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Monday, September 30, 2013


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – We publish below the full text of the Chirograph by by which the Holy Father institutes a Council of Cardinals to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia.

Among the suggestions that emerged from the General Congregations of Cardinals prior to the Conclave, mention was made of the expediency of instituting a limited group of Members of the Episcopate, from various parts of the world, with whom the Holy Father could consult, individually or collectively, on specific matters. Once elected to the See of Rome, I have had the opportunity to reflect on this issue on a number of occasions, and consider that such an initiative would be of significant use in fulfilling the pastoral ministry of Peter’s Successor entrusted to me by my brother cardinals.

For this reason, on 13 April I announced the constitution of the aforementioned group, at the same time indicating the names of those who had been called to participate. Now, following reflection, I consider it opportune that such a group, by means of the present Chirograph, be instituted as a 'Council of Cardinals', with the task of assisting me in the governance of the universal Church and drawing up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia. It will be composed of the same persons previously nominated, who may be called upon, both in Council and singly, on matters that I will from time to time consider worthy of attention. The aforementioned Council which, with regard to the number of members, I will compose in the most appropriate way, will constitute a further expression of Episcopal communion and of the aid to the munus petrinum that the Episcopate, disseminated throughout the world, may offer”.

The chirograph is dated 28 September 2013, the first year of Francis' Pontificate.


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – Today in the apostolic palace the Holy Father received in audience participants in the international meeting for peace organised by the St. Egidio Community. The meeting, held in Rome from 29 September to 1 October, is entitled “Courage and Hope: religions and cultures in dialogue”. Francis mentioned John Paul II's invitation in Assisi to religious leaders to pray for peace not one against the other, but rather alongside each other, and praised the St. Egidio Community for continuing along this path and ensuring that this did not remain an isolated event. “You have gained pace”, he said, “with the participation of important figures from all religions and from lay representatives and humanists”.

The Pope underlined that “there is no religious justification for violence”, and, as emphasised by Benedict XVI two years ago, “it is necessary to eliminate every form of violence motivated by religion, and to keep vigil together to ensure that the world no longer falls prey to the violence inherent in every plan for civilisation that is based on a 'no' to God”.

The Pope emphasised that peace is the responsibility of all, and that a religious leader is a man of peace, because “the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of religious traditions”. He also remarked that “Peace requires tenacious, patient, strong, intelligent dialogue, for which nothing is lost. Dialogue can win over war. Dialogue enables people of different generations, who often ignore each other, to live together; it enables the co-existence of citizens of different ethnic origins, of different convictions. Dialogue is the way of peace”.

The Pope described religious leaders as “dialoguers”, working to build peace; not as intermediaries seeking benefit, but rather as authentic mediators with peace as their ultimate goal. In conclusion, he encouraged them to continue their work, as “this courage of peace gives the courage of hope to the world”.


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) - This morning at 10 a.m. in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presided over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

During the course of the consistory, the Pope decreed that blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 27 April 2014, Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday.


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – The first of three meetings between Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals, instituted by the Holy Father's Chirograph of 28 September, will take place tomorrow, 1 October.

The council is composed of Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, USA; George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the role of coordinator; and Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, in the role of secretary.

During the three days the Council will meet in the private library of the third loggia in the papal apartment, and the working sessions will take place in the morning and in the evening. The Holy Father will participate, except on Wednesday morning during the general audience, explained the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., who went on to clarify that the conversations will be private, so no communication is to be given at the end. He also emphasised that, as stated in the Chirograph published today, the Pope reserves the faculty of configuring the Council in the most suitable form, and may therefore increase the number of members.

He also observed that all the members of the Council, with the exception of the Secretary and Cardinal Bertello (who represents the Curia) are archbishops with large dioceses and in most cases with broad pastoral experience. “The institution of the Council of Cardinals”, he said, “is a further enrichment provided by the Pope to the governance of the Church”, and recalled that during his pontificate Francis has frequently made use of consultation, as is demonstrated by the case of the meeting with the heads of the dicasteries and his interest in reviving the working method of the Synod.

The Council has no relation with other Church institutions and is not an element of the architecture of the latter, but rather an organ of consultation for the Pope, Fr.Lombardi continued, explaining that since the announcement in April of the institution of a group of eight cardinals to assist the Pope in the governance of the Church, the members have received suggestions and proposals in their respective areas of competence. Furthermore, in preparation for the October meeting, contributions of various types have been sent to the Pope, the opinions of the heads of dicasteries have been sought, and the Secretary of State and College of Cardinals have been consulted. “The Council has eighty documents that have been circulated amongst its members, and the secretary, Bishop Semeraro, has prepared a comprehensive synthesis. Similarly, over these months the members have have also spoken with each other and on occasion with the Holy Father".


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – In a note published today, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explained the meaning and context of the central theme of the next Social Communications Day, which is celebrated every year on 1 June. This year, the theme chosen by the Holy Father is “Communication at the service of an authentic culture of encounter”.

The capacity to communicate is at the heart of what it means to be human. It is in and through our communication that we are able to meet and encounter at a meaningful level other people, express who we are, what we think and believe, how we wish to live and, perhaps more importantly, to come to know those with whom we are called to live. Such communication calls for honesty, mutual respect and a commitment to learn from each other.

It requires a capacity to know how to dialogue respectfully with the truth of others. It is often what might be perceived initially as ‘difference’ in the other that reveals the richness of our humanity. It is the discovery of the other that enables us to learn the truth of who we are ourselves.

In our modern era, a new culture is developing advanced by technology, and communication is in a sense “amplified” and “continuous”. We are called to “rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and of the beauty of the encounter with Christ.” (Address of Pope Francis to participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013). In this context, each one of us should accept the challenge to be authentic by witnessing to values, Christian identity, cultural experiences, expressed with a new language and shared with others.

Our ability to communicate, reflected in our participation in the creative, communicative and unifying Trinitarian Love, is a gift which allows us to grow in personal relationships, which are a blessing in our lives, and to find in dialogue a response to those divisions that create tensions within communities and between nations.

The age of globalization is making communication possible even in the most remote parts of the world, but it is also important “to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages.” (Address of Pope Francis to participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013), so that nobody is excluded.

The Message for World Communications Day 2014 will explore the potential of communication, especially in a networked and connected world, to bring people closer to each other and to co-operate in the task of building a more just world.

