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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Pope receives B'nai B'rith International and recalls the work of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II to promote friendship between Jews and Christians

Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – A delegation from B'nai B'rith International (“Children of the Covenant”), a Jewish non-governmental organisation of a philanthropic nature founded in 1843, which opposes anti-Semitism in all its forms and promotes human rights, was received in audience by Pope Francis this morning. B'nai B'rith established contacts with the Holy See following the promulgation of the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate which, as the Holy Father mentioned, “constituted a milestone on the path of mutual knowledge and esteem between Jews and Catholics, based on the great spiritual patrimony that, thanks be to God, we share in common”.

During the last fifty years of regular dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism, great steps have been taken in fostering mutual trust and appreciation. “Respect for life and creation, human dignity, justice and solidarity unite us for the development of society and for securing a future rich in hope for generations to come. In a particular way, we are called to pray and work together for peace. Unfortunately, there are many countries and regions of the world that live in situations of conflict – I think in particular of the Holy Land and the Middle East – and that require a courageous commitment to peace, which is not only to be longed for, but sought after and built up patiently and tenaciously by everyone, especially believers”.

Francis recalled with profound gratitude all those who have worked to promote friendship between Jews and Catholics, and mentioned St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II in particular. “The first saved many Jews during the Second World War, he met with them numerous times, and greatly desired a conciliar document on this theme. Regarding St. John Paul II, his various historical gestures remain very much alive in our memories, such as his visit to Auschwitz and to the Great Synagogue of Rome. With the help of God, I wish to walk in their footsteps, encouraged too by the many beautiful encounters and friendships I enjoyed in Buenos Aires”, the Pope concluded.

To future Papal representatives: be custodians of truth, not state functionaries

Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) - “The mission you will one day be called to carry out will take you all over the world. In Europe, which needs to be reawakened; in Africa, which thirsts for reconciliation; in Latin America, which hungers for nourishment and inwardness; in North America, intent on rediscovering the roots of an identity that does not define itself in terms of exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the capacity for transformation in diaspora and by dialogue with the immensity of ancestral cultures”. With these words, Pope Francis received in audience the students who are about to complete their studies in the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the Holy See institution charged with the formation of the diplomats who will work in the nunciatures and the Secretary of State.

In his address, the Holy Father highlighted various aspects of the path ahead of them, starting with their mission. “You are preparing to represent the Holy See in the Community of Nations and in the local Churches you are destined for. The Holy See is the see of the bishop of Rome, of the Church that presides in charity, that is based not on vain pride but rather on the daily courage of the condescension or abasement of her Master. The true authority of the Church of Rome is Christ's charity. This is the sole force that renders her universal and credible for man and for the world: this is the heart of her truth, that does not erect walls of division and exclusion, but instead forms bridges to build up communion and to recall the unity of humanity; this is her secret strength, that feeds her tenacious hope, invincible despite momentary defeats. It is not possible to represent someone without reflecting their features, without evoking their face. Jesus said, 'Whoever has seen me has seen the Father'. You are not called to be the high functionaries of a State ... welcome in worldly salons, but rather the guardians of a truth that supports those who offer it, and not the opposite. It is important that you do not let yourselves be depleted by continual transfers; instead, it is necessary to cultivate deep roots, to protect the memory of why you embarked on this path, and not to be hollowed out by cynicism nor to lose sight of the face of He Who is at the origin of your journey”.

Likewise, he reiterated that the Academy specifically aims to prepare future diplomats to consider the realities they will encounter and to love them, even with their limitations. “You prepare, indeed, to become 'bridges', pacifying and facing with prayer and in spiritual battle the tendency to regard oneself as above others, the assumed superiority of view that impedes access to the substance of reality, the claim of already knowing enough. To do this it is necessary not to transpose into the field in which you work your own patterns of understanding, your own cultural parameters, your own ecclesial background”.

“The service to which you have been called requires you to protect the freedom of the Holy See, which so as not to betray her mission before God and for the true good of mankind cannot be imprisoned by the logic of cartels, taken hostage by the accounting division of factions, accept the division among consuls, submit to political powers and to be colonised by the current dominant streams of thought or the illusory hegemony of the mainstream. You are called to seek, in the Churches and in the populations among whom you live, and whom you serve, the good that must be encouraged. To best fulfil this mission it is necessary to set aside the attitude of the judge and to don the robes of the pedagogue, of one who is able to release the potential for good that God does not fail to sow in the Churches”.

