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Friday, October 18, 2013


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, who then went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the colloquial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations, further strengthened by the conclusion of negotiations for a framework Agreement on the legal status of the Catholic Church in Cameroon, which will be signed forthwith. In this regard, appreciation was expressed for the work of the Church in Cameroon society, especially in the fields of education and healthcare, as well as for her contribution to promoting peace and reconciliation.

Finally, attention turned to various challenges relating to sub-Saharan Africa, emphasising Cameroon’s commitment to security and peace in the Region.


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) – The International Commission on English in the Liturgy celebrates today its fiftieth anniversary. Founded as part of the implementation of the liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Divine Liturgy, over the past fifty years, the Commission has carried out the enormous task of providing English translations of the texts of the liturgy, and has also contributed to the study, understanding and appropriation of the Church’s sacramental and euchological tradition.

The Pope received the members of the Commission in audience this morning, and remarked that the fruits of their labours “have not only helped to form the prayer of countless Catholics, but have also contributed to the understanding of the faith, the exercise of the common priesthood and the renewal of the Church’s missionary outreach, all themes central to the teaching of the Council”.

The Commission, “by enabling the vast numbers of the Catholic faithful throughout the world to pray in a common language … has helped to foster the Church’s unity in faith and sacramental communion. That unity and communion, which has its origin in the Blessed Trinity, is one which constantly reconciles and enhances the richness of diversity” concluded the Holy Father, imparting his Apostolic Blessing to those present.


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) – “Your work is a service to the Gospel and to the Church”, writes the Holy Father to Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Centre (Centro Televisivo Vaticano, CTV) on the occasion of the congress held to commemorate thirty years since its foundation, an anniversary that coincides with another important date – fifty years since the approval of the Conciliar decree “Inter Mirifica”, which “numbers among the marvellous gifts of God the tools of social communication including, indeed, television”.

During these decades technology has advanced at great speed, creating unexpected and interconnected networks”, continued Pope Francis. “It is necessary to maintain the evangelical perspective in this type of 'global communication highway'”, he added; “in presenting events, your approach must be not worldly, but ecclesial”.

In this regard, the Pontiff recalled how, shortly after being elected as bishop of Rome, in his meeting with the journalists who had covered the Conclave, he stated that the role of the media “has continually grown in recent times, to the extent that they have become indispensable for transmitting to the world the events of contemporary history”. He continued, “All this is also reflected in the life of the Church. But if it is not easy to narrate the events of history, it is even more complex to report the events linked to the Church. … This requires a special responsibility, a great capacity for interpreting reality in a spiritual light. Effectively, the events in the life of the Church have a special character: they are governed by a logic that is not primarily that of, so to say, 'worldly' categories, and precisely for this reason it is not easy to interpret and communicate them to a broad and varied public”.

Finally, the Pope reiterates that the Vatican Television Centre does not fulfil “a merely documentary, 'neutral' function in relation to events, but rather contributes to bringing the Church closer to the world, bridging distances, taking the word of God to millions of Catholics, even to places where often professing one's faith is a courageous choice. Thanks to the images [it transmits], CTV walks alongside the Pope in bringing Christ to the many forms of solitude of contemporary man, even reaching sophisticated technological peripheries. In this, your mission, it is important to remember that the Church is present in the world of communication, in all its variegated expressions, first and foremost to lead people to the encounter with Jesus Christ”.

Francis concluded by asking the Virgin to guide the steps of the “pilgrims of communication”, and invoked the intercession of St. Clare of Assisi, patron of television.


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a video message to participants in the first Philippine Conference on the New Evangelisation which closes today at the Santo Tomas University in Manila. Delegates from throughout the nation and from various parts of Asia took part in the conference.

The first Philippine Conference on the New Evangelisation is a worthy offering to the Year of Faith”, said the Holy Father. “I am happy to learn that you came to Manila from different parts of the Philippines and Asia. The Holy Spirit is actively at work in you. The Church of Christ is alive!

Through this conference, I hope you would experience again the loving presence of Jesus in your lives, that you would love the Church more and that you would share the Gospel to all people with humility and joy. Don’t get tired of bringing the mercy of the Father to the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the young people and families. Let Jesus be known in the world of politics, business, arts, science, technology and social media. Let the Holy Spirit renew creation and bring forth justice and peace in the Philippines and in the great continent of Asia that is close to my heart.

Please pray for me, I need it. I promise to pray for you, especially to Our Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation”.


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis and the Curia Romana will transfer to Albano Laziale from 9 to 14 March 2014 for the annual Lenten Spiritual Exercises. The “Casa Divin Maestro” is the location selected for their stay. The meditations will be guided by Don Angelo De Donatis, of the clergy of Rome.

The aim is to permit seclusion and greater dedication to the spiritual exercises in a reserved and silent context, far from the offices of daily work.


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) - The International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC), the official forum for ongoing dialogue between the Holy See´s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), held its 22nd meeting in Madrid, Spain, from 13-16 October, 2013. The meeting was co-chaired by Betty Ehrenberg, chair of IJCIC and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. The theme of the meeting was “Challenges for Religion in Contemporary Society”, and at the end the participants published a joint declaration that touched upon several important points:

1. Our Shared Heritage

Jews and Christians share the heritage of the biblical testimony of God's relationship with the human family throughout history. Our Scriptures bear witness to both individuals and the people as a whole being called, taught, guided and protected by Divine Providence. In light of this sacred history, Catholic and Jewish participants in the meeting responded to emerging opportunities and difficulties facing religious belief and practice in today's world.

2. Religious Freedom

Encouraged in our work by Pope Francis' expressions of his concern for the universal welfare of all, particularly the poor and the oppressed, we share the belief in the God-given dignity of every individual. This requires that each person be accorded full freedom of conscience and freedom of religious expression individually and institutionally, privately and publicly. We deplore the abuse of religion, the use of religion for political ends. Both Jews and Catholics condemn persecution on religious grounds.

3. Persecution of Christians

The ILC recommends to the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and IJCIC to work together on situations involving the persecution of Christian minorities worldwide as they arise; to call attention to these problems and to support efforts to guarantee full citizenship to all citizens regardless of religious or ethnic identity in the Middle East and beyond. Further, we encourage efforts to promote the well-being of minority Christian and Jewish communities throughout the Middle East.

4. The Rise of Anti-Semitism

As Pope Francis has repeatedly said, 'a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite'. We encourage all religious leaders to continue to be a strong voice against this sin. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of 'Nostra Aetate' in 2015 is a privileged moment in which to reaffirm its condemnation of anti-Semitism. We urge that anti-Semitic teachings be eliminated from preaching and textbooks everywhere in the world. Similarly, any expression of anti-Christian sentiment is equally unacceptable.

5. Education

We recommend that all Jewish and Catholic seminaries include instruction about “Nostra Aetate” and the subsequent documents of the Holy See implementing the Council's Declaration in their curricula. As a new generation of Jewish and Catholic leaders arises, we underscore the profound ways that 'Nostra Aetate' changed the relationship between Jews and Catholics. It is imperative that the next generation embrace these teachings and ensure that they reach every corner of the world.

In the face of these challenges, we Catholics and Jews renew our commitment to educate our own respective communities in the knowledge of and respect for each other”.


Vatican City, 18 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Ingles, apostolic nuncio to Albania.

- Bishop Ernesto Vecchi, apostolic administrator of Terni-Narni-Amelia.

- Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of Opus Dei.
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