World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council (“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (June 1st in 2014).

The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24)”.


Vatican City, 29 September 2013 (VIS) – The catechist is one who guards the memory of God and who knows how to awaken it in others, said Pope Francis in the homily he pronounced during Mass in St. Peter's Square, in which more than 100,000 people participated, also filling the adjacent Via della Conciliazione.

On the concluding day of the pilgrimage to Rome of catechists from all over the world, marking the Year of Faith, the Holy Father quoted the words of the prophet Amos: “Woe to the complacent in Zion … lying upon beds of ivory! They eat, they drink, they sing, they play and they care nothing about other people’s troubles”. He explained that, although these are harsh words, “they warn us about a danger that all of us face. … The danger of complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts, of making our well-being the most important thing in our lives”.

This was also the case of the rich man in the Gospel, who dressed luxuriously and banqueted sumptuously without concern for the poor man on his doorstep who had nothing to relieve his hunger. “Whenever material things, money, worldliness, become the centre of our lives, they take hold of us, they possess us; we lose our very identity as human beings. … The rich man in the Gospel has no name, he is simply 'a rich man'. Material things, his possessions, are his face; he has nothing else”.

This happens to us when we find “security in material things which ultimately rob us of our face, our human face. This is what happens when we become complacent, when we no longer remember God. … Life, the world, other people, all of these become unreal, they no longer matter, everything boils down to one thing: having. When we no longer remember God, we too become unreal, we too become empty; like the rich man in the Gospel, we no longer have a face. Those who run after nothing become nothing”.

The catechist must be those “who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others”, like Mary, “who … sees God’s wondrous works in her life … but instead, after receiving the message of the angel and conceiving the Son of God … goes to assist her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth, also pregnant”, and upon encountering her, “the first thing she does … is to recall God’s work, God’s fidelity, in her own life, in the history of her people, in our history … Mary remembers God”.

This canticle of Mary also contains the remembrance of her personal history, God’s history with her, her own experience of faith. And this is true too for each one of us and for every Christian: faith contains our own memory of God’s history with us, the memory of our encountering God who always takes the first step, who creates, saves and transforms us. … A catechist is a Christian who puts this remembrance at the service of proclamation, not to seem important, not to talk about himself or herself, but to talk about God, about his love and his fidelity. To talk about and to pass down all that God has revealed, his teaching in its totality, neither trimming it down nor adding on to it. … What is the Catechism itself, if not the memory of God, the memory of his works in history and his drawing near to us in Christ present in his word, in the sacraments, in his Church, in his love?”.

Finally, the Pope cited St. Paul's recommendations to Timothy, which also indicate the path of the catechist: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. … Catechists are men and women of the memory of God if they have a constant, living relationship with him and with their neighbour; if they are men and women of faith who truly trust in God and put their security in him; if they are men and women of charity, love, who see others as brothers and sisters; if they are men and women of 'hypomoné', endurance and perseverance, able to face difficulties, trials and failures with serenity and hope in the Lord; if they are gentle, capable of understanding and mercy”.

Francis concluded, “Let us ask the Lord that we may all be men and women who keep the memory of God alive in ourselves, and are able to awaken it in the hearts of others”.


Vatican City, 29 September 2013 (VIS) – Following the celebration of Holy Mass for the Day of Catechists on the occasion of the Year of Faith on the solemnity of the archangels St. Michael, St. Raphael and St. Gabriel, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted His Beatitude Archbishop Youhanna X, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East. “Your presence”, he said, “invites us once again to pray for peace in Syria and in the Middle East”. Francis greeted the pilgrims from Assisi who had come to Rome on horseback, and mentioned that in Croatia on Saturday 28 September, the diocesan priest Miroslav Bulesic, martyred in 1947, was beatified.


Vatican City, 28 September 2013 (VIS) - “Catechesis is a pillar for education in faith. … Even though at times it may be difficult, it is necessary to work hard and make efforts for which you don't always see the results you hoped for, educating in faith is good! It is perhaps the best legacy we can give: faith! … Catechesis is a vocation: 'being' a catechist, this is the vocation, not 'working' as a catechist. Be careful: I have not said to do the work of a catechist, but rather to be one, because it involves all your life. It means guiding towards the encounter with Jesus with words and with life, with your witness … I like to recall the words of St. Francis of Assisi to his friars: 'Always preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words', so that people may see the Gospel in your lives … we must begin with Christ and this love He gives us”.

With these words Pope Francis greeted the participants in the International Congress on Catechesis promoted on the occasion of the Year of Faith by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, whom he received in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

To start again from Christ, the Pope indicated three stages, “like the old Jesuits … one, two, three!”, he said. “First of all, … it means being familiar with Him: Jesus insisted on this to disciples at the Last Supper, when he prepared himself to live the greatest gift of love, his sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus used the image of the vine and its branches, and said: stay in my love, stay attached to me, just as the branch is attached to the vine. If we remain united to Him, we can bear fruit, and this is familiarity with Him. … The first thing, for a disciple, is to stay with the Master, to listen to Him, to learn from Him. … I ask you: how are you in the presence of the Lord? When you go to the Lord, you look at the Tabernacle, what do you do? Without words … But I say, I say, I think, I reflect, I feel … Very good! But do you let the Lord look at you? To let ourselves be watched by the Lord. He watches us and this is a form of prayer. … If in our hearts there is not the warmth of God, of His love, of His tenderness, how can we, poor sinners, warm the hearts of others?”

To explain the second stage, Francis said that starting again from Christ means “imitating Him in coming out of oneself and going towards others. This is a beautiful experience, if somewhat paradoxical. Because the person who puts Christ at the centre of his life is off-centre. The more you unite with Jesus and make Him the centre of your life, the more He makes you abandon yourself, decentralise yourself, and open yourself to others. This is the true dynamism of love, this is the movement of God Himself! God is the centre, but is always the gift of oneself, relations, life that is communicated. … In the heart of the catechist, there always exists this ‘systolic-diastolic’ movement: union with Jesus; encounter with the other. If at one of these two movements is no longer beating, then you do not live. It receives the gift of kerygma, and offers it as a gift in turn”.

