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Monday, June 9, 2014


Vatican City, 9 June 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Vatican Gardens hosted the Invocation for Peace, the initiative Pope Francis proposed to presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas during his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to pray for the gift of peace for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Peres and Abbas arrived in the Vatican at 6.15 and 6.30 p.m. respectively, and were received by the Holy Father at the entrance of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he spoke briefly first with the Israel president, and then with the Palestinian.

Shortly after, they entered the Santa Marta Hall where they were joined by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, and then transferred by car to the Vatican Gardens where they were awaited by their respective delegations. The meeting began with the following words: “May the Lord grant us peace! We are gathered here, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims, to offer our prayer for peace for the Holy Land and for all its inhabitants”.

As previously explained, the meeting took place in three phases, followed by a conclusion. Following the chronological order of the three religions, it began with the Jewish community, followed by Christians, and finally Muslims. The first phase, for the three communities, consisted of praise to God for the gift of creation and for having made us members of one human family. The second was a plea to God for forgiveness for not having acted like brothers and sisters, and for our sins against God and neighbour. The third invokes from God the gift of peace in the Holy Land and the capacity to be converted into builders of peace. Each of these phases was accompanied by a brief musical interlude. A longer musical meditation concluded each of the three principal parts. At the end, before exchanging handshakes and planting an olive tree as a symbol of the common desire for peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, the Holy Father, President Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas all gave brief discourses.

“Distinguished Presidents”, began Pope Francis, “I greet you with immense joy and I wish to offer you, and the eminent delegations accompanying you, the same warm welcome which you gave to me during my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am profoundly grateful to you for accepting my invitation to come here and to join in imploring from God the gift of peace. It is my hope that this meeting will be a path to seeking the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide. I also thank Your Holiness, my venerable Brother Bartholomaios, for joining me in welcoming these illustrious guests. Your presence here is a great gift, a much-appreciated sign of support, and a testimony to the pilgrimage which we Christians are making towards full unity”.

“Your presence, dear Presidents, is a great sign of brotherhood which you offer as children of Abraham. It is also a concrete expression of trust in God, the Lord of history, Who today looks upon all of us as brothers and Who desires to guide us in His ways. This meeting of prayer for peace in the Holy Land, in the Middle East and in the entire world is accompanied by the prayers of countless people of different cultures, nations, languages and religions: they have prayed for this meeting and even now they are united with us in the same supplication. It is a meeting which responds to the fervent desire of all who long for peace and dream of a world in which men and women can live as brothers and sisters and no longer as adversaries and enemies”.

“Dear Presidents, our world is a legacy bequeathed to us from past generations, but it is also on loan to us from our children: our children who are weary, worn out by conflicts and yearning for the dawn of peace, our children who plead with us to tear down the walls of enmity and to set out on the path of dialogue and peace, so that love and friendship will prevail. Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain. The memory of these children instils in us the courage of peace, the strength to persevere undaunted in dialogue, the patience to weave, day by day, an ever more robust fabric of respectful and peaceful coexistence, for the glory of God and the good of all. Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity”.

“History teaches that our own powers do not suffice. More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it. That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God. We do not renounce our responsibilities, but we do call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples. We have heard a summons, and we must respond. It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word 'brother'. But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father”.

“To him, the Father, in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, I now turn, begging the intercession of the Virgin Mary, a daughter of the Holy Land and our Mother. Lord God of peace, hear our prayer! We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced; how much blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes have been buried… But our efforts have been in vain. Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: 'Never again war!'; 'With war everything is lost'. Instil in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace. Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, You created us and You call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarrelling into forgiveness. Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words 'division', 'hatred' and 'war' be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be 'brother', and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam! Amen”.

President Shimon Peres then addressed those present: “I have come from the Holy City of Jerusalem to thank you for your exceptional invitation”, he said. “The Holy City of Jerusalem is the beating heart of the Jewish people. In Hebrew, our ancient language, the word Jerusalem and the word for peace share the same root. And indeed peace is the vision of Jerusalem. As it is said in the Book of Psalms: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you'. For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity”.

“During your historic visit to the Holy Land, you moved us with the warmth of your heart, the sincerity of your intentions, your modesty, and your kind ways. You touched the people’s hearts – regardless of their faith or nation. You emerged as a bridge-builder of brotherhood and peace. We are all in need of the inspiration which accompanies your character and your way. Thank you”.

