From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 6 08:48:02 2014
"Your witness, as athletes", he exclaimed, "is a great sign of hope. It is the proof that in every person there is potential that at times we do not imagine, and that may develop with trust and solidarity. God the Father is the first to know this! He knows us better than any other, and He looks upon us with trust, He loves us as we are, but he enables us to grow according to what we are able to become. In this way, in your efforts for sport without barriers, for a world without exclusion, you are never alone" God our Father is with you!".
"May sport therefore be for you a place where you are able to train every day, in relation to yourselves and others, a gymnasium that offers you the chance to get to know new people and environments and that helps you to be an active part of society".
Christians in the Middle East: the Church cannot remain silent before the persecution of her children
Vatican City, 4 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Pauline Chapel Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin celebrated Holy Mass for the papal representatives in the Middle East at the end of the meeting convoked at the behest of the Holy Father, dedicated to the situation faced by Christians in the region. Extensive extracts from his homily are published below:
"Today we celebrate this Holy Eucharist with concern for what is happening in various countries in the Middle East. We are profoundly troubled to see the growing threats to peace and disturbed by the conditions in which Christian communities live in the territories from Syria to Iraq, controlled by an entity that disregards rights and adopts terrorist methods to increase its power".
"Such communities, which inhabit these lands since apostolic times, therefore find themselves facing situations of grave danger and open persecution, and are frequently forced to abandon everything and flee from their homes and their country. It is sad to note how persistent and active the forces of evil are, and how in some corrupt minds the conviction has taken hold that violence and terror are methods that can be used to impose one's will for power over others, under the pretext of affirming a specific religious concept. It is clearly a perversion of authentic religious meaning, with dramatic results and to which it is necessary to respond. The Church cannot remain silent before the persecution of her sons and daughters, and the international community cannot remain neutral between victims and the aggressor".
"'Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge'. Thus the psalmist prays. He, who was no stranger to difficulty and violent adversaries, confidently turns to the Lord. The wicked and their machinations do not frighten him, because his life is in the Lord's hands. He knows that his true strength and safety is the Lord Who gives him peace and joy and Who prepares a definitive and joyful future. ... It is the joy of every faithful Christian who knows that History is led by Providence and that the forces of evil shall not prevail".
"This certainty that we rejoice in, far from leaving us as idle or inert spectators, encourages us as individuals and as a Christian community, as Church, in constant and trusting prayer and urges us to put into effect all those concrete initiatives that help influence governments and public opinion. Nothing must be neglected that it may be possible to do to alleviate the suffering of our brethren in need and to stop the aggressors. Providence wishes also to make use of us, of our freedom and our industriousness, our initiative and our daily efforts".
"Persecuted Christians and all those who suffer unjustly must be able to recognise that the Church is the institution that defends them, that prays and acts for them, that is not afraid of stating the truth, becoming the word for those without a voice, defence and support for those who are abandoned, who seek refuge, who are discriminated against. Indeed, everything depends on God and His Grace, but it is necessary to act as if it all depended on us, on our prayer and our solidarity".
Vatican City, 4 October 2014 (VIS) - THE HOLY FATHER HAS SENT A VIDEO MESSAGE to the International Centre of the Focolare Movement in Loppiano, Italy, on the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation by Chiara Lubich. The Pope remarked that Loppiano "inspired by the Gospel of fraternity ... lives in the service of the Church and the world", and offers a "living and effective witness of communion among persons of different nations, cultures and vocations" and maintaining, above all, mutual and continual charity in everyday life.
NO MORE WAR OR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, affirm the papal representatives in the Middle East at the end of their meeting in the Vatican from 2 to 4 October, during which they discussed the situation faced by Christians in the region. They expressed their serious concerns regarding the actions of various extremist groups, in particular the "Islamic State", before whose violence and abuses it is impossible to remain indifferent. The international community cannot remain inert, they remarked, when faced with massacres carried out on the pretext of religious belief or ethnic origin or the exodus of thousands of people and the destruction of their places of worship. The participants in the meeting emphasised that it is acceptable to stop an unjust aggressor, always with respect for international law. However, the problem cannot be entrusted solely to the usual military response, but must be faced in more depth, starting from the root causes that are exploited by fundamentalist ideology. An important role can be played by religious leaders, Christian and Muslim, collaborating to promote dialogue and education in mutual understanding, and clearly denouncing the abuse of religion to justify violence. Faced with the crisis of so many people forced to leave their homes in a brutal fashion, the participants highlighted the need to recognise the rights of Christians and other ethnic and religious groups to be able to remain in their homelands and, should it be necessary for them to leave, to return in suitable conditions of safety, with the possibility of living and working in freedom and with prospects for the future. In the current circumstances this requires commitment on the part of the governments involved and the international community as a whole. Finally, they stressed that we cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who for two thousand years have confessed the name of Jesus Christ there.
Vatican City, 4 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received the following in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville, U.S.A., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, with Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, deputy president, Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, secretary general and J. Brian Bransfield, adjunct secretary general;
- Archbishop Wojciech Zaluski, apostolic nuncio in Burundi;
- Msgr. Paolo Rudelli, special envoy and Holy See Permanent Observer at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 6 October 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has:
On Saturday, 4 October the Holy Father: - accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, England, presented by Bishop Kieran Conry, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Fr. Stane Zore, O.F.M., as metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana (area 6,134, population 776,336, Catholics 554,417, priests 428, permanent deacons 221, religious 546), Slovenia. The bishop-elect was born in Sel Pri Kamniku, Slovenia in 1958, gave his solemn vows in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 1985. He has served in a number of roles, including parish priest, rector of the national Shrines of Brezje and Sveta Gora, guardian in various fraternities, master of novices, and provincial minister of the province of the Holy Cross in Slovenia. He is currently provincial minister of his order and president of the Conference of Men and Women Religious in Slovenia (KORUS).
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 20 08:24:02 2014
As the Council stated, the Church's role is to ensure that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity' and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free. It is through us, Pope Benedict continues, that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord; this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant, gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope.
Therefore, said the Pontiff, the Church is Christ's - she is His bride - and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant - "Il servus servorum Dei", the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, setting aside every personal whim, despite being - by the will of Christ Himself - the supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful and despite enjoying supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church.
Finally, Francis reminded those present that there remains a year before the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in which to develop, with true spiritual discernment, the ideas that have been proposed, and to find concrete solutions to many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families. There is a year to work on the "Relatio Synodi", the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. He concluded by asking the Lord to accompany and guide all the participants in the Synod in their journey.
Audience with the Prime Minister of Vietnam: important step in relations with the Holy See
Vatican City, 18 October 2014 (VIS) - Today His Holiness Pope Francis received in audience the prime minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
In the course of the cordial conversations, the Parties expressed their satisfaction at today's meeting, which marks an important step in the process of strengthening bilateral relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, this being the second visit of Prime Minister Dung to the Vatican, following that of 2007. The Church's commitment to contributing to the development of the country, thanks to its presence in various areas which benefit society as a whole, was highlighted. In this context, sincere appreciation was expressed for the support given by the Authorities to the Catholic community in keeping with the developments sanctioned by the Constitution of 2013 with regard to religious policy, as well as for the assistance given to the non-resident Papal Representative of the Holy See to Vietnam in the discharge of his mission, which is aimed at promoting relations between Church and State with a view also to the common objective of diplomatic relations. The Parties then discussed some issues which, it is hoped, will be further examined and resolved through the existing channels of dialogue.
Finally, there was an exchange of views on some current regional and international issues, with particular reference to initiatives aimed at promoting peace and stability in the Asian continent.
Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) - "Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion" is the theme of the Message addressed to followers of Hinduism by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on the occasion of Deepavali, the festival of lights, to be celebrated on 23 October this year. The document was co-authored by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the same dicastery.
"It is true that globalisation has opened many new frontiers and provided fresh opportunities to develop, among other things, better educational and healthcare facilities", according to the text. "It has ushered in a greater awareness of democracy and social justice in the world, and our planet has truly become a 'global village' due in large part to modern means of communication and transportation. It can also be said, however, that globalisation has not achieved its primary objective of integrating local peoples into the global community. Rather, globalisation has contributed significantly to many peoples losing their sociocultural, economic and political identities".
"The negative effects of globalisation have also had an impact on religious communities throughout the world since they are intimately related to surrounding cultures. In fact, globalisation has contributed to the fragmentation of society and to an increase in relativism and syncretism in religious matters, as well as bringing about a privatisation of religion. Religious fundamentalism and ethnic, tribal and sectarian violence in different parts of the world today are largely manifestations of the discontent, uncertainty and insecurity among peoples, particularly the poor and marginalised who have been excluded from the benefits of globalisation".
"The negative consequences of globalisation, such as widespread materialism and consumerism, moreover, have made people more self-absorbed, power-hungry and indifferent to the rights, needs and sufferings of others. This, in the words of Pope Francis, has led to a globalisation of indifference which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves. Such indifference gives rise to a 'culture of exclusion' in which the poor, marginalised and vulnerable are denied their rights, as well as the opportunities and resources that are available to other members of society. They are treated as insignificant, dispensable, burdensome, unnecessary, to be used and even discarded like objects. In various ways, the exploitation of children and women, the neglect of the elderly, sick, differently-abled, migrants and refugees, and the persecution of minorities are sure indicators of this culture of exclusion".
"Nurturing a culture of inclusion thus becomes a common call and a shared responsibility, which must be urgently undertaken. It is a project involving those who care for the health and survival of the human family here on earth and which needs to be carried out amidst, and in spite of, the forces that perpetuate the culture of exclusion".
"As people grounded in our own respective religious traditions and with shared convictions, may we, Hindus and Christians, join together with followers of other religions and with people of good will to foster a culture of inclusion for a just and peaceful society".
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Can. Gyorgy Snell as auxiliary of the diocese of Esztergom-Budapest (area 1,543, population 2,088,000, Catholics 1,254,000, priests 443, permanent deacons 23, religious 734), Hungary. The bishop-elect was born in Kiskiralysag, Hungary in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1972. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy parish priest in Kiskunlachaz-Pereg and Budapest-Rakoskeresztur, parish priest in Budapest-Rakoskeresztur, and dean. He is currently priest of St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, director of the diocesan superintendency for Catholic schools, and canon of the metropolitan chapter.
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mati, Philippines, presented by Bishop Patricio H. Alo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law
On Saturday, 18 October, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the metropolitan archdiocese of Malta, presented by Archbishop Paul Cremona, O.P., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law;
- appointed Bishop Norbert Turini of Cahors, France, as bishop of Perpignan-Elne (area 4,116, population 454,737, Catholics 302,600, priests 85, permanent deacons 20, religious 79), France.
- appointed new members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and renewed the mandate of members of the previous five-year term. The aforementioned Commission for the 2014-2019 is composed of the following members:
Rev. Knut Backhaus, Germany;
Fr. Pietro Bovati, S.J., Italy;
Sister Nuria Calduch Benages, M.N., Spain;
Rev. Eduardo Cordova Gonzalez, Mexico;
Professor Bruna Costacurta, Italy;
Msgr. Pierre Deberge, France;
Rev. Juan Miguel Diaz Rodelas, Spain;
Rev. Luis Henrique Eloy e Silva, Brazil;
Pr. Francolino Goncalves, O.P., Portugal;
Rev. Adrian Graffy, Great Britain;
Professor Mary E. Healy, United States of America;
Rev. John ChijiokeIwe, Nigeria;
Rev. Thomas Manjaly, India;
Rev. Hugo Orlando Martinez Aldana, Colombia;
Rev. Levente Balazs Martos, Hungary;
Rev. Jean Bosco Matand Bulembat, Democratic Republic of Congo;
Rev. Fearghus O'Fearghail, Ireland;
Rev. Johan Yeong-Sik Pahk, Korea;
Rev. Eleuterio Ramon Ruiz, Argentina;
Rev. Henryk Jozef Witczyk, Poland.
- appointed Professor Yves Coppens, lecturer in paleoanthropology and prehistory at the College de France in Paris, France, and Professor Ada E. Yonath, lecturer in biochemistry and director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Nov 25 08:36:02 2014
"Throughout its history, Europe has always reached for the heights, aiming at new and ambitious goals, driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, development, progress, peace and unity. ... But in order to progress towards the future we need the past, we need profound roots. We also need the courage not to flee from the present and its challenges. We need memory, courage, a sound and humane utopian vision. ... Truth appeals to conscience, which cannot be reduced to a form of conditioning. Conscience is capable of recognising its own dignity and being open to the absolute; it thus gives rise to fundamental decisions guided by the pursuit of the good, for others and for one's self; it is itself the locus of responsible freedom. ... It also needs to be kept in mind that apart from the pursuit of truth, each individual becomes the criterion for measuring himself and his own actions. The way is thus opened to a subjectivistic assertion of rights, so that the concept of human rights, which has an intrinsically universal import, is replaced by an individualistic conception of rights".
"This kind of individualism leads to human impoverishment and cultural aridity, since it effectively cuts off the nourishing roots on which the tree grows. Indifferent individualism leads to the cult of opulence reflected in the throwaway culture all around us. ... And so today we are presented with the image of a Europe which is hurt, not only by its many past ordeals, but also by present-day crises which it no longer seems capable of facing with its former vitality and energy; a Europe which is a bit tired and pessimistic, besieged by events and winds of change coming from other continents. ... Europe should reflect on whether its immense human, artistic, technical, social, political, economic and religious patrimony is simply an artefact of the past, or whether it is still capable of inspiring culture and displaying its treasures to mankind as a whole. In providing an answer to this question, the Council of Europe with its institutions has a role of primary importance".
"The history of Europe might lead us to think somewhat naively of the continent as bipolar, or at most tripolar ... and thus to interpret the present and to look to the future on the basis of this schema, which is a simplification born of pretentions to power. But this is not the case today, and we can legitimately speak of a 'multipolar' Europe. Its tensions - whether constructive or divisive - are situated between multiple cultural, religious and political poles. Europe today confronts the challenge of creatively 'globalising' this multipolarity" which calls for "striving to create a constructive harmony, one free of those pretensions to power which, while appearing from a pragmatic standpoint to make things easier, end up destroying the cultural and religious distinctiveness of peoples".
To speak of European multipolarity is to speak of peoples which are born, grow and look to the future. The task of globalising Europe's multipolarity cannot be conceived by appealing to the image of a sphere - in which all is equal and ordered, but proves reductive inasmuch as every point is equidistant from the centre - but rather, by the image of a polyhedron, in which the harmonic unity of the whole preserves the particularity of each of the parts".
"The second challenge which I would like to mention is transversality. ... Were we to define the continent today, we should speak of a Europe in dialogue, one which puts a transversality of opinions and reflections at the service of a harmonious union of peoples. To embark upon this path of transversal communication requires not only generational empathy, but also an historic methodology of growth. In Europe's present political situation, merely internal dialogue between the organisations (whether political, religious or cultural) to which one belongs, ends up being unproductive. Our times demand the ability to break out of the structures which 'contain' our identity and to encounter others, for the sake of making that identity more solid and fruitful in the fraternal exchange of transversality. A Europe which can only dialogue with limited groups stops halfway; it needs that youthful spirit which can rise to the challenge of transversality".
"In the light of all this, I am gratified by the Council of Europe's desire to invest in intercultural dialogue, including its religious dimension, through the Exchanges on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue. Here is a valuable opportunity for open, respectful and enriching exchange between persons and groups of different origins and ethnic, linguistic and religious traditions, in a spirit of understanding and mutual respect".
"This way of thinking also casts light on the contribution which Christianity can offer to the cultural and social development of Europe today within the context of a correct relationship between religion and society. ... European society as a whole cannot fail to benefit from a renewed interplay between these two sectors, whether to confront a form of religious fundamentalism which is above all inimical to God, or to remedy a reductive rationality which does no honour to man. There are in fact a number of pressing issues which I am convinced can lead to mutual enrichment, issues on which the Catholic Church - particularly through the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE) - can cooperate with the Council of Europe and offer an essential contribution".
"Similarly, the contemporary world offers a number of other challenges requiring careful study and a common commitment, beginning with the welcoming of migrants. ... Then too, there is the grave problem of work. ... It is my profound hope that the foundations will be laid for a new social and economic cooperation, free of ideological pressures, capable of confronting a globalised world while at the same time encouraging that sense of solidarity and mutual charity which has been a distinctive feature of Europe, thanks to the generous efforts of hundreds of men and women - some of whom the Catholic Church considers saints - who over the centuries have worked to develop the continent, both by entrepreneurial activity and by works of education, welfare, and human development. These works, above all, represent an important point of reference for the many poor people living in Europe. How many of them there are in our streets! They ask not only for the food they need for survival, which is the most elementary of rights, but also for a renewed appreciation of the value of their own life, which poverty obscures, and a rediscovery of the dignity conferred by work".
"Finally, among the issues calling for our reflection and our cooperation is the defence of the environment, of this beloved planet earth. It is the greatest resource which God has given us and is at our disposal not to be disfigured, exploited, and degraded, but so that, in the enjoyment of its boundless beauty, we can live in this world with dignity".
"Pope Paul VI called the Church an 'expert in humanity'. In this world, following the example of Christ and despite the sins of her sons and daughters, the Church seeks nothing other than to serve and to bear witness to the truth. This spirit alone guides us in supporting the progress of humanity. In this spirit, the Holy See intends to continue its cooperation with the Council of Europe, which today plays a fundamental role in shaping the mentality of future generations of Europeans. This calls for mutual engagement in a far-ranging reflection aimed at creating a sort of new agora, in which all civic and religious groups can enter into free exchange, while respecting the separation of sectors and the diversity of positions, an exchange inspired purely by the desire of truth and the advancement of the common good. For culture is always born of reciprocal encounter which seeks to stimulate the intellectual riches and creativity of those who take part in it; this is not only a good in itself, it is also something beautiful. My hope is that Europe, by rediscovering the legacy of its history and the depth of its roots, and by embracing its lively multipolarity and the phenomenon of a transversality in dialogue, will rediscover that youthfulness of spirit which has made this continent fruitful and great".
The Pope receives the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Vatican City, 25 November 2014 (VIS) - Yesterday, 24 November, Pope Francis received in audience Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Following this encounter the president met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
During the cordial exchange, discussions focused on the situation in the Egyptian nation, highlighting the closeness and solidarity of the Church to all the people of Egypt during this period of political transition. At the same time, hope was expressed that within the framework of guarantees enshrined by the new Constitution in terms of the safeguard of human rights and religious freedom, the peaceful coexistence among all components of society may be strengthened and the path to inter-religious dialogue may continue to be pursued.
Furthermore, themes of common interest were discussed with particular reference to the role of the country in the promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East and North Africa. In this regard, it was reiterated that dialogue and negotiation are the only options to put an end to the conflicts and to the violence that endanger defenceless populations and cause the loss of human lives.
The Pope to convoke a conference in Haiti in January 2015, five years after the earthquake that devastated the island
Vatican City, 25 November 2014 (VIS) - This morning the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" announced that its president, Cardinal Robert Sarah, will visit Haiti from 25 to 29 November, five years on from the earthquake that brought devastation to the island and its population, causing around 230 thousand deaths. The main aim of the trip is to bring a sign of concrete spiritual closeness to those who are still engaged in reconstruction works, and to inaugurate the "Notre Dame des Anges" school in Leogane, built through the work of the local Church and with the coordination of the apostolic nunciature.
On the occasion of this trip, the Holy Father has expressed his wish to convoke a conference on Haiti, to be held in the Vatican on 10 January 2015, to ensure that attention remains focused on this humanitarian catastrophe, the impact of which is still felt, and to emphasise the Church's closeness to the Haitian people. The meeting will be organised by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", in collaboration with local bishops.
Meanwhile, on 26 November, during his visit to the island, Cardinal Sarah will meet with representatives of Caritas Haiti, Msgr. Erick Touissant, the president and the director, Fr. Herve Francois, as well as other Caritas representatives present on the island. He will then meet with other Catholic humanitarian organisations working in Haiti.
On 27 November he will participate in the opening of the school "Notre Dame des Anges" in Leogane, managed by the Society of Jesus and built using funds sent directly by the Holy Father during the five years following the earthquake. On the same day he will meet with the local authorities, and in particular with the president of the Republic of Haiti.
On 28 November the prelate will meet with the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, the priests, religious and laypersons who offer their assistance not only in the reconstruction of infrastructure but also in the full human development of the population. The Cardinal will communicate the Pope's special encouragement to all to continue their work with dedication.
Vatican City, 25 November 2014 (VIS) - On the afternoon of Monday 24 November, the Holy Father received in audience Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, director general of the Islamic Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation, and entourage.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Tue Dec 9 09:48:02 2014
"The prophet invites those who listen to him - including us, today - to spread among the people this message of hope: that the Lord consoles us. And to allow room for the Lord's consolation", he continued. "But we cannot be messengers of God's consolation if we do not first experience the joy of being consoled and loved by Him. This happens especially when we listen to the Word, the Gospel, which we should carry with us in our pockets ... and when we remain in silent prayer in His presence, when we encounter Him in the Eucharist or in the sacrament of Reconciliation".
The Pope recalled those who are "oppressed by suffering, injustice and abuse; those who are slaves to money, to power, to success and worldliness. "Theirs are false consolations, they are not the true consolation of the Lord! We are all called to console our brethren, showing that only God can eliminate the causes of existential and spiritual crisis". The Pontiff went on to encourage all those present to allow themselves to be consoled by the Lord, and he concluded by entrusting to Mary the hopes for salvation and peace for all men and women of our time.
Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Vatican City, 7 December 2014 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, 6 December, Pope Francis received in private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Holy Father authorised the promulgation of the following decrees regarding:
MIRACLES, attributable to the intercession of:
- Blessed Jeanne-Emilie de Villeneuve, France, foundress of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres (1811-1854);
- Blessed Marie-Alphonsine (nee Maryam Sultanah Danil Ghattas), Turco-British Palestine, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins (1843-1927);
- Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy), Turkish Palestine, professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (1846-1878);
- Servant of God Carmela of Jesus (nee Francesca Paola Prestigiacomo), Italy, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Incarnate Word (1858- 1948);
- Servant of God Maria Seiquer Gaya, Spain, foundress of the Apostolic Sisters of Christ Crucified (1891-1975);
- Servant of God Adalberta (nee Vojtecha) Hasmandova, Czech Republic, superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles Borromeo (1914-1988);
- Servant of God Praxedes Fernandez Garcia, Spain, laywoman and member of the Third Order of St. Dominic (1886-1936);
- Servant of God Elisabetta Tasca, Italy, laywoman and mother (1899-1978).
Director of the Holy See Press Office on the inquiry on two ex-executives of the IOR
Vatican City, 7 December 2014 (VIS) - The director of the Holy See Press Office has issued the following statement in response to questions from the press:
"I can confirm that the Promoter of Justice of the Vatican City State Tribunal has opened an investigation against two former executives of the IOR for suspected embezzlement of funds in the context of real estate transactions that took place during the period from 2001 to 2008. The investigation has also been extended to a lawyer for involvement in the case.
The matter was presented to the Vatican City State judiciary by the IOR authorities as a result of the internal audit carried out last year.
The accounts of those concerned in the IOR were frozen as a precautionary measure a few weeks ago.
Telegram for the death of Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Vatican City, 6 December 2014 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a telegram of condolences to His Majesty the King Philippe of Belgium for the death of Queen Fabiola yesterday, 5 December, at the age of 86.
In the text, Francis communicates to the monarch and all the Royal family, along with the Government and the Belgian people, his sorrow at learning of the death of the Queen, and expressed his deepest condolences. "I fervently pray that the Lord may receive his faithful servant in His Kingdom of Light, and that He may grant comfort and hope to all those affected by her departure", he writes.
Pope's video message for the Christians and people of Iraq
Vatican City, 9 December 2014 (VIS) - Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, France, will transmit a video message from Pope Francis to the Christians and the population as a whole in Iraq, to be screened this afternoon in the city of Erbil. The twinning of the diocese with Mosul, which began last summer, has given rise to several initiatives to support the Iraqi population. The full text of the Pope's message is published below:
"I would like to greet each and every one of you, along with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who once again brings you the concern and the love of the entire Church. I too would like to be there with you, but since I am unable to travel, I will do this instead ... but I am very close to you in these difficult moments. I said, during my return journey from Turkey: Christians are being driven out of the Middle East, with suffering. I thank you for the witness you give; and there is a great deal of suffering in your witness. Thank you! Many thanks.
"It would seem that there they do not want there to be any Christians, but you bear witness to Christ. I think of the wounds, of the pain of women with their children, the elderly and the displaced, the wounds of those who are victims of every type of violence.
"As I mentioned in Ankara, particular concern is caused by the fact that above all, due to an extremist and fundamentalist group, entire communities, especially, - but not only - Christians and Yazidi, have suffered and continue to suffer inhuman violence because of their religious and ethnic identity. Christians and Yazidis have been forced out of their homes, they have had to abandon everything to save their lives, but they have not denied their faith. Even holy buildings, monuments, religious symbols and cultural heritage have been affected by the violence, almost as if to cancel every trace, every memory of the other.
"As religious leaders, we are obliged to denounce all violations of the dignity and rights of humanity.
"Today I wish to draw closer those of you who tolerate this suffering, and to be close to you ... And I think of St. Therese of the Baby Jesus, who said that she and the Church were like a rod: when the wind rises and the storm comes, the rod bends but it does not break. At the moment, you are like this rod: you bend painfully, but you have the strength to carry forth your faith, which is a testimony to us. You are God's rod today! The rods that bend under this ferocious wind, but then rise up again.
"I wish to thank you again. I pray that the Spirit, Who makes all things new, will give each of you strength and resistance. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And I strongly urge, as I did in Turkey, greater international collaboration to resolve the conflicts that cause blood to be shed in your lands of origin, to combat the other causes that lead people to leave their homelands and to promote suitable conditions for them to remain or return. I hope that you will return, that you will be able to return.
"Dear brothers and sisters, you are in my heart and my prayers, and in the hearts and prayers of all Christian communities, whom I will ask to pray in a special way for you on 8 December, to pray to Our Lady to protect you: she is our mother and will protect you.
"Brothers and sisters, your resistance is martyrdom, it is dew that brings fruitfulness. Please, I ask you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you.
May God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless you".
Vatican City, 6 December 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
- Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio in Korea and Mongolia;
- Bishop Pier Giorgio Debernardi of Pinerolo, Italy;
- Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B.;
- Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 9 December 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Martin Musonde Kivuva of Machakos, Kenya, as archbishop of Mombasa (area 38,000, population 2,214,000, Catholics 323,000, priests 116, religious 321), Kenya.
- Msgr. Adolfo Ramon Canecin as coadjutor of the diocese of Goya (area 33,603, population 307,500, Catholics 283,000, priests 48, religious 51), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Formosa, Argentina in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He has served as vicar in the parish of "Maria Madre de la Iglesia" and parish priest of the "Sagrada Familia" parish, Formosa; rector of the cathedral of Formosa; and vicar general and rector of "La Encarnacion" interdiocesan seminary in Resistencia, Chaco. He is currently episcopal vicar for pastoral ministry and parish priest in the "San Francisco de Asis" parish.
On Monday, 8 December, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias of Cabinda, Angola, as archbishop of Luanda (area 343, population 3,682,000, Catholics 2,717,000, priests 14, religious 493), Angola.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Wed Dec 10 08:48:02 2014
This immense task, which calls for courage, patience and perseverance, deserves the appreciation of the whole Church and society. Yet, of itself, it is not sufficient to end the scourge of the exploitation of human persons. There is also need for a threefold commitment on the institutional level: to prevention, to victim protection and to the legal prosecution of perpetrators. Moreover, since criminal organisations employ global networks to achieve their goals, efforts to eliminate this phenomenon also demand a common and, indeed, a global effort on the part of various sectors of society.
States must ensure that their own legislation truly respects the dignity of the human person in the areas of migration, employment, adoption, the movement of businesses offshore and the sale of items produced by slave labour. There is a need for just laws which are centred on the human person, uphold fundamental rights and restore those rights when they have been violated. Such laws should also provide for the rehabilitation of victims, ensure their personal safety, and include effective means of enforcement which leave no room for corruption or impunity. The role of women in society must also be recognised, not least through initiatives in the sectors of culture and social communications.
Intergovernmental organisations, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, are called to coordinate initiatives for combating the transnational networks of organised crime which oversee the trafficking of persons and the illegal trafficking of migrants. Cooperation is clearly needed at a number of levels, involving national and international institutions, agencies of civil society and the world of finance.
Businesses have a duty to ensure dignified working conditions and adequate salaries for their employees, but they must also be vigilant that forms of subjugation or human trafficking do not find their way into the distribution chain. Together with the social responsibility of businesses, there is also the social responsibility of consumers. Every person ought to have the awareness that 'purchasing is always a moral - and not simply an economic - act'.
Organisations in civil society, for their part, have the task of awakening consciences and promoting whatever steps are necessary for combating and uprooting the culture of enslavement.
