Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Pope to the faithful of the Malabar rite: St. Kuriakose Elias and St. Euphrasia, examples and encouragement to the people


Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Basilica Pope Francis met with a group of faithful of Syro-Malabar rite, gathered in Rome for the canonisation on Sunday of Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family, and Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart. The Holy Father took the opportunity to thank the Church in India, and specifically in Kerala, for “all its apostolic strength and for the witness of faith you have”, he said. “Continue in this way! Kerala is a land that is very fertile in religious and priestly vocations. Carry on working in this way, with your witness”.

“May this time of celebration and intense spirituality help you to contemplate the marvellous works accomplished by the Lord in the lives and deeds of these new saints. … who remind each of us that God’s love is the source, the support and the goal of all holiness, while love of neighbour is the clearest manifestation of love for God.”

Pope Francis described St. Kuriakose Elias as “a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for the Syro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim 'sanctification of oneself and the salvation of others'”, while St. Euphrasia “lived in profound union with God, so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her 'Praying Mother'. He encouraged those present to “treasure their lessons of evangelical living ... follow in their footsteps and imitate them, in a particular way, through love of Jesus in the Eucharist and love of the Church. Thus you will advance along the path to holiness”.

The Pope canonises six new blesseds: the Kingdom of God is built on tenderness and proximity


Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) – During the Mass celebrated this morning on the Solemnity of Christ King of the Universe, the Holy Father canonised blesseds Giovanni Antonio Fraina (1803-1888), Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family (1805-1871), Ludovico da Casoria (1814-1885), Nicola da Longobardi (1650-1709), Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart (1877-1952) and Amato Ronconi (c. 1226-c.1292).

In his homily, the Pope remarked that the kingdom of Jesus is the “kingdom of truth and life, the kingdom of sanctity and grace, the kingdom of justice, love and peace”, and he commented on today's readings show how the Lord established his kingdom, how He brings it about as history unfolds, and what He now asks of us.

Jesus brought about his kingdom “through his closeness and tenderness towards us”, as the prophet Ezekiel foresaw in the first reading that describes the attitude of the Shepherd towards His flock, using the verbs such as to seek, to keep watch, to round up, to lead to pasture, to bring to rest; to seek the lost sheep, to tend to the wounded, to heal the sick, to care for and to graze. “Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings. In this respect, the People of God have an unerring sense for recognising good shepherds and distinguishing them from hirelings”.

After his victory, that is, after the Resurrection – Jesus' kingdom grew, but it was not a kingdom according to earthly models. “For Him, to reign was not to command, but to obey the Father, to give Himself over to the Father, so that His plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfilment. … The Gospel teaches what Jesus' kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged. … The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus' works of mercy through which He brought about his kingdom”. He explained that those who accomplish these works show that they have understood and welcomed Jesus' sovereignty, because they have opened their hearts to God's charity. “In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. … Jesus has opened to us His kingdom to us, but it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now – his kingdom begins now – by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who as for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity, catechesis”.

“Today the Church places before us the examples of these new saints. Each in her or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters. They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. They dedicated themselves without reserve to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and the measure of their unconditional love of God. In fact, they sought and discovered love in a strong and personal relationship with God, from whence springs forth love for one's neighbour”. Pope Francis concluded, “Through the rite of canonisation, we have confessed once again the mystery of God's kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for His sheep. May our new saints, through their witness and intercession, increase within us the joy of walking in the way of the Gospel and our resolve to embrace it as the compass of our lives”.


Angelus: the example of the new saints revives spirit of harmony and reconciliation


Vatican City, 23 November 2014 (VIS) – After celebrating Holy Mass for the canonisation of six blesseds, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and greeted in particular the official delegations from Italy and India, the homelands of the new Saints.

“The example of the four Italian saints born in the provinces of Vicenza, Naples, Cosenza and Rimini helps the Italian people to revive the spirit of collaboration and harmony for the common good, and to look to the future with hope, united and trusting in the closeness of God Who never abandons us, even in the most difficult moments”.

“Through the intercession of the two new Indian saints from Kerala, a great land of faith and priestly and religious vocations, may the Lord grant a new missionary impulse to the Church in India, which is very great, so that inspired by their example of harmony and reconciliation, Christians from India may continue on the path of solidarity and fraternal coexistence”.


The poor are also evangelisers as they show us the peripheries the Gospel has not reached, says Francis at the 4th Missionary Convention of the CEI


Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Pope received in audience the participants in the 4th Missionary Convention of the Italian Episcopal Conference, around eight hundred people. “Every generation is called to be missionary … from the very beginning”, affirmed the Holy Father. “Remember how the apostles Andrew and John encountered the Lord and then … set out, enthusiastic. The first thing they did was become missionaries. They went to their brothers and said, 'We have found the Lord, we have found the Messiah'”.

Following these unscripted remarks, Pope Francis went on to cite his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, in which he speaks of an outbound Church, and reiterated that a missionary can only be outbound, without fear of encounters, of discovering new things, and of speaking about the joy of the Gospel. “Not to proselytise, but to say what we have and want to share without imposition, with all and without distinction. … The particular Churches in Italy have done much. … I would like to repeat something that a Brazilian cardinal said to me: 'When I go to Amazonia – because he has the task of visiting dioceses in Amazonia – I go to the cemetery and see the tombs of missionaries. And there are many of them. And I think, these people could be canonised now!' It is the Church; they are the Churches of Italy”.

“Today I thank you for what you do in many areas … and I ask you to work with passion to keep this spirit alive. I see many laypeople alongside bishops and priests. The mission is the task of all Christians, not just the few. … The Italian Church, I repeat, has given many priests and laypeople fidei donum, who decide to spend their lives building up the Church in the peripheral areas of the world, among the poor and those who are far away. … I urge you, do not let yourselves be robbed of hope and the dream of changing the world with … the leaven of the Gospel, starting out from the human and existential peripheries. Reaching out means overcoming the temptation to talk among ourselves, forgetting the many who await from us a word of mercy, of consolation, of hope. Jesus' Gospel is fulfilled in history. Jesus Himself was a man from the outskirts, from Galilee, far from the centres of power of the Roman Empire and of Jerusalem. … However, His Word was the beginning of a transformation in history, the start of a spiritual and human revolution, the good news of a Lord Who died and rose again for us”.

