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Monday, January 13, 2014


Vatican City, 12 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis gave his first annual address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. The Pope thanked the dean of Ambassadors, Jean-Claude Michel of the Principality of Monaco and recalled the late Alejandro Valladares Lanza of Honduras, who passed away a few months ago and who was dean of the Diplomatic Corps for many years.

The Holy See currently maintains diplomatic relations with 180 countries, along with the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and a special mission to the State of Palestine.

With regard to International Organisations, the Holy See is present in the United Nations in the quality of an “observer state”, and is also a member or observer of various organisations and agencies of the UN system and in a number of regional organisations.

In his address, Pope Francis first commented that the past year has been especially rich in gratifying moments not only in the life of the Church but also in terms of the relations the Holy See maintains with States and international organisations, such as the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Sudan, the signing of agreements, both basic and specific, with Capo Verde, Hungary and Chad, and the ratification of the agreement with Equatorial Guinea in 2012. He also emphasised the increasing presence of the Holy See both in Central America, where it has assumed the role of Extra-Regional Observer in the Central American Integration System, and in Africa, with the accreditation of the first Permanent Observer of the Economic Community of West African States.

He went on to outline some current world problems, focusing on the family, conflicts in the Middle East, especially in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon, and the life of Christians in this region. He also referred to the dramatic situation in various countries in Africa, such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Mali and South Sudan. He reiterated the need to reconstruct a climate of reconciliation and peace in various Asian nations such as Korea. Another central theme was the situation of the many people forced to leave their countries on account of famine, violence and abuse, especially in the Horn of Africa and the Region of the Great Lakes, without forgetting those who migrate from Latin America to the United States and those from Africa and the Middle East who seek refuge in Europe. The so-called throwaway culture, in which people as well as goods and food are regarded as disposable, and concern for the environment were other questions the Pope touched upon in his address, ample extracts of which are offered below:

“In my Message for the World Day of Peace, dedicated to fraternity as the foundation and pathway to peace, I observed that 'fraternity is generally first learned within the family…', for the family 'by its vocation… is meant to spread its love to the world around it' and to contribute to the growth of that spirit of service and sharing which builds peace. This is the message of the Crib, where we see the Holy Family, not alone and isolated from the world, but surrounded by shepherds and the Magi, that is by an open community in which there is room for everyone, poor and rich alike, those near and those afar. In this way we can appreciate the insistence of my beloved predecessor Benedict XVI that 'the language of the family is a language of peace'.

“Sadly, this is often not the case, as the number of broken and troubled families is on the rise, not simply because of the weakening sense of belonging so typical of today’s world, but also because of the adverse conditions in which many families are forced to live, even to the point where they lack basic means of subsistence. There is a need for suitable policies aimed at supporting, assisting and strengthening the family.

“It also happens that the elderly are looked upon as a burden, while young people lack clear prospects for their lives. Yet the elderly and the young are the hope of humanity. The elderly bring with them wisdom born of experience; the young open us to the future and prevent us from becoming self-absorbed. It is prudent to keep the elderly from being ostracised from the life of society, so as to preserve the living memory of each people. It is likewise important to invest in the young through suitable initiatives which can help them to find employment and establish homes. We must not stifle their enthusiasm! I vividly recall my experience at the Twenty-Eighth World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. I met so many happy young people! What great hope and expectation is present in their eyes and in their prayers! What a great thirst for life and a desire for openness to others! Being closed and isolated always makes for a stifling, heavy atmosphere which sooner or later ends up creating sadness and oppression. What is needed instead is a shared commitment to favouring a culture of encounter, for only those able to reach out to others are capable of bearing fruit, creating bonds of communion, radiating joy and being peacemakers.

“The scenes of destruction and death which we have witnessed in the past year confirm all this – if ever we needed such confirmation. How much pain and desperation are caused by self-centredness which gradually takes the form of envy, selfishness, competition and the thirst for power and money! At times it seems that these realities are destined to have the upper hand. Christmas, on the other hand, inspires in us Christians the certainty that the final, definitive word belongs to the Prince of Peace, who changes 'swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks', transforming selfishness into self-giving and revenge into forgiveness.

“It is with this confidence that I wish to look to the year ahead. I continue to be hopeful that the conflict in Syria will finally come to an end. Concern for that beloved people, and a desire to avert the worsening of violence, moved me last September to call for a day of fasting and prayer. Through you I heartily thank all those in your countries – public authorities and people of good will – who joined in this initiative. What is presently needed is a renewed political will to end the conflict. In this regard, I express my hope that the Geneva 2 Conference, to be held on 22 January, will mark the beginning of the desired peace process. At the same time, full respect for humanitarian law remains essential. It is unacceptable that unarmed civilians, especially children, become targets. I also encourage all parties to promote and ensure in every way possible the provision of urgently-needed aid to much of the population, without overlooking the praiseworthy effort of those countries – especially Lebanon and Jordan – which have generously welcomed to their territory numerous refugees from Syria.

