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Thursday, October 31, 2013


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) – This morning, in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience the members of St. Peter's Circle. The Pope emphasised that the work of the Circle was carried out as a duty of the lay faithful, and commented that “every day each one of us is called to console, to become a humble but generous instrument of God's providence and of His merciful goodness, of His love that understands and sympathises, of His consolation that relieves and encourages”. Likewise, the Pope thanked them for Peter's Pence, the annual charitable offering collected by this group in the parishes of Rome.

Francis concluded by encouraging the members to continue in their work, “a visible sign of Christ's charity towards those who find themselves in need, in both a material and a spiritual sense, and to the pilgrims who come to Rome from all over the world. … continue in your work, drawing upon love for your brothers from the school of divine charity, through prayer and in listening to the Word of God”.


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


- Servant of God Anton Durcovici of Iai, Romania (1888-1951), killed in hatred of the faith in the Sighet prison, Bucarest, Romania in 1993.


- Servant of God Honoria “Nano” Nagle (Joan of God), Irish foundress of the Union of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1718-1784).

- Servant of God Celestina Bottego, foundress of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary (1895-1980).

- Servant of God Olga della Madre di Dio (nee Olga Maria Fortunata Gugelmo), Italian professed nun of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Church (1910-1943).


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis' prayer intention for November is: “That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity”.

His mission intention is: “That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches”.


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., made the following declaration this morning:

On the occasion of the meeting of the 'Council of Cardinals' scheduled for early next October (1-3 October) and the subsequent meeting of the Synod Council (7-8 October), the Pope has informed the participants of his intention to convoke a Consistory for the creation of new cardinals on the occasion of the Feast of the Cathedral of St. Peter, 22 February. Pope Francis has decided to communicate his decision to convoke February's Consistory in advance in order to facilitate the planning of other meetings involving the participation of cardinals from different parts of the world.

Indeed, it is foreseen that the Pope, like his predecessors on other occasions, intends for the Consistory to be preceded by a meeting of the College of Cardinals.

Before this meeting – scheduled for the 17 and 18 February – there will take place the third meeting of the 'Council of Cardinals' (the so-called 'Eight Cardinals'), while after the Consistory, on 24 and 25 February, there will be the meeting of the Synod Council.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals for economic and organisational matters of the Holy See (the so-called 'Council of Fifteen') is expected to be scheduled as in previous years for the month of February, probably during the preceding week”.


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) - “Trafficking in human beings: modern slavery. Destitute peoples and the message of Jesus Christ” is the title of the seminar which, following a wish expressed by Pope Francis, has been organised by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of the Social Sciences, together with the FIAMC (the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations). The seminar, which will take place from 2 to 3 November in the Vatican's Casina Pio IV, will be attended by twenty-two participants from various countries and international organisations, including the Nigerian Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, United Nations special rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, and the Spanish doctor Professor Jose Antonio Lorente, scientific director of the Centro Pfizer – Junta de Andalucia Centre for Genomics and Oncological Research (GENYO) of the University of Granada, Spain.

The workshop aims “to establish the real state of this phenomenon and an agenda to combat this heinous crime. For example, the natural sciences today can provide new tools that can be used against this new form of slavery, such as a digital registry to compare the DNA of unidentified missing children (including cases of illegal adoption) with that of their family members who have reported their disappearance”, writes Bishop Marcelo Sanchez-Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of the Social Sciences.

No one can deny that 'the trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offence against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights', and is an accelerator of criminal profits in this new century. The Second Vatican Council itself observed that 'slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and disgraceful working conditions where people are treated as instruments of gain rather than free and responsible persons' are 'infamies' which 'poison human society' … and constitute 'a supreme dishonour to the Creator'”.

According to the recent UNODC Report on Trafficking, “the International Labour Organisation estimated that between 2002 and 2010 '20.9 million people were victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation, 60% of whom are girls. Human organ trafficking reaches almost 1% of that figure, thus affecting around 20,000 people who are forced or deceived into giving up an organ, such as the liver, kidney, pancreas, cornea, lung and even the heart”.

Some observers speculate that, within ten years, human trafficking will surpass drugs and weapons trafficking to become the most profitable criminal activity in the world”, reiterated Bishop Sanchez-Sorondo. “International sex trafficking is not limited to poor and undeveloped areas of the world – it is a problem in virtually every region of the globe. Countries with large (often legal) sex industries create the demand for trafficked women and girls, while countries where traffickers can easily recruit provide the supply. Generally, economically depressed countries provide the easiest recruitment for trafficking”.

He concluded by recalling that, during the canonisation of the Mexican saint, Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, Pope Francis said that the work the saint carried out with the poor, the abandoned, the sick and the marginalised, “taught us this behaviour: not to feel ashamed, not to fear, not to find 'touching Christ's flesh' repugnant. … Pope Francis' words are a clear reaction, following Jesus Christ's message, to this new form of contemporary slavery which constitutes an abhorrent violation of the dignity and rights of human beings”.


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission “Eccclesia Dei”.

- Rabbi Arieh Sztokman, with his wife.


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Rev. Joseph Gebara as coadjutor bishop of the eparchy of Nossa Senhora do Paraiso em Sao Paulo of the Greek Melkites (Catholics 443,000, priests 11, permanent deacons 3, religious 4), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Amatour, Lebanon in 1965, and was ordained a priest in 1993. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Institut Catholique, Paris, France, and a doctorate in history of religions and religious anthropology from the Sorbonne University, Paris. He has served in pastoral roles in the parishes of “Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre” and “Notre-Dame des Champs” in Paris, and is currently parish priest of “Notre-Dame de la Delivrance” in Hadath, Lebanon and deacon in the archieparchy of Beirut. He is also a lecturer at the Saint Paul Theological Institute of Harissa, the Saint Joseph University of Beirut, the Saint Esprit University of Kaslik and the Antonine University of Baabda.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, presented by Bishop Pablo Cedano Cedano, upon having reached the age limit.


Vatican City, 31 October 2013 (VIS) - We would like to remind our readers that no VIS bulletin will be transmitted on Friday 1 November, All Saints Day and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Monday 4 November.
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