The third element “follows the same line: starting again from Christ means not being afraid to go with Him to the peripheries. Here I think of the story of Jonah, a truly interesting figure, especially in our times of change and incertitude. Jonas was a pius man, with a calm and orderly life; this led him to have very clear mental framework and to judge everything and everyone accordingly, in a rigid fashion. … Therefore, when the Lord called on him to go and preach in the great pagan city of Nineveh, Jonas did not feel like doing this. 'Go there? But I have all the truth here!' … Nineveh was outside his way of thinking and at the periphery of his world. And so he ran away and boarded a boat”.

The story of Jonah “teaches us not to be afraid of going outside our ways of thinking in order to follow God, because God always goes beyond. … God is not afraid! ...God is not afraid of the peripheries. If you go to the peripheries, you will find Him there. God is always faithful and creative, … and creativity is the pillar of being a catechist. God is creative, He is not closed, and for this reason He is never rigid. God is not rigid! He welcomes us, He comes towards us, He understands us. To be faithful, to be creative, it is necessary to know how to change. … If a catechist allows himself to be conquered by fear, he is a coward; if he is not calm, he ends up as a statue in a museum. … What I want to say now, I have already said many times before, but it comes from my heart to say it again. When we Christians are closed in our group, in our movement, in our parish, in our own environment, we remain closed and what happens to us is what happens to whatever remains closed: when a room is closed the odour of humidity gathers. And if a person is closed in that room, they become ill! When a Christian is closed in his group, or parish, or movement, he remains closed and becomes ill. If a Christian goes out into the streets, in the peripheries, what may befall him is what happens to many people on the street: an accident. We have seen many road accidents. But I say to you: I prefer a thousand times over a Church afflicted by accidents rather than a sick Church!”

Jesus did not say: go out and get by. No, he didn't say that! Jesus said, go, I am with you! This is our beauty and our strength: if we go, if we go to bring the Gospel with love, with true apostolic spirit, with boldness and candidness, He walks with us, He goes before us. … When we think of going far away, to an extreme periphery, and perhaps when we are a little afraid, in reality He is already there: Jesus awaits us in the heart of that brother, in his wounded flesh, in his oppressed life, in his soul without faith”.


On Saturday, 28 September the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Members of the presidency of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB): Cardinal Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, president; Archbishop Jose Belisario da Silva, O.F.M., of Sao Luis do Maranhao, vice president; Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, auxiliary of Brasilia, secretary general.

- Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.


On Saturday, 28 September, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Julito B. Cortes as bishop of Dumaguete (area 4,955, population 1,172,000, Catholics 1,034,000, priests 104, religious 125), Philippines. Bishop Cortes, previously auxiliary of Cebu, was born in Paranaque, Philippines in 1956, was ordained to the priesthood in 1980, and received episcopal ordination in 2002.

- appointed Bishop Paul Bui Van Doc as coadjutor archbishop of Ho Chi Minh Ville (area 2,093, population 7,365,520, Catholics 685,707, priests 658, religious 5,900), Vietnam. Archbishop-elect Bui Van Doc, previously bishop of My Tho, Vietnam, was appointed as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the diocese of My Tho, Vietnam.

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as special envoy to the celebration of the Fourth American Missionary Congress (CAM4) and the Ninth Missionary Congress of Latin America (COMLA9), scheduled to take place in Maracaibo, Venezuela on 1 December 2013.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a Global Agreement following the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, met yesterday in a Plenary Session in the Vatican to acknowledge the work carried out at an informal level by the joint technical group following the last official meeting held in Ramallah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine on 30 January 2013, and to plan future progress, with the aim of accelerating the concluding of the Agreement.

The talks were chaired by Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and by Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of the State of Palestine. The discussions took place in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. Taking up the issues already examined at an informal level, the Commission noted with great satisfaction the progress achieved in formulating the text of the Agreement, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, and encouraged the efforts of the joint technical group, urging it to complete the discussions on the remaining parts of the text, the formulation of which is already at an advanced stage.

Both Parties agree that the joint technical group will continue its work in preparation for the next plenary meeting of the Bilateral Commission, planned for early 2014.

The Delegation of the Holy See was made up of the following members: Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Msgr. Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, official of the section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Fr. Emil Salayta, judicial vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The members of the Palestinian Delegation were: Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See; Ammar Hijazi, deputy assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs; Azem Bishara, juridical counsellor of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO); Ammar Nisnas, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Palestine to the Holy See.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States, participated in a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on nuclear disarmament, held in New York on 26 September.

The archbishop made public his concerns regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons into other countries, and commented that the matter cannot be fully addressed as long as nuclear states hold on to their arsenals. “Under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, states are enjoined to make 'good faith' efforts to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. Can we say there is 'good faith' when modernisation programs of the nuclear weapons states continue despite their affirmations of eventual nuclear disarmament?”.

It is now imperative for us to address in a systematic and coherent manner the legal, political and technical requisites for a world free from nuclear arms”, he said, emphasising the need “to begin as soon as possible preparatory work on the Convention or a framework agreement for a phased and verifiable elimination of nuclear arms”.

Mamberti concluded, “It is time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, fostering a climate of trust and sincere dialogue, capable of promoting a culture of peace, founded on the primacy of law and the common good, through a coherent and responsible co-operation between all members of the international community”.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – Next Monday, 30 September, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Federico Lombardi, S.J., will hold a briefing on the Pope's meeting with the group of eight cardinals, regarding the nature of the meeting, preparation and working times involved, and the information that will be available.

It is important to remember that the Group is constituted to offer advice to the Pope and not to make autonomous decisions, that it is a first meeting which will be followed by others, and that the participants will abide by criteria of privacy regarding the content of the consultations”.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in audience:

- His Beatitude Archbishop Youhanna X, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and entourage.

- Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

- Members of the Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Jean-Christophe Lagleize as bishop of Metz (area 6,226, population 1,034,000, Catholics 808,800, priests 372, permanent deacons 59, religious 674), France. Bishop Lagleize, previously bishop of Valence, France, was born in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, France in 1954, was ordained to the priesthood in 1981, and received episcopal ordination in 2001. He succeeds Bishop Pierre Raffin, O.P., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Vatican City, 26 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Days commemorating the 50th Anniversary of John XXIII's encyclical, “Pacem in Terris”, which was published on 11 April 1963 and offered, as Bishop Mario Toso explained, “a structure for thought and political planning that ensured that the Church and believers were committed to social questions in the years to come, with a truly universal capacity for foresight and suggestion”.

