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Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) – The Church as mother was again the theme chosen by Francis for today's catechesis at the Wednesday general audience. “I like this image a lot, as it seems to me that it tells us not only how the Church is, but also shows us the face the Church, this Church of ours, should increasingly show”, he explained.

The Pope began by considering what a mother does for her children. First of all, “she teaches us how to proceed in life … she orientates us, she always tries to show us the right path in life in order to grow and become adults. And she does this with tenderness, with affection, with love, always – even when she tries to correct our path because we lose our way a little or take routes that might lead us to a fall”.

The Church does likewise: she orientates our lives, she offers us instruction on how to walk in the right way. Think of the ten Commandments: they show us the route to follow if we are to mature, fixing certain cardinal points in our behaviour. And these are the fruits of tenderness, of the very love that God gives us. You might say to me: but these are commandments! They are a list of negatives! I would like to invite you to read them, … and then think about them positively. You will see that they concern our way of behaving towards God, towards ourselves and towards others, just as a mother teaches us how to live well. They remind us not to make material idols for ourselves, which then turn us into slaves; to remember God; to respect our parents; to be honest; to respect others … Try to see them in this way and consider them as if they were the words and teachings a mother gives us in order to take a good path through life. A mother never teaches anything that is bad, she wants only what is best for her children, and the same is true of the Church”.

Secondly, “when a child grows and becomes an adult … and assumes his responsibilities … he does what he wants, and at times, he may happen to stray away from the path. … A mother always, in every situation, has the patience to continue to accompany her children. She is animated by the strength of love … and even when [her children] make mistakes, she always finds a way of understanding them … to help them. We say that a mother 'stands up and is counted' for her own children; that is, she always seeks to defend them”.

The Church is the same: she is a merciful mother who understands, who always tries to help, to give encouragement even when her children have made mistakes or continue to do so. She never closes the doors of her house to them: she does not judge, but rather offers God's forgiveness, she offers her love to invite her children to return to the right path and even when they have fallen into the deepest abyss, the Church is not afraid to enter into their darkest night with them in order to give them hope; the Church is not afraid to enter into our night when our soul and conscience are surrounded by darkness, to give us hope! Because the Church is our mother!”

Finally, “a mother also knows how to ask, to knock on every door for her children, without calculation but with love. And I think of how mothers know, most of all, how to knock on God's door! Mothers pray a lot for their own children, especially for those … most in need, whose lives have taken dangerous or mistaken paths. … The Church does likewise: through prayer, she places the lives of all her children in the hands of the Lord. Let us trust in the strength of prayer of the Mother Church: the Lord never remains indifferent. He always knows how to astonish us when we least expect us. The Mother Church knows this!”

So, these are the thoughts I wanted to share with you today: we see in the Church a good mother who shows us the path to walk in life, who is always patient, merciful and understanding, and knows how to place us in God's hands”.


Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) – “I invite all Catholics throughout the world to unite with other Christians to continue to implore God for peace in the most afflicted parts of our planet”. The Pope launched this appeal following today's catechesis, recalling that on 21 September the United Nations celebrate the “International Day of Peace”, and the Ecumenical Council of the Church calls for all its members to pray for peace on that day.

May peace, a gift from Christ, forever reside in our hearts and support the aims and actions of the leaders of the Nations and all men of good will. Let us all be committed to encouraging efforts for a diplomatic and political solution in the seedbeds of war that remain a cause for concern. My thoughts turn especially to the dear Syrian population, whose human tragedy may be resolved only through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for justice and the dignity of every person, especially the weakest and most defenceless”.


Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, spoke at the 57th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA), held in Vienna on 16 September.

The prelate mentioned that “this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Papal Encyclical “Pacem in Terris” of Blessed Pope John XXIII” and remarked, “we should ask ourselves whether we really live in a more secure and safer world today compared with that of a few decades ago”.

The Holy See shares the thoughts and sentiments of most men and women of good will who aspire to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Hence, we would like to use this opportunity to renew our call upon the leaders of nations to put an end to nuclear weapons production and to transfer nuclear material from military purpose to peaceful activities”.

The archbishop insisted upon the importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation from a humanitarian point of view, and expressed “the Holy See's deep concern about the recent tragic developments in the Middle East”, restating “its strong support for the efforts to establish a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear-weapon-free zones are the best example of trust, confidence and affirmation that peace and security are possible without possessing nuclear weapons”.

He concluded his address by referring to recent negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme, and emphasized the Holy See's firm conviction that “the present difficulties can and must be overcome through diplomatic channels, making use of all the means that diplomacy has at its disposal, and considers it necessary to overcome the various obstacles which objectively impede mutual trust.


Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, almoner of His Holiness, with family members.


Vatican City, 18 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Jaime Spengler, O.F.M., as metropolitan archbishop of Porto Alegre (area 13,753, population 3,368,000, Catholics 2,507,000, priests 373, permanent deacons 57, religious 1,602), Brazil. Archbishop Spengler, previously auxiliary of the same archdiocese, was born in Blumenau, Brazil in 1960, was ordained to the priesthood in 1990, and received episcopal ordination in 2011. He succeeds Archbishop Dadeus Grings, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Antonio Di Donna as bishop of Acerra (area 157, population 123,887, Catholics 121,763, priests 53, permanent deacons 4, religious 73), Italy. Bishop Di Donna, previously auxiliary of Naples, Italy, was born in Ercolano, Italy in 1952, was ordained to the priesthood in 1976, and received episcopal ordination in 2007. He succeeds Bishop Salvatore Giovanni Rinaldi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Cirilo B. Flores as bishop of San Diego (area 22,942, population 3,124,081, Catholics 982,183, priests 311, permanent deacons 163, religious 353), U.S.A. Bishop Flores, previously coadjutor of the same diocese, was born in Corona, U.S.A in 1948, was ordained to the priesthood in 1991, and received episcopal ordination in 2009. He succeeds Bishop Robert H. Brom, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.
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