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Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Vatican City, 4 December 2013 (VIS) - “I believe in the resurrection of the flesh” was the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience. “It is a truth that is neither simple nor self-evident”, he said, “as, living immersed in this world, it is not easy to understand what will happen in the future. But the Gospel enlightens us”. This vigil, for the “glorious kingdom, which we anxiously await” is “the source and the reason for our hope; a hope which, if cultivated and preserved, becomes a “light to illuminate our personal and communal story”.

The Pope emphasised that “we must always remember we are disciples of He who came, who comes to us every day and who will come to us again at the end”, and reiterated that if we were able to keep this fact present in our minds, we would be less overwhelmed by daily life, less imprisoned by the ephemeral and more willing to walk the path of salvation with a merciful heart”.

Pope Francis recalled that the resurrection that will follow the last day of the end of the world will be an encounter with the Risen Christ for whom we prepare in this life with the Eucharist. “We who in this life our nourished by His Body and His Blood will be resurrected like Him, with Him and by Him. Just as Jesus rose again with His own body, but did not return to an earthly life, we too will rise again with our bodies that will be transformed into glorious bodies”.

In a certain sense, through our Baptism we already participate in a new life … and, awaiting the final day, we we hold within ourselves the seed of our resurrection, a glimpse of the full resurrection that we will inherit. For this reason, even each of our bodies has the resonance of eternity, and must therefore be respected; and above all the life of those who suffer must be respected and loved, so that they feel the closeness of the Kingdom of God, of that condition of eternal life towards which we are headed”.

At the end of the audience, the Vatican Mosaics Studio, which since the seventeenth century has been responsible for the conservation and restoration of the ten thousand square metres of mosaics present in St. Peter's Basilica, as well as producing mosaics portraying the Popes and those presented as gifts during pontifical trips and official visits, presented the Holy Father with his portrait in the form of a circular mosaic, destined to join the mosaic portraits of all the other Popes, from St. Peter to the present, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.


Vatican City, 4 December 2013 (VIS) – After today's catechesis, the Pope appealed to all present to pray for the nuns of the Greek Orthodox monastery of Santa Tecla and the Christian people of Maaloula, Syria, forcibly abducted by armed men two days ago and whose whereabouts are now unknown.

Let us pray for these nuns, for these sisters”, he asked, “and for all those who have been kidnapped as a result of the current conflict. Let us continue to pray and act for peace together. Let us pray to the Virgin”.


Vatican City, 4 December 2013 (VIS) – The meetings of the Council of Cardinals continued, as planned, yesterday afternoon with the participation of the Holy Father.

The work of the Council took place in an environment of great serenity, with an open and cordial exchange between all participants”, communicated the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.

As mentioned yesterday morning, the new secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin was invited to the afternoon session to greet the members who wished him well in his new role, and in to establish contract in the hope of fruitful collaboration in the service of the Holy Father for the governance of the Church.

This morning the Holy Father was not present due to the regular Wednesday general audience, but work continued as usual. The council considered the various dicasteries of the Roman Curia in turn (for example, the Causes of Saints, Catholic Education, Evangelisation of Peoples and so on).

It is possible that during the meetings scheduled for these days, a first round of considerations on the Congregations may be completed, to be followed by an examination of the Pontifical Councils and the other dicasteries.

It is important to note that these are first considerations which will naturally be reviewed in the framework of a subsequent overall examination”, concluded Fr. Lombardi.


Vatican City, 4 December 2013 (VIS) – The Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Holy See and Vatican City State, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding with its German Counterpart, the Zentralstelle fur Verdachtsmeldungen at the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA).

The Memorandum was signed in the Vatican by Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the AIF, and Michael Dewald, director of the Zentralstelle fur Verdachtsmeldungen at the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is standard practice and formalises the co-operation and exchange of financial information to fight money laundering and terrorist financing across borders between the competent authorities of both countries. It is based on the model Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the Egmont Group, the global organisation of national Financial Intelligence Units, and contains clauses on reciprocity, permitted uses of information and confidentiality.

This Memorandum is strengthening AIF's international reach and further integrates the Holy See and Vatican City State with a co-ordinated global effort to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism”, said AIF director Rene Bruelhart. “Today's signing underlines our fruitful relationship and will further facilitate our joint efforts”.

The AIF became a member of the Egmont Group earlier in July this year and signed in the last months MOUs with the Financial Intelligence Units of the U.S.A., Belgium, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands. More are expected to be signed in the course of the coming months.

The AIF, established in 2010, is the competent authority of the Holy See / Vatican City State to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.


Vatican City, 4 December 2013 (VIS) – A Neapolitan nativity scene, produced in the workshop of “Cantone & Costabile”, heirs and perpetuators of a tradition of nativity scenes that became famous throughout Europe from the eighteenth century, will decorate St. Peter's Square this year.

The workshop has donated its artistic and architectural work entitled “Francis 1223 – Francis 2013” to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, who in turn has offered it in homage to Pope Francis. The backdrop will depict a landscape typical of Campania, the region where the city of Naples is located, and the scene will include sixteen figures dressed according to eighteenth century Neapolitan style.

The masters Cantone and Costabile have maintained the expressiveness of the faces of the figures, while raising them from a height of thirty centimetres to two metres. While representing all the various social classes, the figures also reflect all the different stages of life, from infancy to old age. Indeed, alongside a young nobleman there is a gypsy woman dressed in rags, an elderly woman accompanied by two children and the Three Kings who walk alongside peasants. Their heads, hands and feet are made of multicoloured terracotta and their eyes are created using crystal glass. The nativity has been produced with the generous assistance of several benefactors, to limit as far as possible the cost to the Governorate of Vatican City State.

On 6 December, the large Christmas tree will arrive in the Square, this year originating from Bavaria, Germany. A gift from the community of Waldmunchen, the tree is 25 metres tall, with a diameter of 98 centimetres. As in previous years, the installation, decoration and lighting of the tree is entrusted to the Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State. Following the holiday period, the wood of the trunk will be used to produce toys and small objects for everyday use.


Vatican City, 4 December 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Msgr. Alejandro Cifres Gimenez as office head in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Msgr. Alejandro Cifres Gimenez was previously a study assistant in the same dicastery.

- appointed Maria de Lurdes Correia Fernandes, professor in the faculty of letters and vice rector of the University of Porto, Portugal, as a member of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences.

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