In recent years, the Holy See, attentive to the pain of the victims of trafficking and the voice of the religious congregations which assist them on their path to freedom, has increased its appeals to the international community for cooperation and collaboration between different agencies in putting an end to this scourge. Meetings have also been organised to draw attention to the phenomenon of human trafficking and to facilitate cooperation between various agencies, including experts from the universities and international organisations, police forces from migrants' countries of origin, transit, or destination, and representatives of ecclesial groups which work with victims. It is my hope that these efforts will continue to expand in years to come.
Globalising fraternity, not slavery or indifference
6. In her 'proclamation of the truth of Christ's love in society', the Church constantly engages in charitable activities inspired by the truth of the human person. She is charged with showing to all the path to conversion, which enables us to change the way we see our neighbours, to recognise in every other person a brother or sister in our human family, and to acknowledge his or her intrinsic dignity in truth and freedom. This can be clearly seen from the story of Josephine Bakhita, the saint originally from the Darfur region in Sudan who was kidnapped by slave-traffickers and sold to brutal masters when she was nine years old. Subsequently - as a result of painful experiences - she became a 'free daughter of God' thanks to her faith, lived in religious consecration and in service to others, especially the most lowly and helpless. This saint, who lived at the turn of the twentieth century, is even today an exemplary witness of hope for the many victims of slavery; she can support the efforts of all those committed to fighting against this 'open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ'.
In the light of all this, I invite everyone, in accordance with his or her specific role and responsibilities, to practice acts of fraternity towards those kept in a state of enslavement. Let us ask ourselves, as individuals and as communities, whether we feel challenged when, in our daily lives, we meet or deal with persons who could be victims of human trafficking, or when we are tempted to select items which may well have been produced by exploiting others. Some of us, out of indifference, or financial reasons, or because we are caught up in our daily concerns, close our eyes to this. Others, however, decide to do something about it, to join civic associations or to practice small, everyday gestures - which have so much merit! - such as offering a kind word, a greeting or a smile. These cost us nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change the life of another person who lives clandestinely; they can also change our own lives with respect to this reality.
We ought to recognise that we are facing a global phenomenon which exceeds the competence of any one community or country. In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilisation comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself. For this reason I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will, and all those near or far, including the highest levels of civil institutions, who witness the scourge of contemporary slavery, not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity. Instead, may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the faces of those countless persons whom he calls 'the least of these my brethren'.
We know that God will ask each of us: What did you do for your brother? The globalisation of indifference, which today burdens the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters, requires all of us to forge a new worldwide solidarity and fraternity capable of giving them new hope and helping them to advance with courage amid the problems of our time and the new horizons which they disclose and which God places in our hands".
"Love is our mission: the family, fully alive": theme of the 7th World Meeting of Families
Vatican City, 10 December 2014 (VIS) - The 7th World Meeting of Families will take place from 22 to 27 September 2015 in Philadelphia, U.S.A., and its theme will be "Love is our mission: the family fully alive", as announced by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in which he also confirms his attendance at the event.
"The mission of the Christian family, today as in the past, is that of announcing God's love to the world, with the strength of the nuptial Sacrament. From this same announcement a living family is born and is constructed, that places love at the centre of all its human and spiritual dynamism. If, as St. Irenaeus said, 'Gloria Dei vivens homo', also a family that lives fully its vocation and mission, with the Lord's grace, renders glory to Him".
Francis remarked that during the recent Synod on the family the most urgent issues affecting the family in our society were identified, and he underlined that "we cannot qualify a family with ideological concepts, we cannot speak about a conservative family or a progressive family. The family is the family! The values and virtues of the family, its essential truths, are the strong points on which the family nucleus rests, and they cannot be called into question". We are required, instead, to "review our style of life, that is always open to the risk of being 'contaminated' by a worldly mentality - individualist, consumerist, hedonistic - and to rediscover the high road, to live and to propose the greatness and beauty of marriage and the joy and being and forming a family".
Both the indications given in the Final Report of the Synod and those that guide the path to the October 2015 Ordinary Assembly "invite us to continue in our efforts in announcing the Gospel of marriage and the family, and of experiencing the pastoral proposals in the social and cultural context in which we live. The challenges of this context stimulate us to broaden our capacity for faithful love open to life, to communion, to mercy, to sharing and to solidarity", concluded Pope Francis, exhorting married couples, priests, and associations to let themselves "be guided by the Word of God, on which there rest the foundations of the holy edifice of the family, domestic Church and family of God".
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 10 December 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Eduardo Vieira dos Santos and Rev. Fr. Devair Araujo da Fonseca as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Sao Paulo (area 655, population 6,633,912, Catholics 4,776,416, priests 995, permanent deacons 72, religious 2,316), Brazil.
The bishop-elect Eduardo Vieira dos Santos was born in Bom Sucesso, Brazil in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 2000. He holds a licentiate in canon law and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including: pastoral assistant, parish priest of the "Sao Joao Gualberto" parish, chaplain of the Parque Gethsemani cemetery, coordinator of extraordinary ministry of the Communion for the archdiocese of Sao Paulo and vice rector of the Sao Paulo seminary of theology. He is currently archdiocesan chanceller of parish priest of the Cathedral of Sao Paulo.
The bishop-elect Devair Araujo da Fonseca was born in Franca, Brazil in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1998. He holds a licentiate in dogmatic theology and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including: parish vicar, parish priest in the "Sao Crispim" parish, rector of the "Nossa Senhora do Carmo" diocesan seminary, chaplain of Carmelo de Santa Teresa, professor at the Joao XXIII Institute of Theology, secretary and president of the OSIB (Organisation of Seminaries and Institutes of Brazil). He is currently parish priest of the "Sao Jose" parish in Orlandia and diocesan coordinator for pastoral ministry.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Dec 15 09:00:02 2014
"The Holy Mother of God not only visited these people, but she chose to remain with them. ... By her intercession, the Christian faithful started to become the richest treasure of the soul of the American people, whose precious pearl is Jesus Christ. It is a patrimony which is transmitted and manifest today in the many baptism of multitudes of people, in the faith, hope and charity of many; in precious popular piety; and in that popular ethos that reveals itself in an awareness of human dignity, in the passion for justice, in solidarity with the poorest and suffering, in hope that is sometimes against every hope".
"That is why, here today, we can continue to praise God for the wonders he has brought to the lives of the Latin American people. ... In the wonders which the Lord has achieved in Mary, she recognises her Son's style and way of acting in the story of Salvation. Sweeping away worldly judgements, destroying idols of power, riches, success at any cost, denouncing self-sufficiency, pride and a secularised which distances from God, the Mary's Magnificat professes that God delights in subverting ideologies and worldly hierarchies. He lifts up the lowly, comes to the aid of the poor and the smallest among us, he fills with goodness, blessings and hope those who trust in his mercy from generation to generation, while he casts down the rich, the powerful, and rulers from their thrones. The 'Magnificat' introduces us to the Beatitudes, the earliest synthesis of the Gospel. In the light of the Beatitudes we feel compelled to ask that the future of Latin America be forged for the poor and those who suffer, for the humble, those who hunger and thirst for justice, for the compassionate, the pure of heart, those who work for peace, and for those who are persecuted because of Christ's name, 'for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven'. May theirs be the grace of being forged by those who today the idolatrous system of the throwaway culture relegates to the category of slaves, objects to be used or simply denied".
"And we make this request because Latin America is the 'continent of hope'! Because she hopes in new ways of development which combine traditional Christianity and civil progress, justice and equity with reconciliation, scientific development and technology with human wisdom. Fruitful suffering with joyful hope. We can protect this hope only with great amounts of truth and mercy, the basis for all realities and revolutionary engines of an authentically new life".
"We place these realities and these desires on the altar as a gift pleasing to God. ... He is the only Lord, the 'liberator' of all of our slavery and misery derived from sin. He calls us to live the true life, a more human life, to live together as children and brothers, now that the doors to 'the new heaven and the new earth' are open. We implore the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the name 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' - the Mother of God, our Queen, our Lady, the young woman, our Little One (as called St. Juan Diego called her), and with all the loving names which popular piety has given her - that she may continue to accompany, help and protect our people. May she lead by the hand all pilgrim children in these lands to the encounter with her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, present in the Church, in its holiness, especially in the Eucharist, present in the treasure of his Word and teachings, present in the faithful and holy people of God, in those who suffer and in the humble of heart. So be it. Amen!".
"I received my first ecumenical sermon from my grandmother, in front of you", says the Pope to the Salvation Army
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) - Yesterday, Friday 12 December, Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the Salvation Army, well-known for their mission of evangelisation and voluntary work.
"Your visit is one of the good fruit of the more frequent and beneficial contacts that have developed during recent years between the Salvation Army and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; contacts among which we must recall a series of theological conversations intended to promote better mutual understanding, mutual respect and regular collaboration. ... I hope with all my heart that Catholics and Salvationists may continue to bear witness to Christ and the Gospel together in a world that greatly needs to experience God's mercy. Catholics and Salvationists, along with other Christians, recognise that the needy have a special place in God's heart, to the extent that the Lord Jesus Christ made Himself poor for us. As a consequence, they frequently encounter one another in the same human peripheries, and it is my fervent hope that common faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, the sole mediator between God and Man, may become an increasingly solid foundation for friendship and collaboration between us".
"I pray that in today's world, all Christ's disciples may offer their contribution with the same conviction and the same dynamism that the Salvation Army demonstrates in its devoted and valued service. The differences between Catholics and Salvationists on theological and ecclesiological matters must not obstruct the witness of our shared love for God and for our neighbour, a love that is able to inspire energetic efforts to restore the dignity of those who live at the margins of society".
The Pope concluded by recounting an anecdote. When he was four years old - the year was 1940 - he was walking along the street with his grandmother. "At that time, there was the idea that all Protestants would go to hell. On the other side of the road there were two women from the Salvation Army, wearing their hats. And, I remember as if it were yesterday, I asked my grandmother, 'Who are those people? Nuns?', and she answered, 'No, they are Protestants, but they are good'. And so my grandmother, thanks to your good witness, opened the door to ecumenism for me. I received my first ecumenical sermon in front of you. Thank you very much".
Cardinal Turkson to travel to Sierra Leone and Liberia to bring the solidarity of the Church to two of the countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) - Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", will travel to Sierra Leone on 16 December, followed by a visit to Liberia, two of the countries most affected by the Ebola virus. The World Health Organisation confirms around 18,000 probable or suspected cases and more than 6,500 deaths as a result of this disease. The cardinal wishes to offer "a message of solidarity and hope for the Church, for healthcare workers and for the population".
Cardinal Turkson will be accompanied by Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, special health consultor for Caritas Internationalis. "The Church, including Caritas, religious congregations and other Catholic-inspired organisms, has been on the front line in response to Ebola", affirmed Vitillo. "As well as providing healthcare for other illnesses, establishing stringent procedures for infection control and creating screening areas, the Church, to prevent the transmission of the virus in the healthcare setting, has trained communities with the aim of involving the clergy and local parish groups in renewed efforts to stop the spread of this lethal virus".
"On a number of occasions the Holy Father has expressed his profound concern for those affected by Ebola and for their loved ones. I hope to express the solidarity of the Pope and of all the Church".
Vatican City, 15 December 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Dragan Covic, Croatian member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and entourage;
- Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, apostolic nuncio in Malta and Libya;
- Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, apostolic nuncio in Pakistan;
- Dennis Anthony Savoie, ambassador of Canada to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence;
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches;
- Don Pier Giorgio Perini, founder of the Parish Cells of Evangelisation.
On Saturday, 13 December the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Matteo Renzi, prime minister of Italy, with his wife and entourage;
- Archbishop George Kocherry, apostolic nuncio in Bangladesh;
- Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, U.S.A.;
- George Weigel.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 13 December 2014 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Marek Szkudlo and Fr. Adam Wodarczyk as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Katowice (area 2,400, population 1,520,900, Catholics 1,477,900, priests 1,105, religious 1,013), Poland.
The bishop-elect Marek Szkudlo was born in Tychy, Poland in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1978. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy priest in the parishes of "St. Margaret Lyski" and "St. Michael Archangel" in Katowice, chaplain of the scouts and member of the diocesan liturgical commission; parish priest of Our Lady Mother of the Church in Jastrzebie Zdroj and dean of Jastrzebie Gorne, chaplain for workers and miners, moderators for young priests and member of the Council of Consultors. He is currently episcopal vicar for permanent formation of priests, member of the college of consultors, of the presbyteral council and president of the diocesan commission for the clergy.
The bishop-elect Adam Wodarczyk was born in Tarnowskie Gory, Poland in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate from the Catholic University of Liblino and a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Silesia State University and has served as deputy curate of the "St. Hedwig of Silesia" parish in Chorzow, and regional moderator of the "Light-Life" Movement. He is currently moderator general of the Light-Life Movement, appointed by the Polish Episcopal Council and, at national level, consultor of the Council for youth pastoral, of the Committee for new evangelisation and the missionary radio.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Feb 9 10:00:02 2015
"The female body: between culture and biology", the third point for reflection, "reminds us of the beauty and harmony of the body God gave to women, but also the painful wounds inflicted upon them, often with brutal violence, for the mere fact of being women. A symbol of life, the female body is unfortunately not infrequently attacked and disfigured by those who ought instead to be its protectors and companions in life. The many forms of enslavement, commodification and mutilation of women's bodies require us to work to defeat this form of degradation that reduces them to mere objects to be sold on various markets". "I wish to draw attention, in this respect, to the suffering of many poor women, forced to life in conditions of danger and exploitation, relegated to the margins of society and rendered victims of a throwaway culture", stressed the Holy Father.
The fourth theme, "Women and religion: flight or new forms of participation in the life of the Church?" is of particular relevance to believers. The Pope reiterated his conviction that it is urgent to "offer space to women in the life of the Church and to welcome them, bearing in mind the specific features and changes in cultural and social sensibilities. A more capillary and incisive female presence within the Church is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities and in accompanying individuals, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection".
Finally, the Holy Father spoke about the indispensable role of women in the family, and highlighted the importance of "encouraging and promoting the effective presence of women in many areas of the public sphere, in the world of work and in places where the most important decisions are taken", without prejudice to their role in the private domain. "We must not leave women to bear these burdens and take all these decisions alone; all institutions, including the ecclesial community, must guarantee freedom of choice for women, so that they have the opportunity to assume social and ecclesial responsibilities, in harmony with family life".
God lives in the city
Vatican City, 9 February 2015 (VIS) - On Saturday Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, "Encountering God in the heart of the city". This year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II, and to mark the occasion, the Council is preparing a ceremony to commemorate the publication of the decree on the lay apostolate, Apostolicam actuositatem. "The initiative looks not only to the past, but also the present and the future of the Church". He remarked that the theme chosen for the assembly reiterates the invitation in Evangelii gaudium to face the challenge of urban cultures, adding that "the phenomenon of urbanisation has now reached global proportions: more than half the world's population lives in cities".
"The urban context has a strong impact on the mentality, culture, lifestyles, interpersonal relationships and religiosity of the people. In such a varied and complex context, the Church is no longer the sole generator of meaning, and Christians absorb 'languages, symbols, messages and paradigms which propose new approaches to life, approaches often in contrast with the Gospel'". He emphasised that, despite these risks, we must remember that God has not abandoned cities. "The title of your Plenary underlines the fact that it is possible to encounter God in the heart of the city. ... It is therefore imperative not to abandon oneself to pessimism and defeatism, but to have an outlook of faith with regard to our cities, a contemplative gaze 'which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares'. God is never absent from the city, as He is never absent from the heart of man!".
"In the city the terrain for the apostolate is often far more fertile than many might imagine. It is important, therefore, to pay attention to the formation of laypeople: to educate in having this gaze of faith, full of hope, that knows how to see the city through God's eyes ... and at the same time it is necessary to nurture in them the desire for witness, so that they can give to others the gift of the faith they have received, accompanying with affection those brothers who are taking their first steps in the life of faith". Francis commented that Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini frequently referred to the "search for the essential", and often urged those involved in the great urban mission of Milan to be essential themselves: "that is, to be genuine, authentic and to live that which truly counts. Only in this way it is possible to propose in its strength, in its beauty, in its simplicity, the liberating proclamation of God's love and the salvation that Christ offers. Only in this way can one adopt that attitude of respect towards people: offering the essential that is the Gospel".
Francis to the SECAM: Invest in education in Africa to defend the young from fundamentalism and abuse of religion
Vatican City, 7 February 2015 (VIS) - Providing "a common response to the new challenges facing the continent,allowing the Church to speak with one voice and to witness to her vocation as a sign and instrument of salvation, peace, dialogue and reconciliation" is the mission of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), the institution conceived and promoted following Vatican Council II to be at the service of the local churches in Africa. This morning Pope Francis received in audience representatives from the Symposium and, in his address, he emphasised that the institution must "remain faithful to its identity as a vibrant experience of communion and of service to the poorest of the poor".
"To this end, pastors must remain free from worldly and political concerns, that they continually strengthen the bonds of fraternal communion with the Successor of Peter, through cooperation with the Apostolic Nunciatures, and easy and direct communication with other Church bodies. At the same time, it is necessary to maintain the simple ecclesial experiences available to all, as well as streamlined pastoral structures. Experience teaches that large bureaucratic structures approach problems in the abstract and risk distancing the Church from people. For this reason, it is important to be concrete: that which is concrete is in touch with reality".
"Above all, it is the youth who need your witness. Young men and women look to us. In Africa, the future is in the hands of the young, who need to be protected from new and unscrupulous forms of 'colonisation' such as the pursuit of success, riches, and power at all costs, as well as fundamentalism and the distorted use of religion, in addition to new ideologies which destroy the identity of individuals and of families. The most effective way to overcome the temptation to give in to harmful lifestyles is by investing in education. Education will also help to overcome a widespread mentality of injustice and violence, as well as ethnic divisions. The greatest need is for a model of education which teaches the young to think critically and encourages growth in moral values. An important component in this educational process is the pastoral care of students: in Catholic or public schools there is a need to unite academic studies with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel".
"There are various reasons why we are seeing, also in Africa, a trend towards the breakdown of the family. In response, the Church is called to evaluate and encourage every initiative to strengthen the family, which is the real source of all forms of fraternity and the foundation and primary way of peace. More recently, many priests, men and women religious as well as members of the lay faithful have admirably taken responsibility for the care of families, with a special concern for the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. Even in the most distant and remote regions, your local Churches have proclaimed the Gospel of Life and, following the example of the Good Samaritan, have come to the help of those most in need. A magnificent witness to charity has been given in response to the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has struck many communities, parishes and hospitals. Many African missionaries have generously given their lives by remaining close to those suffering from this disease. This path must be followed with renewed apostolic zeal! As followers of Christ, we cannot fail to be concerned for the welfare of the weakest; we must also draw the attention of society and the civil authorities to their plight".
"Dear brothers, I express my appreciation for the invaluable contribution made by so many priests, men and women religious and lay faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel and the social advancement of your people. SECAM is also a means of promoting respect for the law, so as to ensure that the ills of corruption and fatalism may be healed, and to encourage the efforts of Christians in society as a whole, always in view of the common good. The great work of evangelisation consists in striving to make the Gospel permeate every aspect of our lives so that we, in turn, can bring it to others. For this reason, it must always be borne in mind that evangelisation implies conversion, that is, interior renewal. The process of purification, which is inherent in evangelisation, means accepting the call of Christ to 'repent and believe the Good News'. As a result of this conversion to salvation,not only individuals but the entire ecclesial community is transformed, and becomes an ever greater and more vital expression of faith and charity.
"May the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit sustain your pastoral efforts. May the Virgin Mary protect you and intercede for you and for the entire continent of Africa. To each of you, I give my Apostolic Blessing. Please pray for me".
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Mar 9 12:50:02 2015
"Everything in our life begins with an encounter", he continued. "Let us think of the Gospel of John, in which he narrates the disciples' first encounter with Jesus. Andrew, John and Simon felt as if they were seen in depth, known intimately, and this generated surprise in them, a stupor that immediately made them feel linked to Him. ... This was the decisive discovery for St. Paul, for St. Augustine, and many others: Jesus Christ always precedes us; when we arrive, He is already waiting for us. He is like the flower of the almond tree, the first to bloom and to herald the spring".
However, this dynamic of encounter that arouses stupor and adhesion without mercy, as "only he who has known the tender caress of mercy truly knows the Lord. The privileged locus of encounter is the caress of Jesus Christ's mercy towards my sin. It is for this reason that, at times, you have heard me say that the privileged locus of encounter with Jesus Christ is sin. It is thanks to that merciful embrace that the wish to respond and to change emerges, and from this there springs a different life. Christian morality is not a titanic and voluntary effort on the part of those who decide to be coherent and achieve it, a sort of solitary challenge before the world. No. Christian morality is the answer, it is the touched response when faced with the surprising mercy, unpredictable, even 'unjust' according to human criteria, of One who knows me, Who knows my betrayals and loves me all the same, ... who calls me again, has hope in me. ... Christian morality is not about never falling, but about always getting up again, thanks to His hand that reaches out to us".
"And the way of the Church is also this: letting God's great mercy be shown", he exclaimed. "The road of the Church is that of never condemning anyone eternally; of effusing God's mercy to all those people who ask for it with a sincere heart; the road of the Church is precisely that of leaving behind one's own yard in order to go and seek those in the distant peripheries of existence; that of fully adopting God's logic. The Church too must feel the joyful impulse of becoming almond flowers, like Jesus, for all humanity".
Returning to the celebration of sixty years of Communion and Liberation, the Pope emphasised that after this time the "original charism" has lost neither its freshness nor its vitality. "But, always remember that there is only one centre: Jesus Christ. When I put at the centre my spiritual method, my spiritual path, my way of putting it into practice, I stray from the road. All the spirituality, all the charisms in the Church must be decentred: at the centre there is only the Lord!".
He continued, "Charism cannot be conserved in a bottle of distilled water! Loyalty to the charism does not mean 'petrifying' it - it is the devil who petrifies - does not mean writing it on parchment and framing it. Reference to the legacy that Don Giussani has left you cannot be reduced to a museum of memories, of decisions made, of norms of conduct. It certainly involves faithfulness to tradition, but as Mahler said, this means 'keeping the flame alive and not worshipping the ashes'. Don Giussani would never forgive you if you lost your freedom and transformed into museum guides or worshippers of ashes. Keep alive the memory of that first encounter and be free! In this way, centre in Christ and in the Gospel, you can be the arms, hands, feet, mind and heart of an outbound Church. The path of the Church takes us out in search of those who are far away, in the peripheries, to serve Jesus in every marginalised and abandoned person, without faith, disappointed in the Church, prisoner of his or her own self-centredness".
"Reaching out also means rejecting self-referentiality, in all its forms; it means knowing how to listen to those who are not the same as us, learning from all, with sincere humility. When we are slaves to self-referentiality we end up cultivating a sort of branded spirituality: 'I am CL'. This becomes your label. And in this way we fall into the myriad traps set by self-referential complacency, that gazing at oneself in the mirror that leads to disorientation and our transformation into mere impresarios of NGOs".
The Pope concluded his discourse with the words of Don Giussani, from one of his first writings, in which he affirmed that Christianity cannot be realised in history as fixed position to defend, that relate to the new in terms of pure antithesis, and from his letter to John Paul II in 2004 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Communion and Liberation: 'I never intended to "found" anything. I believe that the genius of the movement that I have seen come into being is that of having grasped the urgency of proclaiming the need to return to the elementary aspects of Christianity, meaning passion for Christianity as such, in its original elements, and nothing more'."
The Holy Father to preside at Confession in St. Peter's Basilica on 13 March
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that the Holy Father will preside at the rite of the reconciliation of penitents, with individual confession and absolution, on Friday 13 March at 5 p.m in St. Peter's Basilica.
Oath-taking Ceremony of the Cardinal Camerlengo
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) - At 9.30 this morning, in the Chapel of Urban VIII, in the presence of the Holy Father, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, took his oath as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, Pope's special envoy to Nagasaki
Vatican City, 7 March 2015 (VIS) - In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 15 February, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines, as his special envoy to the celebration of the centenary of the discovery of the "hidden Christians of Japan", to be held in Nagasaki, Japan from 14 to 17 March.
The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Rev. Peter Sakae Kojima, vicar general, member of the college of consultors and parish priest of the Cathedral of Nagasaki, and Fr. Joseph Pasala, S.V.D., missionary from India and parish vicar of Nishimachi.
Vatican City, 9 March 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church;
- Fourteen prelates of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, on their "ad Limina" visit:
- Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, with his auxiliary, Bishop Simon Ok Hyun-jin;
- Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju;
- Bishop Vincent Ri Pyung-ho of Jeonju;
- Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of P'youg-yang with his auxiliaires, Bishop Basil Cho Kyu-man, BishopTimothy Yu Gyoung-chon, and Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taek;
- Bishop Luke Kim Woon-hoe of Ch'unch,?n, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Hamh?ng;
- Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, with his auxiliary, Bishop Augustinus Kim Jong-soo;
- Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san, with his auxiliary, Bishop John Baptist Jung Shin-chul; and
- Dom Blasio Park Hyun-dong, O.S.B., apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the dell'Abbazia di T?kwon
On Saturday, 7 March, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
On Saturday, 7 March, the Holy Father:
- appointed Rev. Fr. David Macaire, O.P., as archbishop of Fort-de-France (area 1,080, population 390,371, Catholics 312,296, priests 54, permanent deacons 12, religious 151), Martinique, France. The bishop-elect was born in Nanterre, France in 1969, gave his perpetual vows in 1998 and was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a licentiate in theology and canon law from Tolosa, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including chaplain of various schools, lecturer in theology at the major seminary of Bordeaux, spiritual adviser of the Equipe Notre Dame, master of Dominican students, prior of the Dominican convent in the archdiocese of Bordeaux, and member of the presbyteral council of the same local Church. He is currently prior of the Dominican convent of La Sainte-Baume, Tolone, and member of the provincial council.
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Rome presented by Bishop Paolo Schiavon, upon reaching the age limit.
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creatures with strengths and weaknesses, sinners in need of forgiveness. To enter into the mystery we need the lowliness that is powerlessness, the renunciation of our idols ... in a word, we need to adore. Without adoration, we
cannot enter into the mystery.
"The women who were Jesus' disciples teach us all of this. They kept watch that
night, together with Mary. And she, the Virgin Mother, helped them not to lose faith and hope. As a result, they did not remain prisoners of fear and sadness,
but at the first light of dawn they went out carrying their ointments, their hearts anointed with love. They went forth and found the tomb open. And they went in. They had kept watch, they went forth and they entered into the Mystery.
May we learn from them to keep watch with God and with Mary our Mother, so that
we too may enter into the Mystery which leads from death to life".
Easter Sunday: may the consoling and healing voice of the Lord reach us all
Vatican City, 5 April 2015 (VIS) - At 10.15 today, Easter Sunday, the Holy Father Francis celebrated the solemn Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in St.
Peter's Square, which had been decorated for the occasion with 40,000 plants and
flowers (tulips, narcissus and hyacinths) offered by Dutch florists, mostly in yellow and white, the colours of Vatican City State. The celebration, which began with the "Resurrexit" rite - the opening of an icon of the Risen Lord, placed next to the papal altar - was attended by more than 50,000 faithful from
all around the world, whom the Pope thanked.
The Holy Father did not pronounce a homily, but following Mass at midday he delivered an Easter message and imparted his "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the central balcony of the Vatican basilica. He addressed the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and all those following the event on radio or television, making a special Easter appeal for the world not to submit to arms traffickers,
recalling the tragedies in Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq, the persecution of Christians in these and other countries, the conflicts in the Holy Land and the
war in Ukraine. He also made a plea for peace in Nigeria, South Sudan and the Republic of Congo, and mentioned in particular the poor, the incarcerated and immigrants, who are frequently scorned and rejected. He then imparted his "Urbi
et Orbi" blessing, to the city and the world.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter! Jesus Christ is risen!" exclaimed the
Pope. "Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness! Out of love for us, Jesus Christ stripped Himself of His
divine glory, emptied Himself, took on the form of a slave and humbled Himself even to death, death on a cross. For this reason God exalted him and made him Lord of the universe. Jesus is Lord! By His death and resurrection, Jesus shows
everyone the way to life and happiness: this way is humility, which involves humiliation. This is the path which leads to glory. Only those who humble themselves can go towards the 'things that are above', towards God. The proud look 'down from above'; the humble look 'up from below'.
"On Easter morning, alerted by the women, Peter and John ran to the tomb. They
found it open and empty. Then they drew near and 'bent down' in order to enter it. To enter into the mystery, we need to 'bend down', to abase ourselves. Only
those who abase themselves understand the glorification of Jesus and are able to
follow him on his way. The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail. But Christians, by the grace of Christ,
dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help. This is not weakness, but true strength! Those who bear within them God's
power, His love and His justice, do not need to employ violence; they speak and
act with the power of truth, beauty and love.
