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Friday, January 24, 2014


Vatican City, 24 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the president of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The colloquial discussions focused on the contribution of religion to the common good. Emphasising the good existing relations between France and the Holy See, the Parties made mention of their mutual commitment to maintaining a regular dialogue between the State and the Catholic Church and to collaborating constructively in questions of common interest. In the context of the defence and the promotion of the dignity of the human person, various matters of current relevance were discussed, such as the family, bioethics, respect for religious communities and the protection of places of worship.

Attention then turned to matters of an international nature, such as poverty and development, migration and the environment, and in particular to the issue of conflicts in the Middle East and in some regions of Africa, and hope was expressed that peaceful social co-existence may be re-established in the countries affected, respecting the rights of all, especially ethnic and religious minorities.


Vatican City, 24 January 2014 (VIS) – “Your ministry, dear judges and employees of the Roman Rota Tribunal … is a service peculiar to the God of Love, who is close to every person. While you perform your judicial duties, do not forget that you are pastors! Behind every plea, every position, every case, there are people who seek justice”.

With these words the Pope addressed the prelate auditors, employees and collaborators of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, whom he encountered today for the first time during his pontificate for the opening of the judicial year, recalling that “the legal dimension and the pastoral dimension of ecclesial ministry are not opposed to one another, as both contribute to the aims and the unity of action proper to the Church”.

“Ecclesial judicial activity, which takes the form of service to the truth in justice, has indeed a profoundly pastoral meaning, as it aspires to the pursuit of the good of the faithful and the edification of the Christian community. … Furthermore, dear judges, through your specific ministry you offer a competent contribution to facing emerging pastoral issues”.

Pope Francis went on to briefly outline the profile of the ecclesiastical judge from human, judicial and pastoral perspectives. With regard to the first, the judge is required to demonstrate “a mature humanity, expressed in serenity of judgement and detachment from personal views. Human maturity also includes the capacity to identify with the mentality and legitimate aspirations of the community in which the judge serves. In this way he becomes an interpreter of the animus communitatis which characterises the part of the People of God that is the subject of his work, and is able to practice a form of justice that is not legalistic or abstract, but instead adapted to real needs”.

With regard to the judicial aspect, aside from the juridical and theological prerequisites, in the exercise of his ministry the judge must display “expertise in law, the objectivity of judgement and equity, judging with imperturbable and impartial neutrality. Furthermore, in his work he must be guided by the aim of protecting the truth, with respect for the law, without neglecting the tact and humanity appropriate to a pastor of souls”.

Finally, considering the pastoral profile, “as an expression of the pastoral care of the Pope and the bishops, the judge is required to show not only confirmed competence, but also a genuine spirit of service. He is a servant of justice, called to handle and judge the condition of the faithful who turn to him with trust, in imitation of the Good Shepherd who tends to his injured sheep. For this, he is inspired by pastoral charity; that charity that God has poured into our hearts … and which also constitutes the soul of the role of the ecclesiastical judge”, concluded the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 24 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Bishop Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.


Vatican City, 24 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Ronald William Gainer, bishop of Lexington, U.S.A., as bishop of Harrisburg (area 19,839, population 2,224,542, Catholics 249,238, priests 169, permanent deacons 69, religious 369), U.S.A.

- appointed Rev. Herwig Gossl as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Bamberg (area 10,290, population 2,163,801, Catholics 713,781, priests 475, permanent deacons 49, religious 778), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in Munich, Germany in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He studied philosophy and theology at the universities of Bamberg and Innsbruck, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in various parishes in Bayreuth, Hannberg and Weisendorf. In 2006 he was appointed as priest of the parish group of Erlangen North-West. In 2007 he was appointed vice-rector of the major seminary of Bamberg and member of the diocesan liturgical commission, and in 2008 was appointed vice-rector of the seminary of Wurzburg and head of vocational pastoral care.

- appointed Msgr. Myron Joseph Cotta of the clergy of Fresno, U.S.A., as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sacramento (area 110,325, population 3,589,000, Catholics 997,000, priests 291, permanent deacons 143, religious 316), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Dos Palos, U.S.A. in 1953, and was ordained a priest in 1987. He has served in a number of roles, including vicar of the Saint Anthony parish in Adwater, administrator of the Our Lady of Fatima shrine in Laton, priest of the Our Lady of Miracles parish in Gustine, parish administrator of the Holy Rosary parish in Hilmar, director of the office for the permanent formation of the clergy, director of Pastoral Support of Priests, director of the Sensitive Claim Board, member of the diocesan finance council, diocesan administrator, member of the diocesan personnel board, diocesan consultor, vicar general and moderator of the Curia. In 2002 he was appointed Chaplain of His Holiness and, in 2008, Prelate of Honour.

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