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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

General Audience: Jesus chose to come to the world as part of a family

Vatican City, 17 December 2014 (VIS) – The family is the “great gift that the Lord has given to the world ever since the beginning, when he entrusted to Adam and Eve the mission of multiplying and filling the earth; the gift that Jesus confirmed and sealed in His Gospel”, said the Holy Father during this Wednesday's general audience, in the first of the new cycle of catechesis dedicated to the family, which will continue throughout the coming year.

The proximity to Christmas illuminates the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, which opens a new chapter in the universal history of man and woman. “And this new beginning occurs within a family, in Nazareth. He could have come spectacularly, or as a warrior, an emperor… No – he came as the son of a family, in a family”, he emphasised.

God chose to be born “in a human family, that He Himself had formed. He created this family in a remote village in the outer reaches of the Roman Empire. Not in Rome, the capital of the Empire, not in a great city, but in an almost invisible and somewhat notorious periphery. This is even noted in the Gospel, almost as if it were a turn of phrase: 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?'. Perhaps, in many parts of the world, we too still speak in this way when we hear the name of certain peripheral areas of large cities. And yet, it was precisely there, in the outskirts of the great Empire, that there began the most holy and good story of Jesus among mankind”.

“Jesus chose to remain in the periphery for thirty years, during which there is no mention of miracles or healing, of preaching, of crowds who run after him. In Nazareth, everything seems to happen 'normally', according to the habits of a pious and hard-working family of Israelites. … The Gospels, in their sobriety, say nothing of Jesus' adolescence and leave this task to our affectionate imaginings. Art, literature and music have followed the path of the imagination. Certainly, it is not difficult to imagine how much mothers could learn from Mary's tender care for her Son! And how much fathers could benefit from the example of Joseph, a righteous man, who dedicated his life to supporting and defending his wife and child – is family – through difficult times. To say nothing of how much the young could be encouraged by the adolescent Jesus in understanding the necessity and beauty of cultivating their deepest vocation, and of having great dreams”, he added.

“Every Christian family – as Mary and Joseph did – must first welcome Jesus, listen to Him, speak with Him, shelter Him, protect Him, grow with Him; and in this way, make the world better. Let us make space in our heart and in our days for the Lord. This is what Mary and Joseph did, and it was not easy: how many difficulties they had to overcome! It was not a false or unreal family. The family of Nazareth calls to us to rediscover the vocation and the mission of the family, of every family. And so what happened in those thirty years in Nazareth can also happen to us: making love, not hate, normal; mutual help common, instead of indifference and hostility. It is not by chance that Nazareth means 'she who preserves', like Mary who, as the Gospel tells us, 'treasured all these things in her heart'. From then on, whenever there is a family that preserves this mystery, even if it should be at the outer reaches of the world, the mystery of the Son of God is at work. And He comes to save the world”.

Pope Francis asks for prayers for the victims of terrorist attacks

Vatican City, 17 December 2014 (VIS) – The Pope, at the end of today's general audience, asked for prayers for the victims of the inhuman terrorist acts that have occurred in recent days in Yemen, Australia and Pakistan. “May the Lord receive the souls of the departed in His peace, console their families and convert the hearts of the perpetrators, whose violence does not cease even before children”.

At the end of the audience, 2,500 people danced the milonga to the sound of the bandoneon in St. Peter's Square to celebrate Pope Francis' 78th birthday. The initiative, “A tango for Francis”, emerged on the social networks and, as was shown today, thousands of people joined in.

Completion of the Commission for the Protection of Minors

Vatican City, 17 December 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has nominated new members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, chosen from various parts of the world, so as to allow a broad representation of different situations and cultures. The Commission therefore composed as follows:

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., president
Mons. Robert Oliver (United States), secretary
Rev. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera (Colombia)
Dr. Catherine Bonnet (France)
Marie Collins (Ireland)
Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco (Philippines)
Prof. Sheila the Baroness Hollins (England)
Bill Kilgallon (New Zealand)
Sr. Kayula Gertrude Lesa, RSC (Zambia)
Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS (South Africa)
Kathleen McCormack (Australia)
Dr. Claudio Papale (Italy)
Peter Saunders (England)
Hon. Hanna Suchocka (Poland)
Dr. Krysten Winter-Green (United States)
Rev. Dr. Humberto Miguel Yanez, SJ (Argentina)
Rev. Dr. Hans Zollner, SJ (Germany)

The next plenary session of the Commission will take place, as previously stated, in the Vatican on from 6-8 February 2015.

Brief information on members of the Commission is given below.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. (United States), archbishop of Boston, serves as the president of the Commission and is a member of the Council of Cardinals which advises Pope Francis.

Msgr. Robert Oliver (United States) serves as the Secretary of the Commission, following many years in child protection work for the Archdiocese of Boston, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as the Promoter of Justice.

Rev. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera (Colombia) is the Director of the Department of Psychology, professor of pastoral psychology in the Conciliar Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bogota, and as a parish priest.

