of the city of Colombo, who presented him with the keys to the city.
    The Mass and canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz began at 8.30 a.m. local time. Sri Lanka's first saint, Vaz was born in Goa, India in 1651, the son of Cristovao Vaz and Maria de Miranda, devout Catholics. His father belonged to a prominent Goud Saraswat Brahmin Naik family from Sancoale, and Joseph was baptised on the eighth day at the parish church of St. John the Baptist. He studied Portuguese and Latin, and entered the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Since Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka, was under the rule of Dutch Calvinists and therefore had no Catholic priests, he moved there secretly, in the guise of a mendicant. He eventually came to the attention of the Dutch authorities, who imprisoned him. He was released in 1869 and obtained permission to preach the Gospel throughout the Buddhist Kingdom of Kandy. He also continued to do so secretly in the area under Dutch occupation until his death in 1711.
    Blessed Vaz, said the Holy Father in his homily, "like countless other missionaries in the history of the Church ... responded to the Risen Lord's command to make disciples of every nation. By his words, but more importantly, by the example of his life, he led the people of this country to the faith which gives us 'an inheritance among all God's holy ones'. In Saint Joseph we see a powerful sign of God's goodness and love for the people of Sri Lanka. But we also see in him a challenge to persevere in the paths of the Gospel, to grow in holiness ourselves, and to testify to the Gospel message of reconciliation to which he dedicated his life".
    "Saint Joseph Vaz continues to be an example and a teacher for many reasons, but I would like to focus on three", he continued. "First, he was an exemplary priest. Here today with us are many priests and religious, both men and women, who, like Joseph Vaz, are consecrated to the service of God and neighbour. I encourage each of you to look to Saint Joseph as a sure guide. He teaches us how to go out to the peripheries, to make Jesus Christ everywhere known and loved. He is also an example of patient suffering in the cause of the Gospel, of obedience to our superiors, of loving care for the Church of God. Like ourselves, Saint Joseph Vaz lived in a period of rapid and profound transformation; Catholics were a minority, and often divided within; there was occasional hostility, even persecution, from without. And yet, because he was constantly united with the crucified Lord in prayer, he could become for all people a living icon of God's mercy and reconciling love".
    The new saint, explained Pope Francis, "shows us the importance of transcending religious divisions in the service of peace. His undivided love for God opened him to love for his neighbour; he ministered to those in need, whoever and wherever they were. His example continues to inspire the Church in Sri Lanka today. She gladly and generously serves all members of society. She makes no distinction of race, creed, tribe, status or religion in the service she provides through her schools, hospitals, clinics, and many other charitable works. All she asks in return is the freedom to carry out this mission. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. Each individual must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion. As the life of Saint Joseph Vaz teaches us, genuine worship of God bears fruit not in discrimination, hatred and violence, but in respect for the sacredness of life, respect for the dignity and freedom of others, and loving commitment to the welfare of all".
    Finally, "Saint Joseph gives us an example of missionary zeal. Though he came to Ceylon to minister to the Catholic community, in his evangelical charity he reached out to everyone. Leaving behind his home, his family, the comfort of his familiar surroundings, he responded to the call to go forth, to speak of Christ wherever he was led. Saint Joseph knew how to offer the truth and the beauty of the Gospel in a multi-religious context, with respect, dedication, perseverance and humility. This is also the way for the followers of Jesus today. We are called to go forth with the same zeal, the same courage, as Saint Joseph, but also with his sensitivity, his reverence for others, his desire to share with them that word of grace which has the power to build them up. We are called to be missionary disciples".
    "Dear brothers and sisters", he concluded, "I pray that, following the example of Saint Joseph Vaz, the Christians of this country may be confirmed in faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society. This is what Christ asks of you. This is what Saint Joseph teaches you. This is what the Church needs of you. I commend all of you to the intercession of our new saint, so that, in union with the Church throughout the world, you may sing a new song to the Lord and declare his glory to all the ends of the earth. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. Amen".
    At the end of the celebration, Pope Francis presented to Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo, a reproduction of the "Sannas", a reproduction engraved on copper of the document by which in 1694 King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe of Kandy authorised Fr. Juan Sylveira of the Order of St. Philip Neri and his companions to preach the Gospel and build churches in his kingdom, and the people to convert to Christianity should they wish to do so. The original decree was given to Pope Leo XIII by the then-archbishop of Colombo, Christopher Bonjero O.M.I. The faithful of Sri Lanka reciprocated by donating 70,000 dollars to Pope Francis for papal charity.
    returned to the apostolic nunciature of Colombo to lunch and to rest, then shortly after 2 p.m. he left for the heliport, in order to depart by helicopter for Madhu.

    ___________________________________________________________

    At the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu: Mary accompanies Tamils and Sinhalese in rebuilding their lost unity
    Vatican City, 14 January 2014 (VIS) - This Wednesday the Holy Father made the 250-kilometre journey by helicopter from Colombo to the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, the second stage of his trip in Sri Lanka. The shrine is located in the north of the Island inhabited predominantly by the Tamil people, and has a four-century-long history. In 1544 some Christians escaped from the massacres ordered by the King of Jaffna, who feared the expansion of Portuguese influence, and sought refuge in the jungle, where they built a rudimentary place for prayer with the statue that is now located inside the shrine. In 1583 some Christians, again fleeing from Mannar, began to build churches in nearby areas. One of these, in Mantai, subsequently became the first "home" of the statue of Our Lady of Madhu. Following the persecution of Catholics by the Dutch, who arrived in Ceylon in 1656, thirty Catholic families seeking refuge journeyed from village to village, taking the statue with them. In 1670 they settled in Maruthamadhu, where the shrine is now located. They were later joined by other Catholics of Portuguese origin, who built the first small church dedicated to Our Lady of Madhu.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sun Jan 18 06:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 012
    DATE 18-01-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis to Filipino youth: act with integrity, honesty, and do not be afraid to love
    - The Pope meets the father of the volunteer who died in Tacloban
    - Concluding Mass in Manila: the child Jesus, protector of the Philippines

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    Francis to Filipino youth: act with integrity, honesty, and do not be afraid to love
    Vatican City, 18 January 2015 (VIS) - The Pope visited the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas to meet with the leaders of the main religious confessions represented in the Philippines. Currently attended by forty thousand students, the University of Santo Tomas is managed by Dominican Fathers, and it is the largest and oldest university in Asia. It recently celebrated the fourth centenary of its foundation and has received the patronage of the Spanish crown since 1680.
    Upon arrival the Pope was received by the chancellor and the rector, and greeted the religious leaders. Shortly after he toured the campus by Popemobile to greet the ten thousand students who awaited him. He then proceeded to the sports field, able to hold thirty thousand people, where he gave an off-the-cuff address in Spanish, answering various questions such as "Why do children suffer?", "How does one live true love?", "How can one contribute professionally to compassion and mercy without falling prey to materialism?".
    Beforehand, the Holy Father shared with those present the sad news of the death of the young volunteer Kristel Padasas in Tacloban yesterday. "She was 27 years old; she was young, like you, and worked for an association. I would like us all to pray in silence a minute and then invoke our heavenly Mother. And let us pray also for her parents".
    The original text of the Pope's planned discourse is published below:
    "Dear young friends, it is a joy for me to be with you this morning. I greet each of you from the heart, and I thank all those who made this meeting possible. During my visit to the Philippines, I wanted to meet with young people, to listen to you and to talk with you. I want to express the love and the hopes of the Church for you. And I want to encourage you, as Christian citizens of this country, to offer yourselves passionately and honestly to the great work of renewing your society and helping to build a better world.
    "In a special way, I thank the young people who have offered words of welcome to me. They have expressed eloquently, in your name, your concerns and worries, your faith and your hopes. They have spoken of the difficulties and the expectations of the young. Although I cannot respond to each of these issues at length, I know that, together with your pastors and among yourselves, you will prayerfully consider them and make concrete proposals for action in your lives.
    "Today I would like to suggest three key areas where you have a significant contribution to make to the life of your country. The first of these is the challenge of integrity. The word 'challenge' can be understood in two ways. First, it can be understood negatively, as a temptation to act against your moral convictions, what you know to be true, good and right. Our integrity can be challenged by selfish interest, greed, dishonesty, or the willingness to use other people.
    "But the word 'challenge' can be also understood positively. It can be seen as invitation to courage, a summons to bear prophetic witness to what you believe and hold sacred. In this sense, the challenge of integrity is something which you have to face now, at this time in your lives. It is not something you can put off until you are older or have greater responsibilities. Even now you are challenged to act with honesty and fairness in your dealings with others, young and old alike. Do not avoid the challenge! One of the greatest challenges young people face is learning to love. To love means to take a risk: the risk of rejection, the risk of being taken advantage of, or worse, of taking advantage of another. Do not be afraid to love! But in love, too, maintain your integrity! Here too, be honest and fair!
    "In the reading we have just heard, Paul tells Timothy: 'Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity'. You are called, then, to set a good example, an example of integrity. Naturally, in doing this, you will encounter opposition, negativity, discouragement, and even ridicule. But you have received a gift which enables you to rise above those difficulties. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you nurture this gift by daily prayer and draw strength from sharing in the Eucharist, you will be able to achieve that moral greatness to which Jesus calls you. You will also be a compass for those of your friends who are struggling. I think especially of those young people who are tempted to lose hope, to abandon their high ideals, to drop out of school, or to live from day to day on the streets.
    "So it is essential not to lose your integrity! Not to compromise your ideals! Not to give in to temptations against goodness, holiness, courage and purity! Rise to the challenge! With Christ, you will be - indeed you already are! - the architects of a renewed and more just Filipino culture.
    "A second key area where you are called to make a contribution is in showing concern for the environment. This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. You are called to care for creation not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ! Respect for the environment means more than simply using cleaner products or recycling what we use. These are important aspects, but not enough. We need to see, with the eyes of faith, the beauty of God's saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person. Men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over creation. As stewards of God's creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.
    "Three months ago, your Bishops addressed these issues in a prophetic Pastoral Letter. They asked everyone to think about the moral dimension of our activities and lifestyles, our consumption and our use of the earth's resources. Today I ask you to do this in the context of your own lives and your commitment to the building up of Christ's kingdom. Dear young people, the just use and stewardship of the earth's resources is an urgent task, and you have an important contribution to make. You are the future of the Philippines. Be concerned about what is happening to your beautiful land!
    "A final area in which you can make a contribution is one dear to all of us. It is care for the poor. We are Christians. We are members of God's family. No matter how much or how little we have individually, each one of us is called to personally reach out and serve our brothers and sisters in need. There is always someone near us who is in need, materially, emotionally, spiritually. The greatest gift we can give to them is our friendship, our concern, our tenderness, our love for Jesus. To receive Jesus is to have everything; to give Him is to give the greatest gift of all.
    "Many of you know what it is to be poor. But many of you have also experienced something of the blessedness that Jesus promised to 'the poor in spirit'. Here I would say a word of encouragement and gratitude to those of you who choose to follow our Lord in his poverty through a vocation to the priesthood and the religious life; by drawing on that poverty you will enrich many. But to all of you, especially those who can do more and give more, I ask: Please, do more! Please, give more! When you give of your time, your talents and your resources to the many people who struggle and who live on the margins, you make a difference. It is a difference that is so desperately needed, and one for which you will be richly rewarded by the Lord. For, as he has said: 'you will have treasure in heaven'.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Jan 23 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 017
    DATE 23-01-2015

    Summary:
    - To the Tribunal of the Roman Rota: do not ensnare salvation in the constraints of legalism
    - Pope's Message for 49th World Communications Day
    - The wisdom of parents must guide children in the digital world
    - Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the Tribunal of the Roman Rota: do not ensnare salvation in the constraints of legalism
    Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis today received in audience the dean, prelate auditors, officials and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, in order to inaugurate the legal year. In his address, the Holy Father focused on the human and cultural context in which matrimonial intent is formed. He emphasised that the crisis of values in society is not a recent phenomenon, and recalled that forty years ago Pope Paul VI had already denounced the ailments of modern man, "at times wounded by a systematic relativism, that bends to the easiest choices of circumstance, of demagogy, of fashion, of passion, of hedonism, of selfishness, so that externally he attempts to dispute the mastery of the law, and internally, almost without realising, substitutes the empire of moral conscience with the whim of psychological consciousness".
    The Pope highlighted the role of the judge, who is require to perform his judicial analysis where there is doubt regarding the validity of marriage, to ascertain whether there was an original shortcoming in consent, either directly in terms of a defect in the validity of intention or a grave deficit in the understanding of marriage itself to the extent of determining will. The crisis in marriage, indeed, not infrequently has at its root the crisis in knowledge enlightened by faith, or rather by adhesion to God and His plan of love realised in Jesus Christ".
    "Pastoral experience teaches us that today there is a great number of faithful in irregular situations, whose histories have been strongly influenced by the widespread worldly mentality", he continued. "There exists, indeed, a sort of spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, and which leads to the pursuit not of the glory of God, but rather of personal well-being. One of the consequences of this attitude is a faith hemmed in by subjectivism, interested solely in a given experience or a series of arguments and areas of knowledge believed to console or enlighten, but in which the subject in reality remains imprisoned by the immanence of his or her own reason or emotions. ... Therefore, the judge, in evaluating the validity of the consent given, must take into account the context of values and faith".
    Pope Francis urged greater commitment and passion in the ministry of the judge, whose role is "to protect the unity of the jurisprudence of the Church", and "pastoral work for the good of many couples, and many children, who are often the victims of these situations. Here too there is a need for pastoral conversion on the part of ecclesiastical structures to be able to offer the opus iustitiae to all those who turn to the Church to shed light on their matrimonial situation. This is your difficult mission: ... do not ensnare salvation in the constrictions of legalism. The function of law is guided towards the salus animarum on the condition that, avoiding sophisms distant from the living flesh of people in difficulty, it may help to establish the truth of the moment of consent".
    The Pope stressed the importance of the presence at every ecclesiastical Tribunal of persons competent to offer sound advice on the possibility of initiating a suit for the annulment of marriage. "In the hope that in every Tribunal these figures may be present to encourage real access to the justice of the Church for all the faithful, I would like to underline that a significant number of cases dealt with before the Roman Rota are enabled by legal aid granted to those whose economic situation would not otherwise allow them to engage the services of lawyer".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope's Message for 49th World Communications Day
    Vatican City, 23 January 2015 (VIS) - The Pope's message for the 49th annual World Communications Day was published today, the vigil of the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. The Day will be celebrated on Sunday 17 May 2015, and this year's theme is "Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love". The message was published in English, French ,German, Portuguese and Spanish.
    The full text of the message is reproduced below:
    "The family is a subject of profound reflection by the Church and of a process involving two Synods: the recent extraordinary assembly and the ordinary assembly scheduled for next October. So I thought it appropriate that the theme for the next World Communications Day should have the family as its point of reference. After all, it is in the context of the family that we first learn how to communicate. Focusing on this context can help to make our communication more authentic and humane, while helping us to view the family in a new perspective.
    "We can draw inspiration from the Gospel passage which relates the visit of Mary to Elizabeth. 'When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb"'. This episode first shows us how communication is a dialogue intertwined with the language of the body. The first response to Mary's greeting is given by the child, who leaps for joy in the womb of Elizabeth. Joy at meeting others, which is something we learn even before being born, is, in one sense, the archetype and symbol of every other form of communication. The womb which hosts us is the first 'school' of communication, a place of listening and physical contact where we begin to familiarise ourselves with the outside world within a protected environment, with the reassuring sound of the mother's heartbeat. This encounter between two persons, so intimately related while still distinct from each other, an encounter so full of promise, is our first experience of communication. It is an experience which we all share, since each of us was born of a mother.
    "Even after we have come into the world, in some sense we are still in a 'womb', which is the family. A womb made up of various interrelated persons: the family is 'where we learn to live with others despite our differences'. Notwithstanding the differences of gender and age between them, family members accept one another because there is a bond between them. The wider the range of these relationships and the greater the differences of age, the richer will be our living environment. It is this bond which is at the root of language, which in turn strengthens the bond. We do not create our language; we can use it because we have received it. It is in the family that we learn to speak our 'mother tongue', the language of those who have gone before us. In the family we realise that others have preceded us, they made it possible for us to exist and in our turn to generate life and to do something good and beautiful. We can give because we have received. This virtuous circle is at the heart of the family's ability to communicate among its members and with others. More generally, it is the model for all communication.
    "The experience of this relationship which 'precedes' us enables the family to become the setting in which the most basic form of communication, which is prayer, is handed down. When parents put their newborn children to sleep, they frequently entrust them to God, asking that he watch over them. When the children are a little older, parents help them to recite some simple prayers, thinking with affection of other people, such as grandparents, relatives, the sick and suffering, and all those in need of God's help. It was in our families that the majority of us learned the religious dimension of communication, which in the case of Christianity is permeated with love, the love that God bestows upon us and which we then offer to others.
    "In the family, we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one other yet are so important to each other. This greatly helps us to understand the meaning of communication as recognising and creating closeness. When we lessen distances by growing closer and accepting one another, we experience gratitude and joy. Mary's greeting and the stirring of her child are a blessing for Elizabeth; they are followed by the beautiful canticle of the Magnificat, in which Mary praises God's loving plan for her and for her people. A 'yes' spoken with faith can have effects that go well beyond ourselves and our place in the world. To 'visit' is to open doors, not remaining closed in our little world, but rather going out to others. So too the family comes alive as it reaches beyond itself; families who do so communicate their message of life and communion, giving comfort and hope to more fragile families, and thus build up the Church herself, which is the family of families.
    "More than anywhere else, the family is where we daily experience our own limits and those of others, the problems great and small entailed in living peacefully with others. A perfect family does not exist. We should not be fearful of imperfections, weakness or even conflict, but rather learn how to deal with them constructively. The family, where we keep loving one another despite our limits and sins, thus becomes a school of forgiveness. Forgiveness is itself a process of communication. When contrition is expressed and accepted, it becomes possible to restore and rebuild the communication which broke down. A child who has learned in the family to listen to others, to speak respectfully and to express his or her view without negating that of others, will be a force for dialogue and reconciliation in society.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Jan 26 08:24:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 018
    DATE 26-01-2015

    Summary:
    - Solemnity of the conversion of St. Paul: "We are all at the service of the one Gospel"
    - Angelus: God too thirsts for us
    - New appeal for a cease to the violence in Ukraine
    - The most effective antidote to violence is accepting difference as richness
    - Francis: "Unity is achieved by walking together"
    - Ten years after "Dignitas connubii": in search of swift solutions
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Solemnity of the conversion of St. Paul: "We are all at the service of the one Gospel"
    Vatican City, 25 January 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Pope presided at the second Vespers on the solemnity of the conversion of St. Paul, bringing to a close the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the theme of which this year was "Give me to drink" (John, 4.7).
    Representatives from other Churches and communities in Rome were present, and the celebration concluded with an apostolic blessing. In his homily, the full text of which is published below, Pope Francis emphasised that Jesus' thirst - which is described in the Gospel passage of the Samaritan woman - goes well beyond physical thirst. "It is also the thirst for an encounter, the wish to establish a dialogue with the woman, thus offering her the possibility of a path of inner conversion".
    "On his way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus passes through Samaria", began the Pope. "He has no problem dealing with Samaritans, who were considered by the Jews to be heretics, schismatics, separate. His attitude tells us that encounter with those who are different from ourselves can make us grow.
    "Weary from his journey, Jesus does not hesitate to ask the Samaritan woman for something to drink. His thirst, however, is much more than physical: it is also a thirst for encounter, a desire to enter into dialogue with that woman and to invite her to make a journey of interior conversion. Jesus is patient, respectful of the person before him, and gradually reveals himself to her. His example encourages us to seek a serene encounter with others. To understand one another, and to grow in charity and truth, we need to pause, to accept and listen to one another. In this way, we already begin to experience unity. Unity grows along the way; it never stands still. Unity happens when we walk together.
    "The woman of Sychar asks Jesus about the place where God is truly worshipped. Jesus does not side with the mountain or the temple, but goes to the heart of the matter, breaking down every wall of division. He speaks instead of the meaning of true worship: 'God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth'. So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father's love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity, we are convinced, will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions. When the Son of Man comes, he will find us still discussing! We need to realise that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonises diversities and overcomes conflicts, reconciles differences".
    Gradually, continued the Pope, "the Samaritan woman comes to realise that the one who has asked her for a drink is able to slake her own thirst. Jesus in effect tells her that he is the source of living water which can satisfy her thirst for ever. Our human existence is marked by boundless aspirations: we seek truth, we thirst for love, justice and freedom. These desires can only be partially satisfied, for from the depths of our being we are prompted to seek 'something more', something capable of fully quenching our thirst. The response to these aspirations is given by God in Jesus Christ, in his paschal mystery. From the pierced side of Jesus there flowed blood and water. He is the brimming fount of the water of the Holy Spirit, 'the love of God poured into our hearts on the day of our baptism. By the working of the Holy Spirit, we have become one in Christ, sons in the Son, true worshippers of the Father. This mystery of love is the deepest ground of the unity which binds all Christians and is much greater than their historical divisions. To the extent that we humbly advance towards the Lord, then, we also draw nearer to one another".
    Her encounter with Jesus "made the Samaritan women a missionary. Having received a greater and more important gift than mere water from a well, she leaves her jar behind and runs back to tell her townspeople that she has met the Christ. Her encounter with Jesus restored meaning and joy to her life, and she felt the desire to share this with others. Today there are so many men and women around us who are weary and thirsting, and who ask us Christians to give them something to drink. It is a request which we cannot evade. In the call to be evangelisers, all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities discover a privileged setting for closer cooperation. For this to be effective, we need to stop being self-enclosed, exclusive, and bent on imposing a uniformity based on merely human calculations. Our shared commitment to proclaiming the Gospel enables us to overcome proselytism and competition in all their forms. All of us are at the service of the one Gospel".
    "In this moment of prayer for unity, I would also like to remember our martyrs, the martyrs of today. They are witnesses to Jesus Christ, and they are persecuted and killed because they are Christians. Those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong. They are Christians and for that they are persecuted. This, brothers and sisters, is the ecumenism of blood", emphasised Francis.
    He continued, "Mindful of this testimony given by our martyrs today, and with this joyful certainty, I offer a cordial and fraternal greeting to His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Grace David Moxon, the personal representative in Rome of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and "all the representatives of the various Churches and Ecclesial Communions gathered here to celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul". He added, "I am also pleased to greet the members of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, and I offer them my best wishes for the fruitfulness of the plenary session to be held in these coming days. I also greet the students from the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, and the young recipients of study grants from by the Committee for Cultural Collaboration with the Orthodox Churches, centred in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity".
    Also present, he said, "are men and women religious from various Churches and Ecclesial Communities who have taken part in an ecumenical meeting organised by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, in conjunction with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to mark the Year for Consecrated Life. Religious life, as prophetic sign of the world to come, is called to offer in our time a witness to that communion in Christ which transcends all differences and finds expression in concrete gestures of acceptance and dialogue. The pursuit of Christian unity cannot be the sole prerogative of individuals or religious communities particularly concerned with this issue. A shared knowledge of the different traditions of consecrated life, and a fruitful exchange of experiences, can prove beneficial for the vitality of all forms of religious life in the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities".
    "Dear brothers and sisters", he concluded, "today all of us who thirst for peace and fraternity trustingly implore from our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ the one priest and mediator, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostle Paul and all the saints, the gift of full communion between all Christians, so that 'the sacred mystery of the unity of the Church' may shine forth as the sign and instrument of reconciliation for the whole world".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: God too thirsts for us
    Vatican City, 25 January 2015 (VIS) - At midday today the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and commented on today's Gospel reading, which relates the beginning of Jesus' preaching immediately after the arrest of St. John the Baptist.
    "Jesus' announcement is similar to that of John, with the significant difference that Jesus does not indicate that another is to come: Jesus Himself is the fulfilment of the promise; He is the 'good news' to believe in, to receive and to communicate to men and women of all time, so that they too entrust their existence to Him. Jesus Christ Himself is the living Word and He is active in history: he who listens to and follows Him will enter the Kingdom of God".
    "Jesus is the fulfilment of the divine promise because it is He who gives mankind the Holy Spirit, the 'living water' that quenches the thirst of our restless heart for life, love, freedom, peace: our thirst for God", explained Francis. Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman, 'Give me to drink', were the theme of this year's annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which concludes this afternoon with the second Vespers in the Roman Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls "to pray fervently to the Lord, so that He might strengthen our commitment to the full unity of all Christians". He added, "it is an ugly thing, that Christians are divided. But Jesus wants us to be united: one body. Our sins and our history have divided us and we must therefore pray for the Spirit to unite us once more".
    "God, who made Himself man, had our thirst, not only for water, but above all the thirst for a full life, free from the slavery of evil and death. At the same time, with His incarnation God placed His thirst, because God also thirsts, in the heart of a man: Jesus of Nazareth. God thirsts for us, our hearts, our love, and placed this thirst in Jesus' heart. Therefore, in the heart of Christ, human and divine thirst meets. And the desire for the unity of his disciples belongs to this thirst".
    "May Jesus' thirst increasingly become our own", he concluded. "Let us therefore continue to pray and strive for the full unity of the Disciples of Christ, in the certainty that He Himself is at our side and sustains us with the strength of His Spirit so that this goal can be reached".

    ___________________________________________________________

    New appeal for a cease to the violence in Ukraine
    Vatican City, 26 January 2015 (VIS) - At the end of today's Angelus prayer, a boy and a girl joined the Pope at the window of his study to read a message of peace on behalf of Catholic Action of the diocese of Rome, which concludes its traditional journey of the "Caravan of Peace" during these days. The young people of Catholic Action present in the square released a balloon containing messages of peace.
    Beforehand, the Pope recalled "with deep concern the escalation of the clashes in east Ukraine, which continue to claim many victims among the civilian population. While I assure my prayers to those who suffer, I renew my heartfelt appeal for the resumption of attempts at dialogue in order to bring an end to the hostilities".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Jan 27 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 019
    DATE 27-01-2015

    Summary:
    - Pope's Message for Lent 2015: "Make your hearts firm"
    - Indifference, key theme of the Pope's Message for Lent 2015
    - Holy Father's calendar for February to April 2015

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope's Message for Lent 2015: "Make your hearts firm"
    Vatican City, 27 January 2015 (VIS) - The following is the full text of the Holy Father Francis' message for Lent 2015, entitled "Make your hearts firm". The document was signed in the Vatican on 4 October 2014, the festivity of St. Francis of Assisi.
    "Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a 'time of grace'. God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. "We love because he first has loved us'. He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure. Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I do not think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalisation of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.
    When the people of God are converted to his love, they find answers to the questions that history continually raises. One of the most urgent challenges which I would like to address in this Message is precisely the globalisation of indifference.
    Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.
    God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation. In the Incarnation, in the earthly life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, the gate between God and man, between heaven and earth, opens once for all. The Church is like the hand holding open this gate, thanks to her proclamation of God's word, her celebration of the sacraments and her witness of the faith which works through love. But the world tends to withdraw into itself and shut that door through which God comes into the world and the world comes to him. Hence the hand, which is the Church, must never be surprised if it is rejected, crushed and wounded.
    God's people, then, need this interior renewal, lest we become indifferent and withdraw into ourselves. To further this renewal, I would like to propose for our reflection three biblical texts.
    1. 'If one member suffers, all suffer together' - The Church
    The love of God breaks through that fatal withdrawal into ourselves which is indifference. The Church offers us this love of God by her teaching and especially by her witness. But we can only bear witness to what we ourselves have experienced. Christians are those who let God clothe them with goodness and mercy, with Christ, so as to become, like Christ, servants of God and others. This is clearly seen in the liturgy of Holy Thursday, with its rite of the washing of feet. Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet, but he came to realise that Jesus does not wish to be just an example of how we should wash one another's feet. Only those who have first allowed Jesus to wash their own feet can then offer this service to others. Only they have 'a part' with him and thus can serve others.
    Lent is a favourable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ. In this body there is no room for the indifference which so often seems to possess our hearts. For whoever is of Christ, belongs to one body, and in him we cannot be indifferent to one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, all the parts share its joy'.
    The Church is the communio sanctorum not only because of her saints, but also because she is a communion in holy things: the love of God revealed to us in Christ and all his gifts. Among these gifts there is also the response of those who let themselves be touched by this love. In this communion of saints, in this sharing in holy things, no one possesses anything alone, but shares everything with others. And since we are united in God, we can do something for those who are far distant, those whom we could never reach on our own, because with them and for them, we ask God that all of us may be open to his plan of salvation.
    2. 'Where is your brother?' - Parishes and Communities
    All that we have been saying about the universal Church must now be applied to the life of our parishes and communities. Do these ecclesial structures enable us to experience being part of one body? A body which receives and shares what God wishes to give? A body which acknowledges and cares for its weakest, poorest and most insignificant members? Or do we take refuge in a universal love that would embrace the whole world, while failing to see the Lazarus sitting before our closed doors?
    In order to receive what God gives us and to make it bear abundant fruit, we need to press beyond the boundaries of the visible Church in two ways.
    In the first place, by uniting ourselves in prayer with the Church in heaven. The prayers of the Church on earth establish a communion of mutual service and goodness which reaches up into the sight of God. Together with the saints who have found their fulfilment in God, we form part of that communion in which indifference is conquered by love. The Church in heaven is not triumphant because she has turned her back on the sufferings of the world and rejoices in splendid isolation. Rather, the saints already joyfully contemplate the fact that, through Jesus' death and resurrection, they have triumphed once and for all over indifference, hardness of heart and hatred. Until this victory of love penetrates the whole world, the saints continue to accompany us on our pilgrim way. Saint Therese of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church, expressed her conviction that the joy in heaven for the victory of crucified love remains incomplete as long as there is still a single man or woman on earth who suffers and cries out in pain: 'I trust fully that I shall not remain idle in heaven; my desire is to continue to work for the Church and for souls'.
    We share in the merits and joy of the saints, even as they share in our struggles and our longing for peace and reconciliation. Their joy in the victory of the Risen Christ gives us strength as we strive to overcome our indifference and hardness of heart.
    In the second place, every Christian community is called to go out of itself and to be engaged in the life of the greater society of which it is a part, especially with the poor and those who are far away. The Church is missionary by her very nature; she is not self-enclosed but sent out to every nation and people.
    Her mission is to bear patient witness to the One who desires to draw all creation and every man and woman to the Father. Her mission is to bring to all a love which cannot remain silent. The Church follows Jesus Christ along the paths that lead to every man and woman, to the very ends of the earth. In each of our neighbours, then, we must see a brother or sister for whom Christ died and rose again. What we ourselves have received, we have received for them as well. Similarly, all that our brothers and sisters possess is a gift for the Church and for all humanity.
    Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!
    3. 'Make your hearts firm!' - Individual Christians
    As individuals too, we have are tempted by indifference. Flooded with news reports and troubling images of human suffering, we often feel our complete inability to help. What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness?
    First, we can pray in communion with the Church on earth and in heaven. Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer! The '24 Hours for the Lord' initiative, which I hope will be observed on 13-14 March throughout the Church, also at the diocesan level, is meant to be a sign of this need for prayer.
    Second, we can help by acts of charity, reaching out to both those near and far through the Church's many charitable organisations. Lent is a favourable time for showing this concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the one human family.
    Third, the suffering of others is a call to conversion, since their need reminds me of the uncertainty of my own life and my dependence on God and my brothers and sisters. If we humbly implore God's grace and accept our own limitations, we will trust in the infinite possibilities which God's love holds out to us. We will also be able to resist the diabolical temptation of thinking that by our own efforts we can save the world and ourselves.
    As a way of overcoming indifference and our pretensions to self-sufficiency, I would invite everyone to live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in what Benedict XVI called a formation of the heart. A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter but open to God. A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters. And, ultimately, a poor heart, one which realises its own poverty and gives itself freely for others.
    During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: 'Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum': Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalisation of indifference.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Feb 2 08:25:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 023
    DATE 02-02-2015

    Summary:
    - To the bishops of Lithuania: constructive dialogue with all, closeness to the poor and assistance to those who emigrate
    - Angelus: the Gospel changes life
    - The Pope announces his visit to Sarajevo
    - Pope's Telegram to the new President of the Italian Republic
    - There is no humanity without cultivation of the land: Francis on the central role of agriculture
    - Members and substitutes from the Episcopal Conferences for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
    - Assembly on "Women's cultures"
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    To the bishops of Lithuania: constructive dialogue with all, closeness to the poor and assistance to those who emigrate
    Vatican City, 2 February 2015 (VIS) - "You have come to Rome with your youth, but also with your heroism. Indeed, among you there are some young brothers, but mostly prelates who have experienced the sad period of persecution. Thank you for your witness to Jesus Christ and for your service to God's holy people", writes the Holy Father in the discourse handed out at the end of his audience with the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference today, following their five-yearly "ad Limina" visit.
    "Lithuania has always had pastors who are close to their flock and united with them", he continues. "Throughout the history of the nation, they have accompanied their people with care, not only in their journey of faith and in facing material difficulties, but also in the civil and social construction of society; the foundations of its history and identity are found in the strength of the Gospel and the love of the Holy Mother of God. You are the heirs to this history, this heritage of pastoral charity, and you show this with the energy of your action, the communion you inspire and your perseverance in pursuing the goals the Spirit indicates to you".
    "Dear brothers, I know your apostolic labours. If for a long period the Church in your country was oppressed by regimes based on ideologies contrary to human dignity and freedom, today you must face others, more insidious, such as secularism and relativism. Therefore, alongside tireless proclamation of the Gospel and Christian values, you must not forget to maintain constructive dialogue with all, even those who do not belong to the Church or who are distant from religious experience. Ensure that Christian communities are always places of welcome, of open and constructive exchange, a stimulus for society as a whole in the pursuit of the common good".
    Francis does not overlook the ceaseless efforts and attention paid by the Lithuanian bishops to the clergy, and he invites them to pray that God might give them "generous priests capable of sacrifice and devotion", as well as "convinced laypersons who know how to take responsibility within the ecclesial community and to make a valid Christian contribution to civil society", to be encouraged by the bishops "with the strength of mature faith, in the civil, cultural, political and social fields".
    The Pope also remarks that the Church is engaged in reflection on the beauty and value of the family, and the challenges it faces in our time. He encourages the bishops, as pastors, to make their contribution to "this great work of discernment", and above all to pay attention to the pastoral ministry of the family, so that couples "feel the closeness of the Christian community and are helped not to conform to the mentality of this world, but instead to continually renew themselves in the spirit of the Gospel". He adds, "indeed, in your country, which is now a full member of the European Union, is exposed to an influx of ideologies that seek to introduce elements of destabilisation of families, the result of a misunderstood sense of personal freedom. Centuries-old Lithuanian traditions will help you to respond, in accordance with reason and faith, to these challenges".
    He then goes on to recommend special attention to vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life, and encourages the Church in Lithuania to pray tirelessly to this end. He also urges adequate formation, both initial and continuing, of priests, consecrated persons and seminarians, as well as the active initiation of contact with them, to avoid leaving them alone with their difficulties. He concludes by exhorting care for the poor. "In Lithuania too, despite current economic development, there are many people in need, unemployed, sick, and abandoned. Be close to them. And do not forget that there are many, especially the young, who for various reasons leave the country to find a new path abroad. Their growing number and their needs require attention and pastoral care on the part of the Bishops' Conference, also to ensure the preservation of their faith and Lithuanian religious traditions".

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    Angelus: the Gospel changes life
    Vatican City, 1 February 2015 (VIS) - At midday, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, and to reflect on the readings in today's liturgy.
    This Sunday's Gospel passage narrates Jesus' arrival with his disciples in the city of Capernaum, the birthplace of St. Peter and the largest city in Galilee at the time. St. Mark writes that, since it was the Sabbath, Jesus went immediately to the synagogue and began to teach. "This makes us think of the primacy of the Word of God, a word to listen to, receive and announce", explained the Holy Father. Upon his arrival in Capernaum, Jesus does not delay in proclaiming the Gospel: "He does not think first of the logistical arrangements, certainly necessary, for his little community; nor does He take his time over organisation. His main concern is communicating the Word of God with the strength of the Holy Spirit. And the people in the synagogue are impressed, because Jesus 'taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes'".
    "What does 'with authority' mean?", asked the Pope, before explaining that in human words, Jesus felt "all the strength of the Word of God, He felt the same authority of God Himself, the inspirer of the Holy Scriptures. And one of the characteristics of the Word of God is that it accomplishes what it says". Indeed Jesus, after preaching, immediately demonstrates His authority by freeing a man, present in the synagogue, from possession by a demon. "It was Christ's authority that had provoked the reaction of Satan, hidden in that man. In turn, Jesus immediately recognised the voice of the devil and, severely rebuking him, ordered: 'Quiet! Come out of him!'. With the strength of his word alone, Jesus freed the person from evil. And again those present were astounded. 'He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him'. The Word of God creates this wonder in us. It possesses the strength to astonish us".
    "The Gospel is the word of life: it does not oppress people, but on the contrary, frees those who are enslaved by the many evil spirits of this world: the spirit of vanity, attachment to money, pride, sensuality; the Gospel changes hearts, changes lives, transforms the inclination to evil into good resolutions. The Gospel is capable of changing people. Therefore, it is the duty of Christians to spread this redeeming power everywhere, becoming missionaries and heralds of the Word of God. ... The new doctrine that Jesus taught with authority is that which the Church brings to the world, along with the effective signs of His presence: authoritative teaching and the liberating action of the Son of God become the words of salvation and the gestures of love of the missionary Church".
    Pope Francis concluded by reminding those present that the Gospel has the strength to change life. "It is the Good News that transforms us only when we let ourselves be transformed by it. This is why I ask you always to make daily contact with the Gospel; to read a passage every day, to meditate upon it and to carry it everywhere with you, in your pocket or in your bag. ... It is the power that changes us, that transforms us. It changes life, and it changes the heart".

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    The Pope announces his visit to Sarajevo
    Vatican City, 1 February 2015 (VIS) - Following today's Angelus prayer, the Holy Father announced that on 6 June he will travel to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and asked those present for their prayers so that his visit "to those dear populations may give encouragement to the Catholic faithful, may be a leaven for good and contribute to the consolidation of brotherhood, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship".
    He went on to greet the participants in the fourth world Congress organised by Scholas Occurrentes, to be held in the Vatican from 2 to 5 February on the theme "Responsibility for all education for a culture of encounter".
    Finally, he remarked that today is the "Day for Life" in Italy, focusing this year on the theme "Solidarity for life". He expressed his appreciation for the associations, movements and all others who defend human life. "I join with the Italian bishops in calling for a renewed recognition of the human person and more suitable care for life from conception to its natural end. When we open ourselves to life and serve life, we experience the revolutionary force of love and tenderness, giving rise to a new humanism: the humanism of solidarity, the humanism of life."

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    Pope's Telegram to the new President of the Italian Republic
    Vatican City, 2 February 2015 (VIS) - Last Saturday the Holy Father sent a telegram to Sergio Mattarella, new president of the Italian Republic, in which he expresses his hope that the new head of State will be able to exercise his "high office in the service of the unity and harmony of the country", and invokes upon him "constant divine assistance for enlightened action in the promotion of the common good, in line with the authentic human and spiritual values of the Italian population".

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    There is no humanity without cultivation of the land: Francis on the central role of agriculture
    Vatican City, 31 January 2015 (VIS) - "There is no humanity without the cultivation of the land; there is no good life without the food it produces for the men and women of every continent. Agriculture thus demonstrates its central role", said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in audience two hundred managers from the National Confederation of Direct Cultivators in the Clementine Hall on the seventh anniversary of its foundation.
    The name "direct cultivators", explained the Pontiff, refers to cultivation, "a typically human and fundamental activity. In agricultural work there is, indeed, acceptance of the precious gift of the land that comes from God, but there is also its development through the equally valuable work of men and women, called to respond boldly and creatively to the mandate forever entrusted to mankind, the cultivation and stewardship of the land".
    This task, which requires time and energy, constitutes "a true vocation. It deserves to be recognised and suitably valued as such, also in concrete political and economic decisions. This means eliminating the obstacles that penalise such a valuable activity and that often make it appear unattractive to new generations, even though statistics show an increase in the number of students in schools and institutes of agriculture, which leads us to foresee and increase in the numbers of those employed in the agricultural sector. At the same time, it is necessary to pay due attention to the removal of land from agricultural use, to make it available for apparently more lucrative purposes".
    This reflection on agrarian work led the Holy Father to focus on two critical areas: poverty and hunger, and the protection of the environment. "Vatican Council II reiterated the common destination of earthly goods, but in reality the dominant economic system excludes many people from their correct use. The absolutism of the rules of the market and a throwaway culture in which waste of food has reached unacceptable proportions, along with other factors, have caused poverty and suffering for many families. Therefore, the system of production and distribution of food needs to be fundamentally re-evaluated. As our grandparents taught us, you do not play with food! Bread forms part of the sacredness of human life, and must not therefore be treated as a mere commodity".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Feb 12 09:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 030
    DATE 12-02-2015

    Summary:
    - The Extraordinary Consistory opens in a spirit of collaboration
    - Reform of the Curia, at the centre of the Extraordinary Consistory
    - Children: a gift from God that opens up the future
    - Francis prays for the victims of the Lampedusa tragedy
    - Eighth session of the Council of Cardinals
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    The Extraordinary Consistory opens in a spirit of collaboration
    Vatican City, 12 February 2015 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. this morning, in the Vatican's Synod Hall, the Extraordinary Consistory of the College of Cardinals began, attended by the Holy Father and by those who will be created cardinals in next Saturday's consistory. The works will take place over two days, today and tomorrow, with sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Following the Terce prayer and greetings from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, the Holy Father Francis gave a brief address to those present. "Welcome to this communion, expressed in collegiality", he began, thanking the Comission of the nine cardinals and its coordinator, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga and the secretary, Bishop Marcello Semeraro who presented a summary of the work carried out during these months in drafting the new Apostolic Constitution on the reform of the Curia. This summary, noted Pope Francis, "has been prepared on the basis of many suggestions, also on the part of the heads and officers of the dicasteries, alongside experts on the subject".
    "The aim is always that of promoting greater harmony in the work of the various dicasteries and offices, in order to achieve more effective collaboration in that absolute transparency that edifies authentic synodality and collegiality", he continued, commenting that "reform is not an end in itself, but a way of giving strong Christian witness; to promote more effective evangelisation; to promote a fruitful ecumenical spirit; and to encourage a more constructive dialogue with all".
    "Reform, strongly advocated by the majority of cardinals in the context of the general congregations before the Conclave, must continue to enhance the identity of the Roman Curia itself, that is, that of assisting Peter's Successor in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and in the service of the universal Church and the particular Churches, in order to strengthen unity of faith and the communion of the people of God, and to promote the mission of the Church in the world", continued the Pontiff.
    "Certainly, reaching this objective is not easy: it requires time, determination and, above all, the collaboration of all. But to achieve this we must first of all trust in the Holy Spirit, Who is the true guide of the Church, imploring in prayer the gift of authentic discernment", he concluded. "With this spirit of collaboration our meeting begins; it will be fruitful thanks to the contribution that each one of us is able to express with parrhesia, fidelity to the Magisterium and the awareness that all this contributes to the supreme law, that is, the 'salus animarum'. Thank you".

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    Reform of the Curia, at the centre of the Extraordinary Consistory
    Vatican City, 12 February 2015 (VIS) - A total of 165 cardinals participated in this morning's first session of the Extraordinary Consistory with the Holy Father. Twenty-five were unable to attend due to illness or other serious problems, according to a report from the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., following the morning meeting.
    Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga explained that the meeting of the Council of Cardinals (the so-called "C9") which came to an end yesterday afternoon, focused primarily but not exclusively on the reform of the Curia; other themes addressed were the regulation of the Synod, the work of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, and relations with the economic entities of the Holy See (COSEA and IOR).
    Bishop Marcello Semeraro, secretary of the C9, presented the main lines of reform of the Roman Curia, in the light of the meeting of heads of the dicasteries that took place in November 2014. The issues to be considered are the functions of the Roman Curia, its relationship with other entities such as the episcopal conferences, the criteria for rationalisation and simplification that must guide it in its tasks, the Secretariat of State, the coordination of the dicasteries of the Curia, the relationship between religious and laypersons and the procedures that must govern the preparation of the new constitution.
    Reference was also made to the institution of two congregations. The first would encompass those organisms that until now have been concerned with the laity, the family and life. The second would deal with matters linked to charity, justice and peace. The collaboration of the Pontifical Councils and Academies dedicated to these themes could be strengthened.
    Twelve prelates intervened during the morning session, observed Fr. Lombardi: mainly cardinals who have a profound knowledge of the workings of the Curia, although there have been contributions from a diverse range of contexts. It has been observed that reform is twofold, theological and juridical, and many of its assumptions relate to canon law and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as well as relationships with the episcopates. It was also noted that the Pope is assisted not only by the Curia, but also by the College of Cardinals and the Synod of Bishops. In this regard, the themes of synodality and collegiality were discussed, and preference was expressed for the latter denomination rather than the former.
    The issue of the ongoing training of staff of the Roman Curia was not overlooked, and consideration was given to the possibility of a rotation of duties to counteract routine. In this sector, both favourable and contrary opinions were expressed by the cardinals, who emphasised that some fields require a high level of specialisation and that for this reason, change would be inadvisable.

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    Children: a gift from God that opens up the future
    Vatican City, 12 February 2015 (VIS) - The Pope held this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square. In his catechesis, the Holy Father continued his reflections on the family, referring on this occasion to children as a gift from God to their parents and to society as a whole. "There is a close link between the hope of a people and harmony between the generations", he said. "The joy of children makes their parents' hearts leap and opens up the future. Children are the joy of the family and of society. They are not a matter of reproductive biology, or one of the many ways of producing them, much less their parents' possession. Children are a gift. They are a gift. Each one is unique and unrepeatable, and at the same time unmistakably linked to his or her roots. Indeed, to be a son or a daughter according to God's plan, means carrying in oneself the memory and hope of a love that has become tangible by kindling the life of another human being, original and new. And for parents each child is him- or herself, different, unique".
    Francis emphasised the gratuitous dimension of the love that we receive as sons and daughters: "children are loved before they are born. I often encounter expectant mothers in the square who ask me to bless their unborn babies. These children are loved before they come into the world. This is gratuitousness, this is love; they are loved before they are born, like the love of God, Who always loves us first. They are loved before having done anything to deserve it, before being able to speak or to think, even before being able to come into the world. To be sons and daughters is the fundamental condition for knowing God's love, which is the ultimate source of this authentic miracle. In the soul of every child, although vulnerable, God places the seal of this love, which is the basis of his or her personal dignity, a dignity that nothing and no-one can destroy".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Feb 16 21:15:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 033
    DATE 16-02-2015

    Summary:
    - Audience with the King of Tonga: satisfaction at the nomination of the first cardinal from the archipelago
    - The Pope receives the representatives of the Church of Scotland (Reformed)
    - To the Pro Petri Sede Association: there is much to learn from the poor
    - Francis at the Mass with new cardinals: the way of the Church is that of mercy and inclusion
    - Angelus: good is contagious
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    Audience with the King of Tonga: satisfaction at the nomination of the first cardinal from the archipelago
    Vatican City, 16 February 2015 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience Their Majesties the King Tupou VI of Tonga and the Queen Nanasipau'u Tuku'aho, who went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
    His Majesty first expressed his satisfaction at the election of the first Cardinal from the archipelago, Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, underlining the enthusiasm of the population and the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and numerous Tongans at the Ordinary Public Consistory held on 14 February. During the cordial discussions, attention was paid to the recent political developments in the country and on a number of aspects of social and economic life, as well as the positive contribution of the Catholic Church in various areas of society.
    There was subsequently an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the island States of the Pacific and the environmental problems that some of them are compelled to face.

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    The Pope receives the representatives of the Church of Scotland (Reformed)
    Vatican City, 16 February 2015 (VIS) - The Right Rev. John P. Chalmers, moderator of the Church of Scotland, accompanied by a group of representatives of the same Church, were received this in audience this morning by the Holy Father who, in his greeting, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to meet and share with them a common commitment to the service of the Gospel and the cause for Christian unity.
    "Scotland's rich cultural and historical traditions have been shaped by outstanding saintly witnesses to Christ from various confessions", he observed. "The present state of ecumenical relations in Scotland clearly shows that what we, as Christians, hold in common is greater than all that divides us. On this basis the Lord is calling us to seek ever more effective ways to overcome old prejudices and to find new forms of understanding and cooperation".
    The Pope remarked that he was heartened to see that "the good relations between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church have borne fruit in shared reflection on the challenges posed by contemporary society, and that in many cases we are able to speak with one voice on issues which deeply affect the lives of all Christians. In our globalised and often confused world, a common Christian witness is a necessary requisite for the effectiveness of our efforts to evangelise.
    "We are pilgrims and we journey alongside one another. We need to learn to have 'sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion or mistrust, and turn our gaze to what we are all seeking: the radiant peace of God's face', he continued, citing his Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii gaudium". He went on to reiterate that faith and Christian witness current face such great challenges that "only by working together will we be able effectively to serve the human family and enable the light of Christ to reach every dark corner of our hearts and of our world".
    "May the journey of reconciliation and peace between our communities continue to draw us closer, so that, prompted by the Holy Spirit, we may bring life to all, and bring it in abundance. Let us pray for one another, and continue to advance in the way of wisdom, good will, strength and peace". Pope Francis then added, in his native Spanish, "allow me to use my mother tongue to express a profound and sad sentiment. Today I have read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. They said only: 'Jesus, help me'. They were assassinated for the mere fact of being Christians. You, Brother, in your discourse, referred to what is happening in Jesus' land. The blood of our Christian brothers is a testimony that calls to us. Regardless of whether they are Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, Lutherans - this does not matter, they are Christians. And blood is the same. Their blood confesses Christ. In remembrance of these brothers of ours who have died for the mere fact of confessing Christ, I ask that we encourage each other to go ahead with this ecumenism, that is giving us strength, this ecumenism of blood. The martyrs are all Christians. Let us all pray for each other".

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    To the Pro Petri Sede Association: there is much to learn from the poor
    Vatican City, 16 February 2015 (VIS) - "I am grateful for your commitment to serving the poor. The growing number of marginalised people living in situations of extreme precariousness is a fact that calls to us and demands zealous solidarity to offer them the material and spiritual support they need", said the Pope this morning, as he received in audience the members of the Pro Petri Sede Association, on their pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles in these days. "At the same time, we have much to receive from the poor whom we encounter and assist", he added. "In the throes of difficulty, they are often witnesses to the essential, to family values; they are able to share with those who are poorer than them, and to rejoice in it. ... Indifference and self-centredness are always on the increase. Care for the poor enriches us by setting us on a path of humility and truth".
    Francis encouraged them to pray to the Lord, especially during the Lenten time that is about to begin, to ask Him to give them a merciful and poor heart, that knows its own poverty and offers itself to others. He mentioned their valuable work in assisting the neediest populations throughout the world, offering them spiritual consolation so that they do not feel forgotten in their difficulties and retain hope. He also invited them to pray fervently for peace, "so that political leaders may find ways of dialogue and reconciliation", and concluded by expressing his hope that their pilgrimage might increase in every one of them "the sense of belonging to the Church, which is a great family, and the joy of announcing the Gospel to all. May fraternity be strengthened among you, so you may carry out your mission in the service of the poor and the least, for whom Jesus has a special predilection".
    Before concluding, the Pope added some impromptu words regarding the Benelux countries, which "have filled the world with missionaries. Today they face a vocational crisis. I would like to ask you to knock on the door of Jesus' heart and ask Him not to forget the generosity that these two countries had in other times. May He send vocations to Benelux, so that the life of faith may grow further. You work with the poor and love the poor, but think also of those who are poor in faith, who have no faith because there is no-one to preach it to them. May the Lord send priests to announce the faith. And please, pray for vocations in your countries".

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    Francis at the Mass with new cardinals: the way of the Church is that of mercy and inclusion
    Vatican City, 15 February 2015 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today Pope Francis presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica with the cardinals created in yesterday's consistory, and with all the cardinals in Rome for the occasion.
    In the homily he pronounced before the members of the College of Cardinals, in which he commented on the passage from the Gospel narrating the healing of the leper - marginalised, despised and abandoned for being "impure" - Francis insisted that the cardinals follow Jesus' merciful logic and reminded them that the way of the Church is "not only to welcome and reinstate with evangelical courage all those who knock at our door, but to go out and seek, fearlessly and without prejudice, those who are distant, freely sharing what we ourselves freely received".
    'Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean...': Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said: 'I do choose. Be made clean!'. The compassion of Jesus! That com-passion which made him draw near to every person in pain! Jesus does not hold back; instead, he gets involved in people's pain and their need for the simple reason that he knows and wants to show com-passion, because he has a heart unashamed to have 'compassion'.
    "'Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed in the country; and people came to him from every quarter'. This means that Jesus not only healed the leper but also took upon himself the marginalisation enjoined by the law of Moses. Jesus is unafraid to risk sharing in the suffering of others; he pays the price of it in full.
    "Compassion leads Jesus to concrete action: he reinstates the marginalised! These are the three key concepts that the Church proposes in today's liturgy of the word: the compassion of Jesus in the face of marginalisation and his desire to reinstate.
    "Marginalisation: Moses, in his legislation regarding lepers, says that they are to be kept alone and apart from the community for the duration of their illness. He declares them: 'unclean!'.
    "Imagine how much suffering and shame lepers must have felt: physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually! They are not only victims of disease, but they feel guilty about it, punished for their sins! Theirs is a living death; they are like someone whose father has spat in his face.
    "In addition, lepers inspire fear, contempt and loathing, and so they are abandoned by their families, shunned by other persons, cast out by society. Indeed, society rejects them and forces them to live apart from the healthy. It excludes them. So much so that if a healthy person approached a leper, he would be punished severely, and often be treated as a leper himself.
    "True, the purpose of this rule was 'to safeguard the healthy', 'to protect the righteous', and, in order to guard them from any risk, to eliminate the 'peril' by treating the diseased person harshly. As the high priest Caiaphas exclaimed: 'It is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed'.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Feb 17 09:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 034
    DATE 17-02-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope offers Mass in the Sanctae Marthae Chapel to the Copts killed in Libya
    - Pope's Message for World Youth Day: "Have the courage to be happy"
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope offers Mass in the Sanctae Marthae Chapel to the Copts killed in Libya
    Vatican City, 17 February 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis offered this morning's Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the 21 Egyptian Copts murdered yesterday in Libya, whose funerals will be held today.
    "Let us offer this Mass for our 21 brother Copts, beheaded for the simple fact of being Christians. Let us pray for them, so that the Lord may welcome them as martyrs, for their families, and for my brother Tawadros, who suffers deeply".
    He went on to pronounce the antiphon from Psalm 31: "For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me".
    Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father telephoned the Patriarch, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to express his participation in the profound sorrow of the Orthodox Coptic Church for the recent barbaric massacre of Egyptian Copts at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. He assured him of his prayers and today, the day of the victims' funerals, joined spiritually in the prayers and the suffering of the Coptic Church, in the morning Eucharistic celebration.