The Pope encouraged those present to intensify their missionary spirit and their enthusiasm for the mission, without allowing themselves to be discouraged by difficulties and, above all, “beginning with children, who must receive a missionary catechesis. At times, even in the Church we are overcome by pessimism, which risks depriving many men and women of the announcement of the Gospel. Let us go ahead with hope! The many missionary martyrs to faith and charity are show us that victory is only in love and in a life spent for the Lord and for our neighbour, starting with the poor. The poor are the travelling companions of an outbound Church, as they are the first She encounters. The poor are also your evangelisers, as they show you those peripheries where the Gospel has yet to be proclaimed and lived”.

“Reaching out means not remaining indifferent to destitution, war, the violence in our cities, the neglect of the elderly, the anonymity of many people in need and marginalisation from little ones. Reaching out means not accepting that in our Christian cities the are many children who do not know how to make the sign of the Cross. This is reaching out. It means being builders of peace, of the 'peace' that the Lord gives us every day and of which the world is so in need. Missionaries never give up their dream of peace, even when they experience difficulties and persecution, which make their presence strongly felt today”.


Francis: overcome the isolation that burdens the autistic and their families


Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience the participants in the 29th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Workers (for Health Pastoral Care), dedicated to autism, including persons affected by this disorder and their families.

The Pope thanked the organisers of the Conference for having chosen such a complex theme, “which appeals directly to the responsibility of governments and institutions, without forgetting, of course, Christian communities”, and he emphasised the need for common efforts to promote “acceptance, encounter and solidarity … to break through the isolation and, in many cases, the stigma that burdens people affected by autism spectrum disorders, and frequently also their families”.

“This does not mean an anonymous and impersonal accompaniment, but instead and above all listening to the profound needs that emerge from within a disorder that is not only often difficult to diagnose, but which does not easily find acceptance without shame and solitude. In the assistance of those affected … it would be helpful to create, throughout the country, a network of support and services, complete and accessible, involving not only parents but also grandparents, friends, therapists, teachers and pastoral workers. These figures may help families to overcome the sensations of inadequacy, inefficacy and frustration that may emerge”.

Pope Francis went on to thank, personally and on behalf of the Church, the families and religious groups and various associations present for the work they carry out every day with persons affected by autism, and encouraged scholars and researchers in the arduous task of discovering therapies and support mechanisms in the treatment and above all the prevention of these disorders. He concluded, “All this is to be done with the necessary attention to the rights of those affected, considering their needs and their potential, and always safeguarding the dignity of every person”.


Ecclesial movements and new communities: conserve freshness of charism, respect freedom and seek communion

Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) – Conserve the freshness of charism, respect freedom and always seek communion were the three directions that Pope Francis outlined at the Third World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and based on the theme “The joy of the Gospel, a missionary joy”.

“The movements and communities you represent are now being projected into the phase of ecclesial maturity, which requires a vigilant attitude of permanent conversion, to render the evangelising impulse increasingly alive and fruitful”, said the Holy Father, who received the participants in the congress this morning in the Clementine Hall. Conversion and mission he said, are “intimately connected. Indeed, without an authentic conversion of heart and mind, the Gospel cannot be proclaimed; at the same time, if we are not open to mission, conversion is not possible and faith becomes sterile”.

With regard to the first indication, conserving the freshness of charism, Francis remarked that “as time goes by, there is a greater temptation to become comfortable, to become hardened in set ways of doing things, which, while reassuring, are nonetheless sterile. However, realities are more important than ideas; even if a certain institutionalisation of the charism is necessary for its survival, we ought not delude ourselves into thinking that external structures can guarantee the working of the Holy Spirit. The newness of your experiences does not consist in methods or forms, which are important, but rather in your willingness to respond with renewed enthusiasm to the Lord’s call”.

A further issue is how to welcome and accompany people today, especially the young. “Men and women today experience serious identity problems and have difficulty making proper choices; as a result, they tend to be conditioned and to delegate important decisions about their own lives to others. We need to resist the temptation of usurping individual freedom, of directing them without allowing for their growth in genuine maturity. Moral or spiritual progress that manipulates a person’s immaturity is only an apparent success, and one destined to fail. Christian education instead requires a patient accompaniment which is capable of waiting for the right moment for each person, as the Lord does with each one of us. Patience is the only way to love truly and to lead others into a sincere relationship with the Lord”.

Finally, movements must not forget that “the most precious good, the seal of the Holy Spirit, is communion”. ... For the world to believe that Jesus is Lord, it needs to see communion among Christians. If, on the other hand, the world sees divisions, rivalries and back-biting, regardless of the cause, how can we evangelise? Remember this further principle: 'Unity prevails over conflict', because our brothers and sisters are always of greater value than our personal attitudes; indeed, it is for our brothers and sisters that Christ has shed his blood. In addition, real communion cannot exist in Movements or in New Communities unless these are integrated within the greater communion of our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church. The whole is greater than the part, and the part only has meaning in relation to the whole. Communion also consists in confronting together and in a united fashion the most pressing questions of our day, such as life, the family, peace, the fight against poverty in all its forms, religious freedom and education”, concluded the Holy Father.


Telegram for the death of Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini


Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Vinicio Angelini for the death of Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini last night at the age of 98. He offers his condolences to the family of the deceased cardinal, to the diocesan community of Rome and to the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face, and expresses his affection for “this dear and esteemed pastor, who exercised his long and intense ministry to build up the Church in Rome, in Italy and in the world, first as part of Catholic Action, then with praiseworthy apostolic zeal in hospitals and nursing homes in Rome, and finally as president of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers (for Health Pastoral Care)”.

He continues, “I raise fervent prayers to the Lord that, by the intercession of the Mary Salus Populi Romani, He may receive this generous and distinguished man of the Church in joy and eternal peace, and I impart the comfort of my heartfelt apostolic blessing to those who mourn his passing”.


Private meeting between the Pope and the president of the Italian Republic


Vatican City, 22 November 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., announced yesterday that the Holy Father received in audience the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. The meeting, of a strictly private nature, took place in very cordial atmosphere and lasted over an hour.


Audiences


Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) – This afternoon the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and entourage.

On Saturday 22 November, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 24 November 2014 (VIS) – 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

- appointed Bishop Donald J. Hying, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milwaukee, U.S.A., as bishop of Gary (area 4,680, population 809,000, Catholics 189,000, priests 129, permanent deacons 64, religious 123), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Dale J. Melczek, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Fr. Victor Hlolo Phalana as bishop of Klerksdorp (area 34,800, population 1,500,000, Catholics 27,000, priests 24, permanent deacons 4, religious 11), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Erasmus, South Africa in 1961, and was ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a licentiate in spirituality from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and studied African culture at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including parish priest in the parishes of “Christ the King”, Mabopane, “Good Shepherd” and “St. Peter” in Winterveldt; professor in the preparatory seminary of Hammanskraal and Cape Town; spiritual director of the St. Peter philosophical seminary; teacher at the St. John Vianney major seminary, and teacher at the Lumuko Pastoral Institute. He is currently vicar general of the archdiocese of Pretoria and administrator of the Cathedral of Pretoria.

