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Friday, June 28, 2013


Vatican City, 28 June 2013 (VIS) - “Your presence is the sign of the profound bond that unites the Church of Constantinople with the Church of Rome in faith, in hope, and in charity,” Pope Francis said this morning on receiving the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarch, which had arrived in Rome to celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The tradition of exchanging visits for the occasions of the respective patronal feasts dates back to 1969. The Pope emphasized that “fraternal gathering is an essential part of the journey towards unity.”

The search for unity among Christians is an urgent task—you have said that 'it is not a luxury, but an imperative'—from which, today more than ever, we cannot prescind. In our world that hungers and thirsts for truth, love, hope, peace, and unity, our witness demands that we should at last be able to proclaim, with one voice, the good news of the Gospel and celebrate together the Divine Mysteries of our new life in Christ. We are well aware that unity is primarily a gift from Gift that we must pray for unceasingly, but we all have the task of preparing the conditions, of cultivating the soil of the heart so that this extraordinary grace may be received.”

Francis praised the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches'—which is headed by Metropolitan Ioannis and Cardinal Kurt Koch—fundamental contribution to the search for full communion. “The Commission has already produced many common texts and is now studying the theological and ecclesiological relationships between primacy and synodality in the life of the Church.” In this regard, the Pope commented on the significance of, today, “being able to reflect together in truth and charity on these issues, starting from what we have in common without, however, concealing that which still separates us. This isn't a theoretical exercise: it demands in-depth knowledge of one another’s traditions in order to understand them and sometimes also to learn from them. I am speaking, for example, of the Catholic Church's reflection on the meaning of episcopal collegiality and the tradition of synodality that is so characteristic of the Orthodox Churches.”

It comforts me,” he added, “knowing that Catholics and Orthodox share the same conception of dialogue that doesn't seek a theological minimalism on which to reach a compromise, but that rather is based on the deepening of the truth that Christ has given to his Church and that we, moved by the Holy Spirit, never cease to understand better. This is why we shouldn't be afraid of encounter and true dialogue. It doesn't distance us from the truth but rather, through an exchange of gifts, leads us, under the guidance of the Spirit of truth, to the whole truth.”

The Holy Father concluded his address to the ecumenical delegation, which tomorrow will attend a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Pope, by calling upon Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the Church of Rome, and the Apostle Andrew, patron of the Church of Constantinople, to intercede “for our faithful and for the needs of the whole world, especially the poor, the suffering, and those who are unjustly persecuted for their faith.”


Vatican City, 28 June 2013 (VIS) - The Pope's general prayer intention for July is: “That World Youth Day in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.”

His mission intention is: “That throughout Asia doors may open to messengers of the Gospel.”


Vatican City, 28 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, issued the following communique regarding the arrest, in Italy, of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, director of accounting analysis service of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), in the context of an investigation on corruption and fraud.

As has been made known in the past few days, Msgr. Nunzio Scarano was suspended from his position at the APSA over a month ago, as soon as his superiors were informed that he was under investigation. This is in compliance of the Regulations of the Roman Curia, which require the precautionary suspension of persons against whom prosecution has been initiated.”

The Holy See has still not received any request from the competent Italian authorities on the matter, but has confirmed its willingness to cooperate fully.”

The competent Vatican authority, the AIF (the Vatican Financial Information Authority), is following the issue in order to take, if necessary, appropriate measures within its competence.”


Vatican City, 28 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received:

   - Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain, and

   - Dr. Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.


Vatican City, 28 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

   - appointed Fr. Bruno Feillet as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Reims (area 6,931, population 619,000, Catholics 571,000, priests 127, permanent deacons 36, religious 260), France, assigning him the Titular See of Gaudiaba. The bishop-elect was born in Cauderan, Bordeaux, France in 1959 and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Cambrai in 1988. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral, academic, and diocesan-level roles, most recently, since 1998, as professor of Philosophy and Moral Theology, since 2007, as professor at the Universite Catholique d'ete for the Church of Morocco, since 2009, as pastor-dean of Valenciennes and its consortium, and, since 2010, as the diocesan director of permanent formation.

   - appointed Msgr. Angel Fernandez Collado as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Toledo (area , population , Catholics , priests , permanent deacons , religious ), Primate of Spain, assigning him the Titular See of Iliturgi. The bishop-elect was born in Los Cerralbos, Toledo, Spain in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1977. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral, administrative, academic, and diocesan-level roles, most recently: since 2001, as canon chaplain of the Primate Cathedral; since 2008, as vice-director and co-ordinator of the Biennial of Ecclesial History for the San Ildefonso Superior Institute of Theological Studies in Toledo; since 2003, as archivist of the Primate Cathedral and the Chapter Libraries; since 2010 as vicar general and moderator of the Curia; and, since 2012, as co-ordinator of the Historical Section of the Organization of Hispanic-Mozarabic Studies.

   - appointed Fr. Varghese Thottamkara, CM, as coadjutor of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nekemele (area 98,972, population 7,241,000, Catholics 55,453, priests 28, religious 85), Ethiopia, assigning him the Titular See of Chullu. The bishop-elect was born in Thottuva, Kerala, India, in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1987. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral, academic, administrative, missionary, and institutional roles, most recently, since 2010, as assistant to the superior general of the Congregation of Vincentian Fathers. From 1990-1993 He was vice rector and professor in the minor seminary of Ambo, Ethiopia, from 1993-1995 he was rector and professor of the Vincentian major seminary in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and from 1998-2005 he was the councillor of the Vincentian Ethiopian Province and professor at the St. Francis Theological Institute of Addis Abeba.

   - confirmed the election of Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., as Custos of the Holy Land and Guardian of Mount Zion for another three-year term.

