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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Church, universal and missionary, cannot be wrapped up in herself


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The meaning of the terms “Catholic” and “apostolic” when we speak about the Church was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis at this morning's Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, attended by 50,000 faithful.

When we profess the Creed, we state that we believe in a Catholic and apostolic Church. “Catholic means universal”, said the Holy Father, “and a clear sign of this Catholicity is that she speaks all languages. This is none other than the effect of the Pentecost: indeed, it was the Holy Spirit that enabled the Apostles and the entire Church to communicate to all, to the very ends of the earth, the Good News of salvation and of God's love. Thus, the Church was born Catholic – that is, 'symphonic' since the beginning, and she cannot be otherwise, destined as she is for evangelisation and for encountering everyone”: The Pope, remarking that everyone is able to read the Word of God in his or her own language, again encouraged those present always to carry a copy of the Gospel and to read one or two passages each day.

“If the Church is born Catholic, it means that she was born to go forth, missionary”, continued Pope Francis. “If the Apostles had stayed in the Cenacle without going out to preach the Gospel, the Church would have remained there, in that city, in that country, in that room. It is what we express when we describe her as 'apostolic'. But they went forth. An apostle spreads the good news of Jesus' resurrection. This term reminds us that the Church, on the foundations of the Apostles and in continuity with them, is sent to proclaim the Gospel to all humanity, with the signs of the tenderness and strength of God. The Apostles went forth, they travelled the world, they founded new churches, they consecrated new bishops and in this way, we continue their work”.

“And this too derives from the Pentecost. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is able to overcome any resistance, to defeat the temptation to remain wrapped up in ourselves, an elect few, and to consider ourselves as the only ones destined to receive God's blessing. Imagine if a group of Christians were to consider itself in this way; they would die out. First in soul and then in body, as they would not be able to generate new life. They would not be apostolic. The Holy Spirit leads us towards our brothers, even to those who are far away in every sense, so that they can share with us the gift of love, peace and joy that the Risen Lord has left us”.

“What does it mean, for our communities and for each of us, to be part of a Church that is Catholic and apostolic? First of all, it means taking to heart the salvation of all humanity, not to be indifferent or removed from the fate of so many of our brothers, but rather to be open and in solidarity with them. It also means having a sense of the fullness, the completeness, the harmony of Christian life, always rejecting partial and unilateral positions that close us up in ourselves”.

Being part of the apostolic Church means “being aware that our faith is anchored in the proclamation and the witness of Jesus' Apostles, and therefore always being aware that were are sent out, in communion with the successors of the Apostles, with our hearts full of joy, to proclaim Christ and His love for all humanity”.

Pope Francis recalled the “heroic life” of all the missionaries who leave their homelands to take the Gospel to others, encouraging those present to give thanks to God for the missionaries the Church has had and will continue to need.

“Let us ask the Lord to renew in us the gift of His Spirit, so that every Christian community and baptised person may be an expression of the Catholic and apostolic Holy Mother Church”.

The Pope to the faithful: accompany me in Albania in prayer


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father greeted those present in various languages. In his greetings in Arabic, he addressed the faithful of the Holy Land “from where the light of proclamation issued forth to the ends of the earth”, urging them always to be, “despite difficulties, courageous and joyful bearers of the Message of salvation, truth and blessing”.

Before his greetings in Italian, the Pope spoke about his trip to Albania this coming Sunday, 21 September, and invited the faithful to accompany him in prayer. “I decided to visit this country because it has suffered greatly as a result of a terrible atheist regime and is now realising the peaceful co-existence of its various religious components”.

Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father today 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:

MIRACLES

- Blessed Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception (nee Adelaide Brando), Italian foundress of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament (1856-1906);

- Venerable Servant of God Pio Alberto del Corona, Italian professed priest of the Order of Preachers, bishop of San Miniato and founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit (1837-1912);

- Venerable Servant of God Marie-Elisabeth Turgeon, Canadian foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (1840-1881).

The Pontiff also approved the votes of the Ordinary Session of the Cardinal and Bishop Fathers in favour of the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Indian priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa (1651-1711).

Finally, the Holy Father decided that a Consistory will be convoked shortly for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz and Blessed Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, nee Adelaide Brando.


Sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., provided an update on the sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which began on Monday, 15 September and will conclude this afternoon. As usual, the Holy Father was present at all sessions apart from this morning's, due to the Wednesday general audience.

“In the previous meetings, the Cardinals had worked by examining all the Congregations and Pontifical Councils, but they had also assigned a significant amount of time to hearing the referring Commissions on economic and organisational questions (COSEA and CRIOR) and on matters pertaining to the economic Dicasteries. Work in this area may now be considered complete, following the constitution of the Council and the Secretariat for the Economy. The press conference held by Cardinal Pell in July focused on the results of this work and on the initiation of the activities of these new organs.

“Therefore, in this meeting the Council of Cardinals resumed work on the other Dicasteries. In the meantime, several contributions had been prepared by various members of the Council on the different issues within their sphere of competence, which were proposed or presented to the Council. During these days, the Council focused on two principal “hotspots”.