On Saturday 22 November, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Kieran O'Reilly of Killaloe, Ireland as metropolitan archbishop of Cashel and Emly (area 3,082, population 83,710, Catholics 82,118, priests 139, religious 196), Ireland. He succeeds Archbishop Dermot Clifford, whose resignation from the patoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Jean-Pierre Batut, auxiliary of Lyon, France, as bishop of Blois (area 6,422, population 340,729, Catholics 185,100, priests 98, permanent deacons 9, religious 121), France. He succeeds Bishop Maurice Le Begue de Germiny, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rev. Fr. William Nolan as bishop of Galloway (area 9,332, population 520,000, Catholics 47,700, priests 39, permanent deacons 3, religious 41), Scotland. The bishop-elect was born in Motherwell, Scotland in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He holds a degree in moral theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including vice rector of the Pontifical Scottish College in Rome, and in the diocese of Motherwell, parish priest of “Our Lady of Lourdes”, East Kilbride; judge of the National Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Scotland; head of continuing formation of clergy in the diocese, and deputy president of the presbyteral council. He is currently vicar general of Motherwell. He succeeds Bishop John Cunningham, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Stephen Marmion Lowe as bishop of Hamilton (area 49,700, population 678,000, Catholics 96,500, priests 49, religious 73), New Zealand. The bishop-elect was born in Hokitika, New Zealand in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He studied spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of Timaru North and chaplain of the Roncalli College, Christchurch. He is currently director of formation at the Holy Cross national seminary in Auckland, parish priest of Ponsonby and administrator of Herne Bay in the diocese of Auckland. He succeeds Bishop Denis George Browne, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rev. Fr. John Yaw Afoakwa as bishop of Obuasi (area 6,350, population 1,394,910, Catholics 102,260, priests 84, religious 31), Ghana. The bishop-elect was born in Akrokerry, Ghana in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a B.A. in religious education from the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, a B.A. in religion with sociology from the University of Ghana in Accra, and an M.Sc. in Education from the Le Moyne College, Syracuse, U.S.A. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including teacher and chaplain at the Christ the King Secondary School in Obuasi; director of the diocesan Catechetics Office and the diocesan department of social communications; rector of the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Akaporiso; and parish vicar at the Blessed Trinity Parish in the diocese of Rochester, U.S.A.. He currently teaches at the Bodwesango Senior High School, and is rector of the St. Louis Rectorate and chaplain of the St. Louis Clinic, Bodwesango.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Henryk Wejman as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamien (area 12,754, population 1,053,713, Catholics 1,000,000, priests 663, religious 250), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Recz, Poland in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1984. He holds a licentiate in theology of spirituality and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including: teacher and spiritual director in the major seminary of Szczecin, parish priest in the St. Albert Chmielowski parish, and adjunct professor in the Institute of philosophy of the University of Szczecin and the “Adam Mickiewicz” University of Poznan. He is currently professor of moral and spiritual theology and dean of the faculty of theology of the University of Sczcecin, and member of the College of Consultors and the presbyteral council.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, presented by Archbishop Louis Kebreau, S.D.B., upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Archbishop Max Leroy Mesidor, currently coadjutor of the same archdiocese.

- appointed Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria, as his special envoy at the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine, to be held in Kiev on 10 December 2014.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Pope to participants in the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants: “Migration is an aspiration to hope”


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – “Migration is still an aspiration to hope, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic”, said the Pope in his address to the participants in the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, affirming the powerful hope that inspires many inhabitants of troubled areas throughout the world to seek a better future for their families in other places, even at the risk of disappointment and failure. This, he remarked, is caused in great part by the economic crisis which, to differing degrees, affects every country.

The three-day Congress highlighted the dynamics of cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migrants. “First and foremost you have analysed the factors which cause migration, in particular: inequality, poverty, overpopulation, the growing need for employment in some sectors of the global job market, disasters caused by climate change, wars and persecution, and the desire of younger people to relocate as they seek new opportunities. Moreover, the link between cooperation and development shows, on the one hand, the difference of interests between states and migrants, and, on the other hand, the opportunities which derive for both”.

“In effect, receiving nations draw advantages from employing immigrants for production needs and national prosperity, not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis”, observed the Holy Father. “In turn, the nations which migrants leave show a certain reduction in unemployment and, above all, benefit from earnings which are then sent back to meet the needs of families which remain in the country. Emigrants, in the end, are able to fulfil the desire for a better future for themselves and their families. Yet we know that some problems also accompany these benefits. We find in the countries of origin, among other things, an impoverishment due to the so-called 'brain drain', the effects on infants and young people who grow up without one or both parents, and the risk of marriages failing due to prolonged absences. In the receiving nations, we also see difficulties associated with migrants settling in urban neighbourhoods which are already problematic, as well as their difficulties in integrating and learning to respect the social and cultural conventions which they find. In this regard, pastoral workers play an important role through initiating dialogue, welcoming and assisting with legal issues, mediating with the local population. In the countries of origin, on the other hand, the closeness of pastoral workers to the families and children of migrant parents can lessen the negative repercussions of the parents’ absence”.

However, the Congress affirmed that the implications of the Church's pastoral concern in the overall context of cooperation, development and migration go much further, and “it is here that the Church has much to say. The Christian community, in fact, is continuously engaged in welcoming migrants and sharing with them God’s gifts, in particular the gift of faith”. Furthermore, the Church “promotes pastoral plans for the evangelisation and support of migrants throughout their journey from their country of origin, through countries of transit, to the receiving countries. She gives particular attention to meeting the spiritual needs of migrants through catechesis, liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments”.

“Sadly”, he added, “migrants often experience disappointment, distress, loneliness and marginalisation. In effect, the migrant worker has to deal with the problem both of being uprooted and needing to integrate. Here the Church also seeks to be a source of hope: she develops programs of education and orientation; she raises her voice in defence of migrants’ rights; she offers assistance, including material assistance to everyone, without exception, so that all may be treated as children of God. When encountering migrants, it is important to adopt an integrated perspective, capable of valuing their potential rather than seeing them only as a problem to be confronted and resolved. The authentic right to development regards every person and all people, viewed integrally. This demands that all people be guaranteed a minimal level of participation in the life of the human community. How much more necessary must this be in the case of the Christian community, where no one is a stranger and, therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported”.