“Remaining in the Middle East, I note with concern the tensions affecting the region in various ways. I am particularly concerned by the ongoing political problems in Lebanon, where a climate of renewed cooperation between the different components of civil society and the political powers is essential for avoiding the further hostilities which would undermine the stability of the country. I think too of Egypt, with its need to regain social harmony, and Iraq, which struggles to attain the peace and stability for which it hopes. At the same time, I note with satisfaction the significant progress made in the dialogue between Iran and the Group of 5+1 on the nuclear issue.

“Everywhere, the way to resolve open questions must be that of diplomacy and dialogue. This is the road already indicated with utter clarity by Pope Benedict XV when he urged the leaders of the European nations to make 'the moral force of law' prevail over the 'material force of arms' in order to end that 'needless carnage' which was the First World War, whose centenary occurs this year. What is needed is courage 'to go beyond the surface of the conflict' and to consider others in their deepest dignity, so that unity will prevail over conflict and it will be 'possible to build communion amid disagreement'. In this regard, the resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is a positive sign, and I express my hope that both parties will resolve, with the support of the international community, to take courageous decisions aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to a conflict which urgently needs to end. I myself intend to make a pilgrimage of peace to the Holy Land in the course of this year. The exodus of Christians from the Middle East and North Africa continues to be a source of concern. They want to continue to be a part of the social, political and cultural life of countries which they helped to build, and they desire to contribute to the common good of societies where they wish to be fully accepted as agents of peace and reconciliation.

“In other parts of Africa as well, Christians are called to give witness to God’s love and mercy. We must never cease to do good, even when it is difficult and demanding, and when we endure acts of intolerance if not genuine persecution. In vast areas of Nigeria violence persists, and much innocent blood continues to be spilt. I think above all of the Central African Republic, where much suffering has been caused as a result of the country’s tensions, which have frequently led to devastation and death. As I assure you of my prayers for the victims and the many refugees, forced to live in dire poverty, I express my hope that the concern of the international community will help to bring an end to violence, a return to the rule of law and guaranteed access to humanitarian aid, also in the remotest parts of the country. For her part, the Catholic Church will continue to assure her presence and cooperation, working generously to help people in every possible way and, above all, to rebuild a climate of reconciliation and of peace among all groups in society. Reconciliation and peace are likewise fundamental priorities in other parts of Africa. I think in particular of Mali, where we nonetheless note the promising restoration of the country’s democratic structures, and of South Sudan, where, on the contrary, political instability has lately led to many deaths and a new humanitarian crisis.

“The Holy See is also closely following events in Asia, where the Church desires to share the joys and hopes of all the peoples of that vast and noble continent. On this, the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea, I wish to implore from God the gift of reconciliation on the peninsula, and I trust that, for the good of all the Korean people, the interested parties will tirelessly seek out points of agreement and possible solutions. Asia, in fact, has a long history of peaceful coexistence between its different civil, ethnic and religious groups. Such reciprocal respect needs to be encouraged, especially given certain troubling signs that it is weakening, particularly where growing attitudes of prejudice, for allegedly religious reasons, are tending to deprive Christians of their liberties and to jeopardize civil coexistence. The Holy See looks, instead, with lively hope to the signs of openness coming from countries of great religious and cultural traditions, with whom it wishes to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good.

“Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed the 'throwaway culture'. Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as 'unnecessary'. For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.

“Nor can we be unmoved by the tragedies which have forced so many people to flee from famine, violence and oppression, particularly in the Horn of Africa and in the Great Lakes Region. Many of these are living as fugitives or refugees in camps where they are no longer seen as persons but as nameless statistics. Others, in the hope of a better life, have undertaken perilous journeys which not infrequently end in tragedy. I think in particular of the many migrants from Latin America bound for the United States, but above all of all those from Africa and the Middle East who seek refuge in Europe.

“Still vivid in my memory is the brief visit I made to Lampedusa last July, to pray for the numerous victims of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. Sadly, there is a general indifference in the face of these tragedies, which is a dramatic sign of the loss of that 'sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters', on which every civil society is based. On that occasion I was also able to observe the hospitality and dedication shown by so many people. It is my hope that the Italian people, whom I regard with affection, not least for the common roots which unite us, will renew their praiseworthy commitment of solidarity towards the weakest and most vulnerable, and, with generous and coordinated efforts by citizens and institutions, overcome present difficulties and regain their long-standing climate of constructive social creativity.