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    Pope's Message for World Youth Day: "Have the courage to be happy"
    Vatican City, 17 February 2015 (VIS) - "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" is the title of the Holy Father's message for the thirtieth World Youth Day, celebrated every year on Palm Sunday. The Pope continues his reflection on the Beatitudes, and after referring to his previous messages on "revolutionary meaning" and the "powerful summons of Jesus to embark courageously upon the exciting quest for happiness", he goes on to focus on "the desire for happiness", starting from the first chapters of the Book of Genesis which "shows to us the splendid beatitude to which we are called" and "consists in perfect communion with God, with others, with nature, and with ourselves".
    Francis divides his message into four parts. After speaking about the desire for happiness, he analyses the sixth beatitude paragraph by paragraph, explaining purity of heart. If the heart is considered in the Bible to be the "centre of the emotions, thoughts and intentions of the human person", its purity consists fundamentally in the absence of contaminants such as hate, cowardice, and envy. He then turns to the care for creation, so that it does not become contaminated, and invites a "human ecology" that " will help us to breathe the pure air that comes from beauty, from true love, and from holiness". Francis also urged the young not to allow their ability to love or be loved be instrumentalised or impaired, and not to trivialise love.
    In the third part, "... for they shall see God", he recalls that Jesus "awaits us always with open arms", and calls to all "in whatever place or situation you find yourself". "Encountering God in prayer, the reading of the Bible and in fraternal life will help you better to know the Lord and yourselves", writes the Pope. "Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, the Lord's voice will make your hearts burn within you. He will open your eyes to recognise his presence and to discover the loving plan he has for your life".
    "Have the courage to be happy", Francis concludes, recalling that this year's World Youth Day begins the final stage in preparation for the next great global event to be held in Krakow, Poland in 2016, thirty years after St. John Paul II instituted the World Youth Days in the Church. This "pilgrimage of young people from every continent under the guidance of the Successor of Peter has truly been a providential and prophetic initiative".
    The full text of the message is given below: Dear Young Friends,
    We continue our spiritual pilgrimage toward Krakow, where in July 2016 the next international World Youth Day will be held. As our guide for the journey we have chosen the Beatitudes. Last year we reflected on the beatitude of the poor in spirit, within the greater context of the Sermon on the Mount. Together we discovered the revolutionary meaning of the Beatitudes and the powerful summons of Jesus to embark courageously upon the exciting quest for happiness. This year we will reflect on the sixth beatitude: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God".
    1. The desire for happiness
    The word "blessed", or "happy", occurs nine times in this, Jesus' first great sermon. It is like a refrain reminding us of the Lord's call to advance together with him on a road which, for all its many challenges, leads to true happiness.
    Dear young friends, this search for happiness is shared by people of all times and all ages. God has placed in the heart of every man and woman an irrepressible desire for happiness, for fulfilment. Have you not noticed that your hearts are restless, always searching for a treasure which can satisfy their thirst for the infinite?
    The first chapters of the Book of Genesis show us the splendid "beatitude" to which we are called. It consists in perfect communion with God, with others, with nature, and with ourselves. To approach God freely, to see him and to be close to him, was part of his plan for us from the beginning; his divine light was meant to illumine every human relationship with truth and transparency. In the state of original purity, there was no need to put on masks, to engage in ploys or to attempt to conceal ourselves from one another. Everything was clear and pure.
    When Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and broke off this relationship of trusting communion with God, sin entered into human history. The effects were immediately evident, within themselves, in their relationship with each other and with nature. And how dramatic the effects are! Our original purity as defiled. From that time on, we were no longer capable of closeness to God. Men and women began to conceal themselves, to cover their nakedness. Lacking the light which comes from seeing the Lord, they saw everything around them in a distorted fashion, myopically. The inner compass which had guided them in their quest for happiness lost its point of reference, and the attractions of power, wealth, possessions, and a desire for pleasure at all costs, led them to the abyss of sorrow and anguish.
    In the Psalms we hear the heartfelt plea which mankind makes to God: "What can bring us happiness? Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord". The Father, in his infinite goodness, responded to this plea by sending his Son. In Jesus, God has taken on a human face. Through his Incarnation, life, death and resurrection, Jesus frees us from sin and opens new and hitherto unimaginable horizons.
    Dear young men and women, in Christ you find fulfilled your every desire for goodness and happiness. He alone can satisfy your deepest longings, which are so often clouded by deceptive worldly promises. As Saint John Paul II said: "He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives".
    2. Blessed are the pure in heart
    Let us now try to understand more fully how this blessedness comes about through purity of heart. First of all, we need to appreciate the biblical meaning of the word heart. In Hebrew thought, the heart is the centre of the emotions, thoughts and intentions of the human person. Since the Bible teaches us that God does not look to appearances, but to the heart, we can also say that it is from the heart that we see God. This is because the heart is really the human being in his or her totality as a unity of body and soul, in his or her ability to love and to be loved.
    As for the definition of the word pure, however, the Greek word used by the evangelist Matthew is katharos, which basically means clean, pure, undefiled. In the Gospel we see Jesus reject a certain conception of ritual purity bound to exterior practices, one which forbade all contact with things and people (including lepers and strangers) considered impure. To the Pharisees who, like so many Jews of their time, ate nothing without first performing ritual ablutions and observing the many traditions associated with cleansing vessels, Jesus responds categorically: "There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness".
    In what, then, does the happiness born of a pure heart consist? From Jesus' list of the evils which make someone impure, we see that the question has to do above all with the area of our relationships. Each one of us must learn to discern what can "defile" his or her heart and to form his or her conscience rightly and sensibly, so as to be capable of "discerning the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect". We need to show a healthy concern for creation, for the purity of our air, water and food, but how much more do we need to protect the purity of what is most precious of all: our heart and our relationships. This "human ecology" will help us to breathe the pure air that comes from beauty, from true love, and from holiness.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Feb 20 08:48:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 037
    DATE 20-02-2015

    Summary:
    - To the bishops of Ukraine: indicate the values that bind Ukrainian society
    - Communique from the Managing Board and the College of Auditors of the Vatican Pensions Fund
    - The Holy See at the United Nations: social development policies must address the spiritual and ethical dimension of the human person
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the bishops of Ukraine: indicate the values that bind Ukrainian society
    Vatican City, 20 February 2015 (VIS) - "I welcome you to this house, which is also yours. And you are well aware of this, as the Successor of Peter has always welcomed his brothers from Ukraine with fraternal friendship", begins the Pope's written discourse to the bishops of the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference, at the end of their "ad Limina" visit. The encounter takes place in the context of a serious and prolonged conflict within the country, which "continues to claim many innocent victims and to cause great suffering to the entire population".
    The Pope met with the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, the bishop of Mukachevo of Byzantine rite, and the bishops of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops in separate audiences in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace. The signed discourse was handed to the representatives of each the three Ukrainian ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
    "In this period", continues Francis, "I am particularly close to you in my prayers for the deceased and for all those who have been afflicted by violence, with my plea that the Lord might grant peace soon, and with my appeal to all interested parties to implement joint agreements and to respect the principle of international law, and especially to observe the recently signed armistice and all other commitments that are conditions for avoiding a resumption of hostilities".
    "I know the historical events that have scarred your land and which are still present in your collective memory. These are issues that in part have a political basis, to which you are not required to respond directly; but there are also socio-cultural realities and human tragedies that await your direct and positive contribution. In such circumstances, it is important to listen attentively to the voices that come from the land, from the people entrusted to your pastoral care. Listening to your people, you are able to solicit those values that characterise them: encounter, collaboration, the capacity to resolve disagreements. In short: the search for a possible peace. You are able to nurture this ethical heritage with charity, the divine love that stems from the heart of Christ".
    The Holy Father acknowledges that, "at local level, there are specific and practical agreements between you, heirs to two legitimate spiritual traditions - Oriental and Latin - as well as the other Christians among you. This, as well as a duty, is also an honour that must be recognised". He also reiterates that the bishops, at national level, are full citizens of their country and therefore have the right to express their thought, also jointly, regarding its destiny, "not in the sense of promoting concrete political action, but in the indication and reaffirmation of the values that constitute the binding element of Ukrainian society, persevering in the tireless search for harmony and the common good, even when faced with serious and complex difficulties". He emphasises, "The Holy See is by your side, also in international forums, to ensure that your rights, concerns and the right Gospel values that inspire you are understood, and seeks also to help meet the pastoral needs of those ecclesiastical structures that also find themselves having to face new legal questions".
    The crisis unfolding in Ukraine has undoubtedly had "serious repercussions on family life. United with this is a misunderstood sense of economic freedom that has enabled a small group of people to become enormously rich at the expense of the great majority of citizens. The presence of this phenomenon has also contaminated public institutions, to varying degrees. It has generated an inequitable poverty in a generous and rich land". Therefore, the Pope exhorts the bishops to tirelessly remind their fellow citizens of "the considerations that faith and pastoral responsibility suggest to you. The meaning of justice and truth is first moral rather than political, and this is incumbent upon you as pastors. How much freer you will be as ministers of Christ's Church, as, in spite of your poverty, you become defenders of families, of the poor, of the unemployed, of the weak, the sick, the elderly, invalids and displaced persons".
    After encouraging the Ukrainian bishops to renew their zeal for the constant announcement of the Gospel and to pray attention to vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life, the Ponfiff then goes on to consider the rapport between bishops, while aware of the "complex historical factors that weigh upon your mutual relations, as well as aspects of personal character".
    "The fact that both episcopates are Catholic and Ukrainian remains indisputable, in spite of differences of rites and traditions. I am personally saddened to hear that there are incomprehensions and that harm has been done. There is a need for a doctor, and this doctor is Jesus Christ, whom you both serve with generosity and with all your hearts. You are a single body and, as both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have done in the past, I exhort you to find between you a way to accept each other and to support each other generously in your apostolic labours. The unity of the episcopate, aside from giving a good example to the People of God, represents an inestimable service to the nation at a cultural, social, and above all spiritual level". You are united in fundamental values and have the most valuable treasure in common: faith and the People of God. Therefore, I regard joint meetings of the bishops of all the "sui iuris" Churches present in Ukraine to be of the highest importance".
    "Whether Greek-Catholics or Latins, you are sons of the Catholic Church, which has been subject to martyrdom in your land too", remarks Francis. "May the blood of your witnesses, who intercede from Heaven on your behalf, be a further inspiration to a true communion of hearts. Unite your strength and support each other, transforming historical events into a reason for sharing and unity. Well-rooted in the Catholic community, you can also apply yourselves with faith and patience to ecumenism, so that all Christians may grow in unity and cooperation. I am sure that your decisions, in accordance with the Successor of Peter, will be able to take on board the expectations of all your People. I invite you all to govern the Communities entrusted to you ensuring as far as possible your presence and closeness to the priests and faithful. I hope that you may maintain respectful and fruitful relations with the public authorities".
    Finally, the Holy Father exhorts them to pay great attention to the poor. "They are your wealth", he emphasises. "You are the pastors of a flock entrusted to you by Christ; always be clearly aware of this, even within your internal organs of self-governance, which must always be understood as instruments of communion and prophecy. In this sense, I hope that your intentions and your actions will always be oriented towards the overall good of the Churches entrusted to you. ... I impart with affection a special apostolic blessing to you, your communities and the dear population of Ukraine".


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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Feb 23 09:01:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 038
    DATE 23-02-2015

    Summary:
    - St. Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Church
    - Lent, time for spiritual battle against evil
    - Spiritual exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia
    - Audience with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel
    - The Pope again urges affiliates of organised crime to convert
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    St. Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Church
    Vatican City, 23 February 2015 (VIS) - On Saturday, 21 February the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he confirmed the proposal by the cardinals and bishops, members of the Plenary Session of the Congregation, to concede the title of Doctor of the Universal Church to St. Gregory of Narek, priest and monk, who was born in Andzevatsij (then Armenia, present-day Turkey) in 1005 and died in Narek (then Armenia, present-day Turkey) around 1005.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Lent, time for spiritual battle against evil
    Vatican City, 22 February 2015 (VIS) - Lent, the liturgical time that refers to the forty days Jesus spent in the desert after his baptism in the river Jordan, was the subject of the Pope's reflection before this Sunday's Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
    On the first Sunday of Lent, Francis explained that during these forty days of solitude in which Jesus prepared himself to announce the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, he "faces Satan 'body to body', he unmasks his temptations and is victorious. And in Him we all win, but it is up to us to protect this victory in our daily life".
    "The Church reminds us of this mystery at the beginning of every Lenten period", he continued, "because it gives us the prospect and the meaning of this time, which is a time of combat - during Lent one must fight - a time of spiritual combat against the spirit of evil. And while we cross the Lenten 'desert', we keep our gaze fixed upon Easter, the definitive victory of Jesus against the Evil One, against sin and against death. This, then, is the meaning of this first Sunday of Lent: placing ourselves on the path of Christ, the road that leads to life".
    "And this, Jesus' path, passes through the desert, ... the place where both the voice of God and the voice of the Tempter can be heard. Amid noise and confusion; only superficial voices can be heard. Instead, in the desert we are able to descend to the depths, where our destiny is truly played out, life or death. And how do we hear the voice of God? We hear it in His Word. This is why it is important to know the Scripture, as otherwise we do not know how to respond to the deceptions of the Evil One. ... Always keep a copy of the Gospel to hand. The Lenten desert helps us to say no to worldliness, to 'idols'; it helps us to make courageous decisions consistent with the Gospel and to strengthen solidarity with our brothers".
    "Therefore, let us enter into the desert without fear, because we are not alone; we are with Jesus, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit", added the Holy Father. "Lent is an auspicious time to lead us to be increasingly aware of how much the Holy Spirit, received in baptism, has worked and can work in us. At the end of the Lenten itinerary, on the Easter Vigil, we are able to renew the baptismal alliance and the duties that derive from this with greater awareness".
    The Pope completed his reflection by entrusting to the Virgin the week of Spiritual Exercises that began yesterday afternoon, and in which his collaborators in the Roman Curia will also participate. He asked those present to pray, "so that in this 'desert' of the Spiritual Exercises, we can hear the voice of Jesus and also correct many flaws that we all have, and also to face up to the temptations that assail us every day. I therefore ask you to accompany us with your prayer".
    Following the Angelus prayer, the Pope referred again to Lent, "a path of conversion whose centre is the heart", and gave the faithful present in the square a small booklet entitled "Custodisci il cuore", "Safeguard your heart". Distributed by a group of volunteers, including various homeless persons, it brings together a number of Jesus' teachings and the essential content of the faith, such as for instance the seven Sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the ten commandments, the virtues, the works of mercy, and so on.
    "As is always the case, today in the square the needy give us a great wealth: the wealth of our doctrine to safeguard the heart", he remarked, referring to the work of the homeless volunteers. "Take a booklet and carry it with you, to help in spiritual conversion and growth, which always starts from the heart: there, where the daily choices between good and evil are made, between worldliness and the Gospel, between indifference and sharing. Humanity needs justice, peace and love, and will obtain this only by returning wholeheartedly to God, the source".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Spiritual exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia
    Vatican City, 22 February 2015 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today, the first Sunday of Lent, at the House of the Divine Master in Ariccia, a few kilometres from Rome, the Roman Curia began its Spiritual Exercises, in which the Holy Father participates.
    The meditations will be proposed by Fr. Bruno Secondin, O. Carm., and the theme will be "Servants and prophets of the living God", a pastoral reading of the prophet Elijah.
    The Exercises will be concluded on the morning of Friday, 27 February.
    During the week of the Spiritual Exercises all audiences will be suspended, including the General Audience on Wednesday, 25 February.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Audience with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel
    Vatican City, 21 February 2015 (VIS) - This morning, 21 February 2015, the Holy Father Francis received in Audience in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Her Excellency Angela Merkel, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, and in view of the upcoming G7 Summit to be held in Bavaria, special attention was paid to various questions of an International nature, with particular reference to the struggle against poverty and hunger; the exploitation of human beings and the rights of women; and the challenges of promoting world health and the protection of Creation. The themes of human rights and religious freedom in various parts of the world were also considered, emphasising the importance of spiritual values to social cohesion.
    Finally, the Parties considered the situation in Europe, underlining in particular the commitment to reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope again urges affiliates of organised crime to convert
    Vatican City, 21 February 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Pope received in audience more than seven thousand people from the Italian diocese of Cassano all'Jonio, in the region of Calabria, which Francis visited last June, and whose church welcomes different rites and traditions that express "the variety of gifts that enrich Christ's Church".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Mar 6 23:01:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 043
    DATE 02-03-2015

    Summary:
    - To the prelates of North Africa: always be men of hope
    - Pope Francis' prayer intentions for March
    - Angelus: let us be transformed by love
    - Syria, Iraq and Venezuela in the Pope's prayers
    - The Pope to cooperatives: promote the economy of honesty
    - Presentation of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM): Incentive and relaunch of the Church in the Amazon
    - Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, Pope's special envoy to the 4th centenary of the martyrdom of St. John Ogilvie, S.J.
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the prelates of North Africa: always be men of hope
    Vatican City, 2 March 2015 (VIS) - This morning, the prelates of the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (C.E.R.N.A), which encompasses the dioceses of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya were received in audience by the Pope at the end of their "ad Limina" visit. The Holy Father handed them a written address in which he recalls that the history of the region has been marked by many saintly figures from St. Cyprian and St. Augustine, a "spiritual patrimony for all the Church", to Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who died one hundred years ago next year.
    "For several years your region has been experiencing significant changes, which offer hope that aspirations to greater freedom and dignity may be fulfilled and which favour greater freedom of conscience", continues Francis. "But at times these events have led to outbursts of violence. I wish to mention, in particular, the courage, loyalty and perseverance of the bishops of Libya, as well as the priests, consecrated persons and laypeople who stay in this country despite the many dangers. They are genuine witnesses of the Gospel. I thank them with all my heart and encourage them to continue their efforts in contributing to peace and reconciliation throughout the region".
    "Your episcopal conference ... is an important forum for exchange and dialogue, but it must also be a tool for communion, for deepening fraternal relations and mutual trust", the Pope writes. "The pilgrimage to Rome is a good opportunity to renew your joint commitment in the service of the Church's mission in each of your countries. You carry out this mission with your priests, your direct collaborators. They are from many countries and at times it is difficult for them to adapt to new situations. Therefore, it is particularly important to be close to them and to be attentive to their continuing formation so that they can live their ministry fully and serenely. ... Men and women religious also have a special place in the life and in the mission of your Church, and I thank them for their witness of fraternal life and their generous commitment to the service of their brothers and sisters".
    "At the heart of your mission and at the origin of your hope there is, above all, the personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the certainty that He is at work in the world where you have been sent on His behalf. The evangelical vitality of your dioceses depends, therefore, on the quality of your spiritual and sacramental life", observes the Holy Father, who alongside the saints from the region, mentions also "the men and women religious who have offered everything to God and to their brothers, to the point of sacrificing their own lives". He highlights the bishops' responsibility for developing this spiritual legacy firstly among the faithful, but also opening it up to all. "I am pleased to hear that in recent years, various Christian shrines have been restored in Algeria. By welcoming all, kindly and without proselytising, your communities show that they wish to be a Church with open doors, always reaching out".
    "Universality is a feature of these Churches, where the faithful come from many countries to form living communities. ... This offers the opportunity to admire God's work, which spreads among all peoples and all cultures", writes the Pontiff, who goes on to greet the many students from sub-Saharan Africa, whom he invites to "stay firm in the faith" so as to be able to establish "bonds of friendship, trust and respect" with all persons, "thus contributing to the construction of a more fraternal world".
    Interreligious dialogue is also very important in the life of these Churches, and Francis stresses that in this field "the imagination of charity can open up countless ways of bringing the breath of the Gospel to the most diverse cultures and social sectors. As you are aware, mutual ignorance is the source of many misunderstandings and even conflicts. ... The most effective antidote to any form of violence is education in the discovery and acceptance of difference as richness and fertility. Therefore, it is essential that priests, religious and laypeople in your dioceses are well-prepared in this area".
    In this regard, the Pope notes his satisfaction that the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI), born in Tunisia, will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this year. He invites the bishops to "support and make use of this institution when necessary, to experience language and culture" and to "deepen dialogue in truth and love between Christians and Muslims". This dialogue is also experienced by bishops on a day-to-day basis with Christians of other confessions, and Francis therefore expresses his desire that the Al Mowafaqa Ecumenical Institute, founded in Morocco to promote ecumenical and interreligious dialogue may also contribute to greater mutual awareness.
    "A Church of encounter and dialogue, you also wish to be at the service of all without distinction. Often with modest means, you manifest the charity of Christ and all the Church towards the poor, the sick, the elderly, women in need and the imprisoned. Thank you for your work in the assistance of the many immigrants from Africa who seek in your countries a place of transit or of welcome. Recognising their human dignity and working to awaken consciences before so many human tragedies, you show God's love for each one of them".
    "Dear brothers in the episcopate", he concluded, "I wish to assure you of the support of all the Church in your mission. You are in the 'peripheries', with your special service of making manifest the presence of Christ and His Church in this region. Your testimony of life in simplicity and poverty is an eminent sign for all the Church. Be assured that the Successor of Peter accompanies you on your rough road, and encourages you always to be men of hope".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis' prayer intentions for March
    Vatican City, 1 March 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for March is: "That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person".
    His intention for evangelisation is: "That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognised always".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: let us be transformed by love
    Vatican City, 1 March 2015 (VIS) - "On this second Sunday of Lent, the Church shows us the ultimate goal of this itinerary of conversion, or rather, participation in the glory of Christ", said the Pope before this Sunday's Angelus prayer upon returning from the week of spiritual exercises. He also recalled that last Sunday's Gospel passage presented Jesus resisting Satan's temptations in the desert.
    "Today's Gospel tells us of the event of the Transfiguration, which takes place at the culmination of Jesus' public ministry. He is on the path to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the Servant of God will be fulfilled and His redemptive sacrifice will be consummated". Francis remarked that neither the multitude nor the apostles understood that the outcome of Jesus' mission of suffering would be His glorious passion, and so He decided to show a glimpse of His glory to the apostles Peter, James and John, to confirm them in their faith and to encourage them to follow him on the path of trial, on the way of the Cross. "From the heavens, they heard the voice of the Father: 'This is my beloved Son; hear him'".
    The Pope explained that listening to Christ involves assuming the logic of his Paschal mystery, placing ourselves on the path with Him in order to make of our existence a gift of love for others, in docile obedience to the will of God the Father, with an attitude of detachment from worldly things and of inner freedom. "It means, in other words, being ready to 'lose one's life', to sacrifice it so that all men might be saved; in this way we find eternal joy. There will always be a cross to bear and there will be trials along the way, but in the end it will always lead us to happiness". Finally, the Pope encouraged those present to let themselves be transfigured by love, which is capable of transforming everyone, and to invoke the Virgin Mary to support us on our way.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Syria, Iraq and Venezuela in the Pope's prayers
    Vatican City, 1 March 2015 (VIS) - Following today's Angelus prayer the Pope made an appeal regarding "the dramatic situation in Syria and Iraq, involving violence, abduction and abuse of Christians and other groups. I wish to assure those involved in these situations that we have not forgotten them; rather, we are close to them and pray ceaselessly for a swift end to the intolerable brutality they are subjected to". He also commented that, along with the members of the Roman Curia, he offered the second Holy Mass of the spiritual exercises to this intention, and asked all persons, as far as possible, to work to alleviate the suffering of those afflicted, often merely because of the faith they profess. Let us pray for these brothers and sisters who suffer for the faith in Syria and Iraq".
    The Pontiff also commented on the acute tension that Venezuela is experiencing at present. "I pray for the victims and, in particular, for the boy who died a few days ago in San Cristobal. I urge all involved to reject violence and to respect the dignity of every person and the sacredness of human life, and encourage them to undertake a joint path for the good of the country, reopening space for sincere and constructive encounter and dialogue".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope to cooperatives: promote the economy of honesty
    Vatican City, 28 February 2015 (VIS) - "The Church has always acknowledged, appreciated and encouraged the cooperative experience", Pope Francis affirmed this morning, greeting more than seven thousand members of the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives who group together a number of different sectors, from agriculture to construction, including fishing and the distribution of consumer goods.
    In this regard, Francis referred to various documents of the Magisterium, such as the encyclicals "Rerum Novarum", with Leo XIII's appeal for a society in which "All [are] owners, not all proletarians", and "Caritas in Veritate", in which Benedict XVI underlines the importance of the economy of communion and the non-profit sector, and the "extraordinary social teaching of Blessed Paul VI". He went on to urge the members of the Confederation to look not only to the past, but also to the future: "It is a real mission that requires creative imagination to find forms, methods, attitudes and tools to combat the throwaway culture cultivated by the powers that support the economic and financial policies of the globalised world".
    "Globalising solidarity, today, means thinking about the vertiginous increase in unemployment, the incessant tears of the poor, the need to reinstate a development that involves a genuine and full progress of the person, who is certainly in need of income, but not this alone. Let us think about healthcare needs, that the traditional welfare systems are no longer able to satisfy; the pressing needs of solidarity, to place human dignity once more at the centre of the world economy".
    Pope Francis suggested a series of concrete suggestions to help achieve this mission. The first was that cooperatives should "continue to be the motor for lifting up and developing the weakest part of our local communities and of civil society". This involves "giving first place to the foundation of new cooperative enterprises, along with the further development of those already in existence, so as to create, above all, new work opportunities that currently do not exist ... especially for the young, as we know that youth unemployment ... destroys their hope", but also for the "many women who need and wish to enter the world of work. We must not neglect the adults who often find themselves prematurely without work. Aside from new enterprises, let us look also to the companies in difficulty, those that the old owners leave to die, which could instead be revived through 'workers' buy out' initiatives.
    Becoming active agents of new welfare solutions was his second suggestion, addressed above all to he healthcare sector, "a delicate field where many poor people no longer find their needs to be adequately met". The answer may be found in applying subsidiarity, "with strength and coherence", creating an effective network of assistance and solidarity between cooperatives, parishes and hospitals.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Mar 12 11:37:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 051
    DATE 12-03-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope encourages the bishops of Korea and the Catholic community of Mongolia, a "pledge of the fullness of God's Kingdom"
    - Every penitent who approaches the confessional is sacred ground to be cultivated with care and attention
    - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran to visit Cote d'Ivoire
    - The Holy See reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Notice

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope encourages the bishops of Korea and the Catholic community of Mongolia, a "pledge of the fullness of God's Kingdom"
    Vatican City, 12 March 2015 (VIS) - The Pope received the bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea this morning, at the end of their "ad Limina" visit. In the written discourse he prepared for the prelates, extensive extracts of which are published below, the Holy Father refers to his visit to the country last year during which he experienced first hand the goodness of the Korean people who shared their joys and sorrows with him, and affirmed that the trip remains "a lasting encouragement" to him in his ministry to the Universal Church.
    "In the course of my visit, we had the opportunity to reflect on the life of the Church in Korea and, in particular, on our episcopal ministry in the service of the People of God and of society", he writes. "I wish to continue that reflection with you today,by highlighting three aspects of my visit: memory, youth and the mission of confirming our brothers and sisters in the faith. I would like also to share these thoughts with the Churchin Mongolia. Though a small community in a vast territory, it is like the mustard seed which is the pledge of the fullness of God's Kingdom. May these reflections encourage the continuing growth of that seed, and nourish the rich soil of the Mongolian people's faith".
    "For me, one of the most beautiful moments of my visit to Korea was the beatification ofthe martyrs Paul Yun Ji-chung and companions. ... Even before their faith found full expression in the sacramental life of the Church, these first Korean Christians not only fostered their personal relationship with Jesus, but brought him to others, regardless of class or social standing, and dwelt in a community of faith and charity like the first disciples of the Lord. ... Their love of God and neighbour was fulfilled in the ultimate act of freely laying down their lives, thereby watering with their own blood the seedbed of the Church. That first community has left you and all of the Church a beautiful witness of Christian living: 'their integrity in the search for truth, their fidelity to the highest principles of the religion which they chose to embrace, and their testimony of charity and solidarity with all'. Their example is a school which can form us into evermore faithful Christian witnesses by calling us to encounter, to charity and to sacrifice. The lessons which they taught are particularly applicable in our times when, despite the many advancements being made in technology and communication, individuals are increasingly becoming isolated and communities weakened. How important it is, then, that you work together with the priests, religious men and women, and lay leaders of your dioceses, to ensure that parishes, schools and centres of the apostolate are authentic places of encounter: encounter with the Lord who teaches us how to love and who opens our eyes to the dignity of every person, and encounter with one another, especially the poor, the elderly, the forgotten in our midst".
    "My thoughts now turn to your young people who greatly desire to carry forward the legacy of your ancestors. ... Just as the witness of the first Christians calls us to care for one another, so our youth challenge us to hear one another. ... When we speak with young people, they challenge us to share the truth of Jesus Christ clearly and in a way that they can understand. They also test the authenticity of our own faith and fidelity. Though it is Christ we preach and not ourselves, we are called to be an example to the People of God in order to draw people to him. ... As you reflect on the life of your dioceses, as you formulate and revise your pastoral plans, I urge you to keep before you the young whom you serve. See them as partners in 'building a holier, more missionary and humble Church, a Church which loves and worships God by seeking to serve the poor, the lonely, the infirm and the marginalised'. Be close to them. ... This closeness will not only strengthen the institutions and communities of the Church, but will also help you to understand the difficulties they and their families are experiencing in their daily lives in society. In this way, the Gospel will penetrate ever more deeply the life of the Catholic community as well as that of society as a whole".
    "As you prepare to return to your local Churches, as well as encouraging you in your ministry and confirming you in your mission, I ask you, above all, to be servants, just as Christ came to serve, and not to be served. Ours is a life of service, freely given, for each soul entrusted to our care, without exception. ... In this spirit of service, may you be solicitous for one another. By your collaboration and fraternal support, you will strengthen the Church in Korea and Mongolia and become ever more effective in proclaiming Christ.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Every penitent who approaches the confessional is sacred ground to be cultivated with care and attention
    Vatican City, 12 March 2015 (VIS) - "The Sacraments, as we know, are God's demonstration of closeness and tenderness towards humanity; they are the concrete way God created to move be closer to us, to embrace us, without shame for our limits", said Pope Francis this morning as he received in audience in the Paul VI Hall the participants in the annual Course on the Inner Forum organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary. "Without doubt", he continued, "among the Sacraments, it is that of Reconciliation that best shows the merciful face of God. We must never forget, either as penitents or as confessors: there is no sin that God cannot forgive! None! Only what is hidden from divine mercy cannot be forgiven, like those that hide themselves from the sun cannot be illuminated or warmed.
    Following the theme of reconciliation, Francis emphasised three demands. The first is to live the Sacrament as a way of educating in mercy. The Pope described Confession "not as a form of torture but rather as a liberating encounter, full of humanity, through which we can educate in a mercy that does not exclude, but rather includes the just commitment to make amends, as far as possible, for the sin committed". The second is that of "allowing oneself to be educated in what we are celebrating, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation", as "it is possible to learn much from conversion and the repentance of our brothers. They lead us to examine our own consciences". He then outlined the third requirement, that of keeping one's gaze towards heaven and the supernatural. He urged those present to remember that they are all ministers of reconciliation "purely by the grace of God, gratuitously and out of love, or rather, out of mercy. We are ministers of mercy thanks to God's mercy, and we must never lose this view to the supernatural that makes us truly humble, weloming and merciful towards every brother and sister who wishes to confess. ... Every faithful penitent who approaches the confessional is 'sacred ground' to be cultivated with dedication, care and pastoral attention".
    The Pope concluded by encouraging those present to "make the most of this Lenten period for personal conversion and to dedicate yourselves generously to confessions, so that the People of God can be purified as they reach Easter, which represents the final victory of Divine Mercy over all the evil in the world".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran to visit Cote d'Ivoire
    Vatican City, 12 March 2015 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue today announced that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the dicastery, will visit Cote d'Ivoire from 13 to 17 March 2015, accompanied by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary and Msgr. Lucio Sembrano, official.
    The aim of the visit is primarily to participate in the celebrations to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the evangelisation of the Great North in the diocese of Korhogo.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Mar 16 12:53:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 053
    DATE 16-03-2015

    Summary:
    - Fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and the Republic of San Marino
    - To the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina: social pastoral ministry to involve
    the people in reconstruction and growth
    - Angelus: God loves us - the summary of all theology
    - Appeal for an end to the persecution of Christians
    - To the UCIIM: go to the peripheries of schools as witnesses of life and hope - "Follow Me" Association: engage with earthly reality to serve the good of man
    - To be able to confess our sins is a gift from God
    - To the Korean community: be a Church of martyrs
    - Audiences
    - From the Oriental Churches
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and the Republic of San Marino
    Vatican City, 16 March 2015 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience the Captains Regent of the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, Gianfranco Terenzi and Guerrino Zanotti, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, deep satisfaction was expressed regarding the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of San Marino, and the active collaboration in the social field between public institutions and the Church was underlined.
    Finally, mention was made of the fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and the Republic of San Marino at a bilateral level and in the context of the international community.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina: social pastoral ministry to involve the people in reconstruction and growth
    Vatican City, 16 March 2015 (VIS) - The prelates of the Bishops' Conference of
    Bosnia and Herzegovina were received in audience this morning by the Pope, at the end of their "ad Limina" visit. In the written discourse he handed to them at the end of the visit the Holy Father, who will shortly visit Sarajevo, emphasised "the charity, the care and the closeness of the Church of Rome" with
    "the heirs of many martyrs and confessors, who during the troubled centuries-long history of the country have kept the faith alive".
    "Migration is justly one of the social issues close to your heart", he writes.
    "It evokes the difficulty of return for many of your co-citizens, the scarcity of sources of work, the instability of families, the emotional and social laceration of entire communities, the practical precariousness of many parishes,
    and the still fresh memories of conflict, both at a personal and community level, in which wounded hearts are still painful. I am well aware that, in your
    hearts as Pastors, this gives rise to bitterness and concern. The Pope and the Church are with you in prayer and in active support for your programmes to assist those who live in your territories, without any form of discrimination. therefore encourage you to spare no energies in supporting the weak, helping - in all ways possible - those who have a legitimate and honest desire to remain in the land of their birth, bring succour to the spiritual hunger of those who believe in the indelible values, born of the Gospel, that throughout the centuries have nurtured the life of your communities".
    "The society in which you live has a multicultural and multi-ethnic dimension.
    And you have been entrusted the task of being fathers to all, in spite of material limits and the crisis within which you work. May your heart always be large enough to accommodate all, just as the heart of Christ is able to receive
    in itself - with divine love - every human being. Every Christian community knows that it is called upon to open itself up and to irradiate the light of the
    Gospel; it cannot stay closed within its traditions, noble though they may be. It must come out of its 'enclosure', firm in faith, supported by prayer and encouraged by pastors, to live and announce the new life of which it is a depository, that of Christ, Saviour of all men. From this perspective, I encourage the initiatives that can extend the presence of the Church beyond liturgical parameters, assuming with imagination every other action that may affect society, bringing with it the fresh spirit of the Gospel. ... Seek to promote a solid social pastoral ministry in relation to the faithful, especially
    the young, to ensure that consciences are formed, willing to remain in their own
    territories as agents and key actors in the reconstruction and the growth of your country, from which they cannot expect only to receive. In this educational
    and pastoral work, the social doctrine of the Church is of valid assistance. It
    is also a way of overcoming the residue of old materialism that still persists in the mentality and behaviour of some sectors of the society in which you live".
    The Pope remarks that the ministry of the prelates of Bosnia and Herzegovina assumes various dimensions - pastoral, ecumenical and interreligious - and underlines the intense work that they carry out in these sectors, an expression
    of their paternity towards the people entrusted to them. "I encourage you and remind you that, while with respect for all, this does not absolve you of the need to give open and frank testimony of your belonging to Christ. The priests,
    men and women religious and lay faithful, who live in close contact with citizens of different religious traditions, are able to offer you valid advice regarding your mixed communities. I consider an approach of this type to be wise
    as it may bear the seeds and fruits of pacification, understanding and collaboration".
    With reference to the relationship between clergy and men and women religious,
    Francis comments, "I know through direct experience the complexity of these relations, as well as the difficulties in harmonising their respective charisms.
    But the most important fact is that in both dimensions ... a single mission is pursued: to serve the Kingdom of Christ. ... In this year dedicated to Consecrated
    Life, we must show that all charisms and ministries are destined to the glory of
    God and the salvation of all men, taking care to ensure that these are effectively orientated towards the edification of the Kingdom of God and not contaminated by partial aims; that they are carried out in a regime of human and
    fraternal communion, bearing each other's burdens with a spirit of service".
    The Pontiff concludes with "a personal word between bishops, as is appropriate
    in full charity". "I am aware that historical events make Bosnia and Herzegovina
    different in many areas. And yet you are a single body: you are Catholic bishops
    in communion with the Successor of Peter, in a frontier location. One word alone
    emerges spontaneously from my heart: you are in communion. Although at times imperfect, such communion is to be pursued vigorously at all levels, setting individual peculiarities aside. It is necessary to act on the basis of your belonging to the same Apostolic College; other considerations are of secondary importance and are to be analysed in the light of the catholicity of your faith
    and your ministry".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: God loves us - the summary of all theology
    Vatican City, 15 March 2015 (VIS) At midday the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to recite the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and, as usual, commented on day's Gospel reading, which this Sunday was Jesus' words to Nicodemus: "For God so loved the world, that he gave
    his only begotten Son". "God loves us!" exclaimed the Pope. "He loves us truly,
    and he loves us so much! This is the simplest expression that summarises the whole of the Gospel, all faith, all theology: God loves, us, with freely given and boundless love".
    "At the origin of the world there is only the Father's free and gratuitous love", affirmed Pope Francis, cited the words of St. Irenaeus who, in his work "Adversus haereses", wrote: "In the beginning God formed Adam, not because He was in need of humans, but so He might have someone to receive His benefits". And after the fall, He did not abandon man to the power of death, but instead rescued him with His mercy. "As in creation", explained Francis, "also the subsequent stages in the history of salvation emphasise the gratuity of God's love: the Lord chooses His people not because they were deserving, but because it was the smallest among all the peoples. And, in the fullness of time, although men have broken the covenant many times, instead of abandoning them God
    makes a new bond with them, in the blood of Jesus - the bond of the new and everlasting covenant - a bond that nothing can ever break".
    The Cross of Christ is "the supreme proof of God's love for us: Jesus has loved
    us 'unto the end', meaning not up to the final moment of his earthly life, but until the extreme limit of love. If in creation the Father has given us the proof of his great love by giving us life, in the passion of His Son He has given us the proof of all proofs: He has come to suffer and die for us. And this
    love that is so great is God's mercy, because He loves us, He forgives us. With
    his mercy, God forgives all and God always forgives".
    "May Mary, Mother of Mercy, place in our hearts the certainty that we are loved
    by God. May She be close to us in the moments of difficulty and give us the sentiments of Her Son, so that our Lenten itinerary may be an experience of forgiveness, of welcome and of charity".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Appeal for an end to the persecution of Christians
    Vatican City, 15 March 2015 (VIS) - "It is with great sorrow that I have learned of the terrorist attacks on two churches in the city of Lahore, Pakistan
    today, which have caused many deaths and casualties. They are Christian churches. Christians are persecuted. Our brothers shed blood solely because they
    are Christians. While I assure my prayers for the victims and for their families, I ask the Lord, I implore the Lord, the source of all good, to grant the gift of peace and harmony to the country. May this persecution of Christians, that the world seeks to conceal, come to an end, and may there be peace", said the Holy Father following today's Angelus prayer.
    Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to the population of Vanuatu, in the
    Pacific Ocean, devastated by a cyclone. "I pray for the deceased, for the injured, and for those who have lost their homes", he said, "and I give thanks to those who have taken rapid action to bring aid and assistance.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the UCIIM: go to the peripheries of schools as witnesses of life and hope
    Vatican City, 16 March 2015 (VIS) - "Teaching is a beautiful job, as it allows
    you to see the growth day by day of the people entrusted to your care. It is a little like being parents, at least spiritually. It is a great responsibility",
    said the Pope this morning to the members of the Catholic Union of Teachers (UCIIM), whom he received in audience in the Paul VI Hall. He added, "Teaching is a serious commitment, that only a mature and balanced person can undertake. commitment of this type may inculcate apprehension, but remember that no teacher
    is ever alone; his or her work is shared with other colleagues and with all the
    educational community to which they belong".
    "As Jesus taught us, all the Law and the Prophets can be summarised in two commandments: love the Lord God and love your neighbour. We can ask ourselves: who is a teacher's neighbour? The neighbours are your students! It is with them
    that a teacher passes the day. They seek guidance, orientation, an answer - and
    first of all, good questions!", he continued. "Among the tasks of the UCIIM is that of enlightening and promoting the correct idea of school, often obscured by
    discussions and reductive positions. The school is certainly make up of valid and qualified instruction, but also of human relations, that from our side are relationships of welcome and benevolence, due to all indiscriminately. Indeed,

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sun Mar 22 23:14:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 056
    DATE 20-03-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope on the importance of the "hidden Christians" of Japan
    - Pope Francis: the death penalty is inadmissible
    - Press release from the Dean of the College of Cardinals
    - Pope's telegram for terrorist attack in Tunisia
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope on the importance of the "hidden Christians" of Japan
    Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS) - "Though the Catholic community is small, your local Churches are esteemed by Japanese society for your many contributions, born of your Christian identity, which serve people regardless of
    religion. I commend your many efforts in the fields of education, healthcare, service to the elderly, infirm, and handicapped, and your charitable works which
    have been especially important in response to the tragic devastation wrought by
    the earthquake and tsunami four years ago. So too I express deep appreciation for your initiatives in favour of peace, especially your efforts to keep before
    the world the immense suffering experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War seventy years ago. In all of these works, you not only meet the needs of the community, but you also create opportunities for dialogue between the Church and society".
    The Holy Father thus addressed the prelates of the Catholic Bishops' Conference
    of Japan at the end of their "ad Limina" visit, who this month celebrate the "discovery" fifty years ago of the "hidden Christians" of Japan, a central theme
    of the written discourse the Pope handed to them this morning.
    He writes, "The Church in Japan has experienced abundant blessings but has equally known suffering. From those joys and sorrows, your ancestors in the faith have bequeathed to you a living heritage that adorns the Church today and
    encourages her journey toward the future. This heritage is rooted in the missionaries who first reached your shores and proclaimed the Word of God, Jesus
    Christ. We think especially of Saint Francis Xavier. ... For many of these missionaries, as well as for some of the first members of the Japanese Catholic
    community, their witness to Christ led to the shedding of their blood. ... We recall especially Saint Paul Miki and companions whose steadfast faith in the midst of persecution became an encouragement for the small Christian community to persevere in every trial".
    Another aspect of this rich patrimony is the discovery of the "hidden Christians" - those who conserved the Christian faith after all the lay missionaries and priests had been expelled from the country. "The embers of faith which the Holy Spirit ignited through the preaching of these evangelisers
    and sustained by the witness of the martyrs were kept safe, through the care of
    the lay faithful who maintained the Catholic community's life of prayer and catechesis in the midst of great danger and persecution".
    "These two pillars of Catholic history in Japan, missionary activity and the 'hidden Christians',continue to support the life of the Church today, and offer
    a guide to living the faith. In every age and land, the Church remains a missionary Church, seeking to evangelise and make disciples of all nations, while continually enriching the faith of the community of believers and instilling in them the responsibility to nurture this faith in the home and society".
    The work of evangelisation, however, "is not the sole responsibility of those who leave their homes and go to distant lands to preach the Gospel. In fact, by
    our baptism, we are all called to be evangelisers and to witness to the Good News of Jesus wherever we are. We are called to go forth, to be an evangelising
    community, even if that simply means opening the front door of our homes and stepping out into our own neighbourhoods. ... If our missionary efforts are to bear fruit, the example of the 'hidden Christians' has much to teach us. Though
    small in number and daily facing persecution, these believers were able to preserve the faith by being attentive to their personal relationship with Jesus,
    a relationship built on a solid prayer life and a sincere commitment to the welfare of the community. ... The 'hidden Christians' of Japan remind us that the
    work of fostering the life of the Church and of evangelising require the full and active participation of the lay faithful. Their mission is twofold: to engage in the life of the parish and local Church, and to permeate the social order with their Christian witness".
    Through the witness of faith of the Japanese faithful, "the Church expresses her genuine catholicity and shows the abeauty of her varied face'", the Pope concludes, citing his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium". "So often, when
    we find this witness lacking, it is not because the faithful do not want to be missionary disciples, but rather because they think themselves incapable of the
    task. I encourage you as Pastors to instil in them a deep appreciation of their
    calling and to offer them concrete expressions of support and guidance so that they may answer this call with generosity and courage".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis: the death penalty is inadmissible
    Vatican City, 20 March 2015 (VIS)- This morning the Holy Father received in audience a delegation from the International Commission against the Death Penalty. Below we offer extensive extracts from the letter the Pope gave to Federico Mayor, president of the Commission, to greet and offer his personal thanks to all the members of the aforementioned International Commission, the group of countries that lend their support, and all those who collaborate in its
    work.
    "I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some reflections on what the Church contributes to the humanistic efforts of the Commission. The Church's Magisterium, based on the Sacred Scripture and the thousand-year experience of the People of God, defends life from conception to natural end, and supports full human dignity inasmuch as it represents the image of God. Human life is sacred as, from its beginning, from the first instant of conception, it is the fruit of God's creating action".
    "States kill when they apply the death penalty, when they send their people to
    war or when they carry out extrajudicial or summary executions. They can also kill by omission, when they fail to guarantee to their people access to the bare
    essentials for life. ... On some occasions it is necessary to repel an ongoing assault proportionately to avoid damage caused by the aggressor, and the need to
    neutralise him could lead to his elimination; this is a case of legitimate defence. However, the presuppositions of personal legitimate defence do not apply at the social level, without risk of misinterpretation. When the death penalty is applied, it is not for a current act of aggression, but rather for an
    act committed in the past. It is also applied to persons whose current ability to cause harm is not current, as it has been neutralised - they are already deprived of their liberty".
    "Nowadays the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of
    the human person, which contradicts God's plan for man and society, and his merciful justice, and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective. It
    does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance".
    "For the rule of law, the death penalty represents a failure, as it obliges the
    state to kill in the name of justice. ... Justice can never be wrought by killing
    a human being. ... With the application of the death penalty, the convict is denied the possibility of to repent or make amends for the harm caused; the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Mar 27 09:14:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXV - # 62
    DATE 27-03-2015

    Summary:
    - Pope Expresses Solidarity with Families in Iraq and Nigeria
    - Pope to Receive President of Italy and to Visit Prato and Florence
    - Pope Meets 150 Homeless who Visited Sistine Chapel Yesterday
    - Respect for Refugee Children: Legal Identity, Education
    - Freedoms of Religion and Expression: Adopting an Ethics of Responsibility

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Expresses Solidarity with Families in Iraq and Nigeria
    Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) ? Pope Francis has a constant concern for the
    situation of Christian families and other groups of victims who have been expelled from their homes and villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and the Nineveh plains, many of whom have taken refuge in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Pope prays for them and hopes they can return and resume their lives in the lands and places where they have lived and built good relationships for hundreds of years.
    In this coming Holy Week, these families are sharing together with Christ the unjust violence of which they have been made victims, participating in the suffering of Christ himself.
    In a desire to be close to these families, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of
    the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is returning to Iraq as a sign of nearness, affection, andunity in prayer with them.
    The families of the Diocese of Rome, united with their bishop in the feeling of
    nearness and solidarity with these families, through a special collection in the
    parishes, are sending the traditional Easter cakes in the shape of a dove (colomba cake) to share the joy of Easter and as a herald of good based on the faith in the Resurrection of Christ.
    The Holy Father, moreover, makes himself present in a concrete way with a tangible sign of solidarity. Not wanting to forget the suffering of the families
    in northern Nigeria either, he has also sent a similar sign of solidarity through the local Bishops? Conference.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope to Receive President of Italy and to Visit Prato and Florence
    Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) ? On 18 April, Pope Francis will receive President of Italy Sergio Mattarella for the first time in an official visit to
    the Vatican. President Mattarella was elected 3 February of this year. The visit
    has been confirmed by the Holy See Press Office as well as the pastoral visits that the Holy Father will make to the Italian cities of Prato and Florence on 10
    November on the occasion of the 5th National Ecclesial Congress of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) that will be held from 9-13 November. The Congress?s
    theme is ?A New Humanism through Jesus Christ?.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Meets 150 Homeless who Visited Sistine Chapel Yesterday
    Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) ? Yesterday afternoon, shortly after 5:00pm, Pope Francis went to the Sistine Chapel to greet the 150 homeless persons who had been invited to visit the Vatican Museums through an initiative of the Office of Papal Charities. After shaking hands with those he met, he addressed the group saying: ?Welcome. This is the house of all; this is your house. The doors are always open to all.?
    Later, he thanked Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Papal Almoner, for having organized the visit, which he called a ?small kindness? for the guests. The Pope
    added: ?Pray for me. I need the prayers of people like you. May the Lord protect
    you, accompany you on your life?s path, and make you feel the Father?s tender love.? He then greeted each person present and chatted with them for about 20 minutes.
    As we reported yesterday, afterthe visit, the guests were invited to dinner at the Vatican Museums restaurant and they left Vatican City through the Sant?Uffizio Gate.
    At the Pope?s request, there was no official video or photo report of the event.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Respect for Refugee Children: Legal Identity, Education
    Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) ? Respect for children, victims of war, was the subject of Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva Archbishop Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi?s,
    speech given at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council held 17 March of this year.
    ?The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,? the archbishop stated, ?recently reported that, since the start of the crisis, ?more than 10 million Syrians have fled their homes. This amounts to
    almost half of the country?s population, now deprived of their basic rights? ? variety of sources have provided evidence on how children suffer the brutal consequences of a persistent status of war in their country. Children are recruited, trained, and used in active combat roles, at times even as human shields inmilitary attacks. The so-called Islamic State (ISIL) group has worsened the situation by training and using children as suicide bombers; killing children who belong to different religious and ethnic communities; selling children as slaves in markets; executing large numbers of boys; and committing other atrocities.?
    ?In camps throughout the Middle East, children constitute approximately half of
    the refugee population and they are the most vulnerable demographic group in times of conflict and displacement. ? Beyond the specific conditions faced by internally displaced children and those in the refugee camps of the region and beyond the enormous tragedies affecting them, it seems important to envision their future, by focusing on three particular areas of concern.?
    ?First,? he asserted, ?the world must deal with the situation of millions of stateless children, who as such according to the law, were never born. The United Nationsestimates that approximately 30,000 of these children can be found
    in Lebanon alone. Moreover, due to the Middle Eastern conflicts and massive uprooting of families, several thousand unregistered children are scattered in camps and other asylum countries. ? Stateless children cross international borders alone and find themselves completely abandoned. ? While all face grave difficulties, those fleeing Syria face challenges that are even more dramatic: child below eleven years of age and without documents has no access even to the
    most basic services. These children obviously cannot go to school and they are likely to be adopted illegally, recruited in an armed group, abused, exploited,
    or forced into prostitution. Every child has the right to be registered at birth
    and thus to be recognized as a person before the law. The implementation of this
    right opens the way for access to the enjoyment of other rights and benefits that affect the future of these children. Simplifying mechanisms and requirements for registration, waving fees, and advocating for refugee inclusive
    registration legislation, represent steps to solve the plight of stateless children.?
    ?Second, another key component that shapes the future of uprooted children is education. Both in Syria and in refugee camps in the region, provision of education has become extremely problematic. Some 5,000 schools have been destroyed in Syria where more than one million and half students no longer receive an education and where attacks against school buildings continue. ? The
    international community as a whole seems to have misjudged the extent of the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Mar 30 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 063
    DATE 30-03-2015

    Summary:
    - Palm Sunday: God humbles Himself for His people
    - Angelus: the Pope entrusts the victims of the Alps air crash to Our Lady
    - St. Teresa, a "remarkable woman": 500th anniversary of the birth of the founder of Carmel
    - Pope's telegram for the death of the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East
    - Francis prays for flood victims in Chile and Peru
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Palm Sunday: God humbles Himself for His people
    Vatican City, 30 March 2015 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square the Holy
    Father presided at the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. At the centre of the square, near the obelisk, the Pope blessed the palm and olive branches and, at the end of the procession, he celebrated the Holy Mass for the Passion of the Lord. Young people from Rome and
    other dioceses took part in the celebration, on the occasion of the thirtieth World Youth Day, on the theme "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see
    God".
    The following is the full text of the homily pronounced by Pope Francis following the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord according to Mark:
    "At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: 'He humbled himself'. Jesus'
    humiliation. These words show us God's way and, consequently, that which must be
    the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!
    "Humility is above all God's way: God humbles himself to walk with his people,
    to put up with their infidelity. This is clear when we read the the story of the
    Exodus. How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought
    them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.
    "This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus' own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be 'holy' for us too. We
    will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up. We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver. We will see the Lord arrested and carried
    off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted. We will hear Peter, the 'rock' among the disciples, deny him three times. We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged
    on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified. We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns. And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of
    God. This is God's way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no
    other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.
    "Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the 'form of a slave'.
    In the end, humility also means service. It means making room for God by stripping oneself, 'emptying oneself', as Scripture says. This - the pouring out
    of oneself - is the greatest humiliation of all.
    "There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ. It is worldliness, the way of the world. The world proposes the way of vanity, pride,
    success, the other way. The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his
    forty days in the desert. But Jesus immediately rejected it. With him, and only
    by his grace, with his help, we too can overcome this temptation to vanity, to worldliness, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well. In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and concealment, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person, the homeless.
    "We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price. We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time - and there are many. They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow him on his way. In truth, we can speak of a %cloud of witnesses' - the martyrs of our own time.
    "During this week, let us set about with determination along this same path of
    humility, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour. Love will guide us and give us strength. For where he is, we too shall be".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: the Pope entrusts the victims of the Alps air crash to Our Lady
    Vatican City, 29 March 2015 (VIS) - Following the Eucharistic celebration, the
    Holy Father prayed the Angelus and greeted all those present, especially the young, whom he exhorted to continue on their path both within the dioceses and in their pilgrimage across continents, leading next year to Krakow, Poland, the
    homeland of St. John Paul II, who initiated the World Youth Days.
    "The theme of this great meeting: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy', harmonises with the Holy Year of Mercy", he said. "Let yourselves
    be filled with the tenderness of the Father, to radiate it around you. And now we turn in prayer to Mary, our Mother, so that she might help us to live Holy Week with faith. She too was present when Jesus entered Jerusalem, acclaimed by
    the crowd; but her heart, like that of her Son, was ready for sacrifice. Let us
    learn from Her, faithful Virgin, to follow the Lord even when His path leads to
    the Cross. I entrust to her intercession the victims of last Tuesday's aviation
    tragedy, among whom there was also a group of German students".

