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Monday, November 23, 2015

Audience with the governor general of Antigua and Barbuda

Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the governor general of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, emphasis was placed on the good bilateral relations, strengthened during recent years by the appointment of an Ambassador to the Holy See. Attention then turned to the contribution offered by the Catholic Church to the promotion of the protection of the human person, as well as in the sectors of education and assistance to those most in need, and the hope of a fruitful mutual collaboration was expressed.

Finally, the parties considered some themes of regional and global relevance, with particular reference to migratory flows and climate change.

The Pope's video messages to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic

Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis' video messages filmed in preparation for his apostolic visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic from 25 to 30 November were broadcast in the three countries.

In the message destined for Kenya and Uganda, after greeting the families of both countries, the Holy Father says, “I am coming as a minister of the Gospel, to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and His message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is meant to confirm the Catholic community in its worship of God and its witness to the Gospel, which teaches the dignity of every man and woman, and commands us to open our hearts to others, especially the poor and those in need”.

“At the same time”, he continues, “I wish to encounter all the people of Kenya and Uganda, and to offer everyone a word of encouragement. We are living at a time when religious believers, and persons of good will everywhere, are called to foster mutual understanding and respect, and to support each other as members of one human family. For all of us are God's children. A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with young people, who are your greatest resource and our most promising hope for a future of solidarity, peace and progress”.

In his message to the Central African Republic, the Holy Father greets all members of the population with affection and joy, regardless of their ethnic origin or religion. “It will be the first time in my life that I come to the African continent, so beautiful and so rich in its nature, people and cultures; and I look forward to great discoveries and enriching encounters”, he reveals.

“Your country has for too long now experienced a situation of violence and insecurity, of which many of you are innocent victims. The objective of my visit is, first and foremost, to bring you, in the name of Jesus, the comfort of consolation and hope. With all my heart I hope that my visit may contribute, in one way or another, to healing your wounds, and opening the way to a brighter future for Central Africa and all her inhabitants”.

“The theme of this trip will be: passing to the other side. It is a theme which invites your Christian communities to look resolutely ahead, and to encourage each person to renew his relationship with God and his brothers, to build a more just and fraternal world. I will have the joy of opening for you – a little in advance – the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will I hope offer a providential opportunity for authentic forgiveness, for giving and receiving, and for rebirth in love”.

“I come to you as a messenger of peace”, he concludes. “I wish to support interreligious dialogue to foster peaceful coexistence in your country; I know this is possible, as we are all brothers”.

Angelus: the Christian's power and strength is in the Cross

Vatican City, 22 November 2015 (VIS) – On the Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Pope devoted his reflection before today's Angelus prayer to the difference between Jesus' reality and that of the world, referring to the Gospel passage that narrates his appearance before Pilate, in which He affirms that He is King, but that His kingdom “is not of this world”.

“This does not mean that Christ is the king in another world, but rather that He is a different kind of king”, explained Francis. “Here there is a contraposition of two types of logic. Worldly logic is based on ambition and competition; it fights with the weapons of fear, bribery and the manipulation of consciences. The logic of the Gospel, that is, the logic of Jesus, is instead expressed in humility and gratitude. It is affirmed silently but effectively with the force of truth. The kingdoms of this world are at times sustained by arrogance, rivalries, oppression; whereas Christ's is a 'kingdom of justice, of love and of peace'”.

Jesus reveals Himself as King in the crucifixion, demonstrating the “surprising gratuitousness of love”. While the Cross may seem to some to be a failure, it is rather “the failure of sin that sin is a failure. In the failure of human ambitions, there is the triumph of the cross, there is the gratuitousness of love. … For a Christian, to speak of power and strength means to make reference to the power of the cross, and the strength of Jesus’ love: a love that remains firm and complete, even when faced with rejection, and which is shown as the fulfilment of a life committed entirely to the benefit of humanity”.

