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Monday, May 19, 2014


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received the bishops of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, in Rome in these days for their five-yearly “ad limina” visit. At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father handed them the text of his planned address, extensive extracts of which are published below, in which he emphasised that fidelity to Jesus Christ must be lived as committed solidarity with the people and their needs.

Before delivering the text, the bishop of Rome emphasised that, despite the serious problems it faces, the Church in Mexico is “consolidated on strong pillars”, and he urged the bishops always to be faithful to the “dual transcendence”: the first in prayer with the Lord, and the second with closeness to the people.

“In recent years, the celebration of the bicentennial of Mexican independence and the centenary of the Mexican Revolution have offered a useful occasion for joining forces in favour of social peace and just, free and democratic co-existence. My predecessor Benedict XVI urged you 'not to let yourselves be intimidated by the powers of evil, but to be valiant and to work to ensure that the sap of your Christian roots may nourish your present and your future'. At the present moment, the many forms of violence that afflict Mexican society, especially the young, call for a renewed appeal to promote this spirit of harmony through the culture of encounter, dialogue and peace. … It is certainly not for pastors to offer technical solutions or to adopt policy measures that are outside the scope of their pastoral ministry; however, they must be tireless in their proclamation, to all, of the Good News: that God, in his mercy, made Himself a man and made Himself poor, that he wanted to suffer with those who suffer in order to save them. Fidelity to Jesus Christ must be lived as committed solidarity and closeness to the people and their needs, offering Gospel values from within”.

“I am aware of your work for those most in need … for those who work in subhuman conditions, … migrants in search of better living conditions, farmers. … I know of your concern for the victims of drug trafficking and for the most vulnerable social groups, and your commitment to the defence of human rights and the full development of the individual. All this, which is an expression of the 'intimate connection' between the Gospel and the search for the good of others contributes, without doubt, to the credibility of the Church and gives relevance to the voice of her pastors”.

He went on to emphasise that “the mission of the Church can not do without with the laity. ... I encourage you to promote their secular responsibility and provide them with adequate training to make visible the public dimension of faith. In order to achieve this, the social doctrine of the Church is a valuable tool that can help Christians in their daily struggle to build a more just and united world. ... In this way, the difficulties that may arise in the transmission of Christian faith between generations can also be overcome. The young see with their own eyes the living witnesses of faith, that truly embody in their life what they profess with their lips. Furthermore, they then spontaneously generate new processes of the evangelisation of culture. ... In this regard, the potential of popular piety constitutes an 'indispensable starting point in deepening the faith of the people and in bringing it to maturity'.”

The family is the “basic cell of society and the first centre for evangelisation. ... I urge you to intensify your pastoral care of the family – certainly, the value that is dearest to your people – so that, faced with the dehumanising culture of death, it may become a promoter of the culture of respect for life in all its phases, from conception to natural death”.

After reminding the prelates of the importance of their proximity to priests and consecrated persons, and the care that must be offered to their formation and to future vocations, the bishop of Rome fondly recalled that in their pastoral plans they had taken on board the Aparecida guidelines, the seventh anniversary of which falls in these days, emphasising the importance of the permanent continental mission, “placing all the pastoral mission of the Church in a missionary mode, and calling upon all of us to grow in parrhesia. ... In this way”, he concluded, “we can bear witness to Christ in life even among the most distant, and reach out of ourselves to work with enthusiasm in the task that has been entrusted to us, keeping our arms lifted in prayer”.


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience the King of Bahrain, His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions focused on various themes of common interest, with particular reference to the commitment towards peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the promotion of dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all members of society.

Mention was then made of the Christian community’s positive contribution to the country, and appreciation was expressed for His Majesty’s personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community.


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francesco received in audience the prime minister of the Republic of Poland, Donald Tusk, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, mention was made of the recent canonisation of John Paul II, and the relevance of this event for the Polish nation. The prime minister expressed his pleasure at His Holiness’ planned visit to Poland in 2016, on the occasion of World Youth Day. Attention then turned to the social and economic situation of the Country.

Finally, there was an exchange of views on the current international situation. In particular, concern was expressed regarding the persistent tensions in eastern Europe.


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) - Financial Intelligence Authority - of the Holy See and the Vatican City State has presented its Annual Report for 2013. The report reviews the activities and statistics of AIF for the year 2013.

The year 2013 has seen a significant strengthening of the legal and institutional framework of the Holy See and Vatican City State to effectively combat financial crime, an institutionalisation of international collaboration of the competent authority of the Holy See with its foreign counterparts, and a massively improved performance in monitoring potential financial wrongdoing.

