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

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Vatican City, 20 February 2014 (VIS) – “It is the first time that the entire College of Cardinals gathers around you, pleased to accept your invitation to participate in an extraordinary consistory”, said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals to Pope Francis, in this morning's opening address for the extraordinary consistory on the family, held in the New Synod Hall. The consistory will conclude tomorrow afternoon.

Cardinal Sodano, mentioning those cardinals who were unable to travel to Rome for reasons of advanced age or health, affirmed that they all “assured their spiritual closeness and we feel they are present all the same … and send them a brotherly greeting from this Hall”.

To face a pastoral challenge as important as that of the family, both in this consistory and later in the next Synod, “the Pastors of the Church”, he continued, wish to assure the Pope
that there will be no scarcity of that help that Pope Paul VI said he expected from the bishops following Vatican Council II, in the hope that he would never lack “the consolation of their presence, the help of their wisdom and experience, the support of their counsel, and the voice of their authority".

“Holy Father”, he concluded, “you will certainly not lack the support of the Cardinal Fathers, who wish to face with a vision of faith and hope this complex period in human history”.

Pope Francis then greeted those presence and gave thanks with them to the Lord “who grants us these days of encounter and work together. We especially welcome those brothers who on Saturday will be created cardinals, and accompany them with prayer and fraternal affection. I give thanks to Cardinal Sodano for his words”.

“In these days we will reflect, in particular, on the family, which is the fundamental cell of human society. Since the beginning the Creator gave His blessing to man and woman in order that they be fecund and multiply on earth; and thus is the family represented on earth as the reflection of the Triune God”.

“In our reflection we will always keep in mind the beauty of the family and of marriage, athe greatness of this facet of human life, so simple and at the same time so rich, made up of joys and hopes, strife and suffering, like all of life. We will seek to deepen the theology of the family and the pastoral ministry that we must undertake in these current conditions. We will do so in depth and without falling into trap of “case studies”, as this would inevitably lead to a lowering of the level of our work. The family nowadays is regarded with disdain and maltreated, and what we ask for is recognition of how beautiful, true and good it is to form a family, to be a family today; how indispensable this is for the life of the world, for the future of humanity. We are asked to make evident God's luminous plan on the family and to help married couples experience this with joy in their existence, accompanying them in many difficulties, with a pastoral ministry that is intelligent, courageous and full of love”.

Following his greetings, the Holy Father invited Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to read the introductory presentation for the consistory.


Vatican City, 20 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of its institution. The Academy, whose aim is to study, inform and educate on the main problems of biomedicine and law, relating to the promotion and defence of life, especially with regard to Christian morality and the Magisterium of the Church, dedicated its assembly to the theme of “ageing and disability”.

The Pope commented in his message that it was a very current theme, dear to the Church. “In our society there is a tyrannical dominance of an economic logic that excludes and at times kills, and of which nowadays we find many victims, starting with the elderly”. He affirmed that we see the existence of a “throwaway” culture, in which those who are excluded are not only exploited but also rejected and cast aside.

In the face of this discrimination, Pope Francis considered the anthropological question of the value of man and of what may be the basis of this value. “Health is without doubt an important value, but it does not determine the value of a person. Furthermore, health is not by itself a guarantee of happiness, which may indeed by experienced even by those in a precarious state of health”. Therefore, he added, “poor health and disability are never a good reason to exclude or, worse, eliminate a person; and the most serious deprivation that the elderly suffer is not the weakening of the body or the consequent disability, but rather abandonment, exclusion, and a lack of love”.

“The teacher of welcome and solidarity is, instead, the family: it is in the bosom of the family that education draws in a substantial fashion upon relationships of solidarity; in the family it is possible to learn that the loss of health is not a reason to discriminate against certain human lives; the family teaches us not to fall prey to individualism and to balance 'I' with 'we'. It is there that 'taking care' of one another becomes the foundation of human existence and a moral attitude to promote, through the values of commitment and solidarity”.

The Pope emphasised the importance of listening to the young and the old whenever we wish to understand the signs of the times, and commented that “a society is truly welcoming to life when it recognises its value also in old age, in disability, in serious illness, and even when it at its close; when it teaches that the call to human realisation does not exclude suffering but instead teaches to see in the sick and suffering a gift to the entire community, a presence that calls for solidarity and responsibility”. Pope Francis concluded by blessing the work the Academy performs, which he described as the diffusion of the “Gospel of Life” - a task that is “often tiresome as it means going against the grain, but always precious”.


Vatican City, 20 February 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing for journalists at midday today on the progress of the extraordinary consistory for the family which opened this morning in the New Synod Hall and in which around 150 cardinals participated.

“After the Pope's address, the cardinals sent an affectionate greeting to Archbishop Loris Capovilla, one of the new cardinals to be created by the Holy Father in next Saturday's consistory, who for reasons of age and health was not able to travel to Rome, but who is present in the spirit of this encounter”, he explained.

