Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, June 23, 2014


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the traditional Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father commented that today Italy and many other countries celebrate the feast day of the Body and Blood of Christ, “Corpus Domini” or “Corpus Christi”, in which the ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious gift that Jesus left to her.

In the Gospel of St. John we find the narrative on the “bread of life”, spoken by Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum, in which He states: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. Pope Francis explained, “Jesus says that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in him. Our communion with the Lord commits us, his disciples, to imitate him, making of our lives, with our attitudes, a bread broken for others, just as the Master broke the bread that is truly His flesh”.

“Whenever we participate in Holy Mass and are nourished by the body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit works within us; it shapes our hearts, it communicates inner attitudes that transform within us into modes of behaviour in accordance with the Gospel. Firstly, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity among Christians, the courage of Christian witness, the creativity of charity, the ability to give hope to the disheartened, and to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist helps the Christian lifestyle to mature in us. Christ's charity, received with an open heart … changes us, transforms us, makes us capable of loving not according to a human measure, which is always limited, but according to God's measure, and God's measure is without measure”.

“And then we become able to love even those who do not love us”, continued the Pontiff, “and it is not easy. If we know that a person does not love us we tend not to like that person. But no! We must love those who do not love us! We must oppose evil with good, we must forgive, share, welcome others. Thanks to Jesus and his Spirit, even our life becomes 'bread broken' for our brothers. And, living in this way, we discover true joy! The joy of making oneself a gift, to reciprocate the great gift that we have first received, without any merit on our part.

Francis concluded his brief reflection by urging the faithful to recall two things: first, that “the measure of God's love is to love without measure”, and that our life, “with Jesus' love, receiving the Eucharist, transforms our life into a gift”.


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – This coming June 26 will be the United Nations' Day for Victims of Torture. Pope Francis took the opportunity to reiterate his “strong condemnation of all forms of torture” and encouraged Christians to make every effort to collaborate in its abolition and to support the victims and their families. “Torturing people is a mortal sin, a very grave sin”.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis began his pastoral visit to Cassano all'Jonio by meeting the detainees at the Castrovillari penitentiary. He expressed the closeness of the Church to every man and woman in jail all over the world, and reminded them of Jesus' words: “I was in prison and you came to me”.

The Pope arrived by Vatican helicopter at Castrovillari at 9 a.m., and walked the short distance to the prison where he was received by the director, Fedele Rizzo, and after listening to a short address one of the detainees on the forecourt outside the prison, he gave the following discourse:

“When we talk about prisoners, we often underline the theme of respect for the fundamental rights of man and the need for the conditions in which the sentence is served to correspond. This aspect of prison policy is certainly essential and a high level of attention must be maintained in this respect. But this approach is not sufficient, if it is not accompanied and completed by concrete commitment by institutions with a view to the effective reinsertion within society. When this objective is neglected, the fulfilment of the sentence is reduced to a mere instrument of punishment and social retaliation, damaging to both the individual and to society. And God does not do this, with us. God, when He forgives, accompanies us and helps us along the road. Always, and even in small things. When we go to confess, the Lord says to us, 'I forgive you. But now, come with me'. And He helps us to return to the path. He never condemns. He never forgives alone; He forgives and accompanies. And then, we are fragile and have to return to confession again, all of us. But He never tires. He always takes us by the hand again. This is God's love, and we must imitate Him! Society must imitate Him, and take this path”.

“On the other hand, the true and full rehabilitation of the person does not occur as the end point of a merely human progression. In this path there is also the encounter with God, the capacity to allow ourselves to be looked upon by God, Who loves us. It is more difficult to place ourselves before God's gaze than to look at God. It is more difficult to let ourselves be met by God than it is to meet God, because there is always resistance within us. And He waits for us, He watches us, He always seeks us. This God, Who loves us, Who is able to understand us, able to forgive our mistakes. The Lord is a master of rehabilitation: He takes us by the hand and restores us to the social community. The Lord always forgives, He always accompanies, He always understands; we must let ourselves be understood, forgiven, and accompanied”.

“I hope that for every one of you here, this time will not be wasted, but that it can instead become valuable time during which you may ask for and obtain this grace from God. In this way, first of all you will contribute to improving yourselves, but at the same time also the community, as, for better and worse, our actions influence others and the whole of the human family”.

