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Friday, December 18, 2015

The Nativity shows us that the Lord never imposes

Vatican City, 18 December 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received seven hundred people from the Bavarian municipalities of Hirschau, Schanaittenbach and Freudenberg, who donated the Christmas tree adorning St. Peter's Square this year, and representatives from the Italian province of Trento who, along with the archdiocese, created the Nativity display. The decorations on the tree are from the Lene Thun Foundation of Bolzano and, as the Holy Father commented, represent the dreams of the children who decorated it, whom he thanked.

“These wishes that we carry in our heart are now in the most suitable place, because they are close to the child of Bethlehem: they are entrusted to Him, He Who came to live in our midst. Indeed, Jesus did not simply appear on earth, and did not dedicate just a little of His time to us, but rather came to share our life and to receive our desires, as He wanted and still wants to live here, along with us and for us. Our world, which at Christmas became His world, is important to Him. The creche reminds us of this: God, in his great mercy, descended to us to stay with us”.

The Nativity also tells us that the Lord “never imposes upon us with force. To save us, He did not change history by performing a grand miracle. Instead, He lived with simplicity, humility and meekness. God does not like the dramatic revolutions of the powerful of history, and does not use a magic wand to change situations. Instead He makes Himself small, He becomes a child, to attract us with love, to touch our hearts with His humble goodness, to draw attention through His poverty to those who worry about accumulating the false treasures of this world”.

The Holy Father recalled that this was the intention of St. Francis when he invented the creche – to pay homage to the Child who was born in Bethlehem so as to be able to in some way perceive with the eyes of the body the hardships He suffered for the lack of the basic necessities for a newborn. Indeed, the scene honours and praises simplicity, poverty and humility. “I invite you, then, to pause before the Nativity scene, for there God's tenderness speaks to us. There we contemplate divine mercy, made flesh so that we gaze tenderly upon it. Above all, it wishes to move our hearts”.

In this regard, Francis indicated that in the creche there is a figure who reveals the mystery of the Nativity. “It is a character who performs a good act, stooping to assist an elderly person. He not only looks to God but also imitates Him, as, like God, he inclines mercifully to one in need. May these gifts of yours, which will be lit up this evening, attract the gaze of many and above all revive in our life the true light of Christmas”.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta to be canonised

Vatican City, 18 December 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday, 17 December, the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (nee Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), Albanian foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity (1910-1997).


- Servant of God Giuseppe Ambrosoli, Italian professed priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (1923-1987).

- Servant of God Adolfo (ne Leonardo Lanzuela Martinez), Spanish professed religious of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (1894-1976).

- Servant of God Heinrich Hahn, Italian layman (1800-1882).

“Migrants and refugees: threat or opportunity?”: meeting of the Bilateral Commission of the Delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews

Vatican City, 18 December 2015 (VIS) – The Bilateral Commission of the Delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews held its 13th meeting in Jerusalem in the offices of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on the theme “Migrants and refugees: threat or opportunity?” on 16 and 17 December. At the end of the event the Commission issued a joint statement, which began by commemorating the recently deceased Cardinal Jorge Mejia, the first Catholic co-chair of the Bilateral Commission, and conveyed wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen.

The meeting, chaired by Chief Rabbi Rasson Arousi and Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, focused primarily on the “enormous current humanitarian crisis in the form of hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking asylum and the challenges this poses”, highlighting a number of issues, including the tensions between the obligation to welcome and “love the stranger as yourself” while meeting one’s responsibilities to one’s own identity, society, community and specific religious mission; the challenge posed by migration in terms of the fullness and authenticity of human existence and experience, and the moral demands for respect for human dignity that cannot be ignored.

During the meeting, it was reiterated that Jews and Christians are required to address these challenges and to do the utmost to ensure that the Divine Image in which all humanity is created is respected and fostered fully among migrant and refugee populations.

Similarly, immigrants are to be recognised as a blessed resource to be welcomed and respected for their human dignity, and as potential to contribute to the positive growth and development of society. To help influence public opinion and legislatures to regulate and more effectively implement immigration procedures, mindful of the preferred destinations of migrants themselves.

Finally, the Bilateral Commission attended a presentation on Israeli initiatives to address the plight of refugees and victims of conflict.

Holy See Press Office Communique on the autopsy of Msgr. Jozef Wesolowski

Vatican City, 18 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that on 14 December, the report on the chemical toxicological examinations carried out on samples taken during the autopsy of Msgr. Jozef Wesolowski was submitted to the Chancellor’s Office of the Vatican City State Court of First Instance.

The conclusions of the Report definitively confirmed what had already emerged from the post-mortem examination; that is, that death was ascribable to natural causes (acute myocardial infarction), excluding other exogenous causes.

The various investigations were conducted in strict accordance with the guidelines and protocols recognised at international level, by a Board of medical examiners appointed by the Promoter of Justice the day after the Prelate’s unexpected death.


Vatican City, 18 December 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, with his auxiliary, Bishop Jose Luis Mendoza Corzo and Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas.
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