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

Monday, December 2, 2013


Vatican City, 2 December 2013 (VIS) – Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel, who subsequently went on to meet with secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the under-secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri.

During the colloquial discussions, attention was focused on the complex political and social situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the reinstatement of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, expressing hope that a just and lasting solution respecting the rights of both Parties may be reached as soon as possible.

Aside from indicating the Holy Father’s plans for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, various questions were considered regarding the relations between the State Authorities and the local Catholic communities, as well as between the State of Israel and the Holy See, in the hope that the Agreement which has been in preparation for some time may be concluded forthwith.


Vatican City, 2 December 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis today received in audience a group of prelates from the Bishops' Conference of the Netherlands on their “ad limina” visit. The Holy Father focused on how to accompany those who suffer from “spiritual emptiness” and who seek the meaning of life. “Listen to them”, he said, “to help them share in the hope, joy, and capacity to carry on that Jesus Christ gives us”.

The Church”, he continued, “not only proposes immutable moral truths and attitudes which go against the grain, but also proposes them as the key to the good of humanity and social development. Christians have the mission of taking up this challenge. The education of consciences therefore becomes a priority, especially through the formation of critical judgement, in order to have a positive approach to social realities: superficial judgement and resignation to indifference can thus be avoided”.

In the society of the Netherlands, “strongly characterised by secularism”, the Pope invited the prelates to “be present both in public debate in all spheres which affect humanity, to make visible God's mercy and his tenderness to every living creature. … As I have often stated, … the Church enlarges not by proselytism but by attraction. She is sent everywhere to awaken, reawaken and maintain hope! This brings us to the importance of encouraging the faithful to seize opportunities for dialogue, to be present in those places where the future is decided; they will thus be able to bring their contribution into the debates on important social matters regarding, for instance, the family, marriage and the end of life”.

In a country rich in many respects, poverty affects a growing number of people. Make the most of the generosity of the faithful to bring the light and compassion of Christ where He is awaited, and especially among the most marginalised people”, the Pope continued. Furthermore, Catholic schools, which provide a solid education for the young, must continue to favour their human and spiritual formation, in a spirit of dialogue and brotherhood with those who do not share their faith”.

He went on to reconfirm the importance of “advancing along the path of ecumenism”, and reminded the bishops that the future and the vitality of the Church in the Netherlands depend also on priestly and religious vocations, stressing the importance of being close to priests, of listening to and guiding them as necessary. “Do not forget to go towards those who do not approach you; some of them, unfortunately, are disappointed in their efforts”.

In particular”, he added, “I wish to express my compassion and to ensure my closeness in prayer to every victim of sexual abuse, and to their families; I ask you to continue to support them along the painful path of healing, that they have undertaken with courage”.


Vatican City, 2 December 2013 (VIS) – Today at 4 p.m. the Roman parish of San Cirillo Alessandrino, home to a large number of immigrants, received a visit from Pope Francis, who met with the children who have been baptised during the past year along with their parents, children who will receive their first communion this year, and the sick. Before celebrating Mass, the Holy Father confessed seven parishioners and, throughout the Eucharistic celebration, administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to nine children. It is the second time during his pontificate that the Holy Father has visited a parish in the capital – the first was during the month of May when he visited the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah.

Our life is a path which we must follow to arrive at the encounter with Jesus. The most important thing that can happen to a person is to encounter Jesus, who loves us, who has saved us, who gave his life for us”, the Pope said, addressing the newly confirmed children. “We might wonder: but when will I meet Jesus? Only at the end? No! … All our lives are an encounter with Jesus, when we pray, when we go to Mass and when we do good works; when we visit the sick and when we help the poor; when we think of others, when we are not selfish, when we are kind … in these things we always find Jesus. And this is exactly what the path of life is: advancing towards Jesus”.

