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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.
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