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Friday, October 31, 2014

The Pope to the Catholic Fraternity of the Charismatic Renewal: seek unity without fearing diversity

Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – “Seek the unity which is the work of the Holy Spirit and do not be afraid of diversity”, said Pope Francis in his address to a thousand members of the Catholic Fraternity of the Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowship, who are about to begin their Sixteenth International Conference on the theme “Praise and Worship for a New Evangelisation”.

“Unity does not imply uniformity; it does not necessarily mean doing everything together or thinking in the same way”, he underlined. “Nor does it signify a loss of identity. Unity in diversity is actually the opposite: it involves the joyful recognition and acceptance of the various gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to each one and the placing of these gifts at the service of all members of the Church. It means knowing how to listen, to accept differences, and having the freedom to think differently and express oneself with complete respect towards the other who is my brother or sister. Do not be afraid of differences!”.

Referring to the programme, where the names of the Communities are mentioned, he noted that in the introduction there is the phrase, “to share the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the whole Church”, and reiterated that the Church and all Christians need to open their hearts to the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit ... reveals Jesus Christ to us, and leads us to a personal encounter with him. … Is this your experience? Share it with others! In order to share this experience, you must live it and bear witness to it!”

“Praise is the 'breath' which gives us life, because it is intimacy with God, an intimacy that grows through daily praise”, continued the Holy Father, explaining how spiritual life “works” by analogy with human respiration. “Breathing is made up of two stages: inhaling, the intake of air, and exhaling, the letting out of this air. The spiritual life is fed, nourished, by prayer and is expressed outwardly through mission: inhaling and exhaling. When we inhale, by prayer, we receive the fresh air of the Holy Spirit. When exhaling this air, we announce Jesus Christ risen by the same Spirit. No one can live without breathing. It is the same for the Christian: without praise and mission there is no Christian life. And with praise, worship. We rarely speak about worship. What do we do when we pray? We ask things of God, we give thanks … But worshipping and adoring God is part of breathing – praise and worship”.

The Pope emphasised that “Charismatic Renewal has reminded the Church of the necessity and importance of the prayer of praise”, which is “the recognition of the Lordship of God over us and over all creation expressed through dance, music and song. … The prayer of praise bears fruit in us. Sarah danced as she celebrated her fertility – at the age of ninety! This fruitfulness gives praise to God. … Together with the prayer of praise, the prayer of intercession is, in these days, a cry to the Father for our Christian brothers and sisters who are persecuted and murdered, and for the cause of peace in our turbulent world”.

“Charismatic Renewal is, by its very nature, ecumenical”, he remarked, citing the words of Blessed Paul VI : “The power of evangelisation will find itself considerably diminished if those who proclaim the Gospel are divided among themselves in all sorts of ways. Is this not perhaps one of the great sicknesses of evangelisation today? The Lord’s spiritual testament tells us that unity among his followers is not only the proof that we are his but also the proof that he is sent by the Father. It is the test of the credibility of Christians and of Christ himself. Yes, the destiny of evangelisation is certainly bound up with the witness of unity given by the Church'”.

Spiritual ecumenism, he concluded, is “praying and proclaiming together that Jesus is Lord, and coming together to help the poor in all their poverty. We must not forget that today the blood of Jesus, poured out by many Christian martyrs in various parts of the world, calls us and compels us towards the goal of unity. For persecutors, we are not divided: we are not Lutherans, Orthodox, Evangelicals, Catholics. No! We are one. For persecutors, we are Christians. It is an ecumenism of blood that we live today!”.

Pope Francis' prayer intentions for November

Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for November is: “That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others”.

His intention for evangelisation is: “That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors”.

Mission of the secretary of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” in Damascus

Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – From 28 to 31 October the secretary of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, visited Damascus in order to attend the meeting of the assembly of Catholic bishops in Syria.

Msgr. Dal Toso also met with various institutions, especially Catholic, that are currently involved in humanitarian aid activities in the country.

In these meetings, special appreciation was expressed for the commitment of the Holy Father and the Holy See to supporting the Christian communities and the population as a whole, who suffer as a result of the conflict, and for encouraging dialogue and reconciliation among the various parties.