“The Church, beyond being a community of the faithful that sees the face of Jesus Christ in its neighbour, is a Mother without limits and without frontiers. She is the Mother of all and so she strives to foster the culture of welcome and solidarity, where no one is considered useless, out of place or disposable. … Migrants, therefore, by virtue of their very humanity, even prior to their cultural values, widen the sense of human fraternity. At the same time, their presence is a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses. In that way, migrants will be able to become partners in constructing a richer identity for the communities which provide them hospitality, as well as the people who welcome them, prompting the development of a society which is inclusive, creative and respectful of the dignity of all”.

The Pope concluded by invoking upon the participants in the Congress “the protection of Mary, Mother of God, and St. Joseph, who themselves experienced the difficulty of exile in Egypt”.


Video message to the participants in the 4th Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a video message to the participants in the fourth edition of the Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which this year focuses on the theme, “Beyond places, in time”. The title, he says, suggests various points for reflection, the first of which is the concept of “going beyond”. “The current situation of social and economic crisis can frighten us, disorientate us or seem so difficult that we conclude there is nothing we can do. The great temptation is to stop and tend to our own wounds, and find in that an excuse not to listen to the cry of the poor and the suffering of those who have lost the dignity of being able to put bread on the table because they have lost their jobs. And those who seek only to cure their own wounds end up preening themselves. This is a trap. The risk is that indifference makes us blind, deaf and mute, present only to ourselves, before the mirror, so that everything happens outside us. Men and women closed up in themselves”. This narcissism, he says, is not the right approach.

“We are required to go beyond this and to respond to real needs”, he continues. “To go overcome, it is necessary to take the initiative. … Nowadays, even in the economic sphere it is urgent to take the initiative, as the system tends to sanction everything and money takes control. The system leads to this form of globalisation which is not good and which sanctions everything. … Taking the initiative in these spheres means having the courage not to let oneself be imprisoned by money and short-term gains which enslave us. We need to find a new way of seeing things!”

“The real problem is not money though, but rather people: we cannot ask of money that which only people can do or create. Money alone does not lead to development: development requires people who have the courage to take initiative. And taking the initiative means developing activity capable of innovation, not only of a technological nature; it is also necessary to renew working relations, experimenting with new forms of participation and responsibility for workers, inventing new ways of entering the world of work, creating a bond of solidarity between business and territory. Taking initiative means overcoming 'assistentialism'”.

“Taking initiative also means considering love as the true motor of change”, he adds. “Freeing talents is the beginning of change; this action allows envy, jealousy, rivalry, disagreement and prejudice, and opening up to joy, to the joy of the new”. He emphasises that the question of talent is of particular relevance to the young: “If we want to go ahead, we must make decisive investments in them and trust in them”.

“'Going beyond places' is not the result of individual chance but of sharing an aim: history is a path towards fulfilment. If we act as a population, if we go ahead together, our existence will illustrate this meaning and this fullness”.


Francis: a strong and widespread desire to walk together


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

The Pontiff remarked that fifty years ago on 21 November, the dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, and the Decree on the Oriental Catholic Churches, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, were also published alongside Unitatis Redintegratio. These three profoundly connected texts offer the ecclesiological vision of Vatican Council II.

“Firstly, we can rejoice in the fact that the teaching of the Council has been widely received”, affirmed Francis. “In these years, on the basis of theological reasons rooted in the Scripture and in the tradition of the Church, the attitude of us as Catholics has changed in relation to Christians of other Churches and ecclesial communities. Hostility and indifference, which had dug trenches that it seemed impossible to fill and had inflicted deep wounds, now belong to the past, and a healing process has begun that enables us to accept others as brothers or sisters, in the profound unity born of Baptism”.

This change in mentality has made it possible to “deepen our contact with many Churches and ecclesial Communities, and to develop new forms of collaboration. In this respect, the ecumenical traditions of the Sacred Scripture have been very important. Christians of different Churches and ecclesial Communities work together in the service of suffering and needy humanity, for the defence of human life and its inalienable dignity, for the protection of creation and against the injustice that afflict many people and populations”.

He continued, “while we give thanks, we must acknowledge that Christians remain divided, and that divergence in relation to new anthropological and ethical themes complicates our path towards unity. However, we cannot give in to discouragement and resignation, but must continue to trust in God who plants seeds of love and unity in the hearts of Christians, so they can face today's ecumenical challenges with renewed zeal; to cultivate spiritual ecumenism, to recognise the value of ecumenism of blood, and to walk the path of the Gospel together”.

Spiritual ecumenism culminates in the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, “a worldwide network of moments of prayer that, from parochial to international level, infuse the body of the Church with the oxygen of genuine ecumenical spirit; a network of gestures, that unite us in working together charitably; and it is also the sharing of prayer, thoughts and other texts that circulate on the web and may contribute to increasing mutual knowledge, respect and esteem”.

With regard to ecumenism of blood, Unitatis Redintegratio invites us to recognise, “in the brothers and sisters of other Churches and Christian Communities, the capacity, given by God, to bear witness to Christ unto the sacrifice of their lives. These testimonies have not been lacking in these fifty years, and continue to this day. ... Those who persecute Christ in his faithful do not differentiate in terms of confession: they persecute them simply because they are Christians”.

The Pope went on to remark that, in recent months, encountering many non-Catholic Christians, and reading their letters, he has noted the existence of a “widespread and strong desire to walk together, to pray, to know and love the Lord, to collaborate in service and in solidarity with the weak and suffering. I am convinced of this: on a common path, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and learning from each other, we can grow in the communion that already unites us”.

“Fifty years on from Unitatis Redintegratio, the quest for full Christian unity remains a priority for the Catholic Church, and it is therefore one of my main daily concerns. Unity is, first and foremost, a gift from God and it is the work of the Holy Spirit, but we are all called to collaborate, always and in every circumstance”.




The Virgin Mary, protagonist of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Council for Coordination between the Pontifical Academies, on the occasion of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, devoted to the theme “Mary, icon of the infinite beauty of Dios Marialis cultus and the Marian teaching of Blessed Paul VI”, organised by the Pontifical International Marian Academy.

In his message, the Pope spoke about Blessed Paul VI's great love for the Virgin Mary, which he expressed on many occasions during his papacy, as well as in several documents, including his two encyclicals, Mense Maio and Christi Matri, dedicated to the Mother of God and the worship of her as Mater Ecclesiae. He also devoted three apostolic exhortations to Mary: Signum Magnum, Recurrens Mensis October and, finally, Marialis Cultus, published forty years ago this year.