    ___________________________________________________________

    St. Teresa, a "remarkable woman": 500th anniversary of the birth of the founder
    of Carmel
    Vatican City, 28 March 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis has written a letter to Fr. Saverio Cannistra, prepositor general of the Order of Descalced Brothers of the
    Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, to commemorate the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus and and to participate in the giving of thanks for
    the charism of this "remarkable woman".
    "I consider it a providential grace that this anniversary coincides with the year dedicated to consecrated life, in which the Saint of Avila shines as a sure
    guide and attractive model of total commitment to God. ... How much we continue to
    benefit from the witness of her consecration, born directly of her encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer, as a continual dialogue with God, and her
    community life, rooted in the maternity of the Church!"
    "St. Teresa was above all a teacher of prayer. The discovery of Christ's humanity was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a lively and simple way, accessible to all, as consisting simply in 'a relationship of friendship ... with
    Whom we know loves us'. The prayer of Teresa was not a prayer reserved solely to
    a space or time of day; it arose spontaneously on the most diverse occasions. ...
    She was convinced of the value of continual, if not always perfect, prayer. ... To
    renew consecrated life today, Teresa has left us a great heritage full of concrete suggestions, ways and methods of praying that, far from closing us in

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Apr 14 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 070
    DATE 14-04-2015

    Summary:
    - Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation: Pope's Message for the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations
    - Holy Father's calendar for April to June 2015
    - Programme of the Pope's visit to Sarajevo
    - Presentation of the Holy See Pavilion at EXPO 2015
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation: Pope's Message for the 52nd World
    Day of Prayer for Vocations
    Vatican City, 14 April 2015 (VIS) "Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation" is the title of the Holy Father's Message for the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be held on 26 April, the fourth Sunday of Easter.
    In the text, the Pope explains that at the root of every Christian vocation there is an exodus that starts from the renouncement of the comfort and inflexibility of the self in in order to go forth trustfully, like Abraham, towards the "new land" that God indicates to us. This dynamic is relevant not only to a personal calling, but also to the missionary and evangelical action of
    all the Church, truly faithful to her Master, "to the extent that she is a Church which 'goes forth', a Church which is less concerned about herself, her structures and successes, and more about her ability to go out and meet God's children wherever they are, to feel compassion (com-passio) for their hurt and pain". It is a dynamic towards God and towards man that fills life with joy and
    meaning, as Francis says to the young, urging them not to let uncertainties obstruct their dreams, and not to be afraid to go forth.
    The following is the full text of the Message:
    "Dear brothers and sisters,
    The Fourth Sunday of Easter offers us the figure of the Good Shepherd who knows
    his sheep: he calls them, he feeds them and he guides them. For over fifty years
    the universal Church has celebrated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In this way she reminds us of our need to pray, as Jesus himself told
    his disciples, so that 'the Lord of the harvest may send out labourers into his
    harvest'. Jesus' command came in the context of his sending out missionaries. He
    called not only the twelve Apostles, but another seventy-two disciples whom he then sent out, two by two, for the mission. Since the Church 'is by her very nature missionary', the Christian vocation is necessarily born of the experience
    of mission. Hearing and following the voice of Christ the Good Shepherd, means letting ourselves be attracted and guided by him, in consecration to him; it means allowing the Holy Spirit to draw us into this missionary dynamism, awakening within us the desire, the joy and the courage to offer our own lives in the service of the Kingdom of God.
    To offer one's life in mission is possible only if we are able to leave ourselves behind. On this 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I would like reflect on that particular 'exodus' which is the heart of vocation, or better yet, of our response to the vocation God gives us. When we hear the word 'exodus', we immediately think of the origins of the amazing love story between
    God and his people, a history which passes through the dramatic period of slavery in Egypt, the calling of Moses, the experience of liberation and the journey toward the Promised Land. The Book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible, which recounts these events is a parable of the entire history of salvation, but also of the inner workings of Christian faith. Passing from the slavery of the old Adam to new life in Christ is a event of redemption which takes place through faith. This passover is a genuine 'exodus'; it is the journey of each Christian soul and the entire Church, the decisive turning of our lives towards the Father.
    At the root of every Christian vocation we find this basic movement, which is part of the experience of faith. Belief means transcending ourselves, leaving behind our comfort and the inflexibility of our ego in order to centre our life
    in Jesus Christ. It means leaving, like Abraham, our native place and going forward with trust, knowing that God will show us the way to a new land. This 'going forward' is not to be viewed as a sign of contempt for one's life, one's
    feelings, one's own humanity. On the contrary, those who set out to follow Christ find life in abundance by putting themselves completely at the service of
    God and his kingdom. Jesus says: 'Everyone who has left home or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life'. All of this is profoundly rooted in love. The Christian vocation is first and foremost a call to love, a love which attracts us and draws us out of ourselves, 'decentring' us and triggering "an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its
    liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God'.
    The exodus experience is paradigmatic of the Christian life, particularly in the case of those who have embraced a vocation of special dedication to the Gospel. This calls for a constantly renewed attitude of conversion and transformation, an incessant moving forward, a passage from death to life like that celebrated in every liturgy, an experience of passover. From the call of Abraham to that of Moses, from Israel's pilgrim journey through the desert to the conversion preached by the prophets, up to the missionary journey of Jesus which culminates in his death and resurrection, vocation is always a work of God. He leads us beyond our initial situation, frees us from every enslavement,
    breaks down our habits and our indifference, and brings us to the joy of communion with him and with our brothers and sisters. Responding to God's call,
    then, means allowing him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind, and to strike out on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness.
    This exodus process does not regard individuals alone, but the missionary and evangelising activity of the whole Church. The Church is faithful to her Master
    to the extent that she is a Church which 'goes forth', a Church which is less concerned about herself, her structures and successes, and more about her ability to go out and meet God's children wherever they are, to feel compassion
    (com-passio) for their hurt and pain. God goes forth from himself in a Trinitarian dynamic of love: he hears the cry of his people and he intervenes to
    set them free. The Church is called to follow this way of being and acting. She
    is meant to be a Church which evangelises, goes out to encounter humanity, proclaims the liberating word of the Gospel, heals people's spiritual and physical wounds with the grace of God, and offers relief to the poor and the suffering.
    Dear brothers and sisters, this liberating exodus towards Christ and our brothers and sisters also represents the way for us to fully understand our common humanity and to foster the historical development of individuals and societies. To hear and answer the Lord's call is not a private and completely personal matter fraught with momentary emotion. Rather, it is a specific, real and total commitment which embraces the whole of our existence and sets it at the service of the growth of God's Kingdom on earth. The Christian vocation, rooted in the contemplation of the Father's heart, thus inspires us to solidarity in bringing liberation to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest. A disciple of Jesus has a heart open to his unlimited horizons, and friendship with the Lord never means flight from this life or from the world. On
    the contrary, it involves a profound interplay between communion and mission.
    This exodus towards God and others fills our lives with joy and meaning. I wish
    to state this clearly to the young, whose youth and openness to the future makes
    them open-hearted and generous. At times uncertainty, worries about the future and the problems they daily encounter can risk paralysing their youthful enthusiasm and shattering their dreams, to the point where they can think that it is not worth the effort to get involved, that the God of the Christian faith
    is somehow a limit on their freedom. Dear young friends, never be afraid to go out from yourselves and begin the journey! The Gospel is the message which brings freedom to our lives; it transforms them and makes them all the more beautiful. How wonderful it is to be surprised by God's call, to embrace his word, and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, in adoration of the divine mystery
    and in generous service to our neighbours! Your life will become richer and more
    joyful each day!
    The Virgin Mary, model of every vocation, did not fear to utter her 'fiat' in response to the Lord's call. She is at our side and she guides us. With the generous courage born of faith, Mary sang of the joy of leaving herself behind and entrusting to God the plans she had for her life. Let us turn to her, so that we may be completely open to what God has planned for each one of us, so that we can grow in the desire to go out with tender concern towards others. May

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Apr 16 09:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 072
    DATE 16-04-2015

    Summary:
    - May the Church in Kenya be an instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace
    - The Pope to travel to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July
    - Press Release on the Implementation of the C.D.F. Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012
    - Presentation of the Annuarium Pontificium
    - Cardinal Montenegro to take possession of his titular church
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    May the Church in Kenya be an instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace
    Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) - This morning the prelates of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops were received in audience by Pope Francis at the
    end of their "ad Limina" visit. In the written discourse he handed to them, the
    Holy Father writes that for many of them this visit to Rome will recall the time
    spent in the Italian capital during their preparation for ordination to the priesthood. "The many seminarians studying in this city, like the numerous seminarians in your own country, are an eloquent sign of God's goodness to the universal Church and to your dioceses".
    "While the seeds of a priestly vocation are sown long before a man arrives at the seminary, first in the heart of the family", he notes, "it pertains to seminary formators to nurture the growth of these vocations. For this reason, it
    is imperative that seminarians' goodwill and earnest desires be met with a formation that is humanly sound, spiritually deep, intellectually rich, and pastorally diverse. I am aware of the challenges which this entails, and I encourage you to strengthen your efforts, individually within your Dioceses and
    collectively in your Episcopal Conference, so that the good work which the Lord
    is accomplishing in your candidates for priestly Orders will be brought to completion".
    "In this Year of Consecrated Life, my heart is also close to the men and women
    religious who have renounced the world for the sake of the kingdom thus bringing
    many blessings to the Church and society in Kenya. ... The united and selfless efforts of many Catholics in Kenya are a beautiful witness and example for the country. In so many ways, the Church is called to offer hope to the broader culture, a hope based on her unstinting witness to the newness of life promised
    by Christ in the Gospel. In this regard, without wishing to interfere in temporal affairs, the Church must insist, especially to those who are in positions of leadership and power, on those moral principles which promote the common good and the building up of society as a whole. In the fulfilment of her
    apostolic mission, the Church must take a prophetic stand in defence of the poor
    and against all corruption and abuse of power. She must do so, in the first place, by example. ... In a particular way, I wish to offer a word of appreciation
    to the many humble and dedicated workers in Church-run institutions throughout your country, whose daily activities bring spiritual and material benefit to countless people. The Church has contributed, and continues to contribute, to all of Kenya through a diverse array of schools, institutes, universities, clinics, hospitals, homes for the sick and dying, orphanages and social agencies".
    Pope Francis goes on to emphasise that "the Church in Kenya must always be true
    to her mission as an instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace. In fidelity to the entire patrimony of the faith and moral teaching of the Church,
    may you strengthen your commitment to working with Christian and non-Christian leaders alike, in promoting peace and justice in your country through dialogue,
    fraternity and friendship. In this way you will be able to offer a more unified
    and courageous denunciation of all violence, especially that committed in the name of God. This will bring deeper reassurance and solace to all your fellow citizens". He affirms, "With you, I pray for all those who have been killed by acts of terror or ethnic or tribal hostilities in Kenya as well as other areas of the continent. I think most especially of the men and women killed at Garissa
    University College on Good Friday. May their souls rest in peace and their loved
    ones be consoled, and may those who commit such brutality come to their senses and seek mercy".
    The Pope encourages the prelates in their pastoral care for the family, and declares his conviction that as the Church prepares for the Ordinary Synod dedicated to the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation "you will continue to assist and strengthen all those families who are struggling because of broken marriages, infidelity, addiction or violence", and asks them to "intensify the Church's ministry to youth, forming them to be disciples capable of making permanent and life-giving commitments - whether to a spouse in marriage, or to the Lord in the priesthood or religious life".
    Finally, he prays with them the the forthcoming Jubilee of Mercy may be "a time
    of great forgiveness, healing, conversion, and grace for the entire Church in Kenya" and that, "touched by Christ's infinite mercy, may all the faithful be signs of the reconciliation, justice and peace that God wills for your country,
    and indeed, all of Africa".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope to travel to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July
    Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) - The director of the Holy See Press Office,
    Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today declared that Pope Francis, accepting the invitation offered by the respective Heads of State and bishops of these countries, will make an apostolic trip to Ecuador, from 6 to 8 July, Bolivia from 8 to 10 July, and Paraguay, from 10 to 12 of the same month. The programme
    for the trip will be published shortly.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Press Release on the Implementation of the C.D.F. Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012
    Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) - Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (C.D.F.), Archbishop Peter Sartain and officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (L.C.W.R.) met April 16. Archbishop Sartain and L.C.W.R. officers presented a joint report (attached) on the implementation of the C.D.F. Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012. The
    joint report outlines the manner in which the implementation of the Mandate has
    been accomplished. The Congregation accepted the joint report, marking the conclusion of the Doctrinal Assessment of L.C.W.R. Present for the April 16 meeting were His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Muller, Archbishop Peter Sartain, Sr.
    Carol Zinn, S.S.J., Sr. Marcia Allen, C.S.J., Sr. Joan Marie Steadman, C.S.C., and Sr. Janet Mock, C.S.J., and other officials of CDF.
    During the meeting, Archbishop Sartain and L.C.W.R. officers outlined the process undertaken by the Bishop Delegates and L.C.W.R. over the past three years, noting the spirit of cooperation among participants throughout the sensitive process. Cardinal Muller offered his thoughts on the Doctrinal Assessment as well as the Mandate and its completion. He expressed gratitude to
    those present for their willing participation in this important and delicate work and extended thanks to others who had participated, especially Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, and the past officers and executive
    directors of L.C.W.R.
    Following the meeting, Cardinal Muller said: "At the conclusion of this process, the Congregation is confident that L.C.W.R. has made clear its mission
    to support its member Institutes by fostering a vision of religious life that is
    centred on the person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the tradition of the Church. It is this vision that makes religious women and men radical witnesses to the Gospel, and, therefore, is essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church".
    Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM,President of L.C.W.R., was unable to be present for the
    meeting but commented, "We are pleased at the completion of the Mandate, which involved long and challenging exchanges of our understandings of and perspectives on critical matters of Religious Life and its practice. Through these exchanges, conducted always in a spirit of prayer and mutual respect, we were brought to deeper understandings of one another's experiences, roles, responsibilities, and hopes for the Church and the people it serves. We learned

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Apr 30 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 081
    DATE 30-04-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope receives the president of the Republic of the Seychelles
    - To the Anglican-Catholic Commission: the cause of unity is not an optional undertaking
    - To the Community of Christian Life: reach out to the neediest frontiers of humanity
    - Telegram for the death of Cardinal Giovanni Canestri: a wise pastor, attentive
    to the needs of others
    - Pope Francis' prayer intentions for May
    - Presentation of the concert for Papal works of charity
    - New commission for Vatican communications
    - The international community must not resign itself to the tragedy of Christians in the Middle East
    - Audiences
    - Notice

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope receives the president of the Republic of the Seychelles
    Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of the Seychelles, James Alix Michel, who subsequently met with Cardinal secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good relations existing between the Holy See and the Republic of the Seychelles. Mention was made of the Catholic Church's contribution to the service of society, especially in the fields of welfare and education, and themes of common
    interest were considered, such as the dignity and full development of the human
    person and the protection of the environment.
    Finally, there was an exchange of opinions on the socio-political situation in
    the country and in the region.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the Anglican-Catholic Commission: the cause of unity is not an optional undertaking
    Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis received in audience twenty members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission,
    meeting in these days in order to study the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church, with particular reference to processes for discussions and decision making regarding moral and ethical questions. The Commission was created as a result of the historic meeting in 1966 between Pope
    Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Arthur Michael Ramsey, who signed a joint declaration to establish dialogue based on the Gospel and the common tradition in the hope of leading to the unity in truth for which Christ prayed.
    Although that goal has not yet been reached, the Commission's visit to the Pope
    shows how "the shared tradition of faith and history between Anglicans and Catholics can inspire and sustain our efforts to overcome the obstacles to full
    communion". Furthermore, the commission will shortly publish five jointly agreed
    statements from the second phase of the Anglican-Catholic dialogue, a reminder that ecumenical relations and dialogue are not secondary elements of the life of
    the Churches. "The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable", said the Holy Father.
    "There is a strong bond that already unites us which goes beyond all divisions", underlined Francis. "It is the testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions, victims of persecution and violence simply because of the faith they profess. And not only now, that there are many of them; I think also of the martyrs of Uganda, half Catholics and half Anglicans.
    The blood of these martyrs will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment, a fervent desire to fulfil the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one. The witness by these our brothers and sisters demands that we live in harmony with the Gospel and that we strive with determination to fulfil the Lord's will for his Church. Today the world urgently needs the common, joyful witness of Christians, from the defence of life and human dignity to the promotion of justice and peace. Together let us invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to respond courageously to the 'signs of the times' which are calling all Christians to unity and common witness".

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the Community of Christian Life: reach out to the neediest frontiers of humanity
    Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis received in audience the Community of Christian Life (CVX) and the Student Missionary League, for the inauguration of the National Conference of the two Italian groups, exponents of Ignatian spirituality, to be held in Frascati, Italy, from
    today until 3 May, on the theme "Beyond Walls". The Holy Father handed them a written discourse in which he indicates various priorities to be taken into account on their spiritual and community path.
    First, he mentions the challenge of promoting a culture of justice and peace. "Faced with a culture of illegality, corruption and confrontation, you are called to devote yourselves to the common good, also through service to those linked to politics. If Christians dissociate themselves from direct involvement
    in politics, it would be a betrayal of the mission of the lay faithful, who are
    called upon to be salt and light in the world, also through this form of presence".
    He focuses on family pastoral ministry, following the last Synod of Bishops, as
    a second apostolic priority, and encouraged them to help diocesan communities in
    their care for families, the vital cell of society, an in accompanying couples as they prepare for marriage. He also emphasises the importance of working with
    those who have "drifted away" from the Church: among them there are many separated couples, "who suffer as a result of the failure of their plans for married life", and also other difficult family situations.
    Finally, he turns his attention to missionary life, and encourages them to maintain their capacity to "go out towards the frontiers of humanity at its neediest". The Pope mentions the members of communities present in Syria, Lebanon and plans for the reception of immigrants in Sicily, and reminds them that, "in this luminous and fruitful apostolic style, you too can be active in inspiring the various educational institutions in Italy, Catholic and state-managed, as in other parts of the world".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Telegram for the death of Cardinal Giovanni Canestri: a wise pastor, attentive
    to the needs of others
    Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to Cardinal Agostino Vallini, his vicar for the diocese of Rome, for
    the death at the age of 97 of Cardinal Giovanni Canestri, who was archbishop of
    Genoa, Italy from 1987 to 1995. Originally from the diocese of Alessandria, the
    late cardinal belonged to the clergy of Rome.
    "The passing of the venerated cardinal elicits in my heart profound emotion and
    sincere admiration for an esteemed man of the Church who lived with humility and
    devotion his long and fruitful priesthood and episcopate in the service of the Gospel and of the souls entrusted to him. I recall with gratitude his fervent ministry, first as a deputy priest during the difficult war years in the outskirts of Rome, areas affected by suffering and poverty; then as a parish priest in two populous suburbs, intent on educating the young in particular in the joy of faith. Upon being appointed as auxiliary bishop of Rome, he devoted himself with apostolic intensity to the spiritual and material needs of the people, while participating diligently in the work of Vatican Council II. In his
    episcopal ministry in Tortona, then as vicegerent and subsequently archbishop of
    Cagliari, and finally Genoa-Bobbio, he demonstrated pastoral wisdom and generous
    attention to the needs of others, reaching out to all with goodness and gentleness. I raise fervent prayers that the Lord receive the late cardinal in eternal joy and peace, and I bestow upon you and those who share in sorrow the comfort of my apostolic blessing, with a special thought for the Apostolic Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who lovingly cared for him especially in these last years of his infirmity".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis' prayer intentions for May
    Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for May is: "That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care
    for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor".
    His intention for evangelisation is: "That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularised cultures be open to proclaiming Jesus".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Presentation of the concert for Papal works of charity
    Vatican City, 30 April 2015 (VIS) - This morning a press conference was held in
    the Holy See Press Office to present the concert organised to support the Pope's
    charitable work, which will take place on 14 May, solemnity of the Ascension, at
    6 p.m. in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The concert, to be conducted by Maestro Daniel Oren and performed by the Philarmonic Orchestra of Salerno, Italy and the
    choir of the diocese of Rome led by Msgr. Marco Frisina, is sponsored by the Papal Almoner, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and the St. Matthew Foundation, in memory of Cardinal Van-Thuan, and unites culture with charitable concerns. For the occasion, the donations gathered will be entirely devolved to the office of the
    Apostolic Almoner, the dicastery responsible for the Pope's charity.
    The protagonists of the event are the most needy, the poor and sick, who will occupy the front rows and have been invited through charitable and voluntary associations: the Great Priory of Rome and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Circle of St. Peter, diocesan Caritas, the Sant'Egidio Community and
    the Centro Astalli, which assists migrants and refugees, the Daughters of

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue May 5 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 083
    DATE 05-05-2015

    Summary:
    - Presentation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
    - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri: signs of light in the churches of Iraq
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    Presentation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
    Vatican City, 5 May 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and Msgr. Graham Bell presented the Extraordinary
    Jubilee of Mercy (8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016).
    The archbishop began, "The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, which continues be the programmatic outline for the pontificate of Pope Francis, offers a meaningful expression of the very essence of the Extraordinary Jubilee
    announced on April 11: 'Such a community [the Church] has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father's infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become
    involved'. It is with this desire in mind that we should re-read the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee, Misericordiae vultus, in which Pope Francis details the aims of the Holy Year. As you know, the two dates already marked out are December 8,the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - the day of the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica - and November 20, 2016, the Solemnity
    of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which will conclude the Holy Year. Between these two dates a calendar of various events is being developed.
    "In order to avoid any misunderstanding, it is important to reiterate that this
    Jubilee of Mercy is not and does not intend to be the Great Jubilee Year of 2000. Therefore, any comparisons lack validity, for every Holy Year possesses its own unique nature and aims. It is the Pope's desire that this Jubilee be celebrated in Rome as well as in the local Churches; this will give due focus to
    the life of individual Churches and their needs, in such a way that the initiatives will not place an extra burden on local Churches, but will blend into their calendars and usual activities very naturally. Also, for the first time in the history of the Jubilee tradition, there will be an opportunity for individual dioceses to open a Holy Door - the Door of Mercy - either in the Cathedral or in a church of special significance or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages. Similarly, it is easy to cull other characteristics
    from the Bull of Indiction that will make this Jubilee unique. From the very beginning, however, the call to mercy breaks with the traditional pattern. The history of Jubilees has been marked by their occurrence every 50 or 25 years. The two Extraordinary Jubilees fell on anniversaries of Christ's redemptive act
    (1933, 1983). This Jubilee, however, is based upon a theme. It will build upon the central content of the faith and intends to call the Church once again to its missionary priority of being a sign and witness in every aspect of its pastoral life. I also have in mind Pope Francis' appeal to Judaism and Islam as
    loci in which to contextualise the theme of mercy in order to foster dialogue and a way of overcoming difficulties in the public realm. We must also not forget another original characteristic of this Jubilee, namely, the designation
    of Missionaries of Mercy. Pope Francis will give them their mandate on Ash Wednesday during the celebration in St. Peter's Basilica. The Missiona ries must be patient priests, possessing an understanding of human frailty but ready
    to express the loving kindness of the Good Shepherd in their preaching and in the Sacrament of Confession. However, I would rather not spend too much time on
    these general questions, because it is important now to explain some of the specifics pertaining to the organisation of the Holy Year.
    "We begin with the logo which represents a summa theologiae of the theme of mercy and the motto which accompanies it. The motto Merciful Like the Father (from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to
    give love and forgiveness without measure. The logo is the work of Father Marko
    I. Rupnik. It is an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon His shoulders the lost soul, demonstrating that it is Christ's
    love that brings to completion the mystery of His incarnation culminating in redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to express the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love that has the power to change one's life. One particular feature worthy of note is that while the Good Shepherd, in His great mercy, takes humanity upon Himself, His eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, his or her own humanity and the future that lies ahead. The scene is enclosed in a mandorla, an element typical of ancient and medieval
    iconography, that recalls the coexistence of the two natures, divine and human,
    in Christ. The three concentric ovals, with colours progressively lighter as we
    move outward, suggest the movement of Christ Who carries humanity out of the darkness of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker colour suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father Who forgives all.
    "The logo has been registered in the international forum in order to safeguard
    its rights and to prevent any inappropriate use. It is obvious that permission must be granted by the Pontifical Council for any non-religious use of the logo
    and that any infringement will be duly prosecuted.
    "The calendar of celebrations is to be read from three perspectives. First, some events are being organised which most likely will involve large crowds of people. We wanted the first event, which will be held from January 19-21, to be
    dedicated to all those involved with the organisation of pilgrimages. It will symbolically emphasise that the Holy Year is a true pilgrimage and should be lived as such. We will ask pilgrims to make a journey on foot, preparing themselves to pass through the Holy Door in a spirit of faith and devotion. It will be essential to prepare those working in the travel industry sector to go beyond the sphere of tourism, because they will be the first to provide assistance to pilgrims.
    "We thought it would be important to gather together believers who live in a particular way the experience of mercy. It is for this reason that, on April 3,
    we will have a celebration for those who in various ways are inspired by a charism of mercy (movements, associations, and religious institutes). On September 4, charitable volunteers will gather from all over the world. A volunteer is a dynamic witness of someone who lives the works of mercy in its various expressions and deserves to be celebrated in this special way. Similarly,for those who are inspired in a particular way by Mary, there will be
    a special day on October 9 to celebrate her as the Mother of Mercy. There will be a number of events dedicated particularly to youth, who upon receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation are called to profess their faith. For those between the ages of 13 and 16, for whom there are few opportunities for involvement within the ordinary pastoral life of the Church, we have reserved the date of April 24, as World Youth Day, which will be held in Krakow from July 26-31, is geared toward youth of an older age bracket.
    "Another event will be for deacons who by their vocation and ministry are called to preside in works of charity in the life of the Christian community. Their Jubilee will be held on May 29.On June 3, which marks the 160th anniversary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, there will be a Jubilee celebration for priests. On September 25 there will be the Jubilee of catechists

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri May 8 08:37:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 086
    DATE 08-05-2015

    Summary:
    - Pope Francis: sport is an educational path
    - Programme of the Pope's apostolic trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay
    - Statutes of the Commission for the Protection of Minors approved
    - Publication of the Chirograph by which Pope Francis instituted the Pontifical
    Commission for the Protection of Minors
    - The Pope meets with a group of evangelical pastors
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis: sport is an educational path
    Vatican City, 8 May 2015 (VIS) - "Sport is an educational path", said the Holy
    Father this morning as he received in audience seven thousand members of the Italian Tennis Federation in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. "There are three fundamental pillars for children and young people", he added: "Education - in school and in the family - sport, and work. When we have all three of these, then there exist the conditions for developing a full and authentic life, thus avoiding those dependencies that poison and ruin existence".
    "The Church is interested in sport because she has man, the full man, at heart,
    and recognises that sporting activity has an impact on the formation of the person, on relationships, and on spirituality. You athletes have a mission to accomplish: to be, for those who admire you, valid role models. And you too, directors, trainers and sports workers, are called upon to give good witness to
    human values, as masters of a sporting practice that is always fair and clear".
    The Pope commented that tennis is a very competitive sport, but "the pressure to achieve significant results must never drive you to take short cuts such as in the case of doping. How ugly and sterile a victory is if it is obtained by cheating and deceiving others".
    "The apostle Paul uses the example of the athlete to illustrate an important characteristic of human existence", said the bishop of Rome. "'Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that
    you may obtain it'. In a certain sense, this is your daily experience in tennis.
    But St. Paul refers to the challenge of giving an ultimate meaning to life itself. I would therefore exhort each one of you to play the game not only in sport - as you already do, and with excellent results - but also in life, in the
    search for goodness, true goodness, without fear, with courage and enthusiasm. Play the game with others and with God, giving the best of yourself, spending your life for what is truly valuable and which stands the test of time. Put your
    talents to the service of the encounter between people, friendship, and inclusion".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Programme of the Pope's apostolic trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay
    Vatican City, 8 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the
    programme of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay (5 to 13 July 2015).
    The Pope will leave Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9 a.m. on Sunday 5 July and will arrive at the Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, at p.m. local time, where the welcome ceremony will be held. On Monday 6 he will proceed to Guayaquil to celebrate Mass in the shrine of Divine Mercy, after which he will lunch at the Colegio Javier with the Jesuit community. Upon return
    to Quito, he will pay a courtesy visit to the Ecuadorian president in the presidential palace and will subsequently visit the Cathedral. In the morning of
    Tuesday 7 July he will meet with the bishops of Ecuador in the Congress Centre of the Bicentenary park, where he will celebrate Mass. In the afternoon he will
    encounter representatives of schools and universities in the Pontifical University of Ecuador, and later, representatives of civil society in the Church
    of San Francisco, after which he will pay a private visit to the "Iglesia de la
    Compania". On Wednesday 8, he will first visit the Rest Home of the Missionaries
    of Charity, and will then meet with clergy, men and women religious and seminarians at the national Marian shrine, El Quinche. On the same day he will depart by air for Bolivia.
    Upon arrival at the airport of El Alto in La Paz, he will give an address and,
    following the welcome ceremony, will transfer to the Government Palace to pay courtesy visit to the president. From there, he will go to the Cathedral of La Paz, where he will meet with the civil authorities, after which he will travel by air to Santa Cruz de la Sierra where he will spend the night. On Thursday 9 he will celebrate Mass in the the square of Cristo Redentor, and will meet with
    men and women religious in the Don Bosco school, after which he will participate
    in the World Meeting of Popular Movements in the Expo trade fair centre. On Friday 10 he will visit the Santa Cruz-Palmasola re-education centre and, in the
    same morning, will meet with the bishops of Bolivia in the parish church of Santa Cruz. The Pope will leave Bolivia from the Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz
    de la Sierra, destined for Paraguay; his aircraft is expected to land at around
    3 p.m. local time in the Silvio Pettirossi airport of Asuncion.
    After arriving in Paraguay, the Pope will pay a courtesy visit to the president
    in the Palacio de Lopez, where he will also meet with the authorities and the diplomatic corps. On Saturday 11 July, he will visit the "Ninos de Acosta Nu" general paediatric hospital and will subsequently officiate at Mass in the square of the Marian sanctuary of Caacupe. In the afternoon he will meet with representatives of civil society in the Leon Condou stadium of the San Jose school. The day will conclude with the celebration of vespers with the bishops,
    priests, deacons, men and women religious, seminarians and Catholic movements in
    the metropolitan cathedral of Our Lady of Asuncion. Sunday 12 will begin with visit to the people of Banado Norte in the Chapel of San Juan Batista, and Mass
    in the Nu Guazu field. The Holy Father will meet the bishops of Paraguay in the
    Cultural Centre of the apostolic nunciature, where they will then dine. His last
    engagement will be a meeting with young people at the Costanera riverside area.
    At 7 p.m. local time Francis will depart by air for Rome, where he is expected to arrive on Monday 13 July at around 1.45 p.m.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Statutes of the Commission for the Protection of Minors approved
    Vatican City, 8 May 2015 (VIS) - On 21 April, Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, approved by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, "ad experimentum" for three years, the Statutes of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of
    Minors, the draft of which had been presented by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, president of the aforementioned Commission.
    The Statutes will be published today in the Italian original and in English translation. The document is composed of six articles: Nature and Competence,

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri May 15 08:24:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 090
    DATE 15-05-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis receives the president of Romania on the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations with the Holy See
    - To the bishops of the Central African Republic: justice, truth and honesty in
    institutional transition
    - Coaches, be an example of integrity
    - Canonisation of Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas and Maryam Baouardy: a sign of
    hope for the men and women of the Middle East
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis receives the president of Romania on the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations with the Holy See
    Vatican City, 15 May 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace
    the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, which took place on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and
    Romania on 15 May 1990, the parties focused on bilateral relations characterised
    by fruitful collaboration, as well as the relations between the State authorities and the local Catholic communities, and the healthy co-existence of
    minorities.
    Attention then turned to issues regarding various regions in the world.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the bishops of the Central African Republic: justice, truth and honesty in institutional transition
    Vatican City, 15 May 2015 (VIS) - The role of the Church in the process of national reconciliation, Christian formation and the deepening of faith at all levels, and the defence of the family as the primary locus for learning forgiveness and faith were the central themes of the discourse Pope Francis handed to the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of the Central African Republic this morning, at the end of their "ad Limina" visit. "I would like you
    to convey to all your people the assurance of my closeness", writes the Holy Father. "I know of the suffering that they have experienced and continue to experience, as well as the countless testimonies of faith and fidelity Christians have rendered to the risen Christ on numerous occasions. I am particularly aware of all that your communities have done to for victims of violence and for refugees".
    "Your task is difficult, but it touches the very mystery of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again. It is when evil and death seem to triumph that the hope of
    renewal in Christ emerges. It is when hatred and violence are unleashed that we
    are called upon - and find the strength through the power of the Cross and the grace of Baptism - to respond with forgiveness and love. If, sadly, this has not
    always been the case in the recent events that you have experienced, it is a sign that the Gospel has not yet deeply penetrated the heart of the People of God, to the point of changing their reflexes and their behaviour. Your churches
    are the result of recent evangelisation, and your primary mission is to continue
    the work recently begun. You must not be discouraged by the storm you are passing through, but on the contrary must find, in faith and hope, a source of renewed enthusiasm and dynamism".
    Christian formation and the deepening of faith at all levels must be the bishops' priorities, "so that the Gospel permeates the life of the baptised, for
    the good not only of the Christian communities, but also the whole of Central African society. ... You, brothers in the episcopate, must play an indispensable
    prophetic role during the current institutional transition, recalling and reflecting the witness of the fundamental values of justice, truth and honesty,
    which are the foundation of any renewal, promoting dialogue and peaceful coexistence between members of different societies and ethnicities, thus encouraging reconciliation and social cohesion, which is the key to the future.
    ... You are called upon to form the conscience of the faithful, and indeed that of
    all the people, as your voice is heard and respected by all. It is in this way that you should take your rightful place in current developments, avoiding direct involvement in political quarrels. However, by forming and encouraging the laity so they are steadfast in their faith and solidly trained in the social
    doctrine of the Church, able to engage in political debate and to take responsibility - their role - you are able to gradually transform society according to the Gospel and to prepare a happy future for your people".
    The Pope also emphasises the formation of seminarians and priests, and thanks them for their witness even in the most difficult situations, and he recalls the
    importance of consecrated persons who live close to afflicted populations and whose devotion is praiseworthy.
    Finally, he spoke about families, "who are the first victims of violence and who are too often destabilised or destroyed as a result of the departure of a member, bereavement, poverty, discord and separations. I wish to express to them
    my closeness and my affection. ... Families are not only the privileged location
    for the announcement of faith, the practice of Christian virtues and the cradle
    of many priestly and religious vocations, but they are also 'the best setting for learning and applying the culture of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation',
    which your country needs. It is essential that the family be protected and defended 'so that it may offer society the service expected of it, that of providing men and women capable of building a social fabric of peace and harmony'. I can therefore only encourage you to accord to the pastoral care of marriage the attention that it deserves, and not to be discouraged by resistance
    due to cultural traditions, human weakness or the new forms of ideological colonisation that are spreading everywhere".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Coaches, be an example of integrity
    Vatican City, 15 May 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, for the international study seminar on the theme "Coaches: Educating People", organised
    by the dicastery's Church and Sport section.
    "We all, in life, need educators: mature, wise and balanced people who help us
    to grow in the family, in study, in work, in faith", writes the Holy Father. "The presence of a good coach-educator is shown to be providential especially during the years of adolescence and early youth, when the personality is developing and in search of role models to refer to and identify with. ...In this delicate phase of life, a coach bears a great responsibility: he often has
    the privilege of spending many hours each week with the young and of having a great influence on them in terms of their behaviour and personality. ... How important it is, then, that a coach be an example of integrity, coherence, good
    judgement, impartiality, and also joy, patience, and the capacity for appreciation and benevolence towards all, and especially the most disadvantaged!".
    "And how important it is for him to offer an example of faith!", he adds. "Faith always helps us to raise our gaze towards God, and not to treat any of our activities as absolute, including sport ... as well as to maintain the just
    distance and wisdom to put into perspective both our defeats and our victories.
    Faith gives us this outlook of goodness towards others which helps us overcome the temptation of excessive rivalry and aggression, which enables us to understand the dignity of each person, including those who are less gifted or privileged. The coach, in this respect, may make a very valuable contribution to
    creating a climate of solidarity and inclusion in relation to marginalised young
    people or those at risk socially, finding suitable ways and methods to involve them in sport and in the experience of socialisation. A coach with human and spiritual balance will also know how to preserve the authentic values of sport

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon May 18 07:49:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 091
    DATE 18-05-2015

    Summary:
    - Meeting of the Holy Father with the Heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia
    - Pray for persecuted Christians, says Francis to the women religious in Rome for the canonisation of the Palestinian saints
    - The Pope canonises four new saints
    - Regina Coeli: appeal for prayers for Burundi
    - Francis receives the president of Palestine: the importance of interreligious
    dialogue and the fight against terrorism
    - "Never fail to listen to those who knock at your door", say the Pope to men and women religious in Rome
    - The Pontifical Council for the Family presents the initiative "The Great Mystery: the Gospel of the family, school of humanity for our times"
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Meeting of the Holy Father with the Heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia
    Vatican City, 18 May 2015 (VIS) - This morning at 9 a.m., in the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father met with the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pray for persecuted Christians, says Francis to the women religious in Rome for
    the canonisation of the Palestinian saints
    Vatican City, 18 May 2015 (VIS) - "I am giving you a mission: pray to the two new saints for peace in your land, so that there may be an end to this interminable war, and to bring peace among peoples", said Pope Francis this morning as he received in audience the Carmelite Sisters of Bethlehem and the Middle East and the Sisters of the Rosary, in Rome to attend the canonisation of
    Mary of Jesus Crucified and Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas.
    "Pray too for Christians who are persecuted, driven away from their homes and their land, and victims of 'white-gloved' persecution, hidden but present: white-gloved persecution and terrorism. Keep praying for peace".
    The Holy Father, who greeted the women religious during an interval in his meeting with the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, invited them all to pray a Hail Mary, each in her own language.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope canonises four new saints
    Vatican City, 17 May 2015 (VIS) - "Each one of Christ's followers is called to
    become a witness to His resurrection, above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident", said the Pope in the homily he pronounced during the Mass for the canonisation of four new saints: Jeanne-Emilie de Villeneuve (1811-1854), French nun and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres; Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception (nee Maria Cristina Brando, 1856-1906), Italian nun and founder of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament; Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (nee Maryam Sultanah, 1843-1927), Palestinian co-founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem; and Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy 1846-1878) Palestinian nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. The solemn ceremony, which took place in a packed St. Peter's Square, was attended by more than two thousand Christians from the Middle East, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, and an Israeli delegation whom the Pope greeted at the end of the celebration.
    In his homily, the Holy Father, citing the Acts of the Apostles, recalls that their mission of announcing Jesus, of whose resurrection they were eyewitnesses,
    was a community rather than an individual undertaking. Thanks to the witness of
    the Twelve, many people came to believe; from faith in the risen Lord, Christian
    communities were born and are born continually. "We too, today, base our faith in the risen Lord on the witness of the Apostles, which has come down to us through the mission of the Church", he said. "Our faith is firmly linked to their testimony, as to an unbroken chain which spans the centuries, made up not
    only by the successors of the Apostles, but also by succeeding generations of Christians. Like the Apostles, each one of Christ's followers is called to become a witness to His resurrection, above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident".
    For this to happen, "we need to abide in the risen Christ and in His love, ...
    like Sister Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve, who consecrated her life to God and to
    the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and the exploited, becoming for them and for
    all a concrete sign of the Lord's merciful love". This same love conquered another of the new saints, Sister Maria Cristina Brando, who "from prayer and her intimate encounter with the risen Jesus present in the Eucharist received strength to endure suffering and to give herself, as bread which is broken, to many people who had wandered far from God and yet hungered for authentic love".
    Another essential aspect of witness to the risen Lord is unity among His disciples, in the image of His own unity with the Father. "From this eternal love between the Father and the Son, poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, our mission and our fraternal communion draw strength; this love is the
    ever-flowing source of our joy in following the Lord along the path of His poverty, His virginity and His obedience; and this same love calls us to cultivate contemplative prayer". This was the love that Sister Mariam Baouardy experienced: "poor and uneducated, she was able to counsel others and provide theological explanations with extreme clarity, the fruit of her constant dialogue with the Holy Spirit. Her docility to the Holy Spirit also made her a means of encounter and fellowship with the Muslim world". So too, Sister Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas "came to understand clearly what it means to radiate the love of God in the apostolate, and to be a witness to meekness and unity. She shows us the importance of becoming responsible for one another, of living lives of service one to another".
    The "luminous example" of the four new saints, who abide in God and in His love, inspires us, in our lives as Christians, "to proclaim by our words and our
    lives the resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all", concluded Pope Francis.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Regina Coeli: appeal for prayers for Burundi
    Vatican City, 17 May 2015 (VIS) - Following the Mass for canonisation and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope greeted all those present in St. Peter's Square to pay homage to the four new saints, and in particular the official delegations from Palestine, France, Italy, Israel and Jordan. "May their intercession renew the missionary impulse in their countries of origin. Inspired by their example of mercy, charity and reconciliation, may the Christians of these lands look with hope to the future, continuing their path of
    solidarity and fraternal co-existence".
    He also addressed the faithful of the Czech Republic, gathered today in the shrine of Svaty Kopecek to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of St. John Paul II's visit. He also noted that yesterday in Venice, Italy, the priest Luigi
    Carburlotto was proclaimed blessed. Founder of the Daughters of St. Joseph, this
    "exemplary pastor ... led an intense spiritual and apostolic life, entirely dedicated to the good of souls".
    He concluded by inviting those present "to pray for the dear people of Burundi,
    who are experiencing a delicate moment. May the Lord help all to flee from violence and to act responsibly for the good of the country".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis receives the president of Palestine: the importance of interreligious dialogue and the fight against terrorism
    Vatican City, 16 May 2015 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States. President Abbas will attend tomorrow's canonisation of the two Palestinian nuns, for which he thanked the Holy Father.
    During the cordial discussions, great satisfaction was expressed for the accord
    reached on the text of a comprehensive Agreement between the Parties on various
    essential aspects of the life and the activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, to be signed in the near future.
    Attention then turned to the peace process with Israel, and the hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the Parties be resumed in order to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict. To this end the wish was reiterated that, with the support of the international Community, Israelis and Palestinians may take with determination courageous decisions to promote peace.
    Finally, with reference to the conflicts that afflict the Middle East, and in

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed May 20 08:24:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 093
    DATE 20-05-2015

    Summary:
    - Education, the natural vocation of the family
    - The Pope joins the Catholics of China in prayer and recalls Christians persecuted for their faith
    - Cardinal Parolin: when the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers and walls that can protect us from environmental and social degradation
    - The Holy See at the 68th Assembly of the World Health Organisation
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Education, the natural vocation of the family
    Vatican City, 20 May 2015 (VIS) - The education of children as the natural vocation of the family was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square.
    The Holy Father, first citing the words of St. Paul to the Colossians: "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers,
    do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged", emphasised the duty
    of parents to accompany their children step by step, without demanding the impossible, so as not to overwhelm them. He then went on to speak of the difficulties faced by mothers and fathers who often only have the opportunity to
    see their children in the evening when they return home tired after work - "those who are lucky enough to have work", he added - and also referred to the even more critical situation faced by separated parents, inviting them to ensure
    that the conflicts between the couple do not have an impact on the children.
    Francis also mentioned that the family has been accused of other things, including authoritarianism, favouritism, conformism, and emotional repression that generates conflicts. "In fact, a fracture has opened up between family and
    society, undermining mutual trust, and in this way, the alliance between family
    and society in the education of children has entered into a crisis".
    "There are many symptoms", he continued. "For example, in schools this has affected relationships between parents and teachers. ... On the other hand, there
    has been a proliferation of so-called 'experts' who occupy the role of parents even in the most intimate aspects of education ... and parents are expected only
    to listen, to learn and to adapt. Deprived of their role, they often become excessively apprehensive and possessive with regard to their children, to the point of never correcting them. They tend to increasingly entrust them to 'experts', even in relation to the most delicate and personal aspects of their life, placing themselves in the corner. In this way, parents run the risk of excluding themselves from the life of their children". "How have we arrived at this point? Without doubt in the past parents, or rather, certain educational models, had certain limits. But it is also true that there are mistakes that only parents are authorised to make, as they are able to compensate for them in
    a way that is impossible for any other person. On the other hand, as we well know, life now spares us little time for speaking, reflection and exchange. Many
    parents are 'kidnapped' by their work and other worries, and they find themselves paralysed by the fear of making mistakes. The problem, however, is not only about talking. ... Let us ask ourselves instead: do we seek to understand
    'where' our children truly are on their path? Where is their soul? ... And above
    all, do we want to know?".
    Francis underlined that the Christian communities are called upon to offer support to the educational mission of the family. "At the base of everything there is love, that which God gives to us, that "is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things". Even in the best of
    families, there is much to be endured, and it takes a lot of patience. Jesus Himself experienced education in the family". "Even in this case, the grace of Christ's love fulfils what is inscribed in human nature. How many excellent examples we have of Christian parents full of human wisdom! They show that good
    family education is the backbone of humanism. Its spread through society is the
    resource that allows us to compensate for the shortcomings, the wounds, the lack
    of paternity and maternity that affect the least fortunate children, and works true miracles".
    "I hope that the Lord may give Christian families the faith, freedom and courage necessary for their missions. If family education rediscovers the pride
    of its central role, many things will change for the better, for uncertain parents and disappointed children. It is time for fathers and mothers to return
    from their exile, and to fully resume their role as educators", concluded Francis.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope joins the Catholics of China in prayer and recalls Christians persecuted for their faith
    Vatican City, 20 May 2015 (VIS) - Following today's catechesis, the Pope remarked that on 24 May Catholics in China pray with devotion to Our Lady Help of Christians, venerated in the Sheshan shrine in Shanghai. "In the statue above
    the Shrine, Mary holds her Son aloft, presenting Him to the world with His arms
    open in a gesture of love and mercy. We too ask Mary to help Catholics in China
    always to be credible witnesses of this merciful love among their people and to
    live spiritually united with the rock of Peter upon which the Church is built".
    The Holy Father also mentioned the initiative of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which has proposed that the dioceses, on the occasion of the Eve of
    Pentecost, remember the many brothers and sisters exiled or killed for the mere
    fact of being Christians. "They are martyrs. I hope that this moment of prayer may help spread the knowledge that religious freedom is an inalienable human right and raise awareness of the tragedy of Christians persecuted in our time, and bring an end to this unacceptable crime".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Cardinal Parolin: when the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers and walls that can protect us from environmental and social degradation
    Vatican City, 20 May 2015 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a message to the participants in the conference "The New Climate Economy: how economic growth and sustainability can go hand in hand", held today
    in the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" the World Resource Institute, the New
    Climate Economy and the embassy of the Netherlands to the Holy See.
    The conference takes place in the context of two key steps in the preparatory process adopted by the United Nations: the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda and the 21st conference on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris next December, to adopt a new agreement to face the adverse effects of climate change. "Both of them represent
    the serious ethical and moral responsibility that each of us has towards the whole human family, especially the poor and future generations", observed the cardinal.
    "When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers,

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Jun 1 09:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 101
    DATE 01-06-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope continues his visits to the Roman Curia
    - Angelus: the Trinity is the final objective of our earthly pilgrimage
    - Programme of the Holy Father's visit to Turin
    - What science, for what life?
    - Francis receives the passengers of the "Children's Train"
    - The Pope receives a group of sick children: "You are life's heroes"
    - Fr. Lombardi issues clarification on Cardinal George Pell
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope continues his visits to the Roman Curia
    Vatican City, 1 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father visited the dicasteries of the Roman Curia located in Piazza Pio XII, no. 10.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: the Trinity is the final objective of our earthly pilgrimage
    Vatican City, 31 May 2015 (VIS) - During the Holy Trinity Sunday Angelus, Pope
    Francis explained to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that "the Trinity is ... the mystery of the love of the living God. ... Jesus revealed this
    mystery to us. And when, resurrected, he sent the disciples to evangelise the people, he told them to baptise them 'in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'".
    "Therefore, today's liturgical solemnity, while it makes us contemplate the wonderful mystery from which we come and to which we are going, also makes us renew our mission to live in communion with God and to live in communion with each other, based on the model of divine communion. We are required to live not
    without others, or above and against others, but with others, for others, and in
    others. This means welcoming and bearing witness to the beauty of the Gospel together. ... In a word" added Francis, "we have been entrusted the task of building up the ecclesial community so that it is increasingly a family, able to
    reflect the splendour of the Trinity and to evangelise not only through words, but also with the strength of God's love that abides in us".
    The Trinity is also "the final objective of our earthly pilgrimage. ... Therefore, we seek to maintain the 'high tone' of our life, recalling the reason
    and the glory for which we exist, work, struggle and suffer; and the immense reward to which we are called". The mystery of the Trinity "embraces all of our
    life and all our Christian being. We remember it, for example, every time we make the sign of the Cross: in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", said the Holy Father, inviting the thousands of faithful present in St. Peter's Square to make the sign of the Cross with him.
    Then, on the final day of the month of May, he commended all those present to the Virgin Mary. "May She, who more than any other creature ... knew the mystery
    of the Most Holy Trinity, take us by the hand and guide us. ... Let us also ask
    Her to help the Church, so that she might be a mystery of communion, a hospitable community where every person, especially the poor and marginalised, may find welcome and feel like a daughter of God, wanted and loved".
    After the Marian prayer, the Pope mentioned that today in Bayonne, France, the
    priest Louis-Edouard Cestac, co-founder of the Servants of Mary, was declared blessed. "His witness of love for God and neighbour inspires the Church to live
    the Gospel of charity with joy".
    Finally, he invited all those who meet in Rome on 4 June, festivity of Corpus Christi, to attend the Mass to be celebrated in the Basilica of St. John Lateran
    and to participate in the procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, "a solemn public act of faith and love for Jesus-Eucharist, present in the midst of
    His people".
    "Before coming to an end, let us once more make the sign of the Cross, saying aloud, as one, 'In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit'",
    recalling the mystery of the Holy Trinity", he concluded.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Programme of the Holy Father's visit to Turin
    Vatican City, 1 June 2015 (VIS) - The programme of the Holy Father's pastoral visit to Turin, Italy on 21 and 22 June, on the occasion of the extraordinary exposition of the Turin Shroud, was published today.
    The Pope will leave by air from Rome's Ciampino airport at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday
    21 June, arriving in Turin's Caselle airport an hour later. Upon arrival, he will be greeted by the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, Sergio Chiamparino,
    president of the Piedmont region, Paola Basilone, prefect of Turin, and Piero Fassino, mayor of the city. He will transfer by car to Piazzetta Reale, where he
    will address representatives of the world of work.
    At 9.15 a.m. the Holy Father will then enter the Cathedral on foot, where he will pray before the Holy Shroud and visit the altar of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, in the presence of the cloistered nuns and priests residing in clergy
    houses in the diocese, the Chapter of canons, the Commission for the Holy Shroud, relatives of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop emeritus of Turin, and the bishops of the episcopal conference of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta.
    He will then transfer to Piazza Vittorio where he will concelebrate Holy Mass,
    pronounce a homily and pray the Angelus. Following the celebration he will proceed to the archbishop's residence by car, where he will lunch with detainees
    from the "Ferrante Aporti" detention centre for minors, some immigrants and a Rom family. This will be followed by a visit to the Shrine of the Consolata where he will pray privately with the priests of the community.
    At 3 p.m. he will meet with the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the basilica of the same name. He will then travel by car to the church of Cottolengo, where he will address the sick and disabled faithful. At 5.30 p.m. he will return to Piazza Vittorio to meet with young people, and will
    retire to the archbishop's residence where he will spend the night.
    On Monday 22 at 9 a.m. Francis will visit the Waldensian Temple where he will be received by the pastors and the president of the consistory of the Evangelical Waldensian Church, and will give an address. At 10.15 he will attend
    a strictly private meeting with some members of his family (the Pope's family originates from the Italian region of Piedmont) in the archbishop's residence, for whom he will celebrate Mass, and with whom he will lunch.
    Before leaving the archbishop's residence, the Pope will meet the members of the Committee for the Exposition of the Shroud and the organisers of the event.
    At 5 p.m. He will leave for Caselle airport, and will be greeted on the way by the young people of "Estate Ragazzi". Half an hour later he will depart by air for Rome, where he is expected to arrive at 6.30 p.m.

