Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Thursday, April 16, 2015

May the Church in Kenya be an instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace

Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – This morning the prelates of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops were received in audience by Pope Francis at the end of their “ad Limina” visit. In the written discourse he handed to them, the Holy Father writes that for many of them this visit to Rome will recall the time spent in the Italian capital during their preparation for ordination to the priesthood. “The many seminarians studying in this city, like the numerous seminarians in your own country, are an eloquent sign of God’s goodness to the universal Church and to your dioceses”.

“While the seeds of a priestly vocation are sown long before a man arrives at the seminary, first in the heart of the family”, he notes, “it pertains to seminary formators to nurture the growth of these vocations. For this reason, it is imperative that seminarians’ goodwill and earnest desires be met with a formation that is humanly sound, spiritually deep, intellectually rich, and pastorally diverse. I am aware of the challenges which this entails, and I encourage you to strengthen your efforts, individually within your Dioceses and collectively in your Episcopal Conference, so that the good work which the Lord is accomplishing in your candidates for priestly Orders will be brought to completion”.

“In this Year of Consecrated Life, my heart is also close to the men and women religious who have renounced the world for the sake of the kingdom thus bringing many blessings to the Church and society in Kenya. … The united and selfless efforts of many Catholics in Kenya are a beautiful witness and example for the country. In so many ways, the Church is called to offer hope to the broader culture, a hope based on her unstinting witness to the newness of life promised by Christ in the Gospel. In this regard, without wishing to interfere in temporal affairs, the Church must insist, especially to those who are in positions of leadership and power, on those moral principles which promote the common good and the building up of society as a whole. In the fulfilment of her apostolic mission, the Church must take a prophetic stand in defence of the poor and against all corruption and abuse of power. She must do so, in the first place, by example. … In a particular way, I wish to offer a word of appreciation to the many humble and dedicated workers in Church-run institutions throughout your country, whose daily activities bring spiritual and material benefit to countless people. The Church has contributed, and continues to contribute, to all of Kenya through a diverse array of schools, institutes, universities, clinics, hospitals, homes for the sick and dying, orphanages and social agencies”.

Pope Francis goes on to emphasise that “the Church in Kenya must always be true to her mission as an instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace. In fidelity to the entire patrimony of the faith and moral teaching of the Church, may you strengthen your commitment to working with Christian and non-Christian leaders alike, in promoting peace and justice in your country through dialogue, fraternity and friendship. In this way you will be able to offer a more unified and courageous denunciation of all violence, especially that committed in the name of God. This will bring deeper reassurance and solace to all your fellow citizens”. He affirms, “With you, I pray for all those who have been killed by acts of terror or ethnic or tribal hostilities in Kenya as well as other areas of the continent. I think most especially of the men and women killed at Garissa University College on Good Friday. May their souls rest in peace and their loved ones be consoled, and may those who commit such brutality come to their senses and seek mercy”.

The Pope encourages the prelates in their pastoral care for the family, and declares his conviction that as the Church prepares for the Ordinary Synod dedicated to the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation “you will continue to assist and strengthen all those families who are struggling because of broken marriages, infidelity, addiction or violence”, and asks them to “intensify the Church’s ministry to youth, forming them to be disciples capable of making permanent and life-giving commitments – whether to a spouse in marriage, or to the Lord in the priesthood or religious life”.

Finally, he prays with them the the forthcoming Jubilee of Mercy may be “a time of great forgiveness, healing, conversion, and grace for the entire Church in Kenya” and that, “touched by Christ’s infinite mercy, may all the faithful be signs of the reconciliation, justice and peace that God wills for your country, and indeed, all of Africa”.

The Pope to travel to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July

Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today declared that Pope Francis, accepting the invitation offered by the respective Heads of State and bishops of these countries, will make an apostolic trip to Ecuador, from 6 to 8 July, Bolivia from 8 to 10 July, and Paraguay, from 10 to 12 of the same month. The programme for the trip will be published shortly.

