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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pontifical Letter to G-20: “Responsibility for the poor and marginalised must be an essential element of any political decision”

Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia, who will chair the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the 20 Countries (G-20) scheduled to take place on 15 and 16 November in Brisbane. The agenda of the meeting will focus on efforts to relaunch sustained and sustainable growth of the world economy and the fundamental imperative, which emerged from the preparatory work, of creating dignified and stable employment for all. Extensive extracts from the text are published below:

“I would ask the G20 Heads of State and Government not to forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions, and it would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle. Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists. In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.

It is my hope that a substantial and productive consensus can be achieved regarding the agenda items. I likewise hope that the assessment of the results of this consensus will not be restricted to global indices but will take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality. I express these hopes in light of the post-2015 Development Agenda to be approved by the current session of the United Nations Assembly, which ought to include the vital issues of decent work for all and climate change.

The G20 Summits, which began with the financial crisis of 2008, have taken place against the terrible backdrop of military conflicts, and this has resulted in disagreements between the Group’s members. It is a reason for gratitude that those disagreements have not prevented genuine dialogue within the G20, with regard both to the specific agenda items and to global security and peace. But more is required. These conflicts leave deep scars and result in unbearable humanitarian situations around the world. I take this opportunity to ask the G20 Member States to be examples of generosity and solidarity in meeting the many needs of the victims of these conflicts, and especially of refugees.

The situation in the Middle East has revived debate about the responsibility of the international community to protect individuals and peoples from extreme attacks on human rights and a total disregard for humanitarian law. The international community, and in particular the G20 Member States, should also give thought to the need to protect citizens of all countries from forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious. I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximisation of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity. A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice. Responsibility for the poor and the marginalised must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level”.

The Pope to the Italian Episcopal Conference: no to “clerical” or “functionary” priests

Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, read the message sent by Pope Francis to the participants in the 67th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, of which Cardinal Bagnasco is president. The meeting, which will finish next Thursday, is being held at the Domus Pacis of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, and is dedicated to the life and formation of priests.

In his message, the Holy Father writes that convening in Assisi recalls “the great love and veneration that St. Francis nurtured for the hierarchical Holy Mother Church, and in particular for priests … through whom the maternity of the Church reaches the entire People of God. How many of them we have known!” he exclaims. “We have seen them spending their lives amongst the people of our parishes, educating the young, accompanying families, visiting the sick at home and in hospital, and taking care of the poor”, in the knowledge that the gravest error is to separate oneself from others.

“Holy priests are sinners who have been forgiven, and instruments of forgiveness. Their existence speaks the language of patience and perseverance; they are not tourists of the spirit, eternally undecided and unsatisfied, as they know that they are in the hands of He Who never fails in His promises, and whose Providence ensures that nothing can ever separate them from their belonging. … Yes, it is still the time for priests of this substance, 'bridges' enabling the encounter between God and the world”.

“Priests like this cannot be improvised: they are forged through the valuable formative work of the Seminary, and Ordination consecrates them forever as men of God and servants of His people”. However, “the identity of the presbyter, precisely as it comes from above, demands he follow a daily itinerary of reappropriation, starting from that which made of him a minister of Jesus Christ. … The formation of which we speak …. is without end, as priests never cease to be disciples of Jesus and to follow Him. Therefore, formation as discipleship accompanies the ordained minister throughout his life”, writes the Holy Father. “Initial and continuing formation are two parts of a single entity: the path of the presbyter disciple, enamoured of his Lord and constantly following him”.

“You are aware that there is no need for clerical priests whose behaviour risks distancing people from the Lord, or functionary priests who, while they fulfil their role, seek their consolation far from Him. Only those who keep a steady gaze on what is truly essential may renew their acceptance of the gift they have received. … Only those who allow themselves to conform to the Good Shepherd find unity, peace and strength in the obedience of service; only those who take their breath in presbyteral fraternity leave behind the falsehood of a conscience that claims to be the epicentre of everything, the sole measure of their feelings and actions”.

The Pontiff concluded by expressing his hope that the participants in the Assembly would experience “days of listening and comparison, leading to the definition of itineraries of permanent formation, able to link spiritual and cultural, communicative and pastoral dimensions: these are the pillars of life formed according to the Gospel, preserved in daily discipline, in prayer, in the guardianship of the senses, in care for oneself, in humble and prophetic witness; lives that restore to the Church the trust that she first placed in them”.

Special College of cardinals and bishops to study the appeals process for serious offences established in the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela

Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – St. John Paul II's Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (SST), published on 30 April 2001 and updated on 21 May 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, defines the offences reserved to the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Art. 1-6), in accordance with Art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges these offences by penal or administrative procedures (cf. Art. 21 paras 1 and 2, No. 1 SST), taking into account the possibility of submitting the decision directly to the Supreme Pontiff in the most serious cases (see Art. 21 para. 2, No. 2 SST). Crimes against faith remain, in the first instance, within the sphere of competence of the Ordinary or the Hierarch (cf. Art. 2 para. 2 SST).

Due to the number of appeals and the need to guarantee that they are examined more rapidly and following detailed reflection, in the Audience granted to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on 3 November 2014, the Holy Father Francis decreed the following:

1. A special college is to be instituted within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of seven cardinals or bishops, who may either be members of the Dicastery or external to it;

2. The President and the members of the aforementioned College are to be appointed by the Pope;

3. The College is a provision made by the Ordinary Session of the Congregation to enable greater efficiency in processing appeals in accordance with Art. 27 SST, without substantive modification to its competences as established in the same Art. 27 SST;

4. Should the offender be of episcopal dignity, his appeal shall be examined by the Ordinary Session, which will also be able to decide specific cases according to the Pope's judgement. Other cases to be decided by the College may also be deferred to the Ordinary Session;

5. The College shall periodically report its decisions to the Ordinary Session;

6. Specific internal regulations shall determine the working methods of the College.


Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience Emma Madigan, new ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See, presenting her letters of credence.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 11 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Prosper Balthazar Lyimo as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Arusha (area 67,340, population 2,364,000, Catholics 512,073, priests 128, religious 639), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Kyou-Kilema, Tanzania in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He studied canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, and subsequently obtained a doctorate in canon law from St. Paul's University, Ottowa, Canada, and is currently chancellor and judicial vicar of the archdiocese of Arusha, Tanzania.
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