    ___________________________________________________________

    What science, for what life?
    Vatican City, 30 May 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Sala Clementina Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the conference "What science for what life?", which concluded yesterday in Rome.
    "Your service in favour of the human person is important and encouraging", remarked the Holy Father. "Indeed, protection of life represents a fundamental task, especially in a society afflicted by the negative throwaway logic. ... To
    protect the person, you place two essential actions at the centre: reaching out
    to encounter, and encountering to support".
    "Christ's love drives us to become servants of the youngest and the elderly, of
    every man and woman, for whom the primordial right to life must be recognised and protected", he continued. "The existence of the human person, to whom you dedicate your care, is also your constitutive principle; it is life in its unfathomable depth that is at the origin of and accompanies all scientific progress; it is the miracle of life that always challenges any form of scientific presumption, restoring primacy to wonder and beauty. ... We reassert

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Jun 5 08:48:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 104
    DATE 05-06-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope receives the president of Chile: further intensify existing good relations
    - To the Dehonians: be present in the new areopagus of evangelisation
    - Pontifical Missionary Societies: opening up to geographic and human boundaries
    - Condolences for victims of explosion in a service station in Accra, Ghana
    - Solemnity of Corpus Christi: the Eucharist is not a reward for the good
    - Pope Francis' new encyclical to be published on 18 June
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Notice

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope receives the president of Chile: further intensify existing good relations
    Vatican City, 5 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace
    Pope Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for
    Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, mention was made of the existing good bilateral
    relations between the Parties, in the hope that they may be further strengthened
    within the framework of the provisions of international law. Issues of common interest such as the protection of human life, education and social peace were then addressed. In this context, emphasis was placed on the role and the positive contribution of Catholic institutions in Chilean society, especially in
    relation to human promotion, education and assistance to those most in need.
    This was followed by an overview of the situation in Latin America, with particular reference to various challenges affecting the continent.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the Dehonians: be present in the new areopagus of evangelisation
    Vatican City, 5 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Consistory Hall the Pope
    received in audience 120 participants in the General Chapter of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians), based on the theme "Merciful, in community, with the poor". Francis took the opportunity to express his best wishes to the new Superior General, Fr. Heiner Wilmer, and to greet all the Dehonians who work "often in difficult conditions in various parts of the world".
    "Religious life is indicated as a fully evangelical life, in which the beatitudes are fully realised", remarked the Pope. "Therefore, as consecrated persons, you are required to be merciful. This means, first and foremost, living
    in profound communion with God in prayer, in meditation on the Sacred Scripture,
    in the celebration of the Eucharist, so that all our life may be a path of growth in God's mercy. To the extent to which we make ourselves aware of the freely-given love of the Lord and welcome it in ourselves, our tenderness, understanding and goodness towards the people around us will also grow".
    Religious life is also "the cohabitation of believers who feel they are loved by God and who seek to love Him. ... In the experience of God's mercy and His love
    you will also find the point of the harmonisation of your communities. This necessitates the commitment to increasingly savour the mercy that your brethren
    show to you and to offer them the wealth of your mercy", said the bishop of Rome
    to the Dehonians, recalling in this regard the example of their founder, Fr. Leon Dehon (1843-1925).
    "Mercy is the word that summarises the Gospel; we might say that it is the 'face' of Christ, that face that He showed when he went towards everyone, when he healed the sick, when he shared a table with the sinners, and especially when, nailed to the cross, he forgave: there we find the face of divine mercy. And the Lord calls upon us to be 'channels' of this love firstly towards the least among us, the poorest, who are privileged in His eyes. Let yourselves be continually challenged by the situations of fragility and poverty with which you
    come into contact, and endeavour to offer in the appropriate ways the witness of
    charity that the Spirit infuses in your hearts". The Holy Father concluded, "Mercy will allow you to open up promptly to current needs and to be industriously present in the new areopagus of evangelisation, prioritising - even if this may involve sacrifices - openness towards those situations of extreme need, symptomatic of the maladies of today's society".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pontifical Missionary Societies: opening up to geographic and human boundaries
    Vatican City, 5 June 2015 (VIS) - Missionary activity is the paradigm of all the work of the Church, said Pope Francis to the participants in the general assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Societies (PMS), and reiterated that the announcement of the Gospel is "the first and constant concern of the Church, her
    essential task, her greatest challenge, and the source of her renewal. ... Without
    the restlessness and anxiety of evangelisation it is not possible to develop a credible and effective pastoral ministry uniting proclamation and human promotion".
    Therefore, the members of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the national directors of the PMS have the difficult task of opening up to "the broad and universal horizons of humanity, its geographical and above all human boundaries", accompanying the life of the young Churches throughout the world and encouraging the People of God to fully live the universal mission. "You know the wonders that the Holy Spirit works for humanity through these Churches, often with scarce resources and even through the difficulties and persecutions they suffer for their faith and their witness to the Word of God and in defence of humanity. In those human peripheries the Church is required to
    go into the streets, towards the many brothers and sisters of ours who live without the strength, light and consolation of Jesus Christ, without a community
    of faith to welcome them, without horizons of meaning and of life".
    The Pope emphasised that the PMS, on account of their characteristic charism, are attentive and sensitive to the needs of mission territories and, in particular, the poorest human groups. "They are instruments of communion between
    Churches, promoting and implementing the sharing of people and economic resources. They are committed to supporting seminarians, presbyters and women religious of the young Churches in mission territories in the Pontifical Colleges. Faced with such a beautiful and important task, faith and love of Christ have the capacity to lead us everywhere to announce the Gospel of love, fraternity and justice. This is achieved through prayer, evangelical courage and
    the witness of the beatitudes".
    However, he warned, "be careful not to give in to the temptation to become a non-governmental organisation, an office for the distribution of ordinary and extraordinary aid. Money helps but can also become the ruin of the Mission. Functionalism, when it is placed in the centre or occupies a major space, as if
    it were the most important issue, will lead you to ruin, as the first way to die
    is to take the 'sources' for granted - that is, He Who inspires the Mission. Please, with all your plans and programmes, do not cut Jesus Christ out of missionary work, which is His work. A Church that is reduced to pursuing efficiency of the party apparatus at all costs is already dead, even though the
    structures and programmes in favour of the clergy and 'self-employed' laity could last for centuries".
    "True evangelisation is not possible without the sanctifying energy of the Holy
    Spirit, the only one able to renew, revive and give impetus to the Church in her
    bold outreach to evangelise all peoples", concluded the Pope.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Condolences for victims of explosion in a service station in Accra, Ghana
    Vatican City, 5 June 2015 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sat Jun 6 06:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 105
    DATE 06-06-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope arrives in Sarajevo: heal the wounds of the past and look to the future with hope
    - Mass in Kosevo stadium: "Be artisans of peace"
    - Decrees for the Causes of Saints
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope arrives in Sarajevo: heal the wounds of the past and look to the future with hope
    Vatican City, 6 June 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis arrived shortly after 9 a.m. in
    Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the destination of his eighth apostolic trip. The central theme of the Holy See's concern for Bosnia-Herzegovina - visited twice by St. John Paul II - is peace, and this is perpetuated in the theme chosen for Pope Francis' visit: "Peace be with you".
    The Pontiff, who left Rome at 7.30 a.m., was received at the international airport of Sarajevo by President Dragan Crovic, the Croat member of the tripartite (Serb, Croat and Bosnian) Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, by the president of the Episcopal Conference and cardinal archbishop of Sarajevo, Vinko
    Puljic, and by Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, apostolic nuncio. From their he transferred by car to the presidential palace for the welcome ceremony and courtesy visit to the members of the Presidency: acting president Mladen Ivanic,
    the Croatian member Dragan Covic and the Bosnian member Bakir Izetbegovic.
    Following the courtesy visit, Francis entered the presidential drawing room where he pronounced his first discourse in Sarajevo, before the civil authorities, the diplomatic corps, the bishops and various other religious leaders.
    "I am pleased to be in this city which, although it has suffered so much in the
    bloody conflicts of the past century, has once again become a place of dialogue
    and peaceful coexistence", said the Pope. "Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have a special significance for Europe and for the whole world. Bosnia and Herzegovina has advanced from a culture of conflict and war to a culture of encounter.
    "For centuries in these lands, communities were present who professed different
    religions, who belonged to distinct ethnic and cultural groups, each endowed with its own rich characteristics; each fostered its own traditions, without these differences having impeded for any length of time the establishment of mutually fraternal and cordial relationships", he continued. "The very architecture and layout of Sarajevo reveal visible and substantial characteristics of these different communities, each a short distance from the other - synagogues, churches and mosques - so much so that Sarajevo has been called the 'Jerusalem of Europe'. Indeed it represents a crossroads of cultures,
    nations and religions, a status which requires the building of new bridges, while maintaining and restoring older ones, thus ensuring avenues of communication that are efficient, sure and fraternal.
    "We need to communicate with each other, to discover the gifts of each person,
    to promote that which unites us, and to regard our differences as an opportunity
    to grow in mutual respect", he remarked. "Patience and trust are called for in such dialogue, permitting individuals, families and communities to hand on the values of their own culture and welcome the good which comes from others' experiences. In so doing, even the deep wounds of the recent past will be set aside, so that the future may be looked to with hope, facing the daily problems
    that all communities experience with hearts and minds free of fear and resentment.
    "I have come here as a pilgrim of peace and dialogue, eighteen years after St.
    John Paul II's historic visit, which took place less than two years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord. I am happy to see the progress which has been made, for which we must thank the Lord and so many men and women of good will. However, we should not become complacent with what has been achieved so far, but rather seek to make further efforts towards reinforcing trust and creating opportunities for growth in mutual knowledge and respect. In order to favour this path, the solidarity and collaboration of the International Community is fundamental, in particular that of the European Union and of all Countries and Organisations operating in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina is indeed an integral part of Europe, the successes and tragic experiences of the former are integrated fully into the latter's history of successes and tragedies. They constitute, too, a clear call
    to pursue every avenue of peace, in order that processes already underway can be
    yet more resilient and binding.
    "In this land, peace and harmony among Croats, Serbs and Bosnians, and the initiatives taken to extend these even further, as well as the cordial and fraternal relations among Muslims, Hebrews and Christians, and other religious minorities, take on an importance that goes beyond its boundaries. These initiatives offer a witness to the entire world that such cooperation among varying ethnic groups and religions in view of the common good is possible; that
    a plurality of cultures and traditions can coexist and give rise to original and
    effective solutions to problems; that even the deepest wounds can be healed by purifying memories and firmly anchoring hopes in the future. I saw at my arrival
    this morning in the Muslim, Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic and children of other religions whom I met at the airport - together and joyful! This is a sign of hope! May we stake our future on this.
    "In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every
    difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to
    recognise the fundamental values of human communities, values in the name of which we can and must cooperate, build and dialogue, pardon and grow; this will
    allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of the fanatical cries of hatred.
    "Responsible politicians are called to the important task of being the first servants of their communities, taking actions which safeguard above all the fundamental rights of the human person, among which the right to religious freedom stands out. In this way it will be possible to build, with concrete measures, a more peaceful and just society, working step-by-step together to solve the many problems which people experience daily. In order for this to come
    about, it is vital that all citizens be equal both before the law and its implementation, whatever their ethnic, religious or geographical affiliation. All alike will then feel truly involved in public life. Enjoying the same rights, they will be able to make their specific contribution to the common good.
    "The Catholic Church, by means of the prayer and the works of her faithful and
    her institutions, is taking an part in the process of material and moral reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sharing the country's joys and concerns. The Church is committed to offering her particular solicitude and closeness to the poor and to those most in need, inspired by the teaching and example of her Divine Master, Jesus. The Holy See praises the work carried out in these recent years, and is determined to continue promoting cooperation, dialogue and solidarity, in the sure knowledge that peace and mutual listening in an ordered and civil society are indispensable conditions for authentic and lasting development. Through the contribution of all, and leaving behind completely the dark clouds of storms gone by, the Holy See fervently hopes that
    Bosnia and Herzegovina may continue along the journey embarked upon, so that after the winter chill, springtime may come to blossom. And already we see spring blooming here!" exclaimed the Pope.
    "With these thoughts I implore the Almighty for peace and prosperity in Sarajevo and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina", he concluded.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Mass in Kosevo stadium: "Be artisans of peace"
    Vatican City, 6 June 2015 (VIS) - Following his address to the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pope Francis travelled by car to the Kosevo stadium, where

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Jun 10 07:25:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 108
    DATE 10-06-2015

    Summary:
    - General audience: the family, the closest hospital
    - The tenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals comes to an end
    - The Holy See and the United States sign agreement against tax evasion
    - The Holy See at the 39th Conference of the FAO: sustainable human development
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    General audience: the family, the closest hospital
    Vatican City, 10 June 2015 (VIS) - Illness, a common experience in the life of
    families from childhood until advanced age, was the theme of the Pope's catechesis during this week's Wednesday general audience. "The family has always
    been the 'closest hospital'. And still, today, in many parts of the world, the hospital is a privilege enjoyed by few, and is often far away. Mothers, fathers,
    brothers, sisters and grandparents provide care and help heal the sick".
    In the Gospel there are many encounters between Jesus and the sick, and his commitment to caring for them. Christ "presents himself publicly as one who fights against sickness and who has come to cure man of every ill: ills of the spirit and of the body". The Pope remarked that the scene in the Gospel of Mark
    - "that evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by
    demons" - is "truly moving. ... If I think of today's great cities, I ask myself,
    where are the doors before which we can bring the sick, hoping they will be healed. Jesus never withdrew from their care, He never passed them by, He never
    turned away. And when a father or a mother, or even simply friends brought an invalid before Him, for Him to touch and heal, He wasted no time; healing came before the law, even sacred laws such as rest on the Sabbath".
    Jesus sent His disciples to fulfil the same task and He gave them the power to
    heal. "We must keep in mind what He said to the disciples in the episode of the
    man born blind. The disciples - with the blind man before them - debated about who had sinned, him or his parents, to provoke his blindness. The Lord said clearly: neither him nor his parents; 'but that the works of God might be displayed in him'. And He healed him. Here is the glory of God! Here is the task
    of the Church! To help the sick, not to get lost in talk. To help, console, alleviate, always to be near: this is her task".
    "The Church invites us to continual prayer for our dear ones who are sick, and
    prayer for them must never be lacking. Rather, we must pray more, both personally and as a community. ... Faced with sickness, difficulties can also arise in the family as a result of human weakness. But in general illness strengthens family bonds. And I think of how important it is to educate children, starting from infancy, on the importance of solidarity in times of sickness. An education that shelters them from sensitivity to human sickness hardens the heart and anaesthetises the young to the suffering of others, rendering them incapable of facing up to suffering and living the experience of
    limits".
    "The weakness and suffering of our most loved ones ... can be ... a school of life
    ... and especially when illness is accompanied by prayer and the fraternal, affectionate closeness of families. The Christian community is well aware that the family, during the trials of sickness, must not be left alone. ... This Christian closeness of family to family, is a true treasure for a parish: a treasure of wisdom, that helps families in difficult moments and enables them to
    understand the Kingdom of God more clearly than through words".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The tenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals comes to an end
    Vatican City, 10 June 2015 (VIS) - The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing this morning on the work of the tenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which began on Monday and concluded this morning in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Holy Father attended all the sessions, both morning and afternoon, on Monday and Tuesday; however as usual he
    did not participate in this morning's session due to the Wednesday general audience.
    Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya was unable to attend the meeting.
    The first day was dedicated largely to the examination of the draft Preamble of
    the new Constitution, which will be further elaborated.
    With regard to financial and economic reform, Cardinal Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, presented a report with updated information on the
    financial reforms. He mentioned the appointment of the new Auditor General, the
    approval of the new Statute for Pension Funds and the completion of the list of
    bodies subject to the control and supervision of the Council for the Economy, in
    accordance with its Statutes. He also referred to three new initiatives of the Council for the Economy, constituting three working groups: one for the analysis
    of income and investments; one for human resources management, and a third for the study of the existing IT systems, their compatibility and their efficiency.
    He concluded by reporting on the progress of the various current activities of the Secretariat for the Economy.
    In the afternoon session of 8 June 2015, the Council of Cardinals received a report from Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap. with a proposal for the Holy Father regarding allegations of the abuse of office by a bishop connected to the abuse of minors, originally prepared by the Pontifical Commission for the
    Protection of Minors. Cardinal O'Malley's report also included a proposal regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy.
    For each proposal, the report indicated the general terms which define it, issues relating to procedure and to the competent Tribunal, as well as the advantages of the proposal compared with other possible solutions. The text concludes with a list of five specific proposals made to the Holy Father, which
    are listed below. It is proposed that:
    1. because the competence to receive and investigate complaints of the episcopal abuse of office belongs to the Congregations for Bishops, Evangelisation of Peoples, or Oriental Churches, there is the duty to report all
    complaints to the appropriate Congregation;
    2. the Holy Father mandate the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the
    abuse of minors;
    3. the Holy Father authorise the establishment of a new Judicial Section in the
    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and appointment of stable personnel to undertake service in the Tribunal. The implementation of this decision would
    follow consultation with the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
    4. the Holy Father appoint a secretary to assist the prefect with the Tribunal.
    The secretary will be responsible for the new Judicial Section and the personnel
    of the section will also be available to the prefect for penal processes regarding the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy. This appointment
    will also follow the consultation with the prefect of the Congregation;
    5. the Holy Father establish a five-year period for further development of these proposals and for completing a formal evaluation of their effectiveness;
    The Council of Cardinals agreed unanimously on these proposals and resolved that they be submitted to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who approved the proposals and authorised the provision of sufficient resources for this purpose.
    In the morning of 9 June the Council of Cardinals heard a report given by Msgr.
    Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Centre and president of the Commission for Vatican communications instituted by the Holy Father Francis on 23 April 2015 (made public on 30 April), and expressed its unanimous approval of

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Jun 11 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXV - # 709
    DATE 11-06-2015

    Summary:
    - Pope Receives Canadian Prime Minister: Cooperation and Dialogue between Federal Government and Church
    - Pope to Participants of FAO's 39th Conference: Responding to the Imperative of
    Right of All to Food
    - To Bishops of Latvia and Estonia: Be Near to Migrant Families
    - Pope's Audience with Vladimir Putin: Ukraine and Middle East, Key Points of Meeting
    - National Holy See Day at Milan's Expo 2015
    - ROACO Plenary Assembly to Analyze Situation of Christians in Middle East, Armenia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Holy Land
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Receives Canadian Prime Minister: Cooperation and Dialogue between Federal
    Government and Church
    Vatican City, 11 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning, Pope Francis received in audience the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper, who subsequently met
    with Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
    During the course of the cordial discussions, the good relations existing between the Holy See and Canada were noted, as was the positive spirit of cooperation and dialogue between the Canadian federal government and the Church.
    In particular, Canada?s commitment to defend and promote religious freedom in the context of fundamental human rights were treated.
    Later in the conversation, international political issues were discussed, with reference to Europe and the Middle East and the prospects for peace in that region, as well as the fight against terrorism and environmental issues.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope to Participants of FAO's 39th Conference: Responding to the Imperative of
    Right of All to Food
    Vatican City, 11 June 2015 (VIS) ? The right to food, the problem of waste, the
    impact of the market on hunger, the primacy of agricultural development, water issues, land grabbing, and dependence on external aid were the central themes of
    the address given this morning by Pope Francis to the 450 participants at the 39th Conference of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), whom he received
    in audience in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
    ?Faced with the poverty of many of our brothers and sisters,? said the Pope, ?sometimes I think that the issue of hunger and agricultural development has now
    become one of the many problems in this time of crisis. ? Our tendency to 'defect' when faced with difficult issues is human,? but ?we must respond to the
    imperative of access to necessary food is a rightfor all. Human rights permit no
    exclusions. Certainly, we can take comfort knowing that the number of hungry persons in 1992, 1.2 million, has been reduced even though the world population
    has grown. However, there is little point to noting the numbers or even projecting a series of concrete commitments and recommendations to be implemented in policies and investments if we neglect the obligation to 'eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition in the world'.?
    ?Many are worried about statistics regarding waste: a third of food produced is
    included under this point,? observed the pontiff. ? Reducing waste is essential,
    as is reflection on the non-alimentary use of agricultural products, which go in
    large amounts to animal feed or to produce biofuels. Certainly we must ensure increasingly healthy environmental conditions, but can we keep excluding some?It
    is necessary to raise the awareness of all countries regarding the type of nutritionadopted, and this varies depending on the latitudes. ? But, both in quality and quantity, the situation of uncertainty determined by the weather, by
    increased demand, and price uncertainty weigh down the situation.?
    ?We must also ask ourselves: How much does the market, with its rules, impact world hunger? Of the studies you have made, it has been shown that, since 2008,
    the price of food has changed trends. It doubled, then stabilized, but with higher values than the previous period. Such volatile prices impede the poorest
    from making plans or keeping a minimum nutrition. The causes are many. We are rightly concerned with climate change but we cannot forget financial speculation. An example is the prices of wheat, rice, corn, soy, ? sometimes linked to performance funds and therefore, the higher the price the more the fund earns. Here as well, we must take another path, convincing ourselves that the products of the land have a value that we can all'sacred' because they are the fruit of the daily labor of persons, families, and communities of farmers.?
    ?The purpose of the FAO includes the working of the land, fisheries, livestock,
    forests,? recalled Pope Francis. ?This development must be at the center of economic activity ...this means supporting effective resilience, specifically reinforcing communities' capacities to cope with crises?natural ones or those caused by human action?and paying attention to the different needs. Thus it will
    be possible to pursue a decent standard of living. This commitment includes other critical points. First, it seems difficult to accept the general resignation, disinterest, and even absence of so many, even of states. A times there is the sense that hunger is an unpopular topic, an insoluble problem that
    can't be dealt with in a legislative or presidential term and therefore can't guarantee consensus. The reasons that lead to limiting thecontributions of ideas, technology, expertise, and funding lie in the unwillingness to make binding commitments seeing that we hide behind the question of the world economic crisis and the idea that there is hunger in all countries. ? But then it is forgotten that, if poverty in one country is a social problem that can find solutions, in other contexts it is a social problem and social policies are
    not enough to address it. This attitude may change if we put solidarity at the heart of international relations, transposing the vocabulary of policy options to a policy of the other.?
    The Pope also noted the needs of educating persons regarding a proper nutrition... ?We know that in the West the problem is high consumption and waste. In the South, however, it is necessary to encourage local production to ensure nutrition. In many countries with 'chronic hunger', [local produce] is replaced by foreign food, perhaps initially through assistance. Butemergency aid
    is not enough and does not always reach the right hands. It creates a dependence
    on large producers and, if the country lacks the financial means, then the population winds up not eating and hunger grows.?
    ?Climate change also makes us think of the forced displacement of populations and the many humanitarian tragedies caused by lack of resources, particularly water, which is already a source of conflict that is expected to increase. It isn't enough to assert that there is a right to water without making the effort
    to achieve sustainable consumption of this good and to eliminate any waste. ? Besides water, land use also remains a serious problem. Ever more troubling is the seizure of arable land by transnational companies and states, which not only
    deprives farmers of an essential commodity, it also directly affects countries'
    sovereignty. There are too many areas where the foods produced go to foreign countries and the localpopulation is impoverished twice, since they have neither
    food nor land. ? We know that the world's food production is largely the work of
    family farms. Therefore it is important,? the Pope concluded, ?that the FAO strengthen its partnerships and projects in favor of family businesses, and encourage states to equitably regulate land use and ownership. This may help eliminate the inequalities that are now at the center of international attention.?

    ___________________________________________________________

    To Bishops of Latvia and Estonia: Be Near to Migrant Families
    Vatican City, 11 June 2015 (VIS) ? This morning Pope Francis received in audience prelates of the Episcopal Conferences of Latvia and Estonia at the conclusion of their ad Limina visit. In the speech he addressed to them he reminded them that the Lord has chosen them ?to work in a society that, having been for so long oppressed by regimes based on ideologies that are contrary to human dignity and freedom, is today called to measure itself against other insidious dangers, such as secularism and relativism. While that may make it harder for your pastoral outreach, I urge you continue tirelessly, never losing
    faith, in proclaiming Christ's Gospel, the Word of salvation for persons of every time and culture.?
    ?In this renewed evangelization you are not alone. You have your priests who, although few and of many diverse origins, are there by your side with respect,obedience, and generosity. ? I encourage you to take good care of their
    formation, both in terms of theological and ecclesial preparation as well as in
    terms of human maturity rooted in a solid spirituality and characterized by friendly openness, capable of discerning the reality of the world in which we live. ? For the growth and journey of your communities, the presence of men and
    women in the consecrated life is also extremely valuable. Especially in this Year dedicated to them it is opportune to make them understand that they are not
    only appreciated for the services they render but primarily for the richness of
    their charisms and their witness, for the very fact that they are, [their presence] spreads the perfume of Christ among the people of God in how they follow the Gospel counsels.?
    ?The participation of the lay faithful is also indispensable for the mission of
    evangelization,? Pope Francis emphasized. ?Your nearness and concern will help themcarry out those responsibilities that, according to the teachings of Vatican
    Council II, they are called to undertake in the cultural, social, political, and
    also charitable and catechetical fields. ? The lay faithful are the living path

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Jun 19 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 115
    DATE 19-06-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope to the Syriac-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch: "Yours is a Church of martyrs"
    - To the Catholic Biblical Federation: pastoral effort to ensure the centrality
    of the Word of God in the life of the Church
    - May no-one feel excluded from sport, says the Pope to the athletes of the Special Olympics
    - Christians and Muslims, together to counter violence perpetrated in the name of religion
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope to the Syriac-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch: "Yours is a Church of martyrs"
    Vatican City, 19 June 2015 (VIS) - Following a tradition established in 1971 by
    the Syriac-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, His Holiness Ignatius
    Jacob III and Blessed Paul VI, this morning Pope Francis received in the Vatican
    His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, accompanied by a Syriac-Orthodox delegation, recalling that the historic first meeting was the beginning of a "holy pilgrimage" towards full communion between the two Churches.
    Francis also mentioned the Joint Declaration on the common profession of faith
    in the mystery of the Incarnate Word, the true God and the true man, signed in that year by the Patriarch and the Pope, which laid the foundations for a path to unity among disciples. Subsequent meetings between Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas and St. John Paul II, first in Rome and then in Damascus, represented important steps toward the concrete pastoral collaboration for the good of the faithful.
    "How much has changed since those first meetings!" exclaimed the bishop of Rome. "Yours, Beatitude, has been a Church of martyrs since the very beginning,
    and continues to be so to this day in the Middle East, where, along with other Christian communities and other minorities, it suffers greatly as a result of war, violence and persecution. How much pain! How many innocent victims! Faced with all this, it seems that those in power seem unable to find solutions".
    "Let us pray together for the victims of this brutal violence and for all the situations of war throughout the world. In particular, let us remember the Metropolitan Gregorios Ibrahim and the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church Griega Paul Yazigi, abducted at the same time two years ago. Let us also remember the priests and the many other people, of different groups, deprived of
    their freedom. And let us ask of the Lord the grace always to be willing to forgive and to be builders of reconciliation and peace. This is what inspires the witness of the martyrs. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the unity of
    the Church and the tool for the edification of the kingdom of God, which is the
    kingdom of peace and justice".
    "Beatitude, dear brother, in this moment of tension and pain", concluded the Pope, "let us increasingly strengthen the bonds of friendship and fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Syriac-Orthodox Church. Let us hasten our steps on the common path, looking towards the day in which we will be able to celebrate our common belonging to Christ's single Church around the same altar of the Sacrifice and of worship. Let us exchange the treasures of our traditions
    as spiritual gifts, as what unites us is far greater than what divides us".
    The Holy Father and the Patriarch then prayed together in the Redemptoris Mater
    chapel.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the Catholic Biblical Federation: pastoral effort to ensure the centrality of the Word of God in the life of the Church Vatican City, 19 June 2015 (VIS) This morning in the Consistory Hall Pope Francis received the members of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF), which has recently elected Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, metropolitan archbishop of Manila, Philippines, as its new president. The Federation is currently holding its tenth plenary assembly dedicated to the theme "That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you", drawn from the First Epistle of St. John; reflecting on the Sacred Scripture as the source of evangelisation, it commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the dogmatic Constitution on the Divine Revelation Dei Verbum.
    "To be able to proclaim the word of truth, we ourselves must have had the experience of the Word: we must have listened, contemplated, almost touched it with our own hands", writes the Holy Father in the discourse he handed to those
    present. "Christians, who are the People of God, 'that you may proclaim the excellencies of him', must, as the dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum suggests, first of all venerate, read, listen, proclaim, preach, study and spread the Word of God. The Church, who proclaims the Word every day,
    receiving nourishment and inspiration from it, makes herself the beneficiary and
    excellent witness of the efficiency and strength inherent in that same Word of God. Neither we, nor our efforts, but rather the Holy Spirit works through those
    who dedicate themselves to pastoral ministry, and He does the same for the listeners, preparing them to listen to the Word and to receive its message of life".
    Referring to the anniversary of Dei Verbum and the timeliness of dedicating the
    plenary assembly to the relationship between the Scriptures and evangelisation,
    Francis mentions that in 1986 St. John Paul II had invited the CBF to undertake
    a careful rereading of the dogmatic Constitution, applying its principles and implementing its recommendations. The Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the
    life and mission of the Church in 2008 offered another important opportunity for
    reflecting on its application. He adds, "Likewise today I would like to invite you to go ahead with this work, always taking into consideration the value of the treasure of the Conciliar Constitution, as well as the subsequent Magisterium, while you communicate the joy of the Gospel to the furthest confines of the world, obeying the missionary mandate".
    "However, there are places where the Word of God has not yet been proclaimed or, although proclaimed, has not been received as the Word of salvation", the Pope remarks. "There are places where the Word of God is emptied of its authority. The lack of the support or vigour of the Word leads to a weakening of
    the Christian communities of ancient tradition and curbs the spiritual growth and missionary fervour of the young Churches. We are all responsible if 'the message will run the risk of losing its freshness and will cease to have the freshness of the Gospel'. However, it remains valid to encourage a special pastoral effort to emphasise the central position of the Word of God in ecclesial life, promoting the Biblical inspiration of all pastoral ministry. We
    must ensure that the habitual activities of all Christian communities, in the parishes, associations and movements, truly have at heart the personal encounter
    with Christ communicated to us in His Word since, as St. Jerome teaches, 'ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ'".
    "The mission of the servants of the Word - bishops, priests, men and women religious and laypeople - is that of promoting and favouring this encounter, which inspires faith and transforms life; therefore I pray, in the name of all the Church, that you may fulfil your mandate: ensuring 'that the message of the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Jun 26 08:48:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 120
    DATE 26-06-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope to the International Catholic Conference of Guiding: the education of
    women is vital
    - The Holy See and the State of Palestine sign a general Agreement
    - Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See: look to the future
    without forgetting the past
    - Metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Notice

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope to the International Catholic Conference of Guiding: the education of
    women is vital
    Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) - "Education is the indispensable means for enabling girls to grow into active and responsible women, proud and happy in the
    faith in Christ they live in their everyday life. In this way they will participate in the construction of a world imbued with the Gospel", said Pope Francis to delegates from the International Catholic Conference of Guiding (ICCG), whom he received in audience this morning, gathered in Rome on the fiftieth anniversary of the institution's foundation to analyse the theme: "Living as guides the joy of the Gospel".
    The ICCG unites national associations of Catholic guides and national interconfessional guiding organisations. Its aim is to help member associations
    to transform guiding into a genuine tool for education in faith and to make its
    pedagogical richness, formative activities and experience in interconfessional collaboration more widely known.
    The Holy Father emphasised the excellence of the theme chosen for the meeting and the programme it has given rise to: "proclaiming to others, through the witness of our own life, that encountering Jesus frees us and heals us ... opens
    us to other and drives us to announce him, especially to the poorest and most distant, the lonely and abandoned".
    He invited the delegates to be faithful to the principles of their movement and
    to establish a sincere dialogue with guides of different cultures and religions,
    with respect for the beliefs of each one, and serenely affirming their Catholic
    faith and identity. Pope Francis then went on to speak about his recent Encyclical "Laudato si'", in which he states that education in ecology is essential to transform habits and ways of thinking so as to overcome the troubling challenges that face humanity in relation to the environment. "I think
    that the guiding movement, which in its educational method accords an important
    role to contact with nature, is particularly well-disposed to this", he said. "I
    hope that guides will continue to be alert to the presence and the goodness of the Creator in the beauty of the world that surrounds them. This contemplative attitude will lead them to live in harmony with themselves, with others and with
    God. It is a new way of life, more coherent with the Gospel, that they will be able to transmit to others around them".
    Finally, the Pope reiterated the need to ensure that the importance of women is
    recognised, so that they take their rightful place both in the Church and in society. "Here too, the role of educational associations such as yours, that address young girls, is absolutely essential for the future, and your teaching must be clear on these issues. We are in a world where we see the spread of ideologies contrary to nature and God's design for the family and marriage. It is therefore a question not only of educating girls in the beauty and greatness
    of their vocation as women, in a just relationship recognising the difference between man and woman, but also to take on important responsibilities in the Church and in society. In some countries where women are still in a position of
    inferiority, or even exploited and mistreated, you certainly have a significant
    role to play in promotion and education. I ask you not to forget, in your pedagogic approach, the necessary and explicit openness to the possibility of life consecrated to the Lord, an area in which the guiding movement has historically been fruitful".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Holy See and the State of Palestine sign a general Agreement
    Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) - Today, Friday 26 June, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a Comprehensive Agreement was signed between the Holy See and
    the State of Palestine. The accord follows on the Basic Agreement which was signed between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on 15 February 2000 and is the result of the negotiations undertaken by a bilateral
    working commission over the past years.
    Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, signed on behalf of the Holy See and Riad Al-Malki, minister of Foreign Affairs, signed for the State of Palestine.
    The following took part in the solemn act:
    For the Holy See: Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins; Mgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States; Fr. Lorenzo
    Lorusso, O.P., under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Mgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Mgr. Paolo Borgia, official of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State; and Fr. Oscar Marzo, O.F.M., member of the
    Custody of the Holy Land and Official of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
    For the State of Palestine: Ramzi Khoury, advisor to the president and deputy head of the Presidential Higher Committee on Church Affairs in Palestine; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy
    See; Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant foreign minister for Multilateral Affairs; Vera Baboun, mayor of Bethlehem; Moussa Abu Hadeed, mayor of Ramallah;
    Ammar Hijazi, deputy assistant foreign minister for Multilateral Affairs; Azem Bishara, legal advisor of the PLO; Ammar Nisnas, counsellor of the diplomatic representation of the State of Palestine to the Holy See.
    The Agreement is comprised of a preamble and 32 articles distributed in 8 chapters. It deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in the State of Palestine, while reaffirming support for a negotiated and peaceful resolution of the situation in the region. It will come
    into effect when both Parties have notified each other in writing that the relevant constitutional or internal requirements have been met.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See: look to the future without forgetting the past
    Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) - The following is a summary of the content of
    the Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine, based on the text
    provided by L'Osservatore Romano.
    The Agreement has a specific nature that takes into account the legal and political situations that surround the conflict, and the rules that have gradually built up over the centuries. The Preamble, which refers to current international law, frames a series of key points: the self-determination of the
    Palestinian people; the objective of the two-state solution; the meaning, not only symbolic, of Jerusalem, in terms of its holy character for Jews, Christians
    and Muslims and its universal religious and cultural value as heritage for all humanity; and the Holy See's interests in the Holy Land. The two Parties, considering their mutual daily relations, indicate in the negotiated agreement way of working, together and separately, not only in defining the condition of the Catholic Church in Palestine but also for the good of people and institutions. The Agreement is therefore an instrument for use in the process of
    attaining that "just and lasting" peace that may be the result only of an agreement between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities. The idea that the future of the Holy Land rests in the hands of the actors present there is supported by the Holy See's wish to exercise her "educational, spiritual and moral mission", but - with reference to and amplifying the formula of Article 24
    of the Lateran Pact, the Holy See "shall take no part in any temporal rivalries
    between other States, nor in any international congresses called to settle such
    matters, save and except in the event of such parties making a mutual appeal to
    the pacific mission of the Holy See".
    Chapter 2 of the Agreement relates to the theme of freedom of worship and

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Jul 1 08:24:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 122
    DATE 01-07-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope commemorates the late Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians
    - People and planet first: the imperative to change course
    - Archbishop Tomasi: terrorism is the antithesis of the values and commitments of peaceful national and international co-existence
    - Message for Sea Sunday: more resources to combat human trafficking and exploitation

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope commemorates the late Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians
    Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis has sent a message to Bishop Gregoire Ghabroyan, administrator of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, for the funeral of His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, who died
    on 25 June, to be held in the Cathedral of St. Elie and St. Gregory the Illuminator in Beirut. The message was read during the funeral ceremony by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
    "It is with great sadness that I have learned of the return to the house of the
    Father of our beloved brother in Christ, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. I conserve in my heart the memory of my encounter with him, accompanied by the bishops of the Synod and the
    faithful of this Patriarchal Church, on the occasion of the commemoration of the
    victims of the Metz Yegern and the proclamation of St. Gregory of Narek as as Doctor of the universal Church. It was as if these events lived in the vicinity
    of the relics of the apostle St. Peter had marked the long and faithful journey
    of your 'Caput et Pater', revealing some of his most characteristic aspects.
    "He was, above all, deeply rooted on the Rock that is Christ. He held that the
    most valuable treasure that a bishop is called upon to minister to is the faith
    that comes from apostolic preaching. His Beatitude spared nothing in ensuring its dissemination, especially by promoting the continuing formation of the clergy so that, even in difficult contexts, the ministers of God renew their adhesion to Christ, the sole hope and consolation for humanity.
    "He dedicated himself to ensuring that the just commemoration of the sufferings
    of the Armenian people throughout their history become an action of God's grace
    considering the example of martyrs and witnesses, and at the same time obtained
    from Him the balm of consolation and reconciliation, which alone may heal the deepest wounds of souls and of peoples.
    "Patriarch Nerses was finally able to rejoice with the Armenian people at the elevation of St. Gregory of Narek to the luminous title of Doctor of the Church.
    His Beatitude wished the spiritual influence of this great saint be an example for pastors and faithful, convinced that through St. Gregory of Narek everyone can experience the wonders that the Lord is able to achieve in the heart that opens up to Him in daily simplicity and humility, and in solidarity with the drama of humanity, through ceaseless intercession.
    "Invited to perpetuate this triple heritage left to us by Patriarch Nerses, we
    implore the Holy Spirit to continue to renew the face of the Armenian Catholic Church, through the commitment of pastors and faithful, and we also entrust to the Father of all Mercy the labours , linked to the the limits and weaknesses of
    the condition of the pilgrims on their way to the eternal homeland".

    ___________________________________________________________

    People and planet first: the imperative to change course
    Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) - This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Conference "People and planet first: the imperative to change course" (Rome, Augustinianum, 2-3 July) organised by the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" and CIDSE, an international network of Catholic non-governmental development organisations.
    The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of
    the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace"; Naomi Klein, writer; Ottmar Edenhofer, co-president of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC) and Bernd Nilles, secretary general of Cooperation Internationale
    pour le Developpement et la Solidarite (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity).
    Cardinal Turkson emphasised that the title of the conference, which focuses on
    climate change, clearly indicates the aim to be pursued: "people and planet, not
    one or the other, not one at the expense of the other". He noted that in his recent Encyclical "Laudato si'", the Pope proposes an integral ecology that respects its human and social dimensions, and shows that climate change is one of the main challenges facing humanity in our times, also highlighting that the
    climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. "Yet the costs of
    climate change are being borne by those least responsible for it and least able
    to adapt to it - the poor. Overall, climate change is a global problem with a spectrum of serious implications: environmental, social, economic and political". In "Laudato si'", the Pope also laments the failure of past global summits on the environment, and launches an urgent appeal for enforceable international agreements to stop climate change.
    In this respect, as Cardinal Turkson observes, the COP21 Conference held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015 will be crucial in identifying strong
    solutions to the problem of climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals are also relevant in this context, and coincide in various aspects with the points made by Pope Francis in his Encyclical. "For example, the 13th proposed goal will express the imperative to take urgent action to combat climate change
    and its impacts. Related goals include: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development; protect, restore and promote sustainable
    use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss".
    "These goals, similar to important points made in 'Laudato si'', await the pledges and the will of the whole world community during the 70th United Nations
    General Assembly beginning in mid-September 2015. Yet the single biggest obstacle to the imperative to change course is not economic, scientific or even
    technological, but rather within our minds and hearts. The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions. ...
    The political dimension needs to re-establish democratic control over the economy and finance, that is, over the basic choices made by human societies. This is the path the entire human family is on, the one which leads through New
    York to Paris and beyond", concluded the prelate.
    Naomi Klein affirmed that what Pope Francis writes in "Laudato si'" "is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for 'every person living on this planet'. And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me".
    "In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet,
    climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on
    us to act like it. That does not mean gambling the future on the boom and bust cycles of the market. It means policies that directly regulate how much carbon can be extracted from the earth. It means policies that will get us to 100 per cent renewable energy in two or three decades - not by the end of the century. And it means allocating common, shared resources - like the atmosphere - on the
    basis of justice and equity, not winners-take-all".
    Therefore, "a new kind of climate movement is fast emerging. It is based on the
    most courageous truth expressed in the encyclical: that our current economic system is both fuelling the climate crisis and actively preventing us from taking the necessary actions to avert it. A movement based on the knowledge that
    if we don't want runaway climate change, then we need system change. And because
    our current system is also fuelling ever widening inequality, we have a chance,
    in rising to the climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once. In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and fairer economy at the
    same time".
    "This growing understanding is why you are seeing some surprising and even unlikely alliances. Like, for instance, me at the Vatican. Like trade unions, Indigenous, faith and green groups working more closely together than ever before. Inside these coalitions, we do not agree on everything. ... But we

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Jul 6 07:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 125
    DATE 06-07-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope arrives in Ecuador, the first stage of his apostolic trip in Latin America
    - Francis prays to Our Lady at the Basilica of St. Mary Major before his trip to
    Latin America
    - To the members of Charismatic Renewal movement: share with all the baptism you
    have received
    - Benedict XVI receives Doctorate honoris causa from the Pontifical University of John Paul II and the Musical Academy of Krakow
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope arrives in Ecuador, the first stage of his apostolic trip in Latin America
    Vatican City, 6 July 2015 (VIS) - At 10 p.m. yesterday, 5 July, Pope Francis arrived in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on the first leg of his ninth apostolic trip during which he will also visit Bolivia and Paraguay.
    The Holy Father left Rome by air at 9 a.m; during the long flight he spoke with
    the journalists who accompanied him on the aircraft and, as is customary, sent telegrams to the Heads of State of those countries through whose airspace he passed.
    Upon arrival in Quito, the Pontiff was received by a group of children dressed
    in the traditional costumes of the various Ecuadorian peoples: two of them, a boy and a girl, offered him a floral tribute. The president, Rafael Correa, then
    gave a welcome address in which, in the light of the Encyclical "Laudato si'", he mentioned that 20% of the national territory is protected in 44 nature reserves and parks, and he underlined the diversity of cultures present in Ecuador, which is home to not only a mestizo majority but also 14 indigenous nationalities with corresponding ancestral languages, including two populations
    who live in the heart of virgin forest, choosing voluntary isolation. The president also mentioned various documents constituting the pastoral Magisterium, with clear reference to the Social Doctrine of the Church, and concluded amiably: "The Argentines very proudly say 'the Pope is Argentine', and
    my dear friend Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, says, 'very well, the Pope is Argentine, but God is Brazilian!'. Of course the Pope is Argentine, and perhaps God is Brazilian, but one thing is certain: paradise is Ecuadorian!".
    The Pope expressed his joy and gratitude for the warm welcome he received, "a sign of the hospitality which so well defines the people of this noble nation".
    "I thank you, Mr President, for your words and I appreciate the convergence of
    what you have said with my own way of thinking: you have quoted me far too much,
    thank you!", he continued. "I, in turn, express my cordial good wishes for the exercise of your office: that you may achieve your objectives for the good of your people. I greet the distinguished government authorities, my brother bishops, the faithful of the Church in this country, and all those who today have opened to me their hearts, their homes, their nation. To all of you, I express my affection and sincere appreciation".
    "I have visited Ecuador on a number of occasions for pastoral reasons. Today too I have come as a witness of God's mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ. For centuries that faith has shaped the identity of this people and borne much good
    fruit, including the outstanding figures of St. Mariana de Jesus, St. Miguel Febres, St. Narcisa de Jesus and Blessed Mercedes de Jesus Molina, beatified in
    Guayaquil thirty years ago, during the visit of Pope St. John Paul II. These, and others like them, lived their faith with intensity and enthusiasm, and by their works of mercy they contributed in a variety of ways to improving the Ecuadorian society of their day".
    "In our own time too, we can find in the Gospel a key to meeting contemporary challenges, respecting differences, fostering dialogue and full participation, so that the growth in progress and development already registered will be strengthened and ensure a better future for everyone, with particular concern for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters who are the debt still outstanding in Latin America. In these efforts, Mr President, you can always count on the commitment and cooperation of the Church to serve the Ecuadorian people who move forward with great dignity".
    "Dear friends, I begin my visit filled with excitement and hope for the days ahead. In Ecuador is the point closest to outer space: it is the Chimborazo, which for that reason is called the place 'closest to the sun', the moon and the
    stars. We Christians identify Christ with the sun, and the moon with the Church;
    the moon does not have its own light, indeed if it hides from the sun it will be
    enveloped by darkness. The sun is Jesus Christ and if the Church moves away or hides from him, she will be in darkness and no longer able to offer witness. May
    the coming days make all of us ever more clearly aware of how close is the sun which 'dawns upon us from on high'. May each of us be a true reflection of his light and his love".
    "From this place, I wish to embrace all of Ecuador. From the peak of Chimborazo
    to the Pacific coast; from the Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos Islands, may you never lose the ability to thank God for what he has done and is doing for you. May you never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care
    for your children and for your elderly, who are the living memory of your people, to have confidence in the young, and to be constantly struck by the nobility of your people and the singular beauty of your country, which, according to the President, is nothing short of paradise".
    "May the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which Ecuador has been consecrated, grant you every grace and blessing. Thank you", concluded the Pope.
    Following a brief private audience with President Correa, the Pope travelled by
    popemobile the forty kilometres between Mariscal Sucre airport and the centre of
    Quito, the best conserved capital of all South America. It was the first, along
    with the Polish city of Krakow, to be declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1978. During his journey the Pope was greeted by thousands of people who had
    gathered around Quito to await his arrival. Upon arrival at the apostolic nunciature, where he was to dine and rest for a few hours, Francis went out into
    the street to greet the faithful, who applauded him. "I come to bless you before
    we go to rest, and let the neighbours sleep!" he said, and after reciting the Lord's Prayer with them, he returned inside the nunciature.
    This afternoon the Pope will transfer to Guayaquil where he will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy and celebrate Holy Mass.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis prays to Our Lady at the Basilica of St. Mary Major before his trip to
    Latin America
    Vatican City, 4 July 2015 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, the eve of his departure for
    Latin America, the Holy Father went to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to commend
    his imminent apostolic trip to Our Lady. He left a floral tribute before the image of the Virgin, composed of flowers in the colours of the flags of the three countries he will visit, and spent around twenty minutes in prayer.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the members of Charismatic Renewal movement: share with all the baptism you
    have received
    Vatican City, 4 July 2015 (VIS) - Unity in diversity and ecumenism of prayer, word and blood were the key themes of the Pope's improvised address to the thousands of members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement yesterday afternoon, on the occasion of their 38th National Convocation, held in Rome from
    3-4 July on the theme "Ways of Unity and Peace - Voices of prayer for the martyrs of today and for a spiritual ecumenism". The encounter began at 4 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, and was attended by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of
    the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the
    Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco,
    president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, along with the Orthodox and Catholic oriental Patriarchs, Anglican and Lutheran bishops, and Pentecostal pastors.
    In his address, the Pope emphasised that unity does not mean uniformity. It is
    not a "spherical" unity in which "every point is equidistant from the centre and
    there is no difference between one point and another. The model is the polyhedron, which reflects the confluence of all the parts that nonetheless maintain their originality, and these are the charisms, in unity but also diversity. ... The distinction is important because we are speaking about the work
    of the Holy Spirit, not our own. Unity in the diversity of expressions of reality, as many as the Holy Spirit has wished to inspire".
    Another point the Holy Father considered very important to clarify related to those who guide. "There exists a great temptation for leaders to believe themselves indispensable, step by step to head towards authoritarianism, to personality cults, and not to allow the communities renewed in the Holy Spirit to thrive. This temptation renders 'eternal' the position of those who consider

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Jul 7 07:48:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 126
    DATE 07-07-2015

    Summary:
    - Pope Francis' first homily in Latin America: for the family, the best is yet to come
    - Visit to the president of Ecuador and Quito Cathedral
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis' first homily in Latin America: for the family, the best is yet to
    come
    Vatican City, 7 July 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday more than a million people attended
    the Pope's first Mass in Ecuador, in Guayaquil. He first visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy, the city's second largest place of worship, built at the behest of
    Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza between 2009 and 2014 and able to hold 2,300 people.
    Upon arrival at the Shrine, the Holy Father was welcomed by an immense crowd, with whom he prayed a Hail Mary before leaving the temple, and whom he greeted with the following words: "Now I will celebrate Mass, and I hold you all in my heart. I will ask for each one of you, I will say to the Lord, 'You know the names of those who were there'. I will ask Jesus for great mercy for every one of you; I will ask Him to care for you and to cover you with His mercy. May Our
    Lady always be by your side".
    "And now, before I leave - because I am on my way to Mass, and the archbishop tells me we are running out of time - I give you my blessing ... I am not asking
    you to give me anything! But I ask you, please, to pray for me. Will you promise
    me? May God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless you. Thank
    you for your Christian witness".
    The Pope then travelled the 25 kilometres that separate the Shrine from Samanes
    Park, where he celebrated Holy Mass specially dedicated to families. The Gospel
    reading recounted the wedding at Cana, and in his homily the Pope focused on Mary who expresses to Jesus her concern as the newly-weds have no wine.
    "The wedding at Cana is repeated in every generation, in every family, in every
    one of us and our efforts to let our hearts find rest in strong love, fruitful love and joyful love. Let us make room for Mary, 'the Mother' as the evangelist
    calls her. Let us journey with her now to Cana.
    "Mary is attentive, she is attentive in the course of this wedding feast, she is concerned for the needs of the newly-weds. She is not closed in on herself, worried only about her little world. Her love makes her 'outgoing' towards others. She does not seek her friends to say what is happening, to criticise the
    poor organisation of the wedding feast. And since she is attentive, she discretely notices that the wine has run out. Wine is a sign of happiness, love
    and plenty. How many of our adolescents and young people sense that these is no
    longer any of that wine to be found in their homes? How many women, sad and lonely, wonder when love left, when it slipped away from their lives? How many elderly people feel left out of family celebrations, cast aside and longing each
    day for a little love, from their sons and daughters, their grandchildren, their
    great grandchildren? This lack of this 'wine' can also be due to unemployment, illness and difficult situations which our families around the world may experience. Mary is not a 'demanding' mother, nor a mother-in-law who revels in
    our lack of experience, our mistakes and the things we forget to do. Mary, quite
    simply, is a Mother! She is there, attentive and concerned. It is gratifying to
    hear this: Mary is a Mother! I invite you to repeat this with me: Mary is a Mother! Once again: Mary is a Mother! And once more: Mary is a Mother!
    "But Mary, at the very moment she perceives that there is no wine, approaches Jesus with confidence: this means that Mary prays. She goes to Jesus, she prays.
    She does not go to the steward, she immediately tells her Son of the newly-weds'
    problem. The response she receives seems disheartening: 'What does it have to do
    with you and me? My hour has not yet come'. But she nonetheless places the problem in God's hands. Her deep concern to meet the needs of others hastens Jesus' hour. And Mary was a part of that hour, from the cradle to the cross. She
    was able 'to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love'. She accepted us as her sons and daughters when the sword pierced her son's heart. She teaches us to put our families in God's hands; she teaches us to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God's concerns.
    "Praying always lifts us out of our worries and concerns. It makes us rise above everything that hurts, upsets or disappoints us, and helps to put ourselves in the place of others, in their shoes. The family is a school where prayer also reminds us that we are not isolated individuals; we are one and we have a neighbour close at hand: he or she is living under the same roof, is a part of our life, and is in need.
    "And finally, Mary acts. Her words, 'Do whatever he tells you', addressed to the attendants, are also an invitation to us to open our hearts to Jesus, who came to serve and not to be served. Service is the sign of true love. Those who
    love know how to serve others. We learn this especially in the family, where we
    become servants out of love for one another. In the heart of the family, no one
    is rejected; all have the same value. I remember once how my mother was asked which of her five children - we are five brothers - did she love the most. And she said: it is like the fingers on my hand, if I prick one of them, then it is
    as if the others are pricked also. A mother loves her children as they are. And
    in the family, children are loved as they are. None are rejected. 'In the family
    we learn how to ask without demanding, to say "thank you" as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm, when we quarrel, because
    in all families there are quarrels. The challenge is to then ask for forgiveness. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings'. The family is the nearest hospital; when a family member is ill, it is in the home that they are cared for as long as possible. The family is the first school for the young, the
    best home for the elderly. The family constitutes the best 'social capital'. It
    cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides. Those services which society offers to its citizens are not a type of alms, but rather a genuine 'social debt' with respect to the institution
    of the family, which is foundational and which contributes to the common good.
    "The family is also a small Church, called a 'domestic Church' which, along with life, also mediates God's tenderness and mercy. In the family, we imbibe faith with our mother's milk. When we experience the love of our parents, we feel the closeness of God's love.
    "In the family, and we are all witnesses of this, miracles are performed with what little we have, with what we are, with what is at hand... and many times, it
    is not ideal, it is not what we dreamt of, nor what 'should have been'. There is
    one detail that makes us think: the new wine, that good wine mentioned by the steward at the wedding feast of Cana, came from the water jars, the jars used for ablutions, we might even say from the place where everyone had left their sins ... it came from the 'worst' because 'where sin increased, grace abounded all
    the more'. In our own families and in the greater family to which we all belong,
    nothing is thrown away, nothing is useless. Shortly before the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Church will celebrate the Ordinary Synod devoted to the family, deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions and
    help to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families today. I ask you to pray fervently for this intention, so that Christ can take even what
    might seem to us impure, like the water in the jars scandalising or threatening
    us, and turn it - by making it part of his 'hour' - into a miracle. The family today needs this miracle.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sat Jul 11 07:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 130
    DATE 11-07-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope offers gifts to Our Lady of Copacabana, patron of Bolivia
    - In the Santa Cruz-Palmasola penitentiary: reclusion is not the same as exclusion
    - The Pope arrives in Paraguay and lauds the role of women in the nation's history
    - First hearing in the trial of ex-nuncio Jozef Wesolowski postponed due to ill
    health

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope offers gifts to Our Lady of Copacabana, patron of Bolivia
    Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father's last day in Bolivia began
    with Holy Mass celebrated in the chapel of the archbishop's residence in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and his offering to Our Lady of Copacabana, patron of Bolivia, of the gifts given to him by President Evo Morales last Wednesday during their meeting in the presidential palace.
    "The President of the Nation, in a gesture of warmth, was so kind as to offer me two decorative honours on behalf of the Bolivian people. I thank the Bolivian
    people for their affection and the president for this courteous gesture. I would
    like to offer these two decorations to the patron saint of Bolivia, the Mother of this noble nation, so that she may always remember her people and from Bolivia, from the shrine where I would like them to be, that she may remember the Successor of Peter and the whole Church and care for them from Bolivia".
    He then recited the following prayer to the Virgin Mary:
    "Mother of the Saviour and Our Mother, Queen of Bolivia, from the heights of your Shrine in Copacabana, heed the prayers and needs of your children, especially the poorest and most abandoned, and protect them. Receive as a gift from the heart of Bolivia and as a token of my filial affection these symbols of
    closeness and warmth that President Evo Morales Ayma has bestowed on me with cordial and generous affection, on behalf of the Bolivian people, on the occasion of this apostolic trip, which I entrusted to your solicitous intercession.
    "I pray that these honours, which I leave here in Bolivia at your feet, and which recall the noble flight of the condor in the skies of the Andes and the honoured sacrifice of Fr. Luis Espinal, S.J., may be emblems of the everlasting
    love and persistent gratitude of the Bolivian people for your solicitous and intense tenderness.
    At this moment, Mother, I place in your heart my prayers for all the many petitions of your children, which I have received in these days: I beg you to hear them; to give them your encouragement and protection, and to show to the whole of Bolivia your tenderness as a woman and as Mother of God, who lives and
    reigns for ever and ever. Amen".

