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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pope Francis to the World Evangelical Alliance: “We can learn so much from each other”

Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the World Evangelical Alliance, a network of evangelical churches in 128 nations, based in New York, U.S.A., which has formed an alliance with over 100 international organisations, giving voice to more than 400 million evangelical Christians throughout the world.

The Holy Father began his address to the Alliance by emphasising that Baptism is a priceless gift from God, which we have in common. “Thanks to this gift, we no longer live a purely earthly existence; we now live in the power of the Spirit”. He went on to remark that from the beginning, there have been divisions among Christians and “sadly, even today, conflicts and rivalries exist between our communities. This weakens our ability to fulfil the Lord’s commandment to preach the Gospel to all peoples. Our divisions mar the beauty of the seamless robe of Christ, yet they do not completely destroy the profound unity brought about by grace in all the baptised. The effectiveness of the Christian message would no doubt be greater were Christians to overcome their divisions, and together celebrate the sacraments, spread the word of God, and bear witness to charity”.

The Bishop of Rome went on to express his joy to know that “in various countries Catholics and Evangelicals enjoy good relations and work together as brothers and sisters. The joint efforts of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance have also opened up new horizons by clarifying misunderstandings and by showing the way to overcoming prejudices”. He continued, “It is my hope that these talks may further inspire our common witness and our efforts to evangelise: if we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us. I am confident that the document 'Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct' can prove helpful for the preaching of the Gospel in multi-religious contexts”.

“I trust that the Holy Spirit, who inspires the Church to persevere in seeking new methods of evangelisation, will usher in a new era of relations between Catholics and Evangelicals, so that the Lord’s will that the Gospel be brought to the ends of the earth may be more fully realised. I assure my prayers for this cause, and I ask you to pray for me and for my ministry”, concluded Pope Francis.

To the bishops of Malawi: the apostolate of the family will bring inestimable benefits to the Church and society as a whole

Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – “I offer a joyful welcome to you who have come from the 'warm heart of Africa', as you make your pilgrimage to Rome, 'the warm heart of the Church'”; thus Pope Francis greets the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi in the written discourse he handed to them this morning as he received them in audience at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit. He also notes that the effectiveness of their pastoral and administrative efforts is the fruit of your faith as well as of the unity and fraternal spirit that characterise their episcopal conference.

The Holy Father also expresses his appreciation for “the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life”, as it is in this institution, which teaches “love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity”, that the Church and society in Malawi will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity. “You yourselves know well the challenges and the value of family life, and, as fathers and shepherds, you are called to nurture, protect and strengthen it in the context of the “family of faith”, which is the Church. … There is scarcely a greater commitment that the Church can make to the future of Malawi – and indeed, to her own development – than that of a thorough and joyful apostolate to families. … Thus, by doing everything you can to support, educate and evangelise families, especially those in situations of material hardship, breakdown, violence or infidelity, you will bring inestimable benefit to the Church and all of Malawian society”.

Among the results of this apostolate, it is hoped that there will be “an increase in young men and women who are willing and able to dedicate themselves to the service of others in the priesthood and religious life”, based on “the strong foundations laid by generations of faithful missionaries” and fortified by the evangelising work of local men and women. The Bishop of Rome exhorted the local prelates to be close to their priests and seminarians, loving them “as a father should” and furthering their efforts to guarantee a complete spiritual as well as intellectual and pastoral formation.

The “tragedy” of the limited life expectancy and extreme poverty experienced by the majority of the people of Malawi is another of the Pope's concerns. “My thoughts go to those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and particularly to the orphaned children and parents left without love and support as a result of this illness”, he writes, encouraging the bishops to be close to those in distress, to the sick, and especially to the children. “I ask you, particularly, to offer my gratitude to the many men and women who present Christ’s tenderness and love in Catholic healthcare institutions. The service which the Church offers to the sick, through pastoral care, prayer, clinics and hospices, must always find its source and model in Christ, who loved us and gave himself up for us. Indeed, how else could we be followers of the Lord if we did not personally engage in ministry to the sick, the poor, the dying and the destitute? Our faith in Christ, born of having recognised our own need for Him, He Who has come to heal our wounds, to enrich us, to give us life, to nourish us, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members”.

The Pope receives the president of the “Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo”

Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in private audience Estela de Carlotto, president of the Association of the “Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo”, accompanied by her grandson with whom she was reunited, Ignacio Guido Montoya Carlotto. The meeting took place in one of the rooms adjacent to Paul VI Hall.

Subsequently, in another room, the Pope also met with eighteen other members of the Carlotto family, in a cordial atmosphere. They presented Francis with various gifts, including a poncho and a CD with works by Ignacio Guido, who is a musician, and a scarf of the Grandmothers of the Plazo de Mayo. The encounter lasted for around half an hour.