“The first includes the themes of the laity and the family. It is a very broad area, encompassing many issues, including for instance the role of women in society and in the Church, youth, childhood, or matters related to lay associations and movements, and so on.

“The second comprises themes linked to justice and peace, charity, migrants and refugees, health, and the protection of life and ecology, especially human ecology.

“As can be seen, the discussions therefore involved many of the major issues that fall within the competences of the current Pontifical Councils, and how to face them in a coordinated and integrated fashion.

“The Council of Cardinals, as we are aware, does not make decisions, but formulates proposals for the Pope, who certainly intends to consult in further depth, also with regard to the various Dicasteries, involving those in roles of responsibility. Therefore, the Council’s proposals will be studied further, and it is to be expected that the Pope will speak about them, for instance, during the meetings with the Heads of the Dicasteries, which are convoked regularly and will certainly take place in the coming months.

“A draft Introduction for the new Constitution was also drawn up and distributed.

“In order to speed up this new phase in the work of the Council, the coordinator Cardinal Maradiaga has prepared an overall plan to facilitate the organisation of the contributions and reflections already offered during the previous meetings and the integration of new ones.

“It may be assumed that, with the next two meetings of the Council (9-11 December 2014 and 9-11 February 2015), the draft Constitution will reach an advanced stage of preparation, making it possible for the Pope to proceed with further consultations”.

With regard to the Commission for the Protection of Minors, the director of the Holy See Press Office commented that the appointment of the Secretary, Msgr. Robert Oliver, had been made public during recent days, adding: “In the next few weeks other very important aspects will be specified regarding the Statutes and further members of the Commission. It is expected that these will be clarified at the time of the next meeting of the Commission itself, scheduled for early October (4-5)”.

“With regard to the Commission on Vatican media, chaired by Lord Chris Patten, the first meeting will be held from 22-24 September at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. As a first meeting, it will be dedicated primarily to drawing up a framework for the common base of information necessary to enable the work of the members (several of whom are from contexts external to the Vatican), the planning of the work to be done over the coming months, and the method to be used. The Commission itself, during its first meeting, will establish its own strategy of communication. Therefore, interviews or communications will not be given prior to the meeting”, he concluded.


“Evangelii gaudium” and pastoral ministry: three day meeting in the Vatican


Vatican City, 17 September 2014 (VIS) – The international meeting “The Pastoral Project of 'Evangelii gaudium'”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, will be held in the Vatican from 18 to 20 September and will be attended by more than two thousand pastoral workers from seventy countries worldwide. Bishops, priests, catechists, consecrated persons, pastoral workers and members of associations and movements will explore in depth the content of the apostolic Exhortation that Pope Francis has indicated as the programmatic document of his papacy. Renowned speakers will discuss specific themes in relation to pastoral ministry and evangelisation. The meeting will culminate with an encounter with the Holy Father on Friday afternoon.

A detailed programme of the event can be found at www.novaevangelizatio.va

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Presentation of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, 2015


Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishops Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, U.S.A., presented the World Meeting of Families on the theme “Love is our mission: the family fully alive”, which will take place in the North American city from 22 to 27 September 2015.

In his presentation Archbishop Chaput commented on Philadelphia's deep religious roots and expressed his hope that Pope Francis may be present at next year's meeting, at which between ten and fifteen thousand people from all over the world are expected to attend. He also explained that the theme of the Meeting was based on St. Irenaeus' famous words, “the Glory of God is man fully alive”. “In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves. Life in a family is a summons to embody that love in everyday life”.

The event in Philadelphia will be accompanied by an official document, a catechesis that “will help parish and diocesan leaders, catechists and other interested persons prepare Catholics across the globe for next year's meeting. … It develops its teaching in ten simple steps. It starts with the purpose of our creation and moves into the nature of our sexuality; the covenant of marriage; the importance of children; the place of priesthood and religious life in the ecology of the Christian community; the Christian home as a refuge for the wounded heart; the role of the Church; and the missionary witness of Christian families to the wider world”.

“The text gives us a foundation for all of the different programming that will go into the World Meeting of Families”, continued Archbishop Chaput, “from major talks, to panels and breakout sessions, to family entertainment throughout the event. The text is currently available in English and Spanish. Portuguese, French and other language editions are planned this fall through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The catechesis also includes the special prayer we commissioned to prepare for the 2015 gathering”.

In addition, a specially-commissioned oil painting will be displayed in Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul throughout the World Meeting. By the artist Neil Carlin, it represents the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph – along with Mary's parents, Sts. Anne and Joachim. “They are a reminder that, today and throughout history, the Christian family includes both the young and the elderly; it reaches beyond parents and child to include grandparents and many other extended relations”.