"From the risen Lord we ask today the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace. We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers
and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence. There are so many of them. We ask for peace, above all, for beloved Syria and Iraq, that the roar of
arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries. May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees. We pray for peace for all the
peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and
Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.
"We implore peace for Libya, that the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence may cease, and that all concerned for the future of the country may work to favour reconciliation and to build a fraternal society respectful of the dignity of the person. For Yemen too we express our hope for the growth of a common desire for peace, for the good of the entire people. At the same time, in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and
fraternal world. We ask the risen Lord for the gift of peace for Nigeria, South
Sudan and for the various areas of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. May constant prayer rise up from all people of goodwill for those who lost their lives - I think in particular of the young people who were killed last Thursday at Garissa University College in Kenya -, for all who have been kidnapped, and for those forced to abandon their homes and their loved ones.
"May the Lord's resurrection bring light to beloved Ukraine, especially to those who have endured the violence of the conflict of recent months. May the country rediscover peace and hope thanks to the commitment of all interested parties. We ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old
and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and groups. Peace and liberty for the victims of drug dealers, who are often allied with the
powers who ought to defend peace and harmony in the human family. And we ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers, who profit from the blood of men
"May the marginalised, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering, children,
especially those who are victims of violence; all who today are in mourning, and
all men and women of goodwill, hear the consoling and healing voice of the Lord
Jesus: 'Peace to you!'. 'Fear not, for I am risen and I shall always be with you'.
Regina Coeli: Christ is risen! Repeat this with our witness of life
Vatican City, 6 April 2015 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at
the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli, the prayer that substitutes the Angelus during Easter time, with the thousands of faithful and pilgrims reunited in St. Peter's Square. Before reciting the Marian prayer, Francis commented on the day's Gospel reading, remarking that the angel announced to the
women in the tomb that Jesus was risen, and asked them to take the news to the disciples and to tell them to go to Galilee, where they would encounter the Messiah. "Today, too, He is with us, here in the square". The Pope also noted that this is the announcement that the Church has repeated since the very first
day. "Christ is risen!" "It is the good news we are called upon to take to others everywhere, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that the
Christian can and must offer to his brethren. ... Christ is risen! Let us repeat
this in words, but above all with the witness of our life".
"Let us proclaim Christ's resurrection when His light illuminates the darkest moments of our existence and we are able to share it with others; when we know how to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we walk alongside those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of faith to those who are in search of meaning and happiness. With our attitude, our witness, our life, we say: Jesus is risen! We say this with all our soul. ... Easter is the event that brought radical newness to every human
being, for history and for the world: it is the triumph of life over death; it is the celebration of reawakening and regeneration. Let our existence be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection!" concluded the Pope, urging those
present to pray to the Virgin Mary to "let the joy of Easter grow in us".
Following the Regina Coeli prayer, Francis greeted the faithful, wishing them happy Easter and encouraging them to read a passage from the Gospel every day. He addressed some words to the Shalom Movement, which has reached the final stage of its relay race to raise public awareness of the persecution of Christians throughout the world. "You have reached the end of your itinerary, but we must all continue on the spiritual path of intense prayer, concrete participation and tangible aid in the defence and protection of our brothers and
sisters who are persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated, for the mere fact of being Christians. They are our present-day martyrs, and there are many of them;
indeed, we might say that there are more of them than in the first centuries".
Francis also urged the international community "not to remain silent and inert
in the face of this unacceptable crime, which constitutes a worrying erosion of
the most elementary human rights. I truly hope that the international community
does not look away".
Pope's telegram for the attack on Garissa University College
Vatican City, 3 April 2015 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of the Holy Father to Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya, following the attack on the university campus of Garissa which caused the death of 147 students and many casualties.
"Deeply saddened by the immense and tragic loss of life caused by the recent attack on the Garissa University College, the Holy Father sends assurances of his prayers and spiritual closeness to the families of the victims and to all Kenyans at this painful time. He commends the souls of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, and he prays that all who mourn them will be comforted in their loss. In union with all people of good will throughout the world, His Holiness condemns this act of senseless brutality and prays for a change of heart among its perpetrators. He calls upon all those in authority to
redouble their efforts to work with all men and women in Kenya to bring an end to such violence and to hasten the dawn of a new era of brotherhood, justice and
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 8 April 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Morelia, Mexico, presented by Archbishop Octavio Villegas Aguilar upon reaching
the age limit.
On Tuesday, 7 April, the Holy Father appointed:
- Rev. Fr. Ernesto Jose Romero Rivas, O.F.M. Cap., as apostolic vicar of Tucupita (area 40,200, population 167,676, Catholics 120,000, priests 8, religious 20), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Machiques, Venezuela in 1960, gave his solemn vows in 1990, and was ordained a priest in the same year.
He holds a licentiate in catechetics from the Pontifical Salesian University in
Rome and has served in a number of roles, including parish administrator in Tucupita; and master of post-novices, counsellor, superior, rector, bursar and vice provincial counsellor of the Order of Friars Minor in Venezuela. He is currently pro-vicar of Tucupita and parish priest.
- appointed Rev. Fr. Vincent Aind as bishop of Bagdogra (area 1,200, population
1,015,000, Catholics 54,301, priests 58, religious 185), India. The bishop-elect
was born in Kalchini, India in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1984. He holds
a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of roles, including parish vicar and parish priest in the
diocese of Jalpaiguri; lecturer, spiritual director, rector and dean of the Morning Star regional seminary, Barrackpore; and principal of the Morning Star College. He is currently diocesan consulter and member of the council for economic affairs of the diocese of Jalpaiguri, and regional secretary of the Commission for the Clergy, Religious and Seminarians of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Bengal.
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themselves to being victims of abuse. These are situations in which it is not enough to safeguard the law to defend the basic rights of the person, and in which the rules, without pity and mercy, do not respond to justice. Within every
country, at times, scandalous and offensive differences are created, especially
between indigent peoples, in rural areas or in the peripheries of large cities.
If it fails to genuinely defend these people against racism, xenophobia and intolerance, the rule of law loses its very legitimacy".
"Efforts to build bridges, to establish channels of communication, to build relationships and to seek agreement are never in vain. The geographical situation of Panama, in the centre of the American continent, making it a point
of encounter between north and south, between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is certainly a call, pro mundi beneficio, to generate a new order of peace and justice, and to promote solidarity and collaboration, respecting the just autonomy of every nation", writes the Pope, who concludes by expressing his hope
that the Church "may also be an instrument of peace and reconciliation between peoples".
To formators of consecrated persons: not only teachers, but also witnesses of following Christ
Vatican City, 11 April 2015 (VIS) - "To live in Christ according to the form of
life of the Gospel" is the title of an international conference for formators of
consecrated persons, held in Rome from 7 to 11 April. This morning around 1,400
participants were received in audience by the Pope, who exclaimed, "Seeing so many of you, you would not believe that there is a crisis of vocations!", and went on to highlight the beauty and importance of consecrated life for the world
and for the Church.
However, he noted that the decreasing number of new vocations is an undeniable
fact, and "this make the task of formation even more urgent". He expressed his conviction that "there is not a vocational crisis where there are consecrated persons able to transmit, by their own witness, the beauty of consecration. And
it is a fruitful witness. If there is not witness, there is no coherence, and if
there is no coherence, there will be no vocations". He added, they are "not only
teachers, but above all witnesses of following Christ in their own charism", as
the mission and task of formators is to "truly mould the heart of Jesus in the heart of the young, so that they have the same sentiments".
"In these days of the Resurrection, the word that frequently resounded to me in
prayers was 'Galilee', where it all began, as Peter tells us in his first discourse. Events occurred in Jerusalem, but they began in Galilee. Our life, too, began in a 'Galilee': each one of us has had the experience ... of encountering the Lord, that encounter that cannot be forgotten, but that many times ends up obscured by things, by work, by worries, and also by sins and worldliness. To offer witness it is often necessary to make a pilgrimage to one's own Galilee, to revive the memory of that encounter, that wonder, and to start again from there. But if you do not follow the road of memory there is the
risk of remaining stuck where you are, and also the danger of not knowing why you are there".
"Consecrated life is beautiful: it is one of the most valuable treasures of the
Church, rooted in the baptismal vocation. Therefore, it is beautiful to be its formators, as it is a privilege to participate in the work of the Father, which
forms the heart of the Son in those to whom the Spirit calls. At times, this service may be felt as a weight, as if it draws us away from something more important", the Pontiff observed. "But this is a deception, a temptation. The mission is important, but it is equally important to educate in the mission, in
the passion of proclamation, of going everywhere, to every periphery, to say to
all that the love of Jesus Christ, especially for those who are most distant, to
tell this to the small and the poor, and also to allow oneself to be evangelised
by them. All this requires a solid foundation, a Christian structure of personality that families themselves are rarely able to give. And this increases
"It is not true that today's young people are mediocre or not generous; but they need to experience that 'It is more blessed to give than to receive', that
there is great freedom in a life of obedience, great fruitfulness in a virgin heart, great wealth in possessing nothing. From this there arises the need to be
lovingly attentive to the path of each person and evangelically demanding in every phase of the formative journey, beginning with vocational discernment, so
that the eventual crisis in terms of quantity does not lead to a far more serious crisis of quality. And this is the danger. Vocational discernment is important: all those who understand the human personality - be they psychologists, spiritual fathers, spiritual mothers - tell us that young people
who at a subconscious level feel they ... have some problem of balance or deviation subconsciously seek out strong structures to protect them, and to protect them against themselves. And here lies discernment: knowing how to say no. Without driving them away - this, no. "I will accompany you, go, go ... and
just as you accompany them as they enter, accompany them to the exit, so that they may find their path in life, with the necessary help".
He continued, "Initial formation, this discernment, is only the first step in process destined to last a lifetime, and the young people must develop with the
humble and intelligent freedom of allowing himself to be educated by God the Father every day of his life, at every age, in the mission as in fraternity, in
action as in contemplation".
"In this mission, neither time nor energy must be spared. And we must not be discouraged when results do not fulfil our expectations. It is painful, when a boy or a girl says after three or four years: 'I cannot continue; I have found another love that is not against God, but I cannot continue, I am leaving'. This
is hard. But it is also your martyrdom. Even missteps, these missteps from the formator's point of view, can contribute to your journey of continual formation.
And if at times you may have the feeling that your work is not sufficiently appreciated, know that Jesus is following you with love, and the entire Church is grateful to you".
Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez of Cordoba, Argentina.
On Saturday, 11 April, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Daniele Mancini, new ambassador of Italy to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters;
- Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, apostolic nuncio in Indonesia.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Msgr. Paolo Rocco Gualtieri, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio in Madagascar, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop;
- Bishop Francois Eid, emeritus of Cairo of the Maronites and procurator of the
Maronite Patriarchate at the Holy See, as apostolic visitator for the Maronite faithful in Bulgaria, Greece and Romania:
- the following cardinals, created in the Consistory of 14 February 2015, as Members of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia:
- in the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State: Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the
Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
- in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez
Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain;
- in the Congregation for the Oriental Churches: Cardinals Berhaneyesus Demerew
Souraphiel, archbishop of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and Edoardo Menichelli, archbishop of Ancona-Osimo, Italy;
- in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:
Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
- in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints: Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
- in the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Cardinals John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand; Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, archbishop of Ha Noi, Viet Nam; Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, Thailand; Arlindo Gomes Furtado, bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde, Cape Verde; and Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga;
- in the Congregation for the Clergy: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal, and Alberto Suarez Inda, archbishop of Morelia, Mexico;
- in the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies
of Apostolic Life: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, and Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay;
- in the Congregation for Catholic Education: Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, bishop of David, Panama;
- in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand;
- in the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace": Cardinals Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, archbishop of Ha Noi, Viet Nam, and Alberto Suarez Inda, archbishop of Morelia, Mexico;
- in the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Cardinals Francesco Montenegro, archbishop of Agrigento, Italy; Arlindo Gomes Furtado, bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde, Cape Verde; and Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga;
- in the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Cardinals Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, archbishop of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia; and Francesco Montenegro, archbishop of Agrigento, Italy;
- in the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers: Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, archbishop of Ancona-Osimo, Italy;
- in the Pontifical Council for Culture: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, archbishop
of Yangon, Myanmar; Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain; and
Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, bishop of David, Panama;
- in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal, and Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, Thailand;
- in the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation: Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay.
On Sunday, 12 April, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral
care of the archdiocese of Taunggyi, Myanmar, presented by Archbishop Matthias U. Shwe in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, and appointed Bishop Basilio Athai, auxiliary of the same archdiocese, as apostolic
administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis".
On Saturday, 11 April, the Holy Father appointed:
- appointed Bishop Jean de Dieu Raoelison, auxiliary of Antananarivo, Madagascar, as bishop of Ambatondrazaka (area 21,000, population 1,536,000, Catholics 277,000, priests 42, religious 208), Madagascar. He succeeds Bishop Antoine Scopelliti, O.SS.T., whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Rev. Fr. Dante Gustavo Braida as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Mendoza, (area 63,839, population 1,250,000, Catholics 1,086,000, priests 157, permanent
deacons 61, religious 258), Argentina. He bishop-elect was born in Reconquista,
Argentina in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He has served as parish vicar in Villa Ocampo, missionary ad gentes in Cuba, parish priest in Calchaqui,
diocesan assessor for vocational pastoral ministry, formator of the "La Encarnacion" interdiocesan seminary, and member of the presbyteral council and college of consultors. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of Reconquista and parish priest of the "La Inmaculada" parish.
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the Catholic Church in alleviating the situations of hardship that characterise
some sectors of society. Mention was also made, within the framework of the current international situation, of the worrying spread of violence that continues to affect the eastern Mediterranean and North African areas.
The Parties confirmed their willingness to pursue their active collaboration on
a bilateral level in the context of the international community, especially with
regard to the promotion and protection of religious freedom and the dignity of human beings.
To the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences: raise awareness of new forms of slavery
Vatican City, 18 April 2015 (VIS) - The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences,
chaired by Margaret Archer, dedicated its plenary session to human trafficking.
This morning the Pope received in audience the members of this institution and thanked them for their work in deepening knowledge of new forms of slavery and in endeavouring to eradicate human trafficking, noting that this scourge afflicts those who suffer as a result of forced labour, prostitution, and trafficking in organs and drugs.
"St. Peter Claver, in an historical moment at which slavery was widespread and
socially acceptable, unfortunately - and scandalously - also in the Christian world, as it was a large-scale business, felt himself to be called by the words
of the Lord, and consecrated himself as 'a slave of slaves'. And many other saints, such as St. John of Matha, went on to fight slavery, following the mandate of Paul: slaves no more, but brothers and sisters in Christ".
"We know that the historical abolition of slavery as a social structure is a direct consequence of the message of freedom brought to the world by Christ with
its fullness of grace, truth and love, with His programme of the Beatitudes. The
progressive awareness of this message throughout history is the work of the Spirit of Christ and of His gifts, in which there participate the saints and many men and women of good will, who do not identify with a religious faith but
who are committed to improving the human condition".
"Unfortunately, in a global economic system dominated by profit, new forms of slavery have developed, in a certain way worse and more inhuman than those of the past. Therefore, following the Lord's message of redemption, we are called upon even more today to denounce and combat them. Firstly, we must raise awareness of this new evil that, in the globalised world, seeks to conceal itself as it is scandalous and 'politically incorrect'. No-one likes to acknowledge that in their own city, region or nation, there are new forms of slavery, yet we know that this wound afflicts almost all countries. We must then
denounce this terrible scourge in all its gravity. Pope Benedict XVI has already
categorically denounced every violation of the principle of equal dignity among
human beings. I too have declared several times that these new forms of slavery
- human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution, the trade in organs - are serious crimes and 'an open wound on the body of contemporary society'".
Francis launched a final appeal to all of society to become more aware, "especially with regard to national and international legislation, in order to be able to bring traffickers to justice and to redirect their unjust earnings for the rehabilitation of victims. The most suitable methods must be sought to penalise those who are complicit in this inhuman market. We are required to improve the methods of rescuing victims, and their social inclusion, also bringing up to date the legislation on the right of asylum. The civil authorities must be more cognizant of the seriousness of this tragedy, which constitutes a regression for humanity".
The Pope receives the A.C.I.S.J.F.: let young women know they are called to happiness
Vatican City, 20 April 2015 (VIS) - "I wish to express my gratitude to you for
your generous efforts in the service of young women who live in situations of precariousness and suffering", said the Pope this morning as he received, in the
Sala Clementina, seventy members of the International Catholic Association for the Service of Young Women (A.C.I.S.J.F.), founded in Fribourg, Switzerland, by
Louise de Reynold in response to the needs of young women who, due to social changes, lived far from their family environment.
The number of these women, as the Pope observed in his address, is increasing,
and the many forms of poverty that affect them "call out to us and should inspire a new creativity, to offer them the material and spiritual aid they need. ... Through your ongoing activities to welcome them, and through reflection
to face the new challenges generated by today's world, such as the phenomenon of
migration, your work seeks to be at the service of the life and dignity of the person, demonstrating that 'true faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving ... from service".
The young are most in need of "attention and to be listened to", and the A.C.I.S.J.F. must help them "to grow in confidence, to find points of reference
and to progress in human and spiritual maturity, nourished by Gospel values", he
added. "Be credible witnesses for them, so that they experience the joy of knowing they are loved by God, their Father, and called to happiness. And, at the same time, let yourselves be instructed by these young people whom you accompany and assist. Even amid their difficulties. They often bear witness to those essential virtues of fraternity and solidarity. They also remind us that we are frail and depend on God and on others. May the Lord's merciful gaze touch
us and help us to welcome our poverty in order to go ahead trustfully, and to make efforts together in that 'revolution of tenderness' to which Jesus opened the way through his Incarnation".
He concluded, "I hope that the sense of belonging to the Church, who is a great
family, may grow in you. I invite you to continue to announce to all the joy of
the Gospel, bear in mind the diversity of cultures, of religious traditions, and
of the origins of the young women you wish to serve, as well as their richness that demands to be received with respect".
Telegram for the death of Cardinal Francis Eugene George
Vatican City, 18 April 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to the Archbishop of Chicago, U.S.A., Blase J. Cupich, for the death
yesterday, Friday 17 April, of Cardinal Francis Eugene George, O.M.I., emeritus
of the same archdiocese, at the age of 78.
In the text the Pope recalls with gratitude Cardinal George's witness of consecrated life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, his service to the Church's educational apostolate, and his years of episcopal ministry in the Churches of Yakima, Portland and Chicago, and commends the soul of "this wise and gentle pastor" to the merciful love of the Father.
The Pope to receive Catholic Charismatic Renewal in audience on 3 July
Vatican City, 18 April 2015 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has stated that the Holy Father will receive in audience the Movement of Catholic Charismatic Renewal at 10 a.m. on 3 July, in St. Peter's Square.
Symposium on Friar Junipero Serra, to be canonised 23 September
Vatican City, 18 April 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press office,
the Day of Reflection dedicated to "Friar Junipero Serra, apostle of California,
witness of holiness", to be held on Saturday 2 May at the Pontifical North American College of Rome, Italy. At the beginning of the press conference, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., announced that the Pope will canonise Blessed Junipero
Serra on 23 September during his apostolic trip to the United States, outside the National Shrine in Washington, D.C.
The event on 2 May, convoked by the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, and funded by the archdiocese of Los Angeles, will aim to inform on the life, mission and witness of holiness of Friar Junipero Serra, O.F.M. (1713-1784).
Speakers at the conference were Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., president of the
Pontifical Council for Latin America; Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, secretary of the
vice-presidency of the same dicastery; Fr. Vincenzo Criscuolo, O.F.M. Cap., general rapporteur of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; and Msgr. James
Francis Checcio, rector of the Pontifical North American College.
The activities to take place on the Day of Reflection include the Pope's visit
to the Pontifical North American College, during which he will officiate at Holy
Vatican City, 20 April 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation
- Signor Tomaz Kunstelj, new ambassador of Slovenia to the Holy See, presenting
his letters of credence;
- Archbishop Santo Gangemi, apostolic nuncio in Guinea and Mali;
- Bishop Gonzalo de Villa y Vazquez of Solola-Chimaltenango, Guatemala;
- Six prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon, on their "ad Limina" visit:
- Archbishop Basile Mve Engone of Libreville;
- Bishop Timothee Mobido-Nzockena of Franceville;
- Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan of Mouila, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Port-Gentil with Bishop emeritus Dominique
- Bishop Jean-Vincent Ondo Eyene of Oyem;
- Bishop Joseph Koerber, C.S.Sp., apostolic vicar of Makokou.
On Saturday, 18 April, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 20 April 2015 (VIS) - On Saturday, 18 April, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez of Yopal, Colombia, as bishop of Duitama-Sogamoso (area 4,928, population 437,000, Catholics 423,000, priests 115, permanent deacons 13, religious 155), Colombia.
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countries, and he also underlined that lack of adequate services to respond to the effective needs of the population. "Faced with this worrying scenario, a general mobilisation is necessary, to unite the strengths of the population, the
institutions, private entities and various civil bodies", he affirmed. "It is not possible to defer the concrete steps that need to be taken to favour the creation of new jobs, thus offering the young the possibility of realising their
potential through honest work".
The diocese is celebrating, on the other hand, a jubilee year dedicated to Pope
Celestine V, originally from the region, which offers the opportunity for a new
missionary impulse in order to go "beyond a static religious reality" and to "return to Christ, to the Gospel; to be reconciled with God and neighbour. And thus there is reborn the desire to bring His love to all, especially those who are alone, marginalised, humiliated by suffering and by social injustice; to the
many who, tired of human words, feel a profound nostalgia for God". The jubilee
year will also provide a preparatory stage for the extraordinary Jubilee Year of
Mercy, and the parishes, where "ecclesial communion finds its most immediate and
visible expression", is called upon to be the "privileged place for listening to
and announcing the Gospel; a house of prayer around the Eucharist; a true school
of communion, where the ardour of charity prevails over the temptation to a superficial and arid religiosity".
"When difficulties seem to obscure the prospects for a better future, when we experience failure and emptiness around us, it is the moment of Christian hope,
based in the Risen Lord and accompanied by charitable strength towards those most in need. This is how your diocesan path, already admirably orientated to this way of charity, can involve more people and more social and institutional bodies in assisting those who are homeless or jobless, as well as those who are
affected by forms of poverty both old and new, not only in order to take care of
their urgent needs but also to build alongside them a more welcoming society, more respectful of diversity, more just and fraternal. ... Problems can be overcome with solidarity. I encourage you, therefore, to be witnesses of solidarity in your cities and towns, at work, at school, in your families, and in the places where you meet".
Finally, Francis commended all those present to Our Lady and the saints of Molise and Abruzzo, so they might be "supported by these powerful intercessors",
in order to look "without fear and with hope to your future and that of your land".
Globalising solidarity: the Pope's message for the inauguration of the Milan Universal Exposition
Vatican City, 1 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father spoke at the inauguration of the Universal Exposition of Milan (1 May - 31 October 2015), on the theme "Feeding the planet, energy for life" via a video message transmitted life, in which he emphasises the importance of the event for giving a voice to the poor,
globalising solidarity and defending the environment.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to unite my voice to those of you gathered here for this inauguration. It is the voice of the bishop of Rome, who speaks on
behalf of the pilgrim People of God throughout the whole world; it is the voice
of the many poor who form part of this people and with dignity seek to earn bread through their labours. I would like to be the spokesman for all these brothers and sisters of ours, Christians and also non-Christians, whom God loves
as His sons and for whom he gave his life, breaking the brad that is the flesh of His Son made man. He teaches us to ask God the Father: 'Give us this day our
daily bread'. EXPO is an opportune occasion to globalise solidarity".
Recalling the importance of the theme of the EXPO, Francis emphasises that an issue so important and so essential cannot remain merely as a theme for the event, but must instead be accompanied by "an awareness of the faces of the millions of people who are hungry today, who will not eat today in a way worthy
of a human being. I would like every person who comes to visit the EXPO of Milan, from today onwards, passing through those wonderful pavilions, to be able
to perceive the presence of those faces. A hidden presence, but which ought in reality to be the true protagonist of the event; the faces of the men and women
who are hungry, who become ill or even die as a result of inadequate or harmful
The "paradox of abundance" an expression used by St. John Paul II in his address to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) during the first Conference on Nutrition in 1992 "still persists, in spite of the efforts made and some good results. Even EXPO, in some respects, forms part of this paradox of abundance, if it conforms to the throwaway culture of waste, and does not contribute to an equitable and sustainable model of development. Therefore, let
us ensure that EXPO provides the opportunity for a change of mentality, so that
we stop thinking that our daily actions - at every level of responsibility - do
not have an impact on the life of those, near and far, who suffer from hunger".
The Pope comments also on the other 'faces' who play an important role in the Universal Exposition - those of the many workers and researchers in the food and
agriculture sector. "May the Lord grant wisdom and courage to every one of them,
as their responsibility is great", he says, expressing his hope that all those who work in this field be "involved in a great project for solidarity: that of feeding the planet with respect for every man and woman who inhabit it, and with
respect for the natural environment". It is, he adds, "the great challenge that
God presents to humanity in the twenty-first century: to finally stop abusing the garden God has entrusted to us, so that all may eat its fruits".
"However, everything begins here: from a perception of those faces", he concludes, "especially the most anonymous, the most hidden, that thanks to EXPO
have earned bread to take home. May no-one be deprived of this dignity! And may
no bread be the fruit of work unworthy of mankind! The Lord ... is the true 'energy for life': the love to share bread, 'our daily bread', in peace and fraternity. And may no man or woman lack bread and the dignity of work".
To the Cursillos in Christianity: take your charism to the existential peripheries
Vatican City, 1 May 2015 (VIS) - The participants in the third "Ultreya Europea" organised by the Cursillos in Christianity were received in audience by
Pope Francis yesterday afternoon. Citing the theme of the encounter, "Ultreya" ("ever onward", the ancient greeting of the pilgrims of Santiago de Compostela),
he invited them always to continue and to go forward, inspired by the missionary
but not proselytising spirit of their founders, the Spanish Eduardo Bonnin Aguilo and the then-bishop of Mallorca, Juan Hervas y Benet. As the Pope remarked, they and other young laypeople, perceived the need to reach out to their peers, glimpsing the desire for truth and love present in their hearts.
"Those pioneers ... went towards the people, involving them with warmth and accompanying them on their path of faith with respect and love. This is important: friendliness and company. ... I would like to say to your movement: you
have not engaged in proselytism! And this is a virtue. The Church grows not by proselytism but by witness, as Pope Benedict said. And it is true. ... Today you
too wish to announce the Good News of God's love, making yourself close to others ... so that they can have a personal experience of Christ's infinite love
that frees and transforms life".
During the meeting, which had a spontaneous nature, the Pope answered some questions from the participants in the Ultreya, suggesting to them how to make their charism fruitful, and beginnning by explaining that to help others grow in
faith, first of all it is necessary to experience first-hand God's goodness and
tenderness to then communicate it with benevolence and mercy. "This is the amicable witness of dialogue between friends.
"The method of evangelisation of the Cursillos is born precisely of this ardent
wish for friendship with God, Who is the source of our friendship with our brothers", he continued. "From the beginning it was understood that only within
a relationship of authentic friendship was it possible to prepare and accompany
people on their path, a path that begins with conversion, passes through the discovery of the beauty of a life lived in the grace of God, finally reaching the joy of becoming apostles in daily life. And in this way, since then, thousands of people throughout the world have been helped to grow in the life of
faith. In today's context of anonymity and isolation typical of our cities, the
dimension of family welcome, on a human scale, that you offer in your group meetings is of great importance".
It is also important that these small group meetings are accompanied by "moments that favour openness to a larger social and ecclesial dimension, also involving those who come into contact with your charism but do not habitually participate in the group. ... Effectively, the Church is an 'open-hearted mother'
who invites us at times to 'slow down' and 'stop rushing to remain with someone
who has faltered along the way'".
Francis concluded by renewing his invitation to "go ever onwards", faithful to
their charism, and to "keep alive the zeal and the flame of the Spirit that always drives Christ's disciples to reach those who are distant, without proselytism, to leave their comfort zone and to have the courage to reach out to
those peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel. ... Every charism is called
upon to grown as it carries the Holy Spirit inside, and the Holy Spirit makes it
grow. Every charism must take account of different cultures, with different ways
of thinking and different values ... letting itself be guided by the Spirit".
Four cardinals to take possession of titles and diaconates
Vatican City, 4 May 2015 (VIS) - According to a note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, the following cardinals will take possession of their titles or diaconates in the coming days:
Cardinal Luis Hector Villalba, archbishop emeritus of Tucuman, Argentina, will
take possession of the title of San Girolamo a Corviale in Via dei Buonvisi 3, Rome, at 6 p.m. on Saturday 9 May.
Cardinal Arlindo Gomes Furtado, bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde, will take possession of the title of San Timoteo in Via Apelle 1, Rome, at 10 a.m. on Sunday 10 May.