Always remember: life is a path. A path to encounter Jesus. At the end, and always. A path where we do not encounter Jesus is not a Christian path”. “'But Father', you might ask me”, he continued, speaking off the cuff, “'You know that this path is a hard one for me, because I am a great sinner, I have committed many sins... How can I encounter Jesus?'. But you know that the people Jesus sought the most were the greatest sinners; and people reproached Him for this, and those who considered themselves righteous said that He could not be a true prophet – look at the company He keeps! He stayed with sinners. And He said, I have come for those who are in need of health, who need to be healed, and Jesus cured our sins. And on this path … we are all sinners – even when we make mistakes, Jesus comes to us and forgives us. And this forgiveness that we receive in Confession is an encounter with Jesus. We always encounter Jesus”.

And we go through life like this, as the prophet said, towards the mountain, until the day in which the definitive encounter will take place. … This is Christian life: walking along, advancing united, as brothers, wishing good upon each other. … Be courageous, do not be afraid! Life is this path”, concluded the Holy Father, who, following Mass, spoke with several groups of faithful before returning to the Vatican shortly before 8 p.m.


Vatican City, 2 December 2013 (VIS) – On the first Sunday of Advent, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in the square. “This day has a special charm”, said the Pope. “It gives us a deep sense of history. We rediscover the beauty of taking the same path together: the Church, with her vocation and mission, and humanity as a whole, populations, civilisations, cultures, all walking along paths through time”.

Pope Francis emphasised that this path never ends. “As in the life of every one of us there is the need to start again, to get up again, to rediscover the meaning and aim of our existence, so for the great human family is it necessary to continually renew the common horizon towards which we all strive”. The Holy Father commented that the best example of this spiritual attitude is that of the Virgin Mary, and her Magnificat, the hymn of the People of God on their path. “Let us allow ourselves to be guided by her in this time of waiting and active watchfulness”.

Following the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims present and mentioned that today is World AIDS Day. “We express our closeness to those who are affected, especially children; a solid closeness in the commitment of many missionaries and workers. Let us pray for them all, and also for doctors and researchers. May every sick person, without exception, have access to the necessary treatment”.


Vatican City, 30 November 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica the Holy Father presided at the first vespers of the first Sunday of Advent with students from the Roman universities. Before the arrival of the Pope, around 4 p.m., Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general, welcomed the image of Maria “Sedes Sapientiae”, patron of university students, and guided the preparatory prayer for the renewal of the profession of faith of the young people who are to be confirmed.

After the prayer of the Rosary, the Pope pronounced a homily, commenting on the letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians in which he expresses his wish that God might sanctify him unto perfection. This wish, said the Pope, “demonstrates on the one hand his concern for his holiness, and on the other, his great confidence in the Lord's intervention. This concern on the part of the apostle is also valid for us, today's Christians. The fullness of Christian life … is always besieged by the temptation to surrender to the worldly spirit. For this reason God gives us his help, by which we are able to persevere and preserve the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us, the new life … But why, after offering us his spiritual treasures, does God have to intervene again to maintain their integrity? … Because we are weak … our human nature is frail and God's gifts are conserved in us, as if in 'earthen vessels'”.

God's intervention in favour of our efforts “until the definitive encounter with Jesus, is an expression of his fidelity. It is like a dialogue between our weakness and his fidelity. … Therefore, he brings to completion the work that he has initiated in each one of us, by his call to us. This gives us security and great trust: a trust that is … upheld by God and which requires our active and courageous collaboration, faced with the challenges of the present moment”.

He continued, “Those who do not face these challenges, who do not rise up to them, do not live. Your will and your capacities, united with the power of the Holy Spirit which lives in each one of you from the day of your Baptism, allows you to be more than mere spectators – to be active agents in contemporary events. Please, do not look upon life from the balcony, as an observer! Get involved, where there are challenges, where your help is needed to work for life, development, the fight for the dignity of persons, the struggle against poverty, the battle for values, and the many other battles we encounter every day”.

The challenges that university students are called upon to face “with inner strength and evangelical boldness” take various forms. “The social-cultural context of which you are a part is at times weighed down by mediocrity and boredom. You must not resign yourselves to the monotony of everyday life, but rather cultivate broad-ranging plans, go beyond the ordinary; do not allow yourselves to be robbed of your youthful enthusiasm! It would also be a mistake to allow yourselves to be imprisoned by the weak and uniform thought, that which conforms, or indeed by a globalisation understood as uniformity”.