“I convey my affectionate greetings to your families; may the Lord grant you the possibility to embrace them again in serenity and peace. Finally, I wish to offer encouragement to all those who work in this house: the directors, the police guards, and all other staff. I impart a heartfelt blessing to you all, and entrust you to the protection of Our Lady, our Mother. And please, I ask you to pray for me, because I to make my errors and must do penance. Thank you”.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – After his encounter with the detainees at Castrovillari, the Holy Father transferred by helicopter to Cassano all'Jonio where he landed at around 11 a.m., and was welcomed by the local authorities in the “Pietro Toscano” sports field. From there, he went on to the nearby “San Giuseppe Moscati” centre for the elderly, where he spoke with residents. Finally, in the cathedral, he met with the priests of the diocese and delivered the text of his address based on two themes: the joy of the priesthood and the beauty of brotherhood.

“I wish to share with you the ever-new surprise of having been called … by the Lord Jesus”, he writes. “Called to follow Him, to stay with Him, to bring Him to others. … When we are before the Tabernacle … Jesus' gaze renews us. Effectively, it is not easy to stay there, before the Lord, as we are always busy with so many things, with so many people … but at times it is not easy also because Jesus' gaze unsettles us … and challenges us. But this is good for us! In the silence of prayer, Jesus enables us to see whether we are like good workers, or if we have become rather like 'functionaries'; if we are open and generous channels through which His love and His grace flow, or if instead we place ourselves at the centre, and in the place of channels we become 'screens' which do not help in the encounter with the Lord, with the light and strength of the Gospel”.

The beauty of fraternity is that of “following the Lord … not one by one, but together, with our great variety of gifts and personalities; indeed, it is precisely this that enriches the priesthood: this variety in terms of provenance, age, and talents. … It is all lived in communion, in fraternity”. He adds, “and this too is not easy, it is not immediate or to be taken for granted. Firstly because we priests, too, are immersed in today's subjectivist culture, this culture that exalts the 'I' to the point of idolatry. And then also due to a certain pastoral individualism that is unfortunately widespread in our dioceses. We must therefore react to this with the choice of fraternity. I refer intentionally to 'choice'. It cannot simply be something that is left to chance; … no, it is a choice, that corresponds … to the gift that we have received but which must always be welcomed and cultivated: communion in Christ I in the priesthood, around the bishop. This communion needs to be experienced by seeking concrete forms suitable to the times and the specific situation of the territory, but always with an apostolic view, with a missionary style, with fraternity and simplicity of life”.

Pope Francis adds a third theme: that of staying with families and working for them. “It is a task that the Lord asks of us especially in this time that is difficult both for the family as an institution and for families affected by the crisis. But it is precisely in difficult times that God makes us aware of His vicinity, His grace and the prophetic strength of His Word. And we are called upon to be witnesses and mediators of this vicinity to families and this prophetic strength for the family”, he concludes.

After leaving the cathedral, the Pope proceeded to the bishop's residence followed by the seminary, where he lunched with the poor assisted by the diocesan branch of Caritas and the young people assisted at the Saman Mauro Rostagno rehabilitation centre. After lunch, he transferred by car to the Casa Serena where he met with elderly residents, and finally continued on his trip to Sibari.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – During his journey from Cassano all'Jonio to Sibari, a distance of slightly less than twenty kilometres, the Pope stopped in the parish of San Giuseppe where, on 3 May last year, the priest Lazzaro Longobardi was murdered. Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference, described him as “a martyr to charity”.

The Holy Father arrived at Marina de Sibari at 4 p.m. and, after greeting the numerous faithful awaiting him, he celebrated the Holy Mass of Corpus Domini, commenting that while on Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, Corpus Domini is a feast primarily of thanksgiving and adoration.

“Indeed, the procession with the Most Holy Sacrament is traditional on this day”, he explained. “Adoring Jesus Christ and walking with Him. These are the two inseparable aspects of this feast day, which characterise all the life of the Christian people: a people who adore God and a people who walk, who do not stay in one place, who walk!”

First of all we are people who adore God. We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him! When, instead, we substitute adoration of the Lord with adoration of money, the way opens to sin, to personal interest and abuse; when one no longer adores God, the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live through dishonesty and violence. Your land, so beautiful, knows the signs and the consequences of this sin. The 'ndrangheta is this: adoration of evil and disdain for the common good. We must fight this evil and expel it. We must say no!”, he exclaimed. “The Church, who is so committed to educating consciences, must make increasing efforts to ensure that good may prevail. We ask this of our boys and girls, our young people in need of hope. To be able to respond to these needs, faith can help us. Those who follow this path of evil in life, as the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God: they are excommunicated!”

“Today we confess with our gaze turned to the Corpus Domini, to the Sacrament on the altar. And for this faith we renounce Satan and all his seductions; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride, power, violence. We Christians do not wish to worship anything or anyone else in this world other than Jesus Christ, Who is present in the holy Eucharist”.