   - appointed Msgr. Pietro Milite as promoter of justice of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. Msgr. Milite, of the clergy of the Diocese of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno, Italy, was previously notary of the same tribunal.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Vatican City, 27 June 2013 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued a press release today with the information that a delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will visit Rome from 27 to 29 June 2013 as part of the traditional exchange of delegations for their feasts of patron saints—29 June in Rome for the celebration of the Apostles Peter and Paul and 30 November in Istanbul for the celebration of St. Andrew the Apostle.

His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, co-president of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, will head the delegation and will be accompanied by His Eminence Athenagoras (Yves Peckstadt), bishop of Sinope and auxiliary of the metropolitan of Belgium, and Archimandrite Fr. Prodromos Xenakis, vice secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Church of Crete.

On Friday, 28 June, the Patriarchate's delegation will be received by the Holy Father Francis and then will talk with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. On Saturday, 29 June, the delegation's members will attend a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 27 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, there was a presentation of the agreement between Vatican Television and Canal 21 (the television channel of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina) as well as of the new Master Control Room that will make digital archiving possible. Speaking at the press conference were: Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of Vatican Television; Julio Rimoldi, director of Canal 21; and Stefano D'Agostini of Vatican Television.

Vatican Television is in the process of completely digitizing its television signals. The project, already begun with the acquisition of a high def mobile unit, is continuing with the building, in collaboration with Sony, of a new Master Control Room on the top floor of the Vatican Television building, which will be the hub of the signals.

The new, technologically advanced structure will allow the transformation into and usage of the signals as “files”, with clear advantages for their exchange and storage.

The entire process, from shooting, to editing, to archiving, will become “tapeless”, that is, without the use of the magnetic tapes that are still the weak point in the creation and maintenance of valuable archives such as Vatican Television's, which holds 30 years of images from the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis.

The agreement with Canal 21, which allows Vatican Television to acquire and distribute the Argentinian channel's large archives covering the activities of Cardinal Bergoglio up to 13 March 2013, the day of his election to the throne of Peter, is also part of this initiative.


Vatican City, 27 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:

  - Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and

  - Ms. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFO).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Vatican City, 26 June 2013 (VIS) – The image of the temple, to illustrate the mystery of the Church, was the theme chosen by Pope Francis for his catechesis in today's general audience.

The word “temple”, said the Holy Father, “makes us think of a building, of a construction. Most people's thoughts go, particularly, to the … great Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, the place to encounter God in prayer. Within the Temple was the Ark of the Covenant , the sign of God's presence among the people. Within the Ark were the Tablets of the Law, manna, and Aaron's rod, a reminder that God had always been in the history of his people, that He had always accompanied their journey, that He had guided their steps. The Temple recalls this story and when we go to the temple we must remember this story—the story of each of us [individually]—as Jesus has met me, as Jesus has walked with me, how Jesus loves and blesses me.”

What was prefigured in the ancient Temple is carried out, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Church. The Church is the 'house of God', the place of his presence.” The pontiff emphasized that the Temple of Solomon was built by the hands of men “to give God a 'home', to have a visible sign of his presence among his people. With the incarnation of the Son of God … it is God himself who 'builds his house' to come dwell among us … Christ is the living Temple of the Father and Christ himself builds his 'spiritual house' the Church, not out of material stones but of the 'living stones' that are we [ourselves]. … This is beautiful! We are the living stones of the building of God, profoundly united to Christ who is the supporting stone—and also our support between one another. … This means that we are the living Church, the living Temple, and, when we are together, the Holy Spirit is also there among us, helping us to grow as Church. We are not isolated but are the people of God: this is the Church!”

It is the Holy Spirit, with his gifts, who … designs the variety that is the Church's wealth and that joins everything and everyone … The Church isn't a mixture of things and interests but is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Temple in which God works, the Temple in which each of us, with the gift of Baptism, is a living stone. This tells us that no one is useless in the Church … we are all necessary to building this Temple! No one is secondary. No one is more important in the Church. We are all equal in God's eyes. Some of you might say, 'Look, Mr. Pope. You aren't the same as us.' Yes, I am like each one of you. We are all equal, we are brothers and sisters. No one is anonymous. We all form and build up the Church. But this also invites us to reflect on the fact that, if the brick of our Christian life is missing, something is missing in the beauty of the Church.”

How do we live our being as Church? Are we living stones or are we, so to speak, tired, bored, and indifferent stones? Have you seen how ugly it is to see a tired, bored, and indifferent Christian? Such a Christian isn't good. A Christian must be alive, joyful to be Christian. [A Christian] must live this beauty of being part of the people of God, which is the Church. Are we open to the Holy Spirit's action, to being an active part in our communities, or are we wrapped up in ourselves saying: 'I have so many things to do. That's not my job.'?” Pope Francis asked. He concluded his catechesis by asking the Lord to “give us all his grace and his strength so that we may be profoundly united to Christ, the cornerstone, the pillar, the rock of support in our lives and in the life of the Church. Let us pray that, encouraged by his Spirit, we may always be the living stones of his Church.”


Vatican City, 26 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Secretariat of State issued the following communique:

The Holy Father has appointed a Pontifical Referring Commission to the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) with his Chirograph of 24 June, the day before yesterday.

As can be seen from the text of the Chirograph published today, the opportunity to establish a Referring Committee has arisen from the Holy Father's desire to learn more about the Institute's juridical standing and activities in order to allow its better harmonization with the mission of the universal Church and the Apostolic See in the more general context of the reforms that should be carried out by the Institutions that give aid to the Apostolic See.

The Commission's purpose is to gather information on the Institution's operations and present the results to the Holy Father.

As specified in the Chirograph, during the course of the Commission's work, the Institute will continue to operate according to the Chirograph of 1990 that established it, unless otherwise authorized by the Holy Father.

The Commission's purposes and powers are described in more detail in the Chirograph itself.

The members of the Commission are:
Cardinal Raffaele Farina, S.D.B., president
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, member
Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, coordinator
Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, secretary
Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, member

The Commission is beginning its work in these days.