“Two peoples – Israelis and Palestinians – still are aching for peace. The tears of mothers over their children are still etched in our hearts. We must put an end to the cries, to the violence, to the conflict. We all need peace. Peace between equals. Your invitation to us to join you in this momentous ceremony to call for peace, here in the Vatican garden, in the presence of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze leaders,graciously reflects your vision of the aspiration we all share: Peace. On this moving occasion, brimming with hope and full of faith, let us all raise with you, Your Holiness, a call for peace between religions, between nations, between communities, and between fellow men and women. Let true peace become our legacy soon and swiftly”.

“Our Book of Books commands upon us the way of peace, demands of us to toil for its realization. It is said in the book of Proverbs: 'Her ways are ways of grace, and all her paths are peace'. So too must our ways be. Ways of grace and peace. It is not by chance that Rabbi Akiva captured the essence of our Torah in one sentence: 'Love your neighbour like thyself'. We are all equal before the Lord. We are all part of the human family. For without peace, we are not complete, and we have yet to achieve the mission of humanity. Peace does not come easy. We must toil with all our strengths to reach it. To reach it soon. Even if it requires sacrifice or compromise. The Book of Psalms tells us: 'Whoever loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it'”.

“This is to say, we are commanded to pursue after peace. All year. Every day. We greet each other with this blessing. Shalom. Salam. We must be worthy of the deep and demanding meaning of this blessing. Even when peace seems distant, we must pursue it to bring it closer. And if we pursue peace with perseverance, with faith, we will reach it. And it will endure through us, through all of us, of all faiths, of all nations, as it is written: 'They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more'. The soul is elated upon the reading of these verses of eternal vision. And we can – together and now, Israelis and Palestinians – convert our noble vision to a reality of welfare and prosperity. It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty, the holy mission of parents. Let me end with a prayer: He who makes peace in the heavens shall make peace upon us and upon all of Israel, and upon the entire world, and let us say Amen”.

Finally, the president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, said: “It is indeed a great honour for us to meet again with His Holiness Pope Francis in fulfilment of his kind invitation to relish his spiritual and noble presence, and listen to his opinion and crystal wisdom, which emanate from a sound heart, vibrant conscience, as well as an elevated ethical and religious sense. I thank your Holiness from the bottom of my heart for initiating this important gathering here in the Vatican. Simultaneously, we highly appreciate your visit to the Holy Land Palestine, and in particular to our Holy city Jerusalem and to Bethlehem, the city of love and peace, and the cradle of Jesus Christ. The visit is a sincere expression of your belief in peace and a truthful attempt to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis”.

“Oh God, we ever praise You for making Jerusalem our gate to heaven. As said in the Holy Quran, '‬Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship to the furthest place of worship, whose surroundings we have blessed'.‬ You made pilgrimage and prayer in it as the best acts the faithful can make in your praise, and made your truthful promise in your say:‫ '‬Let them enter the Masjid as they did for the first time'. ‬ God Almighty has spoken the truth”.

“O, Lord of Heaven and Earth, accept my prayer for the realisation of truth, peace and justice in my country Palestine, the region, and the globe as a whole. I beseech You, O Lord, on behalf of my people, the people of Palestine ‫-‬ Muslims, Christians and Samaritans – who are craving for a just peace, dignified living, and liberty, I beseech you, O Lord, to make prosperous and promising the future of our people, and freedom in our sovereign and independent state; Grant, Oh Lord, our region and its people security, safety and stability. Save our blessed city Jerusalem; the first Kiblah, the second Holy Mosque, the third of the two Holy Mosques, and the city of blessings and peace with all that surround it.

“Reconciliation and peace, O Lord, are our goal. God in His Holy Book has addressed the faithful: 'Make peace among you'. Here we are, O God, inclined to peace. Make firm our steps and crown our efforts and endeavours with success. You are the promoter of virtue and preventer of vice, evil and aggression. You say and you are the most truthful, 'And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He is the Hearer, the Knower'. In the saying of Prophet Muhammad, '‬Spread the peace among you'.‬

“Today, we reiterate after Jesus Christ addressing Jerusalem‫:‬ 'If only you had known the path of peace this day‫'. Also let us remember the words of Saint John Paul II when he said‫:‬ ‫'If peace is achieved in Jerusalem, peace will be witnessed in the whole world‫"‬ Simultaneously, in our prayer today, we repeatedly call after those who advocate peace:‫ ‬ ‫'‬Blessed are the peace‫ ‬makers',‬ and '‬Call for the peace of Jerusalem‫', as came in the Holy Scriptures”.

