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Monday, July 14, 2014


Vatican City, 13 July 2014 (VIS) – At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Sunday Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Holy Father commented on the Gospel reading of the day's liturgy, which was the parable of the sower.

“Jesus uses many parables”, he said. These constitute “a language comprehensible to everyone, with images drawn from nature and situations from daily life. The first is an introduction to all the parables: that of the sower who casts his seed freely on all types of terrain”.

“The true protagonist of this parable is indeed the seed, which produces more or less fruit, depending on the land on which it falls. The first three terrains are unproductive: on the path, the seeds are eaten by birds; on the rocky ground, the buds dry quickly because they have no roots; among bushes, the seeds are choked by thorns. The fourth ground is good ground: only there does the seed take root and bears fruit”.

In this case, continued Francis, Jesus does not limit himself simply to presenting the parable, but also explains it. “The seed that fell on the path signifies those who hear the proclamation of the Kingdom of God but do not receive him, so the Evil One comes and takes it away, as he does not want the seed of the Gospel to germinate in the hearts of men. This is the first comparison. The second is the seed that fell on stony ground: this represents those who hear the word of God, and receive it immediately, but superficially, so it does not take roots and they are inconsistent; and when trials and tribulations arrive, these people lose heart immediately. The third case is that of the seed that fell among thorns. Jesus explains that it refers to those who hear the word but, owing to worldly concerns and the seduction of wealth, it remains stifled. Finally, the seed that fell on fertile soil represents those who hear the word, welcome it, safeguard it, and understand it – and it bears fruit. The perfect model of this good ground is the Virgin Mary”.

This parable speaks to each of us today, as it spoke to the listeners of Jesus two thousand years ago. It reminds us that we are the land where the Lord tirelessly throws the seed of His Word and His love. How do we receive it? How is our heart? What type of ground do we offer it: a path, a stone, a thorn bush? It is up to us to become good soil without thorns or stones, but instead cultivated with care, so that it can bring forth good fruit for us and for our brethren”.

The Pope concluded, “it is good for us not to forget that we too are sowers. God sows good seeds, and at this point too we can ask ourselves: what type of seed comes out of our heart and our mouth? Our words can do great good and also much evil; they can heal and they can wound, they can encourage and they can depress. Remember: what counts is not what enters, but what emerges from the mouth and the heart”.


Vatican City, 13 July 2014 (VIS) – After praying the Angelus, the Pope launched a fresh appeal for fervent prayer for peace in the Holy Land in the light of the tragic events of recent days.

“I still recall the meeting of 8 June with Patriarch Bartholomaios, President Peres and President Abbas, with whom we invoked the gift of peace and heard the call to break the cycle of hatred and violence. Some might think that such a meeting took place in vain. But no, because prayer helps us not to allow ourselves to be overcome by evil, nor resign ourselves to violence and hatred taking over dialogue and reconciliation. I urge the parties concerned and all those who have political responsibility at local and international levels to offer a prayer and make some effort to bring an end to all hostilities and to achieve the desired peace for the good of all. And I invite everyone to unite in prayer. In silence everyone, let us pray. Now, Lord, help us! Grant us peace, teach us peace, guide us toward peace. Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say: “No more war!” “War destroys everything”. Give us the courage to take concrete actions to build peace. Make us willing to listen to the cry of our citizens who ask us to transform our weapons into instruments of peace, our fears into trust, and our tensions into forgiveness”.

The Holy Father then went on to comment that today is “Sea Sunday”, and greeted all seafarers, fishermen and their families, urging Christian communities, particularly those living in coastal areas, to be attentive to them. “I also invite the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea to continue their commitment to the pastoral care of these brothers and sisters”, he added, entrusting all, “especially those who are in difficulty and away from home, to the maternal protection of Mary, Star of the Sea”.

Finally, he blessed all the spiritual sons and daughters of St. Camillus de Lellis, as tomorrow marks the 400th anniversary of his death, and invited the Camillan family, in this jubilee year, “to be a sign of the Lord Jesus who, as the Good Samaritan, tends to the wounds of the body and the spirit of suffering humanity, pouring the oil of consolation and the wine of hope. To those of you gathered here in St Peter's Square, as well as to health professionals serving in hospitals and nursing homes, it is my hope that you may continue grow in the charism of charity, fuelled by daily contact with the sick”.


