Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Friday, November 29, 2013


Vatican City, 29 November 2013 (VIS) – The Union of Superiors General held its 82nd General Assembly in the Salesianum in Rome from 27 to 29 November. The story of three experiences provided the basis for reflections and encounters focusing on the challenges of leadership in the light of the Magisterium and following the example given by Pope Francis. The Holy Father chose to meet with the Superiors for three hours, rather than the short encounter envisaged: no address was prepared in advance, but instead a long, colloquial and fraternal discussion took place, composed of questions and answers.

The first group of questions related to the identity and mission of consecrated life. A radical approach is required of all Christians, the Pope stated, but religious persons are called upon to follow the Lord in a special way: “They are men and woman who can awaken the world. Consecrated life is prophecy. God asks us to fly the nest and to be sent to the frontiers of the world, avoiding the temptation to 'domesticate' them. This is the most concrete way of imitating the Lord”.

When asked about the situation of vocations, the Pope emphasised that there are young Churches which are bearing new fruit. This naturally gives rise to a re-evaluation of the inculturation of charism. The Church must follow the example of Matteo Ricci in asking forgiveness for and looking with shame upon apostolic failures caused by misunderstandings in this field. Intercultural dialogue must press for the introduction persons of various cultures, expressing different ways of living charism, in the governance of religious institutes.

The Pope insisted upon the importance of formation, which he presented as founded upon four fundamental pillars: spiritual, intellectual, communitarian and apostolic. It is indispensable to avoid every form of hypocrisy and clericalism by means of a frank and open dialogue on all aspects of life: “formation is an artisanal craft, not a form of policing”, he commented; “its aim is to form religious persons with a tender heart, not acid, not like vinegar. We are all sinners, but not corrupt. Sinners are to be accepted, but not the corrupt”.

When asked about brotherhood, the Pope said that this has a great force of attraction, and presupposes the acceptance of differences and conflicts. At time it is difficult to live in fraternity, but without it no fruit may be borne. In any case, “we must never act like managers when faced with a brother's conflict: conflict instead must be caressed”, said the Pope.

A number of questions were asked regarding the relationships between religious persons and the particular Churches to which they belong. The Pope confirmed that he had experience of the possible problems: “We bishops must understand that consecrated persons are not helpers, but rather charisms which enrich dioceses”.

The final questions regarded the frontiers of the mission of consecrated persons. “They must be sought on the basis of the charisms”, answered the Pope. Situations of exclusion remain the first priorities. Alongside these challenges he mentioned the cultural and educational mission in schools and universities. For the Pope, the pillars of education are “transmitting knowledge, transmitting methods, transmitting values. By these means, faith is communicated. The educator must measure up to those he educates, and must give careful thought to how to proclaim Jesus Christ to a changing generation”.

Before taking leave of the 120 Superiors General present, the Pope announced that 2015 would be a year dedicated to consecrated life. He added, “Thank you for what you do and for your spirit of faith and your service. Thank you for your witness and also for the humiliations through which you have had to pass”.


Vatican City, 29 November 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis' general prayer intention for December is: "That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need".

His mission intention is: "That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Saviour's coming".


Vatican City, 29 November 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Jose Luis Gerardo Ponce de Leon, I.M.C., formerly apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma, South Africa, as bishop of Manzini (area 17,364, population 1,118,000, Catholics 58,000, priests 30, religious 76), Swaziland, and apostolic administrator “Sede vacante et ad nutum, Sanctae Sedis” of the apostolic vicariate of Ingwavuma, South Africa.

- appointed Rev. Aleh Butkevich as bishop of Vitebsk (area 40,100, population 1,446,000, Catholics 170,000, priests 102, religious 114), Belarus. The bishop-elect was born in Braslau, Belarus in 1972 and was ordained a priest in 2000. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy priest in the parishes of Novapolack and Miory, and parish priest in Bieshankovichy and Ula. He is currently priest in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Vitebsk and vicar forane for the northern zone.

- appointed Rev. Yury Kasabutski as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev (area 69,800, population 4,756,000, Catholics 610,000, priests 124, religious 146), Belarus. The bishop-elect was born in Maladechna, Belarus in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including prefect of the interdiocesan seminary in Pinsk, head of the secretariat of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus, chancellor of the archdiocesan curia of Minsk-Mohilev, and administrator of the parish of the Most Holy Trinity and St. Rocco in Zalataja Horka, Minsk.

- appointed Msgr. Iosif Staneuski as auxiliary bishop of Grodno (area 25,000, population 1,061,288, Catholics 587,000, priests 208, religious 200), Belarus. The bishop-elect was born in Zanievichy, Belarus in 1969 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including deputy priest in the parish of San Vaclav, Vaukavysk, prefect and subsequently rector of the major seminary in Grodno, judge and auxiliary vicar of the interdiocesan tribunal of First Instance, and member of the episcopal council and college of consultors. He is currently co-ordinator of vocational pastoral care.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service