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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Pope to Bishops, friends of the Focolare Movement: the globalisation of solidarity against the globalisation of indifference

Vatican City, 7 November 2014 (VIS) – “The Eucharist, mystery of communion” is the theme of the ecumenical convention of bishops, friends of the Focolare Movement. This is an annual event uniting bishops not only from different countries but also from different churches and ecclesial communities, defined by Pope Francis as the result of “what is produced by the love of the Word of God and the will to conform existence to the Gospel; these attitudes, created and accompanied by the grace of the Holy Spirit, help nurture many initiatives, allowing solid friendships to thrive and producing significant moments of brotherhood and sharing”.

The Holy Father reiterated the value, in a troubled world, of a “clear testimony of unity between Christians and an explicit declaration of esteem, respect and, more precisely, fraternity between us. This fraternity is a shining sign of our faith in the risen Christ. Indeed, if we intend to endeavour, as Christians, to respond incisively to the many problems and crises of our time, it is necessary to speak and act as brothers, so that everyone can easily recognise us as such. This too is a way – perhaps for us the first – of responding to the globalisation of indifference with a globalisation of solidarity and fraternity”.

Among the issues that currently call to the conscience of Christians and their pastors, the Pope mentioned the “lack of freedom to publicly express one's religion and to live openly in accordance with Christian ethics; the persecution of Christians and other minorities; the sad phenomenon of terrorism; the refugee crisis caused by wars and other reasons; the challenge of fundamentalism and, at the other extreme, exasperated secularism”.

These challenges are a call to “seek with renewed effort, with constancy and patience, the ways that lead to unity, so that the world might believe, and so that we first may be filled with confidence and courage. Among these paths there is a special route, and it is the Eucharist as the mystery of communion. … The Lord's Supper, a central moment in the life of the community, a 'moment of truth', is the encounter between Christ's grace and our responsibility; there, in the Eucharist, we are clearly aware that unity is a gift, and at the same time it is a very serious responsibility”, concluded the Pontiff.

Francis receives the Major Superiors: charisms are not to be conserved like bottles of distilled water, but to be put to the service of history

Vatican City, 7 November 2014 (VIS) – The participants in the national assembly of the Italian Confederation of Major Superiors (CISM) – around a hundred people – were received in audience by the Pope this morning in the Clementine Hall. The Pontiff wished to share with them a few points of reference for their path, emphasising that religious life helps the Church to achieve the “attraction” that enables her to grow. Faced with the witness of a brother or a sister who truly lives a religious life, people ask themselves, “what is there here?”, “what is it that leads this person beyond a worldly horizon?”. This is the first issue: helping the Church to grow by attraction. Without proselytising: attraction”.

The second point was that radicality, in different forms, is required of every Christian, but in the case of religious persons it assumes the form of prophetic witness. “The testimony of an evangelical life is what distinguishes the missionary disciple and in particular those who follow the Lord in consecrated life. And prophetic witness coincides with sanctity. True prophecy is never ideological, it does not oppose the institution: it is institution. Prophecy is institutional, it does not follow fashion, but is always a sign of contradiction according to the Gospel, like Jesus was. Jesus, for example, was a sign of contradiction to the religious authorities of His time: to the heads of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the doctors of the Law, but also to the others, such as the Essenes, Zealots, etc”.

To explain the third point, the Pope quoted the president of the Major Superiors: “We do not want to fight rearguard battles in defence, but rather to spend ourselves among the people”, certain of the faith that God has always made germinate and grow in His Kingdom. This is not easy, it is not to be taken for granted; it requires conversion; it requires, first and foremost, prayer and worship; and it means sharing with the holy people of God who live in the peripheries of history. Removing oneself from the centre. Every charism, to live and to be fruitful, is required to decentralise, because at the centre there is only Jesus Christ. The charism is not to be conserved like a bottle of distilled water, but must instead be made to bear fruit, with courage, placed at the service of current reality, of cultures, of history, as the great missionaries of our institutes teach us”.

Fraternity is another of the signs that religious life must offer in our time, the Pope affirmed; a time in which the dominant culture is individualistic and focused on subjective rights. “Consecrated life can help the Church and society as a whole, offering witness of fraternity, that it is possible to live together as brothers in diversity, because in the community one does not put oneself first, but rather one finds oneself with people who are different in terms of character, age, formation, sensibility … and yet we seek to live as brothers. Of course we do not always succeed, but one recognises one's mistakes, asks for forgiveness and forgives others. This is good for the Church: it causes the lymph of fraternity to circulate. And this is also good for all of society.

