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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.
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