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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

General audience: a Church separated from her bishop is an ailing Church

Vatican City, 5 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father dedicated today's catechesis to the hierarchical dimension of the Church. Christ edifies the Church as His body through her ministries, and it is through the episcopal ministry that the Lord is present in His Church, guiding and caring for her.

“In the presence and in the ministry of the bishops, the presbyters and the deacons”, he said, “we are able to recognise the true face of the Church. ... And through these brothers, elected by the Lord and consecrated by the sacrament of ordination, the Church exercises her maternity”. Francis emphasised that this office is not, however, an honour but rather a service to be performed following Christ's example.

He also remarked that bishops must be united, as a family. “When Jesus chose and called the Apostles, he imagined them not separated from each other, but together, united with Him, like one family. The bishops too constitute a single college, gathered around the Pope, who is the guardian and guarantor of this profound communion”. He added, “let us think of all those bishops around the world who, while living in widely differing locations, cultures, sensibilities and traditions … feel close to one another and become an expression of the intimate bond, in Christ, between their communities”.

The Pope concluded by explaining that a healthy Church cannot exist if the faithful, deacons and presbyters are not united with their bishop: “The Church separated from her bishop is an ailing Church. This union of the faithful and the bishop is willed by Jesus”.

The Holy Father: the annulment process must be kept separate from economic interests

Vatican City, 5 November 2014 (VIS) – Before arriving in St. Peter's Square for the usual Wednesday morning general audience, Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the course on marriage organised by the Roman Rota, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The Pope commented that during the recent Synod of Bishops, there had been discussions regarding the procedures for annulment and the need to streamline them for reasons of justice. Francis also spoke of the many people who wait for years for a judgement to be reached. “Sometimes the procedures are very long and difficult, which does not help matters, and people give up”.

The Pontiff emphasised the importance of this type of course and the need to be careful to ensure that the procedures do not become linked to economic interests, referring to public scandals. He noted that during the Synod some proposals had been made regarding the costs of the process. “When spiritual interest is attached to economic interests, then it not a matter of God”. He concluded, “The Mother Church has enough generosity to be able to provide justice freely, as we are freely justified by Jesus Christ. This point is important – these two issues must be separate”.

New norms on resignations of diocesan bishops and officials of the Roman Curia

Vatican City, 5 November 2014 (VIS) – The Rescriptum modifying the presentation and acceptance of resignation from pastoral ministry by diocesan bishops and offices of the Roman Curia by pontifical appointment came into effect today.

The text is as follows:

Art. 1: The current discipline in the Latin Church and in the “sui iuris” Oriental Churches, by which diocesan and eparchal Bishops, and those held to be of equivalent office in accordance with canons 381 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law and 313 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, as well as coadjutor and auxiliary Bishops, are invited to present the resignation from their pastoral office upon reaching the age of seventy-five years, is confirmed.

Art. 2: Resignation from the aforementioned pastoral offices is effective only from the moment in which it is accepted by the legitimate Authorities.

Art .3: With the acceptance of the resignation from the aforementioned offices, the interested parties cease to hold any other office at national level conferred for a period determined in concomitance with the aforementioned pastoral office.

Art. 4: The gesture of a Bishop who, by motives of love or the wish to offer a better service to the community, considers it necessary to resign from the role of Pastor before reaching the age of seventy-five on account of illness or other serious reasons, is to be deemed worthy of ecclesial appreciation. In such cases, the faithful are requested to demonstrate solidarity and understanding for their former Pastor, providing punctual assistance consistent with the principles of charity and justice, in accordance with canon 402 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Art. 5: In some particular circumstances, the competent Authorities may deem it necessary to request that a Bishop present his resignation from pastoral office, after informing him of the cause for this request, and listening closely to his reasons, in fraternal dialogue.

Art. 6: Cardinals serving as Heads of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and other Cardinals holding office by pontifical nomination are also required, upon the competion of their seventy-fifth year of life, to present their resignation from office to the Pope, who, after full consideration, will proceed.

Exhibition of the Holy Shroud in Turin

Vatican City, 5 November 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning during which Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, Italy, presented the next exhibition of the Holy Shroud, to be held in Turin from 19 April to 24 June, on the theme “The Greatest Love”. He also presented the initiatives for the celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco and remarked that Pope Francis intends to visit Turin during this period.

Other speaks in the conference were Piero Fassino, mayor of Turin; Elide Tisi, deputy mayor; and Marco Bonatti, Press Officer for the Exhibition Committee.

This will be the third time the Shroud has been displayed to the public during this millennium and the event will focus on two themes: the young, and those who suffer. It is precisely for this reason that the Pope has allowed the solemn exposition, which coincides with the Jubilee for the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco.

As on previous occasions, special attention will be paid to the sick who visit the Holy Shroud. The pastoral ministry for healthcare in Turin will make two reception centres available for pilgrims and carers. In addition, with the collaboration of more than 3500 volunteers, moments of prayer will be held, and a confessional service in different languages will be available in locations in the area near the Cathedral.

The visit will be free of charge but booking is obligatory, to enable the effective management of the flow of pilgrims. Booking is online, at www.sindone.org.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 5 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Milton Kenan Junior, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as bishop of Barretos (area 8,770, population 354,000, Catholics 284,000, priests 42, permanent deacons 1, religious 106), Brazil.

- Bishop Joao Jose da Costa, O. Carm., of Iguatu, Brazil, as coadjutor of the archdiocese of Aracaju, Brazil.

- Rev. Pr. Corrado Maggioni, S.M.M., as under secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Rev. Fr. Maggioni was previously Office Head of the same congregation.
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