    ___________________________________________________________

    In the Santa Cruz-Palmasola penitentiary: reclusion is not the same as exclusion
    Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) - After celebrating Mass in the chapel of the
    archbishop's residence, the Pope visited the Santa Cruz-Palmasola penitentiary where he met with various groups of inmates - men, women and young people imprisoned for both petty and serious offences. The men's Pavilion PS4, where the meeting with the Pope took place, is open for daily visits and hosts around
    2,800 detainees, whose family members (around 1,500 per day) are able to live with them in a sort of village protected and managed by the inmates themselves through a "General Regency" led by State security staff.
    The Pope was received by the director of the penitentiary, the chaplain and Msgr. Jesus Juarez, head of prison pastoral ministry of the Episcopal Conference
    of Bolivia. After hearing testimonies from some of the detainees, he addressed those present.
    !I could not leave Bolivia without seeing you, without sharing that faith and hope which are the fruit of the love revealed on the cross of Christ", he said.
    "Thank you for welcoming me; I know that you have prepared yourselves for this moment and that you have been praying for me. I am deeply grateful for this".
    He continued, "You may be asking yourselves: 'Who is this man standing before us?'. I would like to reply to that question with something absolutely certain about my own life. The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. A man who was, and is, saved from his many sins. That is who I am.
    I don't have much more to give you or to offer you, but I want to share with you
    what I do have and what I love. It is Jesus Christ, the mercy of the Father.
    "Jesus came to show the love which God has for us. For you and for me. It is love which is powerful and real. It is a love which takes seriously the plight of those he loves. It is a love which heals, forgives, raises up and shows concern. It is a love which draws near and restores dignity. We can lose this dignity in so many ways. But Jesus is stubborn: he gave his very life to restore
    the identity we had lost.
    "Here is something which can help us to understand this. Peter and Paul, disciples of Jesus, were prisoners too. They too lost their freedom. But there was something that sustained them, something that did not let them yield to despair, that experience of darkness and meaninglessness. That something was prayer, both individually and with others. They prayed, and they prayed for one
    another. These two forms of prayer became a network to maintain life and hope. And that network keeps us from yielding to despair. It encourages us to keep moving forward. It is a network which supports life, your own lives and those of
    your families.
    "When Jesus becomes part of our lives, we can no longer remain imprisoned by our past. Instead, we begin look to the present, and we see it differently, with
    a different kind of hope. We begin to see ourselves and our lives in a different
    light. We are no longer stuck in the past, but capable of shedding tears and finding in them the strength to make a new start. If there are times when you experience sadness, depression, negative feelings, I would ask you to look at Christ crucified. Look at his face. He sees us; in his eyes there is a place for
    us. We can all bring to Christ our wounds, our pain, our sins. In his wounds, there is a place for our own wounds. There they can be soothed, washed clean, changed and healed. He died for us, for me, so that he could stretch out us his
    hand and lift us up. Talk to the priests who come here, talk to them! Jesus wants to help you get up, always.
    "This certainty makes us work hard to preserve our dignity. Being imprisoned, 'shut in', is not the same thing as being 'shut out'. Detention is part of a process of reintegration into society. I know that there are many things here that make it hard: overcrowding, justice delayed, a lack of training opportunities and rehabilitation policies, violence. All these things point to the need for a speedy and efficient cooperation between institutions in order to
    come up with solutions. And yet, while working for this, we should not think that everything is lost. There are things that we can do even today.
    "Here, in this rehabilitation centre, the way you live together depends to some
    extent on yourselves. Suffering and deprivation can make us selfish of heart and
    lead to confrontation, but we also have the capacity to make these things an opportunity for genuine fraternity. Help one another. Do not be afraid to help one another. The devil is looking for rivalry, division, gangs. Keep working to
    make progress.
    "I would ask you to take my greetings to your families. Their presence and support are so important! Grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, couples, children: all of them remind us that life is worth living and that we should keep fighting for a better world. Finally, I offer a word of encouragement to all who work at this centre: to the administrators, the police
    officials and all the personnel. They carry out a vital public service. They have an important responsibility for facilitating the process of reintegration.
    It is their responsibility to raise up, not to put down, to restore dignity and
    not to humiliate; to encourage and not to inflict hardship. This means putting aside a mentality which sees people as 'good' or 'bad', but instead tries to focus on helping others. This will help to create better conditions for everyone. It will give dignity, provide motivation, and make us all better people.
    "Before giving each of you my blessing, I would like for us to pray for a few moments in silence. Each of you, in whatever way you can. I ask you, please, to
    keep praying for me, because I too have my mistakes and I too must do penance. Thank you".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope arrives in Paraguay and lauds the role of women in the nation's history
    Vatican City, 11 July 2015 (VIS) - After his visit to Palmasola, Pope Francis proceeded to the parish church of La Santa Cruz, where he met with Bolivian bishops (37, including bishops emeritus) for an informal meeting lasting around
    an hour. He then transferred by car, greeted and applauded by thousands of people, to Viru Viru airport where he left for Paraguay. He arrived in the capital Asuncion two hours later, at 3 p.m. local time.
    In the airport he was received by the president of Paraguay Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, and witnessed a brief choreographic display on the history and culture of Paraguay. He received a floral tribute from a group of children and blessed the plaque commemorating St. John Paul II's visit to this country from 16 to 18 May 1988.
    Following the ceremony the Holy Father travelled the fifteen kilometres between
    the airport and the capital by popemobile. He stopped along the way to greet the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Jul 14 08:48:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 132
    DATE 14-07-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope on his return flight to Rome: encourage Latin America's young Church
    - The Holy See regards the Iranian nuclear programme in a positive light
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope on his return flight to Rome: encourage Latin America's young Church
    Vatican City, 14July 2015 (VIS) - During the return flight from Paraguay to Rome, the Pope answered questions from the journalists who accompanied him on his apostolic trip to Latin America, as summarised below.
    Question: Why does Paraguay not have a cardinal? What sin has Paraguay committed, so as not to have a cardinal?
    Answer: Well, not having a cardinal isn't a sin. The majority of countries in the world do not have a cardinal. The nationalities of the cardinals ... are a minority compared to the whole. ... At times, for the election of cardinals, an
    evaluation is made, the files are studied one by one, you see the person, the charism especially, of the cardinal who will have to advise and assist the Pope
    in the universal government of the Church. The cardinal, though he belongs to particular Church, is incardinated in the Church of Rome, and needs to have a universal vision. This does not mean that there is not a bishop in Paraguay who
    has it, but you always have to elect up to a number, there is a limit of 120 cardinal electors. ... I ask another question: Does Paraguay deserve a cardinal,
    if we look at the Church of Paraguay? I'd say that yes, they deserve two, but it
    has nothing to do with merits. It is a lively Church, a joyful Church, a fighting Church with a glorious history.
    Question: We would like to know whether you consider just the Bolivians wish to
    have sovereign access to the sea, to return to having a sovereign access to the
    Pacific, and by what criteria. And, Holy Father, should Chile and Bolivia ask for your mediation, would you accept?
    Answer: The issue of mediation is very delicate, and it would be a last step. That is, Argentina experienced this with Chile, and it was truly to stop a war.
    It was a very extreme situation, and dealt with very well by those appointed by
    the Holy See, always backed by John Paul II who was very interested. ... At the
    moment, I have to be very respectful about this because Bolivia has made an appeal to an international court. So at present if I make a comment, as a head of State, it could be interpreted as involvement or pressure on my part. It is necessary to be very disrespectful of the decision of the Bolivian people who made this appeal. ... There is another thing I want to make very clear. In the Cathedral of Bolivia, I touched on this issue in a very delicate way, taking into account the situation of the appeal to the international court. I remember
    the context perfectly - brothers have to engage in dialogue, the Latin American
    peoples need to engage in dialogue. I stopped, I was silent a moment, and then said, "I'm thinking of the sea". I continued, "dialogue and dialogue." I think it was clear that my comment referred to this problem, with respect for the situation as it is at present. It is in an international tribunal, so it is not
    possible to speak about mediation or facilitation. We have to wait.
    Follow-up question: Is the Bolivians' wish just or not?
    Answer: There is always a base of justice when there is a change in the territorial borders, particularly after a war. So this is under continuous revision. I would say that it is not unfair to present something like this, this
    wish. I remember that in the year 1961, during my first year of philosophy, we were given a documentary about Bolivia ... called "The Ten Stars". And it presented each one of the nine provinces and then, at the end, for the tenth, there was the sea, without a word. That stayed in my mind. It was the year 1961.
    In other words, it is clear that there is a desire.
    Question: Ecuador was in a state of unrest before your visit, and after you left the country those who oppose the government returned to the streets. It seems that they would like to use your presence in Ecuador for political ends, especially because of the phrase you used, "the people of Ecuador have stood up
    with dignity". I would like to ask you, if possible, what did you mean by this phrase?
    Answer: Evidently there were some political problems and strikes. I don't know
    the details of politics in Ecuador and it would be foolish of me to give an opinion. Afterwards I was told that there was a type of hiatus during my visit,
    which I am grateful for, as it is the gesture of a people on their feet, of respect for the visit of a Pope. ... But if these problems resume, clearly, the
    problems and political debates continue. With regard to the phrase you mentioned: I refer to the greater awareness of their courage that the people of
    Ecuador have been gaining. There was a border war with Peru not long ago. There
    is a history of war. Then, there's been a greater awareness of Ecuador's ethnic
    diversity and dignity. Ecuador is not a throwaway country. Or rather, it refers
    to the people as a whole and to all of the dignity of the people who, after the
    border war, stood up with ever greater awareness of its dignity and the wealth it has in its diversity and variety. In other words, it cannot be attributed to
    one concrete political situation. That phrase - I was told, I did not see it myself - was manipulated to suggest that the government had put Ecuador on her feet, or that she had been raised to her feet by those opposing the government.
    One comment can be manipulated, and I believe that in this we must be very careful.
    Question: In your address to popular movements in Bolivia you spoke about the new colonialism and the idolatry of money that subjugates the economy, and the imposition of austerity measures that continually "tighten the belt" of the poor. For some weeks now in Europe there is the situation in Greece, which risks
    leaving the Euro zone. What do you think about what is happening in Greece, and
    which also affects all of Europe?
    Answer: I am near to this situation, as it is a phenomenon present throughout the world, all over the world. Also in the East, in the Philippines, in India, in Thailand. There are movements that are organised among themselves not as a form of protest but in order to keep going and to be able to live. And they are
    movements that have momentum, and these people - there are many of them - do not
    feel represented by union, as they say that the unions are now corporations and
    do not fight - I am simplifying somewhat - for the rights of the poor. And the Church cannot be indifferent to this. The Church has a social doctrine and is in
    dialogue with these this movement, and does so well. You have seen the enthusiasm of feeling that the Church - they say - is not distant from us, the Church has a doctrine that helps us to fight for this. It is a dialogue. The Church does not choose an anarchic path. No, we are not anarchists. These people
    work, they try to work hard even with waste, with what is left over; they are real workers.
    Then, regarding Greece and the international system, I do not understand it well ... but it would certainly be all too simple to say that the blame lies only
    on one side. If the Greek government has advanced this situation of international debt, it too bears responsibility. With the new Greek government,
    there have been steps in the right direction, towards revision. I hope, and it is the only thing I can say to you, as I do not know the situation well, that way will be found to solve the Greek problem, and also a path of supervision so
    that other countries do not experience the same problem, and that this may help
    us to go ahead, as the path of loans and debts never ends. I was told, about a year or so ago, that there was a United Nations project ... whereby a Country can
    declare itself bankrupt - which is not the same as being in default - but it is
    a project I heard about and I do not know how it ended or whether or not it was
    true. If a company can declare bankruptcy why can't a country do it, so that we
    can then go to the aid of others?
    Then, with regard to the new colonialisms, evidently these are a question of values. The colonialism of consumerism, for example. The habit of consumerism is
    the result of a process of colonisation, as it leads to a habit that is not one's own and causes a personality imbalance. Consumerism also upsets the balance of the domestic economy and of social justice, as well as physical and mental health, for instance.
    Question: Holy Father, what did you think when you received the hammer and sickle with Christ on it, offered by President Morales? And what became of the object?
    Answer: I didn't know about it, and I was not aware that Fr. Espinal was a sculptor and also a poet. I found out in these days. I saw it and it was a surprise to me. It can be qualified as belonging to the genre of protest art. For example, in Buenos Aires a few years ago there was an exhibition of protest
    art by a good, creative Argentine sculptor - he is dead now - and I remember a work which was a crucified Christ on a bomber that was falling down. It was a critique of Christianity allied with imperialism, in the form of the bomber. Firstly, then, I did not know about it and secondly, I would qualify it as protest art that can in some cases be offensive; in some cases. Thirdly, in this
    specific case: Fr. Espinal was killed in the year 1980. It was a time in which liberation theology had many different threads, one of which was the Marxist analysis of reality, and Fr. Espinal subscribed to this. ... In the same year, the
    Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arrupe, sent a letter to the whole
    Society regarding the Marxist analysis of reality in theology, stopping this to
    some extent, saying no, this doesn't work, they are different things, it is not
    right. And four years later, in 1984, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
    published its first short volume, its first declaration on liberation theology,
    which it criticised. Then there was the second, that opens up more Christian perspectives. ... Let us consider the hermeneutics of that period. Espinal was an
    enthusiast of the Marxist analysis of reality, but also of theology. That work came from this. Espinal's poetry also belongs to the protest genre: it was his life, his thought. He was a special man, with great human geniality, who fought
    in good faith. Through a hermeneutics of this type I understand the work. To me
    it was not offensive. But I had to apply this hermeneutics and I say this to you, so that there are not any mistaken opinions. I now carry the object with me, it is coming with me. You perhaps heard that President Morales wished to bestow two honours on me: one is the most important in Bolivia and the other is
    of the Order of Fr. Espinal, a new Order. I have never accepted honours, but he
    did this with such good will and with the wish to please. And I thought that this comes from the people of Bolivia - I prayed about this and thought about it
    - and if I take them to the Vatican they will end up in a museum where nobody

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Sep 3 08:49:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 147
    DATE 02-09-2015

    Summary:
    - General audience: the family, conduit of faith
    - May the world never experience again the horrors of World War
    - The Pope presides at the liturgy of the first Day for the Care of Creation
    - Activities of the Holy Father and the Holy See during the month of August

    ___________________________________________________________

    General audience: the family, conduit of faith
    Vatican City, 2 September 2015 (VIS) - The family as the conduit of faith was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during September's first general audience.
    Francis remarked first that Jesus, both in His words and His signs, frequently
    presented family bonds as an example of our relationship with God. These bonds "within the experience of faith and God's love, are transformed and acquire a higher meaning, and are able to go beyond themselves, to create a broader paternity and maternity, and to welcome as brothers and sisters those who are at
    the margins". To this purpose, the bishop of Rome cited the Gospel passage in which Jesus responded to those who said that His mother and brothers were seeking him outside: "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother".
    "The wisdom of affections that cannot be bought or sold is the finest quality of the family. It is precisely in the family that we learn to grow in that atmosphere of emotional wisdom. ... When family affections are allowed to be converted by the witness of the Gospel, they become capable of unimaginable things, the actions that God works in history, like those that Jesus achieves for the men, women and children he encounters. A smile miraculously snatched from the despair of an abandoned child, who starts to live again, explains to us
    God's work in the world better than a thousand theological treatises. One man and one woman, capable of risking and making sacrifices for the child of others
    and not only their own, tell us things about love that scientists are not able to understand".
    "The family that responds to Jesus' call restores the rule of the world to the
    alliance of man and woman with God", Francis emphasised. "Let us imagine that the helm of history (of society, the economy, politics) is finally passed to the
    alliance between man and woman, so that they might govern with a view to the generation to come. The themes of the earth and the home, the economy and work,
    would play a very different tune!"
    "Effectively, the alliance between the family and God is called upon to oppose
    to the community desertification of the modern city. But our cities have been desertified through a lack of love, a lack of smiles. There is so much entertainment, so many things to pass the time, to make us laugh, but there is lack of love. The smile of a family is able to conquer this desertification of our cities. And this is the victory of family love".
    "No form of economic or political engineering is able to substitute the contribution families make", he concluded. "The project of Babel builds lifeless
    skyscrapers. The Spirit of God, instead, makes deserts bloom. We must leave the
    towers and strongholds of the elites, in order to frequent once more the homes and open spaces of the multitudes, open to the love of the family".

    ___________________________________________________________

    May the world never experience again the horrors of World War
    Vatican City, 2 September 2015 (VIS) - After today's catechesis the Pope launched a new appeal for peace, on the anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
    "During these days, also in the Middle East, we commemorate the end of the Second World War", he said. "I renew my heartfelt prayers to the Lord of all so
    that, by the intercession of Our Lady, today's world may never again experience
    the horrors and the appalling suffering of similar tragedies. But it experiences
    them! This is also the enduring desire of all peoples, especially those who are
    victims of the various current bloody conflicts. Persecuted minorities, persecuted Christians, the madness of destruction, and then those who produce and deal in arms, weapons soaked with the blood of so many innocent people. No more war! It is the fervent cry that, from our hearts and from the hearts of all
    men and women of good will, rises up to the Prince of peace".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope presides at the liturgy of the first Day for the Care of Creation
    Vatican City, 2 September 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica the Holy Father presided at the liturgy for the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, instituted by the Pope on 10 August and which will from now on be celebrated by the Catholic Church on 1 September, as in the
    Orthodox Church. Numerous pilgrims and representatives of the Roman Curia participated in the liturgy, and many people and communities throughout the world have responded to the Pope's appeal to renew our vocation as custodians of
    creation.
    The homily was pronounced by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Papal Household. After citing the biblical sources, from Genesis to the Book of Psalms, which describe the relationship between the human being and the world created by God, Fr. Cantalamessa went on to focus on the figure of St. Francis of Assisi and his "Canticle of the Creatures", which the Pope chose as the basis
    for his encyclical "Laudato si'",
    "The saint's words, which define the sun as beautiful, the brother fire as beautiful, the stars as bright and beautiful, are an echo of that 'And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good', from the account of
    creation", he commented. "The fundamental sin against creation, that precedes all others, is not listening to His voice, condemning it irretrievably, as St. Paul would say, to vanity, to insignificance. ... Francis shows us the way to radical change in our relationship with creation: it consists of substituting possession with contemplation. He describes a different way of enjoying its fruits, which is contemplating them instead of possessing them".
    "Certainly, Francis did not have a global and worldwide vision of the ecological problem, but rather a local, immediate view", he added. "He thought about what he and, eventually, his brother friars, could do. Here too, however,
    he teaches us. A slogan currently in vogue is 'think globally, act locally'. What is the point in taking issue with those who pollute the atmosphere, the oceans and the forests, if we do not hesitate in throwing onto a riverbank or into the sea a plastic bag that will remain there for centuries if no-one retrieves it; if I throw away what I no longer want wherever I wish, on the streets or in the forest; or if I deface the walls of my city?".
    "The protection of creation, like peace, is 'handcrafted', as our Holy Father would say, starting with ourselves", he concluded. "Peace begins with you, as is
    often repeated in the messages for World Day of Peace; similarly, the protection
    of creation begins with you. It was what an Orthodox representative affirmed during the ecumenical assembly in Basel in 1989 on 'Justice, peace and the protection of creation'. "Without a change in the human heart, environmentalism
    has no hope of success".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Activities of the Holy Father and the Holy See during the month of August
    Vatican City, 2 September 2015 (VIS) - The following is a list of Pope Francis'
    activities during the month of August. It includes Angelus audiences, other pontifical acts, telegrams, messages and other news. The activities are presented in chronological order under the respective titles:
    GENERAL AUDIENCES
    6. The Pope returns to his reflections on the family and refers to the situation of those who, following the breakdown of their marriage, establish a new cohabitation, and the pastoral attention they require. The Church, he says,
    knows that this situation contradicts the Christian sacrament, but with a mother's heart she seeks the good and the salvation of all, without exception.
    12. The Holy Father begins a series of reflections on three aspects of family life: rest, work and prayer, starting with the first. The divine commandment to
    pause in our daily tasks reminds us that man, as the image of God, is a master rather than a slave to work. He urges us to free ourselves of our obsession with
    economic gain, which undermines human rhythms of life and denies us the time for
    what is truly important.
    19. Francis speaks about work and the family. The management of work, he says,
    requires a great social responsibility that cannot be left to the mercy of the logic of profit or of a deified market, in which frequently the family is regarded as a burden or an obstacle to productivity.
    26. The Pope dedicates his catechesis to prayer in the family and reiterates that, despite the difficulties of finding time in family life, always busy and with many things to do, prayer enables the family to find the peace to face necessary things, and to discover the joy of the Lord's unexpected gifts, the beauty of rest and the serenity of work.
    ANGELUS
    2. In the first Angelus of August, the Pope recalled that Jesus speaks of going
    far beyond the immediate satisfaction of material necessities and instead invites the faithful to satisfy instead their "hunger for life", the hunger for
    eternity that only the Lord is able to satiate, as He is the "bread of life".
    9. Following the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus explains to the people the
    meaning of this sign and takes as a starting point the experience of hunger and
    the symbol of bread to reveal Himself to the people and invite them to believe in Him. "In His flesh, that is, in his concrete humanity, all God's love is present, which is the Holy Spirit. Those who allow themselves to be attracted by
    this love go towards Jesus and towards faith, and receive from Him eternal life".
    After the Angelus prayer the Pope mentioned that sixty years ago, on 6 and 9 August 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and
    Nagasaki, a tragic event that urges us to pray for peace. He also expressed his
    concerns regarding the economic crisis in El Salvador, which has increased the suffering of the population.
    15. On the Solemnity of the Assumption, Francis emphasised that that great things the Almighty realised in Mary speak to us of our journey in life and remind us of our destination. Following the Marian prayer, he invited the faithful to pray for the inhabitants of the city of Tianjin in northern China, where a series of explosions in the industrial zone claimed many victims and caused significant damage.
    16. Francis devoted the Angelus of the third Sunday of August to the Gospel of
    John the Evangelist that presents Jesus as the living bread from heaven, and explains the purpose of Mass, emphasising that the Eucharist is a memorial, or rather a gesture that makes real and present the event of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    23. The Pope concludes the reading from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St.
    John, which ends with the discourse on the bread of life, pronounced by Jesus after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. The enthusiasm of the multitude wanes as His words on His flesh and blood as food and drink, alluding to His imminent sacrifice are judged unworthy of the Messiah. Jesus' words, says Francis, always challenge us; in relation, for instance, to the spirit of the world and of worldliness.
    On the eve of the national holiday in Ukraine, Peter's Successor launched a fresh appeal for peace in the country, afflicted for some months by a conflict that has worsened in recent weeks.
    30. Superficial adherence to the law is not enough for good Christians, Francis
    emphasised, commenting on the Gospel of St. Mark which describes the dispute

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Sep 8 00:16:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 150
    DATE 07-09-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope praises the synodality of the Church in Portugal
    - We cannot remain indifferent to those who suffer as a result of war and violence
    - God is not closed in on Himself, but opens up to humanity
    - Appeal to the dioceses of Europe to welcome refugee families
    - The Holy Father receives the "Cells of evangelisation"
    - Cardinal Fernando Sturla, Pope's special envoy to the Fifth National Eucharistic Congress of Bolivia
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Press conference on Pope Francis' two new Motu proprio on the reform of canonical procedure for marriage annulment

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope praises the synodality of the Church in Portugal
    Vatican City, 7 September 2015 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in
    audience the bishops of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, at the end of their
    "ad Limina" visit, and subsequently handed them a written discourse in which he
    praises, among other things, the growth of synodality as a style of pastoral life in the country's particular Churches and various initiatives including the
    general enquiry on the beliefs and faith of the Portuguese people, the first response to which is the Note "Promoting pastoral renewal in the Church in Portugal" (April 2013).
    The Pope also emphasised that the five-yearly reports of the bishops suggest that the Church in Portugal has more positive than negative aspects and lives serenely, guided by common sense, and is listened to by the majority of the population and national institutions, even though her voice is not always followed. The people are hospitable, generous, religious and peace-loving, and the episcopate is fraternally united. The priests are well-prepared both spiritually and culturally, and consecrated persons are faithful to the charism
    of their founders, while the laity expresses in the world the effective presence
    of the Church.
    However, the Pope notes the abandonment of Christian practice by young people after their confirmation, precisely at an age at which they take up the reins of
    future life, and asked if this is perhaps due to a failure of catechesis to grow
    with them and to respond to their questions and concerns. He therefore invites the bishops to rethink the question of a global catechetical path covering different ages and offers them encouragement, recalling that the Lord assures His constant presence and His infallible assistance to the Church.

    ___________________________________________________________

    We cannot remain indifferent to those who suffer as a result of war and violence
    Vatican City, September 2015 (VIS) - "Peace is always possible - religions and
    cultures in dialogue" is the title of the 28th International Meeting for Peace,
    organised by the Sant'Egidio Community. Twenty years after the end of the war in
    the Balkans, it is being held this year in Tirana, Albania from 6 to 8 September. The Meetings follow the trail of St. John Paul II who attended the first in 1986 in Assisi, Italy.
    Below are extensive extracts of the Holy Father's message to participants, dated 29 August 2015, memory of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.
    "As historical contexts change and peoples are called upon to face profound and
    at times dramatic transformations, we are increasingly aware of the need for the
    followers of different religions to meet, to engage in dialogue, to journey together and to collaborate for peace, in that 'spirit of Assisi' that refers to
    the luminous witness of St. Francis".
    "This year you have chosen to visit Tirana, the capital of a country that has become a symbol of the peaceful cohabitation of different religions, after a long history of suffering. ... I wished to choose Albania as the first European
    country to visit, precisely to encourage the path of peaceful coexistence after
    the tragic persecutions suffered by Albanian believers during the last century.
    The long list of martyrs still speaks to us today of that dark period, but also
    of the strength of faith that does not bend to the arrogance of evil. In no other country in the world has the decision to exclude God from the life of the
    people been so strong; even just a religious sign was enough to warrant punishment with prison, if not death. This deeply affected the Albanian people,
    up to the moment at which they regained their freedom, when the members of the various religious communities, sorely tested by the suffering they had experienced, were once more able to live together in peace".
    "It is precisely because it has its foundations in God that 'peace is always possible', as the title of your Meeting this year affirms. It is necessary to confirm this truth, especially today, when in some parts of the world it would seem that violence, persecution and abuse prevail over religious freedom, along
    with resignation to protracted conflicts. We must never become resigned to war!
    And we must not remain indifferent to those who suffer as a result of war and violence. For this reason I have chosen as the theme of the next World Day of Peace: 'Overcome indifference and win peace'. But it is also a form of violence
    to raise walls and barriers to obstruct those who seek a place of peace. It is violence to reject those who flee from inhuman conditions in the hope of a better future. It is violence to discard children and the elderly from society and from life itself. It is violence to widen the gap between those who waste the superfluous and those who lack essentials".
    "In this world, faith in God leads us to believe and leads us to cry aloud that
    peace is possible. It is faith that drives us to trust in God and not to resign
    ourselves to the work of evil. As believers we are called upon to rediscover that universal vocation to peace that lies at the heart of our different religious traditions, and to courageously offer it again to the men and women of
    our time. I reiterate what I said in this respect when speaking to religious leaders in Tirana: 'Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence!
    No one must use the name of God to commit violence! To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman'".

    ___________________________________________________________

    God is not closed in on Himself, but opens up to humanity
    Vatican City, 6 September 2015 (VIS) - The Gospel account of the deaf-mute, which shows how Jesus restores the full communication of the person with God and
    neighbour, was the theme of Pope Francis' reflection during this morning's Angelus audience.
    The Holy Father explained to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's
    Square at midday that the miracle takes place in the area of Decapolis, in pagan
    territory, and therefore the deaf-mute brought before Jesus is transformed into
    a symbol of the non-believer who completes a journey towards faith. "Indeed, his
    deafness expresses the inability to listen and to understand not only the words
    of man, but also the Word of God. And St. Paul reminds us that 'faith comes from
    hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ'".
    The first thing Jesus does is to take the man far from the crowd: "He does not
    wish to publicise the gesture He is about to perform, nor does He want His word
    to be submerged in the din of voices and the chatter of those around. The Word of God that Christ communicates to us requires silence so as to be received as the Word that heals, reconciles and re-establishes communication".
    Jesus then touches the ears and the tongue of the man to restore, through touch, the communication that had been blocked. But the miracle is "a gift that
    comes from on high, that Jesus implores from the Father; this is why He lifts His eyes to the heavens and commands, 'Be opened'. And the deaf man's ears open,
    the knot in his tongue is untied and he begins to speak correctly".
    This passage teaches us that "God is not closed in on Himself, but instead opens up to and communicates with humanity. In His immense mercy, He overcomes the abyss of the infinite difference between Him and us, and comes towards us. In order to communicate with humanity, God becomes man. It is not enough for Him
    to speak to us through the law and the prophets; He makes Himself present in the
    person of His Son, the Word made flesh. Jesus is the great 'bridge-builder' who
    constructs in Himself the great bridge of full communion with the Father".
    "But this Gospel also speaks to us about ourselves", emphasised the Pope. "Often we are caught up and closed in on ourselves, and we create many inaccessible and inhospitable islands. Even the most elementary human relationships at times create situations incapable of mutual openness; the closed couple, the closed family, the closed group, the closed parish, the closed nation ... and this is not of God. This is ours, it is our sin".
    "However, at the origin of our Christian life, in baptism, precisely this gesture and this word of Jesus are present: 'Ephthatha!', 'Be opened!'. And the
    miracle was performed: we were cured of the deafness of selfishness and the muteness of closure and sin, and we become part of the great family of the Church. We are able to hear God Who speaks to us and to communicate His Word to
    those who have never heard it, or have forgotten it, burying it under the thorns
    of the worries and deceits of the world".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Appeal to the dioceses of Europe to welcome refugee families
    Vatican City, 6 September 2015 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, Francis launched a heartfelt appeal to all the dioceses of Europe to welcome families among the tens of thousands of refugees seeking to flee the horrors of war and persecution.
    "We recognise God's mercy through our works, as is shown by the life of Blessed
    Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the anniversary of whose death we commemorated yesterday".
    "Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who flee death from war or hunger, on a journey towards the hope of life, the Gospel calls to us and
    asks us to be close to them, to the smallest and the abandoned; to give them real hope. Not merely to say; 'be brave, be patient'. Christian hope is assertive, with the tenacity of those who go towards a certain destination".
    "Therefore, as we near the Jubilee of Mercy, I wish to address an appeal to the
    parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines throughout Europe to express the concreteness of the Gospel and to welcome a family of refugees. A concrete gesture in preparation for the Holy Year of Mercy. May every parish, every religious community, every monastery and every shrine in Europe host a family, starting with my diocese of Rome",
    "I address my brother bishops in Europe, true pastors, so that in their dioceses they may hear my appeal, recalling that Mercy is the second name of Love: 'as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Sep 8 09:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 151
    DATE 08-09-2015

    Summary:
    - Motu proprio "Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus" and "Mitis et misericors Iesus": the
    Pope reforms the procedures for declaration of marriage nullity
    - Presentation of the Holy Father's Motu proprio on the reform of procedures for
    the declaration of marriage nullity
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Motu proprio "Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus" and "Mitis et misericors Iesus": the Pope reforms the procedures for declaration of marriage nullity
    Vatican City, 8 September 2015 (VIS) - "Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus" and "Mitis et misericors Iesus", on the reform of canonical processes for the declaration of nullity of marriage, in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) and the Code of Canons of
    the Eastern Churches (CCEO) are the two letters issued "Motu proprio" by the Holy Father Francis, published today.
    In the first, "Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus", the Pope writes that the Lord Jesus,
    "clement Judge, Pastor of our souls, has entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his
    Successors the power of the keys to fulfil in the Church the works of justice and truth; this supreme and universal power to bind and dissolve here on earth affirms, corroborates and vindicates that of the Pastors of the particular Churches, by virtue of which they have the sacred right and, before the Lord, the duty to judge their own subjects".
    "Throughout the centuries", he continues, "the Church, in matters of marriage,
    acquiring a clearer awareness of the Words of Christ, has understood and explained in greater depth the doctrine of the indissolubility of the sacred conjugal bond, has developed the system for the annulment of matrimonial consent, and has more suitably disciplined the relevant judicial process, so that ecclesiastical discipline is more consistent with the truth of the professed faith".
    "All this has always been done with the supreme law of the salvation of souls as a guide. ... Aware of the above, I have undertaken to reform the processes for
    the declaration of nullity of marriage, and for this purpose I have constituted
    a Group of persons eminent for their competence in legal doctrine, their pastoral prudence and their forensic experience who, under the guidance of the Most Excellent Dean of the Roman Rota, have drafted a plan for reform, without prejudice to the principle of the indissolubility of the marriage bond. ... This
    Group has developed a framework for reform which, after thoughtful consideration
    with the assistance of other experts, has provided the basis for this 'Motu proprio'".
    "It is therefore the concern for the salvation of souls that, today as yesterday, remains the supreme objective of the institutions and laws, and drives the Bishop of Rome to offer to the Bishops this reform document, insofar
    as they share with him the task of the Church to protect unity in faith and in discipline regarding marriage, the cornerstone and origin of the Christian family. The drive to reform has been fuelled by the enormous number of faithful
    who, while wishing to be at peace with their conscience, are too often separated
    from the legal structures of the Churches due to physical or moral distance; charity and mercy therefore require that the same Church, as a mother, to be closer to her children who consider themselves separated".
    "This direction was also indicated by the votes of the majority of my Brothers
    in the Episcopate, gathered in the recent extraordinary Synod, who called for faster and more accessible processes. In full harmony with this desire I have decided to introduce, by this Motu proprio, provisions that favour not the nullity of marriage but rather the speed of processes, along with the appropriate simplicity, so that the heart of the faithful who await clarification of their status is not long oppressed by the darkness of doubt due
    to the lengthy wait for a conclusion".
    "I have done so following in the footsteps of my predecessors, who wanted procedures for the declaration of nullity of marriage to be treated by judicial
    rather than administrative means, not because the nature of the matter imposes this but because it is demanded by the need to protect to the greatest extent possible the truth of the sacred bond; and this is precisely what is ensured by
    the guarantees of the judicial order".
    The Pope goes on to indicate a number of fundamental criteria that guide the reform:
    "1. A single judgement in favour of executive nullity: it would appear appropriate to no longer require a double conforming decision in favour of the nullity of the marriage to enable the parties to be able to contract a further canonical marriage, instead considering sufficient the moral certainty reached by the first judge in accordance with the rules of law.
    2. A single judge under the responsibility of the bishop: the constitution of the single judge, in any case clerical, is in the first instance the responsibility of the bishop, who in the pastoral exercise of his judicial power
    must ensure that the former does not engage in any form of laxity.
    3. The same bishop is the judge: ... The bishop in his Church, of which he is constituted pastor and head, is for this reason judge among the faithful entrusted to him. It is hoped, therefore, that in both large and small dioceses
    the same bishop may offer a sign of the conversion of the ecclesiastical structures, rather than completely delegating the judicial function in matters of marriage to the offices of the curia. This is especially relevant to the shorter procedure, established to resolve the most evident cases of nullity".
    4. Short procedure: Indeed, aside from streamlining processes for the declaration of nullity, a form of shorter process is designated - in addition to
    the current documentary procedure - to be applied in cases in which the alleged
    nullity of the marriage is supported by particularly clear arguments". The Holy
    Father observes that "it does not pass unnoticed that a shorter procedure may endanger the principle of the indissolubility of marriage; for precisely this reason I have required that in such a procedure the judge be the bishop himself
    who, due to his pastoral office, is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline".
    5. Appeal to the Metropolitan See: it would be appropriate to restore the faculty of appeal to the Metropolitan See, since this office of the head of the
    ecclesiastical province, stable throughout the centuries, is a distinctive sign
    of the synodality of the Church.
    6. The competence of the Episcopal Conferences: the Episcopal Conferences, which must be above all driven by the apostolic eagerness to reach the lost faithful, are strongly aware of their duty to share in the aforementioned conversion, and fully respect the right of the bishops to organise the judicial
    power in their own particular Churches. ... Along with their proximity to the judge, the Episcopal Conferences, to the extent possible, must ensure just and dignified retribution to tribunal staff, ensuring that the processes are free, since the Church, in a matter so closely linked to the salvation of souls, demonstrates the gratuitous love of Christ by which we have all been saved".
    7. Appeal to the Apostolic See: It is convenient, in all forms, to maintain the
    appeal to the ordinary Tribunal of the Apostolic See, that is the Roman Rota, respecting an ancient judicial principle, so as to strengthen the bond between the See of Peter and the particular Churches, in any case taking care, in the discipline of such appeal, to limit any abuse of the right, so that it does not
    jeopardise the salvation of souls.
    The law of the Roman Rota will be adapted as soon as possible to the rules of the reformed procedure, within the limits of necessity.
    In the eighth point the Pope mentioned that, given the specific ecclesial and disciplinary order of the Eastern Churches, the norms for the reform of the discipline of marriage processes have been issued separately in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
    Finally, he decrees and institutes that the Book VI of the Code of Canon Law (part III, title I, chapter I) on processes for the declaration of the nullity of marriage (canons 1671 to 1691) will be entirely substituted by the new norms,
    with effect from 8 December 2015.
    In the Motu proprio "Mitis et misericors Iesus", addressed to the Eastern Churches, Pope Francis notes that his venerated predecessor, St. John Paul II, in promulgating the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, affirmed that "since
    the beginning of the canonical codification of the Eastern Churches, the same consistent will of the Roman pontiffs to promulgate two codices, one for the Latin Church and one for the Eastern Catholic Churches, has shown very clearly that these latter wish to conserve what has occurred by divine providence in the
    Church, that is, that reunited by a single Spirit, she must breathe with the two
    lungs of East and West, and burn with Christ's charity like a single heart composed of two ventricles".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Sep 14 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 155
    DATE 14-09-2015

    Summary:
    - 11th Meeting of the Holy Father with the Council of Cardinals
    - In two interviews the Pope reaffirms that unfair economic systems cause migration and insists on care for creation
    - Angelus: following Jesus means rejecting the worldly mentality
    - The Pope recalls the first Catholic martyr of South Africa
    - Cooperatives must defend and promote an economy of honesty
    - Pope's message for the opening of the plenary Assembly of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe
    - Holy Father's calendar for September to November 2015
    - Cor Unum convenes meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq
    - The Courtyard of Francis, from 23 to 27 September in Assisi
    - Cardinal Kurt Koch, Pope's special envoy to the 1500th anniversary of the Swiss Abbey of Saint-Maurice
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    11th Meeting of the Holy Father with the Council of Cardinals
    Vatican City, 14 September 2015 (VIS) - This morning the eleventh meeting of the Holy Father with the Council of Cardinals began. The work of the "Council of
    Nine" will continue until Wednesday 16 September.

    ___________________________________________________________

    In two interviews the Pope reaffirms that unfair economic systems cause migration and insists on care for creation
    Vatican City, 14 September 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis has recently granted two interviews: one to the Portuguese broadcaster Radio Renascenca, on the occasion
    of the Portuguese bishops' "ad Limina" visit, and the other to the Argentine Radio Milenium, focusing on care for creation and the value of friendship and dialogue.
    In the first, in response to a question regarding an eventual visit to Portugal
    to commemorate the centenary of the apparitions of the Virgin at Fatima, Francis
    expresses his wish to visit the country and adds that "the Virgin always asks us
    to receive and care for the family and the commandments. She does not ask for anything unusual. ... And she appears to children. It is curious, she always seeks
    the simplest souls".
    With regard to the phenomenon of migration to Europe, he affirms, "it is the tip of an iceberg. We see these refugees, these poor people, who flee from war,
    from hunger. ... But behind this there is the cause, and the cause is an unfair
    socio-economic system". He adds, "Speaking of the ecological issue, within our socio-economic structure, within politics, at the centre there must always be the person. And today's dominant economic system has replaced the person at the
    centre with the god of money, the idol". Therefore, he says, it is necessary to
    look to the root causes. "When the cause is hunger, create jobs and invest. When
    the cause is war, seek peace, work for peace. Today the world is at war; it is at war against itself".
    In this respect, the Pope reaffirms the importance of acceptance. "Accepting people, and welcoming them as they come". With regard to his appeal to all parishes in Europe to host a family of refugees, he specified, "When I talk about a parish welcoming a family, I do not mean that they should go and live in
    the parish house, but rather that the parish community seek a place, a corner where they can make a little apartment or, if there is no other option, rent a modest apartment for this family; that they should have a roof over their heads,
    they should be welcomed, and that they should be included within the community".
    He also considers the theme of the culture of well-being, commenting that the birthrate is very low in many countries such as Italy, Portugal and Spain. "When
    there is an empty space, people seek to fill it. If a country has no children, migrants come to occupy that space. ... Not wanting children is, in part - and this is my interpretation, I don't know if it is correct - it is linked to the culture of comfort, isn't it? And then the elderly are left alone. I think that
    the great challenge facing Europe is to become once again Mother Europe, rather
    than Grandmother Europe. ... It must be recognised that Europe has an exceptional
    culture - centuries of culture - and must regain her capacity for leadership in
    the concert of nations. Or rather, she must become once again the Europe who shows the way, as she has the culture to do so. ... Europe must assume her role
    once again, as she has the culture to do so, to recover her identity. It is true
    that Europe has made mistakes. I do not reproach, I merely recall this. When she
    has wanted to speak about her identity, she has avoided recognising what is probably the deepest part of it: her Christian roots. We all make mistakes in life, but for Europe it is not too late to change".
    The Pope also emphasises that the Church must be outbound and must be willing to take risks. "If a church, a parish, a diocese, an institute, lives closed up
    in itself, it comes to a halt. It is the same thing that happens to a closed up
    home. We end up with an unhealthy Church, with fixed rules, without creativity,
    'insured' but not safe. Instead, if a church or a parish goes out and evangelises, the same thing happens that can occur to any person who goes out into the street - accidents can befall them. So, between a sickly Church or an accident-prone one, I would prefer an accident-prone Church as at least she reaches out".
    With reference to his expectations of the Jubilee of Mercy, he expresses his hope that "everyone will come. May they come and experience God's love and forgiveness", and with regard to the letter to Archbishop Fisichella in which he
    requests forgiveness during the Jubilee for the most difficult cases and to his
    two Motu Proprios on the reform of processes for declaring nullity of marriage,
    he explains that his intention is "to simplify ... to facilitate faith among the
    people ... to enable the Church to be a mother".
    In the interview granted to Milenium, Francis says that "we are mistreating creation; at times we treat it as if it were our worst enemy", and "we live in system that, to earn money, has displaced man from the centre and put money in his place, leading to the existence of "corrupt systems, with slavery, forced labour and disregard for creation".
    In relation to fundamentalism "as its followers are faithful to an idea but not
    to a reality", Francis warns of the danger represented by this "darkness that obscures our horizon" and causes us to become closed up in our own convictions and 'ideologies'. "It is a wall that prevents encounter with others".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: following Jesus means rejecting the worldly mentality
    Vatican City, 13 September 2015 (VIS) - The path of those who follow Jesus does
    not lead to glory but is instead destined for true freedom, explained the Pope to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square this morning to pray
    the Angelus.
    Francis commented on today's Gospel reading in which Jesus, on the path to Caesarea Philippi, asks His disciples what the people said about Him, as some of
    them considered Him to have been sent by God, but did not yet recognise Him as the Messiah. The apostles answered that some considered Him as the living image
    of John the Baptist, others Elijah or one of the great prophets. Jesus then asked His disciples, "But who do you say that I am?".
    "Here is the most important question, that Jesus addresses to those who followed him, to confirm their faith. Peter answers on behalf of all of them, without hesitation, 'You are the Christ'. Jesus is moved by Peter's faith and recognises that it is the 'fruit ... of the special grace of God the Father'. And
    so he openly reveals to the disciples what awaits him in Jerusalem: that is, that 'the Son of Man must suffer many things ... and be killed, and after three
    days rise again'. But upon hearing this Peter, who has just proclaimed his faith
    in Jesus as the Messiah, is horrified. He takes the Master aside and rebukes him. Jesus reacts with great severity, saying 'Get behind me, Satan! For you are
    not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man'".
    "Jesus realises that in Peter, as in the other disciples - and in each one of us! - the grace of God is opposed by the temptation of the Evil one, that would
    divert us from God's will. By announcing that He must suffer and be put to death
    to then rise again, Jesus wishes to show to those who follow Him that He is a humble servant. And the Servant obeys His Father's Word and will, unto the complete sacrifice of His own life. Therefore, turning to the crowd around Him,
    He declares that he who wishes to be His disciple must accept being a servant, as He has made Himself a servant, and warns, 'If anyone would come after me, let
    him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'".
    "Following Jesus means bearing one's own cross - we all have one - to accompany
    Him on the way, a rough path that is not that of success or fleeting glory, but
    which leads to true freedom, which liberates us from selfishness and sin. It means clearly refusing that worldly mentality that places the self and one's own
    interests at the centre of existence. ... Jesus instead invites us to give our life for Him, for the Gospel, so as to receive it again renewed, fulfilled and authentic. We are certain, thanks to Jesus, that this path leads ultimately to resurrection, to full and definitive life with God. The decision to follow our Master and Lord Who made Himself the Servant to all demands that we walk behind
    Him and listen carefully to His Word - reading every day a passage from the Gospel, and in the Sacraments".
    Finally he addressed the young people in the Square: "I ask you: have you felt
    the wish to follow Jesus more closely? Think, pray, and let the Lord speak to you".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope recalls the first Catholic martyr of South Africa
    Vatican City, 13 September 2015 (VIS) - After today's Angelus prayer, the Pope
    mentioned that today in South Africa Samuel Benedict Daswa, the Catholic Church's first martyr in that country, is proclaimed blessed. A primary school teacher, Daswa was stoned to death in 1990 in Tshitanini, a village in the province of Limpopo, for attributing a fire affecting some huts to lightning and
    not to the forces of evil, and for refusing to pay for the services of a sangoma
    to end the storms. "In his life, he always showed great coherence, bravely assuming Christian attitudes and refusing worldly and pagan habits. May his witness especially help families to spread Christ's truth and charity. His witness joins that of many of our brothers and sisters, young and elderly, children, persecuted, cast out and killed for confessing Jesus Christ. We thank
    all these martyrs for their witness, Samuel Benedict Daswa and all of them, and
    ask them to intercede for us".
    He concluded by greeting teachers from Sardinia in precarious working conditions, and expressed his hope that the problems of the world of work "be faced taking into full consideration the family and its needs".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Cooperatives must defend and promote an economy of honesty
    Vatican City, 12 September 2015 (VIS) "The Church knows the value of cooperatives. Many of them originated from priests, committed lay faithful, and
    communities inspired by the spirit of Christian solidarity ... and in the encyclical 'Laudato si'' I have underlined their value in the fields of renewable energy and agriculture", said the Pope this morning as he received in
    audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall more than seven thousand people, including directors, employees and their families, from the Cooperative Credit Bank of Rome (BCC).
    In his address Francis reiterated the suggestions he made in February to the Confederation of Cooperatives, adding that each one should dedicate itself to its specific mission: "Continue to be a motor for the development of the weakest
    part of local communities and of civil society, thinking especially of the young
    unemployed and aiming at the birth of new cooperative enterprises. Be agents in
    proposing and implementing new welfare solutions, starting in the field of healthcare. Occupy yourselves with the relationship between the economy and social justice, keeping the dignity and value of the person at the centre. The person must always be at the centre, not the god of money. Facilitate and encourage family life, and propose cooperative and mutual solutions for the management of common goods, that cannot become the property of the few or the object of speculation. Promote a fraternal and social use of money, in the style
    of the true cooperative, in which people are not guided by capital, but instead

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Sep 17 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 158
    DATE 17-09-2015

    Summary:
    - Audience with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg: assistance to refugees and displaced persons
    - To young consecrated persons: prophecy, closeness, memory and adoration
    - The Church cannot remain silent as women and children live on the streets
    - The Pope: no-one can remain oblivious to the atrocities and human rights violations in Syria and Iraq

    ___________________________________________________________

    Audience with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg: assistance to refugees and displaced persons
    Vatican City, 17 September 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
    The cordial discussions offered the opportunity to reaffirm the wish to consolidate the existing good relations between the Holy See and the Grand Duchy
    of Luxembourg and to consider issues of common interest, with special attention
    to the relationship between Church and State, underlining the relevance of religious freedom and spiritual values for social cohesion.
    Within the context of Luxembourg's term of presidency of the European Union, attention then turned to various matters of a European and international nature,
    with particular reference to current conflicts, the issue of migration and the need to provide assistance to refugees and displaced persons, as well as the situation of persecuted religious minorities.

    ___________________________________________________________

    To young consecrated persons: prophecy, closeness, memory and adoration
    Vatican City, 17 September 2015 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience the participants in the World Meeting of Young Consecrated Men and Women, which took place within the context of the Year of Consecrated Life. During the audience, and after special greetings for those from Syria and Iraq in which he recalled the martyrs of these countries, the Pope answered three questions posed to him by those present.
    The first question, asked by a woman religious, related to the problem of instability and mediocrity in the vocational path. Francis recalled that, according to St. Teresa of Jesus, strict observance removed freedom. "The Lord calls you - and calls all of us - to the 'prophetic way' of freedom, that is the
    freedom that is to be united with witness and fidelity. A mother who raises her
    children in a strict fashion ... and does not let them dream ... annuls their creative future, rendering them barren. Consecrated life, too, can be barren, when it is not truly prophetic, when dreaming is not permitted. ... Prophecy, the
    capacity to dream, is the opposite of rigidity. And observance must not be rigid: if it is, it is personal egoism. ... Always keep your heart open to what
    the Lord says to you and bring it into your dialogue with the superior, the teacher or your spiritual guide, the Church, the bishop. Openness, an open heart, dialogue, and also community dialogue. ... I tell you sincerely, one of the
    sins I most frequently encounter in community life is the incapacity for forgiveness between brothers and sisters. ... Gossip in a community obstructs forgiveness and puts distance between people. ... It is the scourge of community
    life. ... It is a bomb that destroys the reputation of others who are unable to
    defend themselves as gossip takes place in obscurity, not in the light of day".
    The Pope went on to affirm that ever since the beginning of consecrated life there have been moments of instability. "There will always be temptations ... and
    returning to St. Teresa of Jesus, she said that one must pray for those who are
    about to die, as this is the moment of greatest instability, in which the temptations arise with force. Culturally it is true, we live in a very unstable
    time ... we live in a culture of the provisional. ... And this culture has also
    entered into the Church, into religious communities, into the family and marriage. ... Instead there is the culture of the definitive - God sent His Son
    for ever, not in a temporary way, to one generation or country, but rather to all and forever. And this is a criterion of spiritual discernment ... taking on
    definitive commitments so as not to disintegrate".
    In response to another question on evangelisation, the Pope emphasised that apostolic zeal comes from a wish to evangelise that inflames the heart. "Evangelising is not the same as proselytism", he remarked. "We are not a football team seeking members and supporters. ... Evangelisation is not about simply convincing, it is about bearing witness that Jesus lives. ... And this witness is given with the flesh, with one's own life. And here - forgive me if am a bit of a feminist - I would like to give thanks for the witness of consecrated women. You always have the wish to go to the front line, as you are
    mothers, you have the maternity of the Church, that brings you close to people.
    ... You are the icons of the Church's tenderness and love, of the maternity of the
    Church and of Our Lady".
    "Another key word in consecrated life is memory. I do not think that James and
    John ever forgot their first encounter with Jesus, and nor did the other apostles. ... The memory of one's own vocation. In the darkest moments, the moments of temptation, in the difficult moments of our consecrated life, return
    to the source, treasure the memory and wonder of when the Lord looked upon us".
    The Pope was asked to share his memory of the first calling he received. "I don't know how it was. I entered the Church by chance, I saw a confessional and
    I left changed, I left in a different way. My life changed then. And what attracted me to Jesus and the Gospel? I don't know ... their closeness to me. The
    Lord has never left me alone, not even in dark and difficult moments, nor in moments of sin ... because the Lord always meets us definitively. He is not part
    of the culture of the provisional: He loves us for ever and He accompanies us always".
    "So, proximity to the people, prophecy in our witness, with an ardour, with the
    apostolic zeal that warms the hearts of others, even without words ... and memory,
    always returning to the source".
    "I would like to end with two words", Francis concluded. "One is ... among the
    worst attitudes of the religious: gazing upon one's own reflection in the mirror, narcissism. Be on your guard against this. ... And yes, instead, to the
    contrary, to what despoils us of all narcissism, yes to adoration. I think this
    is one of the central themes. We all pray and give thanks to the Lord, we ask favours, we praise the Lord ... but do we adore the Lord? The prayer of silent adoration: 'You are the Lord', is the opposite of narcissism. I would like to finish with this word, adoration. Be men and women of adoration".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Church cannot remain silent as women and children live on the streets
    Vatican City, 17 September 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall the
    Holy Father received the participants in the International Symposium on the Pastoral Care of the Street, organised by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The aim of the meeting was to draw up a plan of action to
    respond to the phenomenon of women and children - and their families - who live
    mainly on the streets.
    Among the often sad causes of the phenomenon, the Pope lists indifference, poverty, family and social violence, and human trafficking. "They involve the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Sep 23 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 162
    DATE 23-09-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope at the Shrine of El Cobre: ours is a revolution of tenderness, joy and compassion
    - Francis leaves Cuba, reiterating that the family is not a 'problem' but rather
    an opportunity
    - The Pope speaks about his trip in Cuba
    - Francis arrives in the United States of America
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________


    The Pope at the Shrine of El Cobre: ours is a revolution of tenderness, joy and
    compassion

    Vatican City, 23 September 2015 (VIS) - "God's presence in our lives never leaves us tranquil: it always pushes to do something. When God comes, He always
    calls us out of our house. We are visited so that we can visit others; we are encountered so as to encounter others; we receive love in order to give love", said Pope Francis yesterday in his final homily in Cuba, in the Minor Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

    The Pope commented on the Gospel passage that narrates the episode of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. "Mary went in haste, slowly but surely, with a steady pace, neither too fast nor so slow as never to get there. ... Henceforth
    this was always to be her way. These lands have also been visited by her maternal presence. The Cuban homeland was born and grew, warmed by devotion to Our Lady of Charity".

    "This was what your fellow citizens also stated a hundred years ago, when they asked Pope Benedict XV to declare Our Lady of Charity the Patroness of Cuba", Francis recalled. "They wrote that 'neither disgrace nor poverty were ever able
    to crush the faith and the love which our Catholic people profess for the Virgin
    of Charity, for whom, in all their trials, when death was imminent or desperation was at the door, there arose, like a light scattering the darkness of every peril, like a comforting dew, the vision of that Blessed Virgin".

