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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Francis joins in the suffering of the French people

Vatican City, 8 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Sanctae Marthae Chapel the Holy Father celebrated Mass for the victims of the attack in Paris yesterday, in which twelve people were killed and several were seriously injured. “The attack makes us think of great cruelty, human cruelty; of such terrorism, both isolated terrorism and state terrorism. The cruelty of which man is capable! Let us pray, in this Mass, for the victims of this cruelty. So many of them! And let us also pray for those who perform these cruel acts, so that the Lord might transform their hearts”.

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, the full text of which is published below:

“Upon learning of the terrible attack in Paris on the offices of 'Charlie Hebdo', which has claimed numerous victims, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of the bereaved families and the sadness of all the French people. He entrusts the victims to God, full of mercy, and prays that He will welcome them in His light. He expresses his deepest sympathy for the injured and their families, and asks that the Lord console and comfort them in their ordeal. The Holy Father reiterates his condemnation of the violence that generates such suffering, and praying that God grant the gift of peace, he invokes a divine blessing for the afflicted families and the French people”.

The Pope strongly condemns the attack in Paris: “Homicidal violence is abominable and never justifiable”

Vatican City, 8 January 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., issued the following statement to journalists:

“The Holy Father expresses his strongest condemnation of the horrendous attack this morning that plunged the city of Paris into mourning, claiming a large number of victims, sowing death and causing consternation throughout the whole of French society, and profoundly disturbing all those who favour peace, well beyond the French borders.

Pope Francis participates in prayer in the suffering of the wounded and of the families of the deceased, and urges opposition by every means to the propagation of hate and every form of violence, both physical and moral, that destroys human life, violates the dignity of human beings, and radically undermines the foundations of peaceful co-existence between persons and peoples, notwithstanding differences of nationality, religion and culture.

Whatever the motive may be, homicidal violence is abominable and never justifiable; the life and dignity of all must be guaranteed and protected decisively, every incitement to hate must be denied, and respect for others must be nurtured.

The Pope expresses his closeness, his spiritual solidarity and his support for all those who, in accordance with their various responsibilities, continue to make constant efforts for peace, justice and the rule of law, to heal the causes and sources of hate in this painful and dramatic moment, in France and in every part of the world affected by tensions and violence”.

The Pope receives a delegation of Yezidi

Vatican City, 8 January 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in audience a delegation from the World Community of Yezidi, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. The delegation was led by the Head of all the Yezidi, Mir Tahsin Said Ali Beg, and their supreme spiritual Head, the “Baba Sheikh”, Sheikh Khato, both resident in Iraqi Kurdistan. The group also comprised three representatives of the Yezidi of North Iraq, Georgia and the diaspora in Germany.

During the meeting, which lasted approximately half an hour and took place in the private library of the Apostolic Palace, the delegation thanked the Pope – indicated by one of the delegates as the “father of the poor” –for his support for the Yezidi in this time of persecution and suffering. They informed the Pope of the situation of around five thousand Yezidi women reduced to slavery by the ISIS, and emphasised the good relations between Yezidi and Christians, emphasising their mutual solidarity. Pope Francis assured the delegates of his spiritual closeness and his support in these challenging times, and expressed his hope that soon it will be possible to restore justice and the conditions for a free and peaceful life for the Yezidi, as well as all other minority groups who are the object of discrimination and violence.

There are around one and a half million Yezidi throughout the world, of whom half a million are in Iraq; there are others in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and in diaspora in many other countries.

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue calls for human and spiritual solidarity with the victims of the attack on “Charlie Hebdo” and their families

Vatican City, 8 January 2015 (VIS) – This morning the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue published the following declaration:

“As we reach the end of the meeting in Rome of the four Imams of France, who attended yesterday’s general audience along with the delegation from the French Episcopal Conference, the participants, shocked by the heinous attack on 7 January 2015 on the offices of the publication “Charlie Hebdo”, wish once more to echo the words pronounced by Pope yesterday and this morning, denouncing this cruelty and blind violence. Like him, we invite believers to show through friendship and prayer their human and spiritual solidarity towards the victims and their families.

In these circumstances, it should be noted that, without freedom of speech, the world is in danger: it is imperative to oppose hate and every form of violence that destroys human life, violates the dignity of the person and radically undermines the foundation of peaceful co-existence between persons and peoples, notwithstanding differences of nationality, religion and culture.

Religious leaders are called upon to further promote a “culture of peace and hope” able to conquer fear and to build bridges between people.

Considering the impact of the media, their leaders are invited to offer information that is respectful of religions, their followers and their practices, thus favouring a culture of encounter.

Interreligious dialogue remains the only path to follow together to dissipate prejudice”.

The communique is signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Michel Dubost of Evry-Corbeil et Essonnes, president of the Council for Interreligious Relations of the Bishops' Conference of France, the Imams Tareq Oubrou, Azzedine Cami, Mohammed Moussaoui, Djelloul Seddiki and Fr. Roucou, director of the National Service for Relations with Islam, France.


Vatican City, 8 January 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study);

- Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta;

- Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France;

- Bishop Santiago Olivera of Cruz del Eje, Argentina;

- Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Latium region;

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 8 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Joel Mercier, as secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Chaudesfonds-sur-Layon, France in 1945 and was ordained a priest in 1970. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a licentiate in theology from the Universite Catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, and a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including parish vicar in the “Saint-Joseph” parish in Angers, chaplain of Catholic colleges and high schools in Angers, and secretary to the bishop of Angers. He has also served as member of the ecclesiastical tribunal in the Pays de Loire and teaches in the faculty of theology, Angers. He is currently an official of the Congregation for Bishops and spiritual director of the French Seminary in Rome. He was named Chaplain of His Holiness in 2005.

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