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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The three key words of the family: please, thank you, sorry

Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) - “Please, thank you and sorry” are the three words that Pope Francis “would write on the door of every family home” as they are the key to living well and in peace both inside and outside the home. They are simple words, much easier to say than to put into practice, but “they contain great strength: the strength of protecting the home, even through a thousand difficulties and trials; instead, when they are lacking, cracks gradually open up that can even lead it to collapse”.

The Pope dedicated the catechesis of today's general audience to these three words, normally considered as the words of politeness. “A great bishop, St. Francis of Sales, said that kindness is halfway to holiness. However, beware”, he warned, “as in history we have also known a formalism of good manners that can become a mask to conceal an arid heart and lack of interest in others. … Not even religion is immune to this risk, in which formal observance may slip into spiritual worldliness. The devil who tempts Jesus shows off his good manners and cites the Sacred Scriptures. His style appears correct, but his intention is to deviate from the truth of God's love”.

The first word is “please. “To enter into the life of another person, even when that person forms part of our life, requires the delicacy of a non-intrusive attitude, that renews trust and respect. Confidence, then, does not authorise us to take everything for granted. Love, the more intimate and profound it is, the more it demands respect for freedom and the capacity to wait for the other to open the door of his or her heart”.

The second phrase is “thank you”. “At times”, observed the Holy Father, “it seems that we are becoming a civilisation of poor manners and unpleasant words. … Politeness and the capacity to thank are seen as a sign of weakness, and at times even arouse distrust. This tendency should be opposed within the family itself. We must become intransigent in the education of gratitude and recognition: the dignity of the person and social justice both come from this. If this approach is neglected in family life, it will also be lost in social life”.

The third word is “sorry”, as “when it is lacking, small cracks become larger … to the point of becoming deep trenches. It is not by chance that in the prayer taught by Jesus, the Lord's prayer that summarises all the essential questions for our life, we find the expression 'forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us'. Acknowledging our errors and being willing to restore what has been removed – respect, sincerity, love – makes one worthy of forgiveness. … If we are not capable of apologising, it means we are not capable of forgiveness either. … Many hurt feelings, many lesions in the family begin with the loss of those precious words: 'I am sorry'. In married life there are many arguments … but I advise you never to let the day end without making peace. And for this, a small gesture is enough”.

“These three key words for the family are simple words, and perhaps at first they make us smile. But … perhaps our education neglects them too much. May the Lord help us to restore them to their rightful place in our heart, in our home, and also in our civil co-existence”.

The Pope greets the organisers of the Concert for the Poor: “It will be a concert of joy”

Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) – Before today's general audience, in the room adjacent to the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father met with the organisers and sponsors of the “Concert for the Poor”, to take place tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the Paul VI Hall in support of the Pope's charitable works. The event will be sponsored by the Apostolic Almoner, the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Promoting New Evangelisation, and the St. Matthew Foundation in memory of Cardinal Van Thuan.

“I thank all of you for everything you have done, that you do, and will do for this concert, which brings us together”, said the Pontiff. “Music has the capacity to unite souls and to unite us with the Lord. It is horizontal and vertical, it lifts us up and it liberates us from our troubles. Even sad music, I think of mournful adagios, can help us in difficult moments”.

“Many thanks, as it does good to all of us to find spirit amid the materialism that always surrounds us and brings us down, taking away our joy. And as believers we have the joy of a Father Who loves us all, and the joy of fraternity with all. This is the joy that you now sow in this concert. It will be a concert to sow joy, not the type of joy that entertains for a moment, no: the seed will remain there in the souls of us all, and will bring good to all. I thank you from the heart for the good you do”.

Caritas reveals the strength of Christian love

Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) – “Whoever lives the mission of Caritas is not simple charitable worker, but is a true witness of Christ. He is a person who seeks Christ and allows Christ to seek him; people who love with the spirit of Christ, a spirit of gratuitousness. … All of our strategies and plans remain empty unless we carry this love in us”, said Pope Francis in the homily he pronounced yesterday in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the beginning of the 20th General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis.