“In 2013 we have taken further decisive steps to foster the legal framework, and, at the same time, to make it work in practice,” said Rene Brulhart, Director of the AIF. He continued: “The Evaluation conducted by Moneyval, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism of the Council of Europe, in December 2013, and our statistics allow us to say that today we have a proper and equivalent system in place to prevent and fight financial crime. A system that is well in line with international standards”.

The AIF has recorded a notable uptake in suspicious transaction reports (STR), from 6 in 2012 to 202 in 2013. This increase reflects both the development of the legal framework and a substantial improvement in the operational performance of the supervised entities with regard to the prevention of financial crime. Five reports have been passed on to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation by judicial authorities.

The number of requests from AIF submitted to foreign authorities has increased from 1 in 2012 to 28; the number of requests received by the AIF from foreign authorities has risen from 3 in 2012 to 53 in 2013. “This increase is also due to international cooperation fostered by a series of bilateral agreements we have concluded,” said Brulhart. In 2013, AIF became a member of the Egmont Group, the global network of Financial Intelligence Units, and signed various bilateral agreements to institutionalize mutual collaboration in the area of anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism. Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United States.

As already observed in 2012, the number of declarations of cash above the amount of EUR 10,000 has decreased again in 2013 to 1,557 declarations for outgoing cash (2012: 1,782) and 550 declarations for incoming cash (2012: 598). This is due to an increased monitoring by the competent authorities and the introduction of reinforced procedures at the supervised entities.

By way of two Motu Proprio in July and August 2013, the Holy Father extended the competencies of the Holy See authorities, particularly AIF, and aligned the legal framework with international standards. By way of a third Motu Proprio in November 2013, the Holy Father responded to the requirements set forth by the extension of responsibilities of the AIF by issuing a new Statute for the AIF. In essence, the new Statute has built the AIF on two pillars, supervision and financial intelligence, and has clarified some aspects with regard to the governance, e.g. required professional and financial skills for key personnel of the AIF’s bodies.

In the initial trimester of 2014, AIF conducted the first ordinary on-site inspection of the IOR to verify the implementation of the measures taken to prevent and counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism pursuant to the Law XVIII of 8 October 2013.
T‎he inspection has shown substantial progress made by the IOR over the past 12 months. As a result of the inspection, AIF has developed an action plan for the full adaption of procedures to the requirements of Law XVIII and the implementation of further organizational and procedural improvements.

About the Financial Intelligence Authority - AIF

The Financial Intelligence Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See/Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money-laundering and financing of terrorism.

Established by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter in form of Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010, AIF carries out its institutional activity according to the Statute attached to the above mentioned Motu Proprio and the Law n. CXXVII of 30 December 2010, as subsequently amended and integrated.

In July 2013, AIF became a member of the Egmont Group. Currently, AIF has signed Memoranda of Understanding for the international exchange of information with financial intelligence units of other states, such as Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States of America.


Vatican City, 18 May 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father, as usual on Sunday, appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful and pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square. The Pope commented on the day's Gospel reading from the Acts of the Apostles, and emphasised that in the early days of the Church there were tensions and disagreements. “In life, there are conflicts; the problem is how to face them. … Problems cannot be solved by acting as if they do not exist”.

Pope Francis talked about how the Apostles, when faced with difficulties, took control of the situation and therefore overcame their problems. “By sharing, discussing and praying, all problems in the Church can be resolved, with the certainty that gossip, envy and jealousy never lead to concord, harmony and peace. There too it was the Holy Spirit who crowned this understanding and this enables us to understand that, when we let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, it leads us to harmony, unity and respect for different gifts and talents”. The Holy Father asked the Virgin Mary to “help us to be docile to the Holy Spirit, so that we might be mutually respectful and converge ever more deeply in faith and charity, with our hearts open to the needs of our brethren”.

Before concluding, the Holy Father asked those present to pray a Hail Mary for the victims of the floods in the Balkans and for all those who continue to work to overcome these moments of despair. The Pontiff also mentioned that today in the city of Iasi, Romania, Bishop Anton Durcovici, martyr to the faith, was proclaimed a Blessed. He greeted students from various Catholic schools, the voluntary associations celebrating the national Day for cancer patients, and all those present, wishing them a good Sunday.


Vatican City, 17 May 2014 (VIS) –, This morning the Holy Father received in audience the Silent Workers of the Cross Association – Volunteer Centres of Suffering, on their pilgrimage to Rome to commemorate the centenary of the birth of their founder, Blessed Luigi Novarese. Pope Francis began by recalling one of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”, and commented that “with this prophetic word Jesus referred to a condition of earthly life that no-one fails to experience”.