Dr. Catherine Bonnet (France) is a child psychiatrist, psychotherapist, researcher, and author on child sexual abuse and perinatal violence and neglect.

Marie Collins (Ireland) is a survivor of child sexual abuse. A founder Trustee of the Marie Collins Foundation she served on the committee which drafted the Catholic Church’s all-Ireland child protection policy, “Our Children Our Church.”

Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco (Philippines) is an adult and adolescent psychotherapist and pastoral counsellor for various mental health concerns including of individuals, couples, families and groups, including victims and perpetrators of abuse.

Prof. Sheila the Baroness Hollins (England) has worked as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist with children and adults with intellectual disabilities including those who have been sexually abused, and is a life peer in the House of Lords.

Bill Kilgallon (New Zealand) is Director of the National Office for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church in New Zealand where he has lived for the last four years. Prior to that he had a long career in social work and health services in the UK.

Sr. Kayula Gertrude Lesa, RSC (Zambia) is a development professional, trainer and author on child protection, human trafficking, refugee rights and the right to information. She served as a member of the African Forum for Church Social Teaching (AFCAST).

Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS (South Africa) is a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in the diocese of Mathatha in South Africa. She works as a high school teacher and for several years in the diocese as a trainer in pastoral work. After serving as an Associate Secretary General of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference for six years, Sr. Hermenegild was appointed as the Secretary General of the SACBC in 2012.

Kathleen McCormack (Australia) is a social welfare worker who served as Director of Welfare of Catholic Care in the Diocese of Wollongong for 29 years and held leadership roles in Family Services, Child Protection, Out Of Home Care and Ageing and Disability Services.

Dr. Claudio Papale (Italy) is a canon lawyer and a civil lawyer, professor of canon law at the Pontifical Urban University, and an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Peter Saunders (England) was abused throughout his childhood in Wimbledon, South West London. Later in life, after earning a Business Studies degree, Peter discovered that he was one of millions who had suffered such abuse and who could not find any appropriate support. So he set up NAPAC, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, for supporting all survivors and for developing greater resources for responding to child abuse.

Hon. Hanna Suchocka (Poland) is a professor of constitutional law and specialist in human rights at the University of Poznan, and was formerly Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and Ambassador of Poland to the Holy See.

Dr. Krysten Winter-Green (United States) is a New Zealander with post-graduate degrees in Theology, Human Development, Social Work, Religion and Pastoral Psychology. She has served in dioceses around the world with homeless persons and those living with AIDS. Krysten’s concentration in the areas of child abuse include forensics, assessment and treatment of priest/clergy offenders.

Rev. Dr. Humberto Miguel Yanez, SJ (Argentina) is Director of the Department of Moral Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, professor of moral theology at the Gregorian and the Pontifical Urban University, and former Director of the Centre of Research and Social Action in Argentina.

Rev. Dr. Hans Zollner, SJ (Germany) is President of the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Director and Professor of the Institute of Psychology. He was Chair of the organising committee for the Symposium “Towards Healing and Renewal” on sexual abuse of minors (February 2012).

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 17 December 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Msgr. Adelar Baruffi as bishop of Cruz Alta (area 16,790, population 401,000, Catholics 321,000, priests 32, religious 50), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Garibaldi, Brazil in 1969 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He studied philosophy at the University of Caxias do Sul and theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, and holds a licentiate in theological anthropology and spiritual theology from the “Teresianum” Pontifical Theological Faculty, Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including spiritual assistant, coordinator of formators and rector of the minor seminary and the preparatory course, rector of the major seminary, coordinator of diocesan presbyteral pastoral ministry, parish vicar and member of the council of presbyters and the College of Consultors. He is currently parish vicar of the “Santo Antonio” parish in Bento Goncalves.

- Fr. Onecimo Alberton as bishop of Rio do Sul (area 8,909, population 321,000, Catholics 263,000, priests 64, religious 212), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Orleans, Brazil in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He studied philosophy at the Universidade do Sul, Tubarao, and theology at the Theological Institute of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, and has served in a number of roles, including: parish priest of the “Nossa Senhora da Natividade” parish, Cocal do Sul Criciuma; formator in the minor and major seminaries of Criciuma; rector of the “Bom Pastor” seminary, Florianopolis. He is currently parish priest of the “Sao Paulo Apostolo” parish in Criciuma. He succeeds Bishop Augustinho Petry, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Jean-Marc Eychenne as bishop of Pamiers (area 4,903, population 154,546, Catholics 107,400, priests 46, permanent deacons 13, religious 80), France. The bishop-elect was born in Pamiers, France in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1982. He holds a baccalaureate from the Faculty of Theology of Milan, and has served in a number of roles, including: master of novices of the Communaute Saint-Martin, teacher at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences and formator of seminarians at the Communaute Saint-Martin in Genoa; parish vicar of Madeleine in Orleans-Checy, parish priest in the “Saint-Yves de la Source” parish and episcopal vicar for the pastoral area of Val-de-Loire et Sologne. He is currently vicar general of Orleans, France.
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