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Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Vatican City, 30 July 2013 (VIS) – On the return flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, Pope Francis spoke for around an hour and half with the journalists accompanying him on his journey. The questions and answers were all impromptu, and the Pope answered all the questioned posed, on matters ranging from his personal security to his relationship with the Roman Curia, his trip to Brazil, his collaboration with Benedict XVI and the situation of divorced and remarried persons.

Francis said he was happy with his first trip abroad as Pope, commenting that it had brought to the fore “the goodness and the suffering of the Brazilian people ... the Brazilian people are warm-hearted, they are an amiable people … who even in suffering always find a way to seek out the best from all sides. And this is a good thing: they are cheerful people who have suffered much … This trip has been very good; spiritually, it has done me good … meeting people always does good, as in doing so we receive many good things from others”.

With regard to matters of security, he commented that there had been no incident during his visit to Rio de Janeiro, and that everything had been spontaneous. “With less security, I was able to stay with the people, to embrace them, greet them, without armoured cars … it is the security of trusting in people … yes, there's always the danger of encountering a madman, but then there is always the Lord who protects us, isn't there? It is also madness to separate a bishop from his people, and I prefer this madness”.

He also reiterated that he preferred to continue to reside at the Santa Marta guesthouse, explaining that, “I cannot live alone, or with a small group. I need to be among people, to meet and speak with people. … Everyone should live as the Lord intends them to live. But austerity – a general austerity – I think it is necessary for all those who work in the service of the Church”.

He also revealed the contents of the black bag he carried during his trip to Brazil. “There wasn't the key to the atomic bomb! There is a razor, a breviary, my diary, a book to read – I brought one on St. Therese of Lisieux, to whom I am devoted … I always take this bag when I travel. It's normal. We should be normal!”

In response to a question on the commissions he has instituted for the reform of the IOR (Institute for Religious Works) and the case of Msgr. Scarano, director of the accounting analysis service of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) arrested by the Italian authorities in the context of a corruption and fraud investigation, he stated that the commissions have been established to reform and rectify the IOR and that some advised him it should be an ethical bank, a support fund or that it should even be shut down. “I trust in the work of the commission members”, he commented. “Transparency and honesty must be the criteria inspiring this entity. He expressed his sadness regarding the case of Msgr. Scarano, imprisoned “and not because he resembled Blessed Imelda … I am pained by these events because they cause scandal … but in the Curia there are also saintly people … and even if there are some who are not, they are those who make the most noise: everyone knows that one falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest”.

The Pope also referred to Msgr. Ricca, a prelate of the IOR, about whom an Italian magazine published compromising information relating to his personal life, and on the so-called “gay lobby” within the Vatican. “On Msgr. Ricca”, he said, “an 'investigatio previa' (an investigation prior to being appointed as a prelate) was carried out and nothing emerged. But I would like to add one more thing: I see that very often in the Church, there is a tendency to seek out sins committed in youth, and make them public. I am not speaking about crimes: the abuse of minors is a crime. But if a layperson, or a priest, or a nun, has sinned, the Lord forgives and forgets. And this is important – the Lord forgets. We do not have the right to not forget. … St. Peter committed one of the most serious sins, apostasy, and yet they made him Pope. Much is written about the gay lobby … but I haven't found gay identity cards in the Vatican, although they say they exist. I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must distinguish the fact of being gay from that of forming part of a lobby, as not all lobbies are good. That is the problem. But if a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

Similarly the Pope did not elude the theme of sacraments for the divorced and remarried. “I think this is the moment for mercy. The divorced may have access to the sacraments. The problem regards those who are in a second marriage … who cannot receive communion. But, in parenthesis, the Orthodox have a different praxis. They follow the theology of economy, and they give a second chance: they allow that. But I think that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – should be studied within the framework of matrimonial pastoral care. One of the themes that the Council of Cardinals will consider in the meeting in … October is how to proceed in relation to matrimonial pastoral care. … A few days ago I met with the secretary of the Synod of Bishops, for the theme of the next Synod and, speaking … we saw this anthropological theme: how faith helps in the planning of the person, in the family, and enters into the pastoral of matrimony. … We are on the way towards a deeper matrimonial pastoral care … This is a problem for many people”.

With regard to the participation of women in the Church, Francis said that John Paul II had closed the door to the question of ordination, but emphasised that “Mary was more important than the Apostles, bishops, and so women in the Church are also more important than bishops and priests … there is a great need for theology to better explore the role of women in the Church”.