The speakers at the conference were Bishop Toso, secretary for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, and Vittorio Alberti, respectively president and official of the same dicastery. The Days will be held on 2, 3 and 4 October.

The commemoration Days are intended to offer an occasion for reflection on the current relevance and actualisation of the contents of “Pacem in Terris” in contemporary reality and to hasten the implementation of its fundamental teachings in the areas of human rights, the common good, and politics. These are all fields, Cardinal Turkson said, “in which the peaceful co-existence of peoples and nations is at stake. Indeed, to achieve peace, rather than offering theories on peace or war, Pope John made an appeal to man himself and to his dignity”.

The three days will focus on three issues. The first is the question the role of political institutions and global policies, and in facing this type of problem it was considered necessary “to begin with an examination of the theme of reform of the largest global institution: the United Nations”. Other urgent matters that, “due to the phenomenon of globalisation, have assumed dimensions significant enough to warrant the commitment and co-operation of the international community, are those of work, or rather unemployment, and the protection of human rights”.

We have decided to then explain … how international collaboration takes place within the great regional political institutions: the European Council, the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Organisation of American States and the organisation for Asian Co-operation Dialogue”, added Cardinal Turkson. The contributions of experts in the field will be heard alongside those of exponents of the ecclesial world who, on 3 October, will speak about the institutions which, within the Catholic Church, unite the national episcopal conferences into entities on a continental scale”.

On 4 October the second matter will be considered: the new frontiers of peace. “The implementation of 'Pacem in Terris' begins from the assumption that we currently act in contexts significantly different to those of fifty years ago, a time in which conflict, not always merely latent, essentially took the form of the opposition of two blocs engaged in the 'Cold War'. It was therefore decided to identify the challenges that currently appear most dangerous for peacekeeping: religious freedom and, more specifically, the issue of the persecution of Christians throughout the world; the economic crisis, which is first and foremost a moral crisis; the emergency of education, especially acute in the mass media; conflicts, ever more recurrent, over access to resources; the distorted use of biological sciences which causes profound harm to human dignity; armaments; and security measures”.

A dual approach is taken to the theme of education: formation and practical experience, to which the first Day, 2 October, will be dedicated. “Around 60 rectors and lecturers, representing the same number of pontifical and Catholic universities from all five continents, will meet to consider in depth one of the most crucial questions of our time: the formation of new generations of Catholics engaged in politics”. In response to this need, representatives of bodies of regional governance will present their experiences, reflecting upon “the method in use for pursuing the common good at a continental level”.

The cardinal concluded by mentioning that, as a corollary to the three-day event, there will be a presentation of the volume “The Concept of Peace”, produced with the collaboration of eminent scholars in the field.


Vatican City, 26 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

- Presidency of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference:

Archbishop Diego Rafael Padron Sanchez of Cumana, president;

Bishop Jose Luis Azuaje Ayala of Barinas, first vice president;

Bishop Mario del Valle Moronta Rodriguez of San Cristobal de Venezuela, second vice president;

Bishop Jesus Gonzalez de Zarate Salas, auxiliary of Caracas, secretary general.

- Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok, Thailand.

- Mr Isaac Levi.

Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Rino Passigato, apostolic nuncio to Portugal.


Vatican City, 26 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed the following as consultors of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff:

Fr. Silvano Maria Maggiani, O.S.M., lecturer in sacramentary and liturgy at the Marianum Pontifical faculty of theology and at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome, and member of the Academic Council of the Pontifical International Marian Academy;

Fr. Corrado Maggioni, S.M.M., office head in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, member of the Academic Council of the Pontifical International Marian Academy;

Fr. Giuseppe Midili, O. Carm., director of the Liturgical Office of the diocese of Rome, lecturer in pastoral liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome;

Msgr. Angelo Lameri, of the clergy of the diocese of Crema, lecturer in liturgy at the Lateran Pontifical University, Rome;

Archimandrite Fr. Manuel Nin, O.S.B., rector of the Pontifical Greek College, Rome.

- Professor Erna Moller, lecturer in Immunology at the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm, Sweden, as ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Vatican City, 25 September 2013 (VIS) – The unity of the Church, dispersed around the world, was the theme chosen by Pope Francis for his catechesis during today's general audience in which over 40,000 people participated. “In the Creed”, he said, “we profess our faith in the Church, which is one, and this Church is in itself unity … even though it spreads across all the continents”.

Unity in faith, in hope, in charity, in the sacraments and the ministry, are “like the pillars that support and hold together the single great edifice of the Church. Wherever we go, even in the smallest parish, in the furthest corners of this earth, there is the One Church; we are at home, we are with our family, we are brothers and sisters. And this is a great gift from God! The Church is One for all. There is not one Church for Europeans, one for Africans, one for Americans, one for Asians, one for those who live in Oceania, but she is the same everywhere. And the Church is just like a family: the members may be far away, spread around the world, but the strong bonds that unite us all hold firm regardless of the distance”.

The Pope recalled that during the recent World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, which brought together so many cultures and languages, from so many places of origin, there was nonetheless a “profound unity, which formed a single Church, in whom all were united, and this could be felt”. “Let each one of us ask: do I feel this unity? Do I live this unity? Or am I not interested, am I one of those who would 'privatise' the Church for their own group, their own nation, their own friends? It is sad to encounter a privatised Church, as this form of selfishness indicates a lack of faith. Do we pray for each other? I wonder how many of you you pray for persecuted Christians, for those brothers or those sisters who suffer as a consequence of their faith? It is important to look over one's own fence, to feel part of the Church, of the single family of God”.

Francis then went on to ask whether there were any casualties of this unity, whether it could inflict harm, since “at times there arise misunderstandings, conflicts, tensions and divisions, which cause harm and then the Church does not have the face we would like, she does not manifest her charity, as God would want. We create those lacerations! And if we look at the divisions that still exist between Christians - Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants – we become aware of the effort that it takes to make this unity fully visible”. The Pope explained that although “God gives us unity”, we sometimes find it difficult to manifest it in our lives. “It is necessary to seek, to build communion, to educate in communion, to overcome misunderstandings and divisions. … Our world needs unity, reconciliation and communion, and the Church is the Home of Communion”.

