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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Vatican City, 12 June 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of an English-language statement released by the director of the Holy See Press Office concerning a meeting held at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR.

"Today the superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the president and executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States of America. Archbishop Peter J. Sartain of Seattle, the Holy See’s delegate for the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting.

"The meeting provided the opportunity for the Congregation and the LCWR officers to discuss the issues and concerns raised by the doctrinal assessment in an atmosphere of openness and cordiality.

"According to Canon Law, a conference of major superiors such as the LCWR is constituted by and remains under the supreme direction of the Holy See in order to promote common efforts among the individual member institutes and cooperation with the Holy See and the local conference of bishops (cf. Code of Canon Law, canons 708-709). The purpose of the doctrinal assessment is to assist the LCWR in this important mission by promoting a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium.


Vatican City, 12 June 2012 (VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held a plenary meeting today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, to continue negotiations pursuant to the Fundamental Agreement article 10 paragraph 2.

"The negotiations took place in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere. The Commission took notice that significant progress was made towards the conclusion of the Agreement", reads an English-language communique made public today.

"The Commission further acknowledged the exemplary service of Archbishop Antonio Franco and Ambassador Mordechay Lewy on the occasion of their retirement.

"The Parties have agreed on future steps and to hold the next plenary meeting on 6 December 2012 at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs".

The Holy See delegation was headed by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States, and the Israeli delegation by Danny Ayalon M.K. deputy minister of Foreign Affairs.


Vatican City, 12 June 2012 (VIS) - Given below are extracts from an interview given to Vatican Radio by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States, concerning the conclusion of the plenary meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel.

Question: Over recent days there have been persistent rumours in some circles that the Agreement, which has been in preparation for thirteen years, would finally be signed. Yet it was not signed. What has happened?

Answer: Nothing in particular. It is true that in some circles there was talk of signing the Agreement, but that was not in fact scheduled. As I have said before, progress has been made, but questions still remain to be resolved.

Q: There has been concern among Palestinians that, by signing this Agreement, the Holy See would indirectly recognise Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem and other territory occupied in the war of 1967.

A: The Agreement in question concerns the life, activity and tax status of the Catholic Church in Israel. It does not enter into territorial disputes. There will be no mention of East Jerusalem or of anywhere in the West Bank.

Q: But there has been talk of a draft agreement in which certain places in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are mentioned.

A: Since the beginning of the negotiations we have worked on a plan for a Comprehensive Agreement which also included the so-called 'Schedule One'; that is, a list of individual properties belonging to the Holy See and to certain institutions of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land which, over the years, have been subjected to onerous provisions by Israel. And it is true that some of those properties are in East Jerusalem or in areas occupied in 1967. The aim was to resolve concrete problems. However, for some time now, it has been decided that the Agreement to be signed will only deal with certain properties which are not in East Jerusalem or the West Bank. Therefore it is incorrect to say that, by this Agreement, the Holy See would be violating the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war. The confusion and concern were due to the undue use of a working instrument, which has long since been superseded and which, in any case, is still being elaborated.

Q: Has the position of the Holy See on East Jerusalem changed?

A: The Holy See's position has not changed. It was affirmed in the 'Basic Agreement' between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), it has been reiterated on various occasions, and will be mentioned again in the 'Global Agreement' with the PLO, currently being prepared.

Q: A final question. It has been written that this Agreement which the Holy See is preparing with Israel will damage agreements that France, Italy and other countries have with Israel.

A: That is untrue, The Agreement concerns the Holy See and the State of Israel, and has no effect on agreements Israel has made with other States. The validity of those agreements depends first and foremost on the will of the parities involved and not on the existence of an agreement those parties have with a third party, in this case the Holy See. This is, moreover, a commonly accepted principle of international law.


Vatican City, 12 June 2012 (VIS) - "As of 31 July 2012 the Vatican Information Service (VIS) will cease to exist as a separate office providing information distinct from the Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. However, the subscribers of VIS will continue to receive a comprehensive information service", according to a communique released this morning by the Holy See Press Office.

"As part of the development and coordination of the Holy See's social communications activities, and following guidance received from the Secretariat of State, the personnel of VIS will be transferred. Some of them will go to reinforce the multilingual 'news.va' portal which was established a year ago in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, others will be employed in the multilingual development of the Press Office Bulletin.

"As is now well known, the 'news.va' portal gathers the principal news items concerning the Holy See and the life of the Church, as published daily by the Press Office, the 'Osservatore Romano', Vatican Radio and Fides News Agency. It then presents them in an easily accessible format, accompanied by Vatican Television Centre videos and photographs from the photographic service of the 'Osservatore Romano'. One of the characteristics of the portal - which currently operates daily in Italian, English, Spanish and French - is that it is structured in such a way as to make it easy to share the material on social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) and to make it accessible with new applications on mobile devices.

"The Press Office Bulletin has thus far been published principally in Italian, unless the original texts were in other languages, while VIS has worked regularly in four languages. Integrating the English-, French- and Spanish-language staff of VIS into the everyday activities of the Holy See Press Office will enable the online publication of the Bulletin to be renewed, with the inclusion of complete translations of various texts and language summaries of texts that cannot be fully translated. These measures will be gradually introduced beginning in September 2012.

"The translated parts of the Bulletin, together with the summaries in languages other than Italian, will continue to be sent to the 60,000 VIS subscribers who thus will not lose a service they have received and appreciated for so long. Moreover, the extensive archive of more than 85,000 articles in various languages, produced by VIS in more than twenty years of activity, will be conserved and integrated, with a simple and rapid search engine, into the site of the Press Office".


Vatican City, 12 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics of Riga, Lithuania; Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, and Bishop Donald Joseph Bolen of Saskatoon, Canada.

- As consultors of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: Fr. Aimable Musoni S.D.B., professor of ecclesiology and ecumenism at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome, and Fr. Robert Francis Christian O.P., vice dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

- As members of the Congregation for Catholic Education: Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Manila, Philippines; Archbishop Alfredo Horacio Zecca of Tucuman, Argentina; Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, and Bishop Charles Morerod O.P. of Lausanne, Geneve et Fribourg, Switzerland.

- Fr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage of the clergy of the diocese of Badulla, Sri Lanka, professor at the Faculty of Missiology at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, as under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service