    This Shrine has since kept alive the memory of God's holy and faithful pilgrim people in Cuba. "From here she protects our roots, our identity, so that we may
    never stray to paths of despair. The soul of the Cuban people, as we have just heard, was forged amid suffering and privation which could not suppress the faith, that faith which was kept alive thanks to all those grandmothers who fostered, in the daily life of their homes, the living presence of God, the presence of the Father Who liberates, strengthens, heals, grants courage and serves as a sure refuge and the sign of a new resurrection. Grandmothers, mothers, and so many others who with tenderness and love were signs of visitation, valour and faith for their grandchildren, in their families".

    "Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness", he emphasised. "We are asked to live the revolution of tenderness as Mary, our Mother of Charity, did. We are invited to
    'leave home' and to open our eyes and hearts to others. Our revolution comes about through tenderness, through the joy which always becomes closeness and compassion, and leads us to get involved in, and to serve, the life of others. ...
    Our faith, 'calls us out of our house', to visit the sick, the prisoner and to those who mourn. It makes us able to laugh with those who laugh, and rejoice with our neighbours who rejoice".

    "Like Mary, we want to be a Church who serves, who leaves home and goes forth, who goes forth from her chapels, her sacristies, in order to accompany life, to
    sustain hope, to be a sign of unity. Like Mary, Mother of Charity, we want to be
    a Church who goes forth to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation. Like Mary, we want to be a Church who can accompany all those 'pregnant' situations of our people, committed to life, to culture, to society,
    not washing our hands but rather walking with our brothers and sisters. All together, serving, helping. All sons and daughters of God, sons and daughters of
    Mary, sons and daughters of this noble Cuban soil".

    ___________________________________________________________


    Francis leaves Cuba, reiterating that the family is not a 'problem' but rather an opportunity

    Vatican City, 23 September 2015 (VIS) - The Pope concluded his visit to Cuba by
    meeting with families in the Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion cathedral in Santiago, where he gave thanks to all Cubans for the warm welcome he has received in these days, a "warmth spread by people who know how to welcome and to accept someone, to make him feel at home".

    The reading that preceded the Holy Father's discourse was the Gospel account of
    the wedding at Cana. "Jesus begins His public life at a wedding. He enters into
    that history of sowing and reaping, of dreams and quests, of efforts and commitments, of hard work which tills the land so that it can yield fruit. Jesus
    began His life within a family, within a home. And He continues to enter into, and become a part of, our homes. It is interesting to see how Jesus also appears
    at meals, at dinners. Eating with different people, visiting different homes, was a special way for Him to make known God's plan. He goes to the home of His friends, Martha and Mary, but He is not choosy; it makes no difference to Him if
    they are publicans or sinners, like Zacchaeus. He did not just act this way himself; when He sent His disciples out to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom
    of God He told them: Stay in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide. Weddings, visits to people's homes, dinners: those moments in people's
    lives become 'special' because Jesus chose to be part of them".

    Francis recalled that in his former diocese many families told him that "the only time they came together was at dinner, in the evening after work, when the
    children had finished their homework. These were special times in the life of the family. They talked about what happened that day and what each of them had done. ... Jesus chooses all those times to show us the love of God. He chooses those moments to enter into our hearts and to help us to discover the Spirit of
    life at work in our daily affairs. It is in the home that we learn fraternity, solidarity, and not to be overbearing. It is in the home that we learn to receive, to appreciate life as a blessing and to realise that we need one another to move forward. ... That is why the Christian community calls families
    'domestic churches'".

    "Without family, without the warmth of home, life grows empty, there is a weakening of the networks which sustain us in adversity, nurture us in daily living and motivate us to build a better future. The family saves us from two present-day phenomena: fragmentation ... and uniformity. In both cases, people turn into isolated individuals, easy to manipulate and to rule. Societies which
    are divided, broken, separated or rigidly uniform are a result of the breakup of
    family bonds, the loss of those relationships which make us who we are, which teach us to be persons".

    "The family is a school of humanity which teaches us to open our hearts to others' needs, to be attentive to their lives", Francis continued. "Amid all the
    difficulties troubling our families today, please, never forget one thing: families are not a problem, they are first and foremost an opportunity. An opportunity which we have to care for, protect and support. We talk a lot about
    the future, about the kind of world we want to leave to our children, the kind of society we want for them. I believe that one possible answer lies in looking
    at yourselves: let us leave behind a world with families. No doubt about it: the
    perfect family does not exist; there are no perfect husbands and wives, perfect
    parents, perfect children, but this does not prevent families from being the answer for the future. God inspires us to love, and love always engages with the
    persons it loves. So let us care for our families, true schools for the future.
    Let us care for our families, true spaces of freedom. Let us care for families,
    true centres of humanity".

    The Holy Father invited all expectant mothers, "pregnant with hope as a new baby
    is a hope", to caress their growing child in the womb as he gave them his blessing.

    "I do not want to end without mentioning the Eucharist", he continued. "All of you know very well that Jesus chose a meal to the setting for His memorial. He chose a specific moment of family life as the 'place' of his presence among us.
    A moment which we have all experienced, a moment we all understand: a meal. The
    Eucharist is the meal of Jesus' family, which the world over gathers to hear His
    word and to be fed by His body. Jesus is the Bread of Life for our families. He
    wants to be ever present, nourishing us by His love, sustaining us in faith, helping us to walk in hope, so that in every situation we can experience the true Bread of Heaven".

    The Pope concluded by asking those present to pray for the World Meeting of Families and for the Synod of Bishops on the family, to start at the beginning of October. Then, accompanied by the archbishop of Santiago, Dionisio Guillermo
    Garcia Ibanez, he greeted faithful in the cathedral and finally appeared at the
    terrace overlooking Parque Cespedes, from where he bade farewell to Cuba with the following words:

    "I greet you. Thank you for your welcome and your warmth. The Cubans are truly kind and good, and make you feel at home. Many thanks! And I would like to offer
    a word of hope. A word of hope that may perhaps make us turn our heads to look backwards and ahead. Looking back is memory. The memory of those who have given
    us life, and especially grandparents. A warm greeting to grandparents. Let us not forget them. Grandparents are our living memory. And looking ahead: children
    and the young, who are the strength of the people. A people that cares for grandparents and cares for children and the young is guaranteed victory! God bless you, and let Him give you His blessing, but on one condition. I ask you to
    pray for me. This is the condition. May God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless you. Farewell and thank you".

    ___________________________________________________________


    The Pope speaks about his trip in Cuba

    Vatican City, 23 September 2015 (VIS) - During the flight from Cuba to the United States, Pope Francis spoke with journalists and answered their questions
    on a number of issues including the trade embargo against Cuba, his critique of
    liberal capitalism and the future role of the Church on the island.

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Sep 24 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 163
    DATE 24-09-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope at the White House: as the son of migrants, happy to be a guest in country largely built by such families
    - Meeting with United States bishops: never repeat the crimes of the past
    - The canonisation of Blessed Junipero Serra: Jesus has no 'shortlist' of people
    worthy of His message
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope at the White House: as the son of migrants, happy to be a guest in a country largely built by such families
    Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday more than two hundred thousand people awaited Pope Francis outside the White House, where shortly after 9 a.m. local time (3 p.m. in Rome) he was welcomed by President Barack Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama. They accompanied him to the podium erected in the grounds of the presidential residence, where before two thousand
    people the Holy Father gave his first address in the United States.
    In his discourse he affirmed that, "as the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families",
    and highlighted the commitment of American Catholics, along with their fellow citizens, to constructing a tolerant and inclusive society and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. The Pope also mentioned the importance of the right to religious freedom and the duty of defending it from anything that might threaten or compromise it.
    Francis praised Barack Obama's initiative for reducing air pollution. "Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation", he said. "When it comes to the care of our 'common home', we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about 'a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change'. Such
    change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the
    kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them. Our common home has been
    part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies. To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on
    a promissory note and now is the time to honour it. ... Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. As Christians inspired by
    this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home".
    The Holy Father also mentioned recent efforts "to mend broken relationships and
    to open new doors to cooperation within our human family" which "represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom. I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts
    of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and
    sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children".
    "Mr. President", he concluded, "once again I thank you for your welcome, and look forward to these days in your country. God bless America!".
    At the end of the welcome ceremony, the Pope and the president retired to the Oval Office where an exchange of gifts and a private discussion took place, attended by members of President Obama's family. The Pope's gift was a bronze medallion commemorating the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to be celebrated on 27 September in Philadelphia.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Meeting with United States bishops: never repeat the crimes of the past
    Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) - The challenges of a nation whose vast resources require not insignificant moral responsibility in a world seeking new
    equilibria of peace, prosperity and integration, the importance of never again repeating past "crimes" against victims of abuse, the need for dialogue instead
    of hard and bellicose language, and the defence of the excluded, migrants and the environment were some of the themes that Pope Francis considered yesterday in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C., during his meeting with the episcopate of the United States. The following are extensive extracts from his address.
    "My first word to you is one of thanksgiving to God for the power of the Gospel
    which has brought about remarkable growth of Christ's Church in these lands and
    enabled its generous contribution, past and present, to American society and to
    the world. ... I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to
    the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit. I am well aware of the immense efforts you have made to welcome and integrate those immigrants who continue to look to America, like so many others before them, in the hope of enjoying its blessings of freedom and prosperity. I also appreciate the efforts which you are making to fulfil the Church's mission of education in schools at every level and in the charitable services offered by your numerous institutions. These works are often carried out without appreciation or support, often with heroic sacrifice, out of obedience to a divine mandate which we may not disobey. I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of
    the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realise how much the
    pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims - in the knowledge that in healing we too
    are healed - and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.
    "I speak to you as the Bishop of Rome, called by God in old age, and from a land which is also American, to watch over the unity of the universal Church and
    to encourage in charity the journey of all the particular Churches toward ever greater knowledge, faith and love of Christ. ... I too know how hard it is to sow
    the Gospel among people from different worlds, with hearts often hardened by the
    trials of a lengthy journey. Nor am I unaware of the efforts made over the years
    to build up the Church amid the prairies, mountains, cities and suburbs of a frequently inhospitable land, where frontiers are always provisional and easy answers do not always work. What does work is the combination of the epic struggle of the pioneers and the homely wisdom and endurance of the settlers".
    "It is not my intention to offer a plan or to devise a strategy. ... I have no
    wish to tell you what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us. Instead, I would turn once again to the demanding task - ancient yet never new - of seeking out the paths we need to take and the spirit with which we need to work. ... We are bishops of the Church, shepherds appointed by God to
    feed his flock. Our greatest joy is to be shepherds, and only shepherds, pastors
    with undivided hearts and selfless devotion. ... The heart of our identity is to
    be sought in constant prayer, in preaching and in shepherding the flock entrusted to our care".
    "Ours must not be just any kind of prayer, but familiar union with Christ, in which we daily encounter His gaze and sense that He is asking us the question: 'Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?'. One in which we can calmly reply: 'Lord, here is Your mother, here are Your brothers! I hand them over to You; they are the ones whom You entrusted to me'".
    "Such trusting union with Christ is what nourishes the life of a pastor. It is
    not about preaching complicated doctrines, but joyfully proclaiming Christ Who died and rose for our sake. The 'style' of our mission should make our hearers feel that the message we preach is meant 'for us'. ... May the closeness of the
    shepherd make them them long once again for the Father's embrace. Be vigilant that the flock may always encounter in the heart of their pastor that 'taste of
    eternity' which they seek in vain in the things of this world".
    "Shepherds who do not pasture themselves but are able to step back, away from the centre, to 'decrease', in order to feed God's family with Christ. Who keep constant watch, standing on the heights to look out with God's eyes on the flock
    which is His alone. ... Shepherds who do not lower our gaze, concerned only with
    our concerns, but raise it constantly toward the horizons which God opens before
    us and which surpass all that we ourselves can foresee or plan. Who also watch over ourselves, so as to flee the temptation of narcissism, which blinds the eyes of the shepherd, makes his voice unrecognisable and his actions fruitless".
    "Certainly it is helpful for a bishop to have the farsightedness of a leader and the shrewdness of an administrator, but we fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us. Bishops need to be lucidly aware of the battle between light and darkness being fought in this world. Woe to us,
    however, if we make of the cross a banner of worldly struggles and fail to realise that the price of lasting victory is allowing ourselves to be wounded and consumed. ... I know that you face many challenges, and that the field in which you sow is unyielding and that there is always the temptation to give in to fear, to lick one's wounds, to think back on bygone times and to devise harsh
    responses to fierce opposition. And yet we are promoters of the culture of encounter. We are living sacraments of the embrace between God's riches and our
    poverty. We are witnesses of the abasement and the condescension of God Who anticipates in love our every response".
    "Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One Who never wearies of visiting the marketplace. ... I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly. ... Do not be afraid to set out on that
    'exodus' which is necessary for all authentic dialogue. Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realise deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain. Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.
    ... We need to ... remember that Jesus' Church is kept whole not by 'consuming fire
    from heaven', but by the secret warmth of the Spirit, Who 'heals what is wounded, bends what is rigid, straightens what is crooked'".
    "The great mission which the Lord gives us is one which we carry out in communion, collegially. The world is already so torn and divided, brokenness is
    now everywhere. Consequently, the Church, 'the seamless garment of the Lord' cannot allow herself to be rent, broken or fought over. ... It is imperative, therefore, to watch over that unity, to safeguard it, to promote it and to bear
    witness to it as a sign and instrument which, beyond every barrier, unites nations, races, classes and generations. ... This service to unity is particularly
    important for this nation, whose vast material and spiritual, cultural and political, historical and human, scientific and technological resources impose significant moral responsibilities in a world which is seeking, confusedly and laboriously, new balances of peace, prosperity and integration. ... I encourage
    you, then, my brothers, to confront the challenging issues of our time. Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we face these challenges".
    "The innocent victims of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings,
    immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man's predatory relationship with nature - at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sun Sep 27 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 165
    DATE 27-09-2015

    Summary:
    - The future of the Church requires more active participation of the laity
    - Meeting with the Hispanic community and other immigrants: "Never be ashamed of
    your traditions"
    - God gave Creation to a family
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________


    The future of the Church requires more active participation of the laity

    Vatican City, 27 September 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia for
    the last stage of his apostolic trip yesterday at 9.30 a.m. local time (3.30 p.m. in Rome). His first act in this history city, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the United States Constitution was signed, was the
    celebration of Holy Mass at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, a votive mass
    to the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, attended by the bishops, clergy, and men and women religious of the state of Pennsyvlania.

    "This morning I learned something about the history of this beautiful Cathedral:
    the story behind its high walls and windows", said the Pope in his homily. "I would like to think, though, that the history of the Church in this city and state is really a story not about building walls, but about breaking them down.
    It is a story about generation after generation of committed Catholics going out
    to the peripheries, and building communities of worship, education, charity and
    service to the larger society. ... All of this is a great legacy which you have
    received, and which you have been called to enrich and pass on".

    "Most of you know the story of Saint Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church", he continued. "When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII
    of the needs of the missions, the Pope ... asked her pointedly: 'What about you?
    What are you going to do?'. Those words changed Katharine's life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can,
    to the Lord's call to build up his Body, the Church".

    Those words were addressed to a "a young woman with high ideals, and they changed her life. They made her think of the immense work that had to be done, and to realise that she was being called to do her part. How many young people in our parishes and schools have the same high ideals, generosity of spirit, and
    love for Christ and the Church! ... To find ways of sharing their enthusiasm and
    gifts with our communities, above all in works of mercy and concern for others?"
    asked the Pope.

    "One of the great challenges facing the Church in this generation is to foster in all the faithful a sense of personal responsibility for the Church's mission,
    and to enable them to fulfil that responsibility as missionary disciples, as a leaven of the Gospel in our world. This will require creativity in adapting to changed situations, carrying forward the legacy of the past not primarily by maintaining our structures and institutions, which have served us well, but above all by being open to the possibilities which the Spirit opens up to us and
    communicating the joy of the Gospel, daily and in every season of our life".

    Francis remarked that "it is significant that those words of the elderly Pope were also addressed to a lay woman. We know that the future of the Church in a rapidly changing society will call, and even now calls, for a much more active engagement on the part of the laity. The Church in the United States has always
    devoted immense effort to the work of catechesis and education. Our challenge today is to build on those solid foundations and to foster a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility in planning for the future of our parishes and institutions. This does not mean relinquishing the spiritual authority with which we have been entrusted; rather, it means discerning and employing wisely the manifold gifts which the Spirit pours out upon the Church.
    In a particular way, it means valuing the immense contribution which women, lay
    and religious, have made and continue to make, to the life of our communities".

    "During these days of the World Meeting of Families, I would ask you in a particular way to reflect on our ministry to families, to couples preparing for
    marriage, and to our young people", he concluded. "I know how much is being done
    in your local Churches to respond to the needs of families and to support them in their journey of faith. I ask you to pray fervently for them, and for the deliberations of the forthcoming Synod on the Family".

    ___________________________________________________________


    Meeting with the Hispanic community and other immigrants: "Never be ashamed of your traditions"

    Vatican City, 27 September 2015 (VIS) - The Independence National Historical Park, considered the "most historic square mile in America" for its numerous buildings linked to the American War of Independence between the United States of America and Great Britain (1763-1783), was the scene of the Pope's meeting with the Hispanic community and other immigrants. The central theme of his discourse was religious freedom and the defence of the roots of every individual
    and people. Upon arrival, the representatives of the "Encuentros Nacionales del
    ministerio Hispano" asked the Holy Father to bless a "Biblia Catolica para la Familia y para el Joven" - a Catholic Bible for the Family and the Young - and the "Cruz de los Encuentros", the cross carried on pilgrimages throughout all the United States in preparation for each national "Encuentro" of the community.
    The initiative was started in 1972, and is intended to enhance the contribution
    of the Hispano-Latin community to the life and decisions of the Catholic Church
    in the country. The next Encuentro will take place in January 2017.

    In his address to the thousands of people gathered in the Park, the Pope remarked that one of the highlights of his trip was his visit to Independence Mall, the birthplace of the United States of America, where the freedoms that define the country were proclaimed for the first time. "The Declaration of Independence stated that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that governments exist to protect and defend those rights. Those resounding words continue to inspire us today, even as they have inspired peoples throughout the world to fight for the freedom to live in accordance with their dignity. But history also
    shows that these or any truths must constantly be reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended. ... We remember the great struggles which led to the abolition of
    slavery, the extension of voting rights, the growth of the labour movement, and
    the gradual effort to eliminate every kind of racism and prejudice directed at successive waves of new Americans. This shows that, when a country is determined
    to remain true to its founding principles, based on respect for human dignity, it is strengthened and renewed".

    He went on to speak of the importance of remembering the past, as "a people which remembers does not repeat past errors; instead, it looks with confidence to the challenges of the present and the future. Remembrance saves a people's soul from whatever or whoever would attempt to dominate it or use it for their interests". He then reiterated his wish, "in this place which is symbolic of the
    American way" to "reflect ... on the right to religious freedom. It is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with
    our neighbours whose religious views differ from our own".

    "Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in
    community, as our consciences dictate", he explained. "But religious liberty, by
    its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families. Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim. ... They remind us of the transcendent dimension of human
    existence and our irreducible freedom in the face of every claim to absolute power. We need only look at history, especially the history of the last century,
    to see the atrocities perpetrated by systems which claimed to build one or another 'earthly paradise' by dominating peoples, subjecting them to apparently
    indisputable principles and denying them any kind of rights. Our rich religious
    traditions seek to offer meaning and direction. ... At the heart of their spiritual mission is the proclamation of the truth and dignity of the human person and human rights. ... In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek
    to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right
    to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and
    brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others".

    We live in a world "subject to globalization ... which consciously aims at a one-dimensional uniformity and seeks to eliminate all differences and traditions
    in a superficial quest for unity. The religions thus have the right and the duty
    to make clear that it is possible to build a society where a healthy pluralism which respects differences and values them as such is a precious ally in the commitment to defending human dignity... and a path to peace in our troubled world".

    He went on to mention the Quakers who founded Philadelphia, "inspired by a profound evangelical sense of the dignity of each individual and the ideal of community united by brotherly love. This conviction led them to found a colony which would be a haven of religious freedom and tolerance. That sense of fraternal concern for the dignity of all, especially the weak and the vulnerable, became an essential part of the American spirit. During his visit to
    the United States in 1987, St. John Paul II paid moving homage to this, reminding all Americans that: 'The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenceless ones'".

    "I take this opportunity to thank all those, of whatever religion, who have sought to serve the God of peace by building cities of brotherly love, by caring
    for our neighbours in need, by defending the dignity of God's gift of life in all its stages, by defending the cause of the poor and the immigrant. All too often, those most in need of our help are unable to be heard. You are their voice, and many of you have faithfully made their cry heard. In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance, you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails. A moment ago I spoke about the tendency towards
    globalisation. Globalisation is not an ill. On the contrary, the tendency towards globalisation is good in that it unites us. The aspect that can be bad is the way in which it is realised. If globalisation aims to make us all equal,
    like a sphere, then it destroys the specific character of each person and each

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Sep 29 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 168
    DATE 29-09-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope speaks almost an hour with journalists on flight from Philadelphia
    - Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter
    - "Cantate Domino", the music of Popes, recorded in the Sistine Chapel
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Vatican Radio

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope speaks almost an hour with journalists on flight from Philadelphia
    Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) - During his return flight to Rome following his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis answered a number of questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on the papal flight.
    The Holy Father first commented that he had been surprised in the United States
    by the warmth and friendliness of the people. He remarked that in Washington D.C. the welcome was very warm but more formal than in New York, where everything was more exuberant, while in Philadelphia it was more expressive. "Three different approaches but the same welcome".
    He also explained the reason for his meeting with the United States episcopate
    in Washington D.C., where he felt the need to express to the prelates his compassion with regard to cases of sexual abuse. "A horrible thing", he said, "and many suffer because they did not know about it and are true men of the Church, true pastors. ... And I spoke to them using words from the Bible, from the
    Book of Revelation: you are coming from a great tribulation, because what happened was a 'great tribulation'. .. I would say almost a sacrilege. ... We all
    know that abuse has occurred in many places: in families, in the neighbourhood,
    in schools, at gymnasiums ... But when a priest commits abuse it is very serious,
    because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy or girl grow in God's love, towards emotional maturity. And instead this is crushed, it is damaged. And this must not be concealed: those who have covered up these events are equally guilty. It is dreadful. And the words I spoke were not intended to say,
    "Don't worry, it's nothing". Instead I wanted to say, "It has been awful and I imagine you have wept a lot". This was the meaning of what I said, and I spoke firmly".
    He affirmed that he understood those victims of abuse and their families who felt unable to forgive the perpetrators. "Yes, I understand them. I pray for them and I do not judge them. Once, at one of these meetings, a woman said to me, 'When my mother discovered I had been abused, she blasphemed against God, lost her faith and died an atheist'. And I understand her. And God, Who is better than me, understands her. I am sure that He welcomed her. Because what was abused, destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter".
    With regard to the peace process in Colombia, he expressed his joy at the news
    that an agreement between the FARC and the government will be signed in March. "When I heard this, I asked the Lord, 'Let us arrive in March, may we arrive with this good intention', as some small details remain to be clarified, but the
    will is present on both sides. Even in the small group; all three are in agreement. We must await March for the definitive accord, which is the point of
    international justice. I have spoken twice with President Santos on the matter.
    And the Holy See is very open to assisting as far as possible".
    Attention then turned to the immigration crisis in Europe. "It has become a state of crisis after a long process. This process began years ago, as the wars
    from which these people flee have been going on for years. Hunger: there has been famine for years. When I think of Africa, I think of it as the exploited continent. ... And I believe that instead of exploiting a continent, or a country,
    or the land, investments should be made so that the people can avoid this crisis. It is true, there is a refugee crisis - as I said in Congress - on a scale we have not seen since the last World War. ... But you know what happens to
    walls. All of them. All walls fall down, today, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now. Eventually they crumble. Walls are not a solution. ... The problem remains, and with more hatred".
    Another question addressed the issue of expectations for the upcoming Synod on
    the family and cases of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, and the recent
    Motu Proprio facilitating the process of declaring nullity of marriage, considered by some as opening the way to "Catholic divorce". Francis said that,
    "in the reform of methods and procedures, I closed the door to the administrative route, by which divorce could have entered more easily. And it may be said to those who consider this to be Catholic divorce that they are mistaken, since this last document closes the door to divorce that may otherwise
    enter - it would have been easier - via the administrative route. ... The Synod
    Fathers asked for this: the streamlining of procedures for declaring nullity of
    marriage. And I stop there. This document, this Motu Proprio, reduces the length
    of procedures, but it is not a divorce as marriage is indissoluble when there is
    a sacrament, and the Church cannot change this. It is part of her doctrine. It is an indissoluble sacrament. The legislative procedure is to show that what appeared to be a sacrament was in fact not a sacrament, for instance, due to lack of freedom, or lack of maturity, or mental illness. ... Then there is the problem of second marriages, of divorcees who make a new union. It seems to me simplistic to say that the solution for these people is that that they can share
    in Communion. This is not the only solution. What the Instrumentum laboris proposes is far more. The matter of new unions by divorced persons is not the only problem. In the Instrumentum laboris there are many. For instance, young people who do not get married, who do not want to marry. It is a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem is the emotional maturity necessary for
    marriage. Another problem is faith. ... The Synod intends to think very carefully
    about preparation for marriage, which is one of the most difficult aspects".
    The Holy Father also replied to a question regarding freedom of conscience for
    public workers requested to sign documents or carry out procedures contrary to their religious convictions. "I cannot bring to mind all the cases of conscientious objection that may exist. But yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a human right. It is a right, and if a person is prevented from exercising their freedom of conscience, they are denied a right. Conscientious objection must exist in all legal frameworks as it is a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying 'this right that has merit, this one does not'.
    In relation to the bombing of Isis bases in Syria by the French air force, he commented, "I do not have a good knowledge of how the situation will unfold. I heard that Russia took one position and it wasn't clear yet about the United States. I truly don't know what to say because I haven't fully understood the situation. But, when I hear the word bombing, death, blood... I repeat what I said
    in Congress and at the UN, to avoid these things. But, I don't know, I can't judge the political situation because I don't know enough about it".
    He went on to answer a question on the relations between the Holy See and China. "China is a great nation that offers the world a great culture and many good things. I said once, in the aircraft flying over China, that I would very much like to visit China. I love the Chinese people. ... I hope that there will be
    opportunities to establish good relations. ... We are in contact and we are talking. For me to have a friend in a great country like China, which has so much culture and has so much opportunity to do good, would be a great joy".
    "Will we one day see women priests in the Catholic Church?", was another question. "No, that cannot be done", answered the Pope. "After discussion and long reflection St. John Paul II, said so clearly. Not because women don't have
    the capacity. In the Church women are more important than men, because the Church is a woman. ... The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is
    more important than Popes, bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in developing a theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that's true".
    "In the United States you have become a star. Is it good for the Church for the
    Pope to be a star?" was the final question. "The title Popes use and must is 'Servant of the servants of God'", replied Francis. "It is different to being star. ... Yes, in the media this word is used, but the reality is quite different.
    How many stars are there whose light goes out, that fall. It is a fleeting thing. Instead, being the servant of the servants of God, this is good. This does not come to an end".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter
    Vatican City, 29 September 2015 (VIS) "Communication and mercy: a fruitful

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Oct 1 07:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 170
    DATE 01-10-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis praises the great spiritual and missionary heritage of the Comboni Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
    - Migrants and refugees challenge us: the response of the Gospel of mercy
    - Presentation of the Pope's message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees: "Emigration is not the juxtaposition of cultures, but rather an encounter of peoples"
    - Decrees for the Causes of Saints
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis praises the great spiritual and missionary heritage of the Comboni Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
    Vatican City, 1 October 2015 (VIS) - The Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus attending their general chapter were received in audience by the Holy Father in the Clementine Hall this morning. In his address to them, Francis spoke about the words that define their name and identity.
    As missionaries, the Combonians are "servants and messengers of the Gospel, especially for those who do not know it or have forgotten it", said the Pope. "At the root of this, the personal relationship with Christ ... determines all of
    our existence and action; and it is experienced and nurtured above all in prayer, in staying by the Lord's side. ... In this prayerful space we encounter
    the true treasure we give to our brethren through proclamation. Indeed, the missionary is the servant of God Who speaks, Who wishes to speak to today's men
    and women, just as Jesus spoke to those of His time. ... In the Word of God there
    is the wisdom that comes from above, and that enables us to find the languages,
    approaches and tools suited to responding to the challenges of a changing humanity".
    As Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, you contribute joyfully to the mission of the Church, bearing witness to the charism of St. Daniel Comboni, characterised by the merciful love of Christ's Heart for the defenceless. In this Heart there is the source of the mercy that saves and generates hope. Therefore, as you are consecrated to God for the mission, you are called upon to
    imitate the merciful and mild Jesus, to live your service with a humble heart, caring for the most abandoned of our time. ... From that Heart you learn the necessary meekness to carry out your apostolic action even in difficult and hostile contexts. This heart, that so loved humanity, drives you to the peripheries of society to bear witness to the perseverance of patient and faithful love".
    Finally, the Pope expresses to the missionaries his hope that this general chapter might illuminate the path of the Institute in the coming years, helping
    it to "continually rediscover its great heritage of spirituality and missionary
    activity. In this way you are able to trustfully continue your valuable contribution to the mission of the Church. May you be inspired and encouraged by
    the example of many of your brethren, who have given their lives for the cause of the Gospel, willing even to offer the supreme witness of blood. Indeed, it is
    well known that the Combonian Institute is distinguished by an uninterrupted chain of martyrs, up to our times. They are a fruitful seed in spreading God's Kingdom, and protectors of your apostolic efforts".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Migrants and refugees challenge us: the response of the Gospel of mercy
    Vatican City, 1 October 2015 (VIS) - "Migrants and refugees challenge us: the response of the Gospel of mercy" is the title of the Holy Father's message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be held on 17 January 2016. The document,
    the full text of which is given below, was signed in the Vatican on 12 September, memorial of the Holy Name of Mary.
    "Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the Bull of indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy I noted that 'at times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father's
    action in our lives'. God's love is meant to reach out to each and every person.
    Those who welcome the Father's embrace, for their part, become so many other open arms and embraces, enabling every person to feel loved like a child and 'at
    home' as part of the one human family. God's fatherly care extends to everyone,
    like the care of a shepherd for his flock, but it is particularly concerned for
    the needs of the sheep who are wounded, weary or ill. Jesus told us that the Father stoops to help those overcome by physical or moral poverty; the more serious their condition, the more powerfully is His divine mercy revealed.
    In our time, migration is growing worldwide. Refugees and people fleeing from their homes challenge individuals and communities, and their traditional ways of
    life; at times they upset the cultural and social horizons which they encounter.
    Increasingly, the victims of violence and poverty, leaving their homelands, are
    exploited by human traffickers during their journey towards the dream of a better future. If they survive the abuses and hardships of the journey, they then have to face latent suspicions and fear. In the end, they frequently encounter a lack of clear and practical policies regulating the acceptance of migrants and providing for short or long term programmes of integration respectful of the rights and duties of all. Today, more than in the past, the Gospel of mercy troubles our consciences, prevents us from taking the suffering
    of others for granted, and points out way of responding which, grounded in the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, find practical expression in works of spiritual and corporal mercy.
    In the light of these facts, I have chosen as the theme of the 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 'Migrants and refugees challenge us: the response of the Gospel of mercy'. Migration movements are now a structural reality, and our
    primary issue must be to deal with the present emergency phase by providing programmes which address the causes of migration and the changes it entails, including its effect on the make-up of societies and peoples. The tragic stories
    of millions of men and women daily confront the international community as a result of the outbreak of unacceptable humanitarian crises in different parts of
    the world. Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.
    Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from
    poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet's resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all. Don't we all want a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones?
    At this moment in human history, marked by great movements of migration, identity is not a secondary issue. Those who migrate are forced to change some of their most distinctive characteristics and, whether they like or not, even those who welcome them are also forced to change. How can we experience these changes not as obstacles to genuine development, rather as opportunities for genuine human, social and spiritual growth, a growth which respects and promotes
    those values which make us ever more humane and help us to live a balanced relationship with God, others and creation?
    The presence of migrants and refugees seriously challenges the various societies which accept them. Those societies are faced with new situations which
    could create serious hardship unless they are suitably motivated, managed and regulated. How can we ensure that integration will become mutual enrichment, open up positive perspectives to communities, and prevent the danger of discrimination, racism, extreme nationalism or xenophobia?
    Biblical revelation urges us to welcome the stranger; it tells us that in so doing, we open our doors to God, and that in the faces of others we see the face
    of Christ Himself. Many institutions, associations, movements and groups, diocesan, national and international organisations are experiencing the wonder and joy of the feast of encounter, sharing and solidarity. They have heard the voice of Jesus Christ: 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock'. Yet there continue to be debates about the conditions and limits to be set for the reception of migrants, not only on the level of national policies, but also in some parish communities whose traditional tranquillity seems to be threatened.
    Faced with these issues, how can the Church fail to be inspired by the example
    and words of Jesus Christ? The answer of the Gospel is mercy.
    In the first place, mercy is a gift of God the Father who is revealed in the Son. God's mercy gives rise to joyful gratitude for the hope which opens up before us in the mystery of our redemption by Christ's blood. Mercy nourishes and strengthens solidarity towards others as a necessary response to God's gracious love, 'which has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit'.
    Each of us is responsible for his or her neighbour: we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live. Concern for fostering good relationships with others and the ability to overcome prejudice and fear are essential ingredients for promoting the culture of encounter, in which we are not only prepared to give, but also to receive from others. Hospitality, in fact, grows from both giving and receiving.
    From this perspective, it is important to view migrants not only on the basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare. This is especially the case when they responsibly assume their
    obligations towards those who receive them, gratefully respecting the material and spiritual heritage of the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs. Migrations cannot be reduced merely to their political and legislative aspects, their economic implications and the concrete coexistence of
    various cultures in one territory. All these complement the defence and promotion of the human person, the culture of encounter, and the unity of peoples, where the Gospel of mercy inspires and encourages ways of renewing and
    transforming the whole of humanity.
    The Church stands at the side of all who work to defend each person's right to
    live with dignity, first and foremost by exercising the right not to emigrate and to contribute to the development of one's country of origin. This process should include, from the outset, the need to assist the countries which migrants
    and refugees leave. This will demonstrate that solidarity, cooperation, international interdependence and the equitable distribution of the earth's goods are essential for more decisive efforts, especially in areas where migration movements begin, to eliminate those imbalances which lead people, individually or collectively, to abandon their own natural and cultural environment. In any case, it is necessary to avert, if possible at the earliest
    stages, the flight of refugees and departures as a result of poverty, violence and persecution.
    Public opinion also needs to be correctly formed, not least to prevent unwarranted fears and speculations detrimental to migrants.
    No one can claim to be indifferent in the face of new forms of slavery imposed
    by criminal organisations which buy and sell men, women and children as forced labourers in construction, agriculture, fishing or in other markets. How many

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Oct 2 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 171
    DATE 02-10-2015

    Summary:
    - Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri explains how the Synod on the Family will unfold - Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
    - Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri explains how the Synod on the Family will unfold
    Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office
    Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, gave a presentation of the phases and methods of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world", which will commence on Sunday 4 October.
    "Tomorrow evening, in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of the Holy Father, prayer vigil will be held in preparation for the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be attended by the Synod Fathers, the participants in the Synod and all the faithful of the world, on an initiative of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which has invited families, movements and ecclesial associations. At nightfall the beauty of the family will shine through lighted torches. The trustful invocation of the Holy Spirit by the People of God is the
    prelude to the work of the Synod; indeed, we recall the important tone given to
    the last Extraordinary General Assembly by the Holy Father, with the powerful homily he gave during the Vigil.
    The Mass on Sunday morning, presided by the Holy Father, will signal the opening of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod on 'The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world', allowing all the faithful of the world to join the common path of the pastors cum Petro et sub Petro.
    This Assembly is the culmination of the synodal journey undertaken two years ago, with the distribution of the first questionnaire to all the particular Churches, enabling the profile of the family in the world, its riches and its challenges, to be outlined. The Extraordinary General Assembly then prepared a Final Report (Relatio Synodi) which raised further questions; the answers have been incorporated in today's Instrumentum Laboris. With this text in hand, composed of the Relatio Synodi and by the contributions of the particular Churches, the Fathers are preparing to listen to the challenges faced by the family, to discern its vocation, and to announce its mission.
    Composition of the Ordinary General Assembly
    In accordance with the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum (Art. 5 o 1), the Ordinary General Assembly will be attended by the Heads of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, the bishops elected by the Synod of Bishops and the Councils
    of the Hierarchy of the Oriental Catholic Churches, the bishops elected by the Episcopal Conferences, ten religious elected by the Union of Superiors General and the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In addition, the Holy Father also appoints some Members, in accordance with the same Synod regulations (Art.
    5 o 4).
    A total of 270 Synod Fathers will participate in this Assembly. They are divided into the following three categories: 42 ex officio, 183 ex electione and
    45 ex nominatione pontificia. The Fathers originate from the five continents, as
    follows: 54 from Africa, 64 from America, 36 from Asia, 107 from Europe and 9 from Oceania.
    The Members ex officio comprise the heads of the 15 Synods of Bishops of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches; 25 heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia; the general secretary and the under Secretary.
    The 270 Synod Fathers include: 74 cardinals (including one cardinal Patriarch and 2 major archbishops), six Patriarchs, one major archbishop, 72 archbishops (including three titular), 102 bishops (including six auxiliaries, three apostolic vicars and one emeritus), two parish priests and 13 religious. In addition, other invitees from different cultures and nations will take part in this Synod Assembly (cf. Art. 7 Ordo Synodi): 24 experts and collaborators of the Special Secretary, 51 auditors and 14 fraternal delegates. Noteworthy is the
    fact that, since this is an Assembly dedicated to the family, particular importance is given to spouses, parents and family heads, of whom a total of 18
    are present (17 auditors and one among the experts). Finally, we are pleased to
    welcome the fraternal delegates who, as representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities, certainly share with the Catholic Church a concern for evangelisation and the pastoral care of families in today's world.
    Synod methodology
    Starting from the experience gained during the Third Extraordinary General Assembly last October and taking into account various suggestions have come from
    many sides, especially by the Synod Fathers, the General Secretariat of the Synod has developed a new methodology to apply the Ordinary General Assembly, approved by the Holy Father at the meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Secretariat on 25-26 May 2015.
    Given the methodology of the previous synods, the majority of the Fathers suggested that the General Assembly is made more dynamic and participatory through the distribution of interventions among the individual members at different times, enabling more attention to be devoted each contribution. In addition, the Fathers requested the enhancement of the work in the Circuli Minores, where there is more active participation in the discussion, more direct
    and immediate connection between the Fathers in their own language, and in which
    the auditors and fraternal delegates can intervene.
    The result of the first Synod phase, devloped during the last Extraordinary General Assembly, was the Relatio Synodi, which became, together with an attached series of questions, the Lineamenta of the Ordinary General Assembly presented to the particular Churches and to all other entitled persons. The Instrumentum Laboris, resulting from the composition of the Relatio Synodi and the answers related to it, it is the foundational document of this Synod Assembly.
    In the opening session, the President Delegate will greet the Holy Father, who
    will open the meeting. This will be followed by reports from the General Secretary and the General Rapporteur. The General Rapporteur will then present the themes of the First Part ("Listening to the challenges to the family"; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 6-36). After the testimony of a married couple (auditors), the interventions of the Synod Fathers in the General Congregations,
    will begin. Their contribution constitutes a development of the basic text.
    This will be followed by the sessions of the Circuli minori, in which the Fathers reflect on the basic text supplemented by the contributions made in the
    assembly hall, in order to develop the "ways" in which the text continues to mature. At the end of the sessions, the rapporteur from each Circulo presents brief report of their work and indicates the supplements to be inserted in the base text. The reports of the Working Groups will be made public.
    The same process is repeated for the Second Part ("The discernment of the vocation of the family"; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 37-68) and the Third Party ("The mission of the family today"; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 69 -147), during the following two weeks.
    The Commission for the Elaboration of the Final Report, appointed by the Holy Father, in which all five continents are represented, consists of: Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary), Rapporteur General; the
    General Secretary; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto (Italy); Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay (India); Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop
    of Washington (United States of America); Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington (New Zealand); Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (Argentina); Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan of Mouila (Gabon); Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano
    (Italy); Father Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, superior general of the Society of Jesus,
    representing the Union of Superiors General.
    The Commission has the duty of following each stage of the project; therefore,
    it meets at the end of the work on each part and in drafting the final document.
    At the end of the three stages of work, the Commission oversees preparation of the draft of the Final Report, to be presented in plenary session. Bearing in

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 12 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 177
    DATE 12-10-2015

    Summary:
    - To the Missionary Groups of Argentina: continue to build an outgoing Church
    - The Pope encourages the participants in the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life
    - Angelus: faith and attachment to wealth cannot coexist
    - The Pope's profound sadness for the attack in Turkey
    - The archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflects with the Synod Fathers on external worship and inner adhesion to the Word of God
    - Respecting the freedom of faith, the outcome of an interreligious marriage
    - Telegram for the attack in Turkey
    - Plenary Session of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
    - New dormitory for the homeless near the Vatican
    - Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches
    - Cardinal Cordes, Pope's special envoy to the First National Eucharistic Congress of the Czech Republic
    - Audiences

    ___________________________________________________________

    To the Missionary Groups of Argentina: continue to build an outgoing Church
    Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in the Fourth National Meeting of Missionary Groups, which took place in Santiago del Estero, Argentina from 10 to 12 October, examining the theme "Mission, a way of life".
    The Holy Father, who spiritually joins with the missionaries, writes: "Let us always remember that we cannot show to others what we ourselves have not seen or
    heard. Therefore, to be a missionary, before announcing and communicating, it is
    necessary to see. To see that Jesus, who made Himself small to experience our weakness, who assumed our mortal flesh, to clothe it in His immortality and Who
    comes forward to meet us every day, to walk with us and to offer us His hand of
    friendship when we are in difficulty".
    "Never forget the call, your first encounter with Jesus, the joy with which you
    heard that first proclamation, perhaps from your parents, your grandparents, your catechists or teachers", said the Holy Father. "And do not neglect to pray,
    to pray for each other, to support each other with prayer, so that Jesus, through you, and in spite of your weakness, may work wonders before all peoples".
    "Neither must you forget that the mission, as well as being a passion for Jesus, is a passion for His people. Let us look to Jesus, but let us also learn
    how to look as Jesus does. A look of tenderness, understanding and mercy that leads us to touch the wounds of the Lord in the flesh of our brothers in need. To see Jesus in others purifies the heart, freeing it from selfishness, from any
    underhand intention, any worldly desire".
    "I hope that these brief reflections will encourage you to continue building an
    outgoing Church, a fraternal group that works to communicate this joy that the Lord has placed in our hearts", concluded the bishop of Rome.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope encourages the participants in the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life
    Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a message on behalf of the Holy Father to the Second World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life, held in Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, Bolivia from 9 to 12 October. In the text, the Pope greets the participants and encourages them always to be guided in their reflections and work by the principles of a just and integral ecology, that takes into account the true good of the human person.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: faith and attachment to wealth cannot coexist
    Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared
    at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St.
    Peter's Square. Francis reflected on the day's reading, from Chapter 10 of the Gospel of St. Mark, which is divided into three scenes corresponding to three gazes of Jesus. The first scene presents the encounter between the Teacher and the young man who asks, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?". "Eternal life
    is not only the life of the hereafter, but it is also full life, complete and limitless", said the Pope. "Jesus' response translates into an intense gaze full
    of tenderness and affection". He understands the youth's weakness and answers that he must "give everything he has to the poor and follow Him. But the youth's
    heart is divided between two masters: God and money, and he goes away sad. This
    shows us that faith and attachment to riches cannot coexist. Thus, in the end, the initial impulse felt by the youth vanishes in the unhappiness of an invitation to follow that fails".
    In the second scene, Jesus gaze is pensive, and warning. Looking around Him, He
    says to His disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!". Seeing the wonder of his disciples, who ask, "Then who can be saved?", Jesus responds with a gaze of encouragement - this is the third gaze - and says,
    salvation, yes, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. If we trust
    in the Lord, we can overcome all the obstacles that prevent us from following Him on the path of faith. To entrust oneself to the Lord. He will give us strength; He will give us salvation; He will accompany us along the journey".
    Finally, the third scene is that of Jesus' solemn declaration. "I assure you that he who leaves everything to follow me will have eternal life in the age to
    come and a hundred times more now in this present age". The Pope explained, "This 'hundred times more' is made up of the things that are first possessed and
    then left, but which are found infinitely multiplied. We deprive ourselves of goods and receive in exchange the joy of the true good; we free ourselves from slavery to things and we win the liberty of service out of love; we renounce possession and attain the happiness of giving. As Jesus said, 'There is more joy
    in giving than receiving'".
    "Only in welcoming with humble gratitude the Lord's love do we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions. Money, pleasure
    and success dazzle us, only to disappoint us later. They promise life but bring
    death. The Lord asks us to detach ourselves from these false riches to enter into true life, a full life, that is authentic and luminous". Before imparting his blessing, the Pope asked those present if they had felt Jesus' gaze upon them, and how they would want to respond. "Do you prefer to leave this square with the joy that Jesus gives us, or with the sadness in your heart that worldliness offers us?", he said, asking Our Lady to help open our heart to Jesus' love.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope's profound sadness for the attack in Turkey
    Vatican City, 11 October 2015 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope
    expressed his profound sadness for the attack against a demonstration for peace
    in Ankara, Turkey, causing more than 100 deaths and numerous injuries. Francis described the attack as a "terrible massacre" and sadness that the attack was aimed at defenceless people demonstrating together for peace. "I pray for this dear country and ask the Lord to receive the souls of the deceased and to console the suffering and their families. Let us pray in silence together", he added.
    The Holy Father then mentioned that Tuesday 13 October is International Day for
    the Reduction of Natural Disasters. "Unfortunately it must be recognised that the effects of such calamities are often aggravated by a lack of care for the environment by man. I unite with all those who, in a far-sighted way, are committed to the care of our common home, to promote a global and local culture
    for the reduction of disasters and greater resilience when they occur, harmonising new and traditional knowledge, and paying particular attention to the most vulnerable populations".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflects with the Synod Fathers on
    external worship and inner adhesion to the Word of God
    Vatican City, 10 October 2015 (VIS) - During this morning's Terce prayer with the Synod Fathers, Archbishop Ioannis Spiteris O.F.M. Cap. of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflected on the biblical reading from the Book of Samuel. In the text
    the prophet accuses the king Saul of not having rigorously observed the law that
    demanded he sacrifice all his loot to God. The king not only kept it for himself
    but also passed the blame to his soldiers. But in the text, as Archbishop Spiteris observed, Samuel also reproaches Saul who wishes to compensate for the
    lack of faith and obedience to God through sacrifices, an external sign of his devotion.
    "The Author, by placing two attitudes before the man who wishes to please God,
    does not invite him to choose between sacrifice and mercy (being docile), but rather makes him understand that God appreciates one more than the other; that His eyes do not rest on appearances but instead look to the heart. ... And Samuel
    shows Saul that sacrifice and listening to God's voice do not have the same value: 'To obey is better than sacrifice'".
    "Throughout the history of the Church, on paths beaten by saints, this affirmation has and continues to illuminate. No, holiness (that is, the communion with God as Love that is expressed in the commitment to living well with love one's human and Christian commitments) does not consist in the primacy
    of sacrifice, of external and soulless worship, but rather in loving obedience to God, in putting into practice His quintessential commandment, reciprocal love. It may indeed be a fatal deception, this imposition of exorbitant sacrifices, not so much for making life better and more serene for oneself and for others, but rather for appearing better and holier than others, like the Pharisee in the parable who boasts of his own merits and scorns the other, considered a publican and a sinner. The Phariseeism which prevailed in Jesus' time is always ready to resurface where insufficient attention is paid to the Word to be welcomed with joy and put into practice".
    "May we all, sacrificing the wish to listen to the many inner voices that urge
    us to seek the salvation of our own good works, silencing the voice of the Lord
    Who invites us to loving communion with Him, be able to entrust ourselves to He
    Who is able to do all and Whose arms are continually open to welcome us",

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Oct 14 10:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 179
    DATE 14-10-2015

    Summary:
    - General audience: keep our promises to children
    - The struggle against poverty
    - The Pope praises local development
    - The Circuli Minori discuss the second part of the Instrumentum Laboris: the importance of divine pedagogy
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    General audience: keep our promises to children
    Vatican City, 14 October 2015 (VIS) - Before beginning this Wednesday's general
    audience, the Holy Father asked for forgiveness for the various scandals that have occurred in Rome and in the Vatican during recent days.
    Returning to the theme of aspects of the relationship between the Church and the family, the Pope dedicated today's catechesis to to promises we make to children. He explained that this did not mean the many promises we make during the day to make them happy or good, or to encourage them to work hard at school,
    but rather the most important ones, "decisive for their expectations in life, for their trust in relation to other human beings, for their capacity to conceive of God's name as a blessing".
    "We adults refer to children as a promise of life", he continued. "And we are easily moved by this, saying that the young are our future. But I wonder, at times, if we are equally serios about their future! A question that we should ask more often is this: how faithful are we to the promises we make to children
    when we bring them into our world? Welcome and care, closeness and attention, trust and hope, are all basic promises, that may be summarised in one word: love. This is the best way to welcome a human being into the world, and we all learn this before being aware of it. It is a promise that a man and a woman make
    to every child, from the moment he or she is conceived in their thoughts".
    When instead this promise is not honoured, "children are wounded by an unbearable 'scandal', made even more serious by the fact that they are unable to
    understand it. God keeps watch over this promise from the very first moment. Do
    you remember what Jesus said? 'Their angels in heaven always see the face of my
    Father in heaven'. Woe to those who betray their trust, woe! Their trustful abandonment to our promise, that commits us from the very first moment, will be
    our judgement". The Pope added that children's spontaneous trust in God "should
    never be harmed, especially when this occurs as a result of a certain presumption, more or less consciously, to substitute Him. God's tender and mysterious relationship with the soul of children must never be violated. A child is ready from birth to feel loved by God. As soon as he or she is able to
    feel loved, a child also feels that there is a God Who loves children".
    "Only if we look at children with God's eyes are we truly able to understand how, by defending the family, we protect humanity! The viewpoint of children is
    the viewpoint of the Son of God". Francis recalled that the Church herself, in Baptism, makes great promises to children, that require commitment on the part of parents and the Christian community, and concluded by asking that Our Lady and St. Joseph teach us to welcome Jesus in every child God sends us.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The struggle against poverty
    Vatican City, 14 October 2015 (VIS) - Following today's catechesis, the Holy Father mentioned that Saturday 17 October will be International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, instituted by Fr. Joseph Wresinski, France. The aim of this day is to promote greater efforts for the elimination of extreme poverty and discrimination, to ensure that every person is able to fully exercise his or
    her fundamental rights. "We are all invited to make this intention our own, so that Christ's charity may reach and relieve the poorest and most abandoned of our brothers and sisters", said Pope Francis.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope praises local development
    Vatican City, 14 October 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a letter to Piero Fassino, mayor of Turin, Italy, to the authorities and to all participants
    in the Third Global Forum on Local Development, held in Turin from 13 to 16 October. The Pope wished to contribute to this forum by recalling some of the ideas he expressed recently before the Assembly of the United Nations, regarding
    the Sustainable Development Goals, which are "a hope for humanity, provided they
    are implemented in the correct way".
    In the text, the Pope stresses the importance of the decisions adopted by the international community that, however, "runs the risk of falling into the trap of a declamatory nominalism, creating a tranquillising effect on consciences". He also remarks that the multiplicity and complexity of problems require the use
    of technical tools of measurement. "This, however, leads to a twofold danger: becoming limited to the bureaucratic exercise of drawing up a long list of good
    intentions, or creating a single a priori theoretical solution to respond to all
    challenges".
    "Political and economic action are a prudential activity, guided by the perennial concept of justice, and it must always be taken into consideration that before any plan or programme, there are real men and women, equal to their
    governors, who live, struggle and suffer, who must be the masters of their own destiny. Integral human development and the full exercise of human dignity cannot be imposed".
    From this perspective, he adds, "local economic development seems to be the most suitable response to the challenges presented to us by a globalised economy, the results of which are often cruel". Francis mentions his address to
    the United Nations, in which he spoke about how "the simplest measure and indicator of the fulfilment of the new Agenda for development would be effective, practical and immediate access to indispensable material and spiritual goods. ... The only way of truly reaching these goals in a permanent way
    is by working at a local level". He remarks that the recurrent world crises have
    demonstrated how economic decisions that in general seek to promote the progress
    of all through the generation of new consumption and the continuing increase of
    profits are unsustainable for the progress of the global economy itself". These
    decisions are also, he adds, "immoral, as they sideline any question about what
    is just and what truly serves the common good".
    He concludes by praising Christian social thinking in Italy, through important
    figures such as Giuseppe Toniolo, Don Sturzo and others who, in the wake of Pope
    Leo XIII's Encyclical "Rerum novarum", were able to offer an economic analysis that, starting from the local and territorial context, proposes options and directions for the world economy, and notes that much secular social thought, while based on different premises, makes similar proposals.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Circuli Minori discuss the second part of the Instrumentum Laboris: the importance of divine pedagogy
    Vatican City, 14 October 2015 (VIS) - During this morning's General Congregation the various working groups presented to the Synod Fathers the result of their reflections on the second part of the Instrumentum Laboris.
    Almost all the groups agreed on the need for the final document of the Synod to
    use the language of biblical theology and, as affirmed by the French group B, to
    be clear and simple, avoiding ambiguity and misunderstandings that may impair understanding of the mission and the vocation of the family in the Church and in
    the world. It will be necessary to take into account the fragility and the suffering of the family, without overstating the current situation, as these problems have always existed. The emphasis on this dimension leads the group to
    stress that the Church accompanies all her children, and must proclaim the Gospel and its call to conversion.
    The English group B comments that the final document should illustrate how divine pedagogy for marriage and the family has accompanied the entire history of salvation and continues right until our day. "We propose ... [beginning] with
    Genesis, which already provide a definition of marriage as a unique union between a man and a woman, so total and intimate that because of it a man must leave his father and mother in order to be united with his wife. This account of
    the creation of marriage presents also the three basic characteristics of marriage, as it was in the beginning - monogamy, permanence, and equality of the
    sexes. ... But the divine pedagogy of salvation history concerning marriage and
    the family reached its climax with the Son of God's entry in human history". The
    group acknowledges that "It is only through reflection on the divine pedagogy that we will understand our ministry as mirroring God's patience and mercy. The
    divine plan continues even in our time. It is the divine pedagogy which provides
    content and tone for the teaching of the Church". With regard to the difficult situations to be examined in the third part, the group emphasises that "we should always remember that God never gives up on his mercy. It is mercy which reveals God's true face. God's mercy reaches out to all of us, especially to those who suffer, those who are weak, and those who fail".
    The French group, whose rapporteur is Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille, France, also speaks about divine pedagogy, and proposes "emphasising the many encounters between Jesus and families" throughout the Gospels, reaffirming that
    "divine pedagogy acts in all biblical revelation and must continue to be experienced by the Church, following families in their joys and sorrows". Another observation of this group, that resonates widely, is that the Relatio should express a broader conceptual unity and not speak about indissolubility as