Quoting St. Paul to the Ephesians, the Pope reiterated that in order to conserve unity it is necessary to have “humility, gentleness, magnanimity and love”, but this is not primarily the result of our consent or efforts, but rather comes from the Holy Spirit, which continually recreates the Church and creates “unity in diversity, which is harmony”. The Holy Father concluded by asking the Lord, as in the prayer of St. Francis, to help us never to become instruments of division, but rather to bring love where there is hate, forgiveness where there is injury and union where there is discord.


Vatican City, 25 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in audience a delegation from the Sophia University of Tokyo, Japan.

This afternoon, he is scheduled to receive Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy.


Vatican City, 25 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Fr. Joao Inacio Muller, O.F.M., as bishop of Lorena (area 5,055, population 293,000, Catholics 223,000, priests 69, permanent deacons 14, religious 150), Brazil. The bishop-elect, previously provincial minister of the Friars Minor of the province “Sao Francisco de Assis”, was born in Santa Clara do Sul, Brazil in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1988 He holds a licentiate in spiritual theology from the "Antonianum" Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including: guardian of the “Sao Boaventura” convent, vicar of the parish “Sao Joao Batista” in Daltro Filho in the diocese of Caxias do Sul, master of novices, secretary for the Formation and Studies for the province and provincial definitor, vicar of the fraternity, master of students of philosophy, and agent for pastoral care in the network of communities in the “Santa Clara” parish at Lomba do Pinheiro.

- appointed Bishop Marco Eugenio Galrao Leite de Almeida as auxiliary of Sao Salvador da Bahia (area 3,859, population 3,862,000, Catholics 2,730,000, priests 289, permanent deacons 73, religious 586), Brazil. Bishop Galrao Leite de Almeida, previously bishop of Estancia, Brazil, was born in Aracaju, Brazil in 1959, was ordained to the priesthood in 1989, and received episcopal ordination in 2003.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Vatican City, 24 September 2013 (VIS) – In a press conference held in the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, along with Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil and Fr. Gabriele F. Bentoglio, presented the Holy Father's message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on 19 January 2014, focusing on the theme of “Migrants and Refugees: towards a better world”.

Cardinal Veglio explained that the first message from Pope Francis for this day centres on the concept of a better world, a concept that should be considered in the context of the phenomenon of globalisation, with its positive and negative elements. Against this background, he outlines the phenomenon of human mobility that Francis, quoting Benedict XVI, defines as “a sign of the times”. “It would appear appropriate at this time to recall that the phenomenon of human mobility is striking precisely because of the multitude of people affected. According to statistics published by the United Nations at the beginning of September, 232 million people live outside their nation of origin. Furthermore, 740 million are internal migrants, those who move within the territory of their own country. In total, it is estimated that around a billion human beings experience migration. With reference to the whole of humanity, these statistics would indicate that around a seventh of the world population is affected by migration, and as a consequence, one person in seven is a migrant”.

However, in spite of difficulties and dramatic situations, migration is an invitation to imagine a different future, in which we glimpse the creation of a 'better world'. … It is an invitation aimed at the development of all humanity, including each person with his or her own spiritual and cultural potential'. … If we accept that culture is an entirety of spiritual, existential and intellectual aspects that distinguish a society, including also ways of life, fundamental rights, value systems, traditions and beliefs, then it will be possible to confirm that the whole of human existence is permeated by attitudes of encounter and welcome”.

Archbishop Kalathiparambil continued by taking up the theme of reintegration of migrants, emphasising that “no-one can remain in an emergency situation, such as a refugee camp, on a long-term basis”. He also referred to the increase in cases of refugees who settle in urban areas and who are therefore more difficult to identify and help. To face this problem, innovative methods are being developed, including communication via text messages on the distribution of benefits, internet connection, the production of films on refugees' rights, telephone helplines to provide information and the opportunity to obtain credit cards enabling financial assistance. “This is all currently happening in the Middle East, where Syrian refugees are living in refugee camps and, in most cases, in urban areas”.

On the one hand, this is about ensuring a limit to human suffering, and on the other, to protecting and promoting a dignified life, at the same time offering adequate structures, stability and hope for the future. It must be said that there has been an increase in international minimum standards, for instance in relation to availability of foodstuffs, shelter, education, healthcare, detention and repatriation. Besides, these international standards are of a qualitative nature and are therefore universal and applicable in any context”.

However, the welcome offered to refugees also presents some very important problems. “Some countries are making great sacrifices to face this phenomenon. For example, more than two million refugees now live in those countries bordering Syria, while in Europe, especially in Sweden and Germany, fifty thousand Syrian refugees seek asylum. For decades millions of refugees, mostly Afghan, have been settling in Pakistan and in Iran, and of course many refugees are reaching other countries, such as Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya. Initially, it was expected that the responsibility for these refugees would be shared. Instead, this aspect has not been considered in the agreements, and similarly it is not known what will happen to the refugees during and after their request for asylum. As a consequence, for many years the countries who have received refugees have been able to count only on themselves”.

Fr. Bentoglio concluded the presentation by summarising the history of World Day for Migrants and Refugees, instituted during the pontificate of Benedict XV and celebrated the first time on 21 February 1915. Intended initially for the Italian dioceses and later for those frequented by Italian immigrants in America, it acquired a universal nature with the Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia promulgated in 1952 by Pius XII, which recommended the activation of adequate support structures to assist migratory pastoral activity; it also calls for “solidarity”. From the 1970s onwards “the ecclesiological vision of the Vatican Council II is mirrored also in migratory pastoral care … the migrant emerges as a person and as a citizen with rights and duties and, first as a beneficiary of works of Christian charity, the migrant becomes a subject of evangelisation, agent of God's providential plan for the edifying encounter between peoples and the diffusion of the Gospel. Finally, we again uphold the tradition that the Holy Father himself signs the annual message for this Day, which reaches out to all the Catholic Church, including migrants and refugees. It is clearly understood that this is a special occasion for offering a biblical-theological approach to the pastoral care of human mobility, which finds its apex in Jesus the Saviour, a foreigner in the world of men, who continues his work of salvation through the foreigners of today, migrants and refugees”.


Vatican City, 24 September 2013 (VIS) – The first message of Pope Francesco for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on 19 January 2014, will focus on “Migrants and Refugees: Towards a Better World”, a theme inspired by the hope of all people for a better future in an historical moment which sees the greatest migratory flows of all times. The full English-language text of the message, dated 5 August 2013, is published below:

Our societies are experiencing, in an unprecedented way, processes of mutual interdependence and interaction on the global level. While not lacking problematic or negative elements, these processes are aimed at improving the living conditions of the human family, not only economically, but politically and culturally as well. Each individual is a part of humanity and, with the entire family of peoples, shares the hope of a better future. This consideration inspired the theme I have chosen for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees this year: Migrants and Refugees: Towards a Better World.

