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Monday, September 30, 2013


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – We publish below the full text of the Chirograph by by which the Holy Father institutes a Council of Cardinals to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia.

Among the suggestions that emerged from the General Congregations of Cardinals prior to the Conclave, mention was made of the expediency of instituting a limited group of Members of the Episcopate, from various parts of the world, with whom the Holy Father could consult, individually or collectively, on specific matters. Once elected to the See of Rome, I have had the opportunity to reflect on this issue on a number of occasions, and consider that such an initiative would be of significant use in fulfilling the pastoral ministry of Peter’s Successor entrusted to me by my brother cardinals.

For this reason, on 13 April I announced the constitution of the aforementioned group, at the same time indicating the names of those who had been called to participate. Now, following reflection, I consider it opportune that such a group, by means of the present Chirograph, be instituted as a 'Council of Cardinals', with the task of assisting me in the governance of the universal Church and drawing up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia. It will be composed of the same persons previously nominated, who may be called upon, both in Council and singly, on matters that I will from time to time consider worthy of attention. The aforementioned Council which, with regard to the number of members, I will compose in the most appropriate way, will constitute a further expression of Episcopal communion and of the aid to the munus petrinum that the Episcopate, disseminated throughout the world, may offer”.

The chirograph is dated 28 September 2013, the first year of Francis' Pontificate.


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – Today in the apostolic palace the Holy Father received in audience participants in the international meeting for peace organised by the St. Egidio Community. The meeting, held in Rome from 29 September to 1 October, is entitled “Courage and Hope: religions and cultures in dialogue”. Francis mentioned John Paul II's invitation in Assisi to religious leaders to pray for peace not one against the other, but rather alongside each other, and praised the St. Egidio Community for continuing along this path and ensuring that this did not remain an isolated event. “You have gained pace”, he said, “with the participation of important figures from all religions and from lay representatives and humanists”.

The Pope underlined that “there is no religious justification for violence”, and, as emphasised by Benedict XVI two years ago, “it is necessary to eliminate every form of violence motivated by religion, and to keep vigil together to ensure that the world no longer falls prey to the violence inherent in every plan for civilisation that is based on a 'no' to God”.

The Pope emphasised that peace is the responsibility of all, and that a religious leader is a man of peace, because “the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of religious traditions”. He also remarked that “Peace requires tenacious, patient, strong, intelligent dialogue, for which nothing is lost. Dialogue can win over war. Dialogue enables people of different generations, who often ignore each other, to live together; it enables the co-existence of citizens of different ethnic origins, of different convictions. Dialogue is the way of peace”.

The Pope described religious leaders as “dialoguers”, working to build peace; not as intermediaries seeking benefit, but rather as authentic mediators with peace as their ultimate goal. In conclusion, he encouraged them to continue their work, as “this courage of peace gives the courage of hope to the world”.


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) - This morning at 10 a.m. in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presided over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

During the course of the consistory, the Pope decreed that blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 27 April 2014, Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday.


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – The first of three meetings between Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals, instituted by the Holy Father's Chirograph of 28 September, will take place tomorrow, 1 October.

The council is composed of Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, USA; George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the role of coordinator; and Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, in the role of secretary.

During the three days the Council will meet in the private library of the third loggia in the papal apartment, and the working sessions will take place in the morning and in the evening. The Holy Father will participate, except on Wednesday morning during the general audience, explained the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., who went on to clarify that the conversations will be private, so no communication is to be given at the end. He also emphasised that, as stated in the Chirograph published today, the Pope reserves the faculty of configuring the Council in the most suitable form, and may therefore increase the number of members.

He also observed that all the members of the Council, with the exception of the Secretary and Cardinal Bertello (who represents the Curia) are archbishops with large dioceses and in most cases with broad pastoral experience. “The institution of the Council of Cardinals”, he said, “is a further enrichment provided by the Pope to the governance of the Church”, and recalled that during his pontificate Francis has frequently made use of consultation, as is demonstrated by the case of the meeting with the heads of the dicasteries and his interest in reviving the working method of the Synod.