To overcome this risk, “the model to be followed in true globalisation – which is a good thing – is not that of the sphere, in which every irregularity is smoothed over and all differences disappear – but rather that of the polyhedron, which includes multiple elements and respects unity in variety. In defending unity, we also defend diversity. The contrary to that unity would not be human. … If you do not allow yourselves to be conditioned by dominant opinions, but remain faithful to Christian ethical and religious principles, you will find the courage to swim against the tide. In our globalised world, you are able to contribute to safeguarding peculiarities and specific characteristics, seeking however not to lower ethical levels. Indeed, the plurality of thought and individuality reflect the multiform knowledge of God when it approaches truth with honesty and intellectual rigour, when it draws close to goodness and to beauty, so that each person can be a gift to the benefit of all”.

The Pope concluded by encouraging the students in their “commitment to walk the path of faith and to behave in a manner consistent with the Gospel”, in order that it might accompany them in this time of Advent, and so they might “live in an authentic way the commemoration of the Nativity of the Lord”.


Vatican City, 30 November 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is leading a delegation sent by the Holy See to Istanbul to participate in celebrations marking the Feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Holy See and the Patriarchate exchange regular annual visits for the feast days of their respective patrons – the Saints Peter and Paul, celebrated on 29 June in Rome and St. Andrew, celebration on 30 November in Istanbul.

The Holy See delegation to the celebration is made up of Cardinal Koch; Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Fr. Andrea Palmieri, an official of the same dicastery, and Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio to Turkey. The group attended a solemn divine liturgy celebrated by Bartholomew I in the patriarchal church of Fanar, then met with the Patriarch and the synodal commission which oversees relations with the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Koch presented a gift and a message from Pope Francis to Bartholomew I following the divine liturgy. The delegation also visited the Holy Theological School of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Halki, closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971 and awaiting permission to reopen.

In his message, the Pope writes: “Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ, this is the first time that I address you on the occasion of the feast of the Apostle Andrew, the first-called. I take this opportunity to assure you of my intention to pursue fraternal relations between the Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is for me a source of great reassurance to reflect on the depth and the authenticity of our existing bonds, the fruit of a grace-filled journey along which the Lord has guided our Churches since the historic encounter in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, the fiftieth anniversary of which we will celebrate shortly. God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us throughout these years to regard one another as members of the same family. For indeed we have one Lord and one Saviour. We belong to him through the gift of the good news of salvation transmitted by the apostles, through the one baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, and through the holy ministry. United in Christ, therefore, we already experience the joy of authentic brothers in Christ, while yet fully aware of not having reached the goal of full communion. In anticipation of the day in which we will finally take part together in the Eucharistic feast, Christians are duty-bound to prepare to receive this gift of God through prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue.

Our joy in celebrating the feast of the Apostle Andrew must not make us turn our gaze from the dramatic situation of the many people who are suffering due to violence and war, hunger, poverty and grave natural disasters. I am aware that you are deeply concerned for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain in their homelands. Dialogue, pardon and reconciliation are the only possible means to achieve the resolution of conflict. Let us be unceasing in our prayer to the all-powerful and merciful God for peace in this region, and let us continue to work for reconciliation and the just recognition of peoples’ rights.

Your Holiness, the memory of the martyrdom of the apostle Saint Andrew also makes us think of the many Christians of all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities who in many parts of the world experience discrimination and at times pay with their own blood the price of their profession of faith. We are presently marking the 1700th anniversary of Constantine’s Edict, which put an end to religious persecution in the Roman Empire in both East and West, and opened new channels for the dissemination of the Gospel. Today, as then, Christians of East and West must give common witness so that, strengthened by the Spirit of the risen Christ, they may disseminate the message of salvation to the entire world. There is likewise an urgent need for effective and committed cooperation among Christians in order to safeguard everywhere the right to express publicly one’s faith and to be treated fairly when promoting the contribution which Christianity continues to offer to contemporary society and culture”, the Pope concluded.