“Accordingly, we ask You, O Lord, for peace in the Holy Land, Palestine, and Jerusalem together with its people. We call on you to make Palestine and Jerusalem in particular a secure land for all the believers, and a place for prayer and worship for the followers of the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and for all those wishing to visit it as it is stated in the Holy Quran”.

“O Lord, You are the peace and peace emanates from You. O God of Glory and Majesty grant us security and safety, and alleviate the suffering of my people in home town and diaspora. O Lord, bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability and coexistence. We want peace for us and for our neighbours. We seek prosperity and peace of mind for ourselves and for others alike. O Lord, answer our prayers and make successful our endeavours for you are most just, most merciful, Lord of the Worlds. Amen!”


Vatican City, 8 June 2014 (VIS) – On the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis presided at a Holy Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, concelebrated with the cardinals, archbishops and bishops present in the city of Rome.

“Speaking to the Apostles at the Last Supper, Jesus said that, after leaving this world, he would have sent them the gift from the Father, that is the Holy Spirit. This promise was powerfully fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended onto the disciples gathered in the Cenacle”, said the Pope in his homily.

The Holy Spirit “teaches us: it is the inner Master. It guides us along the right path, through the situations of life. … More than a master of doctrine”, he observed, “the Spirit is a master of life. And knowledge is part of life, but within the wider, harmonic horizon of Christian existence”.

The Holy Spirit “reminds us, reminds us of all that Jesus said. It is the living memory of the Church. And while it makes us remember, it enables us to understand the words of the Lord. … The Spirit of truth and charity that recalls to us what Christ said, allows us to enter more fully into the meaning of His words. … In substance, the Spirit reminds us of the commandment to love, and calls us to fulfil this”.

“A Christian without memory is not a true Christian: he is halfway along the road, he is a man or a woman imprisoned in the moment, who does not know how to value his or he r history, who does not know how to read it or live it as a history of salvation. Instead, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to interpret the inner inspirations and events of life in the light of Jesus' words. And thus our knowledge of memory, the knowledge of the heart, that is a gift from the Spirit, grows in us”.

The Holy Spirit “makes us speak, with God and with men. There are no mute Christians, those who are mute in the soul; no, there is no place for this. It enables us to speak with God in prayer. … It allows us to speak in the act of faith. It helps us to speak with men in fraternal dialogue. It helps us to speak with others recognising them as brothers and sisters”.

“But there is more: the Holy Spirit also makes us speak to men in prophecy, making us humble and docile 'channels' of the Word of God. Prophecy is made with frankness, to show openly contradictions and injustice, but always with meekness and constructive intent. Penetrated by the Spirit of love, we can be signs and instruments of God Who loves, serves and gives life”.

“The day of Pentecost,when the disciples were 'filled with the Holy Spirit', was the baptism of the Church, who was born 'reaching out', 'going out' to proclaim the Good News to all. The Mother Church, who goes out to serve and, who recalls our other Mother, who went out promptly, to serve. The Mother Church and the Mother Mary: both virgin, both mothers, and both women”.


Vatican City, 8 June 2014 (VIS) – The event of Pentecost, which commemorates the birth of the Church and its public manifestation, was the theme of the Pope's meditation before praying the Regina Coeli today with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

In this event, Pope Francis observed, two characteristics draw our attention: “a Church which surprises and a Church which disconcerts”, since “a fundamental element of Pentecost is surprise”. Our God is the God of surprises, we know. No-one expected anything more from the disciples: after the death of Jesus they were an insignificant group, the defeated orphans of their Master. Instead, an unexpected event occurred, that inspired wonder: the people were unsettled as each heard the disciples speaking in his own language, recounting God's great works. The Church that was born on Pentecost is a community that inspires wonder as, with the strength that comes from God, she proclaims a new message – the Resurrection of Christ – with a new language, the universal language of love. … The disciples are invested with power from above and speak with courage; a few minutes earlier they were all cowardly, whereas now they speak with courage and frankness, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit”.