Emphasis was also placed on the important role of Catholic aid organisms, who benefit all of the Syrian population. Through the generous contribution of the international community, in the face of growing need, this assistance will have to be intensified in the future.

The Holy See at the United Nations: climate change is not only an environmental problem, but also a matter of justice

Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – On 16 October Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, addressed the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, dedicated to “Sustainable development: protection of global climate for present and future generations”.

“While the impact of climate change is felt globally, developed and technologically advanced countries have greater capacity to adapt and mitigate the adverse effects, whereas developing and poor nations remain particularly vulnerable”, he said. “During the Climate Summit on September 23 and on many other occasions, we have heard the urgent pleas of Small Island States that climate change is an existential threat to them. This is paradoxical and unjust, given that the primary factors of climate change, like high consumption and high-quantity greenhouse gas emissions, characterize highly industrialised societies. That is why the Holy See believes that climate change is not only an environmental question; it is also a question of justice and a moral imperative”.

“It is a matter of justice to help poor and vulnerable people suffering the most from causes largely not of their making and beyond their control”, emphasised the archbishop. “One concrete step would be to make available to them the best in adaptation and mitigation technology. And now all eyes are already turned to the Twenty-first Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Eleventh Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which will take place in Paris in December 2015. There, the poor and the rich – indeed, all of us – will be winners if we can reach agreement on a post-2020 international regime, in which all the nations of the world, including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, bind themselves to a universal agreement on climate”.

“It is along this line that my delegation sees a relevance of the term 'responsibility to protect', not only in the humanitarian and human rights areas, but in the question of climate change as well. Everyone shares the responsibility to protect our planet and the human family. … Let us make the conscientious choice of refraining from lifestyles and behaviour that could worsen the state of our planet, and let us promote initiatives that protect and heal it. The world has become a village; thus, we must become more and more aware of this mutual and common responsibility. In particular, States have the grave duty to make policy decisions and devise monitoring structures to ensure that present and future generations live in a safe and worthy environment”, he concluded.


Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

- Bruno Neve de Mevergnies, new ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters;

- Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

- Archbishop Martin Krebs, apostolic nuncio in New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Tonga, and apostolic delegate in the Pacific Ocean;

- Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brasilia, Brazil.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Jean Mbarga of Ebolowa, Cameroon, as archbishop of Yaounde (area 23,807, population 1,594,000, Catholics 1,538,000, priests 138, religious 318), Cameroon. Bishop Mbarga was formerly apostolic administrator of the same archdiocese.

- The following consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints: Fr. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem., France, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Msgr. Alejandro Cifres Gimenez, Spain, archivist of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Fr. Paolo Carlotti, S.D.B., Italy, advisor to the Apostolic Penitentiary; Fr. Tomislav Mrkonjic, O.F.M. Conv., Croatia, scriptor of the Vatican Secret Archive; Fr. Paul Murray, O.P., Ireland, Institute of Spirituality of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome; Fr. Martin McKeever, C.S.S.R., Ireland, of the Alphonsianum Academy, Rome; Fr. Jordi-Agusti Pique i Collado, O.S.B., Spain, of the Liturgical Institute of the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome; Fr. Rocco Ronzani, O.S.A., Italy, of the Augustinianum Patristic Institute, Rome; Fr. Pablo Santiago Zambruno, O.P., of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome; Fr. Raffaele Di Muro, O.F.M. Conv., Italy, of the “San Bonaventura” Theological Faculty; Professor Gabriele Zaccagnini, Italy, of the University of Pisa; Professor Angela Ales Bello, of the Pontifical Academy of Theology.

In memoriam

Vatican City, 31 October 2014 (VIS) – The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Cirilo B. Flores of San Diego, California, U.S.A., on 6 September at the age of 66.

- Bishop Joseph Abangite Gasi, emeritus of Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan, on 12 September at the age of 86.

- Bishop Servilio Conti, I.M.C., prelate emeritus of Roraima, Brazil, on 14 September at the age of 97.

- Bishop Jose Luis Serna Alzate, emeritus of Libano-Honda, Colombia, on 28 September at the age of 78.

- Archbishop Carlo Curis, apostolic nuncio in Canada, on 29 September at the age of 90.