“On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of Vatican Council II, established by Paul VI – not by chance – on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 1965, it is beautiful that you wish to make his voice through the recording of the homily in which he entrusts the fate of the Church, radically renewed through the Council assize, to Mary. On that solemn and historical occasion, Paul VI wished to commend the entire Church to Mary as the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother”.

Similarly, Francis recalled that in crucial and difficult moments for the Church and for humanity, Paul VI always turned to Mary, exhorting the people of God to pray for her intercession and protection, and invoking the gift of peace. “In the wake of the Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation, in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I too entrusted the way of the Church to Mary's maternal and caring intercession, reminding all believers that there is a Marian style to the evangelising activity of the Church, as every time we look to Mary we believe again in the revolutionary power of tenderness and affection. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but rather of the strong, who do not need to mistreat others to feel important”.

The Holy Father continued, “Let us not tire of learning from Mary, of admiring and contemplating her beauty, of letting ourselves be guided by her, she who leads us always to the original source and fullness of authenticity: infinite beauty, that of God, revealed to us in Christ, Son of the Father and Son of Mary”. The Pontiff concluded by awarding the Pontifical Academies Prize to the Italian Interdisciplinary Mariological Association, above all for more than twenty years of publishing the journal Theotokos, and the Pontifical Medal to the “Centro mariano de difusion cultural” of the Order of the Servants of Mary, in Mexico.

Audiences


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, president of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

- Bishop Enrico Dal Covolo, Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University;

- Bishop Anthony Sablan Apuron of Agana, Guam.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Rev. Fr. Ariel Lascarro Tapia as bishop of Magangue (area 20,165, population 838,000, Catholics 677,000, priests 70, religious 30), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Carmen de Bolivar, Colombia in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate in theology from the University of Navarra, Spain, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Cartagena, including parish priest of “San Estanislao Kostka”, “Inmaculada Concepcion”, “Maria, Madre de los pobres”, “Cristo Salvador”, “Maria, Madre de la Iglesia” and “Santa Catalina de Alejandria”; diocesan head of vocational pastoral ministry, delegate for missionary childhood and archdiocesan delegate for the biblical inspiration of pastoral care. He is currently archdiocesan vicar for pastoral care and parish priest of “Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro”, Bocagrande.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Moises Carlos Atisha Contreras, Sch.P., as bishop of San Marcos de Arica (area 16,512, population 198,400, Catholics 140,000, priests 37, deacons 29, religious 30), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago de Cile, Chile in 1969 and gave his religious vows and was ordained a priest in 1994. He has served as spiritual director of the “Colegio Hispano-americano y Calasanz” and as secretary of the National Commission for Youth Pastoral Care in the Chilean Episcopal Conference, and is currently parish priest of “La Ascension del Senor” in the archdiocese of Santiago.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Jorge Martin Torres Carbonell as auxiliary of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1983. He has served as parish priest of “Santa Clara”, “Nino Jesus” and “Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza” in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, as well as head of youth pastoral care in the archdiocese, episcopal vicar for the “Villas de Emergencia”, and dean and member of the presbyteral council. He is currently priest of the the Shrine of San Cayetano of Buenos Aires.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of La Serena, Chile, presented by Bishop Luis Carlos Gleisner Wobbe upon reaching the age limit.

Appointment of deputy editor of “L'Osservatore Romano”


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has appointed Giuseppe Fiorentino as deputy editor of “L'Osservatore Romano”. The new deputy director was previously a reporter for the same newspaper.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Pope at the Conference on Nutrition at the FAO: “The hungry ask for dignity, not charity”


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis visited the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, on the occasion of the second International Conference on Nutrition, taking place in Rome from 19 to 21 November.

Upon arrival the Holy Father was received by the director general of the FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva, the adjunct director, Oleg Chestnov and Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, Holy See Permanent Observer at the FAO.

The full text of the Pontiff's address, delivered in the Plenary Hall, is published below:

“I am pleased and honoured to speak here today, at this Second International Conference on Nutrition. I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm greeting and the words of welcome addressed to me. I cordially greet the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, and the Director General of the FAO, Professor José Graziano da Silva, and I rejoice in their decision to convene this conference of representatives of States, international institutions, and organisations of civil society, the world of agriculture and the private sector, with the aim of studying together the forms of intervention necessary in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, as well as the changes that must be made to existing strategies. The overall unity of purpose and of action, and above all the spirit of brotherhood, can be decisive in finding appropriate solutions. The Church, as you know, seeks always to be attentive and watchful regarding the spiritual and material welfare of the people, especially those who are marginalised or excluded, to ensure their safety and dignity.

“The fates of nations are intertwined, more than ever before; they are like the members of one family who depend upon each other. However, we live in a time in which the relations between nations are too often damaged by mutual suspicion, that at times turns into forms of military and economic aggression, undermining friendship between brothers and rejecting or discarding what is already excluded. He who lacks his daily bread or a decent job is well aware of this. This is a picture of today’s world, in which it is necessary to recognise the limits of approaches based on the sovereignty of each State, intended as absolute, and national interest, frequently conditioned by small power groups. Your working agenda for developing new standards and greater commitments to feed the world shows this well. From this perspective, I hope that, in the formulation of these commitments, the States are inspired by the conviction that the right to food can only be ensured if we care about the actual subject, that is, the person who suffers the effects of hunger and malnutrition.

“Nowadays there is much talk of rights, frequently neglecting duties; perhaps we have paid too little heed to those who are hungry. It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by “market priorities”, the “primacy of profit”, which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, and ask to be recognised as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity.

“These criteria cannot remain in the limbo of theory. Persons and peoples ask for justice to be put into practice: not only in a legal sense, but also in terms of contribution and distribution. Therefore, development plans and the work of international organisations must take into consideration the wish, so frequent among ordinary people, for respect for fundamental human rights and, in this case, the rights of the hungry. When this is achieved, then humanitarian intervention, emergency relief and development operations – in their truest, fullest sense – will attain greater momentum and bring the desired results.

“Interest in the production, availability and accessibility of foodstuffs, climate change and agricultural trade should certainly inspire rules and technical measures, but the first concern must be the individual as a whole, who lacks daily nourishment and has given up thinking about life, family and social relationships, instead fighting for survival. St. John Paul II, in the inauguration in this hall of the First Conference on Nutrition in 1992, warned the international community against the risk of the “paradox of plenty”, in which there is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes. Unfortunately, this “paradox” remains relevant. There are few subjects about which we find as many fallacies as those related to hunger; few topics as likely to be manipulated by data, statistics, the demands of national security, corruption, or futile lamentation about the economic crisis. This is the first challenge to be overcome.

