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Friday, September 11, 2015

Audience with the president of Serbia: promote a joint solution for Syrian and Iraqi refugees

Vatican City, 11 September 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience Tomislav Nikolic, president of the Republic of Serbia, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

In the cordial discussions, the good existing relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Serbia were demonstrated, and the parties considered issues of mutual interest regarding the relationship between the ecclesial and civil communities, with particular reference to ecumenical dialogue and the contribution of the Catholic Church to the common good of Serbian society.

Attention then turned to Serbia's progress towards full integration in the European Union, as well as various situations of a regional and international nature, including the condition of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and displaced persons, and the importance of promoting a shared solution to the current crisis.

The Pope thanks the Claretians for their missionary work and invites them to express the maternity of the Church, merciful mother

Vatican City, 11 September 2015 (VIS) – “Called to evangelise: witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel”, was the theme of the General Chapter of the Congregation of Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretians) whom Pope Francis received this morning in audience in the Consistory Hall. The following are extensive extracts from the written discourse the Pope handed to the attendees of the Chapter, to whom he also addressed some unscripted remarks.

“'Witnesses' because joy cannot be communicated if it is not present and deeply rooted both in one's own life and in that of the community”, writes the Holy Father. “'Messengers' because good must be shared and, in sharing, joy is purified and multiplied, becoming truly 'evangelical'”.

“How did the Congregation meet in this Chapter analysis? In this exercise of discernment, how did the voice of the Spirit challenge you?”, asks Francis, adding that a sure path for discerning His call is found in “listening in the different peripheries of the world. In them, His voice resonates with greater clarity. This is even more important for a missionary Congregation like yours”.

He goes on to recall that to mark the occasion of the current Year of Consecrated Life he had sent a letter to all consecrated persons inviting them to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope, and he explains to the Claretians how to respond to this invitation.

“'Looking to the past with gratitude' means thanking God for the witness of many of your brethren who, supported by their faith, live their vocation with profound joy – in some cases unto martyrdom. It also means recognising the mysterious hand of the Lord who, despite our weakness and our inconstancy, continues to work miracles through His Church. 'Living the present with passion' is basing your missionary programme on the spirit of St. Antonio Maria Claret whose motto, on his episcopal coat of arms, is 'Caritas Christi urget nos'. Loving as Jesus loved must infuse all of our choices in life and in pastoral ministry. 'Embracing the future with hope' means not allowing ourselves to be held back by disillusionment. Do not be afraid. It is the Lord who sends you. Always keep your eyes on those who await the announcement, those who need His witness to feel the merciful presence of God in their lives”.

Francis thanks the members of the Congregation for their missionary life and work, also asking them to greet all their brethren on his behalf, “especially those who, due to illness or advanced age, collaborate through prayer and witness to the mission of the congregation”.

“St. Antonio Maria Claret, your founder, gave your congregation a beautiful name: Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, concludes the Pope. “Let all the dimensions of your lives be profoundly marked by this 'intimacy', that inspired in Mary the beautiful hymn of the Magnificat; and express the maternity of the Church, merciful mother, who never ceases to hope, to accompany and to forgive”.

The climate issue is a matter of justice

Vatican City, 11 September 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall the Holy Father met with the three hundred participants in the meeting promoted by the Foundation for Sustainable Development, “Environmental justice and climate change”, attended by major representatives of religion, politics, economic activity and scientific research in various sectors, international organisations and those involved in the fight against poverty.

“We must not forget the grave social consequences of climate change”, affirmed the Pope in his address. “It is the poorest who suffer the worst consequences. Therefore … the issue of climate change is a a matter of justice; it is also a question of solidarity, that must never be separated from justice. … Science and technology place an unprecedented power in our hands: it is our duty to humanity as a whole, and in particular the poorest and future generations, to use it for the common good”.

“Will our generation be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities?” he asked. “Amid the many contradictions of our time, we have good enough reason to nurture the hope of being able to do so. And we should let ourselves be guided by this hope. In fulfilling this commitment, I hope that each one of you may experience the satisfaction of participating in actions that transmit life. The joy of the Gospel also resides here”.

We are all called upon directly to be responsible and fraternal, and to defend our dignity as people and citizens of the world “by virtue of the role that we occupy in the family, in the world of work, the economy and research, in civil society and in institutions”. This does not involve producing “improbable recipes”, as no-one has them, but rather bringing what we have understood to the dialogue. “Everyone is required to contribute with a view to attaining a result that can only be the fruit of a joint effort. The great enemy, in this aspect, is hypocrisy”, emphasised the Pope.

To this end, this dialogue needs to be inspired by “a vision as transparent as it is broad-ranging” and must proceed “according to an integral and above all participatory approach, including all interested parties, including those who more easily remain at the margins of institutional processes”. Francis urged those present to spare no effort, “so that at the tables in which a solution is sought to the unique and complex socio-environmental crisis the voice of the poorest may be heard”, since “this too is a duty of environmental justice. Faced with the emergency of climate change and looking ahead to the crucial appointments scheduled for the coming months – the approval of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations at the end of this month and above all the COP 21 in Paris at the beginning of December – I wish to propose that this dialogue become an authentic alliance leading to truly significant and effective global environmental agreements”.

“Along the way you can count on my personal support and that of the Church, starting with the indispensable contribution of prayer. From now on I offer to the Lord our joint effort, asking His blessing so that humanity may finally know how to listen to the cry of the land – today our mother earth is among the many excluded who ask for help from Heaven – our mother and our sister, and of the poorest among us who inhabit the earth and care for her. In this way creation will increasingly resemble the common home that the sole Father imagined for us a a gift to the universal family of His creatures”, concluded the Holy Father.

Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Pope's special envoy to Creteil

Vatican City, 11 September 2015 (VIS) – In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 11 August, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, as his special envoy to the mass with the rite for the dedication of the new cathedral of the diocese of Creteil, France, to be held on 20 September.


Vatican City, 11 September 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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