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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in St. Peter's Square the Holy Father, in his general audience, continued to speak about the People of God, a theme that he began to explore last Wednesday. Today he highlighted the importance for a Christian of belonging to this people, and reiterated that we are not isolated Christians. “Belonging is our identity”, he said. “We are Christians because we belong to the Church. It is like a surname: if our name is 'I am Christian', our surname is 'I belong to the Church'.

“No-one becomes a Christian alone; we must think first, with gratitude, of all those who have preceded us”, he continued. “If we believe, if we pray, if we know the Lord and are able to listen to His Word, we feel close to Him and recognise Him in our brethren, and because others before us have lived faith and transmitted it to us, have taught us. The Church is a family in which one is welcomed and learns to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus”. The Pope explained that this is a path that one may undertake not thanks to others, but rather united with others, and emphasised that a “do-it-yourself Church” does not exist.

“How many times did Benedict XVI describe the Church as an ecclesiastical 'we'? Often we hear people say, 'I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I am not interested in the Church...”. There are those who believe they can have a personal relationship, direct and immediate, with Jesus Christ removed from communion and the mediation of the Church. They are dangerous and damaging temptations. They are, as the great Paul VI said, absurd dichotomies. It is true that to walk together is challenging and difficult. … But the Lord has entrusted his message of salvation to human beings, to all all of us, as witnesses; and it is in our brothers and sisters, with their gifts and their limits, that it comes towards us and is revealed to us. And this is what belonging to the Church means. Remember: being Christian means belonging to the Church”.

Before concluding, the Pope asked that the Lord, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, might grant us the grace never to give in to the temptation to think we can do without other people, that we can do without the Church and save ourselves alone, that we can be 'laboratory Christians'. On the contrary, it is not possible to love God without loving one's brethren, it is not possible to love God outside the Church; it is not possible to be in communion with God without being in communion with the Church, and we cannot be good Christians other than by staying together with those who follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, a single body”.

Following his catechesis, the Pope greeted a delegation from the Bethlehem University, the first university founded in the West Bank and inspired by the principles of the schools established by the De La Salle Christian brothers, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. He gave special thanks to them for their “laudable academic activity in support of the Palestinian people”.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis recorded his voice last 30 November, reading several passages from the book “Ombra Bianco” (“White Shadow”) by the Italian author Cristiano Gentile, which seeks to raise public awareness of the situation experienced by albinos in Africa: a population often rejected and repudiated. The Holy Father was invited by the writer to close an international symposium on Africa organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The reading and the Pope's testimony form part of a universal message of peace and brotherhood, addressed on this occasion to African albinos, living symbols of the absolute periphery, the “last of the last”.

Today, 25 July, sees the launch of the international awareness campaign, “Help African Albinos”, on the site www.ombrabianca.com. Any person can follow the Pope's example and lend their voice, reading in Italian, with a multilingual translation system, a phrase from the novel, thus participating in the creation of the first social audio-book ever created. It will be the audio-book read by the greatest number of people in the world and will symbolically give voice to those who have none. The international campaign has the hashtag #HelpAfricanAlbinos and will launch a petition in 6 languages on the site www.change.org to demonstrate closeness and ask for concrete help for African albinos, which will be made possible thanks to a partnership with various NGOs, including Doctors with Africa-CUAMM.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has made public the answers received from the secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life in relation to various questions on the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the Legionaries of Christ, published in full below:

“The Franciscans of the Immaculate: both the commissioner, Fr. Volpi, and all the seminarians of the Franciscans of the Immaculate were received by the Holy Father on 10 June at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a gesture that demonstrates the interest with which Pope Francis follows the situation of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and his closeness to the work that the commissioner is carrying out in the name of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. The Holy Father is punctually informed of all the steps as they taken. At the moment a house in Rome is being sought to accommodate the Friars, brothers of the aforementioned Institute, who attend a Pontifical university in Rome to pursue their studies.

The Legionaries: as anticipated, with the celebration of the General Chapter the Institute has returned to the competence of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. This progression has ended the work of the Apostolic delegate. As a gesture of fraternal closeness, the prefect and the secretary of the dicastery will meet on 3 July at the Legionaries' central seat to comment personally on various corrections that need to be made to the text of the Constitutions presented to the dicastery, and to communicate the name of the Pontifical assistant. The corrections to the text of the Constitutions are very few in number. With regard to the assistant, the role will be assumed by a consecrated person, as anticipated, who knows the Legionaries and will be able to be of help to the general Council on legal and other themes, according to need. It is to be noted that this figure is an assistant, not a visitator, commissioner or delegate. The assistant has neither a voice nor a vote, and is merely an assessor, and was agreed upon before the general Chapter.

The governor general of the Legionaries attended the Congregation following the Chapter to meet the prefect and the secretary. On that occasion, the director general had expressed the wish to receive the prefect and secretary of the dicastery at the seat of the Legionaries. For this reason Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo will make their visit on 3 July.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – The Autorita Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Holy See and Vatican City State, has formalised its bilateral cooperation with Argentina, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Vatican on Tuesday.

The MOU was signed in the Palazzo San Carlo by the director of the AIF, Rene Bruelhart, and the president of the Unidad de Informacion Financiera (UIF) of Argentina, Jose Sbattella.

“We're very pleased to have signed this MOU with Argentina today”, Bruelhart said. “This is an important step to further expand the network to support global efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. We're looking forward to fruitful cooperation with Argentina, which will be beneficial to both parties”.

A Memorandum of Understanding 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.

AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July of 2013, and has already signed MOUs with the Financial Intelligence Units of more than a dozen countries, including the U.K., the United States, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

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, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- eliminated the diocese of Guiratinga, Brazil, distributing its territory between the current dioceses of Rondonopolis, Barra do Garcas and Paranatinga.

- renamed the diocese of Rondonopolis, Brazil, now Rondonopolis - Guiratinga.

- erected the diocese of Primavera do Leste – Parataninga, Brazil.

- appointed Bishop Derek John Christopher Byrne, SPS., of Guiratinga, Brazil, as first bishop of Primavera do Leste – Parataninga (area 98,056, population 170,000, Catholics 127,500, priests 24, religious 22), Brazil.

- confirmed the election of Abbot Hryhoriy Komar as auxiliary of the Ukrainian eparchy of Sambir – Drohobych, Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Letnya, Ukraine in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 2001. He is currently vicar general of the same diocese. He holds a licentiate in oriental theology, and has served as a teacher and collaborator in several parishes.
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