Cardinal Julio Duarte Langa, bishop emeritus of Xai-Xai, Mozambique, will take
possession of the title of San Gabriele dell'Addolorata in Via Ponzio Cominio 93-95, Rome, at 11 a.m. on Sunday 10 May.
Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will take possession of the diaconate of Santo Spirito in Sassia, in
Via dei Penitenzieri 12, Rome, at 6 p.m. on Sunday 10 May.
Vatican City, 4 May 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of Los Angeles, U.S.A.;
- Dr. Antje Jackelen, archbishop of Uppsala, of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church
of Sweden, and entourage;
- Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;
- Eleven prelates of the Episcopal Conference of the Republic of the Congo, on
their "ad Limina" visit:
- Archbishop Anatole Milandou of Brazzaville;
- Bishop Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou of Dolisie;
- Bishop Urbain Ngassongo of Gamboma;
- Bishop Jean Gardin, C.S.Sp., of Impfondo;
- Bishop Louis Portella Mbuyu of Kinkala;
- Bishop Daniel Mizonzo of Nkayi, with Bishop emeritus Bernard Nsayi;
- Bishop Yves-Marie Monot, C.S.Sp., of Ouesso, with Bishop emeritus Herve Itoua;
- Bishop Victor Abagna Mossa of Owando; and
- Bishop Miguel Angel Olaverri Arroniz, S.D.B., of Pointe-Noire.
On Saturday, 2 May, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet,
P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 4 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Denis Groudin, auxiliary of Quebec, Canada, as metropolitan archbishop
of Rimouski (area 20,225, population 147,352, Catholics 143,960, priests 85, permanent deacons 16, religious 517), Canada.
On Saturday, 2 May the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop
emeritus of Prague, Czech Republic, as his special envoy to the celebrations for
the 600th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus, to take place in the city of Prague on 5 and 6 July 2015.
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Francis goes on to emphasise that in the pastoral ministry of the bishops, priests occupy a very special role as "if God sends us to love our neighbour, the closest neighbours of a bishop are the priests, indispensable collaborators", for whom they must always keep their "heart, hand and door" open. "Time spent with them is never wasted", he remarks. The Pope also comments
that the fruitfulness of the episcopal and priestly mission cannot be measured by the number of collaborators, the prestige of the institution, or the quantity
of resources available. Instead, what counts is "being pervaded with Christ's love, allowing oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit, and grafting one's own existence onto the tree of life, which is the Cross of the Lord". From St. Paul,
"insuperable model of the Christian missionary, we know that this means trying to conform to Jesus in His death to participate in His resurrection". In his ministry the apostle "experienced suffering, weakness and defeat, but also joy and consolation". "Jesus' paschal ministry is the heart of the mission of the Church", affirms Francis. "If you abide in this mystery, you will be protected both from a worldly and triumphalist vision of the mission, and the disappointment that may arise when faced with trials and failures".
"However, will there continue to be missionaries like Paul, men and women holding on to Christ's cross, denuded of everything so as to be able to embrace
the Whole?", asks the Pope. "We must rejoice for these men and women totally consecrated to Christ". He highlights that the witness of men and women religious in Mozambique, who devote themselves to assisting the poor, to the education of abandoned children, and helping those experiencing all kinds of hardship. He also praises the "heroic dedication" of many doctors and nurses, priests and nuns, who work in clinics and hospitals, and he invites the bishops
to thank them, underlining the importance of the inclusion of religious communities in diocesan life. "They are not merely reserve material for the diocese, but rather, charisms that enrich", he stressed.
The Pope exhorts the prelates to live among their faithful, also in the peripheries of their dioceses and in particular in the "existential peripheries", where there is suffering, loneliness and human degradation, as "a
bishop who lives among his faithful keeps his ears open to listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches and to the voice of his sheep". He also notes the importance of the diocesan bodies which have the task of advising the bishops and assisting them "through the promotion of loyal and constructive dialogue: presbyteral council, pastoral council, council of economic affairs. It is unthinkable for a bishop not to count on these diocesan bodies. This also means
being with the people. I also think at this point of your duty to reside in the
diocese: listen to what your people want, what they want to see in their bishop,
walk with them, stay close to them. You need this presence to live and, in a certain sense, to breathe".
"The pastors and the faithful of Mozambique need to further develop a culture of encounter", the Pope observes. "Jesus asks only one thing: that you go out in
search of the neediest". Among these, he mentions the victims of the natural disasters that recently sowed destruction, suffering and death throughout the country, thus increasing the number of displaced persons and refugees. "These people need us to share in their suffering, their worries, their problems. They
need us to look upon them with love and you must reach out to them, like Jesus".
Finally, the Pope offers an overview of all Mozambique, where the tensions and
conflicts of recent years have undermined the social fabric, destroyed families
and jeopardised the future of thousands of young people. "The most effective way
of opposing the mentality of arrogance and inequality, as well as social divisions, it to invest in the field of education, which teaches the young to think critically, and offers a path towards maturity in values. In this sense, it is appropriate to raise awareness among leaders in society and to revive pastoral ministry in universities and schools, combining the task of education with the proclamation of the Gospel. The needs are so great that they cannot be
satisfied simply through individual initiatives or by a union of individuals educated in individualism. Community networks are needed to respond to social problems. There is a need for a union of forces and unity of direction: in this,
the Episcopal Conference may help as it has among its functions the unitary dialogue with the political authority for the whole territory. In this respect,
I encourage a decisive implementation of good relations with the government, not
of dependency, but rather of solid collaboration".
"Dear bishops", he concludes, "spare no efforts in supporting the family and in
the defence of life from conception to natural death. In this sense, remember the options appropriate to one of Christ's disciples and the beauty of being a mother, accompanied by the support of the family and the local community. The family must always be defended as the main source of fraternity, respect for others and the primary path of peace".
Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet to take possession of his titular church
Vatican City, 10 May 2015 (VIS) - The Office for Liturgical Celebrations today
announced that at 6 p.m. on Sunday 17 May Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., archbishop of Montevideo, will take possession of the title of
Santa Galla (Circonvallazione Ostiense, 195).
Vatican City, 11 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father received in audience:
- prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Togo, on their "ad Limina" visit:
- Archbishop Denis Komivi Amuzu-Dzakpah of Lome; with Archbishop emeritus Philippe Fanoko Kossi Kpodzro;
- Bishop Isaac Jogues Kodjo Agbemenya Gaglo of Aneho;
- Bishop Nicodeme Anani Barrigah-Benissan of Atakpame with Bishop emeritus Julien Mawule Kouto;
- Bishop Jacques Nyimbusede Tukumbe Any0lunda of Dapaong;
- Bishop Jacques Danka Longa, Vescovo di Kara;
- Bishop Benoit Comlan Messan Alowonou of Kpalime;
- Bishop Ambroise Kotamba Djoliba of Sokode.
- Adolfo Maria Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1980.
On Saturday, 9 May, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Juan Carlos Gamarra Skeels, ambassador of Peru to the Holy See, on his farewell visit;
- Eighteen prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique, on their "ad Limina" visit:
- Archbishop Claudio Dalla Zuanna, S.C.I., of Beira;
- Bishop Francisco Joao Silota, M. Afr., of Chimoio;
- Bishop Francisco Lerma Martinez, I.M.C., of Gurue;
- Bishop Hilario Da Cruz Massinga, O.F.M., of Quelimane;
- Bishop Inacio Saure, I.M.C., of Tete;
- Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, O.F.M. Cap., of Maputo, with his auxiliary, Bishop Joao carlos Hatoa Nunes;
- Bishop Adriano Langa, O.F.M., of Inhambane;
- Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of Xai-Xai, with his auxiliary, Bishop Alberto
Vera Arejula, O. de M., and with the bishop emeritus, Cardinal J.lio Duarte Langa;
- Archbishop Tome Markhweliha, S.C.J., of Nampula, with his auxiliary, Bishop Ernesto Maguengue;
- Bishop Atanasio Amisse Canira of Lichinga, with Bishop emeritus Elio Greselin, S.C.I.;
- Bishop Germano Grachane, C.M., of Nacala;
- Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa, C.P., of Pemba, with Bishop emeritus Januario Machaze Nhangumbe.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 11 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Jorge
Enrique Izaguirre Rafael, C.S.C., as bishop prelate of the territorial prelature
of Chuquibamba (area 22,151, population 153,100, Catholics 136,600, priests 32,
religious 62), Peru. The bishop-elect was born in Casma, Peru in 1968, gave his
solemn vows in 1996, and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a diploma in pastoral theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Boston, U.S.A., and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including rector of the San Jose House of Formation of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in the diocese of Chosica; member of the Council of the district of Peru for his Congregation; assistant to the superior and parish priest. He is current assistant general of
the Congregation of the Holy Cross, director of formation and superior of the International House of Formation of his Congregation in Santiago de Chile. He succeeds Bishop Mario Busquets Jorda, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
On Saturday 9 May the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Michal Janocha as auxiliary of Warsaw (area 3,350, population 1,540,000, Catholics 1,425,000, priests 1,192,
permanent deacons 2, religious 2,599), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He holds a doctorate in history and history of art from the Academy of Catholic Theology of Warsaw, and has served in a number of roles including parish vicar and catechist at Izabelin, chaplain of the centre for the blind and partially-sighted in Laski, lecturer at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University of Warsaw, and spiritual director of the major seminary of Warsaw. He is currently lecturer in hisotory of art at the state University of Warsaw, member of the diocesan commission for
art and architecture, director of the library and confessor for seminarians at the major seminary. In 2004 he was name Chaplain of His Holiness.
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is achieved "when man is permitted to express with freedom and creativity in certain forms of activity, in collaborative work conducted in the community that
enable full economic and social development to him and to others. We cannot clip
the wings of those, especially the young, who have much to give with their intelligence and capacities; they must be freed of the burdens that oppress them
and prevent them from fully entering the world of work as soon as possible".
Participatory work corresponds to the relational dimension of the person, and involves the establishment of responsible bonds of collaboration. However, "when, due to an 'economistic' vision ... others are regarded as a means and not
an end, work loses its primary meaning as the continuation of God's work, a work
destined for all humanity, so that all may benefit".
Finally, mutually supportive work means responding to the many men and women who have lost their jobs or are seeking employment, above all with closeness and
solidarity. Associations such as the ACLI, as places of welcome and encounter, must also identify opportunities for formation and professional training.
Francis went on to refer to some key aspects of the ACLI. The first is its presence outside Italy, which began with the phase of Italian emigration and continues to be valuable since many young people leave Italy to seek work pertinent to their studies or to enrich their professional experience. "Support
them on their path", he said. "In their eyes you may see the reflection of your
parents or grandparents who travelled far to work".
The Association is also engaged in the battle against poverty and that of the impoverishment of the middle classes. "Offering support, not only of an economic
nature, to those below the poverty line, who have increased in number in Italy in recent years, can bring benefits to all of society. At the same time, those who yesterday lived a dignified life must be prevented from slipping into poverty. It takes very little these days to become poor: the loss of a job, an elderly relative who is no longer self-sufficient, sickness in the family, or even - think of this terrible paradox - the birth of a child. It is an important
cultural battle, that of ensuring that welfare is considered to be the infrastructure of development rather than a cost. You can act as a coordinator and motor for the 'alliance against poverty', which proposes the development of
a national plan for decent and dignified work".
"Christian inspiration and the popular dimension determine that way of understanding and implementing the ACLI's historic triple fidelity to workers, democracy and the Church. In the current context, it may be said that these three attitudes may be summarised in one, new and simple: fidelity to the poor".
Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero: a martyr who knew how to guide, defend and protect his flock
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a letter to Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador, president of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador, for the beatification of Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez, former archbishop of the same archdiocese and martyr, killed in hatred
of the faith on 24 March 1980. The the beatification Mass, celebrated in Plaza del Divino Salvador del Mundo in the Salvadoran capital, was attended by the Pope's special envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The following is the full text of the letter:
"The beatification of Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamex, who was the pastor of this beloved archdiocese, is a cause for great joy for Salvadorans and for those who rejoice in the example of the best sons of the Church. Msgr. Romero, who built peace with the strength of love, bore witness to faith, giving his life to the extreme.
The Lord never abandons His people in difficulties, and always shows solicitude
to its needs. He sees oppression, He hears the cries of pain of His children, and he comes to their aid to free them from oppression and to lead them to a new
land, of 'milk and honey', fertile and spacious. Just as He chose Moses to guide
His people in His name, He continues to raise pastors after His own heart, who graze His flock with wisdom and prudence.
In this beautiful central American country, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, the Lord granted His Church a zealous bishop who, loving God and serving his brothers, converted himself in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. In times of difficult co-existence, Msgr. Romero knew how to guide, defend and protect his flock, remaining faithful to the Gospel and in communion with all the Church. His ministry was distinguished by his particular care for the poorest and most marginalised. And at the moment of his death, as he celebrated the Holy
Sacrifice of love and reconciliation, he received the grace of fully identifying
himself with He Who gave His life for his flock.
On this day of celebration for the Salvadoran nation, and also for our brother
countries in Latin America, let us give thanks to God for granting to the bishop
martyr the capacity to see and hear the suffering of his people, and for forming
his heart so that, in His name, he was guided and enlightened, and his work was
filled with Christian charity.
The voice of the newly Blessed continues to resonate today, reminding us that the Church, a convocation of brothers around the Lord, is the family of God, in
which there should be no division. Faith in Jesus Christ, when it is well understood and its full consequences are realised, generates communities that are builders of peace and solidarity. This is what the Church is called to do today in El Salvador, America and the world at large: to be rich in mercy, to convert into leaven for reconciliation for society. Msgr. Romero invites us to good sense and reflection, respect for life and harmony. It is necessary to reject 'the violence of the sword, of hatred' and to live 'the violence of love,
which caused Christ to be nailed to a cross, which enables us all to overcome our selfishness and ensures there may no longer be such cruel inequalities between us'. He was able to see and to experience in his own flesh 'the selfishness that lurks in those who do not wish to give what is theirs for the benefit of others'. And, with a father's heart, he cared for the 'poor majority', urging the powerful to transform their weapons into ploughshares.
May those who regard Msgr. Romero as a friend in faith, those who invoke him as
a protector and intercessor, those who admire him, find in him the strength and
encouragement to build the Kingdom of God, and to commit themselves to creating
a more equitable and dignified social order.
It is the right time for true national reconciliation when faced with today's challenges. The Pope participates in your hopes, and unites himself to your prayers so that the seed of martyrdom may flourish and become entrenched in the
true paths of the sons and daughters of that nation, which proudly bears the name of the divine Saviour of the World.
Dear brother, I ask you to pray and to ask for prayers for me, and I impart my
apostolic blessing to all those who join in any way in the celebration of the new Blessed".
Pope's message for the Second International Conference on Women
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a message of greetings and
encouragement to the participants in the Second International Conference on Women held in Rome, and which today comes to an end. The event was organised by
the Pontifical Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", in cooperation with the World Union of Women's Catholic Organisations and the World Women's Alliance for
Life and Family, on the theme "Women and the post-2015 development agenda: the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)".
"Women face a variety of challenges and difficulties in various parts of the world", he writes. "In the West, at times they still experience discrimination in the workplace; they are often forced to choose between work and family; they
not infrequently suffer violence in their lives as fiancees, wives, mothers, sisters and grandmothers. In poor and developing countries, women bear the heaviest burdens: it is they who travel many miles in search of water, who too often die in childbirth, who are kidnapped for sexual exploitation or forced into marriages at a young age or against their will. At times they are even denied the right to life simply for being female. All of these problems are reflected in the proposals for the post-2015 Development Agenda currently being
discussed in the United Nations.
"Issues relating to life are intrinsically connected to social questions. When
we defend the right to life, we do so in order that each life - from conception
to its natural end - may be a dignified life, one free from the scourge of hunger and poverty, of violence and persecution. Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, highlighted how the Church 'forcefully maintains
this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically
acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human
life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalised'.
"I encourage you, who are engaged in defending the dignity of women and promoting their rights, to allow yourselves to be constantly guided by the spirit of humanity and compassion in the service of your neighbour. May your work be marked first and foremost by professional competence, without self-interest or superficial activism, but with generous dedication. In this way
you will manifest the countless God-given gifts which women have to offer, encouraging others to promote sensitivity, understanding and dialogue in settling conflicts big and small, in healing wounds, in nurturing all life at every level of society, and in embodying the mercy and tenderness which bring reconciliation and unity to our world. All this is part of that 'feminine genius' of which our society stands in such great need".
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Boyko Borissov, prime minister of Bulgaria, and entourage;
- Nikola Gruevski, president of the government of the ex-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with his wife and entourage.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 23 May 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Archbishop Ghaleb Moussa Abdalla Bader of Algiers, Algeria, as apostolic nuncio to Pakistan.
- Sergio Melillo as bishop of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia (area 781, population 74,970, Catholics 74,270, priests 44, permanent deacons 8, religious 80), Italy.
The bishop-elect was born in 1955 in Avellino, Italy and was ordained a priest in 1989. A licentiate in dogmatic theology, he has exercised his pastoral ministry in the diocese of Avellino in the roles of parish priest, vice director
of diocesan Caritas and parish vicar of the Cathedral. He has also served as lecturer in dogmatic theology at the "San Giuseppe Moscati" Higher Institute of
Religious Sciences, lecturer in religious culture the Avellino "Universita della
Terza Eta". He is currently vicar general and a member of the presbyteral council and college of consultors.
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Vatican City, 15 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall the Pope
received in audience the two hundred members of the newly-recomposed High Council of the Italian Magistrature (CSM). During his address, Pope Francis spoke about the complexity of legislation in current times and the variety of cases which must be responded to, bearing in mind the phenomenon of globalisation that may at times be a vehicle for concepts and norms far from the
roots of a given social fabric.
"In this context of deep shocks to cultural roots, it is important for the public authorities, including those of a legal nature, to use the space allocated to them to provide stability and to make the foundations of human co-existence more solid through the recovery of fundamental values".
Starting from these bases, it is possible to effectively counteract phenomena such as "the spread of criminality, even in its economic and financial forms, and the scourge of corruption, which affects even the most evolved democracies".
Therefore, "it is necessary to intervene not only at the moment of repression, but also in an educational way, addressing in particular the new generations, offering an anthropology and a model of life able to respond to the highest and
most profound aspirations of the human heart".
All those in legal office "contribute to this work of construction, on the front line", the Pope continued. "Although magistrates are required to intervene
in the presence of a violation of the law, it is also true that the reaffirmation of the rule is not an act directed solely at the single person, but rather goes beyond the individual case to affect the community as a whole. In this sense, every judicial pronouncement goes beyond the single procedure, opening up to become an opportunity for all the community ('the people', in whose name the sentence is pronounced) to assume this rule, to reaffirm its value and in this way, even more importantly, to identify with it".
"In our times, and rightly so, particular emphasis is given to the issue of human rights, which constitute the fundamental nucleus of the recognition of the
essential dignity of man. This must be done without abusing this category, for instance by allowing practices and forms of behaviour that, instead of promoting
and guaranteeing human dignity, in reality threaten or even violate it. Justice
is not done in an abstract sense, but rather by always considering the person in
terms of his or her real value, as a being created in the image of God and called upon to be, here on earth, His semblance".
The Holy Father concluded by mentioning Vittorio Bachelet, the deputy president
of the CSM assassinated by the Red Brigades in 1980, and he invited the magistrates to follow his example "as a man, as a Christian and and a jurist in
serving justice and the common good".
God's tenderness: theme of the Pope's homily at the Third Worldwide Priests' Retreat
Vatican City, 15 June 2015 (VIS) - Today the homily in Spanish pronounced by the Pope last Friday in the Basilica of St. John Lateran during the Third Worldwide Priests' Retreat, organised by the International Catholic Charismatic
Renewal Services (ICCRS) and the Catholic Fraternity, dedicated to the theme "Called to sanctity for the new evangelisation" based on the apostolic exhortation "Evangelii gaudium". Before the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father reflected with those present on the theme "Transformed by love and for love", and answered five questions from attendees. The following is an extract from the homily, which focused on God's tenderness.
"How good it is to listen to God Who teaches me to progress, the Almighty Who stoops down to me and teaches me to walk. ... And God's closeness is this tenderness: He taught me to walk, and without Him I would not know how to walk in the Spirit.
"How often I think that we are afraid of God's tenderness, and since we are afraid of God's tenderness, we do not allow ourselves to experience Him and as result are at times hard, harsh and punishing; we are pastors without tenderness. What does Jesus tell us in Luke Chapter 15, about that pastor who noticed that he had only ninety-nine sheep and that one was missing? He locked them up safely and went looking for the other one, which was entangled in thorns. He did not hit or reprimand her; he took her in his arms, put her on his
shoulders, took her home and healed her. Do you do likewise with your parishioners, when you notice that one is missing from the flock, or are we accustomed to being a Church with one sheep in the flock and ninety-nine lost on
"Today I ask you during this retreat to be pastors with God's tenderness, to leave the whip in the sacristy and to be tender pastors, even with those who cause you the most problems. It is a grace, it is a divine grace. We do not believe in an ethereal God - we believe in a God made flesh, with a heart, and this heart says to us today, 'they come to me if they are tired, overwhelmed, and I soothe them; treat my little ones with tenderness, with the same tenderness with which I treat them". The heart of Christ tells us this today, and it is what I ask of you and of myself in this Mass today".
During the Eucharistic celebration the Pope entrusted the missionary mandate to
Former nuncio Jozef Wesolowski committed to trial
Vatican City, 15 June 2015 (VIS) - The President of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, Professor Giuseppe Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, by decree
of 6 June 2015 in response to the request submitted by the Office of the Promoter of Justice, has ordered the trial of the former apostolic nuncio to the
Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski. The first hearing of the trial is scheduled for 11 July 2015. The ex-prelate is accused of a number of offences committed both during his stay in Rome from August 2013 until the moment of his
arrest (on 22 September 2014) and in the period he spent in the Dominican Republic, during the five years in which he held the office of apostolic nuncio
(he was appointed as nuncio to the Dominican Republic on 24 January 2008 and apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico, offices from which he resigned on 21 August 2013).
With regard to the period spent in Rome, the nuncio is charged with the offence
of possession of child pornography under Law VIII of 2013 introduced by Pope Francis. The allegations referring to the preceding period are based on evidence
transmitted by the judicial authorities of the Dominican Republic in relation to
the sexual abuse of minors.
These serious allegations will be scrutinised by the competent judicial body which will be assisted by both technical appraisals of the IT systems used by the defendant and, if necessary, international legal cooperation for the evaluation of testimonial evidence from the competent authorities in the Dominican Republic. This will be a delicate and detailed procedure, requiring the most careful observations and insights from all parties involved in the trial.
Vatican City, 15 June 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department of External
Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow;
- Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, apostolic nuncio in Nicaragua;
- Enrique Garcia, executive president of the "Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina";
On Saturday 13 June the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet,
P.S.S., prefect for the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 15 June 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A., presented by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He has appointed Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, coadjutor of Newark, U.S.A., as apostolic administrator "sede vacante" of the Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
- appointed Archbishop Petar Rajic, currently apostolic nuncio in Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and apostolic delegate to the
Arabian Peninsula, as apostolic nuncio in Angola and Sao Tome and Principe.
On Saturday 13 June, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Wieslaw Spiewak, C.R., as bishop of Hamilton (area 54, population 64,237, Catholics 9,340, priests 6, religious 2), Bermuda. The bishop-elect was born in Krakow, Poland in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and a licentiate in spiritual theology from the Salesian Fathers in Rome. He has served in a number of roles within the
Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and is currently provincial superior in Poland and a member of the Episcopal Commission for migrants. He succeeds Bishop Robert Joseph Lurtz, C.R., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
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capacities, an ecological conversion can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm".
As proposed in Evangelii Gaudium: "sobriety, when lived freely and consciously,
is liberating", just as "happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us, and being open to the many different possibilities which life
can offer". In this way "we must regain the conviction that we need one another,
that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it".
The saints accompany us on this journey. St. Francis, cited several times, is "the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically". He is the model of "the inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to
society, and interior peace". The Encyclical also mentions St. Benedict, St. Teresa di Lisieux and Blessed Charles de Foucauld.
After Laudato si', the regular practice of an examination of conscience, the means that the Church has always recommended to orient one's life in light of the relationship with the Lord, should include a new dimension, considering not
only how one has lived communion with God, with others and with oneself, but also with all creatures and with nature.
The full text of the encyclical in English can be consulted at:
Press conference for the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato si'
Vatican City, 18 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the New Synod Hall Cardinal
Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", introduced Pope Francis' Encyclical "Laudato si'", on care for our common home.
The cardinal welcomed the presenters of the document: the Metropolitan of Pergamon, John Zizioulas, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church, who spoke on theology and spirituality, the opening and closing
themes of the encyclical; Professor John Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Institute for Climate Impact in Potsdam, Federal Republic of Germany, representing the field of natural sciences, with which the encyclical enters into profound dialogue, and who was recently appointed as an ordinary member of
the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences; Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services and former dean of the Mendoza College of Business of the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A., representing the sectors of economy, finance,
trade and commerce, whose responses to the great environmental challenges are crucial; and Valeria Martano, a teacher for 20 years in the outskirts of Rome and witness to human and environmental degradation, as well as to some examples
of "best practice", a sign of hope.
The speakers demonstrated that the Encyclical, from the very beginning, seeks to establish a dialogue with all, both individuals as well as the organisations
and institutions that share the same concerns as the Pope, approached from different perspectives, in a global situation that renders them increasingly intertwined and complementary. "This type of dialogue was also employed as the method of preparation that the Holy Father embraced in the writing of the Encyclical", said Cardinal Turkson. "He relied on a wide range of contributions.
Some, in particular those from many Episcopal Conferences from all the continents, are mentioned. ... Others who participated in the various phases of
this work ... remain unnamed. The Lord knows well how to reward their generosity
The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of St Francis of Assisi: "Laudato si' mi' Signore" "Praise be to you, my Lord". "The reference to St. Francis also indicates the attitude upon which the entire encyclical is based, that of prayerful contemplation, which invites us to look towards the 'poor one
of Assisi" as a source of inspiration" and as the quintessential example of "care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically".
Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon devoted a large part of his intervention to the ecumenism in "Laudato si'", and mentioned that in 1989 the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios published an encyclical addressed to all Christians and persons of good will warning of the seriousness of the ecological
problem and its theological and spiritual implications, and in the same year he
proposed the dedication of 1 September every year to prayer for the environment.
This date, according to the Orthodox calendar, is the first day of the ecclesiastical year and now devoted to the environment. The Metropolitan proposed the adoption by all Christians of this day for prayer for the environment.
"I believe that the significance of the papal Encyclical Laudato si' is not limited to the subject of ecology as such. I see in it an important ecumenical dimension in that it brings the divided Christians before a common task which they must face together. We live at a time when fundamental existential problems
overwhelm our traditional divisions and relativise them almost to the point of extinction. Look, for example, at what is happening today in the Middle East: do
those who persecute the Christians ask them to which Church or Confession they belong? Christian unity in such cases is de facto realised by persecution and blood - an ecumenism of martyrdom".
"The threat posed to us by the ecological crisis similarly bypasses or transcends our traditional divisions. The danger facing our common home, the planet on which we live, is described in the Encyclical in a way leaving no doubt about the existential risk we are confronted with. This risk is common to
all of us regardless of our ecclesiastical or confessional identities. Equally common must be our effort to prevent the catastrophic consequences of the present situation. Pope Francis' Encyclical is a call to unity - unity in prayer
for the environment, in the same Gospel of Creation, in the conversion of our hearts and our lifestyles to respect and love everyone and everything given to us by God".
Professor John Schellnhuber went on to note that, from a technological perspective, the deployment of clean energy for all is feasible and is, in fact,
"available in abundance. All we have to do is develop the means to properly harvest it and responsibly manage our consumption. While we have been working decade after decade on developing an incredibly expensive fusion reactor, we are
already blessed with one that works perfectly well and is free to all of us: the
Sun. Photovoltaics, wind and energy from biomass are ultimately all powered by sunlight. These new technologies could unfold potential in poor countries where
no grid exists to distribute electricity produced by centralised power plants and where settlements may be too distantly located from one another to make such
as system feasible. Just like the evolving use of mobile phones without the previous establishment of landlines, developing countries could leapfrog the fossil episode and enter the age of decentralised renewable energy production without detour".
"The care for our planet therefore does not have to evolve into a tragedy of the commons. It may well turn into a story of great transformation in which the
opportunity was seized to overcome profound inequalities. These disparities arose from the geological coincidence of regional fossil fuel distribution controlled by the few and the concomitant exploitation. Today, the implications
of our actions and the pathways are clear. It is solely a question of what future we choose to believe in and to pursue".
Carolyn Woo, the president of Catholic Relief Services and former dean of the Mendoza College of Business of the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A., as an expert in economics and finance, affirmed that investing in sustainability is "another win-win opportunity for business", given that "numerous studies have provided estimates of astronomical costs associated with coastal disasters as water levels rise, drought and storms that devastate agricultural production, or
loss in productivity due to growing days of extreme heat and health crises due to pollution. ... Business can play a role to assist customers to become responsible consumers. Design and production that minimises waste by utilising renewable energy sources, improving efficiencies, enabling recycling, reclamation and re-use provides new opportunities for businesses as these enable
consumers to do their part".
