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Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Vatican City, 21 May 2014 (VIS) – The gift of knowledge, 'scientia', that “is not limited to human knowledge, but which through creation leads us to perceive the greatness of God and His love for His creatures” was the theme of the Pope's catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience.

In the presence of more than 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square, Francis explained that this gift of the Holy Spirit also enables us to discover how the beauty and immensity of the cosmos speaks to us of the Creator and invites us to praise Him “from the depths of our heart and to recognise that all that we have, and all that we are. is an inestimable gift of God and a sign of His infinite love for us”.

In the first chapter of Genesis, at the very beginning of the Bible, it is made clear that God is pleased with His creation, and the beauty and goodness of everything is repeatedly emphasised. If God sees that creation is good and beautiful, then we too should assume this attitude. … And when God finished creating man, He did not say that what he saw was good, but rather that it was 'very good'. In the eyes of God we are the most beautiful, the greatest, the best of His creation: even the angels were beneath us, we are greater than the angels. The Lord loves us, and we should thank Him for this. … The gift of knowledge places us in profound harmony with the Creator and allows us to participate in the clarity of his vision and judgement. And it is from this perspective that we are able to perceive in man and woman the peak of His creation, as the fulfilment of a plan of love that is inherent in each one of us, and enables us to recognise each other as brothers and sisters”.

“All this is a reason for serenity and peace, and makes the Christian a joyful witness to God, like St. Francis of Assisi and many other saints who knew how to praise and to voice their love through the contemplation of creation. At the same time, however, the gift of knowledge helps us to avoid falling prey to the danger of … considering ourselves to be the masters of creation. Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or even less, is it the property of only a few. Creation is a gift that God has given us, so that we might take care of it and make use of it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude. The second mistake is the temptation for us to limit ourselves to creatures, as if they were able to offer the answer to all our expectations”.

The Pope returned to the first risk, that of seeking to appropriate creation instead of protecting it. Creation is “a gift from God to us … and when we exploit it, we destroy the sign of His love. Destroying creation is like saying to God, 'I don't like it', and this is not good, it is a sin. Care for creation is care for God's gift to us, and it means saying to God, 'thank you, I am the custodian of creation, but to enable it to progress, never to destroy your gift'”.

“This must be our attitude in relation to creation”, continued the Holy Father: “to protect it, because if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! Do not forget this”. He went on to recount a story of a very simple person he once met, who loved flowers and took great care of them. “He said, we must look after these beautiful things God has given us; creation is ours so that we may benefit from it, not to exploit it but to protect it, because God always forgives, we human beings forgive sometimes, but creation never forgives and if you do not protect it, it will destroy you”.

“This should make us think, and to ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of knowledge to understand well that creation is God's most beautiful gift. He has made so many good things for the greatest creation of all, the human person”.


Vatican City, 21 May 2014 (VIS) – At the end of today's general audience, during his greetings to the faithful in various languages, the Holy Father launched an appeal on behalf of those citizens who have lost their lives, for the many still missing, and for those affected by the great damage caused by the serious floods which have occurred during recent days in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. “Unfortunately the situation has worsened, and I therefore invite you all to join me in prayer for the victims and for all those afflicted by this disaster. May the solidarity and concrete support of the international community be forthcoming”.

Pope Francis also mentioned that on 24 May the Church celebrates the liturgical memory of Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, venerated with great devotion in the She-shan shrine in Shanghai, China. He urged all the faithful to pray so that, with the protection of Mary, Mother of Help, Catholics in China may continue to believe, hope and love and that they may be a leaven for harmonious co-existence with their fellow citizens in all situations.

Finally, he commented that Mario Vergara, priest of the PIME, and Isidoro Ngei Ko Lat, lay faithful and catechist, both killed in 1950 in Myanmar in hatred of the faith, will be proclaimed Blesseds next Saturday in Aversa, Italy. “May their heroic fidelity to Christ offer encouragement and an example to missionaries and especially to catechists who carry out precious and indispensable apostolic work in the mission lands, for which the Church is grateful”.


Vatican City, 21 May 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, head of the Holy See delegation, spoke at the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva. “The Holy See is cognizant of the devastating impact of climate change, as reported by the WHO Secretariat, in various reports and advisories. That impact often is estimated in terms of additional financial costs and burden of care to be assumed by both governmental and non-governmental health care structures. Climate change also deeply affects the social and environmental determinants of health, including clear air, safe drinking water, supply of sufficient and nutritious food, and adequate shelter”, he said, emphasising that the Pope, in expressing his concern regarding the voracious exploitation of environmental resources, has “called for responsibility on the part of all in pursuing policies that are respectful of the earth which is our common home”.

“The Holy See delegation is happy to note that the reports before us and the WHO work-plan on climate change and health are part of this much desired rethinking and solidarity”, he continued. “This growing ecological awareness needs to be helped to develop and mature, and find fitting expression in concrete programmes and initiatives, especially climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development, as well as appropriate transformations in economic, social, technological and political decisions and actions”.

The prelate went on to commend the secretariat for the report on efforts made in the management of autism spectrum disorders, which among others shows progress made in creating awareness, clearing some of the myths surrounding autism, forging partnerships with civil society organisations committed to improving services and setting priorities for national and sub-national actions”. Archbishop Zimowski expressed the Holy See's wish to contribute to these efforts with an International Conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, to be held in the Vatican this coming November 20- 22, on the topic: “The Person with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Stir Hope”.

Finally, with regard to with regard to maternal, infant and young child nutrition, the prelate remarked upon the delegation's satisfaction to note that “breastfeeding has been included as Global Target in the Strategy and is proposed as a key indicator for monitoring progress towards achieving the targets. Breastfeeding is a major protection against early child malnutrition and should therefore be protected and promoted as part of primary healthcare. It should be guaranteed by laws governing workplace practice and there should be acceptance for breastfeeding even in public”, he concluded.


Vatican City, 21 May 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience Gjorge Ivanov, president of the Republic of Macedonia, with his wife and entourage.


Vatican City, 21 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- acknowledged that the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, with the consent of the permanent Synod, has accepted the resignation from the office of coadjutor archbishop of the archieparchy of Istanbul of the Armenians, Turkey, presented by Archbishop George Khazzoum in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- appointed Archpriest Levon Boghos Zekiyan, emeritus lecturer at the Universita Ca' Foscari, Venice, as apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the archieparchy of Istanbul of the Armenians (Catholics 3,339, priests 6, religious 6), Turkey, elevating him to the dignity of Archbishop. The bishop-elect was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1943, gave his solemn vows in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1967. He has assumed the pastoral care of the Armenian diaspora and the fraternity of Sts. Nicola and Sergio in the Patriarchate of Venice and has served as ordinary professor of Armenian language at the Universita Ca' Foscari, Venice, and as a lecturer at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome. He has also served as Academic of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and consultor for the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

- appointed Fr. Sergio Pellini S.D.B., Italy, director general of the Vatican Press, as chaplain of the directorate of Safety Service and Civil Protection of Vatican City State.
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