Archbishop Paglia presented the events that will be organised by his dicastery this year and the next, in relation to the theme of the family. On 18 September, with the collaboration of Caritas International, a seminar will be held on “Family and poverty”, in which it 150 experts on the theme are expected to participate. On 28 September, with the theme “The blessing of longevity”, the elderly and grandparents will meet with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square. From 22 to 24 January 2015, an international congress of associations, movements and groups for the family and for life will meet with the aim of “Reviewing together the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, and on 24 March, anniversary of the publication of St. John Paul II's encyclical “Evangelium vitae”, a prayer vigil will be held in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major.

Finally, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family reported that every day until the opening of the Synod (5 October) on the site www.familia.va, there will be a special edition of “Jarà – the spectacle of life”, which will present through words and images the main themes of the Synod and explain how they figure in the Instrumentum Laboris. During the assembly there will be a weekly note presenting and summarising the work of the Synod fathers. All this will be supplemented with exclusive interviews with bishops and experts.

Appointments to the IOR Board of Superintendence finalised


Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – The Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) has appointed Mauricio Larrain (Chile) and Carlo Salvatori (Italy) as members of the IOR Board of Superintendence, according to a press release published by the Institute today.

On the occasion of the nomination Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, President of the IOR’s Supervisory Commission of Cardinals, said: “The IOR is looking forward to working with these two new board members who will add significant financial experience and global perspective at a time when the role of IOR is being reinforced and confirmed to meet the objectives of the Holy Father.” With these appointments, the IOR Board of Superintendence is now complete. Besides Mauricio Larrain and Carlo Salvatori, it is composed of Mr. Jean-Baptiste de Franssu (France), President of the Board, Mr. Clemens Boersig (Germany), Prof. Mary Ann Glendon (USA) and Sir Michael Hintze (UK), who assumed office on 9 July 2014. In addition to these six lay members of the Board, Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, Secretary-General of the Secretariat for the Economy, serves as its non-voting Secretary.

As set out in the Institute’s revised Statute from 1990, the IOR Board of Superintendence defines strategy and ensures oversight of operations. The members of the Board of Superintendence are nominated in accordance with the new legal framework and for a period of five years. The nomination of a non-voting Secretary and a sixth member to the IOR Board of Superintendence as well as the nomination of a sixth member to the IOR Cardinals’ Commission will be formalised upon completion of the current review of the Institute’s Statute.

Mauricio Larrain is external director of Santander Bank Group Chile and general director of the ESE Business School from the Los Andes University of Chile. He served as the Santander Bank Group Chile’s Chairman and General Director from 1992 until 2014 and was president of Santander Chile Holding S.A. And Universita Chile S.A. from 2000 until 2014. During this period, Santander Bank Group Chile was chosen as the Best Bank in Latin America in six different years by the America Economia Magazine.

Carlo Salvatori has served as president of the investment bank Lazard Italy since June 2010 and of the insurance company Allianz SpA since May 2012. Furthermore, he is amember of the Board of Directors of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, of the Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital, of Chiesi Pharmaceuticals and of the Riso Gallo Group and he also is President of the Christian Union of Business Executives’ Milanese section.

The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) was founded on 27 June, 1942, by papal decree to serve the Holy See and its customers in the Catholic Church all over the world. Its origins date back to the "Commissione ad Pias Causas" established in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII. The IOR’s purpose is set by its Statute, amended by Pope John Paul II in 1990, and related by-laws. It is “to provide for the custody and administration of goods transferred or entrusted to the Institute by physical or juridical persons, designated for religious works or charity. The Institute can accept deposits of assets from entities or persons of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State”.

The IOR strives to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church by protecting and increasing the patrimony of and providing worldwide payment services to the Holy See and related entities, religious orders, other Catholic institutions, clergy, employees of the Holy See and the accredited diplomatic corps. As of 31 December 2013, the IOR was entrusted with customers’ assets (including deposits, assets held in custody and assets held under portfolio management agreements) totalling EUR 5.9bn, and shareholders’ equity of EUR 720m. The IOR is situated exclusively on the sovereign territory of the Vatican City State, and is supervised and regulated by the "Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF), the financial supervisory body for the Vatican City State.


The Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir to sing in Macao, Hong Kong and Taipei


Vatican City, 16 September 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir is to perform for the first time in Macao, Hong Kong and Taipei. The concerts will be made possible through the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, in collaboration with the Coro Perosi of the Diocese of Macao and the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation. By sharing the rich musical traditions of East and West, these concerts aim to promote cultural exchange through art and music, thereby creating new channels of communication and communion.

The concerts, entitled “Reverberating Heavenly Tunes in Greater China”, will include pieces from notable composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Gregorio Allegri and Lorenzo Perosi, whose works historically form part of the repertoire of papal celebrations.

The concerts will take place on 19 September 2014 at 6 p.m. in the Cathedral of Macao; 21 September at 8 p.m. at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre; and 23 September at 7:30 p.m. at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.

In addition, on 21 September at 11 a.m. in the Cathedral of Hong Kong the Sistine Choir will assist, with the authorisation of the Cardinal Secretary of State, at the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, at which Cardinal John Tong Hon will preside.

