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

Friday, February 21, 2014


Vatican City, 21 February 2014 (VIS) – The second and final day of the extraordinary Consistory of the College of Cardinals to reflect on theme of the family began at 9.30 this morning in the New Synod Hall.

Before work commenced, Pope Francis addressed the cardinals: “I would like to send a greeting, not only personally but in the name of all those present here, to the Ukrainian cardinals – Cardinal Jaworski, archbishop emeritus of Leopoli, and Cardinal Husar, major archbishop emeritus of Kiev – who have suffered greatly in these days and who encounter many difficulties in their homeland. I think it is good to send this message in the name of all of us here: are you in agreement?”, a proposal which was received with applause.

“Another thing: yesterday, before sleeping – although not in order to go to sleep! – I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call “doing theology on one's knees”. Thank you, thank you”.


Vatican City, 21 February 2014 (VIS) – The fiftieth anniversary of the conciliar Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium” on the Sacred Liturgy – the first document promulgated by Vatican Council II – is an cause for “gratitude for the profound and wide-ranging renewal of liturgical life, made possible by the conciliar Magisterium … and at the same time urges relaunched commitment to welcoming and more fully implementing this teaching”.

Thus began Pope Francis' message to Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on the occasion of the conclusion of the symposium “Sacrosanctum Concilium. Gratitude for and Commitment to a Great Ecclesial Movement”, organised by this dicastery in collaboration with the Pontifical Lateran University.

“Sacrosanctum Concilium”, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963, and the further developments of the Magisterium in the furrow it has traced “have improved our understanding of the liturgy in the light of the divine Revelation, as the 'exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ' in which 'the whole public worship is performed by the mystical body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the head and His members'. Christ is revealed as the true protagonist of every celebration, and He associates with Himself 'the Church … His beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father'. This action, which takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit, possesses a profound creative force able to attract every man and, in some way, the whole of Creation”.

“To celebrate true spiritual worship means to offer oneself as a living sacrifice, sacred and agreeable to God. A liturgy detached from spiritual worship would risk becoming empty, declining from its Christian originality to a generic sacred sense, almost magical, and a hollow aestheticism. As an action of Christ, liturgy has an inner impulse to be transformed in the sentiments of Christ, and in this dynamism all reality is transfigured”. The Pontiff quoted Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who, in his Lectio divina to the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary in 2012, explained that “our daily life ... must be inspired, profuse, immersed in the divine reality, it must become action together with God. This does not mean that we must always be thinking of God, but that we must really be penetrated by the reality of God so that our whole life — and not only a few thoughts — may be a liturgy, may be adoration”.

To our gratitude to God for what it has been possible to achieve, the Pope stated that it is necessary to unite “a renewed willingness to go ahead on the path indicated by the Council Fathers, as there remains much to be done for a correct and complete assimilation of the Constitution of the Holy Liturgy on the part of the baptised and ecclesial communities. I refer, in particular, to the commitment to a solid and organic liturgical initiation and formation, both of lay faithful as well as clergy and consecrated persons”.


Vatican City, 21 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning, 150 cardinals participated in the extraordinary consistory on the family, reported Fr. Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, in today's briefing for journalists. He also communicated that the cardinals had expressed their warmest wishes to Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, who celebrates his 90th birthday today, and that at 7 a.m. they concelebrated Holy Mass with the Pope in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The participants in the Consistory entrusted to Fr. Lombardi the reading of the following declaration, approved by the Holy Father, which summarises the thoughts of the Pope and the College of Cardinals:

“During the extraordinary Consistory, the Holy Father and the College of Cardinals raised a special prayer to the Lord for the many Christians who, in various parts of the world, are increasingly frequently victims of acts of intolerance or persecution. To those who suffer for the Gospel, the Holy Father and the Cardinals wish to renew their assurance of their constant prayers, urging them to stand firm in their faith and to forgive their persecutors from their hearts, in imitation of Jesus Christ.

“Equally, the thoughts of the Pope and the Cardinals turned to those nations which in this period are riven by internal conflicts, or by serious tensions which have consequences for civil co-existence, such as South Sudan or Nigeria, in a climate of growing indifference. At this time there is particular apprehension with regard to the evolution of the difficult situation in Ukraine, where it is hoped that all violence will cease immediately and that harmony and peace will be re-established.

“Similarly, a great cause for concern is the continuing conflict in Syria, where it appears that the parties are still far from finding a lasting and peaceful solution, as well as the situation in the Central African Republic, which assumes greater proportions day by day. Initiatives on the part of the international community to promote peace and internal reconciliation, to guarantee the restoration of security and the rule of law, and to allow the indispensable access of humanitarian aid, are becoming increasingly urgent.

“Unfortunately, it is evident that many of the current conflicts are described as being of a religious nature, not infrequently surreptitiously placing Christians and Muslims in opposition, whereas in reality these conflicts have origins of a mainly ethnic, political or economic nature.

“The Catholic Church, on her part, in condemning every form of violence perpetrated in the name of religious belief, will not cease in her commitment to peace and reconciliation, through interreligious dialogue and the many charitable works which provide daily assistance and comfort to the suffering throughout the world”.

After reading the declaration, Fr. Lombardi described the progress made today, during which the Pope announced the name of the three presidents of the Synod on the Family: Cardinals Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France; Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines; and Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil. The three presidents represent three different continents.

Forty-three presentations were given yesterday afternoon and this morning, and others are expected to take place as many cardinals have registered to speak. “We do not know if they will all be able to do so”, explained Fr. Lombardi. “Some will submit their contribution in writing, so that it can be included among the proceedings and may be useful for joint reflection by the Synod”.

Among the themes considered are the concept of the family according to a Christian anthropological perspective and its value in the context of a secularised culture which presents a different concept of the family, sexuality and the person and in which the Christian approach at times encounters difficulties. “Reflection did not take place in a climate of complaint”, commented Lombardi, “but rather of realism, observing the difficulty faced by Christianity in a culture that tends to go in another direction. John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body' was quoted on a number of occasions, as well as the encyclical 'Familiaris consortio' and the Catechism of the Catholic Church'. Another issue related to various aspects of the pastoral care of the family, especially preparation for marriage and matrimonial and family spirituality”.

The cardinals also considered the problem of remarried divorcees from the perspective of canon law, and spoke about the procedures for annulment with a view to their improvement and simplification. With regard to the administering of the Sacraments to remarried divorcees, there were broad ranging and detailed discussions, but no decisions or pronouncements were made on the issue. “There was neither tension nor anxiety in relation to this matter, but rather a positive approach characterised by discernment and a concerted search for the best way to combine fidelity to the words of Jesus with divine mercy and attention to specific situations, always with great sensitivity”, said the director of the Press Office, who repeated that a single direction should not be expected of the Consistory, but rather an encouraging introduction to the path of the Synod, which by working with this breadth of vision, will be able to advance the Church's pastoral response to the heartfelt hopes held by many in this area.

Finally, the cardinals discussed various specific areas of family pastoral ministry, such as migration or religious ignorance.


Vatican City, 21 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Antonio Francisco dos Santos of Aveiro as bishop of Porto (area 3,010, population 2,114,000, Catholics 1,913,000, priests 492, permanent deacons 61, religious 920), Portugal.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service