“Finally, I wish to mention another threat to peace, which arises from the greedy exploitation of environmental resources. Even if 'nature is at our disposition', all too often we do not 'respect it or consider it a gracious gift which we must care for and set at the service of our brothers and sisters, including future generations'. Here too what is crucial is responsibility on the part of all in pursuing, in a spirit of fraternity, policies respectful of this earth which is our common home. I recall a popular saying: 'God always forgives, we sometimes forgive, but when nature – creation – is mistreated, she never forgives!'. We have also witnessed the devastating effects of several recent natural disasters. In particular, I would mention once more the numerous victims and the great devastation caused in the Philippines and other countries of South-East Asia as a result of typhoon Haiyan.

“Pope Paul VI noted that peace 'is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day towards the establishment of an order willed by God, with a more perfect justice among men and women'. This is the spirit which guides the Church’s activity throughout the world, carried out by priests, missionaries and lay faithful who with great dedication give freely of themselves, not least in a variety of educational, healthcare and social welfare institutions, in service to the poor, the sick, orphans and all those in need of help and comfort. On the basis of this 'loving attentiveness', the Church cooperates with all institutions concerned for the good of individuals and communities.

“At the beginning of this new year, then, I assure you once more of the readiness of the Holy See, and of the Secretariat of State in particular, to cooperate with your countries in fostering those bonds of fraternity which are a reflection of God’s love and the basis of concord and peace. Upon you, your families and the peoples you represent, may the Lord’s blessings descend in abundance. Thank you”.


Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) – Published below is the letter sent today by the Holy Father to the future cardinals to be created on 22 February, whose names were announced publicly following the Angelus prayer on Sunday.

“Dear brother,

“On the day that your designation as part of the College of Cardinals is made public, I wish to send you a cordial greeting along with the guarantee of my closeness and prayer. It is my hope that, joined with the Church of Rome and “clothed in the virtues and sentiments of the Lord Jesus”, you may help me with fraternal efficacy in my service to the Universal Church.

“The cardinalship does not imply promotion; it is neither an honour nor a decoration; it is simply a service that requires you to broaden your gaze and open your hearts. And, although this may appear paradoxical, the ability to look further and to love more universally with greater intensity may be acquired only by following the same path of the Lord: the path of self-effacement and humility, taking on the role of a servant. Therefore I ask you, please, to receive this designation with a simple and humble heart. And, while you must do so with pleasure and joy, ensure that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.

“Until we meet, then, on 20 February, when our two days of reflection on the family commence. I remain at your disposal and ask you, please, to pray for me and to ask for prayers on my behalf.

May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.”


Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations over which the Holy Father will preside from September to November:


Sunday, 19: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 4 p.m., pastoral visit to the Roman parish of “Sacro Cuore di Gesu a Castro Pretorio.

Saturday, 25: Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul. At 5.30 p.m., celebration of Vespers at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.


Sunday, 2: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 18th World Day of Consecrated Life. At 10 a.m., Holy Mass with the members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life.

Sunday, 16: 4 p.m., pastoral visit to the Roman parish of “San Tommaso Apostolo”.

Saturday, 22: 11 a.m., Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals.

Sunday, 23: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 10 a.m., Holy Mass with the new cardinals in the Papal Chapel.


Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cameroon and Yaounde, a framework Agreement was signed between the Holy See and the Republic of Cameroon on the legal status of the Catholic Church in Cameroon.

The Agreement was signed, on behalf of the Holy See, by Archbishop Piero Pioppo, apostolic nuncio to Cameroon, and for the Republic of Cameroon, by Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, minister for External Relations.

The Agreement, which consists of nine articles, regulates the relationship between the Church and the State who, within a framework of the independence and autonomy of both parties, undertake to work together for the moral, spiritual and material wellbeing of the human person and for the promotion of the common good. It will come into effect upon signing, in accordance with article 9 of the same Agreement.


Vatican City, 12 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning at 9.30 in the Sistine Chapel, on the festivity of the Baptism of the Lord, the Holy Father presided for the first time in his pontificate over the Holy Mass of Baptism. During the celebration, Pope Francis baptised 32 babies: 18 girls and 14 boys. One of the children, Giulia, was the daughter of a couple married by civil rites only, who asked the Pope during an audience if he would baptise their child.