The Pontifical Sistine Music Chapel Choir (Sistine Choir), which has its origins in the former Roman Schola Cantorum, has for centuries preserved the musical traditions of the Church and is composed of trained vocal musicians who sing at Papal liturgies and at other celebrations convoked by the Holy Father.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Pope to render homage to martyrs of faith in Albania


Vatican City, 15 September 2014 (VIS) – Homage to martyrs of faith, victims of the communist regime, the importance of dialogue with Islam in a country with a Muslim majority but with a notable Christian presence, both Catholic and Orthodox, and the memory of blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, born in Albania, will be the fundamental themes that Pope Francis will address in his upcoming trip to the capital Tirana next Sunday, 21 September, said Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, in a press conference held this morning.

The apostolic trip to Albania is Pope Francis' first in a European country outside Italy and the fourth of his pontificate.



Sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals


Vatican City, 15 September 2014 (VIS) – The sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father began this morning, and will continue during the days of 16 and 17 September. The Council of Cardinals was instituted by Pope Francis to assist in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a plan for the revision of the apostolic constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia.

Francis marries twenty couples from the diocese of Rome


Vatican City, 14 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning, Pope Francis celebrated the marriage of twenty couples from Rome, the diocese of which he is bishop, during a Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica. The cardinal vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini, and Archbishop Filippo Iannone, vice-regent and director of the diocesan Centre for Family Pastoral, concelebrated with the Pontiff.

The couples married by the Pope, according to a press release from the Vicariate of Rome, are like many others, engaged for different lengths of time; some already live together, others have children, and others met within the parish. The youngest couple were born in 1986 and 1989 respectively, whereas the eldest were born in 1958 and 1965.

In his homily, the Holy Father, commenting on the Bible passage that speaks of the long and wearisome journey of the people of Israel through the desert, spoke of marriage as a path with areas of light and shadows, during which the mercy and grace of Christ can regenerate and channel married and family life.

“Today’s first reading speaks to us of the people’s journey through the desert”, he began. “We can imagine them as they walked, led by Moses; they were families: fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, grandparents, men and women of all ages, accompanied by many children and the elderly who struggled to make the journey. This people reminds us of the Church as she makes her way across the desert of the contemporary world, reminds us of the People of God composed, for the most part, of families.

“This makes us think of families, our families, walking along the paths of life with all their day to day experiences. It is impossible to quantify the strength and depth of humanity contained in a family: mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, the sharing of joys and difficulties. Families are the first place in which we are formed as persons and, at the same time, the 'bricks' for the building up of society.

“Let us return to the biblical story. At a certain point, 'the people became impatient on the way'. They are tired, water supplies are low and all they have for food is manna, which, although plentiful and sent by God, seems far too meagre in a time of crisis. And so they complain and protest against God and against Moses: 'Why did you make us leave?'. They are tempted to turn back and abandon the journey.

“Here our thoughts turn to married couples who 'become impatient on the way', the way of conjugal and family life. The hardship of the journey causes them to experience interior weariness; they lose the flavour of matrimony and they cease to draw water from the well of the Sacrament. Daily life becomes burdensome, and often, even 'nauseating'. During such moments of disorientation – the Bible says – poisonous serpents come and bite the people, and many die. This causes the people to repent and to turn to Moses for forgiveness, asking him to beseech the Lord so that he will cast out the snakes. Moses prays to the Lord, and the Lord offers a remedy: a bronze serpent set on a pole; whoever looks at it will be saved from the deadly poison of the vipers.

“What is the meaning of this symbol? God does not destroy the serpents, but rather offers an 'antidote': by means of the bronze serpent fashioned by Moses, God transmits his healing strength, namely his mercy, which is more potent than the Tempter’s poison.

“As we have heard in the Gospel, Jesus identifies Himself with this symbol: out of love the Father 'has given' His only begotten Son so that men and women might have eternal life. Such immense love of the Father spurs the Son to become man, to become a servant and to die for us upon a cross. Out of such love, the Father raises up his Son, giving Him dominion over the entire universe. This is expressed by Saint Paul in his hymn in the Letter to the Philippians. Whoever entrusts himself to Jesus crucified receives the mercy of God and finds healing from the deadly poison of sin.

“The cure which God offers the people applies also, in a particular way, to spouses who 'have become impatient on the way' and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment. To them too, God the Father gives His Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to Him, He will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of His grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.

“The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out. The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. This is the task that you both share. 'I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a woman'; 'I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a man'. Here we see the reciprocity of differences. The path is not always a smooth one, free of disagreements, otherwise it would not be human. It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life! Within this theology which the word of God offers us concerning the people on a journey, spouses on a journey, I would like to give you some advice. It is normal for husband and wife to argue: it’s normal. It always happens. But my advice is this: never let the day end without having first made peace. Never! A small gesture is sufficient. Thus the journey may continue. Marriage is a symbol of life, real life: it is not 'fiction'! It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross. My desire for you is that you have a good journey, a fruitful one, growing in love. I wish you happiness. There will be crosses! But the Lord is always there to help us move forward. May the Lord bless you!”.


