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Monday, June 30, 2014


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace Pope Francis received in audience Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Mgsr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for today’s visit, their first trip abroad as reigning monarchs, which follows the recent visit by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on 28 April. It is hoped that this may mark the strengthening of the existing good relations between the Holy See and Spain.

The conversation focused on themes of common interest and the importance of promoting dialogue and collaboration between the Church and the State for the good of all Spanish society. Finally, mention was made of various problems of an international and regional nature, paying particular attention to areas of conflict.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – The Pope's universal prayer intention for July is “that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth”.

His prayer intention for evangelisation is “that the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries”.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – This coming 5 July, the Pope will visit the Italian region of Molise. He will depart from the Vatican heliport at 7.45 a.m. and, after an hour's journey, will land at the heliport of the University of Molise in Campobasso. At 9 a.m. he will meet with a group of representatives from the world of work and industry in the Great Hall of the University. At 10.30 a.m. he will preside at a Eucharistic celebration at the old Romagnoli Stadium and, to conclude, will greet a group of sick people at the Cathedral of Campobasso and lunch with the poor at the “House of Angels”.

At 2.30 p.m. he will transfer by helicopter to Castelpetroso, where he will encounter a group of young people from the diocese of Abruzzo and Molise in Piazza del Santuario di Castelpetroso. At 4 p.m. he will travel by car to Isernia, where he will meet with the detainees in the local prison. He will greet the sick in the Cathedral of Isernia and, in the surrounding square, will meet with all the citizens and announce the Celestine Jubilee Year. Finally, he will depart for Rome from the heliport of the Isernia fire service. He is expected to arrive in the Vatican around 8.15 p.m.


Vatican City, 29 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican basilica, on the occasion of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis imposed the pallium – symbol of the bond of unity with the see of Peter – on twenty-four new metropolitan archbishops. It will be imposed on a further three – the archbishops of Lilongwe, Malawi; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Freiburg im Bresgau, Germany – in their metropolitan sees.

Pope Francis concelebrated the Eucharist with the new archbishops. As is customary on the feast day of the patron saints of Rome, the event was attended by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and led by Metropolitan of Pergamo Ioannis (Zizioulas), co-president of the Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

In his homily, the Holy Father spoke about various problems and the two issues the clergy can be led to face as a result: fear, and the pastoral responsibility for combating it. He began by considering the beginning of Peter's service in the Christian community of Jerusalem, where fear still reigned because of Herod's persecution of members of the Church.

“There had been the killing of James, and then the imprisonment of Peter himself, in order to placate the people. While Peter was imprisoned and in chains, he heard the voice of the angel telling him, 'Get up quickly… dress yourself and put on your sandals… Put on your mantle and follow me!'. The chains fell from him and the door of the prison opened before him. Peter realised that the Lord had 'rescued him from the hand of Herod'; he realized that the Lord had freed him from fear and from chains. Yes, the Lord liberates us from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free. Today’s liturgical celebration expresses this truth well in the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm: 'The Lord has freed me from all my fears'”.

“The problem for us, then, is fear and looking for refuge in our pastoral responsibilities. I wonder, dear brother bishops, are we afraid? What are we afraid of? And if we are afraid, what forms of refuge do we seek, in our pastoral life, to find security? Do we look for support from those who wield worldly power? Or do we let ourselves be deceived by the pride which seeks gratification and recognition, thinking that these will offer us security? Dear brother bishops, where do we find our security?”

“The witness of the Apostle Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God. Trust in God banishes all fear and sets us free from every form of slavery and all worldly temptation. Today the Bishop of Rome and other bishops, particularly the metropolitans who have received the pallium, feel challenged by the example of Saint Peter to assess to what extent each of us puts his trust in the Lord. Peter recovered this trust when Jesus said to him three times: 'Feed my sheep'. Peter thrice confessed his love for Jesus, thus making up for his threefold denial of Christ during the passion. Peter still regrets the disappointment which he caused the Lord on the night of his betrayal. Now that the Lord asks him: 'Do you love me?', Peter does not trust himself and his own strength, but instead entrusts himself to Jesus and his mercy: 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you'. Precisely at this moment fear, insecurity and cowardice dissipate”.