In our changing world, the growing phenomenon of human mobility emerges, to use the words of Pope Benedict XVI, as a 'sign of the times'. While it is true that migrations often reveal failures and shortcomings on the part of States and the international community, they also point to the aspiration of humanity to enjoy a unity marked by respect for differences, by attitudes of acceptance and hospitality which enable an equitable sharing of the world’s goods, and by the protection and the advancement of the dignity and centrality of each human being.

From the Christian standpoint, the reality of migration, like other human realities, points to the tension between the beauty of creation, marked by Grace and the Redemption, and the mystery of sin. Solidarity, acceptance, and signs of fraternity and understanding exist side by side with rejection, discrimination, trafficking and exploitation, suffering and death. Particularly disturbing are those situations where migration is not only involuntary, but actually set in motion by various forms of human trafficking and enslavement. Nowadays, 'slave labour' is common coin! Yet despite the problems, risks and difficulties to be faced, great numbers of migrants and refugees continue to be inspired by confidence and hope; in their hearts they long for a better future, not only for themselves but for their families and those closest to them.

What is involved in the creation of 'a better world'? The expression does not allude naively to abstract notions or unattainable ideals; rather, it aims at an authentic and integral development, at efforts to provide dignified living conditions for everyone, at finding just responses to the needs of individuals and families, and at ensuring that God’s gift of creation is respected, safeguarded and cultivated. The Venerable Paul VI described the aspirations of people today in this way: 'to secure a sure food supply, cures for diseases and steady employment… to exercise greater personal resonsibility; to do more, to learn more, and have more, in order to be more'.

Our hearts do desire something 'more'. Beyond greater knowledge or possessions, they want to 'be' more. Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable. A better world will come about only if attention is first paid to individuals; if human promotion is integral, taking account of every dimension of the person, including the spiritual; if no one is neglected, including the poor, the sick, prisoners, the needy and the stranger; if we can prove capable of leaving behind a throwaway culture and embracing one of encounter and acceptance.

Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more. The sheer number of people migrating from one continent to another, or shifting places within their own countries and geographical areas, is striking. Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of peoples, in history. As the Church accompanies migrants and refugees on their journey, she seeks to understand the causes of migration, but she also works to overcome its negative effects, and to maximize its positive influence on the communities of origin, transit and destination.

While encouraging the development of a better world, we cannot remain silent about the scandal of poverty in its various forms. Violence, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization, restrictive approaches to fundamental freedoms, whether of individuals or of groups: these are some of the chief elements of poverty which need to be overcome. Often these are precisely the elements which mark migratory movements, thus linking migration to poverty. Fleeing from situations of extreme poverty or persecution in the hope of a better future, or simply to save their own lives, millions of persons choose to migrate. Despite their hopes and expectations, they often encounter mistrust, rejection and exclusion, to say nothing of tragedies and disasters which offend their human dignity.

The reality of migration, given its new dimensions in our age of globalization, needs to be approached and managed in a new, equitable and effective manner; more than anything, this calls for international cooperation and a spirit of profound solidarity and compassion. Cooperation at different levels is critical, including the broad adoption of policies and rules aimed at protecting and promoting the human person. Pope Benedict XVI sketched the parameters of such policies, stating that they 'should set out from close collaboration between the migrants’ countries of origin and their countries of destination; they should be accompanied by adequate international norms able to coordinate different legislative systems with a view to safeguarding the needs and rights of individual migrants and their families, and at the same time, those of the host countries'. Working together for a better world requires that countries help one another, in a spirit of willingness and trust, without raising insurmountable barriers. A good synergy can be a source of encouragement to government leaders as they confront socio-economic imbalances and an unregulated globalization, which are among some of the causes of migration movements in which individuals are more victims than protagonists. No country can single-handedly face the difficulties associated with this phenomenon, which is now so widespread that it affects every continent in the twofold movement of immigration and emigration.

It must also be emphasized that such cooperation begins with the efforts of each country to create better economic and social conditions at home, so that emigration will not be the only option left for those who seek peace, justice, security and full respect of their human dignity. The creation of opportunities for employment in the local economies will also avoid the separation of families and ensure that individuals and groups enjoy conditions of stability and serenity.

Finally, in considering the situation of migrants and refugees, I would point to yet another element in building a better world, namely, the elimination of prejudices and presuppositions in the approach to migration. Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum-seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostility. There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase. The communications media have a role of great responsibility in this regard: it is up to them, in fact, to break down stereotypes and to offer correct information in reporting the errors of a few as well as the honesty, rectitude and goodness of the majority. A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world. The communications media are themselves called to embrace this 'conversion of attitudes' and to promote this change in the way migrants and refugees are treated.

I think of how even the Holy Family of Nazareth experienced initial rejection: Mary 'gave birth to her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn'. Jesus, Mary and Joseph knew what it meant to leave their own country and become migrants: threatened by Herod’s lust for power, they were forced to take flight and seek refuge in Egypt. But the maternal heart of Mary and the compassionate heart of Joseph, the Protector of the Holy Family, never doubted that God would always be with them. Through their intercession, may that same firm certainty dwell in the heart of every migrant and refugee.

The Church, responding to Christ’s command to 'go and make disciples of all nations', is called to be the People of God which embraces all peoples and brings to them the proclamation of the Gospel, for the face of each person bears the mark of the face of Christ! Here we find the deepest foundation of the dignity of the human person, which must always be respected and safeguarded. It is less the criteria of efficiency, productivity, social class, or ethnic or religious belonging which ground that personal dignity, so much as the fact of being created in God’s own image and likeness and, even more so, being children of God. Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved. They are an occasion that Providence gives us to help build a more just society, a more perfect democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a more open and evangelical Christian community. Migration can offer possibilities for a new evangelisation, open vistas for the growth of a new humanity foreshadowed in the paschal mystery: a humanity for which every foreign country is a homeland and every homeland is a foreign country.

Dear migrants and refugees! Never lose the hope that you too are facing a more secure future, that on your journey you will encounter an outstretched hand, and that you can experience fraternal solidarity and the warmth of friendship! To all of you, and to those who have devoted their lives and their efforts to helping you, I give the assurance of my prayers and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing”.