Speaking of the presence of Benedict XVI in the Vatican, he affirmed, “It is like having a grandfather at home, but a wise grandfather. When in a family the grandfather is at home, he is venerated, loved and listened to. He is a prudent man who does not intrude. I have said to him many times, 'Your Holiness, receive visitors, carry on with your life, come with us … He came to the inauguration and blessing of the statue of St. Michael … Yes, it is like having a grandfather at home, my father. If I had any difficulty or did not understand something, I would telephone him to ask, 'Tell me, can I do this, or that?' And when I went to speak to him about the serious problem of Vatileaks, he explained it all to me with great simplicity”.

For the full Italian text of the press conference with the Holy Father, see: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/july/documents/papa-francesco_20130728_gmg-conferenza-stampa_it.html


Vatican City, 30 July 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent a telegram, in the name of the Holy Father, to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples and president of the Episcopal Conference for the region of Campania, for the road accident last Sunday in which 38 people lost their lives when a bus fell from a viaduct on the A16 road between Naples and Canosa.

Profoundly saddened by the news of the tragic accident, the Pope raises fervent prayers for the souls of the deceased and conveys his deepest condolences to their families. He invokes the Lord for the rapid recovery of the injured, and imparts the comfort of an apostolic blessing as a sign of consolation for those who mourn the loss of their loved ones.


Vatican City, 30 July 2013 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of January to April 2013.


7: Video-message from the Holy Father Benedict XVI on the occasion of the National Congress of the Church in Cambodia on the theme of "Vatican Council II and the Church".

8: "Go and do likewise" is the theme for the Holy Father's message on the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 11 February, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, which will take place this year at the Marian Shrine of Altotting, Germany.

10: The Holy Father receives in audience Mrs. Slavica Karacic, the new ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Holy See, presenting her credential letters.

12: The Holy Father receives in audience His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene.

13: Celebration of World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme: "What does God require of us?", inspired by a passage in the book of the prophet Micah.

18: The French and German Bishops' Conferences publish a joint declaration marking the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, signed on 22 January 1963 by General Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to seal the reconciliation between the two opposing nations after the Second World War.

19: Benedict XVI receives in audience participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum on the theme: “Charity, Christian Anthropology, and Global Ethics".

22: The Holy Father Benedict XVI receives in audience for the first time the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong.

24: Death of Cardinal Jozef Glemp, archbishop emeritus of Gniezno and Warsaw and primate of Poland, at the age of 83.

24: Presentation of Benedict XVI's message for the 47th World Communications Day (12 May) on the theme: "Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelisation".

25: Study Day on “The Code: A Reform Desired and Requested by the Council” marking the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law.

25: With the Motu Proprio “Fides per doctrinam”, signed 16 January, the Holy Father modifies the apostolic constitution "Pastor bonus", transferring responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.


1: Presentation of the Holy Father's Lenten Message, dated 15 February 2013 and entitled "Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity: 'We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us'".

6-9: Annual Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, dedicated to the theme "Emerging Youth Cultures".

8: Death of Cardinal Giovanni Cheli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care, at the age of 94.

11: In the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presides over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blesseds: Antonio Primaldo and Companions, martyrs, (1480); Laura de Santa Catalina de Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874 -1949), virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St Catherine of Siena; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor. During the course of the consistory, the Pope decrees that blesseds Antonio Primaldo and his companions, Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 12 May 2013.

11: At the end of the consistory for causes for canonization Benedict XVI announces to the College of Cardinals, in a declaration read in Latin, his resignation from his ministry as Bishop of Rome, from 8 p.m. on 28 February 2013.

14: “I will always be near to all of you in prayer” says the Holy Father to the priests and clergy of the Diocese of Rome, accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general, and auxiliary bishops.

14: Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household and secretary to Benedict XVI, continues to carry out both roles and thus accompanies the Pope during his stay at Castel Gandolfo and at the monastery that he will retire to after his resignation from the papacy.

15: The Holy Father Benedetto XVI receives in audience Traian Basescu, president of the Republic of Romania.

15: The Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) appoints, in accordance with the Institute’s statutes, a new president of the Supervisory Board, Ernst von Freyberg.

16: The Pope receives Senator Mario Monti, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, in a private audience.

16: The Pope receives in audience Otto Perez Molina, president of the Republic of Guatemala.

22: The Holy See and the Republic of South Sudan establish diplomatic relations at the level of Apostolic Nunciature on the part of the Holy See and the Embassy on the part of the Republic of South Sudan.