“Peter experienced how God’s fidelity is always greater than our acts of infidelity, stronger than our denials. He realises that the God’s fidelity dispels our fears and exceeds every human reckoning. Today Jesus also asks us: 'Do you love me?'. He does so because he knows our fears and our struggles. Peter shows us the way: we need to trust in the Lord, who 'knows everything' that is in us, not counting on our capacity to be faithful, but on his unshakable fidelity. Jesus never abandons us, for he cannot deny himself. He is faithful. The fidelity which God constantly shows to us pastors, far in excess of our merits, is the source of our confidence and our peace. The Lord’s fidelity to us keeps kindled within us the desire to serve him and to serve our sisters and brothers in charity”.

“The love of Jesus must suffice for Peter. He must no longer yield to the temptation to curiosity, jealousy, as when, seeing John nearby, he asks Jesus: 'Lord, what about this man?'. But Jesus, before such temptations, says to him in reply: 'What is it to you? Follow me'. This experience of Peter is a message for us too, dear brother archbishops. Today the Lord repeats to me, to you, and to all pastors: Follow me! Waste no time in questioning or in useless chattering; do not dwell on secondary things, but look to what is essential and follow me. Follow me without regard for the difficulties. Follow me in preaching the Gospel. Follow me by the witness of a life shaped by the grace you received in baptism and holy orders. Follow me by speaking of me to those with whom you live, day after day, in your work, your conversations and among your friends. Follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all, especially to the least among us, so that no one will fail to hear the word of life which sets us free from every fear and enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God. Follow me!”.


Vatican City, 29 June 2014 (VIS) – After celebrating Mass in the Vatican basilica with the new metropolitan archbishops, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, as on every Sunday. He remarked that ever since ancient times, the Church of Rome has celebrated the apostles Peter and Paul in a single festivity on the same day, 29 June, so that “the faith in Jesus Christ which made them brothers and martyrs made them into a single entity”.

“St. Peter and St. Paul, so different from each other from a human point of view, were chosen personally by the Lord Jesus and responded to His call, offering all their lives. In both, Christ's grace achieved great things, transforming them. Simon had denied Jesus in the dramatic moment of the passion; Saul had harshly persecuted Christians. But both welcomed God's love and allowed themselves to be transformed by His mercy; they thus became friends and apostles of Christ. They therefore continue to speak to the Church and even nowadays they show us the path of salvation. If we too fall prey to the gravest sins and the darkest night, then God is always able to transform our heart and forgive us everything, thus transforming the darkness of our sin into a dawn of light”.

He went on to cite the Acts of the Apostles, which demonstrate many aspects of their witness. “Peter, for example, teaches us to look to the poor through the eyes of faith and to give them that which is most precious: the power of the name of Jesus. This is what he did with the paralytic; he gave him what he had, which was Jesus”. And the episode of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, the fulcrum of his life, “clearly marks a before and after. Before, Paul was an arch-enemy of the Church. After, he placed all his existence at the service of the Gospel. Also for us, the encounter with the Word of Christ is able to completely transform our lives. It is not possible to listen to this Word and stand firm, unswayed in our habits. It gives us the impetus to defeat the selfishness we have in our hearts, to follow decisively that Master who gave His life for His friends. But it is He Who, with His word, changes us; it is He Who transforms us; it is He Who forgives everything, if we open our hearts and ask for forgiveness”.

This feast day inspires great joy in us, because it places us before the work of God's mercy in the hearts of two men. It is the work of God's mercy in these two men who were great sinners. And God wishes to fill us too with His grace, as He did with Peter and Paul. May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome it as they did, with an open heart, and not to receive this grace in vain! And may she support us in the hour of need, to give witness to Jesus Christ and His Gospel”.


Vatican City, 29 June 2014 (VIS) – “The news from Iraq is, unfortunately, very painful”, said the Holy Father after today's Angelus prayer. “I join with the bishops of the country in their appeal to the authorities so that, through dialogue, national unity may be maintained and war avoided. I am close to the thousands of families, especially Christians, who have had to leave their homes and who are in grave danger. Violence begets violence; dialogue is the only path to peace. Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that she might safeguard the people of Iraq”.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – On Saturday afternoon, in the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens, the Pope met with a group of young people from the diocese of Rome embarking on a vocational journey. “This visit to the Virgin is very important in our lives”, he said. “She accompanies us also in our definitive choice, the vocational choice, as she accompanied her Son on his vocational path which was so hard and so painful”.