Press Release on the Implementation of the C.D.F. Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012

Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) - Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (C.D.F.), Archbishop Peter Sartain and officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (L.C.W.R.) met April 16. Archbishop Sartain and L.C.W.R. officers presented a joint report (attached) on the implementation of the C.D.F. Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012. The joint report outlines the manner in which the implementation of the Mandate has been accomplished. The Congregation accepted the joint report, marking the conclusion of the Doctrinal Assessment of L.C.W.R. Present for the April 16 meeting were His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Muller, Archbishop Peter Sartain, Sr. Carol Zinn, S.S.J., Sr. Marcia Allen, C.S.J., Sr. Joan Marie Steadman, C.S.C., and Sr. Janet Mock, C.S.J., and other officials of CDF.

During the meeting, Archbishop Sartain and L.C.W.R. officers outlined the process undertaken by the Bishop Delegates and L.C.W.R. over the past three years, noting the spirit of cooperation among participants throughout the sensitive process. Cardinal Muller offered his thoughts on the Doctrinal Assessment as well as the Mandate and its completion. He expressed gratitude to those present for their willing participation in this important and delicate work and extended thanks to others who had participated, especially Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, and the past officers and executive directors of L.C.W.R.

Following the meeting, Cardinal Muller said: “At the conclusion of this process, the Congregation is confident that L.C.W.R. has made clear its mission to support its member Institutes by fostering a vision of religious life that is centred on the person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the tradition of the Church. It is this vision that makes religious women and men radical witnesses to the Gospel, and, therefore, is essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church”.

Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM,President of L.C.W.R., was unable to be present for the meeting but commented, “We are pleased at the completion of the Mandate, which involved long and challenging exchanges of our understandings of and perspectives on critical matters of Religious Life and its practice. Through these exchanges, conducted always in a spirit of prayer and mutual respect, we were brought to deeper understandings of one another’s experiences, roles, responsibilities, and hopes for the Church and the people it serves. We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences”.

Archbishop Sartain added, “Over the past several years, I have had the honour of working with L.C.W.R. officers and meeting a large number of L.C.W.R. members through the implementation of the Mandate. Our work included the revision of L.C.W.R. Statutes;review of L.C.W.R. publications, programs and speakers; and discussion of a wide range of issues raised by the Doctrinal Assessment, L.C.W.R., and the Bishop Delegates.The assistance of C.D.F. officials was essential to the great progress we made. Our work together was undertaken in an atmosphere of love for the Church and profound respect for the critical place of religious lifein the United States, and the very fact of such substantive dialogue between bishops and religious women has been mutually beneficial and a blessing from the Lord. As we state in our joint final report, ‘The commitment of L.C.W.R. leadership to its crucial role in service to the mission and membership of the Conference will continue to guide and strengthen L.C.W.R.'s witness to the great vocation of Religious Life, to its sure foundation in Christ, and to ecclesial communion'. The other two Bishop Delegates and I are grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such a fruitful dialogue.”

Presentation of the Annuarium Pontificium

Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – The Annuarium Pontificium 2015 and the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2013 have been issued this morning. The former reveals some new aspects of the life of the Church that have emerged between February 2014 and February 2015, and the latter illustrates the changes that took place in 2013.

The statistics referring to the year 2013, show the dynamics of the Catholic Church in the world's 2,989 ecclesiastical circumscriptions. It may be seen that in this period one diocese and two eparchies have been elevated to the level of metropolitan sees; three new episcopal sees, three eparchies and one archiepiscopal exarchate have been erected; one territorial prelature has been elevated to a diocese, and one apostolic prefecture to an apostolic vicariate.

Since 2005, the number of Catholics worldwide has increased from 1,115 million to 1,254 million, an increase of 139 million faithful. During the last two years, the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has increased from 17.3% to 17.7%.

There has been a 34% increase in Catholics in Africa, which has experienced a population increase of 1.9% between 2005 and 2013. The increase of Catholics in Asia (3.2% in 2013, compared to 2.9% in 2005) has been higher than that of population growth in Asia. In America Catholics continue to represent 63% of a growing population. In Europe, where the population is stagnant, there has been a slight increase in the number of baptised faithful in recent years. The percentage of baptised Catholics in Oceania remains stable although in a declining population.