The Holy Father hopes for a happy and productive collaboration between the Commission and the Institute.


Vatican City, 26 June 2013 (VIS) – Following is the Holy Father Francis' complete Chirograph by which he establishes a Pontifical Referring Commission for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).

With his Chirograph of 1 March 1990, Blessed John Paul II established the Institute for the Works of Religion as a public juridical entity, giving the Institute a new configuration while maintaining its name and purpose. With the same perspective, taking into account that he wished to better adapt the Institute's structures and activities to the needs of the times; following the invitation of Our Predecessor Benedict XVI to allow the Gospel principles to permeate even the activities of an economic and financial nature; having heard the opinion of various Cardinals and other brothers in the Episcopate as well as other collaborators; and in light of the need to introduce reforms in the Institutions that give aid to the Apostolic See; We have decided to establish a Referring Commission for the Institute for the Works of Religion that will gather accurate information on the Institute's legal position and various activities, in order to allow, if necessary, a better harmonization of the same with the universal mission of the Apostolic See. The Commission is to carry out its proper duties in accordance with this Chirograph and Our working arrangements.

1) The Commission shall consist of a minimum of five Members, among which is a President who is its legal representative, a Coordinator who has the ordinary powers of delegation and acts on behalf of the Commission in collecting documents, data, and the necessary information, as well as a Secretary who assists the members and keeps the acts.

2) The Commission is endowed with the powers and faculties appropriate to performing its official institutional duties within the limits established by this Chirograph and the norms of the juridical system. The Commission is to collect the documents, data, and information necessary to the performance of its official institutional duties. Workplace confidentiality and other restrictions established by the juridical system shall not inhibit or limit the Commission's access to documents, data, or information, except as subject to the norms that protect the autonomy and independence of the Authorities that are engaged in the supervision and regulation of the Institute, which shall remain in force.

3) The Commission shall have the human and material resources appropriate to its institutional functions. If needed, it shall make use of contractors and consultants.

4) The governance of the Institute shall continue to operate in accordance with the Chirograph that established it, unless We provide for otherwise.

5) The Commission shall rely upon the willing cooperation of the Bodies of the Institute along with its entire staff. In addition, the Superiors, Members, and Officials of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the other agencies related to it as well as the Vatican City State shall likewise cooperate with the Commission.

6) The Commission shall keep Us informed of its proper activities in the course of its work.

7) The Commission will deliver to Us the results of its work, as well as its entire archive, in a timely manner upon the conclusion of its tasks.

8) The Commission's activities shall take effect from the date of this present Chirograph.

9) The dissolution of the Commission will be announced.

Given at the Vatican on 24 June 2013, in the first year of my Pontificate.


Vatican City, 26 June 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., sent a telegram of condolence yesterday to the family of Senator Emilio Colombo, who died this past Monday in Rome. He was 93 years old.

The text recalls that the politician was “a devout Catholic, an important figure in the Italian Republic, an outstanding man who, in his public roles, knew how to act with generous commitment to promote the common good.” The Pope entrusted Senator Colombo's soul to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary and imparted the Apostolic Blessing upon all his family members and all those who are taking part in his funeral rites.


Vatican City, 26 June 2013 (VIS) - The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee held its 19th meeting in Rome on 18 – 19 June 2013, corresponding to 9 – 10 Shaban 9, 1434. The assembly was presided over—for the Catholic side—by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and—for the Muslim side—by Dr Hamid bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue.

The theme of the meeting was: “Believers Confronting Materialism and Secularism in Society”. After listening to the papers presented by Catholic and Muslim scholars and exchanging views about the above mentioned theme, the participants agreed upon the following: that Christianity and Islam affirm the inseparability and complementarity between the material and the spiritual domains and that our responsibility as believers is to reconcile these dimensions of life; that many people today suffer from the loss of spiritual and religious roots, a phenomenon that weakens both the inner and moral dimensions of individuals and societies; and that the world today is facing many kinds of crises. Our common responsibility as believers in God is to do all that is possible to protect vulnerable people at this time.

Pope Francis received participants in the meeting in audience, encouraging them to continue their efforts on the path of “respectful and fruitful dialogue between believers for the peace and prosperity of our world”.

The violence in Syria was also strongly condemned in the meeting and an appeal was made to the regional and international organizations to do everything possible to stop the bloodshed, according to International Law.

The Committee will hold its next meeting in Tatwan, Morocco. It will be preceded by a preparatory event to be organized by the Muslim side.


Vatican City, 26 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Joao Carlos Seneme, C.S.S., as bishop of Toledo (area 8,000, population 3,940,000, Catholics 347,000, priests 57, permanent deacons 1, religious 90), Brazil. Bishop Seneme was previously auxiliary of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil and titular of Albulae from 2007.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Vatican City, 25 June 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis will impose the pallium upon the following metropolitan archbishops in this year's ceremony on 29 June, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul:

1. Patriarch Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal

2. Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp., of Bangui, Central African Republic

3. Archbishop Carlo Roberto Maria Redaelli of Gorizia, Italy

4. Archbishop Claudio Dalla Zuanna, S.C.I., of Beira, Mozambique

5. Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Visakhapatnam, India

6. Archbishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, S.D.B., of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

7. Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Lodz, Poland

8. Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain

9. Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of San Francisco, California, USA

10. Archbishop Rolando Joven Tria Tirona, O.C.D., of Caceres, Philippines

11. Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

12. Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, C.Ss.R., of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

13. Archbishop Carlos Maria Franzini of Mendoza, Argentina

14. Archbishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni of Ravenna-Cervia, Italy

15. Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras and Mylapore, India

16. Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Delhi, India

17. Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

18. Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin-Le Pas, Manitoba, Canada