“The Church is called always to be like this: able to surprise by proclaiming to all that Jesus Christ has defeated death, that God's arms are always open, that His patience is always there and awaits us to heal and forgive us. Precisely for this mission, the resurrected Jesus gave His spirit to the Church. But, be careful”, the Pope warned. “If the Church is alive, she must always surprise. To surprise is typical of the living Church. A Church that no longer has the capacity to surprise is a weak, sick and dying church, that must be brought into the emergency room and resuscitated as soon as possible!”

“Some, in Jerusalem, would have preferred it if Jesus' disciples, paralysed by fear, had stayed closed away at home, so as not to create a disturbance. Even nowadays, many would rather Christians were this way. Instead, the Risen Lord sends them into the world: 'As the Father has sent me, so I send you'. The Church of Pentecost is a Church who does not resign herself to being innocuous, too 'diluted'. No, she does not resign herself to this! She does not wish to be a decorative element. And a Church who does not hesitate to reach out and to encounter people, to proclaim the message entrusted to her, even if this message disturbs or upsets consciences, even if this message perhaps brings problems, and even if, at times, it leads us to martyrdom”.

The Church was born “one and universal, with a precise identity, but open, a Church who embraces the world but does not capture it; who leaves it free but embraces it like the colonnade of this Square: two arms that open to welcome, but do not close to stifle. We Christians are free, and the Church wants us to be free!”


Vatican City, 8 June 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday the participants in the 36th pilgrimage on foot between the Italian towns of Macerata and Loreto received a telephone call from Pope Francis, before celebrating the Eucharist, presided at by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, in the Helvia Recina stadium of Macerata.

The Holy Father urged the pilgrims to pray for the intercession of the Madonna of Loreto for a good outcome to the prayer encounter for peace in the Holy Land and Middle East convoked in the Vatican, and added that they should not be afraid of a dreaming of a more just world; of asking, seeking and deepening. Faith, he said, “is not an inheritance that we receive from others, faith is not a product that we purchase, but rather an answer of love that we give freely and build daily with patience, through successes and failures. Do not be afraid to throw yourselves into God's arms. God will ask you nothing, if not to bless it and give it back to you a hundred times over! Do not allow yourself to be discouraged by losers or the fearful who would take your dream away, who want to imprison you in their dark mentalities instead of letting you fly in the light of hope! Please, do not fall into mediocrity, that mediocrity that diminishes and makes everything grey. Life is not grey, life is for putting at stake for great ideas and great things!”


Vatican City, 7 June 2014 (VIS) – “Sport is a form of education” said Pope Francis to the thousands of people who participated in the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the Centro Sportivo Italiana in St. Peter's Square this afternoon.

“I see three roads for the young, for children. The road of education, the road of sport, and the road of work: that is, that there are jobs for them at the beginning of their young lives. If there are these three paths, I can assure you that there will be no dependencies: no drugs, no alcohol. Why? Because school takes you ahead, sport takes you ahead, work takes you ahead. Do not forget this. To you, sportspeople, managers, men and women of politics: education, sport and jobs!”

Francis went on to emphasise that sport must remain a game, as only in this way is it good for the body and spirit. He added, “I urge you not only to play, as you already do; put yourselves in play in life as you do in sport. Put yourself in play in search of good, in the Church and in society, without fear, with courage and enthusiasm. Enter into the game with others and with God; do not be satisfied with a mediocre 'draw', but instead give the best of yourself, spend your life for what it is really worth and for what will last for ever. Do not be satisfied with merely drawing even: no, no! Go ahead, always seek victory!”

“In sports clubs, one learns to welcome. Every athlete who wishes to join is welcome, they welcome each other. I urge all managers and trainers to be, first and foremost, welcoming people, able to keep the door open to give every person, especially the least fortunate, an opportunity to express himself. … I also hope you may experience the pleasure, the beauty of playing as a team, which is very important in life. No to individualism! … Belonging to a sports club means rejecting every form of selfishness and isolation, and it is an opportunity to meet and be with others, to help each other, and to compete with mutual esteem and to grow in fraternity”.

The bishop of Rome also commented that many educators, priests and nuns have also taken sport as a starting point to develop their vocation and that there are many clubs which originate “in the shadow of the Church steeple”. He added, “If there is no sports group in the parish, something is missing. … Sport in the community can be an excellent missionary tool, where the Church draws close to each person, helping him or her to improve and to encounter Jesus Christ”.