Vatican City, 30 November 2013 (VIS) - “You come as witnesses of the apostolic origins of our faith. Since then, the joy of the Gospel continues to enlighten humanity, and you continue to walk on in this joy, in spite of the many ordeals you have experienced throughout history, up to our times”, said the Holy Father this morning as he received in audience a group of pilgrims from the Greek-Melkite Church, accompanied by the Patriarch of Antioch.

Those who are suffering “great tribulation” in Syria, those who have lost their lives, and the their families were foremost in the Pope's thoughts; he implored the Lord to dry their tears and assured them of the nearness of all the Church, so that she might “comfort them in their anguish and keep them from desperation”.

We firmly believe in the strength of prayer and reconciliation, and renew our heartfelt appeal to world leaders to bring an end to all violence so that, through dialogue, a just and lasting resolution might be found to a conflict that has already caused too much damage”, he continued. “In particular, I encourage mutual respect between the various religious confessions, to ensure for all a future based on the inalienable rights of the person, including religious freedom. For centuries your Church has known how to co-exist peacefully with other religions and is called to fulfil a fraternal role in the Middle East”.

I repeat to you too: we cannot resign ourselves to thinking of a Middle East without Christians. However, many of your brothers and sisters have emigrated, and the communities of the diaspora are strongly represented here today. I encourage them to hold firm the human and spiritual roots of the Melkite tradition, protecting everywhere the Greek-Catholic identity, because the entire Church needs the patrimony of the Christian East, which you too inherit. At the same time, be a visible sign to all of our oriental brothers of the longed-for communion with Peter's Successor”.

Francis went on to speak about ecumenism, faithful to the principles of Vatican Council II, and asked God's assistance in following this path and in ensuring that the Greek Melkites may always be “co-operators in evangelisation, cultivating the ecumenical and interreligious sensibility” that is possible “thanks to the unity to which the Christ's disciples are called; and unity always requires conversion on the part of everyone. … Divisions within our communities seriously obstruct ecclesial life, communion and witness”.

The Pope concluded by invoking St. Andrew, whose feast day is celebrated today, and who is greatly venerated by the Eastern Churches; through his intercession he asked the Lord for “peace in the world and mercy for our souls”.


Vatican City, 30 November 2013 (VIS) – The International Theological Commission, presided by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will hold its plenary session in the Vatican from 2 to 6 December. Its work will be led by the secretary general, Fr. Serge-Thomas Bonino O.P.

In this session the Commission proposes to study three themes of notable importance: the question of monotheism, the meaning of the social doctrine of the Church in the broader context of Christian doctrine, and the problem of the “sensus fidei”.

At the end of the plenary, the members of the Commission will be received in audience by the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 30 November 2013 (VIS) – The Board of Superintendence of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) has appointed Rolando Marranci as General Director, as of today, 30 November 2013. His promotion from the post of Deputy General Director, a position he assumed on 1 July 2013, has been approved by the Cardinals' Commission, according to a communique from the Institute.


Vatican City, 30 November 2013 (VIS) – In a letter written in Latin, dated 29 November and made public today, the Holy Father nominated Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, as his special envoy at the concluding celebrations of the centenary of the institution of the Ecclesiastical Province of Managua, scheduled to be held on 2 December 2013. Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez substitutes Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela.

The cardinal special envoy will be accompanied by a mission composed of the following members: Don Julio Cesar Arana Gonzalez, priest of the parish of San Judas Taddeo in Managua and judicial vicar of the archdiocese, and Don Alfonso Alvarado Lugo, rector of the national shrine of “Jesus del Rescate” in Rivas and penitentiary vicar of the diocese of Granada.


On Saturday, 30 November the Holy Father:

- confirmed Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski as prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education and Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani in the role of secretary of the same dicastery.

- appointed the following members of the Congregration for Catholic Education: Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, O.M.M., Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of São Paulo, Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Archbishop Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B., of Santiago de Chile, Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski, de Lodz, Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, secretary for Seminarians of the Congregation for the Clergy.