Vatican City, 24 September 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, travelled to Kazakhstan on 20 September, invited by Kairat Mami, president of the Senate of the Republic of Kazakhstan and head of the secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, to participate in the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Congress. The Cardinal also met with representatives of the local Church.


Vatican City, 24 September 2013 (VIS) – The Holy See will also participate in this year's European Heritage Day, a common initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission which will be celebrated by fifty countries throughout the continent on Sunday 29 September.

The general theme is “The Image of the Faith in European Heritage” and the programme has been developed with the collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Vatican Museums. On the occasion of European Heritage Day, entry to the Vatican Museums will be free.


Vatican City, 24 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Raul Martin as bishop of Santa Rosa (area 143,440, population 348,000, Catholics 172,600, priests 38, religious 75), Argentina. Bishop Martin, previously auxiliary of Buenos Aires, Argentina was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1957, was ordained to the priesthood in 1990, and received episcopal ordination in 2006.

- appointed Bishop Pietro Maria Fragnelli as bishop of Trapani (area 1,089, population 208,216, Catholics 207,000, priests 103, permanent deacons 17, religious 212), Italy. Bishop Fragnelli, previously bishop of Castellaneta, Italy was born in Crispiano, Italy in 1952, was ordained to the priesthood in 1977, and received episcopal ordination in 2003.

- appointed Bishop Bernard A. Hebda as coadjutor archbishop of Newark (area 1,328, population 3,089,000, Catholics 1,427,000, priests 774, permanent deacons 184, religious 1,076), U.S.A. Archbishop-elect Hebda, previously bishop of Gaylord, U.S.A, was born in Pittsburgh, U.S.A. in 1959, was ordained to the priesthood in 1989, and received episcopal ordination in 2009.

- confirmed Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Bishop Josef Clemens as secretary of the same dicastery, for the current five-year period. All members and consultors of the same dicastery have been confirmed until 31 December 2013.

- confirmed Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson as president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace and Bishop Mario Toso as secretary of the same dicastery, as well as all members and consultors, for the current five-year period.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Vatican City, 22 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis arrived in Cagliari, on the Italian island of Sardinia, on his second pastoral visit in Italy, following his first trip to the Lampedusa in Sicily. Both islands are affected by serious problems: in Sicily, the arrival of immigrants, and in Sardinia, the lack of work on account of the closure of many factories.

The pontiff transferred from Cagliari airport to Largo Carlo Felice, where he was awaited by the religious and civil authorities, along with many people holding banners demanding work. Before the Pope's address, a young unemployed person, an entrepreneur and a union member spoke about their experiences. Moved by their words, Francis set aside the text he had prepared and spoke off the cuff.

With this meeting I wish above all to express my closeness, especially in situations of suffering: to many young unemployed, to those in receipt of employment insurance or in precarious employment, and to struggling small businesses. It is a situation I know well from my experience in Argentina. I personally have not experienced this difficulty but my family has; my father, at a young age, went to Argentina full of illusions about 'finding America'. And he suffered throughout the terrible depression of the 1930s. They lost everything! There was no work! And at home, during my childhood, I heard talk of this time, of this suffering. … But I must say to you: 'Have courage!'. But I am also aware I have to do everything on my side too, so that this word 'courage' is not simply a beautiful but passing word, so that it is not simply the cordial smile of an priest, of an employee of the Church who comes and says to you, 'have courage'! No! I don't want that. I want this courage to come from within and to enable me to do all I can as a shepherd, as a man. We must face this with solidarity, among yourselves but also between us; we must face this historical challenge with solidarity and intelligence”.

This is the second city I have visited in Italy. It is interesting to note that both – the first, and this one – are islands. In the first I witnessed the suffering of many people who risked their lives in search of dignity, bread, health: the world of refugees. And I saw the response of that city which, being an island, did not want to be isolated, and … gives us a fine example of welcome. … Here, in this second city-island I visit, again here I find suffering. … A suffering, the lack of work, that leads you to … feel as if you are without dignity! Where there is no work, there is no dignity! And this is not a problem solely in Sardinia … or only of Italy and certain countries in Europe, it is the consequence of a worldwide choice, an economic system that leads to this tragedy, an economic system that has at its centre the idol of money”.

God did not want there to be an idol at the centre of the world, but rather that men and women bring the world ahead through their work. But now, in this system devoid of ethics, at the centre there is an idol, the world has become an idolater of this 'money-god'. Money commands! Cash commands! All that serves this idol commands. And what happens? To defend this idol, we pile up all our resources in the centre and the outer extremes fall by the wayside. The elderly fall, because in this world there is no place for them! Some speak of this habit of 'hidden euthanasia', of not caring for them, of not taking them into consideration. … And the young fall by the wayside too, as they cannot find work and dignity. This world has no future. Why? Because they have no dignity! It is difficult to have dignity without work”.

This is your suffering, here. This is the prayer you call out: 'Work, work, work'. It is a necessary prayer. Work means dignity, work means bringing home bread, work means love! To defend this idolatrous system we have established a 'throwaway culture': we set aside our grandparents and set aside the young. And we must say 'no' to this throwaway culture'. We must say, 'We want a just system! A system that lets all of us move ahead!' We must say, 'We no longer want this globalised economic system, that does us so much harm!' Men and women should be at the centre, not money!”

I had written a number of things to say to you, but, looking at you, these words came to me instead. … I preferred to say to you what came into my heart, looking at you in this moment! I know it is easy to say, never lose hope. But to all, to all of you, those who have a job and those of you who do not, I say, 'Do not allow your hope to be taken from you!' … Perhaps hope is like the smouldering embers below the ashes; let us help ourselves in solidarity, let us blow on the ashes to reignite the flames. Hope leads us on. That isn't optimism, it is something else. But hope is not for one person alone, hope is something we do together! We must keep hope alive together, all of you, and all of us, who are so far away. … So, I say to you: 'Do not be robbed of hope!'. But we must be clever, as the Lord says that the idols are more cunning than we are. The Lord invites us to have the cunning of the snake with the goodness of the dove. We must have this cunning, and call things by their proper name. In this moment, in our current economic system, in our proposed globalised system of life, there is an idol at the centre and this cannot be! Let us struggle together to restore to the centre, at least in our lives, men, women and the family, all of us, so that hope might live on'.