The Council has no relation with other Church institutions and is not an element of the architecture of the latter, but rather an organ of consultation for the Pope, Fr.Lombardi continued, explaining that since the announcement in April of the institution of a group of eight cardinals to assist the Pope in the governance of the Church, the members have received suggestions and proposals in their respective areas of competence. Furthermore, in preparation for the October meeting, contributions of various types have been sent to the Pope, the opinions of the heads of dicasteries have been sought, and the Secretary of State and College of Cardinals have been consulted. “The Council has eighty documents that have been circulated amongst its members, and the secretary, Bishop Semeraro, has prepared a comprehensive synthesis. Similarly, over these months the members have have also spoken with each other and on occasion with the Holy Father".


Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – In a note published today, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explained the meaning and context of the central theme of the next Social Communications Day, which is celebrated every year on 1 June. This year, the theme chosen by the Holy Father is “Communication at the service of an authentic culture of encounter”.

The capacity to communicate is at the heart of what it means to be human. It is in and through our communication that we are able to meet and encounter at a meaningful level other people, express who we are, what we think and believe, how we wish to live and, perhaps more importantly, to come to know those with whom we are called to live. Such communication calls for honesty, mutual respect and a commitment to learn from each other.

It requires a capacity to know how to dialogue respectfully with the truth of others. It is often what might be perceived initially as ‘difference’ in the other that reveals the richness of our humanity. It is the discovery of the other that enables us to learn the truth of who we are ourselves.

In our modern era, a new culture is developing advanced by technology, and communication is in a sense “amplified” and “continuous”. We are called to “rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and of the beauty of the encounter with Christ.” (Address of Pope Francis to participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013). In this context, each one of us should accept the challenge to be authentic by witnessing to values, Christian identity, cultural experiences, expressed with a new language and shared with others.

Our ability to communicate, reflected in our participation in the creative, communicative and unifying Trinitarian Love, is a gift which allows us to grow in personal relationships, which are a blessing in our lives, and to find in dialogue a response to those divisions that create tensions within communities and between nations.

The age of globalization is making communication possible even in the most remote parts of the world, but it is also important “to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages.” (Address of Pope Francis to participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013), so that nobody is excluded.

The Message for World Communications Day 2014 will explore the potential of communication, especially in a networked and connected world, to bring people closer to each other and to co-operate in the task of building a more just world.

World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council (“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (June 1st in 2014).

The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24)”.


Vatican City, 29 September 2013 (VIS) – The catechist is one who guards the memory of God and who knows how to awaken it in others, said Pope Francis in the homily he pronounced during Mass in St. Peter's Square, in which more than 100,000 people participated, also filling the adjacent Via della Conciliazione.

On the concluding day of the pilgrimage to Rome of catechists from all over the world, marking the Year of Faith, the Holy Father quoted the words of the prophet Amos: “Woe to the complacent in Zion … lying upon beds of ivory! They eat, they drink, they sing, they play and they care nothing about other people’s troubles”. He explained that, although these are harsh words, “they warn us about a danger that all of us face. … The danger of complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts, of making our well-being the most important thing in our lives”.

This was also the case of the rich man in the Gospel, who dressed luxuriously and banqueted sumptuously without concern for the poor man on his doorstep who had nothing to relieve his hunger. “Whenever material things, money, worldliness, become the centre of our lives, they take hold of us, they possess us; we lose our very identity as human beings. … The rich man in the Gospel has no name, he is simply 'a rich man'. Material things, his possessions, are his face; he has nothing else”.

This happens to us when we find “security in material things which ultimately rob us of our face, our human face. This is what happens when we become complacent, when we no longer remember God. … Life, the world, other people, all of these become unreal, they no longer matter, everything boils down to one thing: having. When we no longer remember God, we too become unreal, we too become empty; like the rich man in the Gospel, we no longer have a face. Those who run after nothing become nothing”.

