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Monday, February 17, 2014


Vatican City, 17 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Domus Sanctae Marthae the Pope's third meeting with the Council of Cardinals began. The Council was created on 13 April 2013 and confirmed by Pope's chirograph of 28 September, to assist in the governance of the Universal Church and to draw up a plan for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia. The meeting will conclude on 19 February. Following the morning session, a press conference was held in which Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, presented information on the meeting which begins ten days of intense activity on the part of the cardinals.

“As usual the Cardinals initiated their work with a Holy Mass concelebrated this morning at 7 a.m. in the Sanctae Marthae chapel, after which they began their meetings in a nearby room. Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State and future cardinal, was and will continue to be present”.

He continued, “The morning was dedicated to hearing the representatives of the Commission for Reference on the the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA). Three members of the Commission were present, rather than the entire Commission: the president Josef F.X. Zahra, the secretary Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda and Joachim Messemer, who is also the international revisor for the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See. The work carried out during the eight months since the creation of this body was presented, but no decision was made. Following the meeting, the cardinals dined together with Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and this afternoon they will continue their meeting, but without the attendance of the COSEA representatives”.

“Tomorrow, Tuesday 18 February, the Commission for Reference on the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) will be heard. On Wednesday, Pope Francis will hold the usual general audience in St. Peter's Square, while the cardinals will continue their work in his absence and, in the afternoon, the cardinals of the so-called “Council of Fifteen” instituted by John Paul II and responsible for the general consolidated financial statement of the Holy See and the Governorate of Vatican City State will meet with the “Council of Eight”, the cardinals who are participating in the meetings held from 17 to 19 February”.

The extraordinary consistory of cardinals, dedicated to the family, is scheduled to begin at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday 20 February in the New Synod Hall. The work of the consistory will begin with a greeting from the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and there will be an address from Cardinal Walter Kasper. The participants will meet in the morning session from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and in the afternoon from 16.30 to 19.30. The meeting will conclude on Friday.

On Saturday, 22 February in St. Peter's Square there will be a consistory during which the Pope will create sixteen new cardinals, and on Sunday 23 February the Holy Father will concelebrate Mass with the new cardinals. On Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 February, a meeting of the Secretariat of the Synod and the Council of Fifteen will take place.


Vatican City, 16 February 2014 (VIS) – The Roman parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in Infernetto, in the south of the diocese, received a visit from Pope Francis yesterday afternoon. Upon arrival the Bishop of Rome met with the children who will receive Communion and Confirmation this year, and greeted the faithful in the parish square, along with recently baptised children and their parents, the elderly and sick of the parish and the Association of families with disabled children, and before the Holy Mass he confessed a number of penitents.

“Once upon a time, Jesus' disciples ate wheat, because they were hungry; but it was the sabbath and on the sabbath it was not permitted to eat grain”, said the Pope in his homily. “The pharisees said, 'Look at what they are doing! He who does this runs counter to the law and soils his soul, because he does not obey'. And Jesus answered, 'That which comes from outside does not soil the soul; it that which comes from inside, from your heart, that may soil the soul'. And I think it is good for us, nowadays, to think not of whether or not our souls are pure or unclean, but to ask what there is within our hearts; what do I have within, that I know I have, and which no-one else knows. What is in our heart? Is there love? Do I love my parents, my children, my wife, my husband, the people in my neighbourhood, the sick? Do I love them? And is there hate in my heart? Do I hate anyone? Because often we find that there is also hate. 'I love everyone, apart from this one, that one, or the other ...'. This is hate, isn't it?”

“What do I have in my heart?” he continued. “Is there forgiveness? Do I have an attitude of forgiveness towards those who have wronged me, or is there an attitude of revenge? … We must ask ourselves what we have inside, because what we have inside comes out and causes harm, if it is bad; if it is good, it comes out and does good. And it is beautiful to be truthful with ourselves, and to be ashamed of ourselves when we realise we are in a situation that is not as God would wish”.

The Pope commented that in today's Gospel, Jesus says, “'You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill ... But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement'. And whoever insults his brother, kills him in his heart; whoever gossips maliciously about his brother, kills him in his heart. Perhaps we are not aware of this … we gossip about this and that … and this is what is means to kill one's brother. To understand one's brother, to understand people, means to love, and to forgive: it is to understand, to forgive, and to be patient”.