Paradoxically the truth of Jesus is indeed the challenge posed to him with irony by his adversaries: “He can’t save Himself!” “If Jesus had come down from the cross, he would have given in to the temptations of the Prince of this world. Instead, He does not save Himself so as to be able to save others, to give his life for us, for each one of us”. … One of the wrongdoers who was crucified with Him the 'good thief', understood this well, and pleaded with him, 'remember me when you enter your kingdom'. This criminal this was a criminal was a corrupt person, who had been condemned to death for all the brutalities he had committed in his life. But he saw love in Jesus' attitude and in His humility. Jesus' majesty does not oppress us, but rather frees us from our weaknesses and miseries, encouraging us to walk the path of the good, of reconciliation and forgiveness”.

“Faced with so many lacerations in the world, so many wounds in the flesh of man, let us ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to imitating Jesus, our King, making His kingdom present with gestures of tenderness, of understanding, of mercy”.

After the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned that yesterday in Barcelona, Spain, Federico de Berga and 25 companion martyrs were beatified. They had been “assassinated during the ferocious persecution of the Church during the last century. They were priests, young men who had professed their faith and were awaiting ordination, and lay brethren belonging to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Let us entrust to their intercession the many brothers and sisters of ours who unfortunately in our times, in many parts of the world, are still persecuted for their faith in Christ”.

Finally, the Holy Father commented that on Wednesday he will begin his apostolic trip to Africa to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, and he asked all present to pray for this trip, so that it may be a sign of love for all. “Together, let us ask Our Lady to bless these dear lands, so that there may be peace and prosperity there”.

Attack in Mali: the Pope strongly condemns “senseless violence”

Vatican City, 22 November 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, following the terrorist attack against a hotel in which 27 people lost their lives. The following is the full text of the message:

“Saddened to learn of the tragic attack in Bamako, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of the mourning families and of the people of Mali. He entrusts all the victims to God's mercy, and prays that He welcome them in His light. He expresses his deepest sympathy with the injured and their families, asking the Lord to bring them comfort and consolation in their suffering. Appalled by this senseless violence, which he strongly condemns, the Holy Father implores of God the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace, and invokes the abundance of divine blessings on all those affected by this tragedy”.

The true educator must take risks

Vatican City, 21 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Holy Father received the participants in the World Congress “Educating today and tomorrow: a renewing passion”, promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education. The congress, held in Rome from 18 to 21 November, commemorated fifty years since “Gravissimum educationis”, the Conciliar declaration on Christian education, and the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution “Ex corde Ecclesiae” on the Catholic university.

During the encounter, the Pope heard testimonies from Catholic schools and universities from around the world, and answered three questions. The first was on how educational institutions, present in a diverse range of nations, can be truly Christian. “It is not possible to speak of Catholic education without speaking of humanity, as Catholic identity is God made man”, Francis answered. “Going ahead in terms of attitudes, full human values, opens the door to the seed of Christianity. Faith then follows. Educating in a Christian fashion is not only about catechesis: this is just a part. … It involves educating the young and children in human values in all realities, and one of these is transcendence. … For me, the greatest crisis in education, from a Christian perspective, is closure to transcendence. We are not open to transcendence. It is necessary to prepare hearts so that the Lord manifests Himself”.

In response to the second question, on the meaning of the culture of encounter for all people involved in the promotion of education, Francis said, “It means taking risks. An educator who does not take risks is not able to educate. A father and mother who do not risk do not educate their children well. Risking in a reasoned way. What does this mean? It means learning to walk. The true educator must teach managed and reasonable risk”.

The final question related to the future challenges posed to the educator by the current moments of war, which, the Pope said, required them to become patient builders of peace. “The greatest failure of an educator is to educate 'behind walls'. … The walls of a selective culture, the walls of a culture of safety, the walls of a well-off social sector that does not move ahead”. He concluded by encouraging all educators to think about how they can bring mercy into the field of education. “How can we ensure that the Father's Love, specially emphasised in this Year of Mercy, finds its way into our educational work?”.

Communique from the Holy See Press Office

Vatican City, 21 November 2015 (VIS) – The Vatican City State Tribunal has notified the defendants and their lawyers of the request for indictment by the Office of the Promotor of Justice, after the completion of the preliminary phase of the current proceedings for the wrongful disclosure of reserved information and documents, and of the consequent Decree of Indictment issued by the president of the Tribunal on 20 November.