19. Archbishop Sérgio Eduardo Castriani, C.S.Sp., of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

20. Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva, Fiji Islands

21. Archbishop Alfonso Cortes Contreras of Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

22. Archbishop Alexander King Sample of Portland in Oregon, USA

23. Archbishop Joseph Effiong Ekuwem of Calabar, Nigeria

24. Archbishop Jesus Juarez Parraga, S.D.B., of Sucre, Bolivia

25. Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico

26. Archbishop Ramon Alfredo Dus of Resistencia, Argentina

27. Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires, Argentina

28. Archbishop Gintaras Linas Grusas of Vilnius, Lithuania

29. Archbishop Michael Owen Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, USA

30. Archbishop Duro Hranic of Dakovo-Osijek, Croatia

31. Archbishop Moacir Silva of Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil

32. Archbishop Jozef Piotr Kupny of Wroclaw, Poland

33. Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

34. Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of L’Aquila, Italy

The following archbishop will receive the pallium in his Metropolitan See:

35. Archbishop Francois Xavier Le Van Hong of Hue, Vietnam


Vatican City, 25 June 2013 (VIS) – The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has issued a communique with the information that next Thursday, 4 July, at 11:00am, the Holy Father will receive Mr. Enrico Letta, Prime Minister of Italy. After their talk the prime minister will meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.


Vatican City, 25 June 2013 (VIS) – The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, having concluded the institutional proceedings of the 13th Ordinary General Assembly dedicated to the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”, which took place in October of 2012, has begun preparing for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly scheduled for 2015, according to a communique issued today by that secretariat.

The fourth meeting of the 13th Ordinary Council was part of the process of choosing the theme for that Assembly. On 13-14 June of this year, its agenda was to discuss the proposals for a theme that were submitted by the Synods of Bishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches “sui iuris”, the episcopal conferences, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Union of Superiors General, and institutional organizations consulted in cooperation with the synod's activity.

The discussions began with an address by the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, who referenced the Year of Faith currently in progress during which historical events have taken place, such as the Benedict XVI's renunciation of the Petrine ministry and the subsequent election of the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.

Participating in the work of the fourth meeting of the 13th Ordinary Council were: Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa; Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and president of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE); Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India and secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC); Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, DC, USA; Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy; Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales, auxiliary of Valparaiso, Chile, and secretary general of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

Pope Francis received the participants in an audience on 13 June. Their meeting then continued in two language groups, English and Italian, during which the members were able to examine the criteria and rationale for the choice the the next Assembly's theme with the goal of deciding a few options to be presented to the Holy Father for the final choice. At the same time, the date of the Council's fifth meeting was set for 7-8 October of this year. Work concluded with a prayer, entrusting the synod's future activity to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.


Vatican City, 25 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Francesco Piazza as bishop of Sessa Aurunca (area 338, population 89,800, Catholics 87,800, priests 48, permanent deacons 8, religious 62), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Solopaca, Benevento, Italy in 1953 and was ordained a priest in for the Diocese of Cerreto Sannita-Telese-Sant’Agata de’ Goti in 1978. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral academic, and diocesan-level roles, most recently, since 2002, as the episcopal vicar for the Evangelization and Testimonial section and, since 2004, as director of the Bachelet Centre of Social Studies, which he founded. He is also a tenured professor in the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy (San Luigi of Naples section), member of the College of Consultors and of the Presbyteral Council, theologian canon of the cathedral, master chaplain of the Military Order of Malta, and knight with the function of prior of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. He succeeds Bishop Antonio Napoletano, C.Ss.R., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Vatican City, 24 June 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, the Holy Father received 30 members of the delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations. The Pope recalled that 21 previous meetings have helped to strengthen the mutual understanding and ties of friendship between Jews and Catholics.

This is Pope Francis' first official meeting with a group of representatives of Jewish organizations and communities since his election. The pontiff said that the “Nostra Aetate” Declaration of the Second Vatican Council represents “a key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people” for the Catholic Church.

In that Council text, the Church recognizes that 'the beginnings of its faith and election are to be found in the patriarchs, Moses, and prophets'. And, with regard to the Jews, the Council recalls the teaching of Saint Paul, who wrote 'the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable' and who also firmly condemned hatred, persecution, and all forms of anti-Semitism. Due to our common roots, a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!”

The Holy Father noted that “the fundamental principles expressed by the Declaration have marked the path of greater awareness and mutual understanding trodden these last decades by Jews and Catholics, a path which my predecessors have strongly encouraged, both by very significant gestures and by the publication of a series of documents to deepen the thinking about the theological roots of the relations between Jews and Christians.”

Nevertheless, this represents “only the most visible element of a vast movement that takes place on the local level a bit throughout the world, as I know from personal experience. During my ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, I had the joy of maintaining relations of sincere friendship with leaders of the Jewish world. We talked often of our respective religious identities, the image of the human person found in the Scriptures, and how to keep an awareness of God alive in a world now secularized in many ways. I met with them on various occasions to discuss the common challenges faced by both Jews and Christians. But above all, as friends, we enjoyed each other’s company, we were mutually enriched through encounter and dialogue, with an attitude of reciprocal welcome, and this helped all of us grow as persons and as believers.”

These friendly relations are, in a way, the basis for the development of a more official dialogue,” the Pope said, encouraging those present to follow their path, “trying, as you do so, to involve younger generations. Humanity needs our joint witness in favour of respect for the dignity of man and woman created in the image and likeness of God and in favour of the peace that is, above all, God’s gift.”

Pope Francis concluded his address by recalling the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—affirms the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”


Vatican City, 24 June 2013 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received His Excellency Dr. Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, in audience. Prime Minister Muscat then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial talks, the apostolic origins of the Maltese Church were recalled, along with the decisive impression that Christianity has made upon the history and culture of the people of the archipelago. Also remembered were the pastoral visits to Malta made by Blessed Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Benedict XVI, which left profound memories in the life of the Church and on the people.