“These children are a link in a chain. You, as parents, have a son or a daughter to baptise, but a some years from now they too will have a child to baptise, then a grandchild... And this is the chain of faith! What does this mean? I want to say only this: you are those who will transmit the faith, you are the transmitters. You have the duty of transmitting faith to these children. It is the most beautiful inheritance you can offer them: faith! Only this. Today, take this thought home with you. We must be transmitters of faith. Think of these, think always about how you can transmit faith to your children”.

During his homily Pope Francis joked about the noise and the crying of the babies. “Today the choir is singing, but the most beautiful choir is that of children, who make noise... Some will cry, perhaps because they are uncomfortable or because they are hungry: if they are hungry, mothers, go ahead and feed them, because they are the centre of today's celebration”.


Vatican City, 12 January 2014 (VIS) – “I like to baptise children, I like it very much. … Every child who is born is a gift of joy and hope, and each child who is baptised is a prodigy of faith and a cause for celebration for the family of God”, said the Pope after appearing at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, shortly before baptising 32 children in the Sistine Chapel on the festivity of the Baptism of Jesus.

“Today's Gospel emphasises that when Jesus received baptism from John in the River Jordan, the heavens opened up for him”, explained Pope Francis. “The manifestation of the Son of God on earth marks the beginning of a great time of mercy, after sin closed the heavens, raising a barrier between human beings and their Creator. … In Christ, God gave us the guarantee of indestructible love. Since the Word was made flesh, it is possible to see the open heavens. It was possible for the shepherds of Bethlehem, for the Magi from the East, for the Baptist, for Jesus' Apostles, for St. Stephen, the first martyr... And it is also possible for each of us, if we allow ourselves to be filled with God's love, which is given to us the first time in Baptism, by means of the Holy Spirit”.

When Jesus received the baptism of penance from John the Baptist, expressing his solidarity with the penitent people – since He was without sin and therefore without the need for conversion – God the Father let His voice be heard from heaven. … Jesus received the approval of the celestial Father, Who sent Him precisely because He wished to share in our condition, in our poverty. Sharing is the true way to love. Jesus did not disassociate Himself from us, He considered us to be His brothers, and shared with us. And in this way He made us, along with Him, children of God the Father. This is the revelation and the source of true love”.

“Does it not seem to you that in our times there is the need for a supplement of fraternal sharing and love?” asked the Pope. “Does it not appear to you that we all need a supplement of charity? Not that which is limited to offering occasional help without involvement, without putting oneself on the line, but rather that charity which implies sharing, taking on the discomfort and suffering of one's brother”.

“We pray that the Holy Virgin sustain us by her intercession in our efforts to follow Christ on the way of faith and charity, the path we set out on by virtue of our Baptism”.

Following the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed parents who are preparing for the baptism of their children, joining with them in their joy, and inviting them to “rediscover the beauty of faith and return anew to the Sacraments and to the community”.


Vatican City, 12 January 2014 (VIS) – Following today's Angelus prayer, Pope Francis announced that on 22 February, feast of the Chair of St. Peter, a consistory will be held during which 19 new cardinals will be appointed. They will comprise 16 electors and 3 archbishops emeritus, from twelve different countries from all over the world, and “represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world”. The day after the consistory, the Holy Father will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 20 and 21 he will hold a consistory with all the cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family.

- Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State.

- Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops

- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, emeritus of Regensburg, Germany, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

– Archbishop Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

– Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Great Britain.

– Archbishop Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano of Managua, Nicaragua.

– Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec, Canada.

– Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.

– Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta, O. Cist. of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

– Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, Italia.

– Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

– Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung of Seoul, Korea.

– Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B. of Santiago del Chile, Chile.

– Archbishop Philippe Nakellentuba Ouedraogo of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

– Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I. of Cotabato, Philippines.

– Archbishop Chibly Langlois of Les Cayes, Haiti.

The three archbishops emeritus are:

– Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, ex prelate of the Shrine of Loreto and ex personal secretary of Blessed John XXIII.

– Archbishop Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, C.M.F. emeritus of Pamplona, Spain.

– Archbishop Kelvin Edward Felix, emeritus of Castries, Saint Lucia.


Vatican City, 11 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in audience the Italian member of Parliament Ileana Argentin, known for her commitment to issues related to disability.

According to the Holy See Press Office, Argentin, herself disabled, wrote a letter to the Pope requesting the opportunity to speak with him about various issues related to disability. The Holy Father responded promptly, inviting her to meet with him this morning in the Apostolic Palace. Argentin explained focused principally on the importance of supporting the parents of seriously disabled people, who experience great anxiety about what may happen to their children after their own deaths, and the difficulties their siblings may encounter in assuming the responsibility of care. Other issues were also considered, such as the need to overcome barriers of accessibility to disabled people in public and Church buildings.