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sat Oct 17 11:49:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 181
    DATE 16-10-2015

    Summary:
    - Step up the battle against hunger and malnutrition
    - Pope Francis visits the "Dono di Misericordia" dormitory
    - Contributions to the Synod from the representatives of other Christian denominations

    ___________________________________________________________

    Step up the battle against hunger and malnutrition
    Vatican City, 16 October 2015 (VIS) - On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Holy Father sent a message to the director general Jose
    Graziano da Silva.
    Noting that a great number of our brothers and sisters still suffer from hunger
    and malnutrition in spite of the great efforts made to combat these problems, he
    condemns the underlying causes: an uneven distribution of resources and the lack
    of agricultural development. "We live in an age in which the unfettered pursuit
    of profit, the concentration of particular interests and the effects of unjust policies render less effective the actions taken by States or impede effective cooperation within the international community". He adds that much remains to be
    done in this area.
    The theme chosen for this year's World Food Day - "Social protection and agriculture, breaking the cycle of poverty", is an issue that affects two thirds
    of the world population, who lack even basic social protection. "This fact is made even more alarming by the fact that the majority of these people live in the most disadvantaged parts of countries where ... the only means of survival is
    linked to scarce agricultural production, and small-scale fishing and animal husbandry. Indeed, the lack of social protection weighs most heavily on local farmers ... and fishermen, forced to live in precarious conditions, as the fruit
    of their work depends largely on environmental conditions that are often outside
    their control, and they lack resources for facing poor harvests or for procuring
    the necessary technical tools. Paradoxically, even when production is abundant,
    they encounter serious difficulties linked to the transportation, sale and conservation of the fruits of their labour".
    Faced with this situations, "we cannot be satisfied with a generic appeal for cooperation or to the common good. Perhaps we must ask: is it still possible to
    conceive of a society in which the resources reside in the hands of the few, and
    the least privileged must make do with the leftovers? The answer cannot be limited to good intentions, but must consist rather in 'social peace, the stability and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice; whenever this is violated,
    violence always ensues", the Pope writes.
    The most disadvantaged, due to the lack of social protection, "suffer the negative consequences of a persistent economic crisis or phenomena linked to corruption and poor governance, as well as climate changes", and "ask for our support, to be able to look to the future with a minimum of hope". However, "social protection cannot be limited to an increase in income, or be reduced to
    investment in means of subsistence for an improvement of agricultural production
    or the promotion of equitable economic development. It must be made concrete in
    that 'social love' that is the key to genuine development. ... Social protection
    can foster in the most disadvantaged a capacity for resilience, to face and overcome difficulties". For instance, he added, it is able to "support the family, whose members learn from the beginning what it means to share, to help each other, and to protect each other. Guaranteeing family life means promoting
    the economic growth of women, thus consolidating their role in society, as well
    as favouring care for the elderly and enabling the young to continue their scholastic and professional preparation".
    "The Church does not have the mission of directly dealing with such problems from a technical point of view. However, the human aspects of these situations cannot leave her indifferent". He concludes, "May all people, in accordance with
    their own possibilities, give the best of themselves in a spirit of genuine service to others. In this effort, the work of the FAO will be fundamental if it
    has the necessary means for ensuring social protection in the framework of sustainable development and the support of those who live and work in agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and forestry".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis visits the "Dono di Misericordia" dormitory
    Vatican City, 16 October 2015 (VIS) - Shortly after 7 p.m. yesterday, following
    the Synod meeting, the Holy Father visited the new dormitory for the homeless located in premises provided by the Society of Jesus, inaugurated on 7 October and managed by religious sisters of Charity and a number of volunteers who will
    manage the new structure, under the auspices of the Office of the Apostolic Almoner,
    The Pope was welcomed upon arrival by the Apostolic Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, superior general of the Jesuits Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon. He toured
    the dormitory and services, and spoke at length with the current guests.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Contributions to the Synod from the representatives of other Christian denominations
    Vatican City, 16 October 2015 (VIS) - This morning, during the twelfth general
    congregation of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod Fathers heard interventions by the fraternal delegates representing other Christian denominations.
    Rev. Dr. Walter Altmann, of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, said that the WCC has been speaking since its 2013 Assembly in Korea of a "'pilgrimage of justice and peace', underlining that we are together on a faith
    journey and are deeply committed to justice and peace as signs of God's reign to
    come. This commitment to express the values of God's reign as justice and peace
    is very significant for all those who live together in different types of family
    life. That is the first and innermost circle of our life together as we seek to
    bring fairness and reconciliation. From my own continent of Latin America, and from my experience as Moderator of the WCC, I know how many women and men, and not the least children, need that the church be a fellowship of inclusion and healing, recognising our differences in the bond of love. The openness required
    for change, and for new commitment to God's call today, should be a mark of our
    pilgrimage as a common journey of the churches".
    The Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette of the Coptic Orthodox Church spoke about the pastoral mission of his Church towards persons with homosexual tendencies: that is, to "explain in a tender, tolerant and convincing way that homosexuality
    is a great sin forbidden by God according to the Holy Scriptures. ... Consequently, the Church's main pastoral mission is to encourage such people to
    repentance guiding them to lead a pure life. ... If a married party is homosexual
    - forcing the other party into intercourses against the natural use - the church

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 19 08:01:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 182
    DATE 19-10-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope canonises four new saints and appeals for peace in the Holy Land
    - The Synod: walking together
    - Programme of the Holy Father's trip to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic
    - Cardinal Maung Bo to take possession of his titular church
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope canonises four new saints and appeals for peace in the Holy Land
    Vatican City, 18 October 2015 (VIS) - This Sunday in St. Peter's Square the Pope celebrated Holy Mass for the canonisation of Blesseds Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917), diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory; Maria Isabel Salvat Romero (Mary of the Immaculate Conception), (1926-1998), superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Company
    of the Cross; and the spouses Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Zelie Guerin (1831-1877).
    In his homily, Pope Francis emphasised that "service is the way for authority to be exercised in the Christian community. Those who serve others and lack real
    prestige exercise genuine authority in the Church. Jesus calls us to see things
    differently, to pass from the thirst for power to the joy of quiet service, to suppress our instinctive desire to exercise power over others, and instead to exercise the virtue of humility. ... By imitating the Master, the community gains
    a new outlook on life: 'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'".
    "In the biblical tradition, the Son of Man is the one Who receives from God 'dominion, glory and kingship'", the Holy Father affirmed. Jesus fills this image with new meaning. He shows us that He enjoys dominion because He is a servant, glory because He is capable of abasement, kingship because He is fully
    prepared to lay down His life. By His passion and death, He takes the lowest place, attains the heights of grandeur in service, and bestows this upon His Church. There can be no compatibility between a worldly understanding of power and the humble service which must characterise authority according to Jesus' teaching and example. Ambition and careerism are incompatible with Christian discipleship; honour, success, fame and worldly triumphs are incompatible with the logic of Christ crucified".
    Instead, he continued, "compatibility exists between Jesus, 'the man of sorrows', and our suffering. ... Jesus knows our difficulties at first hand, He
    knows from within our human condition; the fact that He is without sin does not
    prevent Him from understanding sinners. His glory is not that born of ambition or the thirst for power; it is the glory of one Who loves men and women, Who accepts them and shares in their weakness, Who offers them the grace which heals
    and restores, and accompanies them with infinite tenderness amid their tribulations".
    "The men and women canonised today unfailingly served their brothers and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the divine Master. ... The radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in
    joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the
    maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over us and sustain
    us by their powerful intercession".
    Following Mass and before the Sunday Angelus prayer, the Pope spoke about the situation of tension and violence that continues to afflict the Holy Land. "At this time, there is a need for great courage and fortitude to reject hatred and
    revenge and to make gestures of peace"; he remarked. "We pray that God may reinforce in all, governors and citizens alike, the courage to oppose the violence and to take concrete steps towards pacification. In the current context
    of the Middle East, it is crucial, more than ever, that there be peace in the Holy Land: God and the good of humanity demand this of us".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Synod: walking together
    Vatican City, 19 October 2015 (VIS) - On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy Father addressed the Synod Fathers in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. An introduction was given by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the president of the Episcopal Conference of Austria and cardinal archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schonborn pronounced a commemorative discourse.
    Below are extensive extracts from the Holy Father's discourse, in which he reiterated that the very name "Synod" - "walking together" - indicates what the
    Lord asks of us.
    "From Vatican Council II to the current Synod Assembly on the family, we have experienced in an increasingly intense way the beauty of 'walking together'. ...
    We must continue on this road. The world in which we live, and which we are called upon to love and serve even in its contradictions, demands of the Church
    a strengthening of synergies in all areas of her mission. The path of synodality
    is the path that God expects from the Church in the third millennium. ... In the
    Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium' I underlined how 'the People of God is
    holy thanks to this anointing, which makes it infallible in credendo', adding that 'all the baptised, whatever their position in the Church or their level of
    instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelisation, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelisation to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients'. ... It was this conviction that guided me in my wish that the People
    of God be consulted in the preparation of the dual Synod on the family. ... How
    would it be possible to speak of the family without speaking with families, listening to their joys and hopes, their sorrows and their troubles?".
    "A Synodal Church is a Church who listens, aware that listening is more than hearing. It is a process of mutual listening in which each person has something
    to learn. The faithful, the Episcopal College, the bishop of Rome: each one listening to the others, and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the 'Spirit of truth'. ... Synodality, as a constitutive dimension of the Church, offers us the
    best interpretative framework for understanding her hierarchical ministry ... in
    which no-one may be 'higher' than the others. On the contrary, within the Church
    it is necessary to stoop to put oneself in service to one's brothers along the way. Jesus constituted the Church, placing at the summit the apostolic College,
    in which the apostle Peter is the 'rock', he who must 'confirm' his brothers in
    the faith. But in this Church, as in an upturned pyramid, the summit is below the base. Therefore, those who exercise authority are called 'ministers': because in accordance with the original meaning of the word, they are the least
    of all".
    "In an synodal Church, the Synod of Bishops is only the most evident manifestation of a dynamism of communion that inspires all ecclesial dimensions.
    The first level of the exercise of synodality occurs in the particular Churches.
    ... The Code of Canon Law reserves ample space to those who are usually referred
    to as the 'organs of communion' of the particular Church: the presbyteral Council, the College of Consultors, the Chapter of Canons and the pastoral Council. These instruments, that at times proceed wearily, must be accorded their due value as offering opportunities for listening and sharing. ... The second level is that of the Ecclesiastical Provinces or Regions, the Particular
    Councils and, in special way, the Episcopal Conferences. ... In a synodal Church,
    as I have already stated, 'it is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of
    local bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory.
    In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound decentralisation'.
    ... The final level is that of the universal Church. Here the Synod of Bishops,
    representing the entire Catholic episcopate, becomes an expression of episcopal
    collegiality within an entirely synodal Church".
    "I am convinced that, in a synodal Church, more light could also be cast on the
    exercise of the Petrine primacy. The Pope is not alone and above the Church, but
    rather within her, baptised among the baptised, and within the episcopal College
    as a bishop among bishops, called upon at the same time, as the Successor of the
    apostle Peter, to guide the Church of Rome who presides in love among all the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Oct 21 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 184
    DATE 21-10-2015

    Summary:
    - Fidelity to the promise, a work of art
    - The Circuli Minori conclude their examination of the Instrumentum Laboris
    - Declaration by the director of the Holy See Press Office
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Fidelity to the promise, a work of art
    Vatican City, 21 October 2015 (VIS) - This morning Pope Francis held his usual
    Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square. In his catechesis, in which he
    revisited the theme of the family, he reflected on faithfulness and the promise
    of love between a man and a woman, on which the family is based, and which implies the promise to welcome and educate children, to care for elderly parents
    and the weakest members of the family, and to help each other to develop their own qualities and to accept their limitations.
    "A family that closes up on itself is a contradiction, a mortification of the promise that brought it to life", he said. "Never forget that the identity of the family is always a promise that extends and expands to all the family, and also to all humanity. ... Love, like friendship, owes its strength and beauty to
    the fact that it generates a bond without curbing freedom. Love is free, the promise of the family is free, and this is its beauty. Without freedom there is
    no friendship, without freedom there is no love, without freedom there is no marriage. So, freedom and fidelity are not opposed to each other; on the contrary, they support each other, in terms of both interpersonal and social relationships. Indeed, think of the damage caused, in the civilisation of global
    communication, by the inflation of promises not kept, in various fields, and the
    indulgence for infidelity to the word given and to commitments made".
    "Being faithful to promises is a true work of art by humanity", added Pope Francis. "No relationship of love - no friendship, no form of caring for another
    person, no joy of the common good - reaches the height of our desire and our hope, if it does not arrive at the point of inhabiting this miracle of the soul.
    And I use the word 'miracle', because the strength and persuasiveness of fidelity, in spite of everything, can only enchant and surprise us. ... No school
    can teach the truth of love, if the family does not do so. No law can imposed the beauty or legacy of this treasure of human dignity, if the personal bond between love and generation does not inscribe it in our flesh".
    "Our fidelity to our promises is always entrusted to the grace and mercy of God. Love for the human family, in good times and bad, is a point of honour for
    the Church. May God enable us always to be worthy of this promise".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Circuli Minori conclude their examination of the Instrumentum Laboris
    Vatican City, 21 October 2015 (VIS) - On Monday and Tuesday this week the Synod
    Fathers examined the third part of the Instrumentum Laboris, which deals with, among other themes, irregular family situations, admission of divorced and remarried faithful to communion, the pastoral care of homosexuals, and responsible parenthood.
    The working groups analyses the special needs of families in irregular or difficult situations, acknowledging, as affirmed by the English-speaking group whose rapporteur is Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge, that "those cohabiting are in a quite different situation from those who are divorced and civilly remarried. We also agreed that cohabitation, though very widespread in many cultures now, could not be considered a good in itself. We were prepared to recognise that there may be good in the relationship of those cohabiting rather
    than in cohabitation in some quasi-institutional sense".
    "We know that that are many other families who feel they are far from the ideal
    model, and others who to a greater or lesser extent do not even think it is for
    them", comments the French group represented by Bishop Laurent Ulrich. "Divided
    families, mixed families, single parent families, families without marriage, even civil only; we cannot reject them, and we do not wish to think that their path does not lead them to God, Who loves and draws all people towards Him. We believe that in them we see the Spirit of the Lord Who inspires much of their behaviour in their lives, and this detracts nothing from Christian families whom
    we support and encourage".
    With regard to the divorced and civilly remarried, there is general agreement about the need to provide more effective pastoral accompaniment for these couples, and especially for their children who also have rights. Some groups express perplexity, however, in relation to what the Instrumentum Laboris refers
    to as a "a penitential path". "It is not clear to name the journey taken by the
    divorced and remarried as a 'penitential path'", remarks the Spanish-speaking group represented by Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo. "Perhaps it would be better to speak about itineraries of reconciliation, as there are some
    irreversible situations that cannot be subject to a penitential path without the
    possibility of overcoming this".
    "It would appear that, with regard to the issue of closeness, we are all in agreement, but what happens when we consider access to the sacraments?" asked the Spanish-speaking group whose rapporteur is Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R. "Without doubt, we need to set in motion a generous movement
    removing many of the obstacles from the way so that divorced and remarried faithful can participate more widely in the life of the Church: at the moment they cannot be godparents, they cannot be catechists, and they are not able to teach religion. ... We must show that we are listening to the cry of many people
    who suffer and who call to participate as fully as possible in the life of the Church".
    "With regard to the discipline of remarried divorcees, at present it is not possible to establish general criteria covering all cases, which are very diverse", observes the Italian group represented by Cardinal Maurizio Piacenza.
    "There are divorced and remarried faithful who apply themselves to following the
    path of the Gospel, offering significant witness of charity. At the same time, it is undeniable that in some circumstances, factors are present that limit the
    possibilities of acting differently. As a consequence, the judgement on an objective situation cannot be assumed in the judgement on subjective 'impunity'.
    The limits and conditions thus become an appeal to discernment - primarily on the part of the bishop - which must be accurate and respect the complexity of such situations".
    The English group A, whose rapporteur is Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, expresses the view that "pastoral practice concerning admission to the Sacrament
    of the Eucharist by the divorced and civilly remarried ought not to be left to individual episcopal conferences. To do so would risk harm to the unity of the Catholic Church, the understanding of her sacramental order, and the visible witness of the life of the faithful".
    The English group represented by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin requests that "the
    Holy Father, taking into account the rich material which has emerged during this
    synodal process, consider establishing during the Jubilee Year of Mercy a Special Commission to study in depth the ways in which the disciplines of the

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Nov 3 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 193
    DATE 03-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis celebrates Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops
    - The Pope's profound sorrow at the fire in a Bucharest discotheque
    - Holy See Press Office Communique
    - The Pope prays for the deceased in the Vatican Grottoes
    - Mass in Verano cemetery: the Beatitudes are the way to happiness
    - Angelus: love and compassion are stronger than death
    - Francis to open the Holy Door of the cathedral of Bangui
    - Pope's telegram of condolences for the victims of the Sinai air crash
    - Audience with the president of Macedonia
    - The Pope to business leaders: increase an entrepreneurial spirit of subsidiarity
    - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Pope's special envoy to the 500th anniversary of
    the arrival of the sacred image of the Madonna at Lask
    - The Pope ordains the new auxiliary bishop of Rome in the Basilica of St. John
    Lateran
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis celebrates Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops
    Vatican City, 2 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Basilica the
    Holy Father presided at Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during this last year. "In this earth they loved their bride the Church, and we
    pray that in God they may enjoy full joy in the communion of saints", he said. "As we ask for that they be rewarded as 'good and faithful servants', we are called up to renew our decision to serve the Church. ... Those who serve and give
    may be seen to 'lose' in the eyes of the world, but in reality, losing life, they rediscover it. A life given away in love, imitates Christ: it defeats death
    and gives life to the world. He who serves, saves. On the contrary, he who does
    not live to serve, does not serve to live".
    "This is how the Son of God lowered Himself to us, stooping like a servant to us to take on all that is ours, to the point of throwing open the doors to life.
    ... This style of God, Who saves us by serving us and annihilating Himself, has
    much to teach us. We imagine a triumphal divine victory; instead Jesus shows us
    a very humble victory. Raised on the cross, He lets evil and death beset him, while He continues to love. For us it is difficult to accept this. It is a mystery, but the secret of this mystery, of this extraordinary humility, consists entirely in the strength of love. ... In this way Jesus not only takes
    away evil, but also transforms it into good. He does not change things with words, but with actions; not in appearance, but in substance; not on the surface, but at the root. He transforms the cross into a bridge to life. We too
    can be victorious with Him, it we choose dutiful and humble love, that remains victorious for eternity. It is a love that does not shout and does not impose itself, but rather knows how to wait with trust and patience since, as the Book
    of Lamentations reminds us, "it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the
    Lord".
    "As we offer this Mass for the our dear brother cardinals and bishops, let us ask for ourselves what the apostle Paul exhorts us to do: 'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things'. May the resurrection of the Lord be enough
    to let us be free of the worries of ephemeral things, that pass and vanish into
    nothing. May He be enough for us, He in whom there is life, salvation, resurrection and joy. Then we will be servants according to His heart, not functionaries who offer their services, but rather beloved children who give their life for the world".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope's profound sorrow at the fire in a Bucharest discotheque
    Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of Pope Francis to the president of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, following a fire in a discotheque in Bucharest last weekend in which 27 people died and over 180 were injured.
    The Holy Father expresses his profound sadness for the tragic accident in which
    so many young people lost their lives, and assures his spiritual closeness to the families of the victims, the government authorities and the entire nation, entrusting the deceased to the mercy of the Lord.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Holy See Press Office Communique
    Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) - Early yesterday afternoon, 2 November, the Holy See Press Office issued the following communique:
    "As part of criminal investigations by the Vatican Gendarmerie that have been underway for several months, involving the removal and dissemination of news and
    confidential documents, last Saturday and Sunday two individuals were called in
    for questioning on the basis of the evidence gathered.
    The individuals are an ecclesiastic, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of COSEA (Commission charged to study and address the organisation of Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate).
    Following the results of the interrogation the two people were held in detention in view of the continuing investigation. Today the Office of the Promoter of Justice, Professor Advocate Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice,
    and Professor Roberto Zannotti, Assistant Promoter of Justice, has validated the
    arrest of the above individuals, but they released Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were no precautionary requirements and also due to the fact that she cooperated with the investigation.
    The position of Monsignor Vallejo Balda remains under consideration by the Office of the Promoter of Justice.
    It should be remembered that disclosure of information and confidential documents is an offence under Law no. IX of the Vatican City State (13 July 2013) Article 10 (art. 116 bis C.P. ).
    As for the books announced for publication in the the next few days, let it be
    clearly stated at this time, as in the past, that such actions are a serious betrayal of trust granted by the Pope and with regard to the authors, an operation intended to take advantage of a grave offence, the unlawful delivery of confidential documents. The legal implications and possible penalties currently being studied by the Office of the Promoter of Justice with a view to
    possible further measures involving international cooperation. if necessary. Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to establish clarity and
    truth, but rather to create confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must certainly avoid the mistake of thinking that this is way to help the mission of the Pope".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope prays for the deceased in the Vatican Grottoes
    Vatican City, 3 November 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, as is traditional on
    All Souls' Day, the Holy Father went down to the Vatican Grottoes to pray privately for the Popes buried there, and for all deceased.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Mass in Verano cemetery: the Beatitudes are the way to happiness
    Vatican City, 1 November 2015 (VIS) - This afternoon, on the Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in the monumental cemetery of Verano,
    followed by a prayer for the deceased and the blessing of the tombs. The cardinal vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, vice regent of the diocese of Rome and pastor of San Lorenzo Outside-the-Walls, and Fr. Armando Ambrosi concelebrated with the Holy Father.
    The Pope dedicated his homily to the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus taught the
    Beatitudes, the way to true happiness, to the disciples and the multitude gathered on the hill by the Sea of Galilee. "It is a difficult path to understand as it goes against the grain, but the Lord tells us that he who takes
    this path is happy; sooner or later he finds happiness".
    "'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven'. We might ask ourselves how a person who is poor of heart, whose only treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven, can be happy. But the reason is precisely this: that having a despoiled heart, free of many worldly things, this person is 'awaited'
    in the Kingdom of Heaven".
    "'Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted'. He who in life has
    not experienced sadness, anguish and pain will never know the strength of consolation. Happy instead are all those who have the capacity to be moved, to feel the pain that is in their life and in the life of others. They will be happy, because the tender hand of God the Father will console and caress them".
    "'Blessed are the meek'. On the contrary, we are so often impatient, nervous, ready to complain. We make so many demands of others, but when it is our turn, we react by raising our voice, as if we were the owners of the world, while in reality we are all children of God".
    "'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied'. Those who have a strong sense of justice, and not only towards others, but first of all towards themselves, they will be satisfied, because they are ready to receive the greatest justice, which only God can give".
    "And then, 'blessed are the merciful, because they will obtain mercy'. Happy are those who are able to forgive, who have mercy on others, who do not judge everything and everyone, but who try to put themselves in the shoes of other people. Forgiveness what we all need, without exception. This is why, at the beginning of Mass we recognise ourselves for what we are, sinners".
    "'Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God'. Let us
    look at the faces of those who go around sowing discord: are they happy? Those who always seek occasions to embroil, to take advantage of others, are they happy? No, they cannot be happy. Instead those who every day seek with patience
    to sow peace, are architects of peace, of reconciliation: these are blessed, because they are true children of our Father in Heaven, who always and only sows
    peace, sending His Son into the world as a seed of peace for humanity".
    "This is the way of holiness, and it is the very way of happiness", concluded the Holy Father. "It is the way that Jesus followed; or rather, He himself is Way. Those who walk with Him and pass through Him enter into life, eternal life.
    Let us ask of the Lord the grace to be simple and humble persons, the grace to be able to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace,
    and above all the grace to allow ourselves to be forgiven by God so as to become
    instruments of His mercy. This is what all the Saints did, those who have preceded us in the celestial homeland. May they accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage and encourage us to go forward".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: love and compassion are stronger than death
    Vatican City, 1 November 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father appeared at the window of
    his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace at midday today to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on the solemnity of All Saints.
    "Today, we feel the reality of the communion of saints to be particularly alive
    - our great family, made up of all the members of the Church, both those of us who are still pilgrims on earth, and those - far more in number - who have already left and gone on to Heaven".
    Francis recalled the characteristics of the saints, as they are presented in the Book of Revelation. "They are people who belong totally to God, ... a multitude of the 'chosen' clothed in white and marked with the 'seal of God'", and explained the meaning of bearing this seal - that "in Jesus Christ we have truly become children of God". He asked, "Are we aware of this great gift? We

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Nov 6 08:25:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 196
    DATE 06-11-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope receives the governor general of Grenada
    - Francis: helping human life means reaching out to those in need
    - The Pope is interviewed by the newspaper Straatnieuws: "The Church teaches that everyone has the right to work, a home and the earth"
    - Christians and Hindus: promoting human ecology together
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope receives the governor general of Grenada
    Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace Pope Francis received in audience the governor general of Grenada, Cecile
    Ellen Fleurette La Grenade, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, emphasis was placed on the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Grenada, as well as the important contribution of the Catholic Church to the development of the country, especially with reference to social challenges and the education of the young.
    Finally, this was followed by an overview of the situation of the Caribbean region, with particular reference to economic problems and environmental issues
    linked to climate changes.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis: helping human life means reaching out to those in need
    Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) - "I encourage you to continue your important work in favour of life from conception until its natural end, also taking into account the conditions of suffering that many brothers and sisters have to face and at times submit to", said Pope Francis this morning as he received, in the Sala Regia, the 510 participants in the Congress of the Movement for Life being held in Sacrofano, Italy from 6 to 8 November.
    "In existential dynamics everything is related, and we need to nurture a personal and social sensibility both towards the welcoming of a new life and towards those situations of poverty and exploitation that affect the weakest and
    most disadvantaged. On the one hand, 'how can be genuinely teach the importance
    of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they
    may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo?". On the other, 'human life itself
    is a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement'", he affirmed, citing his encyclical "Laudato si'" and adding that "indeed, we must note sadly that there are many people who experience uncomfortable conditions of
    life, who require our attention and our solidarity".
    "For Christ's disciples, helping wounded human life meant going towards people
    in need, putting themselves by their sides, and taking on board their frailty and suffering so as to relieve them. How many families are vulnerable due to poverty, illness, unemployment and homelessness? How many elderly people suffer
    the burden of suffering and loneliness? How many young people are lost, threatened by addiction and other forms of slavery, waiting to rediscover trust
    in life? These people, wounded in body and spirit, are icons of that man of the
    Gospel who, travelling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, ran into some brigands who robbed and beat him. He experienced first the indifference of some,
    and then the closeness of the good Samaritan".
    On this path, "that crosses the desert of life, even in our times there are still many wounded people, caused by today's brigands, who despoil them not only
    of their belongings but also of their dignity. Faced with the suffering and need
    of our defenceless brothers, some turn away or move on, whereas others stop and
    respond with generous dedication to their cry for help. You, members of the Movement for Life, have sought to imitate the good Samaritan during the forty years of your activity. Before the various forms of threats to human life, you have approached the frailty of others, you have taken action so that in society
    there may no longer be excluded or marginalised who live in precarious conditions".
    The Pope again thanked the members of the Movement for their work, and invited
    them to continue "to protect the most vulnerable people, who have the right to be born into life, as well as those who ask for a healthier and more dignified existence. In particular, there is a need to work at different levels and with perseverance, in the promotion and defence of the family, society's foremost resource, especially with reference to the gift of children and the affirmation
    of the dignity of the woman".
    To this end, he concluded, "I would like to underline that in your activity, you have always welcomed everyone regardless of religion and nationality. The relevant number of women, especially immigrants, who attend your centres show that when women are offered concrete support, in spite of problems and influences, they are able to make the sense of love, life and maternity triumph
    within them".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope is interviewed by the newspaper Straatnieuws: "The Church teaches that
    everyone has the right to work, a home and the earth"
    Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) - The Dutch newspaper "Straatnieuws", published by the homeless, today published an interview granted by Pope Francis
    on 27 October. The article is also present in other dailies of the same type associated with the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), which has 113
    members. This type of publication is sold directly by the homeless, thus providing them with a source of income.
    The following are extensive extracts from the interview, especially with the theme of poverty.
    Interviewer: What is the Church's message for the homeless? What does Christian
    solidarity mean for them in practice?
    Pope Francis: "Two things come to mind. Jesus came to the world homeless, and made Himself poor. Then, the Church wishes to embrace all and to say that it is
    a right to have a roof over your head. In popular movements they work according
    to the three Spanish 't's: trabajo (work), techo (casa) and tierra (earth). The
    Church teaches that every person has a right to all three".
    Interviewer: You often ask for attention to the poor and refugees. Do you not fear that in this way a sort of weariness in relation to this theme may be generated in the mass media or in society in general?
    Pope Francis: "When we return to a theme that is not pleasant, because it is disagreeable to talk about it, we are all tempted to say. 'That's enough, I am tired of this'. I feel that this weariness exists, but I am not afraid of it. must continue to speak the truth and say how these things are".
    Interviewer: Are you not afraid that your defence of solidarity and assistance
    for the homeless and other poor people may be exploited politically? How should
    the Church speak in order to be influential and at the same time remain external
    to political affiliations?
    Pope Francis: "There are roads that lead to errors in this regard. I would like
    to underline two temptations. The Church must speak truthfully and also by her witness: the witness of poverty. If a believer speaks about poverty or the homeless and lives like a pharaoh, this is not good. This is the first temptation.
    "The second temptation is to make agreements with governments. Agreements can be made but they must be clear and transparent. For example, we manage this building, but the accounts are all audited, in order to avoid corruption, as there is always the temptation to corruption in public life, both political and
    religious. ... Once I asked a question to a minister in Argentina, an honest man -
    one who left his post because he could not reconcile himself with various obscure aspects. I asked him: when you give assistance in the form of meals, clothing or money to the poor and needy, what percentage of what you send arrives? And he answered, 35 per cent. That means that 65 per cent is lost. It is corruption: a cut for me, another cut for you".

    --- MPost/386 v1.21
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    * Origin: LiveWire BBS - Synchronet - LiveWireBBS.com (1:2320/100)
  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Nov 9 08:49:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 197
    DATE 09-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Audience with the president of Poland: family, the needy and migrants
    - Angelus: generosity is not a question of the wallet, but of the heart
    - Pope Francis: the theft of private documents will not divert me from the task
    of reform
    - On the defence of working rights
    - Cardinal Ranjith, Pope's special envoy to India's National Eucharistic Congress
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Audience with the president of Poland: family, the needy and migrants
    Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father Francis received in
    audience Andrzej Duda, president of the Republic of Poland, who subsequently met
    with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, the Church's positive contribution to Polish society was emphasised, also in view of the Holy Father's planned visit to Krak<w next year on the occasion of World Youth Day. Attention then turned to various themes of mutual interest, such as the promotion of the family, support
    for social groups most in need, and the welcome of migrants.
    Finally, some themes regarding the international community were discussed, such
    as peace and security, the conflict in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Angelus: generosity is not a question of the wallet, but of the heart
    Vatican City, 8 November 2015 (VIS) - Before this Sunday's Angelus the Pope commented on the day's Gospel reading, divided into two parts: the first on how
    not to be a follower of Christ and the second, conversely, on the model of an ideal Christian. "In the first part, Jesus criticises the scribes, teachers of the law, for three defects in their lifestyle: pride, greed and hypocrisy". Under their solemn appearances "they are hiding falsehood and injustice. ... There
    is a risk that these attitudes exist even in our day. For example when prayer is
    separated from justice, because we cannot worship God and cause harm to the poor. Or when one claims to love God, and instead offers God one's vainglory, to
    one's own advantage".
    The second part describes the scene in the Temple of Jerusalem, precisely in the place where people threw coins as offerings. "There are many rich people who
    pay a lot of money, and there is a poor woman - a widow - contributing just two
    mites, two small coins. ... The rich gave with great show what for them was superfluous, while the widow, with discretion and humility, gave - Jesus says "all she had to live"; for this - Jesus says - she gave the most of all".
    Today, continued the Holy Father, "Jesus also tells us that the measurement is
    not quantity but fullness. There is a difference. ... It is possible to have a lot of money but to be empty. There is no fullness in a heart like this".
    He concluded by encouraging all those present to think during this week of the
    difference between quantity and fullness. "It is not a question of the wallet, but of the heart. Faced with the needs of others, we are called to deprive ourselves of essential things, not only the superfluous; we are called to give the necessary time, not only the surplus that is left over; we are called to give immediately and unconditionally some of our talent, not only after using it
    for our own purposes or for those of our group".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope Francis: the theft of private documents will not divert me from the task of reform
    Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) - After the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father
    addressed some words to those present on the events of recent days in the Vatican:
    "I know that many of you are concerned by the news that has circulated in recent days regarding reserved documents of the Holy See that have been stolen and published. Therefore, I would like to say to you, first and foremost, that stealing those documents is a crime. It is a deplorable and unhelpful act. I myself had asked for that study to be undertaken; my collaborators and I were very familiar with the documents and measures had been taken that had started to
    bear fruit, including some that were visible".
    "Therefore I wish to assure you that this sad event will certainly not divert me from the work of reform that we are carrying forward with my collaborators and with the support of all of you. Yes, with the support of all the Church, because the Church is renewed with the prayer and daily sanctity of every baptised person. Therefore, I thank you and I ask you to continue to pray for the Pope and for the Church, without letting yourselves be disturbed, but instead going ahead with trust and hope".
    He went on to speak about the Italian Day of Thanksgiving, whose theme this year is "The earth, a common good". "I join with the bishops in hoping that all
    will act as responsible administrators of an inestimable common good, the earth,
    whose fruits have a universal destiny. I wish to express my gratitude to the world of agriculture, and encourage the cultivation of the earth in such a way as to conserve its fertility so that it produces food for all, today and for future generations".

    ___________________________________________________________

    On the defence of working rights
    Vatican City, 9 November 2015 (VIS) - The right to rest, a retirement pension and maternity leave, among other workers' rights, "based on the very nature of the person and his or her transcendent dignity", were the key themes of Pope Francis' address in St. Peter's Square this morning to 23,000 member of the Italian National Social Security Institute (INPS).
    The Pope emphasised the meaning of safeguarding the right to rest. "I do not refer only to that rest that is supported by an legitimised by social policy (such as the weekly day of rest and annual leave, to which every worker is entitled), but also and above all to a dimension of the human being that does not lack spiritual roots".
    God, Who instructs man to rest, also chose to rest on the seventh day. "Rest, in the language of faith, is therefore a human and divine dimension at the same
    time", commented Francis. "With a single prerogative, though: that of not being
    a simple abstention from ordinary labour and effort, but rather an opportunity to fully live one's condition as creatures elevated to filial dignity by God Himself. The need to 'sanctify' rest is therefore linked to that - offered each
    week on Sunday - of a time that enabled family, cultural, social and religious life to be taken care of, making a space and time for God and for many in all these aspects".
    The Pope then referred to the complex situations in the world of work nowadays,
    from unemployment to precarious guarantees for employees. "If you live like this, how can you ever rest? Rest is a right we all have when we work, but if the situation of unemployment, social injustice, illegal work and precariousness
    is so serious, how can I rest? What can we say? We can say - it is shameful - 'But do you want to work?'. 'Yes!'. 'Very well, let's make a deal. You can start
    work in September, but until July, and then July, August, and part of September
    you will neither eat nor rest...". This happens these days! And it happens all over the world; it happens here in Rome, too! Rest, when there is work; otherwise there is no rest".
    The Holy Father went on to note that until just a short while ago it was normal
    to associate retirement and pensions with reaching old age in which it was possible to enjoy a well-earned rest and offer wisdom and advice to the new generations. However, "the contemporary age has significantly altered these rhythms. On the one hand, the possibility of rest has been brought forward, at times diluted, and at times renegotiated to aberrant extremes, to the point of distorting the very idea of ceasing to work. On the other hand, existential needs have not diminished for those who have lost or never had a job, or for those who are obliged to stop working for the most varied reasons. If you stop

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Nov 10 08:24:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 198
    DATE 10-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis to workers in Prato: fight the cancer of corruption and the exploitation of labour
    - Francis to the National Ecclesial Congress: the traits of Christian humanism - Episcopal ordination in the Basilica of St. John Lateran: the Kingdom of God is built with patience
    - Clarifications from Fr. Federico Lombardi

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis to workers in Prato: fight the cancer of corruption and the exploitation of labour
    Vatican City, 10 November 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis arrived shortly before 8 a.m. at the Lungobisenzio Stadium in the Italian city of Prato, the first brief
    stop in his visit to the Tuscany region. From there, he transferred the cathedral square where he was awaited by thousands of faithful, some of whom had
    spent the night there to be able to greet the Pope. Many of them were workers, to whom he addressed a discourse on the dignity of work, in which he condemned exploitation. He also referred to the members of the Chinese community resident
    in the city who died last year in a fire in a textile factory where they worked
    and lived illegally.
    Francis affirmed that he was passing through the city as part of a larger pilgrimage: "It is little, but at least the intention is there", and remarked that he would like to spend longer in this "city of Mary". He began by quoting the biblical passage on the liberation of Israel, when the Lord asked the Jews to celebrate the Passover with "girded loins".
    "To 'gird the loins', to wear the cloak belted at the waist, meant being ready,
    preparing oneself to leave, to go out to be on one's way", he said, explaining that today this means being ready "to share the joy of having met the Lord and also the toil of walking His path. We are required to go out towards the men and
    women of our time. Going out, certainly, means taking risks, but there is no faith without risk. A faith that thinks of itself and is closed in on itself is
    not faithful to the invitation of the Lord, Who asks His people to take the initiative and to commit themselves fearlessly. Confronted with the often vertiginous transformations of recent years, there is the danger of succumbing to the whirlwind of events, losing the courage to seek out the way. ... But the
    Lord, Who wishes to reach those who do not yet love Him, spurs us on. ... He asks
    the Church, His bride, to walk today's rough paths, to accompany those who have
    lost their way and to pitch tents of hope, to welcome those who are wounded and
    expect nothing more from life".
    "For a disciple of Jesus, no closeness can turn into distance. Rather, there exist none who are too far away, only neighbours to be reached", affirmed Francis, thanking the citizens of Prato for their continuing efforts to integrate all people and to resist the throwaway culture of indifference. "In times distinguished by uncertainty and fear, your initiatives in favour of the weakest and families, that you are also committed to adopting, are praiseworthy.
    As you seek the best concrete solutions for inclusion, do not be discouraged by
    difficulties. Do not resign yourselves when faced with what appear to be difficult situations of coexistence; always be encouraged by the wish to establish genuine "neighbourly pacts".
    Finally, the Holy Father recalled that St. Paul invited Christians to wear a particular armour, that of God. "We must gird ourselves with truth. Nothing good
    can be based on lies or the lack of transparency. Always seeking and choosing the truth is not easy; however it is a vital decision, that must profoundly mark
    the existence of each person and of society, so that it may be more just and more honest. The sacred nature of every human being requires respect, welcome and dignified work for all. Dignified work! If I may, I would like to remember the five men and two women, Chinese nationals, who died two years ago as a result of a fire in the industrial zone of Prato. They lived and slept inside the same industrial building where they worked: in one area, a small dormitory had been fashioned in cardboard and plasterboard, with bunk beds to make use of
    the height of the structure. It is a tragedy of exploitation and of inhumane conditions of life. And this is not dignified work! The life of every community
    demands that we fight the cancer of corruption all the way; the cancer of the exploitation of human beings and labour, and the poison of illegality. Among us
    and along with others, we must never tire of fighting for truth and justice".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis to the National Ecclesial Congress: the traits of Christian humanism
    Vatican City, 10 November 2015 (VIS) - Following his brief visit to Prato, the
    Pope travelled by helicopter to Florence, where he was received by the cardinal
    archbishop Giuseppe Betori, and by the other civil and religious authorities. He
    transferred by car to the Baptistery dedicated to St. John the Baptist in the square before the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and paused a moment before
    the painting "The White Crucifixion", currently on display in the "Divine Beauty" exhibition in Palazzo Strozzi. From there, he proceeded to Santa Maria del Fiore on foot to meet with the participants in the Fifth National Ecclesial
    Congress, dedicated this year to the theme "In Jesus Christ, the new humanism".
    In the cathedral, where the 2,500 participants were gathered, he was greeted by
    Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) and archbishop of Genoa, along with Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin and Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary of the CEI.
    The Pope gave an address focusing on the theme of the Congress, extensive extracts of which are published below, in which he spoke about the features of Christian humanism and the temptations to which the Church is exposed.
    "We can speak about humanism only by starting from the centrality of Jesus, discovering in Him the features of the authentic face of man. And the contemplation of the face of the dead and risen Jesus that recomposes our humanity, fragmented as it may be by the hardships of life, or marked by sin. We
    must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ. The face is the image of His transcendence. ... I do not wish here to draw an abstract image of the 'new
    humanism', a certain idea of man, but to present with simplicity some features of Christian humanism, which is that of the sentiments, the mind of Jesus Christ. These are not abstract temporary sensations but rather represent the warm interior force that makes us able to live and to make decisions":
    "The first sentiment is humility. ... The obsession with preserving one's own glory and 'dignity', one's own influence, must not form part of our sentiments.
    We must seek God's glory, that does not coincide with ours. God's glory that shines in the humility of the stable in Bethlehem or in the dishonour of Christ's cross always surprises us".
    "Another sentiment is selflessness. '... The humanity of the Christian is always
    outward-looking. ... Please, let us avoid 'remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits that make us feel safe'. Our duty is to make this world better place, and to fight. Our faith is revolutionary because of the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit".
    "Another of Jesus Christ's sentiments is beatitude. The Christian is blessed. ...
    In the Beatitudes, the Lord shows us the path. By taking it, we human beings can
    arrive at the most authentically human and divine happiness. ... For the great saints, beatitude is about humiliation and poverty. But also in the most humble
    of our people there is much of this beatitude: it is that of he who knows the richness of solidarity, of sharing also the little he possesses. ... The beatitudes we read in the Gospel begin with a blessing and end with a promise of
    consolation. They introduce us to a path of possible greatness, that of the spirit, and when the spirit is ready all the rest comes by itself".
    "Humility, selflessness, beatitude ... they also say something to the Italian Church that today meets to walk together, setting an example of synodality. These features tell us that we must not be obsessed with power, even when this assumes the appearance of a useful or functional power in the social image of the Church. If the Church does not assume Jesus' mind, she is disorientated and
    loses her way. A Church with these three features - humility, selflessness and beatitude - is a Church that recognises the action of the Lord in the world, in
    culture, in the daily life of the people. I have said this more than once, and will repeat it again today to you: 'I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting
    and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is
    unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security'".

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Nov 11 08:24:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXV - # 199
    DATE 11-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Conviviality, a thermometer for measuring the health of family relationships - The Pope meets with President Dragan Covic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    - A humanism with the face of charity, says the Pope at Mass in Florence
    - The Holy See at UNESCO: the importance of education on climate change
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Conviviality, a thermometer for measuring the health of family relationships
    Vatican City, 11 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning's Wednesday general audience was held in St. Peter's Square, attended by thousands of faithful. Before beginning, the Holy Father invited those present to recite a Hail Mary for the cardinals, bishops, consecrated persons and laypeople who are currently
    meeting in Florence for the National Congress of the Italian Church.
    He dedicated today's catechesis to conviviality, a typical characteristic of family life. This attitude of sharing the goods of life and of being happy to do
    so is, he said, "a precious virtue". He continued, "Its symbol, its icon, is the
    family gathered around the table, partaking of a meal together - and therefore not merely food, but also sentiments, stories, and events. It is a fundamental experience. When there is a celebration - a birthday, an anniversary - the family gathers around the table. In some cultures it is customary to do so also
    following bereavement, to stay close to those who suffer for the loss of a family member".
    "Conviviality is a sure thermometer for measuring the health of relations: if in the family there is a problem or a hidden trouble, you understand immediately
    at the table. A family that almost never eats together, or in does not talk at the table but instead watches the television, or smartphones, is not a close family. Christianity has a special vocation to conviviality, as we all know. The
    Lord Jesus taught at the table, and represented the Kingdom of God as a festive
    banquet. Jesus also chose to consign to the disciples His spiritual testament at
    the table, condensed in the memorial gesture of His Sacrifice".
    Francis explained that the family brings to the Eucharist its own experience of
    conviviality, and opens it to the grace of a universal conviviality, of God's love for the world. "Participating in the Eucharist, the family is purified of the temptation to close up in itself, fortified in love and in faith, and broadens the boundaries of its own fraternity according to Christ's heart. In our time, marked by closed minds and too many walls, the conviviality generated
    by the family and extended in the Eucharist becomes a crucial opportunity. The Eucharist and families it nourishes are able to overcome such limitations and to
    build bridges of acceptance and charity".
    "Nowadays many social contexts impede family conviviality. We must find a way to recover it, if adapting it to the times. Conviviality seems to have become something to buy and sell, but in that way it becomes something else. Nourishment is not always the symbol of a just sharing of goods, able to reach those who have neither bread nor affection. In rich countries we are induced to
    spend first on excessive consumption, and then again to remedy the excess. This
    senseless behaviour diverts our attention from the true hunger of the body and the mind".
    "The living and vital alliance of Christian families, which support and embracesin the dynamism of their hospitality the burdens and joys of everyday life, cooperates with the grace of the Eucharist, which is able to create ever new communities with its strength that includes and saves". The Pope concluded,
    "the Christian family thus shows the true extent of its horizon, which is the horizon of the Mother Church and all humanity, the abandoned and excluded among
    all peoples".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope meets with President Dragan Covic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Vatican City, 11 November 2015 (VIS) - Before today's general audience, in the
    study of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received Dragan Covic, the incumbent
    chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, accompanied by the representatives of the Organising Committee of the State and the Church for his
    pastoral visit on 6 June this year.
    "I would like to thank you for your visit", he said. "I still hold in my heart
    that many great and beautiful things I have learned from you: your capacity for
    suffering, your capacity for forgiveness or at least to seek to forgive, your capacity to join and work together, your capacity for dialogue. Many thanks for
    the examples you give to humanity. I ask you to greet, on my behalf, your people, all the people, the two other presidents, and the communities that have
    a different religion but which meet, speak, and dialogue for the good of the country. May they speak between themselves and help your homeland to go ahead. And greet your good young people! I remember the questions they asked me. They are the promise of your homeland".
    The Holy Father thanked those present, asking them for their prayers. He gave his blessing to Bosnia-Herzegovina and its families, children and future, encouraging them to continue on their path.

