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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

General audience: the beauty of Christian marriage

Vatican City, 6 May 2015 (VIS) – The beauty of Christian marriage, which is not “simply the beauty of the ceremony that takes place in church, but rather the Sacrament made by the Church, giving rise to a new family community”, was the theme chosen by Pope Francis in the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience.

“It is what the apostle Paul summarises in his famous expression: 'This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church'. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul affirms that the love between spouses is the image of the love between Christ and the Church. An unimaginable dignity! But in reality it is inscribed in God's plan of creation, and with Christ's grace countless Christian couples, even with their limits, their sins, have achieved this”.

St. Paul, speaking of new life in Christ, says that “all Christians are called to love each other as Christ has loved them, that is 'submitting to one another', meaning at each other's service. Here he introduces the analogy between the husband-wife couple and that of Christ and the Church. It is clear that this is an imperfect analogy, but we must grasp the spiritual meaning, elevated and revolutionary but at the same time very simple, within the reach of every man and woman who trust in God's grace”.

“'Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies', says Paul; 'as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her'. The effect of this radicalism of the devotion required of man, for the love and the dignity of the woman, based on the example of Christ, must have been enormous within the Christian community itself. This seed of evangelical newness, that re-establishes the original reciprocity of devotion and respect, has ripened slowly throughout history, but in the end it has prevailed”.

The sacrament of marriage “is a great act of faith and of love: it bears witness to the courage of believing in the God's creating act and of living that love that drives us always to go onwards, beyond ourselves and even beyond the family itself. The Christian vocation to love without reserve and without measure is such that, with Christ's grace, it is at the base of the free consensus that constitutes marriage”. Furthermore, the Church herself “is fully involved in the history of each Christian marriage: she is built on its successes and suffers in its failures. However we must ask ourselves seriously: do we accept fully, ourselves, as believers and pastors, this indissoluble bond of the history of Christ and the Church with the history of marriage and the human family? Are we willing to take on this responsibility seriously?”.

The decision to 'marry in the Lord' also contains a missionary dimension, which means having at heart the willingness to become conduits of God's blessing and the Lord's grace for all. Indeed, Christian couples participate in the mission of the Church inasmuch as they are couples. … And thus the life of the Church is enriched every time by the beauty of this matrimonial alliance, just as it is impoverished every time it is defaced. The Church, to offer the gift of faith, love and hope to all, is in need of the courageous faithfulness of married couples in the grace of their sacrament. The people of God needs their daily progress in faith, love and hope, with all the joys and the hardships that this path involves in a marriage and in a family”.

“Yes: St. Paul was right, it is a great mystery”, concluded the Pope. “Men and women, courageous enough to place this treasure in the clay vessels of our humanity, are an essential resource for the Church, and also for all the world. May God bless you a thousand times for this!”.

On the anniversary of the end of World War II: may humanity learn from past mistakes

Vatican City, 6 May 2015 (VIS) - “In the next few days various capital cities will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe”, remarked the Pope following the catechesis of today's general audience. “On this occasion I entrust to the Lord, by the intercession of Mary Queen of Peace, my hope that society may learn from the mistakes of the past and that, faced with the current conflicts that are tearing asunder various regions of the world, all civil leaders may persevere in their search for the common good and in the promotion of a culture of peace”.

Greetings to the families of the Swiss Guard and Polish faithful

Vatican City, 6 May 2015 (VIS) – At the end of today's catechesis the Pope greeted German-speaking pilgrims, especially the relatives and friends of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in Rome to attend the oath-taking ceremony for the new recruits, and musicians from the Swiss Canton of Valais, who accompanied the general audience. He also addressed the Polish faithful, especially all those who during the month of May maintain the tradition of gathering in churches or before images of Mary in the streets to pray in her honour.

Private visit of President Castro of Cuba

Vatican City, 6 May 2015 (VIS) – On Sunday 10 May, the Holy Father will receive in a strictly private audience the president of the Republic of Cuba, Raul Castro Ruz, in the Pope’s Study at the Paul VI Hall. President Castro has publicly thanked the Pope for his role in the thaw of relations between Cuba and the United States of America, and the Pope will visit Havana in September prior to his trip to the United States.

Decrees for the Causes of Saints

Vatican City, 6 May 2015 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


- attributed to the intercession of Blessed Vincenzo Grossi, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory (1845-1917);

- attributed to the intercession of Blessed Maria of the Immaculate Conception (nee Maria Isabel Salvat Romero), Spanish superior general of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross (1926-1998);

- attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Giacomo Abbondo, Italian diocesan priest (1720-1788);


- Servants of God Mario Borzaga, Italian professed priest of the Congregation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Paul Thoj Xyooj, lay catechist, killed in hatred of the faith in Laos in April 1960;


- Servant of God Jacinto Vera, bishop of Montevideo, Uruguay (1813-1881);

- Servant of God Antonio Antic, Croatian professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1893-1965);

- Servant of God Juliette Colbert de Falletti di Barolo, French laywoman, widow and founder of the Daughters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (1786-1864);

- Servant of God Maria Brigida Postorino, Italian founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (1865-1960);

- Servant of God Maria Rafaela Jesus Hostia, Spanish professed nun of the Order of Capuchin Poor Clares (1915-1991);

- Servant of God Sergio Bernardini, Italian layman and father (1882-1966);

- Servant of God Domenica Bedonni in Bernardini, Italian laywoman and mother (1889-1971).

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 6 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation of Bishop Jacyr Francisco Braido, C.S., from the pastoral care of the diocese of Santos, Brazil, upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Bishop Tarcisio Scaramussa, S.D.B., coadjutor of the same diocese.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Emery Kibal Mansong'loo, C.P., as bishop of the diocese of Kole (area 66,000, population 487,000, Catholics 158,000, priests 66, religious 80), Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Kimputu, Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1969, gave his perpetual vows in 1998 and was ordained a priest in the same year. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar in the diocese of Tshumbe; parish priest of the Catholic Mission of Lumbi in the diocese of Kikwit; provincial superior of the Passionists for two consecutive mandates; lecturer in liturgy in various structures; and member of the managing board of the Catholic University of the Congo.

- appointed Bishop Manuel Sanchez Monge of Mondonedo-Ferrol, Spain, as bishop of Santander (area 5,527, population 595,449, Catholics 559,000, priests 411, permanent deacons 5, religious 925), Spain.

- appointed Bishop Edson De Castro Homem, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as bishop of Iguatu, (area 21,904, population 562,108, Catholics 549,000, priests 39, religious 60), Brazil.

- appointed Bishop Agenor Girardi, M.S.C., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Porto Alegre, Brazil, as bishop of Uniao da Vitoria, (area 10,000, population 225,600, Catholics 192,600, priests 35, permanent deacons 10, religious 53), Brazil.

- appointed Rev. Valentin Cabbigat Dimoc as apostolic vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe,(area 4,615, population 360,526, Catholics 215,286, priests 30, religious 12), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Lagawe, Philippines in 1969 and was ordained a priest in 1998. Following his studies in philosophy and theology, he obtained a Master of Arts in development management from the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City, He has served as rector of the Holy Rosary Mission, Kayan; the Holy Family Mission, Hapao; the St. Mary Magdalene Mission, Lagawe; and the Good Shepherd Mission, Hapid; and as director of the Kataguan Centre, Lagawe. He is currently director of the Centre for Social Action and Development of the apostolic vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe.

- appointed Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France and Archbishop Anthony Colin Fisher of Sydney, Australia, as members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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