The need of maintaining Christian values steadfast was reaffirmed and the important role—protected thanks to the many agreements concluded between the Holy See and Malta—carried out by the Catholic Church with her educational and charitable institutions was mentioned, including teaching the Catholic religion in state schools, Catholic schools, and on Church properties. Particular note was made of the Agreement on the civil effects of religious marriages, which will be the object of further discussions between the Parties.

While mentioning the important challenges and critical situations affecting the Mediterranean region and the country’s role in the European Union, special emphasis was given to the deep commitment, on the part of both the Church and the Government of Malta, to dealing with the phenomenon of migration to Europe.


Vatican City, 24 June 2013 (VIS) – The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., released the following communique.

This morning the Holy Father received in audience Mr. Adolfo Perez Esquivel, recipient of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize, accompanying Mr. Felix Diaz, leader of the Qom ethnic tribe's “La Primavera” Community, with his wife Mrs. Amanda Asijak, and Fr. Francisco Nazar, vicar for the indigenous populations of the Diocese of Formosa, Argentina.”

Mr. Diaz expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father for the audience and for what it means as an expression of interest and support. He related to Pope Francis the difficulties faced by the indigenous peoples of Argentina and Latin America, as well as his concerns for the protection of their rights, especially in regard to their territory and cultural identity.”


Vatican City, 23 June 2013 (VIS) – At 11:15 this morning in the Hall of Blessings of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received members of the Association of Sts. Peter and Paul. He thanked them for the charitable activities they undertake and for their collaboration in the smooth operations of the celebrations that take place in the Vatican.

The association came into being at the wish of Paul VI, who in 1970 disbanded various groups of pontifical guards including the Palatine Guard of Honour created by Pius IX in 1850. His intention was to bring together a group of the faithful of Rome who wished to express their unconditional fidelity to the Apostolic See. Former members of the guard were thus invited to join a new group called the Association of Sts. Peter and Paul, the statutes of which were approved by Paul VI in 1971.

The Association is divided into three sections: liturgy, culture, and charity, and has a general secretariat. It undertakes various initiatives with the aim of bearing witness to Christian life, the apostolate, and faithfulness to the Apostolic See.

I know,” the Pope commented, “that there is a lot of 'behind the scenes' work. I also know that your service of welcoming [pilgrims and tourists] to St. Peter's Basilica, your service for the liturgical celebrations, your apostolate, also extends to cultural and charitable activities. Above all charity, your concrete attention towards others, towards the poorest, weakest, and most needy is the hallmark of the Christian.”

Serving the Church and one's brothers and sisters without asking anything in return, the pontiff said, “is beautiful. Serving without asking anything in exchange, like Jesus. Jesus served us all and never asked for anything in return. Jesus did things freely and you do things freely. Your reward is precisely this: the joy of serving the Lord and of doing it together!” This service is a great Christian virtue of ”magnanimity, having a large heart, always expanding your hearts with patience; expanding it, loving all and not those insignificant things that do us such harm.”

Finally, the Pope blessed those present and asked them to think of everyone they love: “your family and your friends, so that the Blessing may go out to them. But also think of some of those persons you don't like so well, those who do you evil, those you are a little angry with. Think of them too so that the Blessing might also go out to them.”


Vatican City, 23 June 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer he recalled Jesus' most incisive words: “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” He then asked: “but what does it mean 'to lose one's life for Jesus' cause'? This can happen in two ways: by explicitly confessing the faith or implicitly defending truth. The martyrs are the best example of losing one's life for Christ. In two thousand years an immense host of men and women have sacrificed their lives to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel. And today, in many parts of the world, there are … so many martyrs who give their lives for Christ, who are brought to death for not denying Jesus Christ. This is our Church.”

Today we have more martyrs than in the first centuries! But there is also the daily martyrdom, which doesn't result in death but is also a 'losing of one's life' for Christ: doing one's duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus, the logic of giving and sacrifice. Think how many fathers and mothers put their faith into practice every day, offering their lives for the good of the family! … How many priests, brothers, and sisters generously carry out their service for the Kingdom of God. How many young people give up their own interests to dedicate themselves to children, the disabled, the elderly... These too are martyrs! Everyday martyrs, martyrs of everyday life! And there are many people, Christians and non-Christians, who 'lose their own life' for the truth. Christ said 'I am the truth', so those who serve the truth serve Christ.”

The Holy Father recalled how St. John the Baptist devoted himself entirely to God and, in the end, died for the truth. “How many people pay dearly for their commitment to the truth! How many righteous men and women prefer to go against the current so as to not deny the voice of their conscience, the voice of truth! Righteous people, who are unafraid of going against the current! And we must not be afraid!”

Before concluding, the Pope addressed the young persons present, telling them: “Don't be afraid to go against the current, when they want to steal our hope, when they propose rotten values to us, values like food that has gone bad—and when food has gone bad it makes us sick, these values make us sick. We have to go against the current! And you, young people, be the first: Go against the grain and be proud of going against the grain. Go on, be brave and go against the current! And be proud of doing it!”


Vatican City, 23 June 2013 (VIS) – Shortly after praying the Sunday Angelus today, the Holy Father was at the Vatican train station to welcome the 250 children between the ages of 6 and 10 who were participating in the “Children's Train: A Journey through Beauty” initiative. Co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Italian Railway System, the project was dedicated to children who have had problems with social inclusion and psycho-social difficulties. The children, accompanied by their families and teachers, were introduced to visual communication and the language of images through works of art—particularly in the cathedrals of the various cities—and educational workshops.

The seven car train, which started from Milan, made stops in Bologna and Florence before pulling into the Vatican stop shortly before 12:00pm. The children's first strong impression was of the immense cupola of St. Peter's Basilica and emotions were running high in the short time it took for the gates of Vatican territory to be opened and their train to be towed to its destination by a diesel engine. Pope Francis arrived at 12:20pm and greeted them, chatting with them and asking how the trip went amid hugs and kisses. The Vatican train station was filled with the joy of the little ones, seeking the Pope's attention, who treated them like royalty.