Angelus: the Cross restores hope


Vatican City, 14 September 2014 (VIS) – At midday today, after celebrating the marriage of twenty couples from the diocese of Rome, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful present in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis commented that today, 14 September, the Church celebrates the festivity of the Exaltation of the Cross. “Any non-Christian might ask, why 'exalt' the Cross? We can answer that we do not exalt just any cross, or all crosses: we exalt Jesus Cross, as it was upon the Cross that he revealed the extent of God's love for humanity”, he explained. “The Father gave his Son to save us, and this involved the death of Jesus, and he died on the Cross. Why? Why was the Cross necessary? Because of the gravity of the evil that had enslaved us. The Cross of Jesus expresses both of these things: all the negative force of evil, and all the gentle omnipotence of God's mercy. The Cross appeared to decree Jesus' demise, but in reality it marked His victory. … And it is precisely for this reason that God 'exalted' Jesus, conferring upon Him a universal kingship”.

“When we turn our gaze to the Cross, where Jesus was nailed”, he continued, “we contemplate the sign of God's infinite love for each one of us, and the root of our salvation. From this Cross there springs the mercy of the Father who embraces the entire world. Through the Cross, the evil one is vanquished and death defeated, we are given life, and hope is restored to us. … The Cross of Jesus is our only true hope! This is why the Chruch exalts the glorious Cross of Jesus, sign of God's immense love, sign of our salvation, and path to the Resurrection. And this is our hope”.

“When we contemplate and celebrate the Holy Cross”, he concluded, “we think with emotion of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted and killed for their fidelity to Christ. This happens especially where religious freedom is not guaranteed or fully realised. It also occurs, however, in countries and in environments where in principle freedom and human rights are protected, but where in practice believers and Christians in particular often encounter limitations or discrimination. Therefore, today we remember them and pray especially for them”.


Humanity still has not learnt that war is madness


Vatican City, 14 September 2014 (VIS) – Following today's Marian prayer, the Holy Father mentioned that tomorrow the Security Council of the United Nations begins peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, to promote peace and protect the civil population that is suffering the consequences of a long-standing conflict.

“I assure the peacekeepers of the support and prayer of the Catholic Church, and encourage the efforts of the international community to come to the aid of Central Africans of good will. May the violence give way to dialogue as soon as possible, and may the opposing forces set aside their particular interests and make the necessary provisions to ensure that every citizen, of every ethnic and religious group, may collaborate in constructing the common good. May the Lord accompany this work for peace!”, he exclaimed.

The Pope went on to speak about his visit on Saturday to the Austro-Hungarian cemetery and the military monument of Redipuglia, Italy, where he prayed for those who lost their lives in the First World War. “The figures are frightening: around eight million fallen soldiers and around seven million civilians killed. This shows us what madness war is! A madness from which humanity still has not learnt its lesson: it was followed by another world war soon after, and many others that are still in progress. When will we learn this lesson? I invite everyone to look to the Crucified Jesus to understand that hatred and evil must be met with forgiveness and goodness, to understand that the solution of war leads only to more evil and death!”


Cardinal Aguilar to take possession of his titular church


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 21 September, at 11 a.m., Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, archbishop emeritus of Pamplona y Tudela, Spain, will take possession of the title of Sant'Angela Merici (Via di Sant'Angela Merici, 57).


Audiences


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Daniel Ruben Herrera Piedrabuena, federal judge of La Rioja, with his wife and entourage.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Marcus Stock as bishop of Leeds (area 5,033, population 2,068,000, Catholics 157,766, priests 182, permanent deacons 24, religious 149), England. The bishop-elect was born in London, England in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He studied theology at Oxford University and dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of “St. Birinus” in Dorchester-on-Thames, “St. Peter's” in Bloxwich, and Coleshill, and director of Catholic schools for the archdiocese of Birmingham. He is currently secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales and advisor to the Heythrop College Faculty of Theology, London. In 2011 he was nominated Prelate of Honour of His Holiness.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pope Francis: the shadow of Cain looms over history from 1914 to the present


Vatican City, 13 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (13 September 1914), Pope Francis chose to celebrate Mass at the Military Monument of Redipuglia, in the Italian province of Gorizia.

The Holy Father left the Vatican by air at 8 a.m. and landed shortly before 9 a.m. at the airport of Ronchi dei Legionari, where he was received by the archbishop of Gorizia, Carlo Alberto Maria Redaelli. He transferred by car to the Austro-Hungarian cemetery of Fogliano di Redipuglia, the resting place of 14,550 soldiers who fell in this area. At the entrance there is the phrase “Im Leben und im Tode vereint” (“United in Life and Death”). The Pope placed a floral wreath at the central monument to 7000 unknown soldiers.

The Pope subsequently proceeded to the Military Monument, a large cemetery dedicated to the memory of the more than one hundred thousand Italian soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War, in foothills of Mount Sei Busi, a contested territory in the early phases of the conflict and where the tomb of Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia Aosta, commander of the Third Army, is located. The monument was designed by the architect Giovanni Greppi and the sculptor Giannino Castiglioni, and building work commenced in 1933; it was inaugurated by the then head of government, Benito Mussolini, in 1938, in the presence of more than 50,000 First World War veterans.