The following is an extract of the Decree, which was signed by the Promotor of Justice Gian Pietro Milano, and the adjunct Promotor of Justice Roberto Zannotti.

The Promotor of Justice, with regard to articles 353, 355 and 359 of the Code of Penal Procedure, requests His Excellence the President of the Tribunal to issue, against the persons indicated as follows: Lucio Angel Vallejo, born in Villamediana de Iregua, Spain on 12 June 1961; Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, born in Cosenza, Italy on 18 December 1981; Nicola Maio, born in Benevento on 2 March 1978; Emiliano Fittipaldi, born in Naples on 13 November 1974 and Gianluigi Nuzzi, born in Milan on 3 June 1969, a decree of summons to trial.

Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui and Nicola Maio for the offence defined in art. 248 CPP (this latter as substituted by art. 25 of Law IX of 11 July 2013), “because within the Prefecture for Economic Affairs and COSEA they associated in order to form a criminal organisation, with own autonomous composition and structure, organised by Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, with the objective of committing further crimes of disclosure of information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State”.

All the aforementioned, accused of the crime set forth in articles 63 and 116 bis of the CPP (this latter introduce by Law IX of July 2013), “as, in collaboration with each other, Vallejo Balda in his role as Secretary General of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, Chaouqui as member of COSEA, Maio as collaborator with Vallejo Balda for issues relating to COSEA, Fittipaldi and Nuzzi as journalists, illegally procured and subsequently disclosed information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State; in particular, Vallejo Balda, Chaouqui and Maio obtained such information through their respective roles in the Prefecture for Economic Affairs and in the COSEA; whereas Fittipaldi and Nuzzi solicited and applied pressure, especially to Vallejo Balda, to obtain reserved documents and information, which they used in part to prepare two books published in Italy in November 2015”.

The crimes were committed in Vatican City between March 2013 and November 2015.

Decree of trial

Following the request for trial presented by the Promotor of Justice, the president of Vatican City State Tribunal, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, issued the decree establishing for 24 November 2015, at 10.30, the first hearing in the trial against the defendants Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, specifying that if they do not appear they will be judged in absentia.

At the same time the panel of judges will be composed as follows: Professor Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president; Professor Piero Antonio Bonnet, judge; Professor Paolo Pappanti-Pelletier, judge; Professor Venerando Marano, substitute judge.

The decree establishes that the evidence for the defence must be submitted by 12.30 on 28 November 2015, while the citaiton of texts will be reserved to subsequent provisions.

Cardinal John Atcherley Dew to take possession of his titular church

Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 29 November, at 10.30 a.m., Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand, will take possession of the title of Sant'Ippolito (Via di Sant'Ippolito, 56).


Vatican City, 21 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Hatem Seif El Nasr, ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, presenting his credential letters;

- Archbishop Henryk Jozef Nowacki, apostolic nuncio in Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway;

- Msgr. Francesco Follo, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Msgr. Tadeusz Litynski as bishop of Zielona Gora – Gorzow (area 14,814, population 1,160,000, Catholics 989,000, priests 641, religious 283), Poland. Msgr. Litynski is currently auxiliary of the same diocese. He succeeds Bishop Stefan Regmunt, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Bishop Rafael Sandoval Sandoval, M.N.M., of Tarahumana, Mexico, as bishop of Autlan (area 14,744, population 357,000, Catholics 341,000, priests 120, religious 192), Mexico.

On Saturday 21 November, the Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Nuno Manuel dos Santos Almeida as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Braga (area 2,857, population 964,800, Catholics 886,700, priests 465, permanent deacons 12, religious 676), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Viseu, Portugal in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of Porto, and has served as parish priest in various parishes in the diocese of Viseu, president of the Priestly Fraternity of Viseu, and member of the college of consultors and the presbyteral council.

- Bishop Francisco Mendoza De Leon as coadjutor of the diocese of Antipolo (area 1,828, population 3,958,820, Catholics 3,153,824, priests 178, religious 811), Philippines. Bishop De Leon is currently auxiliary of the same diocese.

- Bishop David William V. Antonio, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, Philippines, as apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the apostolic vicariate of San Jose in Mindoro, Philippines.

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