“I exhort you not to expect to find the terrain ready, but rather to have the courage to plough it with your hands, without tractors or other more effective means which we will never have at our disposal – to prepare it for sowing, awaiting the harvest with God's patience; a harvest of which you may not be the beneficiary. Do not fish in aquaria or farms, but instead have the courage to leave behind the safe margins of what is already known and to cast your nets and rods in less obvious seas”.

Telegram for the death of the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians

Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to the Patriarchal Synod of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, Beirut, for the sudden death of the Patriarch, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, at the age of 75.

The Pope expresses his heartfelt condolences to the faithful of the Patriarchate and recalls his close collaboration with the Patriarch, one of the most prominent consequences of which is the recent declaration of St. Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church.

“I entrust to the merciful Father the soul of this devoted pastor who, as a priest dedicated himself tirelessly to the service of the communities for whom he was responsible, and later, as bishop, carried out his ministry with faith and zeal, first in Alexandria and then as Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. I join in prayer with all those who are affected by his sudden passing and convey my apostolic blessing, in particular to the bishops of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, the family of the deceased and all those who are to attend his funeral”.

Presentation of the Eighth World Meeting of Families

Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., from 22 to 27 September this year, on the theme “Love is our mission. The family fully alive”. The speakers were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia with his auxiliary, Bishop John J. McIntyre, and Jerry and Lucille Francesco, a couple from the same archdiocese, now married for fifty years.

Archbishop Paglia emphasised that the Meeting is a valuable opportunity to place the family at the centre of the Church and of civil society. “It is a duty”, he said, explaining that the meeting is about and for families, who are its protagonists and main recipients. “The family builds the Church and sustains society. … During the days of the conference, we will present the results of some international research that has scientifically studied this positive influence. The family constantly asks for help and support in the entire ecclesial community – and in the next few days I will write to all the monasteries of the world to ask them to accompany these very important days with their prayers – and from civil society as a whole, which cannot remain indifferent to such beauty and goodness that is so effective and so viable”.

The prelate went on to highlight the global nature of the event, and the hope that it will be seen and reported on worldwide. “The family is the heritage of all humanity, at every latitude, in every culture; it is blessed by all religions. That is why we wanted a significant presence of other Christian denominations and of major world religious traditions. … We are working so that delegations from around the globe and especially from the world's poorest local Churches will be present. Philadelphia will be a great worldwide celebration of families: in the spectacle, we will be able to get a glimpse, we will have to show the beauty and the possibility of all humanity becoming a single family of peoples. It is the dream of peace; it is God's dream”.

This universality will be enshrined in the final gesture of the meeting: the archbishop revealed that at the end of Mass on Sunday, 27 September, Pope Francis will give the Gospel of Luke, “the Good News of God's mercy, which is Jesus, to families from big cities on the five continents: Kinshasa, Africa; Havana, America; Hanoi, Asia; Sydney, Australia; and Marseilles, Europe. This is a symbolic gesture that will announce the sending of a million copies of this book to the five cities involved. We want the Gospel of Mercy to be announced in the great cities of the world so that they may build bonds of love between them, in the Church and in society”.

The archbishop of Philadelphia gave some data on the Meeting, which more than a million people are expected to attend, and from which representatives of more than a hundred nations have registered. So far 6,100 volunteers have offered assistance of various types and the event organisers intend to make more than 5,000 buses available. More than 1,600 people have signed up to the “Host a Family” programme.

For more information on the events linked to the meeting, see http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/


Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Fra' Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and entourage;

- Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;

- Archbishop Salvador Pineiro Garcia-Calderon of Ayacucho, Peru, president of the Episcopal Conference of Peru, with:

- Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, vice president;

- Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, vice president; and

- Msgr. Fortunato Pablo Urcey, prelate of Chota, general secretary.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Autlan, Mexico, presented by Bishop Gonzalo Galvan Castillo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Bishop Uriah Ashley of Penonome, Panama, as auxiliary of Panama (area 13,275, population 1,769,000, Catholics 1,675,000, priests 149, permanent deacons 56, religious 377), Panama.

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