The Pope commented on the reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which the jailer of the prison at Philippi, where Paul and Silas were imprisoned, following the miracle of the earthquake that opened the doors of the prison, pleaded for salvation. The story tells us that the man immediately “took the necessary steps on the path towards faith and salvation: together with his household, he listened to the Word of the Lord; washed the wounds of Paul and Silas; received Baptism with his entire family; and finally, full of joy, he welcomed Paul and Silas into his home, setting the table and offering them something to eat”.

“We can see in this gesture the entire vocation of Caritas. Caritas is now a great Confederation, widely recognised throughout the world for its work and accomplishments. Caritas is a reality of the Church in many parts of the world and must still seek a greater expansion in the different parishes and communities, to renew what took place in the early days of the Church. In fact, the source of all your service lies in the simple and docile welcome of God and neighbour. This welcome is first personally experienced by you, so that you may then go out into the world, and there, to serve others in the name of Christ, whom you have met and whom you will continue to meet in every brother and sister that you will approach as your neighbour. Thanks to this, you will actually avoid the risk of being reduced to a mere humanitarian organisation. And the Caritas of each particular Church, even the smallest, is the same: there is no large Caritas and small Caritas, they are all equal. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand the true dimension of Caritas; the grace of not being deceived into thinking that a well-organised centralism is the road to take; the grace of understanding that Caritas is always in the periphery, in each particular Church; and the grace of believing that central Caritas is merely a help, service and experience of communion but not the overall head”.

“In this way, we can serve everyone and set the table for all. This is also a beautiful image that the Word of God offers us today: setting the table. Even now, God sets the table of the Eucharist. Caritas sets many tables for the hungry. In recent months you launched the great campaign 'One human family, food for all'. There are still so many people today who do not have enough to eat. The planet has enough food for all, but it seems that there is a lack of willingness to share it with everyone. We ought to set the table for all, and ask that there be a table for all. We must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat, but we must also remind the powerful of the Earth that God will call them to judgement one day and there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide food for Him in every person (cf. Matt.25: 35) and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food”.

“And thinking about the table of the Eucharist, we cannot forget our Christian brothers and sisters who have been violently deprived of the food for the body and for the soul: they have been driven from their homes and their churches – at times destroyed. I renew the appeal not to forget these people and these intolerable injustices. Together with many other charitable organisations of the Church, Caritas therefore reveals the power of Christian love and the desire of the Church to reach out to Jesus in every person, especially the poor and suffering. This is the path that lies ahead of us and it is with this perspective that I hope that you will carry out your work during these days”.

Joint Statement of the Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine at the end of the Plenary Meeting

Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) – The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a Comprehensive Agreement following on the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, has held a Plenary Session in the Vatican to acknowledge the work done at an informal level by the joint technical group following the last official meeting held in Ramallah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine on 6 February 2014.

The talks were chaired by Mgr Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and by Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of the State of Palestine.

The discussions took place in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. Taking up the issues already examined at an informal level, the Commission noted with great satisfaction the progress achieved in formulating the text of the Agreement, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine.

Both Parties agreed that the work of the Commission on the text of the Agreement has been concluded, and that the agreement will be submitted to the respective authorities for approval ahead of setting a date in the near future for the signing.

The members of the Delegation of the Holy See were Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; Fr. Luciano Lorusso, under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Msgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; and Fr. Emil Salayta, judicial vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The members of the Palestinian Delegation were Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of foreign affairs for multilateral affairs; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See; Ammar Hijazi, and deputy assistant minister of foreign affairs for multilateral affairs; and Azem Bishara, legal adviser of the PLO.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Ambrose Rebello as bishop of Aurangabad (area 64,525, population 10,119 485, Catholics 15,750, priests 45, religious 218), India. The bishop-elect was born in Nirmal, India in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1979. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Aurangabad, including parish vicar and parish priest in a number of parishes. He is currently parish priest of the Karuna Matha Mandir Parish, Vaijapoor, vicar general of Aurangabad, director of the diocesan pastoral centre, and chancellor and vice director of the Education Society of the diocese. He succeeds Bishop Edwin Colaco, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) – We inform our readers that no VIS bulletin will be transmitted tomorrow, Thursday 14 May, the Solemnity of the Lord's Ascension and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Friday, 15 May.
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