"This Encyclical certainly affirms the important role that business will need to play, but Pope Francis is clear that we need partnerships between public and
private sectors - as he puts it, 'politics and economics in dialogue for human fulfilment'. Since both public and private sectors have the same goal, and are integrated into the same interconnected web of life, they need to work together
in harmony. Sometimes that means business being more accepting of stronger forms
of regulation, especially in the financial sector. It also means business getting fully on board with the new Sustainable Development Goals and the need to take action to combat climate change. At the end of the day, business is a human enterprise and must strive for true human development and the common good".
Finally, the teacher Valeria Martano talked about urban ecology, endangered by
pollution, inadequate services and generalised individualism, as a challenge for
Christians. The quality of life in the suburbs is poor, she emphasised: "there is a build-up of rage and a sense of exclusion. Too many people are denied the dignity of a house, such as the Roma community, and often we witness the destruction of precarious dwellings without the offer of an alternative. The elderly are 'expelled' from the social fabric and located in peripheral institutions. ... We encounter violence in some quarters. But we can help live better if we reject this resignation to individualism. ... For years, with the Sant'Egidio Community, we have worked to save spaces from pollution. ... Starting
with the weakest - children, the elderly, the disabled - we reconstruct a human
fabric. ... Around the weak, it is possible to renew the face of the suburbs, discovering energies that renew human ecology".
"The Encyclical invites us to put into practice the common good", she concluded. "The city and the environment are our common home. We often live according to human itineraries: fragmented and contradictory. Each person tries
to save himself, in his own corner. Everyone follows his own interest. But there
is a 'community salvation' that starts from the inclusion of the weak, a valuable resource for an integral ecology".
The Pope continues his visits to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia
Vatican City, 18 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father visited the dicasteries of the Roman Curia located in Via della Conciliazione, 5.
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is diversity and at times clashes. Unfortunately, brothers have not and continue
not to accept their differences, and end up fighting against each other. Reflecting on the history of our relationship, we cannot but feel sad faced with
the conflicts and violence committed in the name of our faith, and I ask the Lord to grant us the grace of acknowledging ourselves as sinners and of forgiving each other. It is God's initiative, that never resigns to man's sin, that opens up new forms of living this fraternity, and from this we cannot escape. I ask forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church for unchristian, even
inhuman gestures and behaviour towards you. In the name of Jesus Christ, forgive
The Pope expressed his profound joy at noting that the relations between Catholics and Waldensians are now increasingly based on mutual respect and fraternal charity, and that there have been and are many opportunities to strengthen them, for example "collaboration for the publication in Italian of an
interconfessional translation of the Bible, pastoral agreements for the celebration of marriage and, more recently, the draft of a joint appeal opposing
violence towards women". Likewise, this year at Easter the Waldensian Church in
the Italian city of Pinerolo offered the Catholic Church the wine for the celebration of Holy Saturday, and the Catholic Church responded by offering the
Waldensians the bread for the Holy Supper on Easter Sunday. "It is a gesture between the two Churches that goes far beyond the pure and simple courtesy", noted Francis. "It is a gesture that anticipates, in some way, the unity of the
Eucharistic Mass that we all hope for".
"Inspired by these steps, we are called to continue to walk together", emphasised the Pope at the end of his discourse. "One area that offers ample opportunities for collaboration between Waldensians and Catholics is evangelisation. Aware that the Lord has gone before us and precedes us in love,
let us go together towards the men and women of today, who at times seem so distracted and indifferent, to transmit to them the heart of the Gospel, or rather 'the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ Who died and rose from the dead'. Another sector in which we can work increasingly united is that of the service to suffering humanity: to the poor, the sick, migrants. ... The differences that continue to exist between Catholics and Waldensians on important anthropological and ethical questions do not prevent us
from finding forms of cooperation in these and other fields. If we walk together, the Lord will help us to live this communion that precedes any disagreement".
The meeting at the Waldensian Temple ended with the Lord's Prayer, recited together. The Pope then returned to the archbishop's residence to meet with a number of his relatives - six direct relatives with their families, a total of thirty people for whom he celebrated Holy Mass and with whom he lunched.
Before his return to Rome at 5.30 p.m., the Pope greeted the members of the Committee for the Exposition of the Shroud and the organisers of his visit to Turin, his home town, which Cardinal Bergoglio used to visit every time he travelled to Italy.
The Pope to the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour: the economy contributes to development when rooted in justice
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall Pope Francis received in audience four hundred members of the National Federation of
the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour, which has for a hundred years been
awarded to those who have distinguished themselves in the fields of business and
economy for their contribution to the creation of work and the promotion of Italian products throughout the world.
"This work is more valuable than ever in an age like ours, in which the economic and financial crisis has been followed by severe stagnation and also true recession, in a social context already marked by inequalities and unemployment, especially regarding young people. This latter constitutes a true
social scourge, inasmuch as it deprives the young of an essential element for their realisation, and deprives the economy of the contribution of their vital strengths. The world of work should be awaiting young people, well-prepared and
keen to make efforts and to emerge. Instead, the message that has often been received in these years is that there is no need for them. And this is the symptom of serious dysfunction, that cannot be attributed solely to causes at global and international level".
"The common good, which is the ultimate objective of living together, cannot be
reached through a mere increase in earnings or production, but has as an indispensable precondition the active involvement of all the members of the social body. The social teaching of the Church continually recalls this fundamental criterion: that the human being is at the centre of development, and
while men and women remain passive or at the margins, the common good cannot be
considered to have been fully achieved. ... Here is the social scope of work: the
capacity for involved people and entrusting responsibility, so as to stimulate enterprise, creativity and effort. This has positive effects on the new generations and ensures that society begins to look ahead again, offering prospects and opportunities, and therefore hopes for the future".
The Holy Father emphasised that this National Foundation has the commendable purpose of ensuring that its members highlight not only the social role of work
but also its ethical scope. "Indeed, the economy contributes to the authentic development that does not marginalise peoples and individuals only when it is rooted in justice and respect for the law, when it keeps away from corruption and crime, and when it does not neglect to care for the environment. The practice of justice, as the Biblical texts wisely tell us, is not limited to abstention from iniquity or the observance of the laws (although this is already
important!), but instead goes much further. The truly just, as well as respecting the rules, act with conscience and interest in the good of all, and not only for themselves. The just take to heart the fate of the less advantaged
and the poorest, never tire of working, and are always ready to take new paths.
We hope for the practice of justice in this full sense for every economic worker
and all citizens".
To the Catholic Biblical Federation: the Word of God is a sacramental
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) - The members of the Catholic Biblical Federation were received last Friday by the Holy Father, on the occasion of their tenth plenary session to reflect on the Sacred Scripture as a source of evangelisation, and on the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the dogmatic Constitution on the Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. The Pope handed those present a written discourse, published by the VIS on the same day, and gave a brief improvised address, a summary of which is offered below.
"The surprises of God, that help us to realise that all our plans all our thoughts and many things, before the living Word of God, collapse and crumble. When a Church closes up in herself and forgets that she has been sent to announce the Gospel, that is, the Good News, to move hearts with the kerygma, then she ages and weakens. And, I would add, she sickens and dies".
"I have heard it said many times that the diocese in northern Africa at the time of St. Augustine were dead Churches. No! There are two ways of dying: dying
closed in oneself or dying by giving life as witness. And a Church that has the
courage - the parrhesia - to carry forward the Word of God without shame is on the road to martyrdom".
"In the first reading of today's Mass we have heard that Paul tell of the things he suffered, to 'boast'. 'But whatever anyone else dares to boast of - am speaking as a fool - I also dare to boast of that'. The outline is this. But
if St. Paul had stayed there, in one of the churches, like that of Corinth, and
only there, he would not have suffered all that he says. Why? Because he was an
outgoing man - when he saw that things were going well, he handed over to another and went on. He is a model".
"At the end he says this beautiful phrase: after 'boasting' of his many journeys, the many times he was whipped, the time he was stoned, all of that, 'if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness'. In another
passage - you Biblical scholars must know it - he says, 'I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses'. Paul's third boast is not vanity: 'But far be it
from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ'. This is his strength. And this is an outgoing Church, a martyrial Church. She is a Church who takes to the street, who walks. But I prefer a Church wounded in an accident
rather than a Church that sickens from being closed up in herself. With this parrhesia and this hypomone; that patience that is shouldering situations, but also the tenderness of carrying the injured faithful on one's shoulders, that have been given to her. A pastoral Church. Only the Word of God and, alongside the Word, the Eucharist. The brothers who gather to praise the Lord with the weakness of bread and wine, the Body of the Lord, the Blood of the Lord".
"The Word of God is not something that makes life easy. No, no. It always places us in difficulty! If someone bears it with sincerity, it places him in difficulty, it embarrasses him many times. But it is necessary to tell the truth, with tenderness, with that shouldering of situations and of people. It can be understood as a fraternal respect that knows how to 'caress'".
"One of the things that worry me is the functional proclamation of the Word of
God in homilies. Please, do everything to help your brothers - deacons, priests
and bishops - to give the Word of God in their homilies, so that it reaches the
heart. A thought, an image, a sentiment can also reach... but the Word of God must arrive. There are many who are capable, but they make the mistake of offering a beautiful theological dissertation. ... The Word of God is a sacramental! For Luther it is a sacrament, that acts also ex opere operato (effective in and of itself, Ed.). Then the tendency was more towards the Tridentine view, that of ex opere operantis (receiving its efficacy through the
mediator, Ed.). Theologians then found the Word of God to be somewhere between;
part ex opere operato, part ex opere operantis. It is a sacramental. Discourses
are not sacramental, they are discourses done well. But in the homilies may there be the Word of God, as it touches the heart".
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Joaquin Mbana Nchama, ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, presenting his credential letters;
- Bishop Jorge Pedro Carrion Pavlich of Puno, Peru;
- Dr. Giuseppe Guzzetti, president of the Associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse
di Risparmio (ACRI) (Association of Foundations and Savings Banks), and entourage.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, apostolic nuncio in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde and apostolic delegate to Mauritania, as apostolic nuncio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On Saturday 20 June, the Holy Father:
- appointed Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza, O.F.M., of Huejutla, Mexico, as bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa (area 19,860, population 989,000, Catholics 904,000, priests 147, religious 179), Mexico. He succeeds Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- given his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Patriarchal Church of Fr. Abata Hanna Rahme, O.L.M., as eparchal bishop
of Baalbek - Deir El-Ahmar (Catholics 66,050, priests 19, permanent deacons 1, religious 39), Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Aynata, Lebanon in 1960, gave his solemn vows in 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and theology from the Sorbonne University, Paris, where he was also conferred a doctorate in history of religions and religious anthropology. Within the Lebanese Maronite Order he has also served as
superior of the St. Charbel Convent in Bekaa-Kafra, director of schools of the Order, member of the secretariat general of the Catholic Schools of Lebanon, and
professor at the "St. Esprit" University of Kaslik. He is currently protosyncellus of the eparchy of Baalbek - Deir El-Ahmar.
The Pope institutes the Secretariat for Communication
Vatican City, 27 June 2015 (VIS) - The following is the full text of the apostolic letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by which the Holy Father has instituted the Secretariat for Communication:
"The current communications context, characterised by the presence and development of digital media, and by factors of convergence and interactivity, requires a re-evaluation of the information system of the Holy See and commitment to reorganisation that, taking into consideration what has developed
historically within the communication structures of the Apostolic See, proceeds
decisively towards integration and unified management.
For these reasons, I consider that all those bodies that have until now been occupied in different ways with communication be brought together in a new dicastery of the Roman Curia, which will be entitled Secretariat for Communication. In this way the communication system of the Holy See will be able
to respond better to the needs of the Church's mission.
Therefore, after having examined reports and studies, received the feasibility
study and heard the unanimous opinion of the Council of Cardinals, I hereby institute the Secretariat for Communication and establish the following.
The following bodies will merge into the dicastery, as presented by the Commission for Vatican Media instituted on 30 April 2015, at the established times: Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service; Vatican Radio; Vatican Television Centre; L'Osservatore Romano; Vatican Typography; Photographic Service; Vatican Publishing House.
These bodies, from the date of publication of the present Motu Proprio, will continue to carry out their activities, in accordance, however, with indications
given by the Secretariat for Communication.
The new dicastery, in agreement with the Secretariat of State, will take on the
institutional web site of the Holy See:
www.vatican.va and the Twitter service of the Supreme Pontiff: @pontifex Art.
The Secretariat for Communication will begin its functions on 29 June 2015, and
will be based provisionally in Palazzo Pio, Piazza Pia 3, 00120 Vatican City.
I order that all that I have set forth in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio is to be fully observed, anything to the contrary notwithstanding, albeit deserving of special mention, and I hereby decree that it be promulgated
by publication in the daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, and subsequently in
the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on 27 June of the year 2015, third of my Pontificate".
The Holy Father, following the Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio, "The current communications context" of 27 June 2015, by which he instituted the Secretariat for Communication, appointed:
- Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Centre, as prefect of the Secretariat for Communication;
- Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, head of the Vatican Internet Service, as secretary;
- Paolo Nusiner, director general of Avvenire, Nuova Editoriale Italiana, as director general; and
- Giacomo Ghisani, head of the Office for International Relations and Legal Affairs of Vatican Radio and member of the managing board of the Vatican Television Centre, as deputy director general.
Francis receives a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Vatican City, 27 June 2015 (VIS) - A delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is present in Rome for the customary visit on the
Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the Church of Rome, bearing witness
to the profound relationship between the two Churches foreshadowed by the bond uniting their respective patrons, the apostles Peter and Andrew, "brothers in blood and faith, united in apostolic service and martyrdom", as Pope Francis affirmed.
A Holy See delegation reciprocates every year with a visit to Istanbul, Turkey
on 30 November, St. Andrew's Day, and the Holy Father recalled the warm welcome
he received on this occasion last year from Patriarch Bartholomew and the clergy
and faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. "The ecumenical prayer on the vigil
of the feast, and then the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Church of Saint George, offered us the possibility of together praising the Lord and asking him
with one voice for that day to draw nearer when full, visible communion between
Orthodox and Catholics may be re-established", he said.
"Attaining that goal, towards which we have set out together in trust, represents one of my main concerns, for which I do not cease to pray to God", he
added. "I hope, therefore, that opportunities may increase for meeting each other, for exchange and cooperation among Catholic and Orthodox faithful, in such a way that as we deepen our knowledge and esteem for one another, we may be
able to overcome any prejudice and misunderstanding that may remain as a result
of our long separation. It is my desire that we may be able to face, in truth but also with a fraternal spirit, the difficulties which still exist". In this regard, Francis reiterated his support for the valuable work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, emphasising that the problems that may arise during the
course of theological dialogue must not lead to discouragement or resignation. "The careful examination of how in the Church the principle of synodality and the service of the one who presides are articulated, will make a significant contribution to the progress of relations between our Churches".
The Pope gave the assurance of his prayers and those of many Catholics for the
upcoming Pan-Orthodox Synod, and asked in turn for prayers for the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church dedicated to the family,
to be held in the Vatican this coming October, "at which we are looking forward
also to the participation of a fraternal delegate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate".
Pope's video message on the eve of his trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay
Vatican City, 27 June 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis sent a video message, transmitted simultaneously in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, for
his upcoming apostolic trip to the three Latin American countries from 5 to 12 July. The following is the full text of the message:
"The trip is almost upon us. With this greeting I would like to express my closeness, my cordiality, and my good will. My desire is to be with you, to share your concerns, to show my affection and nearness and also to celebrate with you.
I would like to be a witness to this joy of the Gospel and to bring the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to his children who are most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, those who are
victims of this culture of waste. The Father's love, so merciful, enables us without measure to discover the face of His Son Jesus in every brother and every
sister of ours, in our neighbour. It is necessary only to be near, to make ourselves neighbours. As Jesus said to that young doctor of the law when he asked Him, who is my neighbour? Do as the good Samaritan did, go and do the same, do not walk on by.
On this trip I will visit three sister nations in these lands of the American continent. The faith we all share is a source of fraternity and solidarity: it builds peoples, forms a family of families, fosters harmony and encourages the desire for and commitment to peace.
In these days before our meeting, I thank God for you, and ask you to be steadfast in your faith that carries the flame of love and charity, and to hold
fast to the hope that never disappoints. I ask you to join your prayers with mine, so that the announcement of the Gospel reaches the most remote peripheries, and that the values of the Kingdom of God may continue to be a leaven for the earth in our days too.
May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of America, protect you, and may the Lord bless
you. Thank you, we will see each other soon, and please, do not forget to pray for me".
Cardinal Vlk, Pope's special envoy to the commemoration of Jan Hus
Vatican City, 27 June 2015 (VIS) - In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 9 April 2015, the Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop emeritus of Prague, Czech Republic, as his special envoy to the
commemoration of the 600th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus, to be held in Prague on 5 and 6 July 2015.
The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of: Rev. Michael Nimeeek, episcopal vicar for pastoral ministry, and Miroslav Simaeek, archdeacon
of the parish of Usti. nadLabem and canon of the Chapter of the St. Stephen's Cathedral, at Litomerice.
The Catholic Church in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay
Vatican City, 30 June 2015 (VIS) - As previously announced, the Pope will make
an apostolic trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay from 5 to 12 July. The following are some statistics regarding the presence of the Catholic Church in the three countries:
Ecuador has a surface area of 283,561 square kilometres and 15,775,000 inhabitants of whom 13,978,000 are Catholics (87.4%). The Church consists of 25
ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 1,250 parishes and 4.369 pastoral centres, with
52 bishops, 2,198 priests, 973 seminarians, 5,261 men and women religious and 49,489 catechists. The Church runs 1,469 schools and educational institutes at all levels and 173 hospitals and clinics, 56 rest homes and 167 orphanages or nurseries, 32 family support centres and 626 other social structures.
Bolivia has a surface area of 1,098,581 square kilometres and 11,280,000 inhabitants of whom 9,301,000 are Catholics (82.5%). The Church consists of 18 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 600 parishes and 210 pastoral centres, with 38
bishops, 1,208 priests, 599 seminarians, 2,869 men and women religious, and 17,768 catechists. The Church runs 1,791 schools and educational institutes at all levels and 183 hospitals and clinics, 48 rest homes and 186 orphanages and nurseries, 49 family support centres and 293 other social structures.
Paraguay has a surface area of 406,752 square kilometres and 6,783,000 inhabitants of whom 6,318,000 are Catholics (93.2%). The Church consists of 15 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 372 parishes and 1,451 pastoral centres, with 23 bishops, 804 priests, 684 seminarians, 180 men and women religious, and 53,738 catechists. The Church runs 684 schools and teaching institutes at all levels and 38 hospitals and clinics, 14 rest homes and 26 orphanages and nurseries, 56 family support centres, and 46 other social structures.
Vatican City, 30 June 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience
Jean-Claude Michel, ambassador of the Principality of Monaco, on his farewell visit.
On Saturday 27 June the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet,
P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
In the afternoon of Friday 26 June, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, U.S.A.
In the afternoon of Thursday 25 June the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of
Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, accompanied by the secretary of the same dicastery, Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo;
- Archbishop Eduardo Eliseo Martin of Rosario, Argentina;
- Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta of Oran, Argentina.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 30 June 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has accepted the resignation
from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneve et Fribourg, presented by Bishop Pierre Farine, upon reaching the age limit.
On Saturday 27 June, the Holy Father appointed the following members of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches: Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, archbishop of
Toronto, Canada; Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam of Asmara, Eritrea; and Archbishop Fulop Kocsis of Hajdugorog for Catholics of Byzantine Rite, Hungary.
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turn, about a few other keys: keys to our life in society, beginning with family
"Our society benefits when each person and social group feels truly at home. In
a family, parents, grandparents and children feel at home; no one is excluded. If someone has a problem, even a serious one, even if he brought it upon himself, the rest of the family comes to his assistance; they support him. His problems are theirs. Should it not be the same in society? Our relationships in
society and political life, though, are often based on confrontation and the attempt to eliminate our opponents. My position, my ideas and my plans will move
forward if I can prevail over others and impose my will. Is this the way a family should be? In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose, everyone works for the common good, not denying each person's individuality but
encouraging and supporting it. The joys and sorrows of each are felt by all. That is what it means to be a family! If only we could view our political opponents or neighbours in the same way we view our children or our spouse, mother or father! Do we love our society? Do we love our country, the community
which we are trying to build? Do we love it in the abstract, in theory? Let us love it by our actions more than by our words! In every person, in concrete situations, in our life together, love always leads to communication, never to isolation. St. Ignatius - allow me a publicity break - St. Ignatius told us in the Exercises that love is shown more through works than words. Le us love society in our works rather than in our words! And he also told us that love always communicates, it tends towards communication rather than isolation. Two criteria that can help us to look upon society with new eyes. Not only to look at it; to feel it, think it, touch it, love it".
"This feeling can give rise to small gestures which strengthen personal bonds.
I have often spoken of the importance of the family as the primary cell of society. In the family, we find the basic values of love, fraternity and mutual
respect, which translate into essential values for society as a whole: gratitude, solidarity and subsidiarity".
"Parents know that all their children are equally loved, even though each has his or her own character. But when children refuse to share what they have freely received, this relationship breaks down. The love of their parents helps
children to overcome their selfishness, to learn to live with others, to yield and be patient. In the wider life of society we come to see that 'gratuitousness' is not something extra, but rather a necessary condition of justice. Who we are, and what we have, has been given to us so that we can place
it at the service of others. Our task is to make it bear fruit in good works. The goods of the earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage. In this way we move beyond purely
economic justice, based on commerce, towards social justice, which upholds the fundamental human right to a dignified life. The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits. As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole and towards future generations. We cannot bequeath this heritage to them without proper care for the environment, without
a sense of gratuitousness born of our contemplation of the created world. Among
us today are some of our brothers and sisters representing the indigenous peoples of the Equatorial Amazon. That region is one of the 'richest areas both
in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species... it requires greater protection because of its immense importance for the global ecosystem ... it possesses an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when [such woodlands] are burned down or levelled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless
species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands'. Ecuador - together with other countries bordering the Amazon - has an opportunity to become a teacher of integral ecology. We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it. In an improved condition. And this is gratuity!"
"Out of the family's experience of fraternity is born solidarity in society, which does not only consist in giving to those in need, but in feeling responsible for one another. If we see others as our brothers and sisters, then
no one can be left out or set aside. Ecuador, like many Latin American nations,
is now experiencing profound social and cultural changes, new challenges which need to be faced by every sector of society. Migration, overcrowded cities, consumerism, crises in the family, unemployment and pockets of poverty: all these factors create uncertainty and tensions which threaten social harmony. Laws and regulations, as well as social planning, need to aim at inclusion, create opportunities for dialogue and encounter, while leaving behind all forms
of repression, excessive control or loss of freedom as painful past memories. Hoping in a better future calls for offering real opportunities to people, especially young people, creating employment, and ensuring an economic growth which is shared by all (rather than simply existing on paper, in macroeconomic statistics), and promoting a sustainable development capable of generating a solid and cohesive social fabric. Without solidarity this is impossible.
I referred to the young and to the lack of work. Worldwide, this is alarming. European countries which were at a high level a few decades ago are now experiencing rates of 40 to 50 per cent unemployment among the young population,
those aged 25 or below. Without solidarity this cannot be resolved. I said to the Salesians [in Turin], 'Your institution was founded by Don Bosco to educate,
to give emergency education to those young people today who have no work!' Why?
Emergency, to prepare them for those little jobs that give them the dignity of bringing home bread for the table. For these young unemployed, those whom we call the 'neither nor' - they neither study nor work - what prospects are left?
Dependency, sadness, depression, suicide - the statistics on suicide among the young are not fully published - or to enlist in projects of social madness that
at least offer them an ideal? Today we are asked to take care, in a special way,
with solidarity, of this third sector of exclusion of the throwaway culture. The
first are children, because either they are unwanted - there are developed countries where the birthrate is almost at zero per cent - or they are killed before they are born. Then there are the elderly, abandoned and left, forgetting
that they are the wisdom and memory of their people. They are discarded. And now
it is the turn of the young. Who has taken their place? The servants of selfishness, the god of money at the centre of a system that crushes everyone.
"Finally, the respect for others which we learn in the family finds social expression in subsidiarity. To recognise that our choices are not necessarily the only legitimate ones is a healthy exercise in humility. In acknowledging the
goodness inherent in others, even with their limitations, we see the richness present in diversity and the value of complementarity. Individuals and groups have the right to go their own way, even though they may sometimes make mistakes. In full respect for that freedom, civil society is called to help each
person and social organisation to take up its specific role and thus contribute
to the common good. Dialogue is needed and is fundamental for arriving at the truth, which cannot be imposed, but sought with a sincere and critical spirit. In a participatory democracy, each social group, indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, women, civic associations and those engaged in public service
are all indispensable participants in this dialogue. The walls, patios and cloisters of this city eloquently make this point: rooted in elements of Incan and Caranqui culture, beautiful in their proportions and shapes, boldly and strikingly combining different styles, the works of art produced by the 'Quito school' sum up that great dialogue, with its successes and failures, which is Ecuador's history. Today we see how beautiful it is. If the past was marked by errors and abuses - how can we deny it! - we can say that the amalgamation which
resulted radiates such exuberance that we can look to the future with great hope.
"The Church wishes for her part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good,
through her social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, and serving as a prophetic sign which brings a ray of light and hope to
all, especially those most in need. Many people ask me, 'Father, why do you speak so much about the needy, about people in need, excluded people, those left
by the wayside?'. It is simply because this reality, and the response to this reality, is at the heart of the Gospel. And precisely because the attitude with
which we must face this reality is inscribed in the protocol on which we will be
judged, in Matthew 25".
Francis concluded, "Thank you for being here, for listening to me. I ask you please to carry my words of encouragement to the different communities and groups which you represent. May the Lord grant that the civil society which you
represent may always be a fitting setting for experiencing and practising these
values of gratuity, solidarity and subsidiarity".
The Holy Father ended his day with a visit to the Church of the Society, the Society of Jesus' first temple in Ecuador, built between 1605 and 1765, and one
of the most important architectural icons of the New World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with some Jesuits from the community, he prayed privately before the image of Our Lady of Sorrows. The visit lasted around half an hour, after which the Pope transferred by car to the apostolic nuncio where he spent the night.
Today, 8 July, the Pope is scheduled to meet with the elderly in the Missionaries of Charity rest home in Tumbaco, and with the clergy in the El Quinche national Marian shrine. From there, the Pope will travel to Quito airport where he will depart for Bolivia, the second phase of his apostolic trip
in Latin America.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 8 July 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Jose Luiz Gomes de Vasconcelos as bishop of Sobral (area 17,634, population 962,000,
Catholics 815,000, priests 71, religious 114), Brazil. He is currently auxiliary
of the archdiocese of Fortaleza, Brazil, and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Sobral.
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Fr. Luis Espinal, who preached the Gospel, the Gospel that brings us freedom, that sets us free. Like every child of God, Jesus brought us this freedom, and he preached this Gospel. May Jesus keep him with Him. May the Lord grant him eternal repose and may endless light shine for him. May he rest in peace".
"And to all of you, dear brothers, May the Lord Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless you. And please, I ask you, do not forget to pray for
me. Thank you".
To the civil authorities of Bolivia: Francis calls for an integral ecology
Vatican City, 9 July 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis arrived at the archbishop's residence at La Paz, surrounded by the thousands of people who followed him from
the airport to the Bolivian capital. Following a brief rest, the Holy Father transferred by popemobile to the seat of the government where he paid a courtesy
visit to President Evo Morales, who introduced his family and colleagues.
The Pope then walked from the government building to the Cathedral of Our Lady
of Peace, an imposing structure built in the mid-nineteenth century, whose facade blends neo-Classical and Baroque elements and which is able to hold a thousand people. There, he met with the civil authorities and the Pope pronounced a discourse, published below, in which he focused on the importance of an integral ecology, of the participation of all social strata for the common
good, and the family, reiterating the need to "build bridges rather than erect walls".
"I am pleased to meet you, the political and civil authorities of Bolivia, the
members of the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of the nation's cultural institutions and volunteer organisations. I am grateful to Archbishop Edmundo Abastoflor of La Paz for his kind welcome. With your permission, I would like to
offer a few words of encouragement in support of your work.