Vatican City, 22 June 2013 (VIS) – Shortly after noon today in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father received 5,000 pilgrims from the Diocese of Bresica, Italy, accompanied by their bishop, Luciano Monari. They had travelled to Rome as part of the Year of Faith to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the election of their fellow Brescian, Paul VI, to the pontificate. The Pope focused on three fundamental aspects in Paul VI's witness and teachings: love for Christ, love for Church, and love for humanity.

Paul VI,” said the Pope, “knew how to witness, in difficult years, to the faith in Jesus Christ. … The total love for Christ emerges throughout Montini's life, even in his choice of name as Pope, which he explained with these words: He is the Apostle 'who loved Christ so supremely, that he wished and tried in the highest degree to bring Christ's Gospel to all nations and offered his life out of love of Christ.' [His was] a profound love for Christ, not to possess, but to proclaim him,” the pontiff continued. “These passionate words are great words. Let me tell you something: this address in Manila, and also the one in Nazareth, have been a spiritual strength for me. They have done me good in my life. I go back to this address, again and again, because it it does me good to hear these words of Paul VI today. And do we have the same love for Christ? Is He the centre of our lives? Do our everyday actions witness to him?”

Francis then spoke of his second point, Paul VI's love for the Church. It was “a passionate love, the love of a lifetime, joyful and painful, expressed from his first encyclical, 'Ecclesiam suam'. … He loved the Church and offered himself for her without reservation. … This is the heart of a true Shepherd, a true Christian, a man capable of loving!” Pope Francis then stressed that, for him, “Evangelii Nuntiandi” is the “greatest pastoral document written to date.” “Paul VI had a very clear vision that the Church is a Mother who bears Christ and who leads to Christ.” The Holy Father then addressed the faithful again, asking them: “Are we truly a Church united to Christ, going out and proclaiming to all, even and especially those whom I call the 'existential periphery', or are we wrapped up in ourselves, in our groups, in our little cliques? Do we love the great Church, the Mother Church, the Church that sends us on mission and makes us go out of ourselves?”

The pontiff then turned to his third point, love for humanity. This is also tied to Christ. It is the passion for God that compels us to meet persons, to respect them, recognize them, and serve them.” Francis recalled Paul VI's words at the last session of Vatican Council II: “The religion of the God who became Man has met the religion of man who made himself God. What happened? A combat, a fight, an anathema? This could have happened, but it didn't. The old story of the Samaritan was the paradigm for the Council's spirituality. … All this doctrinal wealth was focused in a single direction: to serve humanity … in its every condition, in its every sickness, in its every need. The Church has almost declared herself humanity's handmaid.”

Pope Francis then added, “this also gives us light today, in this world where humanity is denied, where it's preferred to travel the path of gnosticism—either the 'no flesh' of a God who didn't take flesh, or the 'no God' of Promethean man who can go forward [alone]. At this time we can say the same things as Paul VI: the Church is the handmaid of humanity, the Church believes in Christ who came in the flesh and therefore serves humanity, loves humanity, believes in humanity. This is the inspiration of the great Paul VI.”

Dear friends,” the Pope concluded, “gathering in the name of the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI does us good! His witness nourishes the flame of love for Christ in us.”


Vatican City, 24 June 2013 (VIS) – At 5:30pm Saturday afternoon in the Paul VI Audience Hall, a concert sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as part of the Year of Faith was given. After Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of that dicastery, greeted those present on behalf of the Holy Father, who couldn't attend because of an “urgent task that cannot be put off but must be dealt with at the present moment”, he read the Pope's words of thanks to the organizers, singers, choir, and orchestra. Then the Italian Symphonic Orchestra of the RAI, conducted by Juraj Valcuha, performed Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 in D minor op.125, accompanied by the Choir of the National Academy of St Cecilia.


Vatican City, 22 June 2013 (VIS) – Made public today was the letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 10 May, in which he appoints Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, as his special envoy to the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Czech territory, which will take place in Velehrad, Czech Republic, on 5 July 2013.

The mission that will accompany the cardinal is composed of Msgr. Tomas Holub of the Diocese of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, secretary general of the Czech Bishops' Conference, and Fr. Ladislao Nosek, S.J., vicar of the Parish of St. Stephen in Prague, Czech Republic, and chaplain of several Czech Catholic schools.

Also issued today was a letter, likewise written in Latin and dated 10 May, appointing Cardinal Franc Rode, C.M., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Slovakian territory, which will take place in Nitra, Slovak Republic, on 5 July 2013.

The mission that will accompany the cardinal is composed of Msgr. Vladimir Stahovec of the Diocese of Roznava, Slovakia, currently rector of the Pontifical College of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Rome, Italy, and Don Martin Kramara, of the Diocese of Zilina, Slovakia, chaplain of the Diocese of Rome for the Pastoral Care of Resident Slovakians.

Finally, the letter of the Holy Father, dated 25 May, was also made public, in which he appointed Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest emeritus of the Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls Basilica, as special envoy to the closing celebration of the sixth centenary of the discovery of the statue of Santa Maria della Libera to be held in the shrine of Cercemaggiore, Campobasso, Italy on 2 July of this year.


Vatican City, 24 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

This afternoon he is scheduled to receive Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

On Saturday, 22 June, the Holy Father received:

   - His Most Eminent Highness Fra' Matthew Festing, prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, accompanied by an entourage,

   - Her excellency Mrs. Neda Rosandic Saric, former Croatian ambassador to Argentina, and

   - Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, S.J., rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.


Vatican City, 24 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Mario Leon Dorado, O.M.I., as apostolic prefect of Western Sahara. Fr. Leon Dorado is currently administrator of the same Apostolic Prefecture.

