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Friday, December 12, 2014

Francis receives Syriac-Catholic faithful: be true to your origins in different cultural contexts

Vatican City, 12 December 2014 (VIS) – “Through you, I greet your communities throughout the world, and express my encouragement in particular to those in Iraq and Syria, who are living through a time of great suffering and fear in the face of violence”, said the Pope this morning, as he received His Beatitude Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians, accompanied by the bishops and faithful of the Syriac-Catholic community.

The Holy Father, who expressed his solidarity and compassion for this community, assuring them of his prayers, reiterated that the difficult situation in the Middle East continues to cause an exodus of the faithful of this Church to the Eparchies of the diaspora, and creates new pastoral needs. “It is a challenge”, he said; “on the one hand, of remaining faithful to origins, and on the other, of entering different cultural contexts, working in the service of the 'salus animarum' and the common good”.

“This movement of the faithful towards countries that are considered safer empoverishes the Christian presence in the Middle East, the land of the prophets, the first preachers of the Gospel, the martyrs and many saints, the cradle of the hermits and monasticism. All this requires you to reflect on the situation of your Eparchies, which need zealous Pastors as well as courageous faithful, capable of bearing witness to the Gospel in the dialogue, at times not easy, with people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Many have fled from the inhumanity that throws entire populations onto the streets, leaving them without means of subsistence”.

The Pope invited the bishops to coordinate their efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs, both of those who stay at home and those who flee to other countries, and in this regard he recalled that during their meeting in Rome the Syriac Church had asked to be able to hold a Synod outside the patriarchal territory. This request was accepted immediately in order to facilitate the meeting, intended to acknowledge the pressing needs of the Church and to respond to the spiritual expectations of the faithful. In particular, the Syriac Church has undertaken the process of reform of the Divine Liturgy, in the service of the Word of God, which should allow new devotional zeal. This has required “intense examination of the Tradition and great discernment, knowing how sensitive the assembly of the faithful is to the great gift of the Word and the Eucharist”.

“Now, as you return home, you are refreshed by this experience of communion at the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul; a communion that finds particular expression here today, as we raise to the Lord along with the Successor of Peter a prayer of gratitude and supplication”. He concluded, “Dear brothers, I exhort you to continue your pastoral efforts and your ministry of hope in the service of the venerable Syriac-Catholic Church. I greet with affection the faithful who accompany you, in whom I see the different communities you represent. I invite you to transmit to all the expression of my closeness and my prayer to the Lord”.

Pope's Message to the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

Vatican City, 12 December 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Holy Father, has sent a message to the participants in the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, to be held in Rome from 12 to 14 December 2014. The message will be read by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, and the full text is published below:

“His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to be informed that the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates will take place in Rome from 12 to 14 December 2014, and he sends cordial greetings to all gathered for this occasion. 'In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced' (Message for the 2014 World Day of Peace). His Holiness is deeply grateful for the commitment of the Summit participants to promoting peace and fraternity among peoples, and for their efforts in finding solutions to the conflicts of our day. As this meeting honours the memory of Nelson Mandela, whose legacy of non-violence and reconciliation continues to inspire the world, Pope Francis prays that all present may be renewed and encouraged in their urgent work, and that their labours may bear an abundant harvest of peace for the world. With the assurance of his prayers for their deliberations, His Holiness willingly invokes divine blessings upon all gathered for the Summit meeting”.

Reform of the Curia, the Commission for the Protection of Minors, reorganisation of economic dicasteries: key themes in the meeting of the Council of Cardinals

Vatican City, 12 December 2014 (VIS) – The seventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals (the so-called C9) concluded yesterday evening. The cardinals' three-day meeting, which began on the morning of 9 December, was mostly dedicated to three themes: the reform of the Curia, the composition of the Commission for the Protection of Minors and the reorganisation of the economic organs of the Holy See. As usual, Pope Francis participated in all meetings aside from the Wednesday morning session, due to his weekly general audience.

With regard to reform of the Roman Curia, alongside general observations on the criteria that must guide this task, the Cardinals also addressed the specific question of the reorganisation of the Pontifical Councils that work in relation to the laity, the family, justice, peace and charity. However, no formal decision was reached; the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., remarked that reform will a long and gradual process.

The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which currently has eight members and a secretary, is to be enlarged with the addition of representatives from various ecclesial and cultural contexts around the world, reaching a total of around eighteen members. The candidates have been selected and their availability to participate is currently in the process of being verified. From 6 to 8 February 2015 the Commission will hold its plenary session and it is expected that all members will be confirmed by that date, enabling it to define its field of action and activities.

Professor Joseph Zahra, the lay deputy coordinator of the Council for the Economy, reported to the Cardinals on the matter of the reorganisation of the economic dicasteries. Although no specific decisions were made, the importance of continuing good coordination between the Council for the Economy and the C9 was emphasised. It is hoped that another meeting of the Council for the Economy will take place before the next C9 meeting, to allow an overview of the reform process to be presented at the latter event.

The next plenary session of the C9 will be held from 9 to 11 February 2015, immediately before the Consistory convoked on the 12 and 13 of the same month, at which its work and proposals will be presented. Finally, it was announced yesterday that a consistory for the creation of new cardinals will be held on 14 and 15 February.


Vatican City, 12 December 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Jose Rodriquez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life;

- Archbishop Andre Dupuy, apostolic nuncio in the Netherlands; Holy See permanent representative at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons;

- a delegation from the Salvation Army;

- Professor Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.

Other Pontifical Acts

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

- Bishop Vicente Jimenez Zamora of Santander, Spain as metropolitan archbishop of Zaragoza (area 13,308, population 931,734, Catholics 887,734, priests 601, religious 1,837), Spain.

- Fr. Adelio Pasqualotto, C.S.I., as apostolic vicar of Napo (area 24,600, population 102,760, Catholics 85,226, priests 26, religious 65), Ecuador. The bishop-elect was born in Novoledo di Villaverla, Italy in 1950, gave his solemn vows in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1978. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including vice rector of the community at the St. Pius X Colony at Santa Marinella, Rome; parish priest of the “Opera Sacro Cuore” at Rossano, Cosenza, Italy and director of the local community; parish priest in the Mexican parishes of “San Jorge Martir” in Mexico City, “Santa Isabel de Hungria” in Hermosillo, and “San Jose Obrero” in Aguacalientes; and collaborator in the parishes of Archidona and Loreto in the apostolic vicariate of Napo. He is currently pro-vicar of the apostolic vicariate of San Miguel de Sucumbios.

- Fr. Pietro Bovati, S.J., as secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
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