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Monday, May 5, 2014


Vatican City, 5 May 2014 (VIS) – Collaboration with civil society, the evangelisation of a divided society and the formation of future clergy were the central themes of the written discourse that the Pope handed to the bishops of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi, whom he received today at the end of their “ad limina” visit.

The Holy Father mentions the collaboration between the Holy See and the Republic of Burundi, formalised in the framework Agreement signed in November 2012, which came into effect last February, and which promises “a rich future for the proclamation of the Gospel”. He encourages the bishops to take their place, as they have already done, in social and political dialogue, and to meet with political figures without hesitation. “Persons in positions of authority are the first to be in need of your witness of faith and your courageous proclamation of Christian values, to know better the social doctrine of the Church, appreciate its value and to be inspired by it in the administration of public affairs”.

Burundi in its recent past, has experienced terrible conflicts that continue to influence the unity of the people, causing deep wounds that are yet to heal. “Only an authentic conversion of hearts to the Gospel can turn men to fraternal love and forgiveness, as to the extent that He reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity for all. The profound evangelisation of your people remains your first concern for ensuring true reconciliation”.

If the first witnesses called upon to live the authenticity of this conversion are naturally priests, it is necessary for future clergy to receive, “as well as the necessary intellectual formation, a solid spiritual, human and pastoral formation. These are the four pillars of formation. Because it is through their lives, through their daily relations, that they bring the Gospel to all. An administrative approach should not prevail over a pastoral approach, and neither should concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelisation”.

Pope Francis notes the admirable work of religious congregations in education, hospitals and assistance to refugees, and reminded the prelates that many new communities that are formed require “careful and prudent discernment to guarantee a sound formation for their members, and to accompany the evolution they are called upon to live for the good of all the Church”.

“The recent history of your country has been difficult”, he concludes, “marked by division and violence in a context of extreme poverty, which unfortunately continues. In spite of this, the courageous efforts of evangelisation in your pastoral ministry bear fruit in the form of conversion and reconciliation. I invite you to not falter in hope, but to go forward boldly with a renewed missionary spirit, to bring the Good News to all those who are still waiting or who most need to finally know the Lord's mercy”.


Vatican City, 5 May 2014 (VIS) – Today in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience the new recruits to the Pontifical Swiss Guard who will swear their allegiance to the Pope tomorrow, accompanied by their families and friends. “It is a special day, as it commemorates the Sack of Rome and the heroic act of your predecessors who, in 1527, offered their lives to defend the Church and the Pope. Your dedication confirms that their courage and loyalty have borne fruit”.

“The social and ecclesial context has changed greatly since then”, he continued. “Society is different with respect to those times. But man's heart, his capacity to be loyal and courageous – acriter et fideliter, as your motto says, - has remained the same. … Serving in the Swiss Guard means living an experience that involves a meeting of time and space in a very particular way. … With your special service, you are called upon to offer serene and joyful Christian witness to whoever arrives in the Vatican to visit St. Peter's Basilica and to meet the Pope. Live your days intensely! Be firm in your faith and generous in your charity towards the people you meet”.

He commented that the celebrated uniform of the Swiss Guard will celebrate one hundred years this year. “Its colours and shape are known throughout the world, and stand for dedication, seriousness and security. They are identified with singular service and a glorious past. However, behind every uniform there is a real person: with a family and a homeland, with a personality and sensibility, with wishes and plans in life. Your uniform is an evocative trait of the Swiss Guard and attracts the attention of the people. But remember that it is not the uniform, but rather he who wears it, who must be noted for his kindness, his spirit of welcome, for his charitable attitude towards all. Consider this also in your relations between yourselves, according importance, also in your community life, to sharing both joyful moments and those that are more difficult, without ignoring those among you who are in difficulty and who are at times in need of a smile and a gesture of encouragement and friendship. Avoid that negative distance that divides companions and, in the lives of all people in the world, can give rise to disdain, marginalisation and racism”.


Vatican City, 5 May 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the the Holy See delegation before the United Nations in Geneva, presented his initial periodical report to the Committee on the Convention against Torture (CAT), which is currently holding its 52nd session.

In his comprehensive report, the prelate remarks that “the Holy See acceded to the Convention against Torture (CAT) on 22 June 2002. It did so with the very clear and direct intention that this Convention applied to Vatican City State (VCS). In its capacity as the sovereign of Vatican City State, the Holy See provided an important 'Interpretative Declaration' that shows its approach to the CAT”.