“There are those who mourn because they are in ill-health; there are those who weep because they are alone or misunderstood. There are many reasons for suffering. Jesus experienced affliction and humiliation in this world. He gathered together human sufferings, He took them on in His flesh, He lived them in full, one by one. He knew every type of affliction, both moral and physical. … He experienced hunger and fatigue, the bitterness of being misunderstood, He was betrayed and abandoned, flogged and crucified. But in declaring 'blessed those who mourn', Jesus did not intend to declare happy an unfavourable or onerous condition of life. Suffering is not a value itself, but rather a reality that Jesus teaches us to approach with the right attitude”.

Pope Francis emphasised that there are correct and incorrect ways of living with pain and suffering. “The wrong attitude is that of living pain in a passive way, allowing oneself to be overcome by inertia, and resignation. The reaction of rebellion and denial, too, is not the right approach. Jesus teaches us to experience pain, accepting the reality of life with trust and hope, loving God and neighbour even in suffering: love transforms everything”. He remarked that this is exactly what Blessed Luigi Novarese taught, in “educating the sick and disabled to bring meaning to their suffering as part of an apostolic action carried out with faith and love for others”, and added that with this charism they are “a gift for the Church. … united with the Risen Christ, you are active subjects in the work of salvation and evangelisation”.

In conclusion, Francis encouraged them to “stay close to those who suffer in your parishes, as witnesses to the Resurrection. In this way you enrich the Church and collaborate with the mission of the pastors, praying and offering your suffering also for them”.


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 25 May, at 11.30 a.m., Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will take possession of the diaconate of Sts. Cosmas and Damian (Via dei Fori Imperiali, 1).


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – On Friday, 30 May, at 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francesco will confer episcopal ordination to Msgr. Fabio Febene, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops.


Vatican City, 17 May 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, has been appointed by the Holy Father as his special envoy to the celebrations commemorating the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese of Funchal in Madeira, Portugal, which will take place from 13 to 16 June 2014.


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Thirteen prelates of the Mexican Episcopal Conference on their “ad limina” visit:

Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco;

Bishop Maximino Martinez Miranda of Ciudad Altamirano;

Bishop Dagoberto Sosa Arriaga of Tlapa;

Bishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Tuxtepec;

Bishop Jose de Jesus Martinez Zepeda of Irapuato;

Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Carlos Suarez Cazares and Bishop Juan Espinoza Jimenez;

Bishop Miguel Patino Velasquez of Apatzingan;

Bishop Armando Antonio Ortiz Aguirre of Ciudad Lazaro Cardenas;

Bishop Jose Luis Castro Medellin, M. S. F., of Tacambaro;

Bishop Javier Navarro Rodriguez of Zamora, with his auxiliary, Bishop Jaime Calderon Calderon.

On Saturday, 17 May, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Twenty-two prelates of the Mexican Episcopal Conference on their “ad limina” visit:

Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Francisco Ramirez Navarro and Bishop Efrain Mendoza Cruz;

Bishop Guillermo Rodrigo Teodoro Ortiz Mondragon of Cuautitlan;

Bishop Oscar Roberto Dominguez Couttolenc, M.G., of Ecatepec;

Bishop Hector Luis Morales Sanchez of Netzahualcoyotl;

Bishop Guillermo Francisco Escobar Galicia of Teotihuacan;

Bishop Juan Manuel Mancilla Sanchez of Texcoco;

Bishop Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez of Valle de Chalco;

Bishop Oscar Armando Campos Contreras of Tehuantepec;

Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera with his auxiliary, Bishop Gonzalo Alonso Calzada Guerrero of Cissa;

Bishop Eduardo Porfirio Patino Leal of Cordoba;

Bishop Juan Navarro Castellanos of Tuxpan;

Bishop Luis Felipe Gallardo Martin del Campo of Veracruz;

Bishop Juan Pedro Juarez Melendez of Tula;

Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla of Tuxtla Gutierrez with his auxiliary, Bishop Jose Luis Mendoza Corso.

Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas with coadjutor Bishop Enrique Diaz Diaz.

Bishop Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez of Tapachula;

Bishop Jose Trinidad Zapata Ortiz of Papantla.


Vatican City, 19 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Metropolitan Archbishop Jose Luis Mollaghan of Rosaria, Argentina as member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with responsibility for the Commission for the examination of appeals by clergy accused of “delicta graviora”, to be established.

On Saturday, 17 May, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Wojciech Polak, auxiliary of Gniezno and secretary general of the Polish Episcopal Conference, as metropolitan archbishop of Gniezno (area 8,122, population 664,608, Catholics 656,716, priests 527, religious 306), Poland, and primate of Poland. He succeeds Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, upon having reached the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy, as member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
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