From 2012 to 2013 the number of bishops has increased by 40 from 5,133 to 5,173. In North America and Oceania there has been a reduction of 6 and 5 bishops respectively, in contrast to an increase of 23 in the rest of the American continent, 5 in Africa, 14 in Asia and 9 in Europe.

The number of priests, diocesan and religious, increased from 414,313 in 2012 to 415,348 in 2013.

Candidates to the priesthood – diocesan and religious – dropped from 120,616 in 2011 to 118,251 in 2013 (-2%). An increase of 1.5% is recorded in Africa, compared to a decrease of 0.5% in Asia, 3.6% in Europe and 5.2% in North America.

The number of permanent deacons continues to grow well, passing from 33,391 in 2005 to 43,000 in 2013. They are present in North America and Europe in particular (96.7%), with the remaining 2.4% distributed between Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The number of professed religious other than priests has grown by 1%, from 54,708 in 2005 to 55,000 in 2013. They have increased in number in Africa by 6% and Asia by 30%, and decreased in America (2,8%), Europe (10.9%) and Oceania (2%). The significant reduction in women religious is affirmed: currently 693,575 compared to 760,529 in 2005: -18.3% in Europe, -17.1 % in Oceania, and -15.5 in America. However, an increase of 18% in Africa and 10% in Asia is recorded.

Cardinal Montenegro to take possession of his titular church

Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 19 April at 11.30 a.m., Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, archbishop of Agrigento, Italy, will take possession of the title of Santi Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio (Piazza San Gregorio, 1).


Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Twenty-seven prelates of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their “ad Limina” visit:

- Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu;
- Bishop Norman King'oo Wambua of Bungoma;
- Bishop Cornelius Kipng'eno Arap Korir of Eldoret;
- Bishop Philip A. Anyolo of Homa Bay;
- Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of Kakamega;
- Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa of Kisii;
- Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley, S.P.S., of Kitale;
- Bishop Dominic Kimengich of Lodwar;
- Archbishop Martin Musonde Kivuva of Mombasa;
- Bishop Paul Darmanin, O.F.M. Cap., of Garissa, with his coadjutor, Bishop Joseph Alessandro;
- Bishop Emanuel Barbara, O.F.M. Cap., of Malindi;
Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi;
- Bishop Emanuel Okombo Wandera of Kericho;
- Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kitui;
- Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Nakuru;
- Bishop John Oballa Owaa of Ngong;
- Archbishop Peter J. Kairo of Nyeri;
- Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru of Embu;
- Bishop Virgilio Pante of Maralal;
- Bishop Peter Kihara Kariuki, I.M.C., of Marsabit;
- Bishop Salesius Mugambi of Meru;
- Bishop James Maria Wainaina Kungu of Muranga;
- Bishop Joseph Mbatia of Nyahururu, with Bishop emeritus Luigi Paiaro;
- Bishop Alfred Kipkoech Arap Rotich, military ordinary;
- Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo, I.M.C., apostolic vicar of Isiolo.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Msgr. Werner Freistetter as military ordinary of Austria (priests 12, permanent deacons 3, religious 4), Austria. The bishop-elect was born in Linz, Austria in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He studied theology in Vienna and in Rome at the Germanic-Hungarian College, and has held a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar and parish priest in Vienna, assistant at the Institute of Ethical and Social Sciences at the Catholic Faculty of the University of Vienna, collaborator in the Pontifical Council for Culture, and member of the Holy See Representation at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (O.S.C.E.). He is currently director of the Institut fur Religion und Friede and episcopal vicar of the Austrian Military Ordinariate, and spiritual assistant of the Catholic International Military Apostolate. He succeeds Bishop Christian Werner, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same military ordinary in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Msgr. Wilhelm Krautwaschl as bishop of Graz-Seckau (area 16,401, population 1,210,971, Catholics 853,594, priests 449, permanent deacons 69, religious 722), Austria. The bishop-elect was born in Gleisdorf, Austria in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Graz, and has served as deputy priest and parish priest in numerous parishes in the diocese of Graz-Seckau, and as dean of the deanery of Bruck an der Mur. He is currently rector of the seminary of Graz and responsible for vocational pastoral ministry, and judge at the diocesan tribunal.
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service