At 5 p.m. this afternoon, in the Argentine Embassy at the Quirinal, a press conference will be held in which Estela de Carlotto will participate.

The Holy See at the United Nations: a lack of food is not the root cause of hunger

Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, spoke at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 October, on the theme of “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”.

The nuncio observed that according to the Secretary General's report, since 1990 there has been a 17% decrease in the number of people suffering from chronic hunger. However, he added, “it also means that we still have almost 850 million people suffering from acute hunger. The number is already shocking in itself, but what must shock us even more is the fact that behind those numbers are real people, with their fundamental dignity and rights. Thus, eradicating hunger is not only a high priority development goal; it is a moral imperative”.

However, he added, “it is not for lack of food in the world that they suffer acute hunger, because the current levels of world food production are sufficient to feed everyone. The problem lies elsewhere, such as in the lack of conservation technologies among smallholder producers, in weak or absent government support to incentivise the commercialisation of products, or in the lack of infrastructure for better food distribution and marketing”.

He remarked that the whole “United Nations family” must renew its efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the world, putting it at the forefront of its collective efforts. “It is for this reason that the Holy See welcomes the incorporation of food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture as components of the sustainable development goals. … The Holy See also welcomes the focus that the report of the Secretary General on Agricultural Development, Food Security and Nutrition puts on those regions of the world where hunger and malnutrition are still at unacceptable levels. The Holy See also appreciates the report's focus on groups most vulnerable to malnutrition, like pregnant women and children below five years old”.

He continued, “The theme of this year's World Food Day tells us that the family is key in the fight to end hunger. … This recognition of the role of the family must be accompanied by policies and initiatives that really respond to the needs of farming families and communities”. He concluded by reminding those present that an international conference on nutrition in will be held in Rome next month, aiming to bring together “government leaders, other top-level policy-makers and representatives of intergovernmental organisations and civil society, to take stock of progress made in improving nutrition and to seek new ways to boost national and global efforts to improve health”.


Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference;

- Archbishop Leon Kalenga Badikebele, apostolic nuncio in El Salvador and Belize;

- Seven prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, on their “ad Limina” visit:

- Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa, S.M.M., of Blantyre;

- Bishop Peter Martin Musikuwa of Chikwawa;

- Bishop Montfort Stima of Mangochi;

- Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye of Lilongwe;

- Bishop Emanuel Kanyama of Dedza;

- Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu;

- Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of Karonga.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 6 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Asuncion, Paraguay, presented by Archbishop Eustaquio Pastor Cuquejo Verga, C.SS.R., upon reaching the age limit. Archbishop Cuquejo Verga is succeeded by Bishop Edmundo Ponciano Valenzuela Mellid, S.D.B., coadjutor of the same archdiocese.

- elevated the diocese of Dodoma, Tanzania, to the status of metropolitan archdiocese and assigning it the suffragan dioceses of Singida and Kondoa.

- appointed Bishop Beatus Kinyaiya, O.F.M. Cap., of Mbulu, Tanzania, as first bishop of Dodoma (area 38,743, population 1,578,173, Catholics 301,593, priests 80, religious 397), Tanzania;

- appointed Bishop Eduardo Horacio Garcia, auxiliary of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as bishop of San Justo (area 134, population 1,114,000, Catholics 1,003,000, priests 71, permanent deacons 24, religious 158), Argentina. He succeeds Bishop Baldomero Carlos Martini, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father;

- appointed Rev. Fr. Donatus Aihmiosion Ogun, O.S.A., as bishop of Uromi (area 2,938, population 946,901, Catholics 139,087, priests 83, religious 39), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Sapele, Nigeria in 1966, gave his solemn vows in 1992, and was ordained a priest in 1993. He studied canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including prior and bursar of the “Our Lady of Lourdes” community in Coker Village, Lagos; prior and bursar of the “Our Lady of Good Counsel” community in Iwako Oka and university chaplain; and bursar of “St. Cyprian” in Warri and episcopal vicar for religious persons of the diocese of Warri. He is currently lecturer in the St. Thomas Aquinas major seminary and director of the St. Augustine Institute in Makurdi;

- appointed Bishop Juan Jose Omella Omella of Calahorra y La Calzada – Logrono, Spain, as member of the Congregation for Bishops;

- appointed Msgr. Giacomo Incitti, ordinary professor of canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, as advisor to the Apostolic Penitentiary;

- appointed Rev. Fr. Serge Thomas Bonino, O.P., general secretary of the International Theological Commission and member of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), as president of the same Pontifical University;

- appointed Rev. Fr. Philippe Curbelie, official of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as office head of the same dicastery;

- appointed Msgr. Maurice Monier as judge of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State.
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