“When a Christian says to me, not that he does not love the Virgin, but rather that it does not come to mind to look to the Virgin or to pray to the Virgin, I feel sad”, he said, adding that “a Christian without the Virgin is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, these two mothers, two virgin women: the Church and Our Lady. And to 'test' a true Christian vocation, it is necessary to ask oneself, 'how is my relationship with these two Mothers?”.

The Pontiff went on to remark that in today's provisional culture, care must be taken not to lose sight of the definitive. “We are afraid of the definitive. And to choose a vocation, any vocation, including vocations that involve a 'state' such as marriage, consecrated life, the priesthood, one must choose with a view to the definitive. This is contrary to the culture of the provisional. It is a part of the culture in which we must live in this time, but we must live through this and conquer it”.

In conclusion, the Pope encouraged all present to sing the “Salve Regina” and imparted his blessing to all the young people and their families, asking them to pray for him.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of Madagascar, Hery Martial Rajaonarimampianina, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, after expressing satisfaction with the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Madagascar, the Parties focused on the current phase of recovery within the country, underlining the positive contribution of the Catholic Church on the path to national reconciliation and political stability, as well as her contribution in the education and healthcare sectors. Themes of common interest were then considered, such as the struggle against poverty and social inequality.

Mention was made of the international situation and the conflicts affecting various regions in the world.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – The Solemnity of the Holy Patrons of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Peter and Paul, again provided Pope Francis the opportunity to meet with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which always visits Rome on this date. In exchange, a delegation from the Vatican visits Instanbul, Turkey, every 30 November, St. Andrew's Day.

On this occasion the delegation was headed by the metropolitan of Pergamo, Ioannis (Zizioulas), co-president of the international mixed Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, who was accompanied by Archbishop Job de Telmissos and the patriarchal archdeacon John Chryssavgis.

The Holy Father recalled with great affection his “beloved brother” Bartholomaios, with whom he shared his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, during which they were able to repeat the historical embrace between their predecessors, Athenagoras I and Paul VI, which took place fifty years ago in the holy city of Jerusalem. “That prophetic gesture gave a decisive impulse to a journey which, thank God, has never ceased”, remarked Pope Francis. “I consider it a special gift from the Lord that we were able to venerate the holy places together and to pray at each other’s side at the place of Christ’s burial, where we can actually touch the foundation of our hope”. The joy of their common prayer was then renewed during the recent meeting in the Vatican Gardens where they joined in prayer, together with the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, to invoke the gift of peace in the Holy Land”.

“The Lord granted us these occasions of fraternal encounter, in which we were able to express the love uniting us in Christ, and to renew our mutual desire to walk together along the path to full unity”, continued the Holy Father. “We know very well that this unity is a gift of God, a gift that even now the Almighty grants us the grace to attain whenever, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we choose to look at one another with the eyes of faith and to see ourselves as we truly are in God’s plan, according to the designs of his eternal will, and not what we have become as a result of the historical consequences of our sins. If all of us can learn, prompted by the Spirit, to look at one another in God, our path will be even straighter and our cooperation all the more easy in the many areas of daily life which already happily unite us”.

This theological vision “is nourished by faith, hope and love; it gives rise to an authentic theological reflection which is truly 'scientia Dei', a participation in that vision which God has of himself and of us. It is a reflection which can only bring us closer to one another on the path of unity, despite our differing starting points. I hope and I pray, then, that the work of the Joint International Commission can be a sign of this profound understanding, this theology 'on its knees'. In this way, the Commission’s reflections on the concepts of primacy and synodality, communion in the universal Church and the ministry of the Bishop of Rome will not be an academic exercise or a mere debate about irreconcilable positions. All of us need, with courage and confidence, to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. We need to let ourselves be caught up in Christ’s loving gaze upon the Church, his Bride, in our journey of spiritual ecumenism. It is a journey upheld by the martyrdom of so many of our brothers and sisters who, by their witness to Jesus Christ the Lord, have brought about an ecumenism of blood”, concluded the Pope.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis did not make his scheduled visit to Rome's Agostino Gemelli Hospital on Friday afternoon due to a mild indisposition. The Mass at which the Holy Father was expected to preside was instead celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, who also pronounced the homily prepared by the Pontiff.