“In the first place, the Interpretative Declaration lauds the Convention as a worthy instrument for the defence against acts of torture when it says: 'The Holy See considers the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment a valid and suitable instrument for fighting against acts that constitute a serious offence against the dignity of the human person'. In this sense indeed, the Holy See wished to express the harmony of its own principles and vision of the human person with those ideals and practices set forth in the Convention against Torture”.

“The Interpretative Declaration insists that 'The Holy See, in becoming a party to the Convention on behalf of the Vatican City State, undertakes to apply it insofar as it is compatible, in practice, with the peculiar nature of that State'. As such, in regard to the application of the Convention and any examination, questions or criticisms, or implementation thereof, the Holy See intends to focus exclusively on Vatican City State, respecting the international sovereignty of this State and the legitimate and specific authority of the Convention and of the Committee competent to examine State reports”.

“The Holy See, as a member of the international Community, is related but separate and distinct from the territory of Vatican City State, over which it exercises sovereignty. Its international personality has never been confused with the territories over which it has exercised State sovereignty. In its present form, Vatican City State was established in 1929 to more effectively guarantee the spiritual and moral mission of the Holy See. Therefore, colloquial references to the Holy See as the 'Vatican' can be misleading. In this sense, the Holy See, as mentioned, globally encourages basic principles and authentic human rights recognized in the CAT, while implementing it within the territory of Vatican City State in harmony with the Interpretative Declaration.

After presenting some of the essential points to guide and assist discussion, the archbishop goes on to give an overview of the Holy See’s Initial Report, submitted to the Committee in December 2012.

“Apart from presenting the essential distinctions and relations between the Holy See, Vatican City State and the Catholic Church, I wish to highlight several important elements presented within the section of “General Information”. In particular, the first point of reference is the legal system of Vatican City State, that is autonomous in respect to the legal system of the Catholic Church. In fact, not all canonical norms are relevant for the governance of this territory. In relation to the topic of crime and punishment there are specific laws that criminalise illicit activities and provide for proportionate penalties in Vatican City State”.

“As noted in the section on Statistics, the small population of Vatican City State, while receiving roughly 18 million pilgrims and tourists annually, has a relatively tiny number of criminal and penal matters registered”.

“Turning now to the third part of the Initial Report, which addresses systematically each of the sixteen substantive articles of the CAT, my Delegation wishes to highlight several significant steps and improvements in Vatican City State to comply with the Convention, even since the consigning of the Initial Report in December 2012. In the first place, there is the modification of Vatican City State legislation with the promulgation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on 11 July 2013, 'On the Jurisdiction of Judicial Authorities of Vatican City State in Criminal Matters', particularly article 3, of Law N. VIII, which deals specifically with the crime of torture. While the implementation of this basic law into the criminal and penal law of Vatican City State in some fashion touches upon different articles of the Convention, it is worth mentioning a few directly. In relation to Article 1 of the Convention, the new Vatican City State legislation integrates, practically verbatim, the definition of torture and cruel and inhuman punishment as supplied therein and, therefore, de facto, fulfils Article 4 of the Convention by its integration into the penal code and the establishment of appropriate penalties for such offences. Paragraph 6 of the same article 3 of the amended Law VIII effectively restates article 15 of the Convention, prohibiting the use of any statement made as a result of torture to be considered as evidence”.

“Also modified in July 2013, the amendments of Law IX address with greater specificity and clarity the questions of crimes, whether within or outside the territory of the State, of jurisdiction, of extradition, and of terms of sentencing. The procedural and legislative changes seek to implement the principles contained in the Convention against Torture under articles 3, 5, and 8. In particular, one should note the development on the question of extradition and also the denial thereof on the part of the Holy See if the requesting State practices torture or uses capital punishment”.

“The fourth part of the Initial Report, regarding the 'Affirmation of the prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the teachings and activities of the Holy See', references the wide array of documents, proclamations, publications, radio and television programs by which the Holy See actively addresses not only followers of the Catholic Faith, but also the international Community and all people of good will”.