"Each of us here shares a calling to work for the common good. Fifty years ago,
Vatican Council II defined the common good as the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfilment. I thank you for striving - in
your work and your mission - to enable individuals and society to develop and find fulfilment. I am certain that you seek what is beautiful, true and good in
your service of the common good. May your efforts contribute to the growth of greater respect for the human person, endowed with basic and inalienable rights
ordered to his or her integral development, and social peace, namely, the stability and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice. Put simply, wealth is to be
"On the way to this Cathedral I was able to admire the peaks of Hayna Potosi, the 'young mountain', and Illimani, the mountain which shows 'the place where the sun rises'. I also saw the ingenious way in which many houses and neighbourhoods blend with the hillsides, and was struck by the architecture of some of these structures. The natural environment is closely related to social,
political and economic environment. It is urgent for all of us to lay the foundations of an integral ecology, one capable of respecting all these human dimensions in resolving the grave social and environmental issues of our time. Otherwise, the glaciers of those mountains will continue to recede, and our sense of gratitude and responsibility with regard to these gifts, our concern for the world we want to leave to future generations, for its meaning and values, will melt just like those glaciers.
"Because everything is related, we need one another. If politics is dominated by financial speculation, or if the economy is ruled solely by a technocratic and utilitarian paradigm concerned with maximum production, we will not grasp, much less resolve, the great problems of humanity. Cultural life has an important role to play in this regard, for it has to do not only with the development of the mind through the sciences and the creation of beauty through
the arts, but also esteem for the local traditions of a people, which are so expressive of the milieu in which they arose and to which they give meaning. There is also need for an ethical and moral education which can cultivate solidarity and shared responsibility between individuals. We should acknowledge
the specific role of the religions in the development of culture and the benefits which can they can bring to society. Christians in particular, as disciples of the Good News, are bearers of a message of salvation which has the
ability to ennoble and to inspire great ideals. In this way it leads to ways of
acting which transcend individual interest, readiness to make sacrifices for the
sake of others, sobriety and other virtues which develop in us the ability to live as one. These virtues are expressed very simply in your culture as three commandments: do not lie, do not steal, and do not be lazy.
"It is so easy for us to become accustomed to the atmosphere of inequality all
around us, with the result that we take it for granted. Without even being conscious of it, we confuse the 'common good' with 'prosperity', especially when
we are the ones who enjoy that prosperity. Prosperity understood only in terms of material wealth has a tendency to become selfish, to defend private interests, to be unconcerned about others, and to give free rein to consumerism.
Understood in this way, prosperity, instead of helping, breeds conflict and social disintegration; as it becomes more prevalent, it opens the door to the evil of corruption, which brings so much discouragement and damage in its wake.
The common good, on the other hand, is much more than the sum of individual interests. It moves from 'what is best for me' to 'what is best for everyone'. It embraces everything which brings a people together: common purpose, shared values, ideas which help us to look beyond our limited individual horizons.
"Different social groups have a responsibility to work for unity and the development of society. Freedom is always the best environment for thinkers, civic associations and the communications media to carry out their activities with passion and creativity in service of the common good. Christians too, are called to be a leaven within society, to bring it their message. The light of Christ's Gospel is not the property of the Church; the Church is at the service
of the Gospel, so that it can reach the ends of the earth. Faith is a light which does not blind or confuse, but one which illuminates and respectfully guides the consciences and history of every person and society. Christianity has
played an important role in shaping the identity of the Bolivian people. Religious freedom - a phrase we often encounter in civil discourse - also reminds us that faith cannot be restricted to a purely subjective experience. It
also challenges us to help foster the growth of spirituality and Christian commitment in social projects.
"Among the various social groups, I would like to mention in particular the family, which is everywhere threatened by domestic violence, alcoholism, sexism,
drug addiction, unemployment, urban unrest, the abandonment of the elderly, and
children left to the streets. These problems often meet with pseudo-solutions which show the clear effects of an ideological colonisation. ... So many social
problems are quietly resolved in the family; the failure to assist families would leave those who are most vulnerable without protection.
"A nation which seeks the common good cannot be closed in on itself; societies
are strengthened by networks of relationships. The current problem of immigration makes this clear. These days it is essential to improve diplomatic relations between the countries of the region, in order to avoid conflicts between sister peoples and to advance frank and open dialogue about their problems. Instead of raising walls, we need to be building bridges. All these issues, thorny as they may be, can find solutions which are shared, reasonable,
equitable and lasting. And in any event, they should never be a cause for aggressivity, resentment or enmity; these only worsen situations and stand in the way of their resolution.
"Bolivia is at an historic crossroads: politics, the world of culture, the religions are all part of this beautiful challenge to grow in unity. In this land whose history has been marred by exploitation, greed and so many forms of selfishness and sectarianism, now is the time for integration. Today Bolivia can
'create new forms of cultural synthesis'. How beautiful are those cities which overcome paralysing mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development! How attractive it is when those cities are full of spaces which connect, relate and favour the recognition of others!'. Bolivia in its process of integration and its search for unity, is called to be an example of such 'multifaceted and inviting harmony'.
"I thank you for your attention. I pray to the Lord that Bolivia, 'this innocent and beautiful land", may make ever greater progress towards being 'the
happy homeland whose people enjoy the blessings of good fortune and peace'. May
the Blessed Virgin watch over you, and the Lord bless you abundantly. Please remember me in your prayers. Thank you".
The Pope then returned to El Alto airport, to continue his trip in Santa Cruz de la Sierra where today, 9 July, he will preside at the Holy Mass for the opening of the Fifth National Eucharistic Council, meet with priests, religious
and seminarians, and give an address to conclude the Second World Meeting of Popular Movements.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 9 July 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Simon Poh Hoon Seng as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Kuching (area 19,173, population 1,216,000, Catholics 192,569, priests 37, religious 82), Malaysia. The bishop-elect was born in Sri Aman, Malaysia in 1963 and was ordained a priest in
1988. He holds a licentiate in missiology from the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, and has served in a number of roles in the archdiocese of Kuching, including parish vicar, parish priest, director of the Commission for Vocations and spiritual counsellor for the Commission for Youth. He is currently
chancellor of the archdiocese and member of the college of consultors, lecturer
in missiology and spiritual director of the St. Peter's College major seminary in Kuching, coordinator of the archdiocesan commission "Mission and Evangelisation", coordinator of the Human Development Commission, and parish priest of the Cathedral of Kuching.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Sep 21 07:48:02 2015
my strength is all too little. It is better to be content with small things, less grand but more realistic, more within my reach'. I can understand that reaction; it is normal to feel weighed down by difficult and demanding things. But take care not to yield to the temptation of a disenchantment which paralyses
the intellect and the will, or that apathy which is a radical form of pessimism
about the future. These attitudes end either in a flight from reality towards vain utopias, or else in selfish isolation and a cynicism deaf to the cry for justice, truth and humanity which rises up around us and within us.
"But what are we to do? How do we find paths of hope in the situations in which
we live? How do we make those hopes for fulfilment, authenticity, justice and truth, become a reality in our personal lives, in our country and our world? I think that there are three ideas which can help to keep our hope alive.
"Hope is a path made of memory and discernment. Hope is the virtue which goes places. It is not simply a path we take for the pleasure of it, but it has an end, a goal which is practical and lights up our way. Hope is also nourished by
memory; it looks not only to the future but also to the past and present. To keep moving forward in life, in addition to knowing where we want to go, we also
need to know who we are and where we come from. Individuals or peoples who have
no memory and erase their past risk losing their identity and destroying their future. So we need to remember who we are, and in what our spiritual and moral heritage consists. This, I believe, was the experience and the insight of that great Cuban, Father Felix Varela. Discernment is also needed, because it is essential to be open to reality and to be able to interpret it without fear or prejudice. Partial and ideological interpretations are useless; they only disfigure reality by trying to fit it into our preconceived schemas, and they always cause disappointment and despair. We need discernment and memory, because
discernment is not blind; it is built on solid ethical and moral criteria which
help us to see what is good and just.
"Hope is a path taken with others. An African proverb says: 'If you want to go
fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others'. Isolation and aloofness
never generate hope; but closeness to others and encounter do. Left to ourselves, we will go nowhere. Nor by exclusion will we be able to build a future for anyone, even ourselves. A path of hope calls for a culture of encounter, dialogue, which can overcome conflict and sterile confrontation. To create that culture, it is vital to see different ways of thinking not in terms
of risk, but of richness and growth. The world needs this culture of encounter.
It needs young people who seek to know and love one another, to journey together
in building a country like that which Joso Mart0 dreamed of: 'With all, and for
the good of all'.
"Hope is a path of solidarity. The culture of encounter should naturally lead to a culture of solidarity. I was struck by what Leonardo said at the beginning,
when he spoke of solidarity as a source of strength for overcoming all obstacles. Without solidarity, no country has a future. Beyond all other considerations or interests, there has to be concern for that person who may be
my friend, my companion, but also someone who may think differently than I do, someone with his own ideas yet just as human and just as Cuban as I am. Simple tolerance is not enough; we have to go well beyond that, passing from a suspicious and defensive attitude to one of acceptance, cooperation, concrete service and effective assistance. Do not be afraid of solidarity, service and offering a helping hand, so that no one is excluded from the path.
"This path of life is lit up by a higher hope: the hope born of our faith in Christ. He made himself our companion along the way. Not only does He encourage
us, He also accompanies us; He is at our side and He extends a friendly hand to
us. The Son of God, He wanted to become someone like us, to accompany us on our
way. Faith in His presence, in His friendship and love, lights up all our hopes
and dreams. With Him at our side, we learn to discern what is real, to encounter
and serve others, and to walk the path of solidarity.
"Dear young people of Cuba, if God Himself entered our history and became flesh
in Jesus, if He shouldered our weakness and sin, then you need not be afraid of
hope, or of the future, because God is on your side. He believes in you, and He
hopes in you.
"Dear friends, thank you for this meeting. May hope in Christ, your friend, always guide you along your path in life. And, please, remember to pray for me.
May the Lord bless all of you".
Message to the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East
Vatican City, 21 September 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to His Holiness Mar Gewargis, on the occasion of his election as Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, in which he extends his "good wishes and prayerful solidarity" to the Patriarch and his faithful. He adds that
it is his prayer that His Holiness may be an inspirational pastor for the flock
entrusted to his care and "an untiring builder of peace and harmony, serving the
common good and the good of the entire Middle East".
He continues, "I join your Holiness in prayer and solidarity with all who suffer because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
With you, I ask the Lord to grant them strength so that they may persevere in their Christian witness. In expressing gratitude to Almighty God for the bonds of fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, hope and pray that our continuing friendship and dialogue may be further developed and deepened".
Message to Hungarian religious: seek the concerns and expectations of the people
Vatican City, 19 September 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis sent video message to the participants in the Meeting of Consecrated Persons in Hungary, an initiative linked to the Year of Consecrated Life.
"In the various forms of consecrated life, I think of you as close to the troubles and expectations of the people; I think of you as committed in the contexts in which you are inserted, with their difficulties and signs of hope. encourage you to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep; to ask of God a heart capable of compassion, to tend to the wounds of the
body and the spirit and to bring God's consolation to many people. I believe that the most beautiful side of a country and a city is that of the Lord's disciples - the bishops, religious and lay faithful - who live with simplicity,
in their daily lives, in the style of the Good Samaritan and who are close to the flesh and the wounds of their brethren, in whom they recognise the flesh and
wounds of Jesus".
"This charity full of mercy - we know well - comes from the heart of Christ, and we find this in prayer, especially in adoration, and in partaking with faith
in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance. May Mary, our Mother, help us always to be men and women of prayer".
The Pope speaks with young people from Cuba and the United States before his apostolic trip
Vatican City, 19 September 2015 (VIS) - On 17 September Pope Francis participated in a programme organised by "Scholas Occurrentes" - an initiative organised between the students of various countries, cultures and religions - broadcast by CNN on Friday 18, in which two groups of students from Havana and New York also took part. The Holy Father answered questions posed by the students, starting with one from a girl from New York on the responsibility of the young in the care of the environment.
"It is one of the things that we have to learn from when we are young", he said. "The environment, at this time, is one of the excluded. It cries to us to
pay attention and to take care of it. So, how can a young person take care of the environment? First of all, by seeing the problems that exist in his or her neighbourhood, city and nation. ... By looking for concrete measures you can take.
The waste of paper is impressive. Avoid wasting electricity ... What little you
can do, but it is still a little more, a little more, a little more. Add to the
will to save our common home".
A girl from Havana asked the second question, regarding the capacity for leadership attributed to the Pope. "A leader is a good leader if he is capable of making other leaders emerge among the young", he said. "If a leader wishes to
lead alone, then he is a tyrant. Or rather, true leadership is fruitful. ... Sole leaders are here today and gone tomorrow. There are those who are born leaders: leaders in thought, leaders of action, leaders of joy, leaders of hope,
leaders in building a better world. This is the path for you to follow; but you
already have the seed of leadership within you. If they do not sow leadership in
others, if they do not serve, they are dictators. I have no desire to be a dictator. I like to plant the seed of leadership in others".
The third question was asked by a girl from New York, who showed the Pope a photograph of a dead tree with a bird perched on a branch.
"Yes, in the photo the tree is dead and the bird is alive", observed Francis. "In a few months' time the bird will need to build a nest to lay its eggs and care for its young, but if the tree is dead, how will it be able to make a nest?
This is what happens when we do not take care of the environment. One death leads to another, and then, instead of sowing growth, instead of sowing hope, we
sow death. The way is the opposite: caring for life".
A boy from Havana then spoke about the need to lift the embargo against Cuba. "I too will do everything possible not to forget", replied the Holy Father. "Building bridges and removing obstacles to communication, so that communication
can lead to friendship. One of the most beautiful things is social friendship. That's what I would like you to seek: friendship".
The final two questions regarded education of boys and girls. "Education is one
of the human rights", affirmed Pope Francis. "A child has the right to be loved
... to play ... and to receive an education. Do you think about the number of children who, in countries at war at the moment, do not receive an education? ...
It is a challenge that must be faced. And it is up to us to start. ... Do not wait
for States to make agreements or governments to agree. Many years will pass in the meantime, as it is difficult. ... So many children of your age, so many boys
and girls devote their weekends and holidays to teach them. ... A people that is
not educated, who either because of war or for other reasons cannot receive an education, decays; it decays and declines even to the level of mere instinct. ...
We must be committed to the education of the young".
"This morning I received a group of young people", the Pope revealed. "One boy
was from a country at war and he gave me a bullet, one of the many that rain down continually on his city. The young, in order to survive, have to stay closed up inside their homes, and no longer have the right to play. ... We have
lost the idea of how many children do not experience the joy of play, either because of war, or poverty, or because they live on the streets. And these children do not know how to communicate with the joy of play. They become easy prey to traffickers, who use them and lead them into delinquency, theft, drug abuse, prostitution, and many other things. So, the best way to begin to educate
children is to give them the opportunity to play".
At the end of the broadcast, the presenter invited the Pope to plant an olive tree in a pot placed nearby, and asked the Pope to give him the bullet so as to
bury it in the ground on which the olive tree will grow.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 21 September 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Ferenc Palanki, auxiliary of Eger, Hungary, as bishop of Debrecen-Nyiregyhaza, (area 11,300, population 1,137,000, Catholics 250,000, priests 93, religious 33), Hungary. He succeeds Bishop Nandor Bosak, whose resignation from the pastoral ministry of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
On Saturday 19 September the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Poland, presented by Bishop Pawel Cieslik, upon reaching the
- appointed Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop emeritus of Palermo, as his special envoy to the concluding celebration of the fifth centenary of the creation of the diocese of Lanciano (present-day archdiocese of Lanciano-Ortona), Italy, to be held on 22 November 2015.
On Friday 18 September the Holy Father appointed Fr. Guy Joseph Consolmagno, S.J., as director of the Vatican Observatory. Fr. Consolmagno is currently a member of the same scientific institution and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Sep 25 09:00:02 2015
of them was the time when Mary was about to give birth, to have Jesus ... and there was no place for them in the inn. ... I can imagine Joseph, with his wife
about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over His head".
"We can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. How is it that the Son of
God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don't we have housing? These are questions which many of you may ask daily. Like St. Joseph, you may ask: Why are
we homeless, without a place to live? These are questions which all of us might
well ask. Why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? Why are
these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?".
"Joseph's questions are timely even today; they accompany all those who throughout history have been, and are, homeless. Joseph was someone who asked questions. But first and foremost, he was a man of faith. Faith gave Joseph the
power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life. Thanks to faith, Joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back. In the face of unjust and painful situations, faith brings us the light which scatters the darkness. As it did for Joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God
at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation. God is present in every one of you, in each one of us".
"We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for
lack of housing. There are many unjust situations, but we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us. We know that Jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person. He wanted everyone
to experience His companionship, His help, His love. He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He tells us this clearly: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me'".
"Faith makes us know that God is at our side, that God is in our midst and His
presence spurs us to charity. Charity is born of the call of a God Who continues
to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another. Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. He doesn't do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. Jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of
our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbours, in the faces of those
at our side".
"Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters ... and reminds us of a
beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say 'Father', 'Dad'. We learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer,
there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood. It
is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in
the face of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity".
"How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we
realise that we need one another. Today I want to be one with you. I need your support, your closeness. I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus is in our midst, and that Jesus helps us to find solutions to the injustices which He Himself already experienced. Are
you ready to pray together? I will begin in Spanish and you follow in English".
All those present recited the Lord's Prayer along with the Pope. Before leaving, the Holy Father blessed them with the following words: "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", adding "And, please, don't forget to pray for me".
Vespers with the clergy and religious of the Cathedral of New York: gratitude and hard work are the two pillars of spiritual life
Vatican City, 25 September 2015 (VIS) - Pope Francis arrived at John Kennedy Airport in New York at 5 p.m. (11 p.m. in Rome), where he was received by the cardinal archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan and Bishop Nicholas A. Di Marzio of Brooklyn, accompanied by Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza. The governor of New York
State, Andrew Cuomo and the mayor of the city, Bill de Blasio, were also present. The Holy Father transferred by helicopter to Manhattan, where he boarded the popemobile to travel to Cathedral of St. Patrick, where he celebrated Vespers with clergy and men and women religious.
"I have two thoughts today for my Muslim brothers and sisters. First, my good wishes as you celebrate today the day of sacrifice. I wish my greetings could have been warmer. Second, my closeness, on account of the tragedy which your people experienced today in Mecca. In this moment of prayer, I join, and all of
us join, in praying to God, our almighty and merciful Father" he said.
He went on to refer to the Cathedral of St. Patrick, "built up over many years
through the sacrifices of many men and women, can serve as a symbol of the work
of generations of American priests and religious, and lay faithful who helped build up the Church in the United States. ... Many did so at the cost of extraordinary sacrifice and with heroic charity. I think for example of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the first free Catholic school for girls in America, or St. John Neumann, the founder of the first system of Catholic education in the United States.
"This evening, my brothers and sisters, I have come to join you - priests and men and women of consecrated life - in praying that our vocations will continue
to build up the great edifice of God's Kingdom in this country. I know that, as
a presbyterate in the midst of God's people, you suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and
scandalised the Church in the most vulnerable of her members. In the words of the Book of Revelation, I say that you 'have come forth from the great tribulation' I accompany you at this moment of pain and difficulty, and I thank
God for your faithful service to His people".
Then, "in the hope of helping you to persevere on the path of fidelity to Jesus
Christ", he offered reflections on two aspects: the spirit of gratitude and of hard work.
Regarding gratitude, he observed that "the joy of men and women who love God attracts others to Him; priests and religious are called to find and radiate lasting satisfaction in their vocation. Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly, we have received much, so many graces, so many blessings, and we rejoice
in this. It will do us good to think back on our lives with the grace of remembrance. ... Remembrance of the amazement which our encounter with Jesus Christ awakens in our hearts. ... Let us seek the grace of remembrance so as to
grow in the spirit of gratitude".
"A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the Lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our work", he continued. "Once we come to
realise how much God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for Him
and for others, becomes a privileged way of responding to his great love. Yet, if we are honest, we know how easily this spirit of generous self-sacrifice can
be dampened. There are a couple of ways that this can happen; both ways are examples of that 'spiritual worldliness' which weakens our commitment ... to serve, and diminishes the wonder, the amazement, of our first encounter with Christ".
"We can get caught up measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success which govern the business world. Not that these things are unimportant! We have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God's people rightly expect accountability from
us. But the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God's eyes. To see and evaluate things from God's perspective calls for constant
conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, it calls
for great humility. The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of our labours. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross".
"The other danger comes when we become jealous of our free time, when we think
that surrounding ourselves with worldly comforts will help us serve better", he
warned. "The problem with this reasoning is that it can blunt the power of God's
daily call to conversion, to encounter with Him. Slowly but surely, it diminishes our spirit of sacrifice, our spirit of renunciation and hard work. It
also alienates people who suffer material poverty and are forced to make greater
sacrifices than ourselves, without being consecrated. Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way that deepens our desire to serve with generosity. Closeness to the poor, the
refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God's other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous".
Gratitude and hard work: these are two pillars of the spiritual life which I have wanted, this evening, to share with you priests and religious. I thank you
for prayers and work. ... In a special way I would like to express my esteem and
my gratitude to the religious women of the United States. What would the Church
be without you? Women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage which puts you in the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel. To you, religious
women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say ... a big thank you, and
to tell you that I love you very much".
"I know that many of you are in the front lines in meeting the challenges of adapting to an evolving pastoral landscape", he concluded. "Whatever difficulties and trials you face, I ask you, like St. Peter, to be at peace and
to respond to them as Christ did: He thanked the Father, took up His cross and looked forward!".
This brought to a close the Pope's first day in New York. Today, 25 September,
Francis will address the Assembly of the United Nations, will attend an interreligious meeting at Ground Zero, will visit migrant families in Brooklyn and will celebrate Mass in Madison Square Garden.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Oct 5 08:12:02 2015
not grow in the love of God by avoiding the entanglement of human relations. For
in loving others, we learn to love God, in stooping down to help our neighbour,
we are lifted up to God. Through his fraternal closeness and his solidarity with
the poor and the abandoned, he came to understand that it is they who evangelise
us, they who help us to grow in humanity".
The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to enter into the mystery of the family
in order to be able to understand it. "The family is a place where evangelical holiness is lived out in the most ordinary conditions. There we are formed by the memory of past generations and we put down roots which enable us to go far.
The family is a place of discernment, where we learn to recognise God's plan for
our lives and to embrace it with trust. It is a place of gratuitousness. of discreet fraternal presence and solidarity, a place where we learn to step out of ourselves and accept others, to forgive and to be feel forgiven".
"Let us set out once more from Nazareth for a Synod which, more than speaking about the family, can learn from the family, readily acknowledging its dignity,
its strength and its value, despite all its problems and difficulties. In the 'Galilee of the nations' of our own time, we will rediscover the richness and strength of a Church which is a mother, ever capable of giving and nourishing life, accompanying it with devotion, tenderness, and moral strength. For unless
we can unite compassion with justice, we will end up being needlessly severe and
"A Church which is family is also able to show the closeness and love of a father ... a Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters, will
never end up considering anyone simply as a burden, a problem, an expense, a concern or a risk. Other persons are essentially a gift, and always remain so, even when they walk different paths. The Church is an open house, far from outward pomp, hospitable in the simplicity of her members. ... This Church can indeed light up the darkness felt by so many men and women. She can credibly point them towards the goal and walk at their side, precisely because she herself first experienced what it is to be endlessly reborn in the merciful heart of the Father", Francis concluded.
The Pope receives volunteers from the Food Bank and again denounces food waste
Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received in audience seven thousand volunteers from the Food Bank Foundation, established 25 years ago by the Italian businessman Danilo Fossati and Don Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation, to combat food waste, recovering and distributing food among the poor and families in need.
In his address to them, Francis underlined that hunger has now assumed the dimensions of a true scandal that threatens the life and dignity of many people:
men and women, children and the elderly. "Every day we must face this injustice:
in a world rich in food resources, thanks also to enormous technological progress, there are too many people who do not have the essentials for survival;
and this is true not only of poor countries, but increasingly so in rich and developed societies. The situation is aggravated by the increase in migratory flows, which bring thousands of refugees to Europe, fleeing their countries and
in need of everything. In the face of such an immeasurable problem, Jesus' words
resonate: 'For I was hungry and you gave me food'. We see in the Gospel that the
Lord, when He realises that the crowd that has come to listen to Him is hungry,
does not ignore the problem, nor does He give a good speech on the fight against
poverty; instead He performs a gesture that leaves everyone astonished. He takes
the little that the disciples have brought with them, He blesses it, and He multiplies the bread and fishes, so that in the end 'they took up twelve baskets
full of the broken pieces left over'".
"We cannot perform a miracle as Jesus did; however we can do something when faced wit the emergency of hunger, something useful, that also has the power of
a miracle. First of all we can educate ourselves in humanity, in recognising the
humanity present in every person, in need of everything. This is perhaps what Danilo Fossati, entrepreneur in the food sector and founder of the Food Bank, was thinking of when he confided to Don Giussani his unease at seeing the destruction of products that could still be consumed, when so many people in Italy suffered from hunger".
The bishop of Rome remarked that the Foundation has its roots in the heart of those two men who were not indifferent to the cry of the poor and "understood that something needed to change in the mentality of the people, that the walls of individualism and selfishness had to be broken down. ... Jesus Himself invites
us to make space in our heart for the urgency of feeding the hungry, and the Church has made it one of the works of corporal mercy".
Finally, commenting that the Food Bank volunteers encounter hundreds of people
every day, the Pope reminded them of the need to remember that they are "people
and not numbers, each one with his or her burden that at times seems impossible
to bear. Always keeping this in mind, you will be able to look them in the eye,
to hold their hand, to descry the flesh of Christ in them and to help them regain their dignity and get back on their feet. I encourage you to be brothers
and friends to the poor; to let them feel that they are important in God's eyes".
Mass for the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps
Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) - Following the festivity of St. Michael Archangel, patron of the Vatican City State Gendarmerie Corps, Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in the Governorate Chapel, attended by the members
of the Corps.
The Holy Father spoke in his homily about St. Michael's battle against Satan, affirming that "there is a war between good and evil, in which we must choose what we want, good or evil. But ... the methods of war adopted by these two enemies are totally opposed to one another. In the initial prayer ... we ask for
the grace to be defended by Archangel Michael against the temptations of the devil, and this is one of the devil's methods: temptation".
He then explained "the three steps of the method of the ancient serpent, the devil. First, having things: in this case bread, wealth, the wealth that gradually leads to corruption, and this corruption is not a tale, it is everywhere. Many people are willing to sell their soul for a pittance, they sell
their happiness, their life, everything. It is the first step: money and wealth.
Then, when you have it you feel important, which leads to the second step: vanity. What the devil said to Jesus: Let's go to the terrace, 'cast Yourself down from here' - make a great spectacle! Living for vanity. And the third step
is power, pride and arrogance: 'to you I will give all this authority', you will
be in command".
"This also happens to us, in small things, always, in small things: too attached to wealth, we like it when we are praised, like the peacock. And many people become ridiculous. Vanity makes us become ridiculous. Or, in the end, when you have power you feel as if you are God, and this is the great sin".
"You who have a difficult job, in which there are always conflicts and you have
to put in things in their place, often enabling crime to be avoided. Pray to the
Lord that, by the intercession of St. Michael Archangel, He will defend you from
any temptation of corruption for money, for wealth, for vanity or arrogance. The
humbler you are, like Jesus, the humbler your service will be and the more fruitful and useful it will be for all of us".
Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) - The Director of the Holy See Press Office,
Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today made the following statement:
"With regard to the declarations and interview given by Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa
it should be observed that, notwithstanding the respect due to the events and personal situations, and reflections on the issue, the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure. Msgr. Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary".
Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio in Belarus.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 5 October 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Archbishop Salvatore Ligorio of Matera-Irsina, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Potenza-Muro-Lucano-Marsico Nuovo (area 1,634, population 154,600,
Catholics 152,600, priests 113, permanent deacons 23, religious 124), Italy. He
succeeds Archbishop Agostino Superbo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Msgr. Andrea Migliavacca as bishop of San Miniato (area 691, population 176,794, Catholics 161,000, priests 79, permanent deacons 10, religious 122), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Pavia, Italy in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a degree in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles in Pavia, including notary of the diocesan ecclesiastical tribunal, adjunct judicial vicar, head of youth pastoral, Catholic Action assistant for youth, parish administrator of the San Genesio ed Uniti. He is currently vice chancellor and judge of the Lombard Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunal, rector of
the diocesan seminary and head of vocations, judicial vicar and canon of the Cathedral Chapter.
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and ways of thinking which can fuel spiritual complacency. We need to examine our consciences, as individuals and as communities.
As I mentioned, we are entering the season of Advent, which is a time of new beginnings. In the Church we like to say that Africa is the continent of hope, and with good reason. The Church in these lands is blessed with an abundant harvest of religious vocations. This evening I would offer a special word of encouragement to the young seminarians and religious present. The Lord's call is
a source of joy and a summons to serve. Jesus tells us that 'it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks'. May the fire of the Holy Spirit purify your hearts, so that you can be joyful and convincing witnesses to the hope of the Gospel. You have a beautiful word to speak! May you always speak it,
above all, by the integrity and conviction of your lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, my visit to Uganda is brief, and today was a very long day! But I consider our meeting tonight to be the crowning of this beautiful day when I was able to go as a pilgrim to the Shrine of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo, and to meet with the many young people who are the future
of the nation and our Church. Truly I leave Africa with great hope in the harvest of grace which God is preparing in your midst! I ask all of you to pray
for an outpouring of apostolic zeal, for joyful perseverance in the calling you
have received, and, above all, for the gift of a pure heart ever open to the needs of all our brothers and sisters. In this way the Church in Uganda will truly prove worthy of its glorious heritage and face the challenges of the future with sure hope in Christ's promises. I will remember all of you in my prayers, and I ask you, please, to pray for me!".