The first reading narrated the story of Cain and Abel, and in his homily the Holy Father commented on the murder of Abel to condemn indifference in the face of war.

“After experiencing the beauty of travelling throughout this region, where men and women work and raise their families, where children play and the elderly dream, I now find myself here, in this place, near this cemetery, able to say only one thing: War is madness. Whereas God carries forward the work of creation, and we men and women are called to participate in his work, war destroys. It also ruins the most beautiful work of his hands: human beings. War ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying.

“Greed, intolerance, the lust for power … are the motives underlying the decision to go to war, and they are too often justified by an ideology; but first there is a distorted passion or impulse. Ideology is presented as a justification and when there is no ideology, there is the response of Cain: 'What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?'. War does not look directly at anyone, be they elderly, children, mothers, fathers. 'What does it matter to me?'

“Above the entrance to this cemetery, there hang in the air those ironic words of war, 'What does it matter to me?' All of the dead who repose here had their own plans, they had their own dreams, but their lives were cut short. Why? Because humanity said, 'What does it matter to me?'. Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction. In all honesty, the front page of newspapers ought to carry the headline, 'What does it matter to me?'. Cain would say, 'Am I my brother’s keeper?'.

“This attitude is the exact opposite of what Jesus asks of us in the Gospel. We have heard: He is in the least of his brothers; He, the King, the Judge of the world, He is the one who hungers, who thirsts, He is the stranger, the one who is sick, the prisoner. Those who care for their brother or sister enter into the joy of the Lord; those who do not do so, however, who by their omission say, 'What does it matter to me?', remain excluded.

“Here, and in the other cemetery, lie many victims. Today, we remember them. There are tears, there is mourning, there is grief. From this place we remember all the victims of every war. Today, too, there are many victims … How is this possible? It is so because in today’s world, behind the scenes, there are interests, geopolitical strategies, lust for money and power, and there is the manufacture and sale of arms, which seem to be so important! And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, 'What does it matter to me?'

“It is the task of the wise to recognise errors, to feel pain, to repent, to beg for pardon and to cry. With this 'What does it matter to me?' in their hearts, the merchants of war perhaps have made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to weep. Cain did not weep. He was not able to weep. The shadow of Cain hangs over us today in this cemetery. It is seen here. It has been seen from 1914 right up to our own time.

“With the heart of a son, a brother, a father, I ask each of you, indeed for all of us, to have a conversion of heart: to move on from 'What does it matter to me?', to shed tears: for each one of the fallen of this 'senseless massacre', for all the victims of the mindless wars, in every age. Brothers, humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep”.

Following Mass and after greetings from the military archbishop for Italy, Santo Marciano and the Chiefs of Staff and General Commanders, the bishop of Rome presented to those in attendance the “Light of St. Francis” Lamp, which will be lit in the respective dioceses during the events commemorating the First World War. The lamp was donated by the Holy Convent of Assisi and the oil was given by the “Libera” Association of the priest Don Luigi Ciotti.

The Pope subsequently bade farewell to those present and transferred to Ronchi dei Legionari airport, where he departed for the Vatican.

The Pope to visit Turkey at the end of November


Vatican City, 13 September 2014 (VIS) – Late yesterday afternoon, in response to questions from journalists, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., gave the following declaration:

“This morning the Holy See has received a letter with an official invitation from the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to visit the country. Preparations will therefore be made for a trip to take place in the final days of November, although the length and programme of the visit are yet to be confirmed”.

Cardinal Antonelli, Pope's special envoy to the consecration of the new Shrine to St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows


Vatican City, 13 September 2014 (VIS) – In a letter made public today, written in Latin and dated 29 July, the Holy Father nominated Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as his special envoy to the consecration of the new Shrine to St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows in Teramo, Italy, scheduled to take place on 21 September.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 13 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed the following as members of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy; Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A.; Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta, archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops; Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples; Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, apostolic nuncio to the Principality of Monaco, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations Organisations and Organisms for Food and Agriculture; Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia; Archbishop Patrick Christopher Pinder of Nassau, Bahamas; Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic; Archbishop Giampiero Gloder, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy; Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Bishop Tarcisius Isai Kikuchi of Niigata, Japan; Bishop Celmo Lazzari, apostolic vicar of San Miguel de Sucumbios, Ecuador; Fr. Michael Anthony Perry, O.F.M., minister general of the Order of Friars Minor; Fr. Louis Lougen, O.M.I., superior general of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate; Socrates Mesiona, director general of the PP.OO.MM. In the Philippines; Sister Luzia Premoli, S.M.C., superior general of the Combonian Missionaries,

- appointed the following as consultors of the same Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, bishop emeritus of Paplanta, Mexico, secretary for seminaries of the Congregation for the Clergy; and Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Friday, September 12, 2014

To the bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo: work for a society based on respect for the dignity of the person


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – The education of young people in order to overcome violence and inequality, the participation of the Church in building society and the consolidation of peace and her mission in aid of “those whom life has wounded” were the main issues in the discourse Pope Francis handed to the bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo this morning, at the end of their “ad Limina” visit.