“It should be stressed, particularly in light of much confusion, that the Holy See has no jurisdiction – as that term is understood also under article 2.1 of the Convention – over every member of the Catholic Church. The Holy See wishes to reiterate that the persons who live in a particular country are under the jurisdiction of the legitimate authorities of that country and are thus subject to the domestic law and the consequences contained therein. State authorities are obligated to protect, and when necessary, prosecute persons under their jurisdiction. The Holy See exercises the same authority upon those who live in Vatican City State in accordance with its laws. Hence, the Holy See, in respecting the principles of autonomy and sovereignty of States, insists that the State authority, which has legitimate competency, act as the responsible agent of justice in regard to crimes and abuses committed by persons under their jurisdiction. My Delegation wishes to emphasize that this includes not only acts of torture and other acts of cruel and inhuman punishments, but also all other acts considered as crimes committed by any individual who, notwithstanding affiliation with a Catholic institution, is subject to a particular State authority. The obligation and responsibility of promoting justice in these cases resides with the competent domestic jurisdiction”.

“To recapitulate this fourth part of the Report, it might be said that the measures employed by the Holy See to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent and to prohibit torture and to address its root causes to avoid future acts in this area are abundant. This manifests the Holy See’s desire 'to lend its moral support and collaboration to the international Community, so as to contribute to the elimination of recourse to torture, which is inadmissible and inhuman'”.


Vatican City, 4 May 2014 (VIS) – “Peter is a witness to the hope there is in Christ … and is the firm point of reference for the community, since he is based on the rock that is Christ. … Thus was John Paul II, a true stone anchored to the great Rock”. With these words, the Pope began his homily in the Roman Church of St. Stanislaw in Rome this Sunday, in which he joined with the Polish community to give thanks for the canonisation of John Paul II. Francis mentioned that, during his pontificate, Pope Wojtyla visited this church on more than eighty occasions and said that “in moments of sadness or dejection, when all appeared to be lost, he never lost hope, as his faith and hope were rooted in God. And therefore he was an anchor stone, a rock for this community”.

The Holy Father commented that the Polish population is well aware that, to enter into glory, one must pass through passion and the cross, “and they know this not because they have studied it, but because they have experienced it. St. John Paul II, as a worthy son of his earthly homeland, followed this route. He followed it in an exemplary fashion, being thoroughly despoiled by God. For this reason, his flesh reposes in hope”.

The Pope asked those present if they were willing to follow this route and mentioned that St. Peter, with the voice of St. John Paul II, asks us to conduct ourselves in fear of God during our time on earth. “We are wayfarers”, he emphasised, “but not errants. We walk, but we know where we are going. Errants do not. We are pilgrims but not vagabonds, as St. John Paul II used to say”.

He concluded, “We too can become 'resurrected wayfarers', if His Word warms our heart, and His Eucharist opens our eyes to faith and nourishes us with hope and charity. We too can walk alongside our brothers and sisters who are sad and desperate, warm our hearts with the Gospel, and break the bread of fraternity with them”.


Vatican City, 4 May 2014 (VIS) – As is usual on Sunday, the Holy Father appeared at the window of the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in the square. He spoke about the disciples who encountered Jesus on the path to Emmaus but did not recognise Him. “Seeing how sad they were, He first helped them to understand that the passion and the death of the Messiah were foreseen in God's plan and foretold in the Sacred Scriptures; and in this way He reignited the flame of hope in their hearts”.

“The road to Emmaus has thus become a symbol of our path of faith”, he continued. “The Scriptures and the Eucharist are the indispensable elements for the encounter with the Lord. Often we too arrive at Sunday Mass with our worries, our difficulties and our disappointments. Life at times wounds us and we proceed sadly towards our 'Emmaus', turning away from God's plan. We drift away from God. But the Liturgy of the Word accommodates us: Jesus explains the Scriptures to us and reignites in our hearts the warmth of faith and hope, and in Communion He gives us strength”.

Before concluding, the Pope also commented that the Word of God and the Eucharist always fill us with joy. “Do not forget! When you are sad, take the Word of God. When you are down, take the Word of God and go to Mass on Sunday to receive Communion, to participate in the mystery of Jesus. The Word of God, the Eucharist: they fill us with joy. .. There is always a Word of God that guides us when we are disorientated; and through our weariness and disappointments, there is always the broken Bread that helps us along the path”.


Vatican City, 3 May 2014 (VIS) – “New people in Christ Jesus, sharing responsibility for the joy of living” is the theme chosen for the national assembly of Italian Catholic Action, whose members were received in audience by Pope Francis this morning. He emphasised to them that this joy is that of the disciples who encounter the risen Christ and that it is necessary for it to be interiorised as part of an evangelical style able to influence life.

