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Monday, September 9, 2013


Vatican City, 9 September 2013 (VIS) – Today Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. sent a message on behalf of the Holy Father to participants in the Day of Reflection on the world mining industry, organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Day will be celebrated on 7 September and will be attended by representatives of the world's most important mining companies, including the Anglo American, China Minmetals Corporation, Rio Tinto and Zamin Resources, as well as experts in the sector from within the Catholic Church, Caritas and Oxfam America.

The cardinal states that the meeting was of great importance, not only due to the presence of numerous leaders of multinational companies, but also because it is the first time that the directors of the mining industry have met, “close to the Successor of Peter, to reflect on the importance of their human and environmental responsibilities”, and adds that “the extraction industries are seen, not always without reason, as unjustly exploiting resources and local populations, resorting even to slavery and the forced removal of entire populations. … Mining, like many other industrial activities, has ecological and social consequences which go well beyond national borders and pass from one generation to the next”.

The participants in this meeting are aware that, so as not to repeat grave errors of the past, decisions today cannot be taken solely from geological perspectives or the possible economic benefits for investors and for the states in which the companies are based. A new and more profound decision-making process is indispensable and inescapable, one which takes into consideration the complexity of the problems involved, in a context of solidarity. Such a context requires, first of all, that workers be assured of all their economic and social rights, in full accordance with the norms and recommendations of the International Labour Organisation. Likewise it requires the assurance that extraction activities respect international standards for the protection of the environment. The great challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests, involving investors, managers, workers, their families, the future of their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional and international scale, and a contribution to world peace”.

Cardinal Bertone concludes by commenting that the local Churches “will surely wish to imitate your Pontifical Council's solicitude, and place themselves at the service of miners, so as to help them develop an ever more integral version of this question”.


Vatican City, 8 September 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis, following yesterday's fast and prayer vigil for peace in Syria, the Middle East and all over the world, returned to the theme of peace during the Angelus at midday today. He commented on today's Gospel reading in which Jesus states the condition for his disciples: to put nothing before their love for Him, carrying their cross, and following him.

The Holy Father explained that many people approached Jesus, especially in the wake of some prodigious dream, that indicated Him as the Messiah, the King of Israel. But Jesus knows that in Jerusalem the cross awaits Him and does not wish to create illusions; he knows that the path will lead him to sacrifice Himself for the redemption of our sins. “Following Jesus does not mean taking part in a triumphal parade!” the Pope said. “It means sharing in His merciful love, becoming part of His great mission of mercy towards each and every man. … And this universal forgiveness, this mercy, comes through the cross. Jesus does not want to carry out this mission alone: He wants to involve us too, in the mission that the Father entrusted to Him. ... A disciple of Jesus gives up all his or her goods, because he or she has found in Him the greatest Good, within which every other asset receives its true worth and meaning: family relations, other relationships, work, cultural and economic wealth, and so forth”.

To explain his demand, Jesus uses the parable of the king who, before leaving to go to war, would surely first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to his adversary, who was advancing against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. “Here Jesus doesn’t want to discuss war – it is only a parable” commented the Holy Father. “But at this moment in time, when we are praying intensely for peace, this Word of the Lord affects us profoundly, and fundamentally it says: there’s a deeper war we must fight, all of us! It is the strong and brave decision to renounce evil and its seductions, and to choose good, fully prepared to pay personally: that is, following Christ, and taking up our cross! It is a profound war against evil! What is the point of fighting wars, many wars, if you are not capable of fighting this deeper war against evil? There’s no point!”

He continued, “This war against evil means saying no to fratricidal hatred, and to the lies that it uses; saying no to violence in all its forms; saying no to the proliferation of arms and their sale on the black market. There are so many of them! And the doubt always remains: this war over there, this other war over there – because there are wars everywhere – is it really a war over problems, or is it a commercial war, to sell these arms on the black market? These are the enemies we must fight, united and coherent, following no other interests but those of peace and of the common good”.

The Pope concluded by mentioning that today we remember the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, a celebration particularly beloved by the Oriental Churches. “All of us, now, can send our warm greetings to all the brothers, sisters, bishops, monks, nuns of the Oriental Churches, Orthodox and Catholic. … Jesus is the sun, Mary is the first light that announces its dawning. Yesterday evening we kept vigil, calling on Her intercession in our prayer for peace in the world, especially in Syria and in the whole of the Middle East. We invoke Her now as Queen of Peace. Queen of Peace, pray for us!”


Vatican City, 8 September 2013 (VIS) - “I would like to thank everyone who, in various ways, joined in the Vigil of Prayer and Fasting yesterday evening. I thank the many people who united the offering of their sufferings. I express my gratitude to the civil authorities, as well as to the members of other Christian communities and of other religions, and to men and women of good will who have undertaken, on this occasion, periods of prayer, fasting and reflection”, said the Pope after today's Angelus.

But the task remains: we move forward with prayer and works of peace. I invite you to continue to pray so that the violence and devastation in Syria may cease immediately and that a renewed effort be undertaken to achieve a just solution to this fratricidal conflict. Let us pray also for other countries in the Middle East, in particular for Lebanon, that it may find its hoped-for stability and continue to be a model of peaceful co-existence; for Iraq, that sectarian violence may give way to reconciliation; and that the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians may proceed with determination and courage. Finally, let us pray for Egypt, that all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, may commit themselves to build up together a society dedicated to the good of the whole population.

The search for peace is long and demands patience and perseverance! Let us keep praying for this!”

The Pope concluded by mentioning that yesterday in Rovigo, Italy, Maria Bolognese was declared blessed. A laywoman of the region, she was born in 1924 and died in 1980. “She dedicated her entire life to the service of others”, the Pope said, “especially the poor and the sick, enduring great suffering in profound union with the passion of Christ. We give thanks to God for this witness to the Gospel”.


Vatican City, 9 September 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Piotr Nowina-Konopka, the new ambassador of Poland to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

- Fr. Bruno Cadore, Master of the Order of Preachers of the Dominican Order.

- Professor Franco Miano, national president of Azione Cattolica Italiana.

- Salvatore Martinez, national president of Renewal in the Holy Spirit.

- Matteo Calisi, president of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Communities and Fellowship and Michelle Moran, president of the International Charismatic Renewal Services.

On Saturday 7 September, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Peter Sopko, the new ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Holy See, presenting his letters of credence.

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

On Friday, 6 September the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona

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


Vatican City, 9 September 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Bamberg, Germany, presented by Bishop Werner Radspieler, upon having reached the age limit.
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