I would like to finish by praying with all of you, in silence, in silence, praying with all of you. I will say what comes to my heart and, in silence, pray with me. Lord God, look at us! Look at this city, this island. Look at our families. Lord, you had work, you were a carpenter, and you were happy. Lord, we have no work. Idols try to rob us of our dignity. Unjust systems rob us of hope. Lord, do not leave us alone. Help us to help ourselves; so that we leave our selfishness behind and feel in our hearts the 'we' of a people who wish to forge ahead. Lord Jesus, who did not lack work, give us work and teach us how to strive for work, and bless us all”.


Vatican City, 22 September 2013 (VIS) – At 10 o'clock in the morning, after greeting the political representatives who awaited him, the Holy Father entered the shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria and met with a group of sick people. At 10.45 he proceeded to the square adjacent to the shrine where he presided over the celebration of the Holy Mass along with Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari. In his homily, the Pope alluded again to unemployment, precariousness and uncertainty regarding the future suffered by the inhabitants of Sardinia. “The loyal cooperation of everyone is necessary, with the commitment of leaders of institutions — even within the Church — to ensure the fundamental rights of persons and families, and to grow more fraternal and united. To ensure the right to work, to bring home bread, bread earned through work!”

Francis assured those present of his nearness and encouraged them to “persevere in your testimony of human and Christian values, so deeply rooted in faith and in the history of this land and population. Always keep the light of hope alive!” He went on to reiterate how “Mary teaches us to have complete trust in God, in His mercy” and the importance of encountering the gaze of Mary, as there we find reflected the gaze of the Father, who made her the Mother of God, and the gaze of the Son from the cross, who made her our Mother. “With this gaze Mary watches over us today. We need her tender gaze, her maternal gaze that knows us better than anyone else, her gaze full of compassion and care”.

Francis urged Sardinians, in spite of their difficulties, not to forget that they are not alone, that they are a united people and, walking together, they may learn to look upon each other under with the fraternal gaze Mary teaches us. “She invites us to become true brothers”, he continued. “Let us not allow anything to come between us and the gaze of the Virgin!. … Let us not be robbed of her gaze!”

At the end of the eucharistic celebration the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims present, whom he entrusted to the Virgin of Bonaria. He recalled all the Marian sanctuaries present in Sardinia and the strong bond with Mary expressed in Sardinian devotion and culture. He urged them to always be “true children of Mary and of the Church, and demonstrate this in your life, following the example of the saints”. The Pope concluded by mentioning the beatification in Bergamo on Saturday of the Capuchin friar Tommaso Acerbis da Olera.


Vatican City, 22 September 2013 (VIS) - “Thank you all for being here. In your faces I see weariness, but also hope. Be aware that you are loved by the Lord, and also by many good people who with their prayers and their works help to alleviate the suffering of their neighbour. I feel at home here. … Here we feel strongly and in a concrete way that we are all brothers. Here the only Father is our celestial Father, and the only Master is Jesus Christ. So, the first thing I wish to share with you is precisely this joy of having Jesus as a Master, as a model of life. … We all face difficulties, all of us. … All of us here – all of us – have weaknesses, all of us are frail. No-one is better than another. We are all equal before the Father, all of us!”

With these words Pope Francis addressed the detainees and the poor assisted by Caritas who gathered to meet with him yesterday in the Cathedral of Cagliari.

Looking to Jesus we see that He has chosen the path of humility and service. … He was neither indecisive nor indifferent: he made a choice and carried it through until the end. He chose to make himself a man, and as a man to become a servant, unto death on the cross. This is the path of love; there is no other. Therefore we see that charity is not a simple question of providing assistance, and far less a form of assistance for quieting consciences. No, that is not love, that is sales, that is business. Love is free. Charity and love are a life choice, a way of being, of living, it is the way of humility and solidarity. … This word 'solidarity'... in our throwaway culture, in which what we do not need, we cast aside, leaving only those who consider themselves righteous, who feel pure, who feel clean. Poor things! This word, solidarity, risks being cancelled from the dictionary, because it is an inconvenient word, because it obliges us to look to others and to give ourselves to others with love”.

But the path of humility and solidarity, added the Pope, was not invented by priests; rather, it was a path taken first by Jesus, and was not a form of “moralism or sentiment. The humility of Christ was real, the decision to be small, to stay with other small people, with the excluded, to stay among us, all of us sinners. But be careful: this is not an ideology! It is a way of being and living that begins with love, that starts from the heart of God”.

But it is not enough to watch, it is necessary to follow! … Jesus did not come into the world to be seen … it is a path and the purpose of a path is to be followed”, the Pope emphasised, thanking the detainees for their efforts in following Him, even in their weariness and suffering inside the prison walls. He also gave thanks to all those who dedicate themselves to works of mercy, encouraging them to continue and reminding them that works of charity must always be done “with tenderness, and always with humility”.

At times”, he observed, “we encounter arrogance in the service of the poor. I am sure you have seen this. … Some make themselves look good by speaking of the poor; others exploit the poor for their own interests or those of their group. This is a grave sin, as it means using the needy, those who are in need, who are Jesus' flesh, for one's own vanity. I use Jesus for my own vanity, this is a serious sin! It would be better for people like this to stay at home!”

To follow Jesus on the path of charity means “to go with Him to the existential peripheries... For the Good Shepherd, that which is lost and disdained is in need of greater care. … In the Church, the first are those who have the greatest human, spiritual and material need”.

Following Christ in the path of charity means “to sow hope … those who hold political and civil responsibilities have a task, which as citizens they must actively undertake. Some members of the Christian community are called to engage in the political sphere, which is a high form of charity, as Paul VI said. But as a Church we all have a strong responsibility, and that is to sow hope through works of solidarity, always seeking to collaborate in the best way with the public institutions, with respect for their various competences. Caritas is an expression of community, and the strength of the Christian community is helping society to grow from within, like leaven. I think of your initiatives with detainees in prisons, I think of the voluntary work of many associations, of solidarity with families who suffer the most from lack of work. In this I say: have courage! Do not allow yourselves to be robbed of hope, and carry on! On the contrary, sow hope”.

At the end of the meeting, Francis met to pray with the cloistered nuns of the city of Cagliari, whom he encouraged to go forward with the certainty that “the Lord has called you to support the Church in prayer”.

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