But this fraternity “presupposes God's paternity and the maternity of the Church and of the Mother, the Virgin Mary”: a relationship cultivated day by day “with prayer, with the Eucharist, with worship, with the Rosary. In this way we renew each day our 'being' with Christ and in Christ, and in this way we place ourselves in an authentic relationship with the Father in heaven and the Mother Church, our hierarchical Holy Mother Church, and the Mother Mary. If our life is always located in terms of this fundamental relations, always renewed, then we are able also to achieve an authentic fraternity, a brotherhood of witness, that attracts”.

The Holy See at the United Nations: for globalisation in search of mutual benefits

Vatican City, 7 November 2014 (VIS) – “The central challenge in the post-2015 development agenda is to ensure that globalisation benefits everyone. ... We need to strengthen multilateralism to help achieve this goal and manage the different risks and interlinked challenges associated with globalisation”, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York, speaking at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 27 October, on the theme “Globalisation and Interdependence”.

The prelate spoke about the great benefits globalisation can bring, as well as the widening inequalities. “When globalisation brings people together as equal partners, it creates mutually beneficial results, a win-win partnership for all. If not, globalisation breeds greater inequalities and marginalization, exploitation and injustice. Indeed, as with most human endeavours, globalisation works for good or ill, depending on the underlying ethic and policies driving the process”.

The nuncio went on to mention two related issues, culture and the phenomenon of migration. “Culture is a prime vehicle to express and share our common humanity”, he said. “It is critically important if authentic human flourishing is the ultimate goal of economic activity and development and … given all these benefits and values of culture, we should not reduce it to the logic of market exchange. ... A community’s culture is their gift to the global common good, for it is an expression of their humanity, and through culture we can enter into a real dialogue because it speaks to our common humanity”.

On migration, the archbishop emphasised that “it affects everyone, not only because of the extent of the phenomenon, but also because of the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises”, adding that “the Holy See would like to highlight the particularly troubling cases of human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery spawned by migration. … These modern forms of slavery are the opposite of a globalisation driven by the culture of encounter and the values of solidarity and justice”.

“It is necessary always to see the human face of migration, to see the migrant as a fellow human being, endowed with the same human dignity and rights as ourselves. It is only then that we can respond to the globalisation of migration with the globalisation of solidarity and cooperation. Moreover, solidarity with migrants is not enough, if it is not accompanied by efforts towards bringing peace in conflict-ridden regions and a more equitable economic world order. If globalisation has shrunk the world into a village, we may as well become good neighbours”, he concluded.


Vatican City, 7 November 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome;

- Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect emeritus for the Clergy; delegate for Amazonia at the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.

Yesterday, 6 November, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, with Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the same dicastery.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 7 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Msgr. Jean-Philippe Nault as bishop of Digne (area 6,986, population 163,500, Catholics 112,800, priests 41, permanent deacons 10, religious 136), France. The bishop-elect was born in Paris, France in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1998. After his studies in agricultural engineering and artificial intelligence, he obtained a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including director of the Shrine of Ars, parish priest of Notre-Dame de Bourg and dean of Bourg-en-Bresse, in the diocese of Belley-Ars. He succeeds Bishop Francois-Xavier Loizeau, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Terence Robert Curtin and Rev. Fr. Mark Stuart Edwards, O.M.I., as auxiliaries of the archbiocese of Melbourne (area 27,194, population 4,095,921, Catholics 1,111,981, priests 537, permanent deacons 8, religious 2,218), Australia.

Msgr. Curtin was born in Cremorne, Australia in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1971. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome and a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Melbourne. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including chaplain and director of the School of Religion and Philosophy of the Australian Catholic University in Oakleigh; director of the department of religion and philosophy of the Australian Catholic University, Victoria; director of the department of theology of the Australian Catholic University, Victoria; and vice-president and subsequently president of the Melbourne College of Divinity. He is currently director of the Catholic Theological College, Melbourne, parish priest of Greythorn, and episcopal vicar of Melbourne for the East Region. In 2012 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

Rev. Fr. Edwards was born in Balikpapan, Indonesia in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a doctorate in philosophy and a bachelor's degree in letters and education from the Monash University of Melbourne. He has held a number of roles in the Congregation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, including vice-rector of the Iona College of Brisbane; master of novices art the St. Mary's Seminary, Mulgrave; professor at the Catholic Theological College of Melbourne; and head of scholastics at the St. Mary's Seminary, Mulgrave. He is currently rector of the Iona College, Brisbane.
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