“I ask that all may participate, not only the best: everyone, with the advantages and limits that each person has, indeed helping the disadvantaged, like Jesus did. And I encourage you to continue your commitment to children in the outskirts of the city, through sport: with a ball to play with, you may also offer reasons for hope and trust”.


Vatican City, 7 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on various aspects of the life of the country including numerous recent reforms, in particular the constitutional amendments regarding religious freedom. Attention then turned to other matters of common interest, such as migration, the struggle against poverty and unemployment, and initiatives for combating violence and drug trafficking.

Finally, there was an exchange of opinions on themes relating to current regional and international affairs.


Vatican City, 7 June 2014 (VIS) – On 30 May Pope Francis sent a message to the participants in the 19th Congress of the International Criminal Law Association and the 3rd Congress of the Latin American Association for Penal Law and Criminology, held last week in Buenos Aires, in which he shares with them some ideas which “form part of the Scriptures and the millennial experience of the People of God” and, in which “in spite of historical changes, three elements have been constant: the satisfaction or reparation of damage caused; confession, by which a man expresses his inner conversion; and contrition, to lead to the encounter with God's merciful and healing love”.

With reference to the first, satisfaction, Francis observes that “the Lord has gradually taught his people that there is a necessary asymmetry between crime and punishment, that an eye or a broken tooth cannot be restored by taking or breaking another. It is a matter of bringing justice to the victim, not punishing the aggressor”, and “in our societies we tend to think that crimes are solved when we capture and sentence the criminal, largely avoiding the damage caused or without paying sufficient attention to the situation in which the victims find themselves. However, it would be a mistake to identify reparation solely with punishment, to confuse justice and vengeance, which can only contribute to increasing violence, even if this latter is institutionalised. Experience teaches us that the increase and hardening of penalties often neither solves social problems, nor reduces crime rates. And, furthermore, this may give rise to serious social problems, such as overcrowding of prisons or prisoners detained without trial”.

“In this regard”, he continues, “means of communication … play a very important role and hold great responsibility: we depend on them to give accurate information and not to contribute to creating alarm or social panic when they provide news of criminal activities. The life and dignity of people is at stake, and these must be turned into media events, subject to attention often of an unhealthy nature, condemning the suspects to social disparagement before being judged or forcing victims, for sensationalist purposes, to publicly relive their suffering”.

The second aspect, confession, is “the attitude of those who recognise and admit their guilt. If the criminal is not sufficiently helped, he or she is not offered the chance to be able to convert, and ends up as a victim of the system. … It is necessary to move forward and to do everything possible to correct, improve and educate the person so that he is able to mature in respects, so he is not discouraged and faces the damage caused, rethinking his life without being crushed by the weight of his miseries. ... And we must ask ourselves why some fall and others do not, in spite of being in the same condition. Not infrequently criminality is rooted in economic and social inequality, in networks of corruption and organised crime, that seek accomplices among the poorest and victims among the most vulnerable. To prevent this scourge, it is not enough to have just laws: it is necessary to construct responsible people able to put them into practice. A society that is governed solely by market laws and creates false expectations and superfluous necessities, discards those who are not at the top and prevents the slow, the weak or the less gifted from taking an open road in life”.

Finally, contrition is “the gateway to repentance, the privileged path to the heart of God, Who welcomes us and always offers us another chance if we open ourselves up to the truth of penance and allow ourselves to be transformed by His mercy. ... The attitude of God, Who goes before the sinner to offer him His forgiveness, is shown in this way to be a higher justice, both equanimous and compassionate, with no contradiction between these two aspects. Forgiveness, in effect, neither eliminates nor diminishes the need for rectification required by justice, nor does it ignore the need for personal conversion, but instead goes beyond this, seeking to restore relationships and to reintegrate people into society”.

“I think that here is the great challenge that we must all face”, concludes the Pope, “so that the measures taken against evil are not limited to suppressing, discouraging and isolating those who cause it, but instead help them to rehabilitate, to re-embark upon the path of good, to be authentic people who move on from their miseries to become merciful themselves. Therefore, the Church proposes a form of justice that is humanising, genuinely reconciliatory, a justice that leads the wrongdoer, through an educative path of encouraged penance, to rehabilitation and total reinsertion in the community. How important and good it would be to take on this challenge, so as not to let it fall into oblivion. How good it would be to take the necessary steps to ensure that forgiveness does nto remain exclusively in the private sphere, but instead attains a real political and institutional dimension to create harmonious relations of coexistence.