“The Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a young Church”, writes the Holy Father. “However, it is also a Church of youth. Children and adolescents, in particular, need God's strength to help them resist the many temptations of a precarious life in which they are unable to study or find work. I am sympathetic to their plight, and I know you share their sorrows, their joys and hopes. I think with horror especially of those children and young people conscripted into militias and forced to kill their own countrymen. I encourage you, therefore, to pursue the pastoral care of youth. By providing the greatest assistance possible, especially through the creation of spaces for human, spiritual and professional formation, you can help them discover their deepest vocation that predisposes them to encounter the Lord”.

“The most effective way to overcome violence, inequality and ethnic divisions is to equip the young with a critical mind and to offer them the opportunity to mature an understanding of Gospel values. It is also necessary to strengthen pastoral care in universities and in Catholic and public schools, combining education with the clear proclamation of the Gospel. ... Similarly, to face the problem of family breakdown, caused in particular by war and poverty, it is essential to promote and encourage all initiatives to strengthen the family, the source of brotherhood and the foundation and first road to peace”.

“Fidelity to the Gospel also implies that the Church participates in the construction of the city. One of the most valuable contributions that the local church can offer your country is to help people rediscover the relevance of faith in daily life and the need to promote the common good. Similarly, leading figures in the nation, enlightened by pastors and in relation to their skills, can also be supported in incorporating Christian teachings in their personal lives and in the exercise of their duties in the service of the state and society. In this sense, the Magisterium of the Church, especially the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation “Africae munus” and the recent apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium”, are invaluable tools”.

The Pope urges the Congolese bishops to “work tirelessly for the establishment of a just and lasting peace through a pastoral of dialogue and reconciliation among the various sectors of society, supporting the process of disarmament, and promoting effective collaboration with other religious denominations”. He emphasises that at this time, when the country is currently experiencing political events that are important for the future, “it is necessary for the Church to make her contribution, avoiding the risk of becoming substitute for political institutions and temporal realities that must retain their autonomy”. In particular, pastors must be careful not to take on roles that rightfully belong to the lay faithful, whose mission is justly that of bearing witness to Christ and the Gospel in politics and in all other areas of their activities”.

After highlighting the need for collaboration between all pastoral workers in the various fields of the apostolate, especially in education, health and charitable aid, Francis reminds the prelates that there are high expectations of them “in defence of spiritual and social values”, and he urges them to “provide guidance and solutions for the promotion of a society based on respect for the dignity of the human person”. In this regard, “attention to the poor and needy, as well as the elderly, the sick and disabled, should be the subject of adequate pastoral care under constant review”. Indeed, “the Church is called to be concerned with the wellbeing of these people and to bring the attention of society and public authorities to their situation”.

The Holy Father concludes by encouraging the bishops to be “men of hope for the people” and gave thanks for the work of all missionaries, priests, religious and other pastoral workers dedicated to the service of “those who have been wounded by life, the victims of violence, especially in the most isolated and remote areas of the country”, and reserved special mention for “the internally displaced and the many people who come from neighbouring countries”.

The exegete perceives the Divine Word through a fervent spiritual life


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father met with the participants in the 43rd National Biblical Week, organised by the Italian Biblical Association, a meeting that inaugurated the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican Council II on the Divine Revelation “Dei Verbum”, promulgated on 18 November 1965.

“Faith, to respond, and so as not to be suffocated, must be constantly nurtured by the Word of God”, said the Pope, expressing his esteem and acknowledgement of the “valuable work” that the Association has carried out through the teachings of its lecturers and Bible scholars. He continued, “God has made the most of all the possibilities of human language, but at the same time He has had to submit His Word to the limitations of this language. True respect for the inspired Scriptures requires us to make all the efforts necessary to fully grasp their meaning”. As it is not possible for every Christian personally to carry out the research of every type necessary to arrive at a good understanding of Biblical texts, he added, “this task is entrusted to exegetes, those who are responsible in this sector for the good of all. ... Therefore, alongside academic competence, the Catholic exegete needs above all, faith: received from and shared with all believers who, in their entirety, cannot be mistaken”.

Pope Francis recalled the words of St. John Paul II: “to respect the coherence of the faith of the Church and the inspiration of the Scripture, Catholic exegesis must be careful not merely to comply with the human aspects of biblical texts. First and foremost, exegesis must help Christian people to perceive more clearly the Word of God in these texts, so as to accept it better, to live fully in communion with God. … Naturally it is necessary for the exegete to know how to perceive the Divine Word in the texts, and this is possible only if his spiritual life is fervent, rich in dialogue with the Lord; otherwise exegetic research remains incomplete, and the main objective is lost from sight”.