“Perhaps we do not always fully realise the meaning of this: of what consequences our profession of faith has or should have”, remarked the Pontiff. “This, our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ … in the consecrated bread and wine is authentic if we make an effort to walk behind Him and with Him. To worship is to walk; a people who worships is a people who walks, seeking to put into practice the commandment He gave to His disciples at the Last Supper: 'as I have loved you, so you must love one another'. A people that loves God in the Eucharist is a people who walks in charity. Worship God in the Eucharist, walk with God in fraternal charity”.

“Today, as bishop of Rome, I am here to confirm you not only in faith but also in charity, to accompany you and encourage you on your path with Jesus Charity. … I extend my support to all the pastors and faithful of the Church in Calabria, courageously committed to evangelisation and promoting styles of life and initiatives centred on the needs of the poor and the least among us. And I extend this also to the civil authorities who endeavour to live their political and administrative commitment for what it is, a service to the common good. I encourage all of you to bear witness to concrete solidarity with your brothers and sisters, especially with those most in need of justice, hope and tenderness”.

Francis went on to thank God for all the signs of hope that can be seen in families, parishes, associations, and ecclesial movements in Calabria, and urged the young not to be robbed of their hope as, “adoring Jesus in your hearts and staying united with Him you will be able to oppose evil, injustice and violence with the strength of goodness, truth, and beauty”.

“The Body of the Lord makes us one entity, one family, the People of God reunited around Jesus, the Bread of life. What I have said to the young I say to all of you: if you worship Christ and walk behind Him and with Him, your diocesan Church and your parishes will grow in faith and charity, in the joy of evangelisation. You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly, and the young all walk one next to the other, they support each other, they help each other, and they love each other like brothers, especially in moments of difficulty. May Mary, our mother, the Eucharistic woman you venerate in many shrines, especially in that of Castrovillari, precede you in this pilgrimage of faith”, he concluded.

At 5.30 p.m., after the Eucharist, the Pope transferred to the heliport next to the sports field, departing at 6 p.m. and landing an hour and a half later.


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Oriental Churches will hold the 87th Plenary Assembly of the ROACO (“Riunione Opere Aiuto Chiese Orientali”, “Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches”) from 23 to 26 June. On Tuesday 24 at 8.30 a.m. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the same dicastery, will celebrate the Eucharist at the altar of St. John Paul II in the Vatican Basilica to commend the works of the Assembly to the intercession of the saint. In the afternoon, the participants will visit one of the Formative Institutions of the Pontifical Oriental Institute; the former, along with the nine Oriental Colleges, is supported with the contribution of the ROACO agencies.

A representative of the Secretariat of the Economy was also invited to assist the new entity in getting to know the methods according to which the Congregation for the Oriental Churches carries out its work in the coordination of disbursements, the ownership of which remains with each individual agency.

Among the themes the Congregation will consider are the situation of the Greek Catholic Churches in Romania and Ukraine, the grave situation in Syria, and the ecclesial situation of the Holy Land, including confirmation of the work carried out thanks to donations received in the Good Friday collection.

The Assembly will conclude on Thursday 26 June with an audience with the Holy Father in the morning, and in the afternoon, a Eucharistic celebration with the members of the Boards of Regents of Bethlehem University, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning a letter was published, written in Latin and dated 9 June, by which Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Greek Catholic eparchy of Mukachevo, scheduled to take place at the major seminary of Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on 28 June 2014.

The pontifical mission to accompany the cardinal is composed of Fr. Pavlov Sabov, former priest of the parishes of Strypa and Jarok in Uzhhorod and currently collaborating priest at the Cathedral of Uzhhorod, Fr. Vasyl Chvasta, priest of the Church of Divine Mercy at Uzhhorod and syncellus for the laity.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, with the assent of the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Church, has transferred:

- Archbishop Georges Bacouni, previously of the archieparchy of Tiro of the Greek Melkites in Lebanon to the archieparchy of Akka (Catholics 80,000, priests 36, religious 36, permanent deacons 4) in Israel.

- Bishop Michael Abrass B.A., previously of the patriarchal curia of Antioch of the Greek Melkites in Lebanon to the archieparchy of Tiro of the Greek Melkites (Catholics 3,050 priests 8, religious 6) in Lebanon,elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, apostolic nuncio in Nicaragua.

- Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, accompanied by the vice-president, Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Valencia and the secretary general, Fr. Jose Maria Gil Tamayo.

- Fratel Enzo Bianchi, prior of the monastery of Bose.

- Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

On Saturday, 21 June, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Guido Anselmo Pecorari, apostolic nuncio in Bulgaria.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Real Tremblay C.SS.R, president of the Pontifical Academy Theology. Fr. Trembaly is professor emeritus of Fundamental Moral Theology in the Alfonsianium Academy of Rome and ordinary member and adviser to the Pontifical Academy of Theology.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service