Vatican City, 14 July 2014 (VIS) – On Sunday morning the Holy Father sent a video message to patients in Rome's Agostino Gemelli Hospital, in which he apologised for be unable to attend the visit planned for 27 June, cancelled due to an unexpected indisposition. “I extend my apologies not only to the hospital directors but to all those who have worked with such effort and passion. Above all, I include the patients waiting to be able to pray together during the Holy Mass, whom I would have liked to greet personally”.

Francis encouraged the sick to cultivate in prayer “the flavour of the things of God; bear witness that your strength lies in God alone. You who, as patients, experience the frailty of the body, can offer a powerful testimony to those who are near you of how the Gospel and the merciful love of the Father are a precious asset in life, not money or power. Indeed, even when a person is important according to a worldly logic, he is not able to add even one extra day to his own life”.

The Pope commented that the summer vacations were approaching and that many people go on holiday to relax. “However, summer is also a difficult moment especially for the elderly and the sick, who are more likely to remain alone and who encounter greater difficulties in obtaining certain services, especially in big cities. So, this time of repose is also the time in which the difficulties in life can become even greater”. He concluded by highlighting the passion and dedication of the hospital staff, and thanked them warmly for their work. “I truly looked forward to meeting with you but, as you well know, we are not the masters of our own lives and things do not always go to plan. We must accept our frailty. With me, cultivate the trust that our strength lies in God alone. I entrust you to Mary and ask that you continue to pray for me, as I need your prayers”.


Vatican City, 13 July 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, Saturday, the Holy Father lunched with the participants in the international seminar dedicated to Pope Francis' proposal in the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, for “an increasingly inclusive economy”, which took place in the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican.

“What you do is very important”, he said. “Reflecting on reality, but reflecting without fear, reflecting with intelligence. Without fear and with intelligence. And this is a service”. Referring to the themes considered during the seminar, he went on to offer a brief discourse on anthropological reductionism.

“I believe that this is the strongest moment for anthropological reductionism. What is happening to humanity at the moment is what happens when wine becomes brandy: it passes through a phase of distillation, in organisational terms. It is no longer wine, but it is something else: perhaps more useful, more qualified, but it is not wine! For mankind it is the same: man passes through this transformational phase and ends up – and I am serious – losing his humanity and becoming a tool of the system, a social and economic system, a system where imbalance reigns. When mankind loses his humanity, what happens to us? What occurs is what I would describe in simple terms as a throwaway policy or sociology: what is no longer useful is discarded, because man is not at the centre. And when man is not at the centre, there is something else in his place and man is at the service of this other thing. The idea, therefore, is to save mankind, in the sense of restoring him to the centre: to the centre of society, of thought, of reflection. Restoring mankind to the centre. You do good work. You study, reflect, hold conferences for this reason – so that mankind is not discarded. Children are discarded – we all know about today's birth rates, at least in Europe; the elderly are discarded, because they are not 'useful'. And now? An entire generation of young people is discarded, and this is very serious! I have seen a figure: 75 million young people, under the age of 25, without work. The 'neither-nor' young: those who neither work nor study. They do not study because they do not have the opportunity, and the do not work because there is no work. Who will be the next to be discarded? Let us stop this in time, please!”.

The Pope thanked those present for their work and their initiatives “to restore balance to this imbalanced situation and to recover mankind, restoring him to the centre of reflection and the centre of life. He is the king of the universe!” he exclaimed. “And this is not theology, it is philosophy and human reality”.


Vatican City, 12 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Archbishop Luigi Bianco, as apostolic nuncio in Ethiopia. Archbishop Bianco was previously apostolic nuncio in Honduras.

- appointed Bishop Claudio Maniago, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Florence, Italy, as bishop of Castellaneta (area 1,043, population 128,687, Catholics 125,861, priests 54, permanent deacons 1, religious 41), Italy.

- appointed Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of La Habana (Cuba), as his special envoy to the concluding celebration of the 350 th anniversary of the foundation of the parish of Notre Dame-de-Québec, Canada, “mother-church of all the parishes of North America” scheduled for 14 September 2014.

- appointed Rev. Luca Sansalone of the clergy of Rome as judicial vicar of the Tribunal of First Instance for the causes of nullity of marriage for the region of Latium. Rev. Sansalone was previously adjunct judicial vicar at the same Tribunal.

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