“We must ask the Lord for two graces”, concluded Pope Francis. “The first is to know what is in our hearts, so as not to be deceived. The second is to do the good that is in our hearts, and not the ill that lies therein. And speaking of 'killing', to remember that words may kill. Our ill-will towards others can also kill. … It often seems that the sins of slander and defamation have been removed from the Decalogue, and speaking ill of a person is a sin. … Let us always ask the Lord to help us to love our neighbours. And if we cannot love a person, why not? They we must pray for that person, in order that the Lord might help me wish him well. And we must continue in this way, aware that our live is rendered impure by the ill-will that comes from our hearts”.


Vatican City, 16 February 2014 (VIS) – The “complete fulfilment of the Law” in the light of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount was the central theme of Pope Francis' comments before this Sunday's Angelus prayer. The Holy Father explained to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that in his first great sermon, Christ reveals his attitude towards Jewish Law, when He states, “ Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfil”, and remarks that fulfilling the Law requires a higher justice, a truer observance.

“But what does this 'complete fulfilment' mean? And what does this higher justice consist of? Jesus Himself gives us the answer with some examples”, continued the Pope. “Jesus was practical, and always spoke through examples to make Himself understood. He starts with the fifth Commandment from the Decalogue: 'You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill ... But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement”. With this, Jesus reminds us that words too can kill. … When we say that someone has a serpent's tongue, we mean that his words can kill. Therefore, not only is it forbidden to make an attempt on the life of others, we must also refrain from pouring the poison of anger over them or striking them with slander. Nor may we speak ill of them. This brings us to the matter of gossip. Gossip can kill because it can kill someone's reputation. Gossip is a bad thing. In the beginning, it may seem enjoyable and fun, but in the end it fills our hearts with bitterness, and poisons us too. In truth, I am convinced that if every one of us promised to avoid gossip, we would eventually become saints!”

Jesus offers those who follow him “the perfection of love, a love whose only measure is to be without measure, overcoming any self-interest. Loving one's neighbour is so fundamental that Jesus states that our relationship to God cannot be sincere if we are not willing to make peace with our neighbour. … Consequently, we are called to be reconciled first with our brothers before expressing our devotion to the Lord through prayer”.

From all this, one may conclude that “Jesus does not accord importance only to disciplinary observance and external conduct. He goes to the root of the Law, focusing on intent and thus on the heart of man, the origin of our intentions, both good and evil. To guarantee good and honest deeds, legal rules are not enough; it is necessary to discover profound motivations, the expression of a hidden wisdom, God's Wisdom, which may be received through the Holy Spirit. Through faith in Christ, we can open ourselves to the action of the Spirit, which enables us to experience divine love. In light of this teaching, every precept reveals its full meaning as a requirement of love, and they all come together in the greatest commandment of all: to love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself".


Vatican City, 15 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received the president of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, which highlighted the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Cyprus, mention was made of several matters of common interest, such as the positive role of religion in society and the protection of the right to religious freedom. Satisfaction was expressed at the resumption of negotiations aiming at the development of a shared solution to the Island’s current situation. Finally, the Parties indicated their concern regarding the political instability affecting the region of the Near and Middle East, which leads to great suffering on the part of civilian populations, and shared their hope that the Christian communities in the various countries may continue to offer their contribution to building a future of material and spiritual well-being.


Vatican City, 17 February 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

On Saturday, 15 February, the Holy Father received in audience:

- His Beatitude Gregorius III Laham, patriarch of the Greek Melkites, Syria.

- Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

- Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest emeritus of the papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

- Cardinal Alberto Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo.


Vatican City, 17 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Gervas John Mwasikwabhila Nyaisonga of Dodoma, Tanzania, as bishop of Mpanda (area 46,346, population 551,000, Catholics 314,725, priests 17, religious 38), Tanzania.

On Saturday, 15 February, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Waldo Ruben Barrinuevo Ramirez, C.Ss.R:, as auxiliary of the apostolic vicariate of Reyes (area 60,000, population 152,000, Catholics 114,000, priests 5, permanent deacons 1, religious 32), Bolivia. The bishop-elect was born in Oruro, Bolivia in 1967, gave his perpetual vows in 1996, and was ordained a priest in 1997. He carried out his studies in philosophy and theology at the seminary of Cochabamba, and has served in the following pastoral roles: member and later superior of missionary team in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and extraordinary counsellor of the province; collaborator with the master of novices in Oruro; provincial vicar and master of novices; and priest in the parish of “Nuestra Senora de la Paz” in Cochabamba. Since 2010 he has studied in the Pontifical Gregorian University.

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