The catechist must be those “who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others”, like Mary, “who … sees God’s wondrous works in her life … but instead, after receiving the message of the angel and conceiving the Son of God … goes to assist her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth, also pregnant”, and upon encountering her, “the first thing she does … is to recall God’s work, God’s fidelity, in her own life, in the history of her people, in our history … Mary remembers God”.

This canticle of Mary also contains the remembrance of her personal history, God’s history with her, her own experience of faith. And this is true too for each one of us and for every Christian: faith contains our own memory of God’s history with us, the memory of our encountering God who always takes the first step, who creates, saves and transforms us. … A catechist is a Christian who puts this remembrance at the service of proclamation, not to seem important, not to talk about himself or herself, but to talk about God, about his love and his fidelity. To talk about and to pass down all that God has revealed, his teaching in its totality, neither trimming it down nor adding on to it. … What is the Catechism itself, if not the memory of God, the memory of his works in history and his drawing near to us in Christ present in his word, in the sacraments, in his Church, in his love?”.

Finally, the Pope cited St. Paul's recommendations to Timothy, which also indicate the path of the catechist: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. … Catechists are men and women of the memory of God if they have a constant, living relationship with him and with their neighbour; if they are men and women of faith who truly trust in God and put their security in him; if they are men and women of charity, love, who see others as brothers and sisters; if they are men and women of 'hypomoné', endurance and perseverance, able to face difficulties, trials and failures with serenity and hope in the Lord; if they are gentle, capable of understanding and mercy”.

Francis concluded, “Let us ask the Lord that we may all be men and women who keep the memory of God alive in ourselves, and are able to awaken it in the hearts of others”.


Vatican City, 29 September 2013 (VIS) – Following the celebration of Holy Mass for the Day of Catechists on the occasion of the Year of Faith on the solemnity of the archangels St. Michael, St. Raphael and St. Gabriel, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted His Beatitude Archbishop Youhanna X, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East. “Your presence”, he said, “invites us once again to pray for peace in Syria and in the Middle East”. Francis greeted the pilgrims from Assisi who had come to Rome on horseback, and mentioned that in Croatia on Saturday 28 September, the diocesan priest Miroslav Bulesic, martyred in 1947, was beatified.


Vatican City, 28 September 2013 (VIS) - “Catechesis is a pillar for education in faith. … Even though at times it may be difficult, it is necessary to work hard and make efforts for which you don't always see the results you hoped for, educating in faith is good! It is perhaps the best legacy we can give: faith! … Catechesis is a vocation: 'being' a catechist, this is the vocation, not 'working' as a catechist. Be careful: I have not said to do the work of a catechist, but rather to be one, because it involves all your life. It means guiding towards the encounter with Jesus with words and with life, with your witness … I like to recall the words of St. Francis of Assisi to his friars: 'Always preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words', so that people may see the Gospel in your lives … we must begin with Christ and this love He gives us”.

With these words Pope Francis greeted the participants in the International Congress on Catechesis promoted on the occasion of the Year of Faith by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, whom he received in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

To start again from Christ, the Pope indicated three stages, “like the old Jesuits … one, two, three!”, he said. “First of all, … it means being familiar with Him: Jesus insisted on this to disciples at the Last Supper, when he prepared himself to live the greatest gift of love, his sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus used the image of the vine and its branches, and said: stay in my love, stay attached to me, just as the branch is attached to the vine. If we remain united to Him, we can bear fruit, and this is familiarity with Him. … The first thing, for a disciple, is to stay with the Master, to listen to Him, to learn from Him. … I ask you: how are you in the presence of the Lord? When you go to the Lord, you look at the Tabernacle, what do you do? Without words … But I say, I say, I think, I reflect, I feel … Very good! But do you let the Lord look at you? To let ourselves be watched by the Lord. He watches us and this is a form of prayer. … If in our hearts there is not the warmth of God, of His love, of His tenderness, how can we, poor sinners, warm the hearts of others?”