The introductory presentation by Cardinal Kasper, which will not be published as it was intended for use within the context of the meeting by participants only – occupied almost the entire morning, with the exception of the last ten minutes in which a few comments were made. However, this afternoon and tomorrow morning will be dedicated to comment and discussion.

The text of the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is “in harmony” with the words spoken today by Pope Francis. The focus was very coherent with that of the Holy Father: facing, with realism and in depth, all that is beautiful about the family without eluding its problems. However, the issue is approached from an extremely positive point of view: rediscovering and proclaiming the Gospel of the family according to God's plan, with all its beauty, as truth also convinces through beauty. Another central point of Kasper's address was the concept of the family as a small domestic church, and the idea according to which in the family the Church encounters reality and thus constitutes a path towards the future; the family can be a privileged route to evangelisation. Cardinal Kasper spoke about this “domestic church” in a broad sense, referring not only to the nuclear family, but also by extension to communities, parish groups etc.

From a formal point of view, Fr. Lombardi mentioned that Cardinal Kasper's document does not claim to address all themes related to the family, nor does it attempt to anticipate the next Synod, but is rather a form of “opening”. Its introduction was dedicated to the rediscovery of the Gospel of the family, originating from the family in the order of creation, the vision of the family in Genesis and in God's plan. The second part focused on the structures of sin within the family: problems, tensions between men and women, body and spirit, the alienation of the suffering of women and mothers, etc. Finally, it explored the issue of the family in the Christian order of redemption, referring to texts from the Gospel and the New Testament relating to the family, such as the Letter to the Ephesians. It also considered marriage as a Sacrament, and its sanctifying grace.

The cardinal also referred to the question of remarried divorcees, considering the theme in depth and in a structured, nuanced fashion. He reiterated that in this area it is necessary to bring together pastoral care with the inseparable duo of faith and the words of Jesus, and an understanding of divine mercy. The cardinal referred to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI's work on this issue, when he asked if, beyond rigour and laxity, the Sacrament of penance could perhaps offer the path to accommodating difficult situations. He also recalled Pope Francis' address to the prelates of the Roman Rota at the beginning of this year, in which he spoke about the validity of marriage, when he affirmed that the legal and pastoral dimensions are not in opposition.

Fr. Lombardi concluded by emphasising that the Cardinal accorded great importance to the “law of gradualness”, or rather the advancement towards new forms in exploring in depth the mystery of redemption in Christ, and in understanding the Gospel law of truth.


Vatican City, 20 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Fr. Damiano Giulio Guzzetti, M.C.C.J., as bishop of Moroto (area 14,857, population 470,000, Catholics 229,368, priests 35, religious 109), Uganda. The bishop-elect was born in Turate, Italy in 1959, gave his solemn vows in 1989, and was ordained a priest in 1989. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar in “Namalu” and “Naoi”, and priest of the parish of “Matanynella”, in the diocese of Moroto; member of the provincial council of the Congregation of Comboni Missionaries in Uganda, formator of postulants in his Congregation in Uganda, and bursar and lecturer at the Queen of Apostle Philosophy Centre in Jinja, Uganda. He succeeds Bishop Henry Apaloryamam Ssentongo, whose resignation, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Msgr. Olivier Leborgne as bishop of Amiens (area 6,277, population 586,200, Catholics 503,200, priests 88, permanent deacons 16, religious 197), France. The bishop-elect was born in Nantes, France in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar in Elancourt-Maurepas, priest of the parish “St. Bernadette” in Versailles, and episcopal vicar for formation. Since 2004 he has held the role of vicar general of the diocese of Versailles.

- appointed Msgr. Carl Allan Kemme as bishop of Wichita (area 51,955, population 994,000, Catholics 126,800, priests 123, permanent deacons 4, religious 259), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Effingham, Illinois in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest of the parish of “St. Mary” in Brussels, “St. Joseph” in Meppen and the “Holy Family Parish” in Decatur, parish administrator of “Our Lady of the Holy Spirit” in Mt. Zion, vicar forane in the Decatur deanery, priest-moderator of the “St. James Parish” in Decatur, priest in the “St. Peter Parish” in Petersburg and the “St. John Vianney Parish” in Sherman, and diocesan administrator. He has served as vicar general and moderator of the Curia since 2010. In 2002 he was named Prelate of Honour of His Holiness.

- appointed Msgr. Peter Baldacchino as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Miami (area 12,836, population 4,369,000, Catholics 874,000, priests 379, permanent deacons 161, religious 399), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Sliema, Malta in 1960 and and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a Master of Divinity from Seton Hall University, South Orange, U.S.A., and has served in the following pastoral roles: vicar of the parish of “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” in Ridgewood, chancellor of the “Missio sui iuris” of Turks and Caicos, and priest of the parish of “Our Lady of Divine Providence” on the island of Providenciales. In 2002 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

- appointed Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, as special envoy to the celebration of the 650th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral of Krakow, to be held on 28 March 2014.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service