- confirmed the roles of the following members of the Congregation for Catholic Education: Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P., Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S.,Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, Archbishop Alfredo Horacio Zecca, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Bishop Charles Morerod, O.P.

- appointed Rev. Raul Biord Castillo, S.D.B., as bishop of La Guaira (area 1,497, population 388,000, Catholics 352,000, priests 50, permanent deacons 2, religious 55), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome. and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in the following roles: parish vicar in the parish of San Juan Bosco, Caracas; chaplain for the nuns of Los Teques, professor at the Institute of Theology for Religious Persons (ITER) of Caracas and professor and rector of the “P. Ojeda” Salesian University Institute of Los Teques. He is provincial vicar of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco in Venezuela.

- appointed Fr. Patrick Chisanga, O.F.M. Conv., as bishop of Mansa (area 51,000, population 1,162,000, Catholics 434,000, priests 55, permanent deacons 2, religious 99), Zambia. The bishop-elect was born in Kamuchanga, Zambia in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1999. He completed his studies in Psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest, guardian and formator at the St. Bonaventure College Regina Pacis of Chawama-Lusaka, guardian and director of studies at the Makeny Friary of Lusaka, and professor of Zambia and Malawi. He is currently professor at the St. Bonaventure College.

- appointed Msgr. Andrea Turazzi of the clergy of Ferrara-Comacchio as bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro (area 800, population 68,341, Catholics 61,696, priests 71, permanent deacons 8, religious 77), Italy-San Marino. The bishop-elect was born in Stellata di Bondeno, Italy in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1972. He holds a licentiate in theology from the He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Ferrara-Comacchio, including vicar of the parishes of Madonnina in Ferrara, and Pontelagoscuro, spiritual director of the archiepiscopal seminary, priest of the parishes of Corpus Domini and Sacra Famiglia in Ferrara. He has also been director of the diocesan office and co-ordinator of pastoral offices, archiepiscopal delegate for the permanent diaconate and for the Ordo Virginum, and assistant for Catholic Action. He is a member of the presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors. He was named Chaplain of His Holiness in 2006.

- appointed Msgr. Alain de Raemy as auxiliary bishop of Lausanne, Geneve and Fribourg (area 5,557, population 1,619,000, Catholics 703,000, priests 508, permanent deacons 25, religious 1,185), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a licentiate in theology from the University of Fribourg. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest of the parish Cristo Rey in Fribourg, parish priest and canon of the cathedral of St. Nicholas, moderator of the “Notre Dame” pastoral unit, Fribourg. He is currently chaplain of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in the Vatican.


Vatican City, 2 December 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, archbishop emeritus of Santa Cruz della Sierra, Bolivia.

- Thirteen prelates from the Bishops' Conference of the Netherlands:

- Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht
- Bishop Theodorus Cornelius Maria Hoogenboom, auxiliary of Utrecht
- Bishop Herman Willebrordus Woorts, auxiliary of Utrecht
- Bishop Johannes Wilhelmus Maria Liesen of Breda
- Bishop Gerard Johannes Nicolaas de Korte of Groningen-Leeuwarden
- Bishop Joseph Maria Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam, apostolic administrator “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the Military Ordinate for the Netherlands
- Bishop Johannes Willibrordus Maria Hendriks, auxiliary of Haarlem-Amsterdam
- Bishop Johannes Gerardus Maria van Burgsteden, auxiliary emeritus of Haarlem-Amsterdam
- Bishop Franciscus Jozef Maria Wiertz of Roermond
- Bishop Everardus Johannes de Jong, auxiliary of Roermond
- Bishop Johannes Harmannes Jozefus van den Hende of Rotterdam
- Bishop Antonius Lambertus Maria Hurkmans of 's-Hertogenbosch, Bois-le-Duc
- Bishop Robertus Gerardus Leonia Maria Mutsaerts, auxiliary of 's-Hertogenbosch, Bois-le-Duc.

On Saturday, 30 November the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service