Vatican City, 9 June 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences has organised a study day dedicated to St. Pius X (1914-2014) to be held on 12 June , the centenary of his death. The theme of the day is “St. Pius X, a reforming pope facing the challenges of the new century”, and it was presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office by Fr. Bernard Ardura O. Praem., president of the aforementioned Committee and by Professor Alejandro Mario Dieguez of the Vatican Secret Archive.

“During this day”, said Fr. Ardura, “we intend to highlight the principles and pastoral directions of St. Pius X who, throughout all his ministry, was essentially a pastor of souls. … All his efforts in the ecclesial and social fields were dictated by a pastoral realism, oriented towards the renewal of the Christian life of people and communities”.

Diguez commented that the event “will offer an overview of new historical information on this intense and crucial pontificate. … This has been possible thanks to the publication of archive sources (with four volumes edited by the Vatican Archive), of profound and systematic research (not only on modernism but also on apostolic visits, codification and the reform of the curia), and study conferences (six over the last twenty-five years). It has therefore been possible to recover the historical Pius X and not that of myth, the Pius X of ecclesiastical governance and reform, and not that of popular piety, recomposing the complex and fascinating personality of this pontiff”.


Vatican City, 7 June 2014 (VIS) – The Autorità Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Holy See and Vatican City State, has formalised its bilateral cooperation with the U.K., France and four other countries with Memoranda of Understanding signed during the plenary meeting of the Egmont Group held in Peru.

The Memoranda were signed with the Financial Intelligence Units of the U.K., France, Malta, Romania, Poland and Peru by the Director of the AIF, Rene Bruelhart.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is standard practice and formalises the cooperation and exchange of financial information to fight money laundering and combat terrorist financing across borders between the competent authorities of both countries. It is based on the model Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the Egmont Group, the global organisation of national Financial Intelligence Units, and contains clauses on reciprocity, permitted uses of information and confidentiality.

“Becoming a member of the Egmont Group last year was a major step toward strengthening the international cooperation of the Holy See and supporting the global efforts to fight Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism”, said Bruelhart. “The signing of these latest MOUs shows that we are continuously expanding our network of cooperation, and will further facilitate our joint efforts”.

AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July of 2013, and has already signed MOUs with the Financial Intelligence Units of Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States.

AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See/Vatican City State to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It was established in 2010.


Vatican City, 7 June 2014 (VIS) – Today a letter was published, written in Latin and dated 28 May, by which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Ferdinand Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese of Funchal (Madeira, Portugal), which will take place from 13 to 16 June. The pontifical mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Msgr. Jose Fiel de Sousa, vicar general, and the Rev. Canon Joao Duarte Pita de Andrade, president of the cathedral chapter.


Vatican City, 9 June 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

- Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

-Br. Enzo Bianchi, prior of the Monastery of Bose.

- Reinhard Schweppe, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, on his farewell visit.

- Alicia Castro, ambassador of the Republic of Argentina to the United Kingdom.

On Saturday, 7 June, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

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

- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome.


Vatican City, 9 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- erected the new diocese of Izcalli (area 533, population 966,836, Catholics 821,351, priests 64, religious 64), Mexico, with territory taken from the diocese of Cuautitlan, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Tlalnepantla. He appointed Msgr. Francisco Gonzalez Ramos as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1982. He holds a degree in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has held a number of pastoral and educative roles, including prefect of discipline in the minor seminary of Leon, and professor in the major seminary of Leon, and priest of the parish of “Espiritu Santo”.

- appointed the following members of the Congregation for the Clergy: Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany; and Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius, Lithuania.

- confirmed the following as members of the Congregation for the Clergy: Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, Cardinal John Njue, Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, Archbishop Tomash Bernard Peta, Bishop Fernando Antonio Figueiredo O.F.M., Bishop Klaus Kung, and Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff.

On Saturday, 7 June, the Holy Father:

- appointed Archbishop Hubertus Matheus Maria van Megen, apostolic nuncio in Sudan, as apostolic nuncio in Eritrea.

- appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as special envoy to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the freedom of the Greek Catholic eparchy of Mukachevo, to take place at the major seminary of Uzhhorod, Ukraine on 28 June 2014.

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