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., confirmed the Holy Father's engagements planned for Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 and emphasised that there is no cause for concern regarding the Pope's health.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – Below are extensive extracts from the homily the Holy Father prepared for his planned visit to the Roman “Agostino Gemelli” Hospital, which he did not attend due to a mild indisposition. The homily was read on behalf of the Pontiff by Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, during the Mass celebrated at the hospital yesterday.

“God is bound to us, He chose us, and this bond is for ever, not because we are faithful but because the Lord is faithful and tolerates our infidelity, our slowness, our lapses. God is not afraid of bonding with us. … He loves these bonds, he creates bonds; bonds which free, rather than constrain”.

“Nowadays, in particular, fidelity is a value under threat, as we are induced always to seek change, presumed novelty, negotiating the roots of our existence, of our faith. Without fidelity to its roots, however, a society does not move ahead; it may make great technical progress, but not the full progress of all man and all humankind. God's faithful love towards His people was made manifest and fully realised in Jesus Christ … [who] remains faithful and never betrays; even when we err, He always awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father”.

“This love, this faithfulness to the Lord demonstrates the humility of His heart. … We are able to experience and savour the tenderness of this love in every phase of life: in times of joy and of sadness, in times of health and of infirmity and sickness. God's faithfulness teaches us to welcome life as a manifestation of His love and enables us to bear witness to this love to our brethren in humble and meek service. This is what the doctors and paramedical staff in this hospital, which belongs to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, are especially called upon to do. Here, each one of you brings to the sick a little of the love from Christ's Heart, and you do so with competence and professionalism. This means staying faithful to the fundamental values that Fr. Gemelli placed at the base of this university for Italian Catholics, to unite scientific research enlightened by faith to the preparation of qualified Christian professionals”.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – The Autorità Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), the Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State, has signed an agreement to exchange information with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

This Information Sharing Exchange of Letters is the first bilateral agreement of AIF in its role as Financial Supervisor and Regulator within the Holy See and Vatican City State. It represents a significant strengthening of international cooperation between the Holy See and the United States of America.

“This is a further step in Holy See’s efforts towards perfecting a system of financial regulation and part of our commitment to transparency and international cooperation,” said Rene Bruelhart, the Director of AIF. “The Holy See is part of the global family of well-regulated jurisdictions and the signing of this agreement reflects that very clearly.”

The agreement with the OCC follows the passing of the new law regarding financial activities in the Holy See, Law XVIII, in October 2013 and the enactment of AIF’s new statute in November 2013, which introduced a new supervisory function as part of AIF’s mandate.

AIF expects further bilateral agreements with financial supervisors and regulators of other countries to follow in due course, and continues in its efforts to strengthen its own regulatory infrastructure in fostering international cooperation.

The OCC is an independent authority within the Treasury Department of the United States and serves to charter, regulate and supervise all national banks and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States.

AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. According to its mandate, AIF has a double role and acts both as Financial Supervisor and Regulator as well as Financial Intelligence Unit. In its function as Financial Intelligence Unit, AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July 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. It was established in 2010 and became operational in 2011.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

- Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, apostolic nuncio in the Arab Republic of Egypt, delegate of the Holy See to the League of Arab States.

- Archbishop Marek Zalewski, apostolic nuncio in Zimbabwe, with members of his family.

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

- Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet of Montevideo, Uruguay.

- Charles Ghislain, ambassador of Belgium, on his farewell visit.

- Fernando Felipe Sanchez Campos, ambassador of Costa Rica, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

On Saturday, 28 June, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Health Care Pastoral).

- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Gennaro Acampa as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Naples (area 274, population 1,744,000, Catholics 1,715,000, priests 287, permanent deacons 292, religious 3,413), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Naples, Italy in 1945 and was ordained a priest in 1968. He holds a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest in the parish of Sacro Cuore di Gesu in Santa Maria Ognibene, spiritual father of the “Paul VI” minor seminary; spiritual father for aspiring permanent deacons, dean of the 1st deanery of the archdiocese of Naples and member of the diocesan presbyteral council. He is currently curate prepositor of the Collegiate Parish of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples and episcopal vicar for the clergy and for formation.
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