“The second challenge to be faced is the lack of solidarity; we suspect that subconsciously we would like to remove this word from the dictionary. Our societies are characterised by growing individualism and division: this ends up depriving the weakest of a decent life, and provokes revolts against institutions. When there is a lack of solidarity in a country, the effects are felt throughout the world. Indeed, solidarity is the attitude that makes people capable of reaching our to others and basing their mutual relations on this sense of brotherhood that overcomes differences and limits, and inspires us to seek the common good together.

“Human beings, as they become aware of being partly responsible for the plan of creation, become capable of mutual respect, instead of fighting between themselves, damaging and impoverishing the planet. States, too, understood as a community of persons and peoples, are required to act concertedly, to be willing to help each other through the principles and norms offered by international law. A source of inspiration is natural law, inscribed in the human heart, that speaks a language that everyone can understand: love, justice, peace, elements that are inseparable from each other. Like people, States and international institutions are called to welcome and nurture these values – love, justice, peace – and this must be done with a spirit of dialogue and mutual listening. In this way, the aim of feeding the human family becomes feasible.

“Every woman, man, child and elderly person everywhere should be able to count on these guarantees. It is the duty of every State that cares for the wellbeing of its citizens to subscribe to them unreservedly, and to take the necessary steps to ensure their implementation. This requires perseverance and support. The Catholic Church also offers her contribution in this field through constant attention to the life of the poor in all parts of the world; along the same lines, the Holy See is actively involved in international organisations and through numerous documents and statements. In this way, it contributes to identifying and assuming the criteria to be met in order to develop an equitable international system. These are criteria that, on the ethical plane, are based on the pillars of truth, freedom, justice and solidarity; at the same time, in the legal field, these same criteria include the relationship between rights and food, and the right to life and a dignified existence, the right to be protected by law, not always close to the reality of those who suffer from hunger, and the moral obligation to share the economic wealth of the world.

“If we believe in the principle of the unity of the human family, based on the common paternity of God the Creator, and in the fraternity of human beings, no form of political or economic pressure that exploits the availability of foodstuffs can be considered acceptable. Political and economic pressure: here I think of our sister and mother, Earth, our planet, and of whether we are free of political and economic pressure and able to care for her, to avoid her destruction. We have two conferences ahead of us, in Perù and France, which pose the challenge to us of caring for our planet. I remember a phrase that I heard from an elderly man many years ago: God always forgives … our misdemeanours, our abuse, God always forgives; men forgive at times; but the Earth never forgives. We must care for our sister the Earth, our Mother Earth, so that she does not respond with destruction. But, above all, no system of discrimination, de facto or de jure, linked to the capacity of access to the market of foodstuffs, must be taken as a model for international efforts that aim to eliminate hunger.

“By sharing these reflections with you, I ask that the Almighty, God rich in mercy, bless all those who, with different responsibilities, place themselves at the service of those who experience hunger and who assist them with concrete gestures of closeness. I also pray that the international community might hear the call of this Conference and consider it an expression of the common conscience of humanity: feed the hungry, save life on the planet. Thank you”.


Intense work by the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops will meet on 18 and 19 November to reflect on the results of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held during October, and to prepare for the 14 th General Ordinary Assembly on the theme “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world”, to be held from 4 to 25 October 2015.

The Holy Father will chair the Council on Tuesday 18 and his presence will underline the importance he accords to the Synod as an expression of episcopal collegiality and to the family, the theme of the two Assemblies: the extraordinary Assembly held this year and the Ordinary one, in the preparatory stages.

Alongside the secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the under-secretary, Archbishop Fabio Fabene, the meeting was attended by Cardinals Christoph Schonborn, Wilfried F. Napier, Peter K.A. Turkson, George Pell, Donald W. Wuerl, and Luis A. Tagle, and by Archbishops Bruno Forte and Salvatore Fisichella. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also participated by invitation.

In his introduction to the work of the Synod, the secretary general emphasised the climate of freedom and sincerity and the spirit of fraternal communion that characterised the Assembly, in which everyone was encouraged to contribute. Also, the final document, the Relatio Synodi, faithfully reflects the multi-faceted results of the Synod and offers a good summary of the process that took place during the Assembly.

In the meeting, it was agreed that the current period between the two Assemblies, which is unprecedented in the history of the Synod as an institution, is of great importance. It is necessary to take the path followed so far as a starting point and to make the most of this special opportunity to deepen knowledge of the themes and to promote discussion at the level of the episcopal conferences, finding the means and the tools necessary to further involve various ecclesial bodies in the synodal reflection on the family. Various ideas on communication were also considered, which may be useful in view of the preparation for the upcoming Ordinary Assembly.

The majority of the work was devoted to the preparation of the Lineamenta for the next Ordinary Assembly. The guidelines will be made up, as previously indicated, of the Relatio Synodi, accompanied by a series of points to help in its reception and elaboration.

The Lineamenta are expected to be sent to the Episcopal Conferences at the beginning of December, so that the answers can be received in good time to allow them to be developed in the Instrumentum Laboris before the summer of 2015.


The joy of the Gospel is a missionary joy


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Third World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities began in Rome today. Organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the meeting is a response to the appeal for missionary conversion launched by Pope Francis to all Christians in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.

The congress – the third of this type following those held during the pontificates of St. John Paul II in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2006 – will be attended by more than 300 members of lay associations from 40 countries, gathered to explore the theme “The joy of the Gospel: a missionary joy”.

The congress was inaugurated by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who recalled the rich teaching of the last three pontiffs on what St. John Paul II defined as “the new season of associations of the faithful”. The cardinal emphasised that St. John Paul II closely followed and guided the rapid development of ecclesial movements and new communities, accompanying them with his clear and enlightening words … and indicated a new phase in the life of new charisms, which would necessarily have to follow their initial flourish – the phase of ecclesial maturity”.

For Pope Benedict XVI, he continued, “the multiple forms and the unity of charisms and ministries are inseparable in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit desires the multiplicity of movements in the service of the single Body that is the Church”.