“In the current social and ecclesial context, the lay members of Catholic Action are required to renew your missionary choice, open to the horizons that the Spirit indicates to the Church and the expression of a new youth of the lay apostolate. First and foremost, the parishes, especially those that are weary and closed, need your apostolic enthusiasm, your full willingness and your creative service. This means taking on the missionary dynamism to reach out to everyone, especially those who feel they are distant, and the weakest, most forgotten parts of the population. It means opening the doors and letting Jesus out to them”.

Staying, going and rejoicing were the three key words that the Pope indicated to Catholic Action as beacons for their path.

“As proclaimers and witnesses of Christ, it is necessary, first of all, to stay near to Him”, he began. “It is from the encounter with Him, He Who is our life and our joy, that our witness gains new meaning and new strength every day”.

He then spoke of the need to “go and proclaim that God is the Father and that Jesus Christ has let you know Him, and therefore your life has changed: it is possible to live as brothers, carrying within a hope that does not disappoint. … [Go] where humankind suffers and hopes, loves and believes; where there are our deepest dreams, our truest questions, the desires of the heart. There, Jesus awaits you”.

To rejoice, finally, means “being people who sing life, who sing faith; people able to recognise their own talents and their own limits, who are able to see in all their days, even the darkest, the signs of the Lord's presence. Rejoice because the Lord has called you to share in the responsibility of the mission of His Church”.

“With these three attitudes, staying in Jesus, going out to the boundaries and living the joy of Christian belonging, you can carry forward your vocation and avoid the temptation of 'quiescence', which has nothing to do with staying with Jesus; the temptation of closure and 'intimism'; and the temptation of formal seriousness. Avoid living a life that bears more resemblance to that of a statue in a museum rather than those of people called upon by Christ to live and spread the joy of the Gospel”.


Vatican City, 3 May 2014 (VIS) – The contribution of the Catholic Church to national reconciliation and the reconstruction of civil society, the importance of interreligious dialogue as a bulwark against an extremism that promotes a false sense of national unity based on a single religious identity, and the protection of the family were the central themes of Pope Francis' address to the bishops of Sri Lanka at the end of their five-yearly “ad limina” visit.

After many years of conflict and bloodshed, the war in Sri Lanka has finally come to an end and its inhabitants now hope to rebuild their lives and communities. The bishops have dedicated themselves to this task, as may be seen by their pastoral letter “Towards Reconciliation and Rebuilding of our Nation” in which, as well as sharing in the tribulations of the people, they note that much work remains to be done to ensure respect for human rights and to overcome ethnic tensions. The Pope joins with them in offering a word of consolation to “all those who lost loved ones during the war and remain uncertain as to their fate”, and invites communities, “steadfast in the faith, to remain close to those who still mourn and suffer the lasting effects of war”.

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, which has both Sinhalese and Tamil among her members, is therefore in a unique position to be able to promote unity between these groups, and also knows intimately “the concerns and fears of the people, particularly how they can be marginalised and distrust one another. The faithful, knowledgeable of the issues that cause tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil, can provide an atmosphere of dialogue that seeks to construct a more just and equitable society”.

He continues, “Sri Lanka is a country not only of rich ethnic diversity, but also of various religious traditions; this highlights the importance of interreligious and ecumenical dialogue for fostering mutual knowledge and enrichment. Your efforts in this regard are commendable and bearing fruit. They allow the Church to collaborate more easily with others in securing a lasting peace, and ensure the Church’s freedom in pursuing her proper ends, especially in educating young people in the faith and in witnessing freely to Christian life. Sri Lanka has also seen, however, the rise of religious extremists who, in promoting a false sense of national unity based on a single religious identity, have created tensions through various acts of intimidation and violence. Though these tensions may threaten interreligious and ecumenical relations, the Church in Sri Lanka must remain steadfast in seeking partners in peace and interlocutors in dialogue”.

Francis comments on the important work of priests and consecrated persons in transmitting faith and promoting reconciliation and dialogue, and dedicates the final part of his discourse to the family, noting that the war in Sri Lanka has left many families displaced or mourning the death of their members. “Many have lost their employment and so families have been separated as spouses leave their homes to find work. There is also the great challenge and increasing reality of mixed marriages, which require greater attention to preparation and assistance to couples in providing for the faith formation of their children. When we are attentive to our families and their needs, when we understand their difficulties and hopes, we strengthen the Church's witness and proclamation of the Gospel. … Your efforts in support of the family assist not only the Church, but aid Sri Lankan society as a whole, especially in its efforts for reconciliation and unity”.


