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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

General audience: the importance of forgiveness in the family

Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – Giving and mutual forgiveness, without which no love can be lasting, were the theme of the Pope's catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience.

Before examining this issue in depth, the Holy Father recalled that the recently concluded assembly of the Synod of Bishops had reflected at length on the vocation and mission of the family in the life of the Church and in contemporary society. “It was an event of grace. At the end the Synod Fathers submitted to me the text containing their conclusions. I wanted this text to be published, so that everyone could participate in the work we have been devoted to together for two years. This is not the moment to examine the conclusions, on which I myself have to reflect”.

“In the meantime, however, life does not come to a halt, and in particular the live of families does not stop! You, dear families, are always journeying. And you already continually write in the pages of concrete life the beauty of the Gospel of the family. In a world that at times becomes arid of life and love, every day you speak of the great gift that is marriage and the family”.

The Pope went on to introduce the central theme of his catechesis, reciting the words of the Lord's Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. “It is not possible to live without forgiveness, or at least you cannot live well, especially in the family. Every day we wrong each other. We must take account of these errors that we make due to our fragility and our selfishness. However, what is required of us is to heal the wounds we make straight away, to immediately weave again the threads we have broken. If we wait too long, it all becomes more difficult. And there is a simple secret for healing wounds and undoing accusations: never let the day finish without apologising. … If we learn to say we are sorry immediately and to offer mutual forgiveness, the wounds are healed, the marriage is strengthened, and the family becomes an increasingly solid home, that resists the shocks of our evils, great and small”.

“If we learn to live this way within the family, we will also do so outside, wherever we find ourselves. It is easy to be sceptical about this. Many – Christians included – think it is an exaggeration. … But thanks to God this is not the case. Indeed, it is precisely by receiving God's forgiveness that, in turn, we are able to forgive others. … And it is essential that, in an at times pitiless society, there be places such as the family where we can learn to forgive each other”.

“The Synod also revived our hope in this regard: the capacity to forgive others and oneself forms part of the vocation and mission of the family. … The Church, dear families, is always beside you to help you build your home on the rock Jesus spoke of”, exclaimed Francis. “And I assure you that if you are capable of journeying ever more decisively along the path of the Beatitudes, learning and teaching to forgive each other, then in all the great family of the Church the capacity to bear witness to the renewing power of God's forgiveness will grow”.

“Otherwise, we will give beautiful sermons and perhaps even cast out the odd demon, but in the end the Lord will not recognise us as His disciples, as we have not been able to forgive or to allow ourselves to be forgiven. Christian families can truly do much for today's society, and also for the Church. … Let us pray that families may be increasingly able to live and build concrete roads to reconciliation, where no-one feels abandoned to the burden of his own trespasses”.

Finally the Pope, accompanied by the with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, repeated the phrase from the Lord's Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

Fr. Federico Lombardi on discussions on economic issues of the Holy See

Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – The following are reflections by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, regarding a new chapter in discussions on the economic matters of the Holy See.

“As is known, a significant part of what has been published is the result of the disclosure of reserved information and documents, and therefore of an illicit activity that must therefore be prosecuted forthwith by the competent Vatican authorities. But this is not what we now wish to speak about, given that it is already the object of much attention.

Now, instead, we are interested in considering the content of the disclosures. It can be said that it consists mostly of information that is already known, although often less widely and with less detail, but above all it must be noted that the documentation published relates mostly to an significant effort to gather data and information, initiated by the Holy Father himself in order to carry out a study and reflection on the reform and improvement of the administrative situation of Vatican City State and the Holy See.

The COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), from whose archive the majority of the published information originates, was instituted by the Pope for the purpose on 18 July 2013 and then dissolved after the fulfilment of its task.

This is not, therefore, information obtained against the will of the Pope or of the heads of the various institutions, but generally information obtained or provided with the collaboration of these same institutions, for a common positive purpose.

Naturally, a great deal of information of this type must be studied, understood and interpreted with care, equilibrium and attention. Often the same data can give rise to different readings.

An example is that of the situation of the Pension Funds, in relation to which a series of very different evaluations has been expressed, from those who speak with concern of a large “gap”, to those that provide instead a reassuring interpretation (as resulted from the official Communiqués published authoritatively through the Holy See Press Office).