Pope Francis showed great interest in the issues brought to his attention by Argentin and cordially assured her of his participation in initiatives and encouragement for all persons dedicated to confronting the problems linked to disability with increasing commitment and awareness.


Vatican City, 11 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration with the Orthodox and Oriental Churches, which is the responsibility of the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch.

Paul VI, during Vatican Council II, instituted the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration. Shortly after the Pope's historic encounter with the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, the current committee was created upon the initiative of the then-secretary for Promoting Christian Unity, and thanks to the generosity of benefactors it continues to offer study bursaries to clergy and laypeople from the Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches who wish to complete their studies in theology in the academic institutions of the Catholic Church. The Committee also supports other projects in the field of ecumenical collaboration.

“The path of reconciliation and renewed brotherhood between Churches, admirably marked by the first historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, also needed the experiences of friendship and sharing born of mutual awareness between the exponents of the different Churches, and in particular between young people starting out in holy ministry”, commented Pope Francis.

The Holy Father thanked the benefactors and members of the Committee's Managing Council which is holding its annual meeting in Rome, and addressed special greetings to students. “Your stay among us is important for dialogue between Churches, today and above all, tomorrow. I give thanks to God for offering me this beautiful opportunity to meet you and to tell you that the Bishop of Rome wishes you all the very best. I hope that every one of you may have a joyful experience of the Church and of the city of Rome, spiritually and culturally enriching, and that you are enabled to feel not like guests, but rather as brothers among brothers. I am sure, on the other hand, that your presence is enriching for the study communities you attend”.


Vatican City, 11 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Archbishop Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

- Ileana Argentin.


Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- erected the new apostolic exarchate for the Maronite faithful resident in Western and Central Africa, in ad Ibadan, Nigeria.

- appointed Rev. Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas-Lebanon, as the first apostolic exarch without episcopal title, and as apostolic visitor for the Maronite faithful resident in Southern Africa.

- appointed Bishop Georges Chihane, eparchal vicar of Cairo and Sudan of the Maronites, as apostolic vistor for the Maronite faithful resident in the countries of North Africa nost included in the eparchal territory.

- appointed Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, emeritus of Mossul, Iraq, and bishop of the Syro-Catholic patriarchal curia, as apostolic visitor for the faithful of Syrian rite resident in Western Europe.

On Saturday 11 January the Holy Father:

- erected the new eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Melbourne of the Syro-Malabars (Catholics 30,000), extending throughout the continent of Australia.

- appointed Bishop Bosco Puthur of the major archiepiscopal curia of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India, as first bishop of the eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Melbourne of the Syro-Malabars and apostolic visitor for the faithful of the Syro-Malabar rite resident in New Zealand.

- appointed Bishop Raphael Thattil, auxiliary of Trichur, India, as apostolic visitor for the Syro-Malabars resident in India outside the territory of the major archiepiscopal curia.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Rev. Habib Al-Naufali , as archbishop of Bassorah of the Chaldeans (Catholics 850, priests 1, permanent deacons 1, religious 7), Iraq. The archbishop-elect was born in Baqofa, Iraq in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1998. He holds a licentiate from the University of Mossul. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of St. George in Baghdad, director of the library of Babel College, judge of the eparchial Tribunal of First Instance and head of the Chaldean mission in London.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Fr. Yousif Thomas Mirkis, O.P., as bishop of the archieparchy of Kerkuk of the Chaldeans (Catholics 7,000, priests 6, religious 4), Iraq. The bishop-elect was born in Mossul, Iraq in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1980. He holds a doctorate in theology and history of religions from the University of Strasbourg, France. He is the co-founder of the faculty of philosophy and theology of Babel College, where he has served as director of studies and professor. From 1994 to 2000 he was superior of the Community of the Dominican Fathers in Baghdad and director of the publishing house “Al-Nasira”. In 2006 he founded the Academy of Humanistic Sciences in Baghdad and is currently superior of the Community of Dominican Fathers in Baghdad, Iraq.

- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Rev. Saad Sirop, as auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans (Catholics 150,000 priests 17, religious 67), Iraq. The bishop-elect was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1972 and ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in philosophy. He has served as priest in the parish of Santiago in Baghdad, director of studies and vice-rector of the faculty of philosophy and theology of Babel College, priest of the Chaldean cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad, dean of the Chaldean priests of Baghdad and secretary of the Commission for Christian Youth in Baghdad.

- assigned the titular see of Forziana to Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, who serves in the eparchy of St. Peter Apostle of San Diego of the Chaldeans, U.S.A.
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