Vatican City, 3 May 2014 (VIS) – The members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors held their inaugural meeting from 1-3 May at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. As was previously announced, the purpose of the meeting was to make recommendations to the Holy Father regarding the Commission’s functions and to propose additional members from different parts of the world. The members who took part in the meeting are Catherine Bonnet, France; Marie Collins, Ireland; Sheila Baroness Hollins, United Kingdom; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., United States; Claudio Papale, Italy; Hanna Suchocka, Poland; Humberto Miguel Yanez, S.J., Argentina; and Hans Zollner, S.J., Germany.

At the end of the meeting, during a briefing at the Holy See Press Office, the following statement was issued on behalf of the Commission:

“As we begin our service together, we wish to express our heartfelt solidarity with all victims/survivors of sexual abuse as children and vulnerable adults and to share that, from the very beginning of our work, we have adopted the principle that the best interests of a child or vulnerable adult are primary when any decision is made.

During our meetings, each of us has been able to share our thoughts, experiences, and our aspirations for this Pontifical Commission. Responding to our Holy Father’s requests, these discussions focused on the Commission’s nature and purpose and on expanding the membership to include people from other geographical areas and other areas of expertise. Our conversations included many proposals for ways in which the Commission might collaborate with experts from different areas related to safeguarding minors and vulnerable adults. We also met with some people from the Roman Curia regarding areas for future cooperation, including representatives from the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Vatican Press Office, and the Vatican Gendarmerie.

As an advisory commission to the Holy Father, the fruit of our work will be communicated to Pope Francis. In time, we will propose initiatives to encourage local responsibility around the world and the mutual sharing of “best practices” for the protection of all minors, including programs for training, education, formation, and responses to abuse. We have also shared with Pope Francis how important certain areas are to us in our future work. We see ensuring accountability in the Church as especially important, including developing means for effective and transparent protocols and processes.

We will propose Statutes to the Holy Father to express more precisely the Commission’s nature, structure, activity, and the goals. It is clear, for example, that the Commission will not deal with individual cases of abuse, but we can make recommendations regarding policies for assuring accountability and best practice. In the Statutes, we plan to make specific proposals regarding the importance of emphasizing ways for raising the awareness of all people regarding the tragic consequences of sexual abuse and of the devastating consequences of not listening, not reporting suspicion of abuse, and failing to support victims/survivors and their families.

As the Catholic people make our parishes, schools, and institutions safe for all children, we join with people of good will in our endeavour to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are protected from abuse. We request the prayers of all who wish to support the work of the Commission”.


Vatican City, 3 May 2014 (VIS) – The Council for the Economy, established by the Holy Father by the Motu proprio "Fidelis et dispensator prudens" of 24 February, held its first meeting on Friday, 2 May. It took place in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace, during the morning and afternoon, and finished at 6 p.m. The sessions were chaired by Cardinal Coordinator of the Council, Reinhard Marx, and in addition to the fifteen members, were also attended by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Cardinal George Pell, President of the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Prelate Secretary of the Council, Msgr. Brian Ferme.

The Holy Father received the Council and addressed a brief but important discourse to its members on Friday morning. The text of his discourse and a summary in Italian of Cardinal Marx's address to the Pope have already been published (Osservatore Romano, 2-3 May, p.8).

As both the Holy Father and the Cardinal Coordinator were keen to emphasise in their discourses, the clerical and lay members of the Council are on the same level, with equal rights and responsibilities. This was made clear during the meeting itself by the fact that clergy and laypersons were seated in alternate positions at the table, rather than in two separate groups.

The work of the Council, which took place in a positive and constructive context, focused first on the draft Statutes of the Council itself, an examination of which will be continued at the next meeting so that they can be submitted for approval by the Holy Father. The work carried out by the Commission for the organisation of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See (COSEA, instituted by the Holy Father on 18 July 2013) was presented to the Council. The information and continuity of the work are guaranteed by the fact that the President and two other members of COSEA are now members of the Council for the Economy.

The next meeting has been scheduled for 5 July. Two more meetings are planned to take place during the course of this year, one in September and one in December.


Vatican City, 3 May 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a letter to Cardinal Angelo Scola, president of the G. Toniolo Institute of Higher Education to commemorate the 90 th day of the Catholic Sacred Heart University which was celebrated on 4 May, with the theme “with the young, protagonists of the future”.