23: The Holy Father receives in a farewell audience the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, accompanied by his wife.

24: Final Angelus of Benedict XVI's pontificate, attended by over 200,000 people.

25: Publication of an Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by Holy Father Benedict XVI on amendments concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff, in which the College of Cardinals is granted the faculty to bring forward the start of the Conclave.

25: Death of Belgian Cardinal Julien Ries at the age of 92.

26: After the end of his Pontificate Benedict XVI will be “Pontiff emeritus” or “Pope emeritus”, and will keep the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI”. He will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta.

27: Benedict XVI celebrates his final general audience, attended by thousands of people.

27: The Holy Father receives in audience Ivan Gasparovic, President of Slovakia.

28: The Holy Father Benedict XVI greets the College of Cardinals on the last day of his pontificate.

28: Death of Cardinal Jean Honoré, archbishop emeritus of Tours, France, at the age of 92.

28: Shortly after 5:00pm, Benedict XVI leaves the Vatican for the last time as Supreme Pontiff, destined for Castel Gandolfo where he will reside temporarily before transferring to the Monastery on the Vatican Hill, which has previously housed four cloistered orders.


1: On the first day of the Sede Vacante, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, summons the cardinals to the first of the General Congregations, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”.

8: The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals decides that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.

12: “Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass, presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and concelebrated by over one hundred cardinals, electors and non-electors.

12: The 115 Cardinal electors enter into the Conclave.

13: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., is elected Supreme Pontiff, the 265th successor of Peter, and chooses the name Francis, the first Pope to do so.

14: The Holy Father's first liturgical celebration with the 114 cardinals who participated in the Conclave. They concelebrate the “Pro Ecclesia” Mass in Latin, with readings in Italian.

15: The new Roman Pontiff receives all the Cardinals, electors and non-electors in the Clementine Hall.

16: The Holy Father greets over 6,000 journalists and media workers accredited in Rome, permanently or temporarily, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

17: Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Vatican parish of St. Anna.

17: First Angelus of the pontificate of Pope Francis.

18: Audience and lunch with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina.

19: Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, in St. Peter's Square. Celebration of the Mass inaugurating Pope Francis' Petrine Ministry.

20: Audience with the Fraternal Delegates.

20: The Pope receives in audience Dilma Vana Rousseff, president of Brazil, and entourage.

22: The Pope receives in audience members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in the Sala Regia.

23: Meeting with the Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and lunch in the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo.

25: The Square Garden (“Giardino Quadrato”), created in the 1500s at the behest of Pope Paul III Farnese, who commissioned Michelangelo's “The Last Judgment” in 1534, will be open to visitors of the Vatican Museums.

27: Pope Francis' first General Audience, reflecting on Holy Week.

28: Pope Francis celebrates the “in Coena Domine”—the Lord's Supper—Mass at the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors and not in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, as is usual on this day.


5: Presentation of the new print and digital versions of the Jesuit journal “La Civilta Cattolica” (Catholic Civilization).

7: In the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis celebrates Mass, during which he officially takes possession of the Cathedra of the Bishop of Rome.

7: Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, takes possession pf the title of San Saturnino, Via Avigliana, 3, Roma.

9: The Holy Father receives in audience Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, with his wife and entourage.

10: Death of Cardinal Lorenzo Antonetti, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, former pontifical delegate to the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, at the age of 90.

11: The Holy Father receives in audience Alberto Clementino Vaquina, prime minister of Mozambique.

13: The Holy Father establishes a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the Universal Church and to draw up a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, 'Pastor Bonus'.

14: Pope Francis presides over Mass at Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls on his first visit there as Bishop of Rome.

15: The Holy Father receives in audience Mariano Rajoy Brey, prime minister of Spain, with his wife and entourage.

16: Presentation of the Vatican Foundation “International Family Centre in Nazareth”, to be erected on the outskirts of Nazareth above the hill dominating the city centre and the Basilica of the Annunciation.

17: The Holy Father receives Saleh Mohammad Al Ghamdi, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Italy, bearer of a message from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

- 19: The Holy Father receives in audience Rafael Correa Delgado, president of the Republic of Ecuador, and entourage.

- 22: Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez takes possession of the title of St. Gerardo Maiella, Via Romolo Balzani, 74, Roma.

- 26: The Holy Father receives in audience Andry Nirina Rajoelina, president of the High Transitional Authority of Madagascar.

- 30: The Holy Father receives in audience Shimon Peres, president of the State of Israel.
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