On Saturday, 22 June, the Holy Father:

  - appointed Fr. Bernard Taiji Katsuya as bishop of Sapporo (area 83,452, population 5,518,088, Catholics 17,619 , priests 56, religious 308), Japan. The bishop-elect was born in Muroran-Hokkaido, Japan in 1955 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sapporo in 1986. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and academic roles, most recently, since 2008, as director of the District of Sapporo and, since 2012, as substitute pastor of Tsukisamu.

  - accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, USA, presented by Bishop John Charles Dunne, upon having reached the age limit.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Vatican City, 21 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, as part of the Year of Faith, the Holy Father received the pontifical representatives. After an introduction by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., the Holy Father addressed the nuncios with “simple thoughts” and informal words “close to his heart” regarding what he called some “existential” aspects of the labour they carry out.

Your lives,” the Pope said, “are nomadic. Every three or four years … you change your place, move from one continent to another, one country to another, one reality of Church to another, often very different one. You always have your suitcase in hand. … This entails … mortification, the sacrifice of stripping yourselves of things, friends, ties, and always beginning anew. This isn't easy.”

Francis recalled the words that, then-substitute of the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Montini, used on 25 April 1951 to describe the figure of the pontifical representative: “one who is truly aware of bearing Christ with him”. With this, the Pope clarified that “the goods and perspectives of this world end up disappointing, they push and are never satisfied. The Lord is the good that does not disappoint.”

The Pope didn't forget to mention that this “nomadic” life holds the danger, even for men of the Church, to give in to what he called—using an expression from the theologian Henri de Lubac—“spiritual worldliness”. “Giving in to the spirit of the world, which leads one to act for personal realization and not for the glory of God in that kind of 'bourgeoisie of spirit and life' that urges one to get comfortable, to seek a calm and easy life.”

We are shepherds and we must never forget this! Dear pontifical representatives, you are Christ's presence, you are a priestly presence, as pastors. … Always do everything with profound love! Even in dealing with the civil authorities and colleagues: always seek the good, the good in everyone, the good of the Church, and of every person.”

The Holy Father wanted to conclude his address by highlighting one of the principal and most delicate tasks of the representatives, to look for episcopal appointments: “be attentive,” he told them, “that the candidates are Pastors who are close to the people, fathers and brothers; that they are gentle, patient, and merciful; that they love poverty, interior poverty as freedom for the Lord and exterior poverty as simplicity and austerity of life; that they don't have the mindset of 'princes'. Be attentive that they aren't ambitious, that they don't seek the episcopate—'volentes nolumus'—and that they are spouses of a Church without constantly seeking another. That they are capable of 'keeping an eye on' the flock that will be entrusted to them, that is, of caring for everything that keeps it united; of being 'vigilant' over it; of being attentive to dangers that threaten it; but above all that they are capable of 'keeping an eye over' the flock; of keeping watch; of tending hope, that there is sun and light in their hearts; of sustaining with love and patience the plans that God has for his people.”


Vatican City, 21 June 2013 (VIS) – At 11:30 this morning in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the activities of the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI", in particular, its symposium “The Gospels: History and Christology. The Research of Joseph Ratzinger”, which will be held at the Pontifical Lateran University from 24 to 26 October of this year. The names of the candidates selected by its academic committee for the Foundation's annual prize, which will be conferred on 26 October, were also announced.

Benedict XVI instituted the Foundation on 1 March, 2010, in response to the desire expressed by many scholars over the years. One of the areas of competency of the academic committee is precisely to establish the criteria of excellence for the creation and assignment of prizes to scholars who have distinguished themselves in the areas of publication and/or academic research. The Foundation's aim is to place the question of God at the heart of academic reflection. With the Ratzinger Prize, one of the Foundation's three main activities, it hopes to call attention to this subject. Its two principal activities are awarding scholarships to those pursuing doctorates in Theology and organizing conferences of high academic standard.

Speakers at the conference included: Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Foundation's academic committee; Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, O.P., president of the symposium's organizing committee; Msgr. Luis Romera, vice president of the symposium's organizing committee; and Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, the Foundation's president.

The recipients of this year's Ratzinger Prize are the English Biblical scholar Richard A. Burridge, dean of King's College London and minister in the Anglican Communion—the first non-Catholic to receive the award—and the German lay theologian Christian Schaller, professor of Dogmatic Theology and deputy director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute of Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger.

Richard Burridge today,” said Cardinal Ruini, “is definitely an eminent figure in the field of Biblical studies and not only of the English language. In particular, he has made a great contribution in that decisive area of the historical and theological recognition of the Gospels' inseparable connection to Jesus of Nazareth.” Christian Schaller will also be awarded the Ratzinger Prize, “not only for his contribution to theological studies but also in recognition of the role he is carrying out in the publication of Joseph Ratzinger's complete works. This publication is of primary importance for the future of studies inspired by the thought of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, which is the main purpose of our Foundation.”

Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, the Foundation's president, outlined some details regarding the upcoming symposium to be held at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University. It will be the Foundation's third conference. The first—“Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace”—was held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2011. The second—“What Makes Man Man”—was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year.

This year's symposium, “The Gospels: History and Christology”, starting from Joseph Ratzinger's research, will focus on the major themes of his trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth and will last three days. The first day will address the issue of the Jesus of the Gospels, considering them as texts. After a summary of the historical research on the Jesus of the New Testament over the last centuries, the contribution of papyrology to the study of those texts will be analysed along with the definition of the literary genre of the Gospels in comparison to Greco-Roman biographies and their historical significance. Professors participating in the first day include: Dr. Bernardo Estrada (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome); Dr. Juan Chapa (University of Navarra, Spain); Dr. Richard Burridge (King's College, London); and Dr. Yves Simoens (Pontifical Biblical Institute and Gregorian University, Rome).