The Pope arrives in the Central African Republic as a pilgrim of peace and an apostle of hope
Vatican City, 29 November 2015 (VIS) - This morning, at 9.15 local time (7.15 in Rome), the Holy Father left Uganda to embark on the final phase of his eleventh apostolic trip, in the Central African Republic, reaching the capital Bangui at 10 am local time, the same as in Rome. The Pope was received by the Head of State of the Transition of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, who is also the deputy president of the Association of African Women Jurists. The Head of State, mayor of the capital during the 2012- 2013 armed conflict, was elected as interim president to govern the country during the phase of transition between civil war and the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled to take place in December.
From the airport the Pope proceeded to the Palais de la Renaissance, where after meeting with the family of the president in private, he encountered the ruling class and diplomatic corps accredited to the country, to whom he expressed his sympathy and spiritual closeness to all Central Africans. The bishop of Rome also greeted the representatives of international organisations whose work evokes "the ideal of solidarity and cooperation which needs to be cultivated between peoples and nations".
"As the Central African Republic progressively moves, in spite of difficulties,
towards the normalisation of its social and political life, I come to this land
for the first time, following my predecessor St. John Paul II. I come as a pilgrim of peace and an apostle of hope. For this reason, I express my appreciation of the efforts made by the different national and international authorities, beginning with Madam Interim Head of State, to guide the country to
this point. It is my fervent wish that the various national consultations to be
held in coming weeks will enable the country to embark serenely on new chapter of its history".
"To brighten the horizon, there is the motto of the Central African Republic, which translates the hope of pioneers and the dream of the founding fathers: 'Unity-Dignity-Labour'. Today, more than ever, this trilogy expresses the aspirations of each Central African. Consequently, it is a sure compass for the
authorities called to guide the destiny of the country. Unity, dignity, labour!
Three very significant words, each of which represents as much a building project as a unending programme, something to be ceaselessly crafted".
"First, unity. This, we know, is a cardinal value for the harmony of peoples. It is to be lived and built up on the basis of the marvellous diversity of our environment, avoiding the temptation of fear of others, of the unfamiliar, of what is not part of our ethnic group, our political views or our religious confession. Unity, on the contrary, calls for creating and promoting a synthesis
of the richness which each person has to offer. Unity in diversity is a constant
challenge, one which demands creativity, generosity, self-sacrifice and respect
Then, dignity. This moral value is rightly synonymous with the honesty, loyalty, graciousness and honour which characterise men and women conscious of their rights and duties, and which lead them to mutual respect. Each person has
dignity. I was interested to learn that Central Africa is the country of the 'Zo
kwe zo', the country where everybody is somebody. Everything must be done to protect the status and dignity of the human person. Those who have the means to
enjoy a decent life, rather than being concerned with privileges, must seek to help those poorer than themselves to attain dignified living conditions, particularly through the development of their human, cultural, economic and social potential. Consequently, access to education and to health care, the fight against malnutrition and efforts to ensure decent housing for everyone must be at the forefront of a development concerned for human dignity. In effect, our human dignity is expressed by our working for the dignity of our fellow man".
"Finally, labour. It is by working that you are able to improve the lives of your families. St. Paul tells us that 'children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children'. The work of parents expresses their love for their children. And you again, Central Africans, can improve this marvellous land by wisely exploiting its many resources. Your country is located
in a region considered to be one of the two lungs of mankind on account of its exceptionally rich biodiversity. In this regard, echoing my cncyclical 'Laudato
Si'', I would like particularly to draw the attention of everyone, citizens and
national leaders, international partners and multinational societies, to their grave responsibility in making use of environmental resources, in development decisions and projects which in any way affect the entire planet. The work of building a prosperous society must be a cooperative effort. The wisdom of your people has long understood this truth, as seen in the proverb: 'The ants are little, but since they are so many, they can bring their hoard home'".
"It is no doubt superfluous to underline the capital importance of upright conduct and administration on the part of public authorities. They must be the first to embody consistently the values of unity, dignity and labour, serving as
models for their compatriots".
"The history of the evangelisation of this land and the socio-political history
of this country attest to the commitment of the Church in promoting the values of unity, dignity and labour. In recalling the pioneers of evangelisation in the
Central African Republic, I greet my brother bishops, who now carry on this work. With them, I express once more the readiness of the local Church to contribute even more to the promotion of the common good, particularly by working for peace and reconciliation. I do not doubt that the Central African authorities, present and future, will work tirelessly to ensure that the Church
enjoys favourable conditions for the fulfilment of her spiritual mission. In this way she will be able to contribute increasingly to 'promoting the good of every man and of the whole man', to use the felicitous expression of my predecessor, Blessed Paul VI, who fifty years ago was the first Pope of modern times to come to Africa, to encourage and confirm the continent in goodness at the dawn of a new age".
"For my part, I express my appreciation for the efforts made by the international community, represented here by the Diplomatic Corps and the members of the various Missions of the International Organisations. I heartily encourage them to continue along the path of solidarity, in the hope that their
commitment, together with the activity of the Central African authorities, will
help the country to advance, especially in the areas of reconciliation, disarmament, peacekeeping, health care and the cultivation of a sound administration at all levels".
"To conclude, I would like to express once more my joy to visit this marvellous
country, located in the heart of Africa, home to a people profoundly religious and blessed with so such natural and cultural richness. Here I see a country filled with God's gifts! May the Central African people, its leaders and its partners, always appreciate the value of these gifts by working ceaselessly for
unity, human dignity and a peace based on justice. May God bless you all! Thank
After his meeting with the country's leaders, the Holy Father travelled by popemobile to the refugee camp in the parish of St. Sauveur, where he was welcomed by the children who live there and greeted by a woman residing there. The Pope greeted all present and addressed the following words to them: "We must
work and pray to do everything possible for peace, but peace without love, without friendship, without tolerance and without forgiveness, is not possible.
Each one of us must do something. I wish peace upon all of you and for all Central Africans, a great peace among you; that you may live in peace regardless
of ethnic group, culture, religion or social status. Peace to all, as we are all
brothers and sisters. I would like us all to say together that we are all brothers and sisters, and therefore we want peace. I bring you the Lord's blessing".
This afternoon, after lunching with the bishops of the Central African Republic
at the apostolic nunciature, he will visit the faculty of theology in Bangui, where he will pronounce a discourse before the country's evangelical communities.
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the most advanced contemporary legal systems. Indeed, all the fundamental principles are established and fully implemented: an independent and impartial tribunal constituted by law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a technical defence (by private or ex officio legal representation), and the freedom of the judicial college to form an opinion on the basis of evidence in public hearing and in debate between the prosecution and the defence, leading to
the issuance of a sentence able to be substantiated and with the possibility of
being contested by appeal and ultimately annulled.
All those engaged in judicial roles, both investigators and judges, are selected via co-optation; they may not be recruited by way of a public selection
procedure open to the citizens of the State, as normally occurs in other States.
They are selected from among professionals of the highest level, with consolidated experience and a recognised reputation (as may be seen in their curricula vitae, which can be consulted via internet). Indeed, they are all professors in Italian universities.
With regard to the lawyers, a violation of the right to a defence has been hypothesised. In this respect it is necessary to avoid a basic mistake: the current Vatican legislation, applied by the legal authorities, is perfectly in line with procedural law in the majority of jurisdictions throughout the world,
where a specific qualification is required for admission to practice in the courts; this is issued subject to certain prerequisites and the possession of specified qualifications. It is therefore unsurprising that a lawyer able to practice in Italy may not be able to do so in Vatican City State, just as he or
she would not be able to practice in Germany or France. Arguments to the contrary would imply that a foreign defendant would be able to claim to be represented in Italy by a foreign private lawyer, which is not permitted. Such conditions do not constitute a limit imposed by the Vatican legal order, but rather a further confirmation of its autonomy and completeness.
All lawyers are enrolled on an easily consulted professional register of lawyers with right of audience before the Vatican City State Tribunal. Ex officio or private lawyers may be selected from the professionals on this register.
These are lawyers qualified not only at the Tribunals of the Church and the Holy See, but also in the Italian courts, as they are all registered in the respective councils of the Order of Italian lawyers. In addition, they also possess a second degree in canon law and a further diploma conferred following three-year specialist course at the Roman Rota. Therefore, they are professionals who, aside from being in authorised to practise in Italy, are also
in possession of further knowledge rendering them eligible for practice in a jurisdiction in which a knowledge of canon law is necessary.
These are prerequisites necessary to guarantee the professionalism and competence of those who are entrusted with ensuring the proper conduct of a trial which, for various reasons, attracts broad attention.
New hearing in the trial for dissemination of reserved news and documents
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique:
"This morning at 9.30, in the Vatican City State Tribunal, a further hearing was held in the criminal trial for the dissemination of confidential news and documents.
The defendants were all present, accompanied by their respective lawyers (all five of whom are currently recognised as 'private' lawyers: E. Bellardini for Msgr. L.A. Vallejo Balda, L. Sgr> for F. I. Chaouqui, R.C. Baffioni for N. Maio,
L. Musso for E. Fittipaldi and R. Palombi for G. Nuzzi).
The College of judges (President Prof. Giuseppe Dalla Torre, and the members Prof. Piero Antonio Bonnet, Prof. Paolo Papanti-Pellettier and Prof. Venerando Marano) heard the oral presentation from the defence, along with the objections
and demands already submitted in writing prior to the established deadline (Saturday 5 December).
With regard to each objection and demand submitted, the opinion of the Promoter
of Justice represented by Prof. Milano and Prof. Zannotti was heard.
The College therefore retired to the Counsel Chamber shortly before 10.30 for around one hour. Finally, it communicated its decisions, providing the proper detailed motivations. The hearing concluded before midday.
The objection presented by Chaouqui's defence regarded the presumed lack of jurisdiction of the Tribunal given that the events took place in Italy and were
carried out by a person declared a 'political refugee' in Italy. The objection was rejected, and the College clarified that the current law attributes without
doubt the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State Tribunal, and observed that Chaouqui, by appearing before the investigators and the Tribunal, had in practice recognised such jurisdiction.
The demand presented by the Msgr. Vallejo Balda's counsel for the defence for psychological evaluation of the defendant was rejected. The Promoter of Justice
explained that the Vatican legal system admits requests for a 'psychiatric evaluation' but not for a 'psychological evaluation', and that aspects of the personality and behaviour of the defendant can emerge adequately during the proceedings.
Practically all the other demands were admitted, in particular:
- A technical evaluation requested by Chaouqui's counsel for the defence regarding the documentation available via PC and telephones, to be carried out by an expert designated by the Tribunal accompanied by an expert selected by the
defence. The Promoter of Justice approved this request.
- The acquisition of various further elements of documentation and evidence required by various counsels for the defence (texts of email messages referenced
in the investigation, text messages, articles published in various newspapers, and a 'psychiatric evaluation' of Msgr. Vallejo Balda previously carried out and
conserved in his home). The Promoter of Justice was in favour of all the above.
- The College considered it suitable to admit the requests for further witnesses, presented by various counsels for the defence and for different reasons (including clergy such as Cardinals Santos Abril and Parolin, Archbishop
Krajewski and Msgr. Abbondi, and figures from the worlds of journalism and communications, such as Mario Benotti, Paolo Mieli, Paolo Mondani, Paola Brazzale and Marco Bernardi), although the Promoter of Justice had expressed a contrary opinion in some cases".
New external auditor for Consolidated Financial Statements
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) - The Council for the Economy, continuing the implementation of new financial management policies and practices in line with international standards, took an important step this week by appointing a new international auditing firm.
The Council accepted a recommendation from its Audit Committee and appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers "PwC", one of the major international firms, as the external auditor for the consolidated financial statements.
PwC will work closely with the staff of the Secretariat of the Economy, and the
2015 audit will commence immediately.
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, presenting a gift on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios;
- Maria Elvira Velasquez Rivas-Plata, ambassador of Per* at the Holy See, presenting her credential letters;
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation
- Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India;
- Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich, apostolic nuncio in Ghana;
- Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, ambassador of Hungary at the Holy See;
- Nad*ge Vodie, president of the World Conference of Secular Institutes (CMIS),
On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Eduardo Felix Valdes, ambassador of Argentina, on his farewell visit;
- Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Archbishop Luciano Suriani, delegate for papal diplomatic representations, as
apostolic nuncio in Serbia.
- Archbishop Romeo Pawlowski, apostolic nuncio in Congo and Gabon, as delegate
for papal diplomatic representations.
On Saturday 5 December the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia as apostolic nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) - There will be no Vatican Information Service bulletin tomorrow, Tuesday 8 December, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday 9 December.
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employ any legal action and financial means necessary for the valid and correct
fulfillment of the task entrusted to it.
5. For this purpose the Commission shall grant to the Congregations of the Roman Curia to which the public legal persons concerned belong, the necessary permission, binding for the concession of canonical authorisations for the renouncement or reorganisation of assets and/or real estate related to the healthcare sector. The Commission shall have powers of access to documents and resources to permit it to carry out its activities. The Commission may assign tasks to companies, professionals and consultants.
6. The Commission is entrusted with:
a. the general study of the sustainability of the healthcare system by public legal persons of the Church (prerequisites, characteristics, constraints, working/management methods, current objectives of the healthcare system of individual legal persons in keeping with their nature, mission and charism) so as to define a possible long-term operative strategy also in relation to the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church;
b. the proposal for the resolution of crisis situations in accordance with the
results of the more general study, activating all the resources possible in collaboration with the Heads of the public legal entities concerned;
c. the study and proposal of new operative models for public legal persons working in the healthcare sector, capable of implementing the founding charism in the current context.
The provisions herein are to be considered stable and valid from the moment of
their publication in 'L'Osservatore Romano'. Vatican City, 12 December 2015". ___________________________________________________________
Identity and mission of the religious brother in the Church
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies
of Apostolic Life presented the document "Identity and mission of the religious
brother in the Church" and the concluding activities of the Year of Consecrated
Life. The speakers were Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the dicastery, and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation.
"The document emphasises the great wealth and relevance of the vocation of brothers and its content is very valid and innovative in the light of Vatican Council II", explained Cardinal Braz de Aviz. "The vocation of the religious brother is, first of all, a Christian vocation ... and the feature of the person
of Christ that the religious brother specially underlines in his way of life is
that of fraternity. The religious brother reflects the face of Christ the Brother: simple, good, near to the people, welcoming, generous, and serving".
The identity and mission of the religious brother, as the text indicates, is summarised in the concept of fraternity understood as the gift that the religious brother receives from the Triune God, a communion of persons; a gift that he shares with his brethren in fraternal life in the community and a gift he offers the world for the construction of a world of children of God and brothers.
The cardinal went on to illustrate the theme of fraternity as a gift that the religious brother receives from the Triune God. "The religious brother becomes thus because the Spirit lets him know God, Who in Jesus shows Himself to be a Father full of love, tenderness and mercy. Together with Jesus, he feels like beloved son and with Him he offers himself so as to be in his life entirely for
the Father and entirely for all His sons and daughters in this world. A characteristic of the identity of the religious brother is the need for fraternity as a confession of the Trinity: a fraternity open to all, especially
the least, the humble, the oppressed, the unloved" - those who "are less likely
to experience the good news of God's love in their lives".
This fraternity is the gift that the religious brother shares with his brethren
in community life. "Fraternal life in the community means harmonious relations between brethren, mutual knowledge, acceptance and love, dialogue, mutual respect, mutual support, the sharing of talents, the abnegation of the self, ecclesial mission, and openness to the needs of the Church and the world, especially those most in need. All this is beautiful, but it is not obtained spontaneously.. ... The community is sustained by the gift of fraternity that religious brothers receive. The brother needs to support for these fraternal relations by developing the spiritual, mystical and theological dimension".
Fraternity is, finally, a gift that the religious brother offers to the world and which is transformed into mission. Therefore, "brothers carry out their mission of contributing to the construction of the Kingdom of fraternity through
ceaseless prayer, the witness of fraternal life and community dedication to the
service of the Church and the world. ... The fraternity of religious brothers is
not self-referential or closed up in itself; it is ... a fraternity in perfect harmony ... with an outbound Church, that reaches out to the peripheries of this
world; with a Church called upon to build bridges, open to contemporary man of every race, culture or creed".
Fraternal love is made manifest in the Church and in the life of religious brothers in numerous services: "educating, healing the sick, helping the imprisoned, welcoming refugees, catechesis, manual work, and so on. Many of these services represent true ministries. In this way", the prefect concluded, "the religious brother seeks and points to God in the secular realities of culture, science, human health, the workplace, and the care of the weak and disadvantaged. Similarly, he seeks and points to the human being, man and woman,
whole and entire, body, mind and spirit, inasmuch as whatever affects the human
person is part of God's saving plan".
Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo expressed his gratitude to Pope emeritus Benedict
XVI, who in 2008 was the first to encourage the preparation of the document presented today, and to Pope Francis who read the draft while he was the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires and who as Pope has supported its revision,
completion and publication.
The conference concluded with an announcement of the activities marking the closure of the Year of Consecrated Life. From 28 January to 2 February 2016 an international meeting of all types of consecrated life will take place in Rome,
entitled "Consecrated life and communion", which is expected to be attended by 6,000 consecrated men and women from all over the world, and will conclude with
Holy Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in St. Peter's Basilica.
The Holy Father attends the twelfth meeting of the Council of Cardinals
Vatican City, 12 December 2015 (VIS) - The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing this morning on the twelfth
meeting of the Council of Cardinals, held from 10 to 12 December.
"The Council of Cardinals held its twelfth meeting during the days 10-12 December. It began its work on the morning of Thursday 10, after the Mass concelebrated with the Holy Father at Santa Marta, and finished during the morning of Saturday 12 December. All the members of the Council and the Holy Father attended all the meetings.
During the first meeting, the Council heard Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and furthered its reflection on this important Congregation, its activities, its competences and its role also in the field of ecumenical relations.
In its reflections, the Council emphasised the importance of the Holy Father's
discourse of 17 October, on the occasion of the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops. In this discourse the Pope extensively developed the theme of 'synodality' but also recalled the importance of proceeding with a healthy decentralisation. The Council remarked on the need to further explore the meaning of this discourse and its importance
in the work of reforming the Curia, and agreed to dedicate a specific session to
this during the next Meeting in February 2016".
"The Council then resumed its work on the two new dicasteries, mentioned several times previously", continued Fr. Lombardi. "The dicastery dedicated to the 'Laity, Family and Life', whose institution was announced by the Pope during
the Synod (22 October), was the subject of a proposal formulated by the Council
and presented to the Pope, which will now provide the apposite path for reaching
the final decisions of the Holy Father. Even the dicastery concerned with "Justice, peace and migrations" was the subject of further consideration, with view to arriving at conclusive proposals to be presented to the Holy Father".
On Friday, the Council heard two reports regarding reform of the Economy from Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Council for the Economy, and from Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, who referred to
the activity of and results achieved by the two institutions. "Cardinal Marx also reported on the choice of the external auditor for the consolidated financial statements - the company PricewaterhouseCooper "PwC", recently made public. Cardinal Pell spoke about the constitution of a working group to consider the future of the economy of the Holy City and Vatican City State, on the progress and overall control of income and spending. The group, composed of
representative from the Secretariat for the Economy, the Secretariat of State, the Governorate, APSA, Propaganda Fide, the Secretariat for Communication and the IOR, has already commenced work with a first meeting".
The Council of Cardinals acknowledged the positive nature and importance of the
work carried out by the Council for the Economy and the Secretariat, and encouraged its further progress. "Cardinal Sean O'Malley reported on the work of
the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and its specific working
groups, for instance on the development of education and formation programmes, assistance to Episcopal Conferences for the drafting of guidelines at local level, and so on", concluded Fr. Lombardi.
On Saturday morning the Council established the calendar for forthcoming meetings and a provisional agenda for the meeting to take place in February next
year. The meetings in 2016 will take place on the following dates: 8-9 February,
11-12-13 April, 6-7-8 June, 12-13-14 September and 12-13-14 December.
Vatican City, 14 December 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio in Mexico;
- Managing Board of the "Asociacion de Magistrados y Funcionarios del Ministerio publico de la Defensa de la Republica Argentina".
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people, with grave effects for society as a whole. Unemployment takes a heavy toll on people's sense of dignity and hope, and can only be partially compensated for by welfare benefits, however necessary these may be, provided to
the unemployed and their families. Special attention needs to be given to women
- who unfortunately still encounter discrimination in the workplace - and to some categories of workers whose conditions are precarious or dangerous, and whose pay is not commensurate to the importance of their social mission.
Finally, I express my hope that effective steps will be taken to improve the living conditions of the sick by ensuring that all have access to medical treatment and pharmaceuticals essential for life, as well as the possibility of
Looking beyond their own borders, national leaders are also called to renew their relations with other peoples and to enable their real participation and inclusion in the life of the international community, in order to ensure fraternity within the family of nations as well.
With this in mind, I would like to make a threefold appeal to the leaders of nations: to refrain from drawing other peoples into conflicts or wars which destroy not only their material, cultural and social legacy, but also - and in the long term - their moral and spiritual integrity; to forgive or manage in a sustainable way the international debt of the poorer nations; and to adopt policies of cooperation which, instead of bowing before the dictatorship of certain ideologies, will respect the values of local populations and, in any case, not prove detrimental to the fundamental and inalienable right to life of
I entrust these reflections, together with my best wishes for the New Year, to
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, who cares for the needs
of our human family, that she may obtain from her Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the granting of our prayers and the blessing of our daily efforts for a fraternal and united world".
Presentation of the Message for World Day of Peace 2016
Vatican City, 15 December 2015 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father's Message for the World Day of Peace1 2016 (1 January 2016), entitled "Overcome indifference and win peace", was presented in the Holy See Press Office. The panel was composed of Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", Flaminia Giovanelli and Vittorio V. Alberti, respectively under-secretary and official of the same dicastery. The conference was also attended by various refugees from Syria, Somalia, Kenya and
Cote d'Ivoire, assisted by the Centro Astalli in Rome. Archbishop Michele Pennisi of Monreale, Italy and Fr. Luigi Ciotti, founder of the Abel Group and the Association "Libera", also contributed to the presented with a written account.
Cardinal Turkson began by explaining that in a period in which there is a widespread attitude of indifference, the Pope considers in depth this "globalisation of indifference" which, starting with indifference to God, is extended to human beings and all creation. Human beings consider themselves self-sufficient and believe they owe nothing to anyone other than themselves, granting themselves rights without assuming duties.
"After showing that peace is threatened by indifference at all levels, the Message offers a biblical and theological reflection, which enables us to understand the need to overcome indifference to open up to compassion, mercy, commitment and, therefore, to solidarity. This latter is defined as a moral virtue and an attitude that those with responsibility in education and formation, such as families, educators and trainers, and those who work in relation to means of social communication, are required to cultivate".
The document reaffirms the confidence in the capacity of human beings to conquer evil with good, and indicates the many praiseworthy forms of solidarity
present in society in favour of victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters, the poor and migrants. It concludes with an appeal from the Holy Father to every person, in the spirit of the Jubilee of Mercy, to assume a concrete commitment to help improve the situation in which he or she lives: in the family, the neighbourhood, or the workplace. ... Therefore, it is not only indifference at the centre of the 2016 Message, but also man's capacity, with the grace of God, to overcome evil and to combat resignation and indifference. In this regard, the Pope mentions some key events in 2015, such as the COP 21 on
climate change, the Addis Abeba Summit for funding sustainable development worldwide, the adoption of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and the 50th
anniversary of the publication of Nostra Aetate and Gaudium et Spes, two Vatican
Council II documents that opened the door to dialogue with non-Christian religions and all the human family.
The under-secretary Flaminia Giovanelli noted the continuity of Pope Francis' teaching with that of his predecessors Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II. The Pope emeritus, in Caritas in Veritate, identified in the anthropological question the current social issue, emphasising the problem of nihilism. The link
to the Magisterium of St. John Paul II is instead particularly visible in the indication of the path of mercy as the way to combat indifference.
Vittorio V. Alberti commented that if peace demands a victory and a conquest, it is because there is a conflict. "Indifference affects the public sphere - politics and culture", he said, "and Francis writes once only a word that is a major conflict: corruption. When he was a cardinal, he called it the tiredness of transcendence - resignation, turning in on oneself. This is corruption. ... There are many key words in the Message: man's capacity, apathy, lack of commitment, concrete commitment to contributing to improve the situation. But to
improve in the name of what?"
"If I do not believe that there is a future", he continued, "I do not believe in the meaning of things. And if I do not believe, where can I find the trust and thus the strength of commitment - to combat corruption and to overcome indifference? ... But is this a crime, nowadays? It is and it isn't. And this is
perhaps the most dramatic terrain of this message: indifference that must be treated with mercy. If I see Palmyra destroyed, or the spread of corruption, I feel crushed by it because I do not believe that together we can change things.
This is nihilism".
"Mercy is not merely a moral fact, but also mental and intellectual: it is freedom of thought and Francis is giving us the deepest keys to combating indifference. He is providing the cultural base for combating corruption, framing it in the broader context of the crisis of our times, which is a cultural crisis. The lack of meaning is the greatest form of suffering because,
insisting upon a perennial present, it corrupts the past, the future and the very present itself by exhausting its transcendence, debilitating the capacity to go beyond, towards a dream or an ideal".
The archbishop of Monreale, in his text, recalls that it is decisive for the credibility of the Church to live and bear witness to mercy in the first person,
towards the frailest in society, including detainees, as the Pope emphasises. He
writes, "I hope that the Church and civil society will take into consideration Article 27 of the Italian Constitution, which affirms that 'punishment cannot consist in treatment contrary to human dignity and must aim at rehabilitating the offender'. Custodial sentences are meaningful if, as well as affirming the needs of justice and deterrence, they serve also to rehabilitate the person, offering those who have erred the possibility to reflect and change their life,
so as to be fully reintegrated in society. The Christian community is called upon to educate, assist and rehabilitate every person, enabling them to feel worthy of being loved and promoted in social life".
Don Luigi Ciotti writes that peace, from Pope Francis' perspective, is "the opposite of quietism, of seeking to 'stay in peace'. True peace comes from a spiritual reawakening that has immediate practical consequences, that asks to be
incarnated in ... actions that involve our existence both as people and as citizens. We are workers for peace when we are attentive to our neighbours, when
we do not turn away from their needs and their fragility; when we promote the common good. ... Inhabiting the 'peripheries' is the first step in constructing
peace, the basis for a more human civilisation and a society of closeness, in which people are not instruments for profit, and the well-being of the few does
not mean poverty, exclusion, desperation and death for many others".
Decrees for the Causes of Saints
Vatican City, 15 December 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon 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 authorised the promulgation of
decrees concerning the following causes:
- Blessed Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad, Swedish foundress of the Bridgettine Sisters (1870-1957);
- Servant of God Ladislaw Bukowinski, Ukrainian diocesan priest (1904-1974);
- Venerable Servant of God Maria Celeste of the Holy Redeemer (nee Giulia Crostarosa), Italian foundress of the Redemptoristine Nuns (1696-1755);
- Venerable Servant of God Mary of Jesus (nee Carolina Santocanale), Italian foundress of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes (1852-1923);
- Venerable Servant of God Itala Mela, Italian Oblate of St. Benedict (1904-1957);
- Servant of God Angelo Ramazzotti, Patriarch of Venice, Founder of the Institute for Foreign Missions (1800-1861);
- Servant of God Joseph Vithayathil, Indian diocesan priest and co-founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family (1865-1964);
- Servant of God Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, Spanish diocesan priest (1915-1976);
- Servant of God Giuseppe Schiavo, Italian professed priest of the Congregation
of St. Joseph (1903-1967);
- Servant of God Venanzio Maria Quadri, Italian professed religious of the Order of Servants of Mary (1916-1937);
- Servant of God William Gagnon, American professed religious of the Hospitallers of St. John of God (1905-1972);
- Servant of God Teresa Rosa Fernanda de Saldanha Oliveira Sousa, Portuguese foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Portuguese Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena (1837-1916);
- Servant of God Maria Emilia Riquelme Zayas, Spanish foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Mary Immaculate (1847-1940);
- Servant of God Maria Esperanza de la Cruz (nee Salustiana Antonia Ayerbe Castillo), Spanish co-foundress of the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters
- Servant of God Emanuela Maria Magdalena (Chaje) Kalb, Polish professed religious of the Canonesses of the Holy Spirit (1899-1986);
- Servant of God Niklaus Wolf, Swiss layman and father (1756-1832);
- Servant of God Teresio Olivelli, Italian layman (1916-1945).