Pope Francis well knows the reality of ecclesial movements, insists that the new charisms “are not a closed patrimony, consigned to a specific group to guard it; they are rather gifts from the Spirit integrated into the ecclesial body, attracted towards the centre that is Christ, from where they are channeled into an evangelical impulse”.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli as bishop of Broken Bay (area 2,763, population 930,000, Catholics 395,000, priests 109, permanent deacons 6, religious 155), Australia. Bishop Comensoli is currently auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

General Audience: We are all called to be holy


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – As is usual on Wednesday morning, the Pope toured St. Peter's Square to greet the faithful and pilgrims awaiting him before the beginning of the General Audience. He dedicated today's catechesis to the universal vocation to sanctity, to provide an answer to the question, “In what does this universal vocation consist? And how can we fulfil it?”

“Firstly, we must take into account that sanctity is not something that we procure, that we obtain ourselves through our qualities and capacities. Sanctity is a gift, it is the gift that the Lord Jesus gives to us, when He takes us with Him and clothes us in Himself, making us like Him”, he said. “Sanctity is the most beautiful face of the Church: it is rediscovering oneself in communion with God, in the fullness of His life and His love. … It is not the prerogative of the few: sanctity is a gift that is offered to all, without exclusion, and which therefore constitutes the distinctive characteristic of every Christian”.

“To be holy”, he continued, “it is not necessary to be bishops, priests or religious. … We are all called to be holy! … It is by living with live and offering one's own Christian witness in our everyday occupations that we are called to become holy; and each person in the condition and in the state of life in which he finds himself”: consecrated persons, married couples, unmarried baptised persons, parents, grandparents, catechists, educators and volunteers. “Every state of life leads to sanctity, if lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of one's brethren”.

Pope Francis urged those present to examine their consciences, asking how they could respond to the Lord's call to sanctity. He emphasised that when the Lord calls us to be holy, he does not ask us to do something weighty or sad, but rather offers us an invitation to share in his joy. “If we understand it in this way, everything changes and acquires a new meaning, beautiful, starting from the little things of everyday life. … And each step towards sanctity will make us better people, free of selfishness and self-centredness, and open to our brothers and their needs”. He added, “we do not walk the path of sanctity alone, each for himself, but rather together, in that single body that is the Church, loved and sanctified by the Lord Jesus Christ”, and concluded by encouraging those present to continue on this path.

New appeal for the Holy Land: building peace is difficult, but life without peace is a torment


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – “I follow with great concern the alarming increase in tension in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land, with unacceptable episodes of violence that do not even spare places of worship”, said the Pope following today's catechesis. “I assure a special prayer for all the victims of this dramatic situation and for those who suffer its consequences. From the depths of my heart, I appeal to those parties involved to put an end to this spiral of hate and violence and to take courageous decisions for reconciliation and peace. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a torment!”

He went on to remark that on Friday 21 November, the liturgical memory of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy at the Temple, Pro Orantibus Day will be celebrated, dedicated to cloistered religious communities. “It offers a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, devote themselves to God in prayer and constructive silence, acknowledging the primacy due solely to Him. Let us thank the Lord for the witness of cloistered life and ensure that they do not lack our spiritual and material support in order to fulfil their important mission".

In his greetings in various languages, the Pope addressed the Polish pilgrims who yesterday celebrate the memory of Blessed Karolina Koszka, virgin and martyr, on the centenary of her death. “This young girl fulfilled her vocation to sanctity, dedicating herself to the service of those close to her through her purity of heart and fidelity to Christ unto death. May her example encourage all, especially the young, to seek ways to sanctity, even if this involves going against contemporary tendencies to seek an easy life, concentrating on selfish pleasure. I entrust the members of the “Pure Hearts Movement” to the protection of their Blessed patroness”.

Finally, the Holy Father greeted in Italian the young professionals, businesspeople and social entrepreneurs who are participating in the congress organised by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Pontifical Universities of Rome, to promote approaches and attitudes to overcome social and economic exclusion. “I hope that this initiative may contribute to favouring a new mentality in which money is not considered an idol to be served, but rather a means for pursuing the common good”, he concluded.


Cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migration must focus on positive aspects


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – ““Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations” is the theme of the 7th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and taking place from 17 to 21 November. The meeting will be attended by more than three hundred people from 93 countries of all five continents, and will be structured in relation to three themes: the diaspora, migrants as partners, and the dignity of the migrant. In addition, during the conference eleven episcopal conferences will present their pastoral work with migrants and at the end of the meeting a final document will be drawn up, to serve as a guide for the next five years.

The Congress is so designed that each day is dedicated to a different topic within the wider context of the theme of this Event: “Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations”. Our plan of action is structured in such a way so as to culminate, through the different conferences and further debates that elaborate on the key note addresses, in the personal exchange and the expression of concrete ideas and thoughts in the Working Groups of the afternoon. My dear friends, we are here not only to share our experiences and ideas, but to work together to elaborate recommendations and ideas that will be of assistance to each one of us in our pastoral care for the next few years.

The speakers in the inaugural session will be Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council, the Italian minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, and the director general of the International Organisation for Migration (OMI), William Lacy Swing. A text sent by Msgr. Antonio Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States, will also be read.

Cardinal Veglio spoke on the challenges of the migratory phenomenon and the situations of emergency that require the attention of the international community, emphasising the risk that the destination countries receive migrants with hostility, distrust and prejudice. As a response to this problem he proposed two major lines of action: cooperation and development which, in the specific context of pastoral care, must accentuate the positive aspect of migratory phenomena.

The minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, acknowledged that migration constitutes a political and institutional priority, and affirmed that receiving and helping immigrants is a responsible decision that Europe must take “to demonstrate in practice that the protection of every human life is the first duty of a State that wishes to define itself as civilised and democratic”. The director of the International Organisation for Migration underlined the absolute priority of welcoming all immigrants and saving every human life, citing the example of the Italian “Mare Nostrum” project, and reiterated the need for more functional cooperation between the states of the European Union to better face salvage operations.

Finally, Msgr. Camilleri, in his discourse, referred to the Church's ongoing commitment to accompanying countries and peoples on their path, often troubled and full of the unpredictable aspects linked to dislocation, and underlined the urgency of combating phenomena such as criminality and violence linked to migration.

In his presentation of the Conference Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council, recalled that in the diaspora – “when migrants often leave behind their families and relatives in the hope of sending back remittances to better their economic and social status, and one day finding a way to help them migrate abroad as well” - there clearly emerges the theme of the family, whose care “requires not only cooperation between the country of origin and the country of destination, but also a strong cooperation between the Church of origin, and the Church which welcomes the migrant family”.

With reference to migrants as partners, he remarked that they contribute and cooperate substantially to the well-being and to the development not only of their country of origin, but of their country of adoption, and emphasised the need of improving public perception of migrants and immigration. He also spoke on the role of women migrants, whose movement in the past was closely linked to family reunification, whereas now they are “protagonists and leading players along with their male counterparts in the role that they undertake in today’s society”.