Returning to the words of St. John Paul II, Francis remarked, “To arrive at a fully valid interpretation of the words inspired by the Holy Spirit, we ourselves must be guided by the Holy Spirit; and for this we must pray, and ask in prayer for the inner light of the Spirit and accept this light with docility; we must ask for love, as love alone makes us able to understand the language of God, which is love”. He added, “Our Lady teaches us to fully welcome the Word of God, not only through intellectual research, but in all our life”, and concluded by giving his blessing to those present.


Catholics and Orthodox in Amman on “Synodality and the Primate”


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – The eighth plenary session of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church will take place in Amman, Jordan from 15 to 23 September, following the invitation from the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III.

The session will be co-chaired by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Metropolitan of Pergamon Ioannis (Zizioulas) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. As on previous occasions, the meeting will be attended by two representatives of each of the fourteen autocephalous Orthodox Churches and many other Catholic representatives. The plenary session will examine a draft document entitled “Synodality and the Primate”, drawn up by the Co-ordinating Committee of the Commission during the two meetings held in Rome in 2011 and in Paris in 2012.

The study of the theological and anthropological relationship between the primate and synodality in the life of the Church in local, regional and universal contexts should offer a framework for reference for considering the crucial question of the role of the bishop of Rome in the universal Church. In Amman, the members of the Commission will be required to evaluate whether the draft prepared by the Co-ordinating Committee adequately reflects the currently existing consensus on this delicate issue or if it will be necessary to explore the theme in further depth.

The plenary session will also offer participants the opportunity to share moments of prayer with the local Christian communities and to express their closeness to those who suffer as a result of ongoing conflicts in the region.


Archbishop Tomasi: human trafficking is not confined to poor and developing countries


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – The fight against contemporary forms of slavery was the theme of the address given by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi. Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, during the 27th Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The archbishop referred to a number of tragic forms of contemporary slavery that have recently attracted the attention of the media and the international community, such as “massive kidnappings and sale of young girls under the false premises of religious teachings as is done, for example, by Boko Haram in Nigeria or by the so-called Islamic State group in northern Iraq”.

“Some 250,000 children are forcibly conscripted and even used as “human shields” in the front lines of armed conflicts”, he continued. However, there are “other, subtler forms of slavery that deserve specific attention, including the 5.7 million children who are victims of forced and bonded labour, domestic servitude, early, forced and servile marriage … and caste-based forms of slavery, which affect the lives of so many and are not confined to developing and poor countries”. Factors that may contribute to the promotion of all forms of slavery include “the increasing incidence of absolute poverty among many families affected by the economic crises, the lack of education and illiteracy, long-term and apparently irreversible unemployment which force people into the informal-sector work without adequate pay or social protection, involuntary migration, and human trafficking”.

Although the international community has already developed international conventions and agreements to protect against contemporary forms of slavery, the Holy See observer remarked that greater political will is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of such instruments and to increase public awareness. “We need to break the silence about this 'open wound on the body of contemporary society' and motivate 'men and women of good will who want to cry out, Enough!'” he continued, noting that Pope Francis takes every opportunity to denounce the “many abominable forms of slavery [that] persist in today’s world” and has “joined with leaders from other major religious traditions to promote the ideals of faith and of shared human values in order to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking ... for all time”.


Audiences


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience twenty-one prelates from the National Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on their “ad Limina” visit:

- Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani;

- Bishop Etienne Ung’eyowun Bediwegi of Bondo;

- Bishop Dieudonne Uringi Uuci of Bunia;

- Bishop Joseph Banga Bane of Buta;

- Bishop Julien Andavo Mbia of Isiro-Niangara;

- Bishop Sosthene Ayikuli Adjuwa of Mahagi-Nioka;

- Bishop Janvier Kataka Luvete of Wamba;

- Archbishop Jean-Pierre Tafunga Mbayo, S.D.B., of Lubumbashi;

- Bishop Jean-Anatole Kalala Kaseba of Kamina;

- Bishop Fulgence Muteba Mugalu of Kilwa-Kasenga;

- Bishop Nestor Ngoy Katahwa of Kolwezi;

- Bishop Oscar Ngoy wa Mpanga, C.S.Sp., of Kongolo;

- Bishop Vincent de Paul Kwanga Ndjibu of Manono;

- Bishop Gaston Kashala Ruwezi, S.D.B., of Sakania-Kipushi;

- Archbishop Joseph Kumuondala Mbimba of Mbandaka-Bikoro;

- Bishop Joseph Mokobe Ndjoku of Basankusu;

- Bishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, O.F.M. Cap., of Bokungu-Ikela;

- Bishop Philibert Tembo Nlandu, C.I.C.M., of Budjala;

- Bishop Louis Nkinga Bondala, C.I.C.M., of Lisala;

- Bishop Ferdinand Maemba Liwoke of Lolo;

- Bishop Dominique Bulamatari of Molegbe.

This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, apostolic nuncio in the Federal Republic of Germany.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, major penitentiary, as members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Notice


Vatican City, 12 September 2014 (VIS) – We inform our readers that tomorrow, Saturday 13 September, an extraordinary edition of the Vatican Information Service will be transmitted on the occasion of Pope Francis' visit to Redipuglia, Italy.
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