The second day will be dedicated to the figure of Jesus presented in the Gospels and the theology they contain, also in relation to other New Testament writings. First the reliability of the Gospel text will be analysed, with the purpose of discovering who Jesus really was. Then the historical figure that emerges from the Gospels and Pauline witness will be outlined. Finally, the impact of the Gospels in Early Christianity and the theology of the Fathers will be examined. Speakers on the second day will include: Dr. Klaus Berger (University of Heidelberg, Germany); Dr. John P. Meier (University of Notre Dame, USA); Dr. Antonio Pitta (Pontifical Lateran University, Rome); and Cardinal Prosper Grech (Pontifical Lateran University and Augustinianum, Rome).

Joseph Ratzinger's proposal of “Jesus of Nazareth” will be the key theme of the third day. Professor Thomas Soding (University of Bochum, Germany) and Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will discuss the importance of Ratzinger's research on exegesis, theology, and methodology. The symposium will also address two specific areas: the figure of Jesus in the Gospel passages relating his infancy and the Last Supper. Professors Dr. Armand Puig I Tarrech (dean of the Theological Faculty of Catalonia, Barcelona) and Dr. Ermenegildo Manicardi (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome) will coordinate the presentations of the various experts in these areas.


Vatican City, 21 June 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Vatican City, 20 June 2013 (VIS) – At 11:00 this morning, in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic palace, the Holy Father Francis received the participants in the 38th Session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Pope began by speaking of the particular difficulty of the current worldwide situation caused not only by the economic crisis “but also due to problems associated with security, the great number of continuing conflicts, climate change and the preservation of biological diversity. All these situations demand of FAO a renewed commitment to tackling the many problems of the agricultural sector and of all those living and working in rural areas.”

The Pope noted that there are many possible initiatives and solutions and that they don't only have to do with increasing production seeing that current levels of production are sufficient, in spite of which “millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous. A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth ... to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness, and respect for every human being.”

Francis repeated that the goal of meeting with the participants in the FAO conference was “to share the idea that something more can and must be done in order to provide a new stimulus to international activity on behalf of the poor, inspired by something more than mere goodwill or, worse, promises which all too often have not been kept.” If current situations and living conditions aren't examined in terms of the human person and human dignity, the Pope said, then they run the risk of “risk turning into vague abstractions in the face of issues like the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalization, the violation of basic liberties, and financial speculation, which presently affects the price of food, treating it like any other merchandise and overlooking its primary function.”

The Holy Father declared that the present situation, “while directly linked to financial and economic factors, is also a consequence of a crisis of convictions and values, including those which are the basis of international life.” He, therefore, asked the FAO, its member States, and the entire international community to open their hearts. “There is a need to move beyond indifference and a tendency to look the other way, and urgently to attend to immediate needs … leaving behind the temptations of power, wealth, or self-interest and instead serving the human family, especially the needy and those suffering from hunger and malnutrition.”

Likewise, the Pope mentioned that dedicating the coming year to the rural family was a very expressive decision that, beyond a mere commemoration, will be an occasion to “reaffirm the conviction that every family is the principal setting for the growth of each individual, since it is through the family that human beings become open to life and the natural need for relationships with others.”

Pope Francis noted that “the Catholic Church, with all her structures and institutions, is at your side in this effort, which is aimed at building concrete solidarity, and the Holy See follows with interest and encourages the initiatives and activities undertaken by the FAO.”


Vatican City, 20 June 2013 (VIS) – At 11:30 this morning in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received participants in the 86th Plenary Assembly of the Reunion of Organisations for Aid to the Oriental Churches (ROACO). This organisation, under the sponsorship of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, is formed from various organizations around the world including: the Catholic Near East Welfare Association; Aid to the Church in Need; Renovabis; and Oeuvre d'Orient, which financially and spiritually assist members of the Church in the East.

Francis gave thanks to God for the “fidelity to Christ, the Gospel, and the Church that the Eastern Catholics have given proof of throughout the centuries, facing every struggle for the Christian name and 'keeping the faith'. … Like my predecessors, I wish to encourage and support you in your exercise of charity, which is the only reason for Jesus' disciples to brag. This charity springs from God's love in Christ. The Cross is its vertex, the luminous sign of God's mercy and love for all, which has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. … I ask you to accompany me in the task of uniting faith and charity, which is inherent to the Petrine ministry.”

The Pope encouraged the members of ROACO to continue their labour of carrying out projects that give priority to formation, above all of the youth, without forgetting that such projects “should be a sign of God's profession of love that constitutes the Christian identity.”

The presence of the patriarchs of Alexandria of the Copts and of Babylon of the Chaldeans as well as of the papal representatives in the Holy Land and in Syria, the auxiliary bishop of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the Custos of the Holy Land carries me to the holy places of our Redemption but also revives in me a deep ecclesial concern for the plight of our many brothers and sisters who are living a seemingly endless situation of insecurity and violence, which doesn't spare the innocent or the weakest.”

We believers are asked to constantly and confidently pray that the Lord may grant the longed-for peace, together with a concrete solidarity and sharing. I would like to once again, from the bottom of my heart, appeal to the leaders of nations and international organisations, to believers of every religion, and to all men and women of good will to put an end to all the pain, all the violence, and all religious, cultural, and social discrimination. May the conflict that sows death leave space for the encounter and the reconciliation that bring life.”

To all those who are suffering I strongly say: 'Never lose hope! The Church is with you, accompanies you, and supports you!' I ask you to do everything possible to alleviate the serious needs of the affected populations, especially in Syria, the people of beloved Syria, and the ever more numerous refugees and displaced persons. ... I repeat to you: remember in your prayers the Church of Syria … Jesus Christ will watch over it and your charity. I entrust the countless victims to the Lord of Life and implore the Most Holy Mother of God to console all of those in the 'time of great distress'. It is true; what's happening in Syria is a great distress!”
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