    ___________________________________________________________

    A humanism with the face of charity, says the Pope at Mass in Florence
    Vatican City, 11 November 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis concluded his brief pastoral visit to Florence yesterday with Mass celebrated before fifty thousand
    people in the "Artemio Franchi" stadium. Even the detainees in the Florentine prison participated in a way, as the altar at which the Holy Father consecrated
    the Eucharist was produced by them, for which he warmly thanked them.
    In his homily, the Holy Father began from Christ's question to His disciples: "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?". "Jesus is interested in what people
    think, not to keep them happy, but to be able to communicate with them", he explained. "Without knowing what people think, the disciple isolates himself and
    begins to judge people according to his own thoughts and convictions. Maintaining a healthy contact with reality, with what people experience, their tears and their joys, is the only way of being able to help them ... to open their
    hearts to God. In reality, when God wanted to speak with us He incarnated Himself. Jesus' disciples must never forget where they were chosen from - that is, among the people - and must never give in to the temptation to assume detached attitudes, as if what the people think and live did not affect them or
    as if it were of little importance to them. ... This also applies to us. The fact
    that we are gathered today to celebrate Holy Mass in a sports stadium is a reminder of this. The Church, like Jesus, lives amid the people and for the people. For this reason the Church, throughout her history, has always carried within her the same question: who is Jesus for the men and women of today?".
    "Safeguarding and announcing the true faith in Jesus Christ is at the heart of

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Nov 11 08:36:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 199
    DATE 11-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Conviviality, a thermometer for measuring the health of family relationships - The Pope meets with President Dragan Covic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    - Pope's message to the 21st public session of the Pontifical Academies: life is
    a pilgrimage
    - Humanism with the face of charity: Mass in Florence
    - The Holy See at UNESCO: the importance of education on climate change
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Conviviality, a thermometer for measuring the health of family relationships
    Vatican City, 11 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning's Wednesday general audience was held in St. Peter's Square, attended by thousands of faithful. Before beginning, the Holy Father invited those present to recite a Hail Mary for the cardinals, bishops, consecrated persons and laypeople who are currently
    meeting in Florence for the National Congress of the Italian Church.
    He dedicated today's catechesis to conviviality, a typical characteristic of family life. This attitude of sharing the goods of life and of being happy to do
    so is, he said, "a precious virtue". He continued, "Its symbol, its icon, is the
    family gathered around the table, partaking of a meal together - and therefore not merely food, but also sentiments, stories, and events. It is a fundamental experience. When there is a celebration - a birthday, an anniversary - the family gathers around the table. In some cultures it is customary to do so also
    following bereavement, to stay close to those who suffer for the loss of a family member".
    "Conviviality is a sure thermometer for measuring the health of relations: if in the family there is a problem or a hidden trouble, you understand immediately
    at the table. A family that almost never eats together, or in does not talk at the table but instead watches the television, or smartphones, is not a close family. Christianity has a special vocation to conviviality, as we all know. The
    Lord Jesus taught at the table, and represented the Kingdom of God as a festive
    banquet. Jesus also chose to consign to the disciples His spiritual testament at
    the table, condensed in the memorial gesture of His Sacrifice".
    Francis explained that the family brings to the Eucharist its own experience of
    conviviality, and opens it to the grace of a universal conviviality, of God's love for the world. "Participating in the Eucharist, the family is purified of the temptation to close up in itself, fortified in love and in faith, and broadens the boundaries of its own fraternity according to Christ's heart. In our time, marked by closed minds and too many walls, the conviviality generated
    by the family and extended in the Eucharist becomes a crucial opportunity. The Eucharist and families it nourishes are able to overcome such limitations and to
    build bridges of acceptance and charity".
    "Nowadays many social contexts impede family conviviality. We must find a way to recover it, if adapting it to the times. Conviviality seems to have become something to buy and sell, but in that way it becomes something else. Nourishment is not always the symbol of a just sharing of goods, able to reach those who have neither bread nor affection. In rich countries we are induced to
    spend first on excessive consumption, and then again to remedy the excess. This
    senseless behaviour diverts our attention from the true hunger of the body and the mind".
    "The living and vital alliance of Christian families, which support and embracesin the dynamism of their hospitality the burdens and joys of everyday life, cooperates with the grace of the Eucharist, which is able to create ever new communities with its strength that includes and saves". The Pope concluded,
    "the Christian family thus shows the true extent of its horizon, which is the horizon of the Mother Church and all humanity, the abandoned and excluded among
    all peoples".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope meets with President Dragan Covic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Vatican City, 11 November 2015 (VIS) - Before today's general audience, in the
    study of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received Dragan Covic, the incumbent
    chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, accompanied by the representatives of the Organising Committee of the State and the Church for his
    pastoral visit on 6 June this year.
    "I would like to thank you for your visit", he said. "I still hold in my heart
    that many great and beautiful things I have learned from you: your capacity for
    suffering, your capacity for forgiveness or at least to seek to forgive, your capacity to join and work together, your capacity for dialogue. Many thanks for
    the examples you give to humanity. I ask you to greet, on my behalf, your people, all the people, the two other presidents, and the communities that have
    a different religion but which meet, speak, and dialogue for the good of the country. May they speak between themselves and help your homeland to go ahead. And greet your good young people! I remember the questions they asked me. They are the promise of your homeland".
    The Holy Father thanked those present, asking them for their prayers. He gave his blessing to Bosnia-Herzegovina and its families, children and future, encouraging them to continue on their path.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope's message to the 21st public session of the Pontifical Academies: life is
    a pilgrimage
    Vatican City, 11 November 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday the Pontifical Academies held
    their 21 st public session, organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture, which coordinates these institutions. The theme of the session this year was: "Ad limina Petri: monumental traces of pilgrimage in the first centuries of Christianity". During the event Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Holy Father, awarded the Pontifical Academies Award to young experts, artists and institutions distinguished in the course of the year in the
    promotion of Christian humanism.
    Pope Francis sent the participants a message in which he recalls how in the Bull to convoke the Jubilee of Mercy, Misericordiae Vultus, he underlined the importance of pilgrimage as a distinctive sign of the Holy Year as "it is the icon of the path that every person must walk in his or her existence. Life is pilgrimage and the human being a viator, a pilgrim who follows a road up to the
    intended goal. Even to reach the Holy Door in Rome too, or in any other place, each person must carry out, according to his or her strengths, a pilgrimage. It
    will be a sign of the fact that mercy too is an objective to be reached and which requires commitment and sacrifice. Pilgrimage, therefore, may be a stimulus to conversion: by passing through the Holy Door we will let ourselves be embraced by God's mercy and we will endeavour to be merciful with others as the Father is with us".
    He goes on to refer to the theme of the Session, noting that since the first centuries of the Christian age the itineraries of pilgrims, both ecclesiastics and laypeople, have been well documented by various sources, "including the graffiti left in the places they visited, by the side of the tombs of martyrs. From this evidence there emerges the genuine and generous faith of those who journey with great courage and also with many sacrifices, to encounter, and indeed to touch with their hands, the witnesses of faith and their memories, so
    as to draw new enthusiasm and inner strength to live their own faith increasingly deeply and coherently".
    He remarks that pilgrimage, as is shown by those who have walked part of the ancient itineraries, rediscovered and retraced in our times, "is also an experience of mercy, sharing and solidarity with those who take the same road, as well as welcome and generosity on the part of those who host and assist pilgrims. Among the works of corporal mercy, that I have wished to re-propose as
    one of the signs characterising the Holy Year, welcome to strangers stands out.
    A glance at Christian antiquity and the traces left by pilgrims reminds us of the commitment to welcome and sharing, that in the experience of pilgrimage becomes a conscious itinerary of conversion and joyful daily practice".
    Finally, the Pope announces the names of this year's winners of the prize that
    "awards a valuable contribution to archaeological study and relates to the worship of martyrs". The winners are, ex aequo, the Portuguese association "Campo Arqueologico di Mertola", whose referent is Professor Virgilio Lopes, for
    the archaeological campaigns carried out in recent years and for the extraordinary results obtained; and to Matteo Braconi for his excellent doctoral
    thesis on "The mosaic of the apse of the Basilica of St. Pudenziana in Rome. History, restoration, interpretations", defended at the Rome Tre University.
    As a sign of encouragement for research in the fields of history and religion,

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Nov 12 08:13:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 200
    DATE 12-11-2015

    Summary:
    - To Slovak bishops: the Church is called to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of migrants
    - Francis greets the members of the Don Guanella family: the worst famine is the
    lack of charity
    - Pope's video message to the National Eucharistic Congress of India
    - Message to Cardinal Rylko: the conciliar basis of the vocation and mission of
    the laity
    - Declaration by Fr. Federico Lombardi on current investigations in the Vatican
    - Communique from the Holy See Press Office on the activity of APSA
    - Communique by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples on ownership
    of real estate
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    To Slovak bishops: the Church is called to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of migrants
    Vatican City, 12 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Slovakia at the end of their five-yearly
    "ad Limina" visit. In the discourse he handed to them at the end of the audience
    he encouraged them to consider the phenomenon of migration as an opportunity for
    encounter, also recalling that the Church is called upon to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of migrants in the context of observance of the law.
    Francis begins his discourse by referring to the pastoral work of bishops and situation characterised by rapid changes in many sectors of human life, affected
    also by the phenomenon of globalisation. A situation, he writes, in which "at times we perceive threats to less populous nations, but at the same time elements that can offer new opportunities. One opportunity, which has become a sign of the times, is the phenomenon of migration, which demands to be understood and confronted with sensitivity and a sense of justice. The Church is
    required to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of the migrant in a spirit
    of charity and respect for the dignity of the human person, in the context of the necessary observance of the law".
    "Faced with the prospect of an increasingly extensive multicultural environment, it is necessary to assume attitudes of mutual respect to promote encounter. It is to be hoped that the Slovak people will maintain their cultural
    identity and heritage of ethical and spiritual values, strongly linked to the Catholic tradition. In this way they will be able to open up without fear to exchange on the broadest continental and global horizon, contributing to a sincere and fruitful dialogue, also on themes of vital importance such as the dignity of human life and the essential function of the family. Today, more than
    ever, it is necessary to enlighten the path of peoples with Christian principles, seizing the opportunities that the current situation offers to develop an evangelisation that, using a new language, makes Christ's message easier to understand. For this reason it important for the Church to give hope,
    so that all the present changes may be transformed into a renewed encounter with
    Christ, that guides the people towards authentic progress".
    The Pope expresses his appreciation for the prelates' work with families, which
    face many difficulties, and reiterates the importance of integral family pastoral ministry at diocesan and national levels, including "adequate accompaniment for all families, including those where members are not present, especially if there are children". In this regard it is essential to pay special
    attention to the young, "the hope of the Church and of society".
    The paternal care of bishops for the priests, their main collaborators in pastoral ministry, is another of the themes considered by Francis, who insists on the need for "well-structured programmes of continuing formation in the fields of theology, spirituality, pastoral ministry and social doctrine of the Church, enabling them to become competent evangelisers". He adds, "Indeed, for the majority of the People of God, they are the principal channel through which
    the Gospel passes, and also offer the most immediate image through which the mystery of the Church is encountered".
    The Church, "sign and tool of the unity of men with God and with each other, is
    called upon to be the house and school of communion, in which one learns to appreciate and welcome positive qualities in others", remarks the Holy Father at
    the end of his discourse, emphasising that this attitude is also very useful with reference to the good contact it is necessary to re-establish in Slovakia between pastors and consecrated persons, better appreciating the valid contribution of all men and women religious to pastoral ministry. "At the same time", he noted, "the Church in your country must carry forth the pastoral care
    of the Rom, through extensive evangelisation that seeks to reach all these people who, unfortunately, continue to live in some ways separated from the rest
    of society".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis greets the members of the Don Guanella family: the worst famine is the
    lack of charity
    Vatican City, 12 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall the Pope greeted five hundred members of the Family of St. Luigi Guanella,
    known simply as Don Guanella (1842-1915), the Italian priest who founded the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence and the Order of the Servants of Charity. He was beatified in 1964 and canonised in 2011.
    The Don Guanella Family's pilgrimage to Rome coincides with the first centenary
    of the saint's death and, in his address to the pilgrims, the Holy Father imagined what Don Guanella might have said to his followers to confirm them in faith, hope and charity, using three verbs: to trust, to look, and to make haste.
    The first verb is to trust. "The life of Don Guanella had as its centre the certainty that God is the merciful and provident Father. This was for him the heart of faith: knowing himself to be an always beloved son, for whom the Father
    cared, and therefore a brother to all, called upon to inspire trust. ... I think
    that it displeases the heavenly Father greatly to see that His children do not fully trust in Him; they perhaps believe in a distant God, rather than in a merciful Father. In many people there arises the doubt that God, while being Father, may also be a master. ... But this is a great deception; the ancient deception of the enemy of God and man, which conceals reality and disguises good
    as evil. It is the first temptation: to distance oneself from God, intimidated by the suspicion that His paternity is not truly provident and good. God is instead love alone, pure provident love. He loves us more than we love ourselves, and knows what is truly good for us. He therefore hopes that in the course of life we become what we are at the moment of our Baptism: beloved children, able to vanquish fear and not ceding to lamentation, because the Father takes care of us".
    The second verb is to look. "The Father, the Creator, also inspires creativity
    in those who live like His children. They then learn to look at the world through new eyes, made more luminous by love and hope. They are eyes that enable
    us to look within with truth, and to see far in charity. ... In the world there is
    never any lack of problems, and in our time there are unfortunately new forms of
    poverty and many injustices. But the greatest famine of all is that of charity:
    we need, most of all, people with eyes renewed by love and a gaze that inspires
    hope".
    "At times, our spiritual point of view is short-sighted, as we are not able to
    see beyond our own ego. At other times we are long-sighted: we like to help those who are far away but are not able to stoop to those who live next to us. Sometimes, indeed, we prefer to close our eyes, as we are tired and overcome by
    pessimism. Don Guanella, who recommended that we look at Jesus starting from His
    heart, invites us to have the same gaze as the Lord: a gaze that inspires hope and joy, able at the same time to feel a 'profound sentiment of compassion' towards those who suffer".
    Finally, to make haste: "The poor are the favoured sons" of the Father, St. Luigi said, and he liked to repeat that 'those who give to the poor, lend to God'. Just as the Father is delicate and concrete with regard to his smallest and weakest children, so we too cannot expect our brothers and sisters in difficulty to wait as, again in the words of Don Guanella, 'misery cannot wait.
    And we cannot stop as long as there are poor people to tend to'".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Pope's video message to the National Eucharistic Congress of India
    Vatican City, 12 November 2015 (VIS) - "Nourished by the Eucharist to nourish others" is the theme of the National Eucharistic Congress of India, inaugurated
    today in Mumbai and attended by 700 delegates from all over the country. The Congress will also provide the opportunity to commemorate the presence for the same event fifty years ago of Blessed Paul VI, during his trip to India in 1964.
    The opening of the Congress, which will conclude on 15 November, included a screening of the Pope's video message to the participants in which he expresses
    his hope that it will be a "herald of joy and happiness" for the whole Indian population. The following are extensive extracts from his message, transmitted in English:
    "The Eucharistic Congress is God's gift not just for the Christians of the India but for the entire population of a country culturally so diverse yet spiritually so rich. Over thousands of years India has been permeated by the desire for truth, the search for the divine, the effort at goodness and

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Nov 27 20:13:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXV - # 211
    DATE 27-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Meeting with clergy in Kenya: following Jesus leaves no place for ambition
    - The Pope at the UNON: African heritage at constant risk of destruction
    - In a Kangemi slum: thank you for reminding us that there are other types of culture
    - The Pope leaves Kenya for Uganda
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - Notice

    ___________________________________________________________

    Meeting with clergy in Kenya: following Jesus leaves no place for ambition
    Vatican City, 27 November 2015 (VIS) - In the sports field of the St. Mary School, belonging to the archdiocese of Nairobi and founded in 1939 by the Felician Sisters, the Holy Father met with clergy, men and women religious, and
    seminarians of Kenya, to whom he addressed an extemporaneous discourse in his native Spanish, including many expressions and idioms typical of his homeland Argentina. An interpreter translated into English, one of Kenya's official languages.
    Francis said that he was struck by the passage in St. Paul's letter in which he
    says, "And I am sure of this, that He Who began a good work in you will bring it
    to completion at the day of Jesus Christ", and added, "All of you were chosen by
    the Lord; He chose each one of us. He began His work on the day He looked at us
    in Baptism, and then later when He looked at us and said: 'If you wish, come with me'. So we lined up and began our journey. But it was He Who began the journey, not us. In the Gospel we read about one of the people Jesus healed, who
    then wanted to follow Him. But Jesus told him, 'No'. If we want to follow Jesus
    Christ - in the priesthood and or consecrated life - we have to enter by the door! And the door is Christ! He is the one Who calls, Who begins, Who does the
    work. Some people want to enter by the window. It doesn't work that way. So please, if any of you has friends who came in by the window, embrace them and tell them it would be better to leave and go serve God in another way, because work which Jesus Himself did not begin, by the door, will never be brought to completion".
    "There are people who do not know why God calls them, but they know that He has. Go ahead in peace, God will let you know why He has called you. Others want
    to follow the Lord for some benefit. We remember the mother of James and John, who said, 'Lord, I beg you, when you cut the cake, give the biggest slice to my
    sons. ... Let one of them sit at your right and the other at your left'. We can be
    tempted to follow Jesus for ambition: ambition for money or power. All of us can
    say, 'When I first followed Jesus, I was not like that'. But it has happened to
    other people, and little by little it was sowed in our heart like weeds. In our
    life as disciples of Jesus there must be no room for personal ambition, for money, for worldly importance. We will follow Jesus to the very last final step
    of His earthly life, the Cross. He will make sure you rise again, but you have to keep following Him to the end. And I tell you this in all seriousness, because the Church is not a business or an a NGO. The Church is a mystery: the mystery of Jesus Who looks at each of us and says 'Follow me'".
    "So let this be clear: Jesus is the one Who calls. ... He does not 'canonise' us.
    We continue to be the same old sinners. ... We are all sinners; starting with me.
    But Jesus' tenderness and love keep us going. May He who began a good work in you bring it to completion. ... Do you remember any time in the Gospel, when the
    Apostle James wept? Or when one of the other Apostles wept? Only one wept, the Gospel tells us; he who knew he was a sinner, so great a sinner that he betrayed
    his Lord. And when he realised this, he wept. Then Jesus made him Pope. Who can
    understand Jesus? It is a mystery! So never stop weeping. When priests and religious no longer weep, something is wrong. We need to weep for our infidelity, for all the pain in our world, for all those people who are cast aside, the elderly who are abandoned, for children who are killed, for the things we do not understand. We need to weep when people ask us, 'Why?'. None of
    us has all the answers to those questions. ... There are situations in life for
    which we can only weep, and look to Jesus on the cross. This is the only answer
    we have for certain injustices, certain kinds of pain, certain situations in life. ... Whenever a consecrated man or woman or a priest forgets Christ crucified, he or she falls into an ugly sin, a sin which disgusts God; it is the
    sin of being tepid, lukewarm. ... What else can I say to you? Never stray from Jesus. In other words, never stop praying. 'But Father, sometimes it is so tiresome to pray, it wearies us. It makes us fall asleep...'. So sleep before the Lord: that is also a way of praying. But stay there, before Him and pray! Do
    not stop praying".
    The Holy Father reiterated that "when we let ourselves be chosen by Jesus, it is to serve: to serve the People of God, to serve the poorest, the outcast, living on the fringes of society, to serve children and the elderly. But also to
    serve people who are unaware of their own pride and sin; to serve Jesus in them.
    Letting ourselves be chosen by Jesus means letting ourselves be chosen to serve,
    and not to be served".
    "This is what I wanted to say to you, what I felt when I heard those words of St. Paul, who trusted that the One Who began a good work in you will bring it to
    completion at the day of Jesus Christ'. A cardinal said to me ... that when he goes to the cemetery and sees the graves of dedicated missionaries, men and women religious who gave their lives, he wonders, 'Why don't we canonise this or
    that one tomorrow?', because they spent their lives serving others. ... Thank you
    for your courage in following Jesus, thank you for all the times you realise that you yourselves are sinners, and thank you for all the tender caresses you give to those who need them. Thank you for all those times when you helped so many people die in peace. Thank you for 'burning' your lives in hope. Thank you
    for letting yourselves be helped, corrected and forgiven every day. And as I thank you, I also ask you not to forget to pray for me, as I need your prayers.
    Many thanks".
    "I must leave now, as there are children suffering from cancer whom I wish to greet and comfort. I thank you, seminarians, whom I have not named but are included in all that I have said. And if any of you do not have the courage to take this path, seek another job, consider marrying and having a family. Thank you".

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope at the UNON: African heritage at constant risk of destruction
    Vatican City, 27 November 2015 (VIS) - The Pope's final appointment yesterday afternoon was at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), the general headquarters of the United Nations in Africa, instituted by the General Assembly
    in 1996. The structure also houses the offices of two United Nations programmes,
    the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlement Programme). Around twenty international and United Nations organisations have their regional offices for Africa in Nairobi.
    Upon arrival, the Pope was welcomed by the director general of the UNON, Sahle
    Work Zewde, the executive director of UNEP Achim Steiner, and the executive director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos. Then, accompanied by the director general, he
    was invited to plant a tree in the UNON park; as Francis later emphasised, this
    is an act charged with symbolic meaning in many cultures. He then entered the new UNEP building where he pronounced a discourse before 3,000 people, in which
    he expressed his hope that COP 21 may conclude with a "transformational" global
    agreement based on the principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation, and with three complex and interdependent aims: the alleviation of the impact of climate change, the fight against poverty, and the promotion of
    respect for human dignity. In view of the imminent 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation, to be held in Nairobi, the Holy Father also spoke about the agreements on intellectual property and access to medicine and essential healthcare, and also mentioned illegal trafficking in animals and precious stones, trades which perpetuate poverty and exclusion.
    The following are extensive extracts from his discourse:
    "Planting a tree is first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification. ... Planting a tree is
    also an incentive to keep trusting, hoping, and above all working in practice to
    reverse all those situations of injustice and deterioration which we currently experience. ... In a few days an important meeting on climate change will be held
    in Paris, where the international community as such will once again confront these issues. It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular
    interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects".
    "COP21 represents an important stage in the process of developing a new energy
    system which depends on a minimal use of fossil fuels, aims at energy efficiency
    and makes use of energy sources with little or no carbon content. We are faced with a great political and economic obligation to rethink and correct the dysfunctions and distortions of the current model of development. ... For this reason, I express my hope that COP21 will achieve a global and 'transformational' agreement based on the principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation; an agreement which targets three complex and interdependent goals: lessening the impact of climate change, fighting poverty and ensuring respect for human dignity".
    "For all the difficulties involved, there is a growing 'conviction that our planet is a homeland and that humanity is one people living in a common home'. No country 'can act independently of a common responsibility. If we truly desire
    positive change, we have to humbly accept our interdependence'. The problem arises whenever we think of interdependence as a synonym for domination, or the
    subjection of some to the interests of others, of the powerless to the powerful.
    What is needed is sincere and open dialogue, with responsible cooperation on the
    part of all: political authorities, the scientific community, the business world
    and civil society".
    "At the same time we believe that 'human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good and making a new start'. This conviction leads us to hope that, whereas the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, 'humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered
    for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities'".
    "This much-needed change of course cannot take place without a substantial commitment to education and training. Nothing will happen unless political and technical solutions are accompanied by a process of education which proposes new
    ways of living. ... This calls for an educational process which fosters in boys
    and girls, women and men, young people and adults, the adoption of a culture of
    care ... in place of a culture of waste, a 'throw-away culture' where people use
    and discard themselves, others and the environment. By promoting an 'awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of the future to be shared with everyone', we will favour the development of new convictions, attitudes and
    lifestyles. ... We need to be alert to one sad sign of the 'globalisation of indifference': the fact that we are gradually growing accustomed to the suffering of others, as if it were something normal, or even worse, becoming resigned to such extreme and scandalous kinds of 'using and discarding' and social exclusion as new forms of slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution and trafficking in organs. 'There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty aggravated by environmental degradation. They are not recognised by international conventions
    as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever'".
    "Together with neglect of the environment, we have witnessed for some time now
    a rapid process of urbanisation, which in many cases has unfortunately led to 'disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities ... [where] we increasingly see
    the troubling symptoms of a social breakdown which spawns 'increased violence and a rise in new forms of social aggression, ... a loss of identity', a lack of
    rootedness and social anonymity".
    "Here I would offer a word of encouragement to all those working at local and international levels to ensure that the process of urbanisation becomes an effective means for development and integration. This means working to guarantee
    for everyone, especially those living in outlying neighbourhoods, the basic rights to dignified living conditions and to land, lodging and labour. ... The forthcoming Habitat-III Conference, planned for Quito in October 2016, could be
    a significant occasion for identifying ways of responding to these issues".
    "In a few days, Nairobi will host the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World
    Trade Organisation. ... While recognising that much has been done in this area, it
    seems that we have yet to attain an international system of commerce which is

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Sat Nov 28 07:49:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXV - # 212
    DATE 28-11-2015

    Summary:
    - Francis in Uganda: despite our different beliefs, we must all seek truth and work for justice and reconciliation
    - At the Munyonyo Shrine: may the martyrs obtain for you the grace to be wise teachers
    - Homily at the Namugongo shrines: we honour the Ugandan martyrs when we carry on their witness to Christ
    - Francis to the young people of Kenya: tribalism is defeated by listening, opening one's heart, and dialogue
    - Video message: true change begins in ourselves
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis in Uganda: despite our different beliefs, we must all seek truth and work for justice and reconciliation
    Vatican City, 28 November 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis arrived
    in Uganda, the second leg of his apostolic trip in Africa. He was awaited at at
    the airport by President Yoweri Kaguta Museweni, representatives of the religious and civil authorities, and a group of dancers who performed a traditional dance in his honour. From the airport the Pope transferred to the State House in Entebbe, where he privately greeted the family of the president,
    who was also Head of State during St. John Paul II's visit to the country. He then met with the authorities and the diplomatic corps of Uganda.
    In his address in the Conference Hall, Francis emphasised that his visit was intended to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the canonisation of the martyrs of Uganda by his predecessor Pope Paul VI, but at the same time he hoped
    it would also be "a sign of friendship, esteem and encouragement for all the people of this great nation".
    "The Martyrs, both Catholic and Anglican, are true national heroes. They bear witness to the guiding principles expressed in Uganda's motto - For God and My Country. They remind us of the importance that faith, moral rectitude and commitment to the common good have played, and continue to play, in the cultural, economic and political life of this country. They also remind us that,
    despite our different beliefs and convictions, all of us are called to seek the
    truth, to work for justice and reconciliation, and to respect, protect and help
    one another as members of our one human family. These high ideals are particularly demanded of men and women like yourselves, who are charged with ensuring good and transparent governance, integral human development, a broad participation in national life, as well as a wise and just distribution of the goods which the Creator has so richly bestowed upon these lands".
    "My visit is also meant to draw attention to Africa as a whole, its promise, its hopes, its struggles and its achievements", he continued. "The world looks to Africa as the continent of hope. Uganda has indeed been blessed by God with abundant natural resources, which you are challenged to administer as responsible stewards. But above all, the nation has been blessed in its people:
    its strong families, its young and its elderly... the living memory of every people".
    Francis praised Uganda's "outstanding concern" for refugees, which has enabled
    them "to rebuild their lives in security and to sense the dignity which comes from earning one's livelihood through honest labour. Our world, caught up in wars, violence, and various forms of injustice, is witnessing an unprecedented movement of peoples. How we deal with them is a test of our humanity, our respect for human dignity, and above all our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need".
    "I hope to encourage the many quiet efforts being made to care for the poor, the sick and those in any kind of trouble. It is in these small signs that we see the true soul of a people. In so many ways, our world is growing closer; yet
    at the same time we see with concern the globalisation of a 'throwaway culture'
    which blinds us to spiritual values, hardens our hearts before the needs of the
    poor, and robs our young of hope".
    He concluded, "As I look forward to meeting you and spending this time with you, I pray that you, Mr. President, and all the beloved Ugandan people, will always prove worthy of the values which have shaped the soul of your nation. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord's richest blessings. Mungu awabariki!".

    ___________________________________________________________

    At the Munyonyo Shrine: may the martyrs obtain for you the grace to be wise teachers
    Vatican City, 28 November 2015 (VIS) - Following his encounter with the leaders
    of Uganda, the Pope travelled 38 kilometres by car from Entebbe to Munyonyo, the
    place where King Mwanga II (1884-1903) chose to exterminate the Christians of Uganda and where in May 1886 the first four martyrs were killed, including St. Andrew Kaggwa, patron of Ugandan catechists. Every year catechists gather in the
    area of the shrine of Munyonyo, now entrusted to the Conventual Franciscans, where a new Church able to hold a thousand people is being built. Among the catechists attending the meeting with the Holy Father there was also a representation of teachers from the Uganda National Council of Laity, as laypeople have played, and continue to play, a very important role in the evangelisation of the country.
    Upon arrival, the Pope was received by the superior of the Franciscans and by Archbishiop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, who accompanied him to the churchyard where he planted and watered a tree, along with the archbishop and leaders of the Orthodox and Protestant confessions to underline the ecumenical aspect of the Ugandan martyrs. Indeed, dozens of Anglicans were killed during the reign of King Mwanga II, alongside twenty-two of his servants, pages and functionaries who were converted to Catholicism by the missionaries of Africa.
    After blessing the new statue of St. Andrew Kaggwa, located in the place of his
    martyrdom, the Pope addressed the catechists, first thanking them for their sacrifices in fulfilling their mission. "You teach what Jesus taught, you instruct adults and help parents to raise their children in the faith, and you bring the joy and hope of eternal life to all", he said. "Thank you for your dedication, your example, your closeness to God's people in their daily lives, and all the many ways you plant and nurture the seeds of faith throughout this vast land. Thank you especially for teaching our children and young people how to pray".
    "I know that your work, although rewarding, is not easy. So I encourage you to
    persevere, and I ask your bishops and priests to support you with a doctrinal, spiritual and pastoral formation capable of making you ever more effective in your outreach. Even when the task seems too much, the resources too few, the obstacles too great, it should never be forgotten that yours is a holy work. The
    Holy Spirit is present wherever the name of Christ is proclaimed. He is in our midst whenever we lift up our hearts and minds to God in prayer. He will give you the light and strength you need! The message you bring will take root all the more firmly in people's hearts if you are not only a teacher but also a witness. Your example should speak to everyone of the beauty of prayer, the power of mercy and forgiveness, the joy of sharing in the Eucharist with all our
    brothers and sisters".
    "The Christian community in Uganda grew strong through the witness of the martyrs", he continued. "They testified to the truth which sets men free; they were willing to shed their blood to be faithful to what they knew was good and beautiful and true. We stand here today in Munyonyo at the place where King Mwanga determined to wipe out the followers of Christ. He failed in this, just as King Herod failed to kill Jesus. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it. After seeing the fearless testimony of Saint Andrew Kaggwa and his companions, Christians in Uganda became even more convinced of Christ's promises".
    "May Saint Andrew, your patron, and all the Ugandan catechist martyrs, obtain for you the grace to be wise teachers, men and women whose every word is filled
    with grace, convincing witnesses to the splendour of God's truth and the joy of
    the Gospel", the Pontiff concluded. "Go forth without fear to every town and village in this country, to spread the good seed of God's word, and trust in his
    promise that you will come back rejoicing, with sheaves full from the harvest. Omukama Abawe Omukisa! God bless you!".
    Yesterday evening in the nunciature of Kampala Pope Francis received the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. The director of the Holy See Press Office,
    Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., underlined that the audience represented a "special
    gesture" demonstrating the attention with which the Pope follows the troubled events in this country, the youngest in Africa (independent since July 2011), and whose founders included the Catholic bishop Cesare Mazzolari, who died shortly after its birth. South Sudan has not yet known peace, although the ideals that inspired its independence included peacemaking between ethnic groups
    and with Sudan.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Homily at the Namugongo shrines: we honour the Ugandan martyrs when we carry on
    their witness to Christ
    Vatican City, 28 November 2015 (VIS) - Early this morning, the Pope visited the
    Anglican shrine at Namugongo (under the jurisdiction of the Church of Uganda), erected in the place where 25 Ugandans, Catholics and Anglicans, were martyred between 1884 and 1887. Their relics are conserved in a chapel adjacent to the holy building, situated just a few kilometres from the Catholic shrine. Francis
    was welcomed by the Anglican archbishop Stanley Ntagali, and he unveiled a commemorative plaque near the recently restored chapel. He then went to the place where the martyrs were condemned, tortured and killed. Forty bishops of the Ugandan Anglican episcopate were present in the chapel. After praying a few
    minutes in silence, the Holy Father took leave of Archbishop Ntagali and travelled the three kilometres between the Anglican and Catholic shrines by popemobile.
    The national Catholic shrine of Namugongo stands in a large natural park where
    religious ceremonies are often held in the open air, due to the large numbers of
    faithful. The shape of the Church recalls that of the traditional huts of the Baganda or "Akasiisiira" ethnic group, and is supported by 22 pillars commemorating the 22 Catholic martyrs. In front of the main entrance to the Basilica, below the great altar, there is the place where Charles Lwanga was burned alive in 1886. The church was consecrated by Blessed Paul VI during his apostolic trip to Uganda in 1969, and is a destination for pilgrims throughout the year, but especially on 3 June, the day of Charles Lwanga's martyrdom.
    Before celebrating the Eucharist, Francis entered the Basilica and prayed before the altar which holds the relics of Charles Lwanga. He then toured the area by popemobile to greet the thousands of faithful who attended the votive Mass for the fiftieth anniversary of the canonisation of the martyrs of Uganda,
    and pronounced the following homily:
    "From the age of the Apostles to our own day, a great cloud of witnesses has been raised up to proclaim Jesus and show forth the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we recall with gratitude the sacrifice of the Uganda martyrs, whose witness of love for Christ and his Church has truly gone 'to the end of the earth'. We remember also the Anglican martyrs whose deaths for Christ testify to
    the ecumenism of blood. All these witnesses nurtured the gift of the Holy Spirit
    in their lives and freely gave testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ, even at
    the cost of their lives, many at such a young age".
    "We too have received the gift of the Spirit, to make us sons and daughters of
    God, but also so that we may bear witness to Jesus and make him everywhere known
    and loved. We received the Spirit when we were reborn in Baptism, and we were strengthened by his gifts at our Confirmation. Every day we are called to deepen
    the Holy Spirit's presence in our life, to 'fan into flame' the gift of his divine love so that we may be a source of wisdom and strength to others".
    "The gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift which is meant to be shared. It unites us to one another as believers and living members of Christ's mystical Body. We

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Dec 1 10:23:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXV - # 215
    DATE 01-12-2015

    Summary:
    - The Pope's return flight to Rome: fundamentalism is a sickness that afflicts all religions
    - Cardinal Parolin at the COP 21: Reach a global and transformational agreement
    - How did the Council Fathers experience Vatican Council II?
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope's return flight to Rome: fundamentalism is a sickness that afflicts all religions
    Vatican City, 1 December 2015 (VIS) - During his return flight following his apostolic trip to Africa, the Pope answered questions from the journalists accompanying him on the aircraft. The following are extensive extracts from questions posed and the Holy Father's answers regarding his impressions of Africa, the Vatileaks case, his upcoming trips and COP 21.
    The first question was from a Kenyan journalist who wanted to know the Pope's views on the stories told by poor families in the Kangemi slum regarding exclusion from fundamental human rights due to avarice and corruption.
    Pope Francis: "I understand that 80 per cent of the world's wealth is in the hands of 17 per cent of the population; I do not know if this is true, but it is
    likely, as this is how things are. ... It is an economic system in which money,
    the god of money, is at the centre. ... And if things continue in this way, the
    world will not change. ... In Kangemi, where I spoke clearly about rights, I felt
    great suffering. ... Yesterday, for example, I visited a paediatric hospital, the
    only one in Bangui and in the country! And in intensive care they do not have the instruments to provide oxygen. There were many malnourished children, many.
    And the doctor told me, 'Here the majority will die, as they have malaria and they are malnourished. ... And those people who hold 80 per cent of the world's
    wealth - what do they think of this?"
    The second question regarded the most memorable moment of the Pope's trip to Africa.
    Pope Francis: "For me Africa was a surprise. I thought: God surprises us, but also Africa surprises! ... They have a great sense of welcome. ... Then, each country has its own identity. Kenya is a little more modern, more developed. Uganda has the identity of martyrs: the Ugandan people, both Catholic and Anglican, venerate the martyrs. ... The courage of giving life for an ideal. And
    the Central African Republic: there is the desire for peace, reconciliation, and
    forgiveness".
    The third question touched on the issued of Vatileaks and the importance of the
    press in denouncing corruption wherever it encounters it.
    Pope Francis: "A free press, both secular and confessional, but professional ... is important to me, because the denouncement of injustice and corruption is
    good work. ... And then those who are responsible must do something: form a judgement, constitute a tribunal. But the professional press must say everything, without falling prey to the three most common sins: disinformation,
    or telling half a story but omitting the other half; slander, or when the press
    is unprofessional and seeks to soil others with or without truth; and defamation, or rather, to damage a person's reputation ... and these are the three
    defects that undermine the professionalism of the press. We need professionalism".
    A French journalist asked whether, faced with the danger of fundamentalism, religious leaders should intervene in the political arena.
    Pope Francis: "If this means participating in politics, no. Being a priest, a pastor, an imam, a rabbi - this is the vocation of a religious leader. But political influence is exercised indirectly by preaching values, true values, and one of the greatest values is fraternity between us. ... Fundamentalism is sickness that we find in all religions. Among Catholics there are many, not a few, many, who believe to hold the absolute truth and they go ahead by harming others with slander and defamation, and they do great harm. ... And it must be combated. Religious fundamentalism is not truly religious. Why? Because God is missing. It is a form of idolatry, in the same way as worshipping money is idolatry. Being political in the sense of convincing these people who have this
    tendency is a policy that we religious leaders must adopt".
    An Italian journalist asked why two of the defendants in the Vatileaks case, Msgr. Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, had been appointed.
    Pope Francis: "I think it was a mistake. Msgr. Vallejo Balda entered via the role he had has had until now. He was secretary of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs. I am not sure how he entered but if I am not mistaken, it was he who presented [Chaouqui] as a woman who knew the world of commercial relations. ...
    They worked and once they had finished their task, the members of the Commission, COSEA, remained in various places in the Vatican. The same applied to Vallejo Balda. Ms. Chaouqui did not remain in the Vatican because she entered
    for the purposes of the Commission and then left. Some say that she was angry about this, but the judges will tell us the truth of the situation. ... For me [what came out] was not a surprise, it did not cause me to lose any sleep, because they have shown the work that began with the Commission of Cardinals - the 'C9' - to seek out corruption and things that are not going well. And here want to say something ... on the word 'corruption'. Thirteen days before the death
    of St. John Paul II ... in the Via Crucis, the then-cardinal Ratzinger spoke about
    corruption in the Church. He was the first to denounce it. And when St. John Paul II died, in the 'pro eligendo Pontefice' Mass - he was the dean - he spoke
    about the same thing, and we elected him for this, his liberty to say these things. Since then there has been an air of corruption in the Vatican. ... With
    respect to the judgement, I have given the concrete accusations to the judges, because that is what is important for the defence, the formulation of the accusations. I have not read them, the concrete, technical accusations. I would
    have liked this to finish before 8 December, for the Year of Mercy, but I do not
    think this will be possible, as I would like the lawyers who defend them to have
    to time to defend; they must have the freedom to prepare a full defence".
    A South African correspondent commented on the devastation caused by AIDS in Africa, where the epidemic continues, and where prevention is still the key. He
    asked the Pope whether or not it was time to change the Church's position on the
    use of condoms.
    Pope Francis: "The question seems to me to be too narrow, or rather a partial question. Yes, it is one of the methods; the morality of the Church finds itself
    before a perplexity: it is the fifth or the sixth commandment, defending life, or that the sexual relationship must be open to life? ... This questions makes me
    think about what they did to Jesus once. 'Tell me Master, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'. It is obligatory to heal! ... But malnutrition, the exploitation
    of people, slave labour, the lack of drinking water: these are the problems. Let
    us not ask if we can use this sticking plaster or another for a small wound. The
    great wound is social injustice, the injustice of the environment, the injustice
    that I have mentioned such as exploitation and malnutrition. ... I do not like to
    make reference to such specific cases when people die for lack of water or hunger, because of their habitat. ... When everyone has been healed, when there
    are no longer these tragic diseases caused by mankind, either by social injustice or to earn more money. ... Then we can ask the question, 'is it lawful
    to heal on the Sabbath?'. Why do they continue the production and trafficking of
    weapons? Wars are the greatest cause of mortality. ... I would say, do not think
    about whether or not it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. I would like to say to
    humanity: ensure justice, and when everyone is healed, when there is no more injustice in this world, we can talk about the Sabbath".
    An Italian journalist wanted to know if the Pope had considered going to Armenia to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the tragedy that afflicted the population, as he did last year in Turkey.
    "Last year I promised the three Patriarchs that I would go: the promise is there. I do not know if it will be possible to do so, but the promise stands. ...
    As for wars, wars are due to ambition. I am talking about wars that are not a legitimate defence against an unjust aggressor, but rather wars, wars are an 'industry'! ... War is a business, a weapons business. Terrorists, do they make
    their weapons? Perhaps the odd small one. Who gives them the weapons for warfare? There is a network of interests involved, and behind this there is money, or power: imperial power, or economic power. ... But we have been at war
    for many years, some times more than others: the pieces of the war are smaller,
    then they become bigger. ... I don't know what the 'Vatican position' is, but what
    I think is that wars are a sin against humanity. They destroy humanity, they are
    the cause of exploitation, of human trafficking, of so many things. ... Wars are
    not of God. God is the God of peace".
    Another issue was whether the Conference on Climate Change in Paris will be the
    beginning to a solution to the environmental problem.
    Pope Francis: "I am not sure, but I can say that it is now or never. Every year
    the problems grow more serious. ... We are at the brink of suicide, to put it bluntly. And I am sure that almost all those who are in Paris, at the COP 21, are aware of this and want to do something. ... I am trustful. I trust these people, that they will do something; because, I would say, I am sure that they have the goodwill to do so, and I hope it is so. And I pray for this".
    An American journalist asked what he thought Islam the teachings of the Prophet
    Muhammed had to say to today's world.
    "It is possible to enter into dialogue; they have values. Many values. And these values are constructive. ... Prayer, for example, and fasting. Religious values, and also other values. One cannot cancel out a religion because there are some groups, or many groups, at a certain historic moment, of fundamentalists. It is true that there have always been wars between religions throughout history, always. We too must ask forgiveness. ... And the Thirty Years
    War, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. ... We too must ask forgiveness, for fundamentalist extremism and for religious wars".
    The Pope's visit to Mexico and other Latin American countries was the theme of
    the next question.
    Pope Francis: "I will go to Mexico. First of all, I would like to visit Our Lady, the Mother of America, and so I will go to Mexico City. If it were not for
    the Virgin of Guadalupe, I would not go to Mexico City, as I would prefer to visit three or four cities that had not been visited by Popes. But I will go to
    visit Our Lady. Then I will go to Chiapas, in the South, on the border with Guatemala; then I will go to Morelia, and almost certainly, on the way back towards Rome, I will spend a day or less in Ciudad Juarez. With regard to visiting other Latin American countries, I have been invited to go to Aparecida
    in 2019, the other Patroness of America, for Portuguese speakers. ... and from there perhaps I will be able to visit another country - but I do not know, there
    are no plans".
    The final question was from a Kenyan journalist, who asked: "What do you say to
    the world, which thinks that Africa is simply ravaged by wars and full of destruction?"
    Pope Francis: "Africa is a victim. Africa has always been exploited by other

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Dec 3 08:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 217
    DATE 03-12-2015

    Summary:
    - Audience with the prime minister of Samoa: Pacific island states and environmental problems
    - To the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: the Church lives and grows
    - "Evangeliario di Misericordia" presented to the Pope
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - To the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: the Church lives and grows
    - "Evangeliario di Misericordia" presented to the Pope
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Audience with the prime minister of Samoa: Pacific island states and environmental problems
    Vatican City, 3 December 2015 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father Francis received in
    audience the prime minister of the Independent State of Samoa, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of
    State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.
    During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on some aspects of the social and economic life of the country, as well as the valued contribution of the Catholic Church in various sectors of Samoan society and, in particular, in
    the field of education.
    This was followed by an exchange of opinions on the international and regional
    situation, with special reference to the Conference on climate change currently
    taking place in Paris, and the environmental problems that some Pacific island states must face.
    To the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: the Church lives and grows
    Vatican City, 3 December 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis received in audience this morning the participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, which considered the "missio ad gentes" in the light
    of the Conciliar decree "Ad gentes" and St. John Paul II's encyclical "Redemptoris missio". In his address to the 160 attendees in the Clementine Hall, the Holy Father referred to his recent apostolic trip to Africa, highlighting the spiritual and pastoral dynamism of the continent's many young Churches, as well as the grave difficulties experienced by a large part of the population.
    "I saw that where there is the need, the Church is almost always present to heal the wounds of those most in need, in whom She recognises the afflicted and
    crucified body of the Lord Jesus. How many works of charity, of human promotion!
    How many anonymous good Samaritans work every day in the missions!
    He emphasised that the Church, by nature evangelising, always starts by auto-evangelisation. "As the Lord Jesus' disciple, she listens to His Word and from this she draws the reasons for that hope that never disappoints, as it is based on the grace of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way is she able to conserve
    her freshness and apostolic zeal". As affirmed in the Conciliar decree "Ad gentes", "it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father". The
    Pope reiterated, "It is the Church that is at the service of the mission. ... It
    is not the Church who makes the mission, but the mission that makes the Church.
    Therefore, the mission is not a tool, but rather a starting point and aim".
    In recent months, the Congregation has carried out a survey on the vitality of
    the young Churches to understand how to make the work of the missio ad gentes more effective, also in view of the ambiguity to which the experience of faith is sometimes exposed today. "The secularised world, indeed, even when it is welcoming towards the Gospel values of love, justice, peace and sobriety, does not show similar openness to the figure of Jesus; it considers Him neither the Messiah nor the Son of God. At most, it considers Him an enlightened man. It therefore separates the message from the Messenger, the gift from the Giver. In
    this situation of separation, the missio ad gentes serves as a motor and horizon
    for faith. ... The mission, in fact, is a force capable of transforming the Church
    from within, before transforming the life of peoples and cultures. Each parish thus makes the style of the missio ad gentes its own. In this way, the Holy Spirit will transform those whose faith is based on habit alone into disciples,
    disaffected disciples into missionaries, bringing them out of their fears and isolation and projecting them in every direction, to the very limits of the world. May the kerygmatic approach to faith, so familiar in the young Churches,
    have space also for those of a more ancient tradition".
    The Pope recalled that neither Paul nor Barnabas had a missionary dicastery to
    support them, yet they announced the Word, bringing to life various communities
    and shedding their blood for the Gospel. "Over time complexities grew and the need arose for a special relationship between the more recently founded Churches
    and the universal Church. For this reason, four centuries ago, Pope Gregory XV instituted the Congregation 'De Propaganda Fide', which in 1967 changed its name
    to the 'Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples'. It is clear that in this phase of history, 'mere administration can no longer be enough. Throughout
    the world, let us be permanently in a state of mission'. ... Going forth is innate
    in our Baptism, and its boundaries are those of the world. Therefore, continue to work so that the spirit of the missio ad gentes may inspire the journey of the Church, so that she may always know how to listen to the cry of the poor and
    the distant, to meet all and to announce the joy of the Gospel".
    Francis thanked the Congregation for its work in missionary inspiration and cooperation, remarking that "all Churches, if constricted to their own horizons,
    run the risk of atrophy. The Church lives and grows when outbound, taking the initiative" and going out to the people. "In many paths of the missio ad gentes,
    the dawn of a new day is already visible, as is shown by the fact that the young
    Churches know how to give, not only to receive. The first fruits are their willingness to grant their priests to sister Churches of the same nation, the same continent, or to serve Churches in need in other regions of the world. Cooperation is not only along the north-south axis. There is also a movement in
    the other direction, of giving back the good received from the first missionaries. These too are signs of maturity".
    The Pope concluded by asking all present to pray and work so that the Church may always follow the model of the Acts of the Apostles. "Let us be inspired by
    the strength of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit; let us come out of our narrow enclosures and emigrate from the territories where we are are at times tempted to close ourselves away".
    "Evangeliario di Misericordia" presented to the Pope
    Vatican City, 3 December 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Hall of Popes, the Evangeliario di Misericordia" was presented to the Holy Father. An initiative by
    the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), it is a publication of the four Gospels
    illustrated with mosaics by the Slovenian artist and Jesuit Maro Ivan Rupnik, who produced the mosaics for the Redemptoris Mater chapel in the Vatican and for
    the Basilica of Fatima. Intended to commemorate the beginning of the Jubilee of
    Mercy, the publication also includes a series of introductory texts by the Fr. Alessandro Amapani. The prologue is by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of
    the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
    Audiences
    Vatican City, 3 December 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
    - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mnller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
    of the Faith;
    - Bishop David Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., of Hamilton, Canada, president of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada, accompanied by Bishop Lionel
    Gendron, P.S.S., of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, deputy president, and Msgr. Frank Leo,
    C.S.S., general secretary.
    Other Pontifical Acts
    Vatican City, 3 December 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has:
    - accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Down
    and Connor, Ireland, presented by Bishop Anthony J. Farquhar, upon reaching the
    age limit.
    - erected the new diocese of Guasdualito (area 35,184, population 200,000, priests 13, religious 9) in Venezuela, with territory taken from the dioceses of
    San Fernando de Apure and Barinas, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan metropolis of Merida.
    - appointed Fr. Modesto Gonzalez Perez, S.B.D., as the first bishop of the new
    diocese of Guasdualito. The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in San Antonio de los
    Alpes, Venezuela, gave his religious vows in 1983 and was ordained a priest in

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Dec 9 10:12:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 220
    DATE 09-12-2015

    Summary:
    - Shine like beacons of God's mercy in the world
    - Francis opens the Holy Door: mercy must precede judgement
    - Angelus: the Solemnity of the Immaculate reminds us that mercy is all
    - Homage to Mary Immaculate: I come on behalf of families, the elderly, the incarcerated, and those from faraway lands
    - Adoption by Moneyval of Second Progress Report of the Holy See and Vatican City State
    - Other Pontifical Acts

    ___________________________________________________________

    Shine like beacons of God's mercy in the world
    Vatican City, 9 December 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis dedicated today's general audience, the first of the Holy Year, to explaining why he convoked a Jubilee of
    Mercy. "The Church needs this extraordinary moment", he explained. "In our time
    of profound change, the Church is called upon to offer her special contribution,
    making visible the signs of God's presence and closeness. And the Jubilee is a propitious time for all, as contemplating Divine Mercy, that exceeds all human limits and shines onto the darkness of sin, we can be surer and more effective witnesses".
    "Celebrating a Jubilee of Mercy means restoring the specifics of Christian faith to the centre of our personal life and of our communities. ... This Holy Year is offered to us so that we are able to experience in our life the sweet and gentle touch of God's forgiveness, His presence next to us and His closeness, especially in our moments of greatest need. ... This Jubilee is therefore a special moment for the Church to learn to choose solely 'what God likes the most'. ... Forgiving His children, having mercy on them, so that they
    can in turn forgive their brethren, to shine like beacons of God's mercy in the
    world. ... The Jubilee will be a propitious moment for the Church if we learn to
    choose what God likes the most, without giving in to the temptation to think that there is something else more important or that takes priority. Nothing is more important than choosing what God likes most, His mercy".
    "The necessary work of renewing institutions and structures of the Church is also a way that can lead us to a more lively and life-giving experience of God's
    mercy that alone can ensure that the Church is that city on the mount that cannot remain hidden. If we should forget, even for just a moment, that mercy is
    what God likes the most, all our efforts would be in vain, as we would become slaves to our institutions and our structures, no matter how reformed they may be".
    The Pope emphasised that the Church's aim during this Holy Year is to "strongly
    feel the joy of being found by Jesus, Who like the Good Shepherd has come in search of us as we were lost. ... In this way we strengthen in ourselves our certainty that mercy can truly contribute to building a more human world. Especially in these times of ours, in which forgiveness is a rare guest in the circles of human life, the call for mercy becomes more urgent, and this is true
    in all places: in society, in institutions, at work and in the family".
    Before concluding, he commented that while there appear to be many other needs
    more urgent than that of mercy, at the root of the negation of mercy there is always self-love, "which results in the pursuit of self-interest and the accumulation of honours, riches or worldliness. There are so many manifestations
    of self-love, "that make mercy foreign to the world" that often we are not even
    able to recognise them as limitations and sins. He concluded, "we must recognise
    that we are sinners, so as to strengthen our certainty of divine mercy".

    ___________________________________________________________

    Francis opens the Holy Door: mercy must precede judgement
    Vatican City, 8 December 2015 (VIS) - This morning at 9.30, in the presence of
    60 thousand faithful in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father celebrated Holy Mass
    on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The celebration preceded the opening of the Holy Door, the gesture with which the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy began. In his homily the Pope spoke about the fullness of grace as revealed in Mary, which is capable of transforming the heart. He described the Holy Year as a gift of grace that leads us to discover the depth of the Father's
    mercy and, finally, he recalled the other door opened to the world by the Vatican Council II fifty years ago, allowing the Church to encounter the men and
    women of our time.
    The following is the full text of the homily:
    "In a few moments I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door of Mercy. We carry out this act - as I did in Bangui - so simple yet so highly symbolic, in the light of the word of God which we have just heard. That word highlights the
    primacy of grace. Again and again these readings make us think of the words by which the angel Gabriel told an astonished young girl of the mystery which was about to enfold her: 'Hail, full of grace'.
    The Virgin Mary was called to rejoice above all because of what the Lord accomplished in her. God's grace enfolded her and made her worthy of becoming the Mother of Christ. When Gabriel entered her home, even the most profound and
    impenetrable of mysteries became for her a cause for joy, a cause for faith, a cause for abandonment to the message revealed to her. The fullness of grace can
    transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the course of human history.
    The feast of the Immaculate Conception expresses the grandeur of God's love. Not only does he forgive sin, but in Mary he even averts the original sin present in every man and woman who comes into this world. This is the love of God which precedes, anticipates and saves. The beginning of the history of sin in the Garden of Eden yields to a plan of saving love. The words of Genesis reflect our own daily experience: we are constantly tempted to disobedience, a disobedience expressed in wanting to go about our lives without regard for God's
    will. This is the enmity which keeps striking at people's lives, setting them in
    opposition to God's plan. Yet the history of sin can only be understood in the light of God's love and forgiveness. Sin can only be understood in this light. Were sin the only thing that mattered, we would be the most desperate of creatures. But the promised triumph of Christ's love enfolds everything in the Father's mercy. The word of God which we have just heard leaves no doubt about this. The Immaculate Virgin stands before us as a privileged witness of this promise and its fulfilment.
    This Extraordinary Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone
    and goes out personally to encounter each of them. It is he who seeks us! It is
    he who comes to encounter us! This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God's mercy. How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgement before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy! But that is the truth. We have to put mercy before judgement, and in any event God's judgement will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are
    part of this mystery of love, of tenderness. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.
    Today, here in Rome and in all the dioceses of the world, as we pass through the Holy Door, we also want to remember another door, which fifty years ago the
    Fathers of the Second Vatican Council opened to the world. This anniversary cannot be remembered only for the legacy of the Council's documents, which testify to a great advance in faith. Before all else, the Council was an encounter. A genuine encounter between the Church and the men and women of our time. An encounter marked by the power of the Spirit, who impelled the Church to
    emerge from the shoals which for years had kept her self-enclosed so as to set out once again, with enthusiasm, on her missionary journey. It was the resumption of a journey of encountering people where they live: in their cities
    and homes, in their workplaces. Wherever there are people, the Church is called
    to reach out to them and to bring the joy of the Gospel, and the mercy and forgiveness of God. After these decades, we again take up this missionary drive
    with the same power and enthusiasm. The Jubilee challenges us to this openness,
    and demands that we not neglect the spirit which emerged from Vatican II, the spirit of the Samaritan, as Blessed Paul VI expressed it at the conclusion of the Council. May our passing through the Holy Door today commit us to making our
    own the mercy of the Good Samaritan".
    Following the Holy Mass, the Pope, followed by the cardinals, bishops and

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Dec 10 08:00:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - # 221
    DATE 10-12-2015

    Summary:
    - Twelfth meeting of the Pope with the Council of Cardinals
    - The Pope expresses his condolences for the death of Cardinals Furno and Terrazas Sandoval
    - Postponement of pastoral visits in Italy during the Jubilee year
    - Presentation of the document "The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable"
    - Summary of "The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable"

    ___________________________________________________________

    Twelfth meeting of the Pope with the Council of Cardinals
    Vatican City, 10 December 2015 (VIS) - This morning the twelfth meeting of the
    Holy Father with the Council of Cardinals ("C9") began in Vatican City. The meeting will continue until Saturday 12 December.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Pope expresses his condolences for the death of Cardinals Furno and Terrazas Sandoval
    Vatican City, 10 December 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent telegrams of condolences to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, following the death on 9 December of cardinals Carlo Furno, Grand Master emeritus of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, aged
    91, and Julio Terrazas Sandoval, archbishop emeritus of Santa Cruz de la Sierra,
    aged 79.
    In his telegram to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope expresses his deepest condolences to the College of Cardinals and recalls Cardinal Furno's long and valuable collaboration in the Holy See, especially as apostolic nuncio, archpriest of the papal Basilica of St. Mary Major, and Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Francis asks that the Lord,
    through the intercession of Mary Salus Populi Romani, welcome the cardinal in His eternal peace.
    In his telegram to Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, the Holy Father unites his prayers with those of the pastors, clergy and faithful of Santa Cruz de la Sierra that the Lord grant His light and peace to the cardinal
    who, "with the light of faith and the strength of hope, stayed faithful to the ministry he received, and with generosity and courage devoted his life to the service of the Gospel, justice and peace". In this moment of inevitable human suffering, when the mystery of the Lord's coming brings hope, he invokes the maternal intercession of Our Lady.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Postponement of pastoral visits in Italy during the Jubilee year
    Vatican City, 10 December 2015 (VIS) - As confirmed by the cardinal archbishop
    of Milan, Angelo Scola, this morning during a press conference, the Secretary of
    State has communicated that it is the Holy Father's intention to postpone pastoral visits in Italy due to the intensification of activities due to the Jubilee. As a consequence, the visit to Milan already officially planned and announced for 7 May 2016 will be postponed until 2017. Cardinal Scola observed that it will provided the opportunity for the Holy Father to conclude the pastoral visit in process in the archdiocese of Milan.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Presentation of the document "The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable"
    Vatican City, 10 December 2015 (VIS) - "The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable: a Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish
    Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of 'Nostra Aetate' (No. 4)" is
    the title of the document published by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office. The panel was composed of Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the dicastery; Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee, the theologian Professor Edward Kessler
    of Cambridge, and Fr. Norbert Hoffmann, S.D.B.
    Cardinal Koch recalled that on 28 October this year, in accordance with Pope Francis' wishes, a special general audience was organised to commemorate the promulgation of the Conciliar declaration "Nostra Aetate" exactly fifty years earlier. The audience was attended by numerous representatives of other religions, whose presence demonstrated that the declaration represented a cornerstone in the change in Church's attitude towards other religions. The Commission chaired by the cardinal decided this year to present a new document returning to the theological principles of the fourth part of "Nostra Aetate", extending and exploring them in further depth where they regard the relations between the Catholic Church and Jews.
    He said, "It is an explicitly theological document that intends to retrace and
    clarify the issues that have emerged during the recent decades of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue. Prior to this text, no other document of a strictly theological nature has been published by our Commission: the three preceding documents, 'Guidelines and suggestions for implementing the Conciliar Declaration "Nostra Aetate" (No. 4)' (1974), 'Notes on the correct way to present Jews and Judaism in preaching and catechesis in the Catholic Church' (1985) and 'We remember: a reflection on the Shoah' (1998), referred mainly to concrete themes, useful for dialogue with Judaism from a practical point of view".
    The new document - summarised below, along with a link to the full text - seeks
    to emphasise that dialogue with Judaism after fifty years now stands on solid ground, as during this period significant results have been achieved. "We are very grateful for the efforts that have been made by both Jews and Catholics for
    the promotion of our dialogue", concluded Cardinal Koch. "But it is very important to remember that, as emphasised in the document and especially from theological point of view, we are only at a new beginning: many questions remain
    open and require further study".
    Rabbi Rosen highlighted that the new document shows "not only the advancement of the recommendations of the 1974 Guidelines on 'Nostra Aetate', to appreciate
    and respect Jewish self-understanding, but also a deepening recognition of the place of the Torah in the life of the Jewish people and, in accordance with the
    Pontifical Biblical Commission's work, an acknowledgement of the integrity of Jewish reading of the Bible that is different from the Christian one. Indeed, the very fact that the document also quotes extensively from Jewish rabbinical sources is further testimony of this respect".
    The rabbi also mentioned that, as Cardinal Koch and Fr. Hoffman had already mentioned, "this is a Catholic document reflecting Catholic theology. Inevitably, then, there are passages in it that do not resonate with a Jewish theology". He notes the importance of appreciating "the centrality that the Land
    of Israel plays in the historic and contemporary religious life of the Jewish people".
    "Indeed even in terms of the historical survey of the milestones along this remarkable journey since 'Nostra Aetate', the establishment of full bilateral relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See (very much guided and promoted by St. John Paul II) was one of the historic highlights. Moreover, the
    preamble and the first article of the Fundamental Agreement between the two

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  • From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Thu Dec 31 11:39:02 2015
    VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
    YEAR XXII - #
    DATE 28-12-2015

    Summary:
    - ''Family Life: A Pilgrimage for Experiencing the Joy of Forgiveness''
    - Angelus: The Holy Family: Domestic Church and True School of the Gospel
    - Pope Calls Attention to Migrant Cubans in Difficulty
    - Pope?s Message to Young Adults at the European Meeting of the Taize Community
    - Telegram on the Attacks in the Philippines
    - Pope?s Condolences on Gas Plant Accident in Nigeria
    - Angelus: ''Never Tire of Asking for Divine Forgiveness''
    - Christmas Message: ''Only God?s Mercy Can Free Humanity from the Many Forms of
    Evil''
    - Christmas Eve Mass: ''The Mission of Making Known ''The Princeof Peace'''
    - Other Pontifical Acts

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    ''Family Life: A Pilgrimage for Experiencing the Joy of Forgiveness''
    Vatican City, 27 De