Vatican City, 15 December 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, 14 December, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 15 December 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Fr. James
Patrick Powers as bishop of Superior (area 40,701, population 464,000, Catholics
77,200, priests 74, permanent deacons 68, religious 81), United States of America. The bishop-elect was born in Baldwin, United States of America in 1953
and was ordained a priest in 1990. He has served in a number of pastoral roles,
including parish vicar, parish administrator, parish priest and adjunct judicial
vicar. He is currently diocesan administrator of the diocese of Superior and pastor of the St. Joseph Parish in Rice Lake.
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in which the rail service contributes to keeping the country united, not only in
a geographical sense, but also at a social level". Another important initiative
is the Termini Station hostel, dedicated to Don Luigi Di Liegro, founder of Caritas Roma, renovated by the Ferrovie dello Stato in collaboration with Caritas. A structure that welcomes hundreds of visitors on a daily basis, and which is preparing a day service to receive people seeking shelter.
"May the Holy Year, which began just a few days ago, teach us this, above all,
and impress it in our mind and our heart that mercy is the first and truest medicine for humanity, that every one of us urgently needs. It flows continuously and in superabundance from God, but we must become able to give it
in turn, so that each person can live fully his or her humanity. This is what is
communicated to us by the Holy Doors, which are opened in all the dioceses of the world in these days. That of the Termini Station Hostel has become the Holy
Door of Charity: those who pass through with love will find forgiveness and consolation, and will be driven to give and give themselves with greater generosity, for their salvation and that of their brothers. Let us allow ourselves to be renewed by passing through this spiritual door, so that it marks
our inner life. Let us get involved in the Jubilee of Mercy, so as to renew the
fabric of all our society, to make it fairer and more fraternal.
At the end of the audience the Bishop of Rome referred to the last monograph in
the series "L'Italia del Treno", a collection of photographs depicting the Pontiffs' journeys by train, and expressed his hope that "the esteem that links
us, of which this day is a sign, may be strengthened during this Holy Year, so that Italy and all the countries of the world may become places of fraternal, more truly human networks, increasingly capable of rejoicing in God's love and mutual communion".
The Pope opens the Holy Door of Charity and repeats that Heaven cannot be bought with money or honours
Vatican City, 19 December 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis another
Holy Door, that was not however located in a church or cathedral. It was the entrance to the Caritas hostel at Termini Station, Rome, where the frailest members of society receive welcome and assistance. This door, in the hostel named after its founder Don Luigi Di Liegro, is now called the Door of Charity and, passing through it, the Pope entered the refectory dedicated to St. John Paul II, where he was awaited by two hundred men and women, accompanied by the volunteers from the Centre. He celebrated Holy Mass and pronounced a homily in which he reaffirmed that power is not the path of salvation and the Heaven cannot be bought with money.
"God comes to save us, and He finds no better way to do so than to walk with us, to make our life His", said Francis."And the moment of choosing the path, He
did not choose a great city of a great empire; He did not choose as a mother a princess, a countess, an important person; He did not choose a luxurious mansion. It seems that all of this was done intentionally almost in secret. Mary
was a girl aged just sixteen or seventeen, in a remote village in the outskirts
of the Roman Empire, that nobody knew of. Joseph was boy who loved her and who wished to marry her, a carpenter who worked for a living. In total simplicity ...
And when he repudiated her - because they were engaged, and in such a small village, you know how gossip circulates. All in secret, in spite of slander and
gossip. And Joseph realised that she was pregnant, but he was righteous. All hidden, despite the slander and gossip. And the Angel explains the mystery to Joseph: "'This Son that your fiancee carries in her womb is the work of God, the
work of the Holy Spirit. When Joseph awoke from his dream, he did what the Angel
of the Lord had ordered him to do: he went to Mary and took her as his wife. But
all in secret, all humbly. The great cities of the world knew nothing of this. In this way God came in our midst. If you want to find God, seek in in humility,
in poverty, look for Him where He is hidden: in those most in need, in the sick,
the hungry, the imprisoned".
"When Jesus speaks about life, He also tells us know we will be judged. He will
not say, come to me because you ... are a benefactor of the Church. ... No. You do
not pay your way to Heaven. He will not say, you are very important, you have studied a lot and have many honours, come to Heaven. No. Honours do not open the
door to Heaven. What will Jesus say to open to us the door to Heaven? 'For I was
hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you
visited me, I was in prison and you came to me'. Jesus is in humility".
"Jesus' love is great", the Pope exclaimed. "Therefore today as I open this door, I would like the Holy Spirit to open the heart of all Romans, and let them
see the way to salvation! It is not luxury, it is not the way of great riches, it is not the route of power. It is the road of humility. The poorest, the sick,
the imprisoned - Jesus says even more - the greatest sinners, if they repent, will precede us in Heaven. They have the key. He who acts in charity is the one
who allows himself to be embraced by God's mercy".
"Today we open this Door and we ask for two things. First, that the Lord open the door of our heart. We are all in need of this as we are all sinners; we all
need to hear the Word of the Lord. ... Second, may the Lord help us understand that the path of presumptuousness, the road of wealth, the road of vanity, the road of pride, are not roads to salvation. May the Lord let us understand that in His caress as a Father, there is His mercy, His forgiveness, and when we draw
close to those who suffer, those who are discarded by society: there we find Jesus. This Door, that is the Door of Charity, the Door where may people are helped, many who are discarded, shows us that it would be good if all of us, all
Romans, to know what it means to be discarded, and to feel the need for God's help. Today let us pray for Rome, for all the inhabitants of Rome, starting with
me, that the Lord may give us the grace to feel discarded, that we have no worth; only He can give us mercy and grace. To approach that grace we must draw
closer to the rejected, the poor, those who are most in need, because it is on this closeness that we will be judged".
May the Lord today, opening this door, give this grace to all of Rome, to every
inhabitant of Rome, so as to move forward in that embrace of mercy, in which the
father takes his wounded son, but the wounded one is the father: God is wounded
by love, and for this reason He is able to save all of us. May the Lord grant us
After the Mass, the Pope greeted the participants and commented that Christmas
is drawing hear and the Lord is now close. "But when he was born, in that manger, no-one realised that He was God. This Christmas, I would like the Lord to be born in the heart of every one of us ... hidden, as if nobody knew it, but
He was there. This is what I would like, this close of the Lord. Pray for me, and I will pray for you".
Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience Bishop Vincenzo Pisanello of Oria, Italy.
On Saturday 19 December the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio in India and Nepal;
- Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, apostolic nuncio in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 21 December 2015 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed:
- Stefano D'Agostini, Italy, technical head of the Vatican Television (CTV), as
director of the CTV. - Gregory Burke, communications adviser at the Secretariat
of State, as deputy director of the Holy See Press Office.
On Sunday 20 December, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office
of auxiliary of the diocese of Orange, United States of America, presented by Bishop Dominic Mai Luong upon reaching the age limit.
On Saturday 19 December the Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Joseph Raja Rao Thelegathoti, S.M.M., as bishop of Vijayawada (area 8,374, population 5,898,011, Catholics 283,062, priests 229, 1,132 religious), India. The bishop-elect was born in Peddautapally, India in 1952, gave his religious vows in 1980 and was ordained a priest in the same year. He holds a licentiate in biblical theology from the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram in Bangalore,
India and a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of roles, including rector of the minor seminary and of the Montfort Theologate in Bangalore, provincial counsellor, provincial superior, deputy president of the Conference of Religious
of India, director of the Anugraha Institute for Poor Girls, director of the Montfort Marian Centre, Bangalore, and procurator general and postulator of the
Congregation of Montfort Fathers in Rome. He is currently provincial of his congregation in Rome.
- Msgr. Leszek Leszkiewicz as auxiliary of Tarnow (area 7,566, population 1,097,479, Catholics 1.091,829, priests 1,455, religious 1.145), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Gorlice, Poland in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a licentiate in missiology from the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, and has served in a number of roles including parish vicar,
missionary in Ecuador, deputy director of the department for missions of the diocese of Tarnow, and prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Tarnow. He
is currently vicar forane and pastor of the parish of St. Nicholas, and custodian of the shrine to the Blessed Virgin in Bochnia.
- Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as his
special envoy to the celebrations to be held on 3 February 2016 to commemorate the 17th centenary of the martyrdom of St. Blaise, patron of the diocese of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and the 600th anniversary of the abolition of slavery by the
Republic of Ragusa.
- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) as his special envoy to the celebration
of the 24th World Day of the Sick, to be held in Nazareth on 11 February 2016.
- Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, elevating him to the dignity of bishop.
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coming from Libya are likewise encouraging and offer the hope of a renewed commitment to ending violence and re-establishing the country's unity. On the other hand, it appears increasingly evident that only a common and agreed political action will prove able to stem the spread of extremism and fundamentalism, which spawn terrorist acts which reap countless victims, not only in Syria and Libya, but in other countries like Iraq and Yemen".
"May this Holy Year of Mercy also be the occasion of dialogue and reconciliation aimed at consolidating the common good in Burundi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in South Sudan. Above all, may it be a favourable time for definitively ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Of fundamental importance is the support which the international community, individual states and humanitarian organisations can offer the country from a number of standpoints, in order to surmount the present crisis. Yet the greatest
challenge we face is that of overcoming indifference and working together for peace, which remains a good which must constantly be sought. Sadly, among the many parts of our beloved world which long fervently for peace, there is the land for which God showed a particular love and chose to show to all the face of
his mercy. I pray that this new year can heal the deep wounds dividing Israelis
and Palestinians, and enable the peaceful coexistence of two peoples who - of this I am sure - in the depths of their heart ask only for peace".
The Pope concluded his address by reiterating that on the diplomatic level, the
Holy See "will never cease its efforts to enable the message of peace to be heard to the ends of the earth. I thus reiterate the complete readiness of the Secretariat of State to cooperate with you in favouring constant dialogue between the Apostolic See and the countries which you represent, for the benefit
of the entire international community. I am certain that this Jubilee year will
be a favourable occasion for the cold indifference of so many hearts to be won over by the warmth of mercy, that precious gift of God which turns fear into love and makes us artisans of peace. With these sentiments I renew to each of you, to your families and your countries, my heartfelt good wishes for a blessed
Baptisms in the Sistine Chapel: offer your children the legacy of faith
Vatican City, 10 January 2016 (VIS) - "Give your children the legacy of faith",
said the Pope this morning in the Sistine Chapel to the parents and godparents of 26 children (13 boys and 13 girls) he baptised during the Holy Mass celebrated on the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord.
In his brief homily the Holy Father explained to those present that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple forty days after His birth to present Him to God, just as today parents take their children to receive Baptism and to receive
the faith as they show in their reply to the question at the beginning of the rite. "In this way, faith is transmitted from one generation to another, like chain through time. These boys, these girls, over the years, will take your place with their children, your grandchildren, and they too will ask for faith.
The faith that is given in Baptism, the faith that the Holy Spirit brings today
to the heart, the soul and the life of these children of yours".
"You have ask for faith. The Church, when she gives you the lighted candle, will tell you to safeguard the faith in these children. And, in the end, do not
forget that the greatest legacy you can give your children is faith. Take care that it is not lost, to make it grow and to leave it as a legacy. This I wish to
you today, on this day that is joyful for you: I hope that you will be able to raise these children in faith and that the greatest legacy they will receive from you will be faith".
The Pope concluded by commenting that when a baby cries it may be because he or
she is hungry, and so he invited mothers to feel free to feed their babies in the Sistine Chapel if necessary.
Angelus: the importance of celebrating the day of our Baptism
Vatican City, 10 January 2016 (VIS) - Today at midday, following Mass in the Sistine Chapel, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff asked all
those present to pray for the 25 babies he had just baptised, and remarked that
the Gospel of the day "presents Jesus to us, in the waters of the river Jordan,
at the centre of a wonderful divine revelation". In the words of the apostle Luke, "after all the people had been baptised, and Jesus also had been baptised
and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased".
"In this event - attested to by all four Gospels - the transition from the baptism of John the Baptist, based on the symbol of water, to the baptism of Jesus happens 'in the Holy Spirit and fire'", the Pope continued. "The Holy Spirit, in fact, in the Christian Baptism is the principal architect: it is He who burns and destroys Original Sin, restoring to the baptised the beauty of divine grace; It is He who delivers us from the dominion of darkness, that is, of sin, and transfers us into the realm of light, that is, of love, truth and peace. This is the realm of light".
Francis explained that "the Holy Spirit, received for the first time on the day
of our Baptism, opens our hearts to the truth, the whole truth. The Spirit guides our life along a demanding path, but one joyous in charity and solidarity
toward our brothers. The Spirit gives us the tenderness of God's forgiveness and
pervades us with the invincible strength of the Father's mercy. Let us not forget that the Holy Spirit is a living and life-giving presence in those who welcome Him, that prays with us and fills us with spiritual joy".
He invited all present to give thanks for this gift and to seek out the date of
their own Baptism. "It is very important to know, because it is a date to celebrate: it is the date of our rebirth as children of God. So, this week's homework is to find out the date of your baptism. Celebrating that day means reaffirming our our attachment to Jesus, with the commitment to live as Christians, members of the Church and new humanity, in which we are all brothers". Following the Marian prayer, the Pope gave a special blessing to "all
those children who have been baptised recently, as well as young people and adults who have recently received the Sacraments of Christian initiation or who
are preparing. May Christ's grace accompany them always!".
Holy Father's calendar for January and February
Vatican City, 11 January 2016 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of
the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in the months of January 2016
and February 2016:
Monday 25: Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul. At 5.30 p.m., in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, celebration of Vespers.
Tuesday 2: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 20th World Day of Consecrated
Life. At 5.30 p.m., Holy Mass, Jubilee of Consecrated Life and closure of the Year of Consecrated Life.
Wednesday 10: Ash Wednesday. At 5 p.m., in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass, blessing and imposition of the Ashes, sending of Missionaries of Mercy.
Friday 12 - Thursday 18: Apostolic trip in Mexico.
Monday 22: Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter. At 10.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Jubilee of the Roman Curia.
Vatican City, 9 January 2016 (VIS) - The Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile, president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, with Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, deputy president, and Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel
of Melipilla, general secretary;
- Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, prepositor general of the Society of Jesus, with Fr. Mauro Johri, minister general of the Franciscan Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, president of the Union of Superiors General (U.S.G.).;
- Nicola Zingarelli, president of the Latium region, Italy.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 9 January 2016 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Antonio Augusto de Oliveira Azevedo as auxiliary of the diocese of Porto (area 3,010, population 2,106,000, Catholics 1,906,000, priests 423, permanent deacons
82, religious 892), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Sao Pedro de Avioso,
Portugal in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in a number of
pastoral roles, including parish vicar, military chaplain, parish priest, parish
administrator and diocesan assistant in the pastoral ministry of workers. He is
currently rector of the major seminary of Nossa Senhora da Conceidao, diocesan assistant at the Centre for Preparation for Marriage, professor in the faculty of theology of the Catholic University of Porto, judge at the ecclesiastical tribunal and secretary of the presbyteral council.
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and begin to give them a sermon, going on about the same thing, well then, he or
she will be worse off than before. Am I clear? [They reply: 'Yes']. Never let go
of Jesus' hand, never leave him; and if you do move away from him, get up and keep moving forwards, He understands what you are going through. Hand in hand with Jesus it is possible to live fully, by holding his hand it is possible to believe that life is worth the effort, it is worth giving of your best, to be leaven, salt and light among friends, in neighbourhoods, communities, and families".
"For this reason, dear friends, holding the hand of Jesus I ask you to not let
yourselves be excluded, do not allow yourselves to be devalued, do not let them
treat you like a commodity. For this Jesus have us good advice, so that we would
not be left excluded, left without value, treated as a commodity: 'Be astute as
serpents but humble as doves'. These two virtues go together. Young people do not lack a lively mind but they do sometimes lack that astuteness which would prevent them from being naive. The two things: astuteness but with simplicity and goodness. Of course, on this journey you may perhaps not be able to have the
latest car model at the door, you will not have pockets filled with money, but you will have something that no one can take away from you, which is the experience of being loved, embraced and accompanied. It is the delight of enjoying an encounter, the delight of dreaming and desiring encounter among everyone. It is the experience of being family, of feeling oneself as part of community. It is the experience of being able to look at the world in the face,
with your head held up high, without the car, without the money, but with your head held high: this is dignity. Three words we want to repeat: value, because you have been made valuable; hope, because we want to be open to hope; and dignity. Let us repeat these three words: value, hope and dignity. It is the value, the worth that God has given you. You are the wealth of Mexico. The hope
and dignity which Jesus Christ gives you means not allowing 'your backs to be massaged' and not allowing yourselves to be used as commodities to fill the pockets of other people".
"Today the Lord continues to call you, he continues to draw you to him, just as
he did with the Indian, Juan Diego. He invites you to build a shrine. A shrine that is not a physical place but rather a community, a shrine called 'Parish', shrine called, 'Nation'. Being a community, a family, and knowing that we are citizens is one of the best antidotes to all that threatens us, because it makes
us feel that we are a part of the great family of God. This is not an invitation
to flee and enclose ourselves, to escape from the threats that exist in life or
to escape from challenges, but, on the contrary, it is an invitation to go out and to invite others, to go out and proclaim to others that being young in Mexico is the greatest wealth, and consequently, it cannot be sacrificed. For this great value of ours is capable of hope and it gives us dignity. Again these
three words: value, hope and dignity. But it is a value, a richness, which God has given us and which we have to make grow".
"Jesus, who gives us hope, would never ask us to be assassins; rather, he calls
us disciples, he calls us friends. Jesus would never send us out to death, but rather everything in him speaks of life. A life in a family, life in a community; families and communities for the good of society. And here, Rosario,
I refer to what you said, something really beautiful: 'In the family we learn closeness'. In the family we learn solidarity, how to share, to discern, to walk
ahead with each other's problems, to fight and to make up, to argue and to embrace and to kiss. The family is the first school of the nation, and in the family you will find that richness and value that you have. The family is like the custodian of that great value, in the family you will find hope, for Jesus is there, and in the family you will have dignity. Never, never put the family to one side; the family is the founding stone upon which a great nation is built. You are so valuable, you have hope and you dream - Rosario also spoke of
dreaming - 'Do you dream of having a family?' They reply: 'Yes']".
"Dear brothers and sisters, you are the wealth of this country, and when you doubt this, look to Jesus Christ, who is the hope, he who destroys all efforts to make you useless or mere instruments of other people's ambitions. I thank you
for this meeting and I ask you to pray for me. Thank you".
The Pope then proceeded to Morelia heliport to transfer to the airport for his
return flight to Mexico City. He travelled directly from the airport to the apostolic nunciature, where he arrived at 7.40 p.m. local time (2.40 a.m. in Rome).
Today at 7.30 local time (2.30 p.m. in Rome) the Holy Father travelled by air to Ciudad Juarez, the final leg of his apostolic trip in Mexico. There he will first visit the "Centro de Readaptacion Social Estatal No.3" penitentiary where
he will meet with detainees and their families. He will then meet with representatives of the world of work at the Colegio de Bachilleres of the State
of Chihuahua. Three hours after lunch in the Ciudad Juarez archdiocesan seminary
at 1.15 p.m. local time (9.15 p.m. in Rome), he will celebrate Mass close to the
border between Mexico and the United States. Finally, he will transfer directly
to the airport where at 7.15 p.m. local time (3.15 a.m. in Rome) he will depart
for Italy. The aircraft carrying the Pope is expected to land in Rome at 3.15 p.m. tomorrow.
Pope's telegram for the death of the UN ex-Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Vatican City, 17 February 2016 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of the Holy Father to Ban Ki-Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, following the death of former
secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
In the text, the Holy Father extends heartfelt condolences to the family of the
deceased and his colleagues at the United Nations Organisation. Recalling Mr Boutros-Ghali's generous service to his country and to the international community, His Holiness offers the assurance of his prayers for the late Secretary-General's eternal rest, and invokes divine blessings of peace and strength upon the members of his family and all who mourn his loss.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 17 February 2016 (VIS) - The Holy Father has:
- appointed Bishop John D. Deshotel, auxiliary of Dallas, U.S.A., as bishop of
Lafayette (area 14,962, population 634,000, Catholics 332,000, priests 213, permanent deacons 94, religious 217), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Charles M. Jarrell, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Fr. Ricardo Hoepers as bishop of Rio Grande (area 12,270, population 300,000, Catholics 211,000, priests 29, permanent deacons 29, religious 72), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1970 and
ordained a priest in 1999. He holds a doctorate in theology and has served as lecturer in the faculty of philosophy and rector of the Bom Pastor seminary, professor, parish priest, diocesan coordinator for the clergy, member of the presbyterium and member of the ethical committee of the Federal University of Paran and the Brazilian Society of Moral Theology. He succeeds Msgr. Jose Mario
Stroeher, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted upon reaching the age limit.
- appointed Fr. Richard Kuuia Baawobr, M.Afr., as bishop of Wa (area 18,476, population 700,000, Catholics 341,000, priests 104, religious 186), Ghana. The bishop-elect was born in Tom-Zendagangn, Ghana in 1959, gave his religious vows
in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He has served in a number of roles within his order, as well as deputy Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Institute
for Arabic and Islamic Studies, and member of the Synod on the family, and is currently superior general of his order. He succeeds Bishop Paul Bemile, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Fr. Carlos Alberto Breis Pereira, O.F.M., as coadjutor bishop of Juazeiro (area 58,397, population 515,900, Catholics 413,100, priests 26, religious 14), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in San Francisco do Sul, Brazil
in 1965, gave his religious vows in 1987 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate in theology, has served as parish priest and has held numerous roles within his order. He is currently provincial minister of his order in Recife, Brazil.
- accepted the resignation of Bishop Dieter Bernd Scholz, S.J., from the pastoral care of the diocese of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, upon reaching the age limit.
- appointed Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu of Harare, Zimbabwe, as apostolic administrator sede vacante of the diocese of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe.
From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Fri Feb 19 09:53:02 2016
satisfaction than to see his children grow up, developing and flourishing. The first reading that we have just heard points to this. The great city of Nineveh,
was self-destructing as a result of oppression and dishonour, violence and injustice. The grand capital's days were numbered because the violence within it
could not continue. Then the Lord appeared and stirred Jonah's heart: the Father
called and sent forth His messenger. Jonah was summoned to receive a mission. 'Go', he is told, because in 'forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown'. Go and help them to understand that by the way they treat each other, ordering and organising themselves, they are only creating death and destruction, suffering and oppression. Make them see this is no way to live, neither for the king nor his subjects, nor for farm fields nor for the cattle. Go and tell them that they
have become used to this degrading way of life and have lost their sensitivity to pain. Go and tell them that injustice has infected their way of seeing the world. 'Therefore, go Jonah!'. God sent him to testify to what was happening, He
sent him to wake up a people intoxicated with themselves".
"In this text we find ourselves before the mystery of divine mercy. Mercy, which always rejects wickedness, takes the human person in great earnest. Mercy
always appeals to the goodness of each person, even though it may be dormant and
numbed. Far from bringing destruction, as we so often desire or want to bring about ourselves, mercy seeks to transform each situation from within. Herein lies the mystery of divine mercy. It seeks and invites us to conversion, it invites us to repentance; it invites us to see the damage being done at every level. Mercy always pierces evil in order to transform it. It is the mystery of
God our Father: He sends his Son who pierced into what was evil, He made himself
sin in order to transform evil. This is his mercy".
"The king listened to Jonah, the inhabitants of the city responded and penance
was decreed. God's mercy has entered the heart, revealing and showing wherein our certainty and hope lie: there is always the possibility of change, we still
have time to transform what is destroying us as a people, what is demeaning our
humanity. Mercy encourages us to look to the present, and to trust what is healthy and good beating in every heart. God's mercy is our shield and our strength".
Jonah helped them to see and to become aware. "Following this, his call found men and women capable of repenting, and capable of weeping. To weep over injustice, to cry over corruption, to cry over oppression. These are tears that
lead to transformation, that soften the heart; they are the tears that purify our gaze and enable us to see the cycle of sin into which very often we have sunk. They are tears that can sensitise our gaze and our attitude, which are hardened and dormant in the face of another's suffering. They are the tears that
can break us, capable of opening us to conversion. This is what happened to Peter after having denied Jesus; he cried and those tears opened his heart".
"This word echoes forcefully today among us; this word is the voice crying out
in the wilderness, inviting us to conversion. In this Year of Mercy, with you here, I beg for God's mercy; with you I wish to plead for the gift of tears, the
gift of conversion. Here in Ciudad Jubrez, as in other border areas, there are thousands of immigrants from Central America and other countries, not forgetting
the many Mexicans who also seek to pass over 'to the other side'. Each step, a journey laden with grave injustices: the enslaved, the imprisoned and extorted;
so many of these brothers and sisters of ours are the consequence of a trade in
human trafficking, the trafficking of persons".
"We cannot deny the humanitarian crisis which in recent years has meant migration for thousands of people, whether by train or highway or on foot, crossing hundreds of kilometres through mountains, deserts and inhospitable zones. The human tragedy that is forced migration is a global phenomenon today.
This crisis which can be measured in numbers and statistics, we want instead to
measure with names, stories, families. They are the brothers and sisters of those expelled by poverty and violence, by drug trafficking and criminal organizations. Being faced with so many legal vacuums, they get caught up in a web that ensnares and always destroys the poorest. Not only do they suffer poverty but they must also endure all these forms of violence. Injustice is radicalised in the young; they are "cannon fodder", persecuted and threatened when they try to flee the spiral of violence and the hell of drugs. And what can
we say about the many women whose lives have been unjustly robbed?"
"Let us together ask our God for the gift of conversion, the gift of tears, let
us ask him to give us open hearts like the Ninevites, open to His call heard in
the suffering faces of countless men and women. No more death! No more exploitation! There is always time to change, always a way out and always an opportunity, there is always the time to implore the mercy of God. Just as in Jonas' time, so too today may we commit ourselves to conversion; may we be signs
lighting the way and announcing salvation. I know of the work of countless civil
organisations working to support the rights of migrants. I know too of the committed work of so many men and women religious, priests and lay people in accompanying migrants and in defending life. They are on the front lines, often
risking their own lives. By their very lives they are prophets of mercy; they are the beating heart and the accompanying feet of the Church that opens her arms and sustains".
"This time for conversion, this time for salvation, is the time for mercy. And
so, let us say together in response to the suffering on so many faces: in your compassion and mercy, Lord, have pity on us ... cleanse us from our sins and create in us a pure heart, a new spirit".
"And now I also want to greet from here all our beloved brothers and sisters who are joining us simultaneously from the other side of the frontier, especially those who are gathered in the Stadium of the University of El Paso, known as The Sun Bowl. ... Thanks to technology, we can pray, sing and celebrate
together that merciful love which God gives us, and which no frontier can prevent us from sharing. Thank you, brothers and sisters of El Paso, for making
us feel one single family and one same Christian community".
The Pope leaves Mexico: many lights proclaim hope in the Mexican people
Vatican City, 17 February 2016 (VIS) - Pope Francis took leave of Mexico today,
thanking God for granting him his visit to a country "that always surprises, for
Mexico is a surprise!". He departed from the airport of Ciudad Juarez at 7 p.m.
local time (3 a.m. in Rome) today, 18 February, and is expected to arrive in Rome at 3.15 p.m.
The Holy Father again gave thanks to all those who made his pilgrimage possible, including the state and local authorities and "all those anonymous helpers who quietly gave of their very best to make these days a great family celebration".
"I have felt welcomed and warmly received by the love, the celebration, the hope of this great Mexican family: thank you for having opened the doors of your
lives to me, the doors of your nation", he added, then reciting the words of Octavio Paz in his poem "Hermandad":
"I am a man: I only last a brief while, and the night is vast.
But I look up: the stars are writing.
Without grasping I understand: I am also the writing
and in this very instant someone is spelling me out".
"Taking up these beautiful words, I dare to suggest that the one who spells us
out and marks out the road for us is the mysterious but real presence of God in
the real flesh of all people, especially the poorest and most needy of Mexico",
the Pontiff commented. "The night can seem vast and very dark, but in these days
I have been able to observe that in this people there are many lights who proclaim hope; I have been able to see in many of their testimonies, in their faces, the presence of God who carries on walking in this land, guiding you, sustaining hope; many men and women, with their everyday efforts, make it possible for this Mexican society not to be left in darkness. Many men and women
lining the streets as I went by, lifted up their children, showing them to me: they are the future of Mexico, let us look after them, let us love them. These children are tomorrow's prophets, they are the sign of a new dawn. And I assure
you that on some occasions, as I passed by, I felt I wanted to cry on seeing so
much hope among people who suffer so much".
"May Mary, Mother of Guadalupe, continue to visit you, continue to walk on your
lands - Mexico which cannot be understood without her - may she continue helping
you to be missionaries and witnesses of mercy and reconciliation", he concluded.
"Once again, thank you very much for this warm, so very warm, Mexican hospitality".