Clearly there is then the issue of the destination and use of goods belonging to the Holy See. Although regarded in their entirety they appear extremely extensive, they are in fact aimed at supporting over time the vast range of service activities managed by the Holy See or connected institutions both in Rome and in different parts of the world.

The origins of the ownership of these goods are varied, and the suitable instruments for knowing their history and development have been available for some time (for example, it would be useful to refer to the economic agreements between Italy and the Holy See in the context of the Lateran Pacts and the work of establishing an effective administration carried out by Pius XI with the assistance of excellent and expert collaborators, a work commonly recognised as wise and far-sighted, also in terms of investments abroad and not only in Rome or Italy).

With regard to Peter’s Pence it is necessary to observe that it is employed for various purposes, also in situations, according to the judgement of the Holy Father, in which it may be given trustfully by the faithful in support of his ministry. The Pope’s works of charity for the poor are certainly one of the essential uses, but is certainly not the intention of the faithful to exclude the possibility that the Pope himself may evaluate situations of urgency and the way of responding, in the light of his service for the good of the universal Church. The Pope’s service also includes the Roman Curia, as an instrument of his service; his initiatives outside the Diocese of Rome; communication of his teaching to the faithful in different parts of the world, including the poor and distant; and the support of the 180 Pontifical diplomatic representations throughout the world, which serve the local Churches and intervene as the main agents for distributing the Pope’s charity in the various countries, as well as the Pope’s representatives in local governments. The history of Peter’s Pence illustrates this clearly.

These issues return to the fore periodically, but are always occasions for curiosity and polemics. It is necessary to study the situations and specific problems in detail and with professionalism, so as to be able to recognise much that is entirely justified, normal and well-managed (much more than is generally assumed and systematically excluded from the type of publication under consideration here) including the payment of taxes due, and to distinguish where there are problems to be corrected, ambiguities to be clarified, and genuine improprieties or illegal acts to be eliminated.

This was precisely the aim of the arduous and complex task initiated at the Pope’s behest with the constitution of the COSEA, which completed its work some time ago, and with the decisions and initiatives which are still in the process of development and implementation (or which are at least in part followed up by recommendations from the same COSEA at the end of its work). The reorganisation of the economic Dicasteries, the appointment of the Reviser general, and the regular working of the competent institutions for the supervision of economic and financial activities, etc., are an objective and incontrovertible reality.

The publication in bulk of a large quantity of different forms of information, in large part linked to a phase of work by now complete, without the necessary possibility of further clarification and objective evaluation instead produces the result – unfortunately largely intentional – of creating the contrary impression, that of a permanent reign of confusion, lack of transparency or indeed the pursuit of particular or inappropriate interests.

Naturally this does not in any way account for the courage and commitment with which the Pope and his collaborators have faced and continue to face the challenge of improving the use of temporal goods in the service of the spiritual. This, instead, is what would be more greatly appreciated and encouraged in the correct work of providing information to respond appropriately to the expectations of the public and the needs of truth. The path of good administration, correctness and transparency continues and proceeds without uncertainties. The is evidently Pope Francis’ wish and the Holy See has no lack of those who collaborate loyally and to the best of their abilities”.

Cardinal Parolin appoints new counsellors for the Bambino Gesu Foundation

Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – The new executive board of the Foundation for the Holy See “Bambino Gesu” Paediatric Hospital met this morning for the first time following the appointment of the new executives by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. During the meeting, held in Rome, the board approved the new statutes of the “completely renovated” foundation, which aim “to guarantee transparency, solidarity and innovation”, according to the president Mariella Enoc.

There are seven new counsellors: the president Enoc, Pietro Brunetti, Ferruccio De Bortoli, Maria Bianca Farina, Caterina Sansone, Anna Maria Tarantola and Antonio Zanardi Landi.

On current investigations in Vatican City

Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – The following is the full text of the response given by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, to questions from journalists regarding the investigations currently underway in Vatican City.

“The Office of the Promoter of Justice of Vatican City State Tribunal, following a report from the Financial Intelligence Authority, initiated investigations in February 2015 regarding operations of the purchase and sale of bonds and transactions attributable to Gianpietro Nattino.

The same Office has requested the collaboration of the Italian and Swiss judicial authorities by letters rogatory sent via diplomatic channels on 7 August 2015”.

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