In his letter, Parolin emphasises that this year's theme “expresses well the closeness of the Athenaeum to the world of youth, and its commitment to offering students the necessary tools for answering to their vocation and to the demands of a qualifed professional formation”. On behalf of the Holy Father, the cardinal encouraged the Catholic Sacred Heart University to continue to be a living and effective witness to the Church's commitment towards the new generations”, and urges its members to “collaborate for the growth and strengthening” of this university. The Pope entrusted the Athenaeum to the celestial protection of the Mother of God “Sedes Sapientiae”, and asked for prayers for him and for his service to the Church.


Vatican City, 5 May 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru.

- Archbishop Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

- Ten prelates of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi, on their “ad limina” visit:

Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Gitenga;

Bishop Joachim Ntahondereye of Muyinga;

Bishop Gervais Banshimiyubusa of Ngozi, with Bishop emeritus Stanislas Kaburungu;

Bishop Bonaventure Nahimana of Rutana;

Bishop Blaise Nzeyimana of Ruyigi;

Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura;

Bishop Jean Ntagwarara of Bubanza, with his coadjutor Bishop Georges Bizimana;

Bishop Vanant Bacinoni of Bururi.

- Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de La Habana, Cuba.

On Saturday, 3 May the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munchen und Freising, Federal Republic of Germany, coordinator of the Council for the Economy.

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

- Fourteen prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka on their “ad limina” visit:

Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando and Bishop Sampathawaduge Maxwell Grenville Silva;

Bishop Norbert Marshall Andradi of Anuradhapura;

Bishop Julian Winston Sebastian Fernando of Badulla;

Bishop Joseph Ponniah of Batticaloa;

Bishop Warnakulasurya Wadumestrige Devsritha Valence Mendis of Chilaw;

Bishop Raymond Kingsley Wickramasinghe of Galle;

Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam Emmanuel of Jaffna;

Bishop Joseph Vianney Fernando of Kandy;

Bishop Harold Anthony Perera of Kurunegala;

Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar;

Bishop Cletus Chandrasiri Perera of Ratnapura;

Bishop Joseph Kingsley Swampillai of Trincomalee.


Vatican City, 5 May 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Francesco Oliva as bishop of Locri-Gerace (area 1,248, population 133,000, Catholics 122,000, priests 99, permanent deacons 7, religious 144), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Avena di Papasidero, Italy in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1976. He holds a doctorate in Utroque Jure from the Pontifical Lateran University, as well as an archivist's diploma from the Vatican Secret Archive and a degree in pedagogy from the LUMSA (Libera Universita Maria Santissima Assunta), and is a lawyer of the Roman Rota. He has served in a number of pastoral, administrative and academic roles, including vicar in the parishes of Santa Gemma Galgani in Rome and Santa Maria del Piano in Verbicaro, canon of the Cathedral chapter of Cassano dell'Jonio; defender of the bond and subsequently ecclesiastical judge at the regional ecclesiastical tribunal of Calabria; pro-rector of the diocesan seminary; spiritual father of the diocesan seminary; president of the diocesan institute for the support of the clergy; priest of the parish of San Girolamo a Castrovillari; lecturer in canon law at the Catanzaro theological institute; visiting lecturer at the “Magna Grecia” University of Catanzaro; visiting lecturer at the “Pastor Bonus” institute of Dipodi; judicial vicar of the diocese of Cassano all'Jonio; vicar forane of Castrovillari; vicar general of Cassano all'Jonio; and diocesan administrator of the same diocese. He is currently vicar general of Cassano dell'Jonio. He was named prelate of honour by his Holiness in 2008.

On Saturday, 3 May, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit of the Chaldeans, (Catholics 105,500, priests 22, permanent deacons 150, religious 1), U.S.A., presented by Bishop Ibrahim Namo Ibrahim. He is succeeded by Fr. Frank Kalabat, who was born in Kuwait in 1970 and ordained a priest in 1995. The bishop-elect has served as deputy priest in of the “Mother of God in Southfield” church in Michigan, and is currently priest of the parish of “St. Thomas” in Detroit and director of the Eparchial Centre for Vocations.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto of the Chaldeans (Catholics 18,668, priests 7, permanent deacons 40) presented by Bishop Hanna Zora, and appointed Fr. Daoud Baffro as apostolic administrator “sede vacante ed at nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the same eparchy.

- appointed Archbishop Martin Krebs, apostolic nuncio in New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Vanuatu, and apostolic delegate in the Pacific Ocean, as apostolic nuncio in the Marshall Islands.
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