To explain the second stage, Francis said that starting again from Christ means “imitating Him in coming out of oneself and going towards others. This is a beautiful experience, if somewhat paradoxical. Because the person who puts Christ at the centre of his life is off-centre. The more you unite with Jesus and make Him the centre of your life, the more He makes you abandon yourself, decentralise yourself, and open yourself to others. This is the true dynamism of love, this is the movement of God Himself! God is the centre, but is always the gift of oneself, relations, life that is communicated. … In the heart of the catechist, there always exists this ‘systolic-diastolic’ movement: union with Jesus; encounter with the other. If at one of these two movements is no longer beating, then you do not live. It receives the gift of kerygma, and offers it as a gift in turn”.

The third element “follows the same line: starting again from Christ means not being afraid to go with Him to the peripheries. Here I think of the story of Jonah, a truly interesting figure, especially in our times of change and incertitude. Jonas was a pius man, with a calm and orderly life; this led him to have very clear mental framework and to judge everything and everyone accordingly, in a rigid fashion. … Therefore, when the Lord called on him to go and preach in the great pagan city of Nineveh, Jonas did not feel like doing this. 'Go there? But I have all the truth here!' … Nineveh was outside his way of thinking and at the periphery of his world. And so he ran away and boarded a boat”.

The story of Jonah “teaches us not to be afraid of going outside our ways of thinking in order to follow God, because God always goes beyond. … God is not afraid! ...God is not afraid of the peripheries. If you go to the peripheries, you will find Him there. God is always faithful and creative, … and creativity is the pillar of being a catechist. God is creative, He is not closed, and for this reason He is never rigid. God is not rigid! He welcomes us, He comes towards us, He understands us. To be faithful, to be creative, it is necessary to know how to change. … If a catechist allows himself to be conquered by fear, he is a coward; if he is not calm, he ends up as a statue in a museum. … What I want to say now, I have already said many times before, but it comes from my heart to say it again. When we Christians are closed in our group, in our movement, in our parish, in our own environment, we remain closed and what happens to us is what happens to whatever remains closed: when a room is closed the odour of humidity gathers. And if a person is closed in that room, they become ill! When a Christian is closed in his group, or parish, or movement, he remains closed and becomes ill. If a Christian goes out into the streets, in the peripheries, what may befall him is what happens to many people on the street: an accident. We have seen many road accidents. But I say to you: I prefer a thousand times over a Church afflicted by accidents rather than a sick Church!”

Jesus did not say: go out and get by. No, he didn't say that! Jesus said, go, I am with you! This is our beauty and our strength: if we go, if we go to bring the Gospel with love, with true apostolic spirit, with boldness and candidness, He walks with us, He goes before us. … When we think of going far away, to an extreme periphery, and perhaps when we are a little afraid, in reality He is already there: Jesus awaits us in the heart of that brother, in his wounded flesh, in his oppressed life, in his soul without faith”.


On Saturday, 28 September the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Members of the presidency of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB): Cardinal Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, president; Archbishop Jose Belisario da Silva, O.F.M., of Sao Luis do Maranhao, vice president; Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, auxiliary of Brasilia, secretary general.

- Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.


On Saturday, 28 September, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Julito B. Cortes as bishop of Dumaguete (area 4,955, population 1,172,000, Catholics 1,034,000, priests 104, religious 125), Philippines. Bishop Cortes, previously auxiliary of Cebu, was born in Paranaque, Philippines in 1956, was ordained to the priesthood in 1980, and received episcopal ordination in 2002.

- appointed Bishop Paul Bui Van Doc as coadjutor archbishop of Ho Chi Minh Ville (area 2,093, population 7,365,520, Catholics 685,707, priests 658, religious 5,900), Vietnam. Archbishop-elect Bui Van Doc, previously bishop of My Tho, Vietnam, was appointed as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the diocese of My Tho, Vietnam.

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as special envoy to the celebration of the Fourth American Missionary Congress (CAM4) and the Ninth Missionary Congress of Latin America (COMLA9), scheduled to take place in Maracaibo, Venezuela on 1 December 2013.

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