With regard to the final theme, the dignity of the migrant, the archbishop commented that it is a concept that derives from the acknowledgement that all persons are created in God’s own image and likeness and that religious, ethnic, social and cultural variables, citizenship or lack thereof, do not change this fact that gives any individual an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity. The prelate concluded his presentation by noting the potential of young migrants in building social, economic, cultural and religious bridges of cooperation and understanding across societies and Church communities.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Rev. Fr. Hilario Gonzalez Garcia as bishop of Linares (area 33,453, population 407,000, Catholics 360,000, priests 42, religious 58), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a licentiate from the Pontifical University of Mexico and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Monterrey, including spiritual director, prefect of studies in philosophy and vice rector of the major seminary; chaplain in various female religious communities; and executive secretary of the Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Mexican Episcopal Conference. He is currently rector of the major seminary of Monterrey. He succeeds Bishop Ramon Calderon Batres, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rene Bruelhart, director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), as president of the same Authority.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Pope receives in audience the President of Senegal: Church's commitment to peace and national reconciliation


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the secretary for Relations with States, His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

During the discussions, the cordial relations between the Holy See and Senegal were noted, and the important contribution offered by the Church in the sectors of education and healthcare was underlined, as well as her generous and greatly appreciated commitment to promoting peace and national reconciliation.

Finally, there was an exchange of views on various themes of international interest, with particular reference to the current situations of crisis in the Region.

International Conference on autism: three days to inspire hope


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the 29th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, on the theme “The person with autism spectrum disorders: animating hope”, which will take place in the Vatican from 20 to 22 November.

The speakers were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care); Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu and Fr. Augusto Chendi, M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery; and Stefano Vicari, head of the Department of Child Neuropsychiatry at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, Rome.

Archbishop Zimowski explained that the term “autism” was first used by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911 to describe the introversion of schizophrenic patients. Subsequently, in 1943, his colleague Leo Kanner described the disorder for the first time, affirming that autistic children were born with a congenital incapacity to establish normal contact with other people. It is currently defined as a “neuro-behavioural disturbance (also known as Kanner's Syndrome) of a pervasive type”, of multifactorial origin. In general, autism spectrum disorders manifest themselves before the age of three, and are life-long. The most recent statistics confirm that around 1% of children worldwide are affected.

“The many difficulties, including those of an ethical, moral and spiritual nature, faced by those with autism spectrum disorders and their carers have led us to choose such an important, difficult and delicate theme for this conference”, the prelate explained. “It will be a special occasion for observing the advances that have been made in research and treatment, as well as legal and political-administrative aspects; three valuable days for listening and exchanging experiences, and learning from the world's most qualified specialists.”

The Conference will be attended by more than 650 people from 57 different countries, and will include an encounter with the Holy Father during the Wednesday general audience, as well as an exhibition of paintings by the Taiwanese autistic artist Leland Lee, a moment of prayer and testimonies from people affected by autism spectrum disorders, their families, and associations. Various famous Italian singers will offer a musical contribution.


The Holy See at the United Nations: civilians are the first victims of conventional weapons


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in Geneva spoke at the annual meeting of Parties to the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW), held on 13 November.

Speaking in English, the prelate presented three issues to be considered. First, he spoke on the work carried out on lethal autonomous weapons systems. He emphasised that, with regard to the automation and consequent risk of the dehumanisation of war, a global – “scientific, legal, cultural, economic, ethical, and humanitarian” – rather than solely military approach is indispensable. He added, “I would like to reaffirm our wish that the mandate regarding this topic be renewed taking into account the importance of preserving an official trace of the statements, documents, debates and discussions”.

Secondly, he considered the theme of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. “With growing urbanisation of the world population, the tendency of urban wars will increase. How to protect the civilian populations? What should we do to safeguard civil infrastructures, indispensable for the livelihood of large communities? … What is certain, from the observations and data presently available, is that civilian populations are the first victims of conflicts. In many cases, they have no protection: millions of refugees and displaced people, a majority of them civilian victims, a great number are women and children; there is total or partial destruction of numerous urban centres; total disorganisation of social, academic, economic and political life; the exacerbation of hatred and of feelings of revenge that makes the re-establishment of peace and national reconstruction more difficult, if not impossible. It seems to me that an essential question touches all States parties: Does the CCW have something to say and do in such a situation? For the credibility and the integrity of the Convention and for the respect of the numerous victims, I would like to suggest adding this question to the agenda of the CCW”.

Finally, he mentioned the use of armed drones. “We are witnessing a certain proliferation of this technology and a growing use of it in various conflicts. … The choice of indifference in relation to this question is counter-productive. The fact of not addressing problems at the right moment can have disastrous consequences and make them almost insoluble, as experience in other domains teaches us”. He concluded by emphasising that “there is still time for the CCW to become interested in drones before they become an additional source of greater destabilisation when the international community needs, more than ever, stability, cooperation and peace”.


Fifty years on from the Council decree Unitatis Redintegratio


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – On 21 November 1964, after a long and laborious process, the Council Fathers approved the decree on ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio” by 2,137 votes to 11. The document, which undoubtedly marked a qualitative leap in the relations between the Catholic Church and the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, continues to represent an indispensable point of reference for the Catholic Church in her commitment to ecumenism.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the decree with two events. On Thursday, 20 November, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Vespers will be celebrated, open to all, and attended by the members and consultors of this Council and the representatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome, to give thanks to God for the fruits already gathered along the path of ecumenism during these last fifty years, and to invoke His blessing for the road that still lies ahead.

On 21 November a meeting will take place in the Great Hall of the Pontifical Gregorian University, during which the Pastors and theologians of the Catholic Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities will reread the Council decree, each from his own point of view, discussing today's ecumenical challenges and those that await us in the future. The moderator of the event will be Professor Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano, and the speakers will be Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Bishop Irinej Bulovic of Backa, the Serb Orthodox Patriarch; Professor Timothy George of the Baptist World Alliance; Fr. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap., of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Teny Pirri Simonian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia; and Friederike Nussel of the Lutheran Church.

The meeting will conclude the Council's plenary session, which will take place from 18 to 21 November and will focus on the theme: “The aim of ecumenism: principles, opportunities and challenges, fifty years after 'Unitatis Redintegratio'”. Fifty years after its promulgation, the dicastery considers it useful to examine how the Council degree continues to inspire the ecumenical efforts of the Catholic Church in a changing landscape.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service