- Archbishop Angelo Mottola, apostolic nuncio in Montenegro, on 8 October at the age of 79.

- Bishop John Patrick Boles, ex-auxiliary of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on 9 October at the age of 84.

- Bishop Jose Hernan Sanchez Porras of the Military Ordinariate of Venezuela, on 13 October at the age of 70.

- Bishop Joao Corso, S.D.B., emeritus of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 15 October at the age of 86.

- Bishop Jose Refugio Mercado Diaz, auxiliary emeritus of Tehuantepec, Mexico, on 15 October at the age of 72.

- Bishop Patrick Paul D'Souza, emeritus of Varanasi, India, on 16 October at the age of 86.

- Bishop Paul Henry Walsh, auxiliary emeritus of Rockville Centre, New York, U.S.A., on 18 October at the age of 77.

- Bishop Peter Baptist Tadamaro Ishigami, O.F.M. Cap., emeritus of Naha, Japan, on 25 October at the age of 93.

- Bishop Manuel Revollo Crespo, C.M.F., coadjutor emeritus of the Bolivia Military Ordinariate, on 26 October at the age of 89.

- Bishop Mansour Hobeika of Zahleh, Lebanon, on 28 October at the age of 72.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Pope to the Old Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Union of Utrecht: build bridges of mutual understanding and practical cooperation

Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – “A spiritual journey from encounter to friendship, from friendship to brotherhood, and from brotherhood to communion” must be embarked upon by Catholics and Old Catholics to promote unity of the Church in Christ, Pope Francis affirmed this morning as he received the members of the the Conference of Old Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Union of Utrecht, whose visit to Rome coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree “Unitatis Redintegratio” on ecumenism, which marked the beginning of a new era in the search for unity among Christ’s disciples.

In his address, the Holy Father remarked that the work carried out during the intervening years by the International Roman Catholic / Old Catholic Dialogue Commission has made it possible to “build new bridges of a more profound mutual understanding and practical co-operation. ... Convergences and consensus have been found, and differences have been better identified and set in new contexts”.

“While we rejoice whenever we take steps towards a stronger communion in faith and life, we are also saddened when we recognise that in the course of time new disagreements between us have emerged”, he continued. “The theological and ecclesiological questions that arose during our separation are now more difficult to overcome due to the increasing distance between us on matters of ministry and ethical discernment. The challenge for Catholics and Old Catholics, then, is to persevere in substantive theological dialogue and to walk together, to pray together and to work together in a deeper spirit of conversion towards all that Christ intends for his Church. In this separation there have been, on the part of both sides, grave sins and human faults. In a spirit of mutual forgiveness and humble repentance, we need now to strengthen our desire for reconciliation and peace. The path towards unity begins with a change of heart, an interior conversion. It is a spiritual journey from encounter to friendship, from friendship to brotherhood, from brotherhood to communion. Along the way, change is inevitable. We must always be willing to listen to and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth”.

“In the meantime, in the heart of Europe, which is so confused about its own identity and vocation, there are many areas in which Catholics and Old Catholics can collaborate in meeting the profound spiritual crisis affecting individuals and societies. There is a thirst for God. There is a profound desire to recover a sense of purpose in life. There is an urgent need for a convincing witness to the truth and values of the Gospel. In this we can support and encourage one another, especially at the level of parishes and local communities. In fact, the soul of ecumenism lies in a 'change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians'. In prayer for and with one another our differences are taken up and overcome in fidelity to the Lord and his Gospel”, Pope Francis concluded.

Cardinal Lozano Barragan takes possession of his titular church

Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Saturday, 1 November, at 11 a.m., Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care), will take possession of the title of Santa Dorotea (Via di Santa Dorotea, 23).

The Holy See at the UN General Assembly: lasting peace based on mutual trust, beyond the logic of nuclear deterrent

Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – On 14 October, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations, spoke during the General Debate of the UNGA First Committee held in New York. “The past year has seen progress on the elimination of chemical weapons”, he affirmed; “yet reports of the continued use of chemical weapons, including chlorine gas, reminds the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate once and for all chemical weapons and any use as a weapon of dual-use chemicals”.

“With regard to nuclear weapons, the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which will be held in December in Vienna, Austria, is a sobering reminder of the deep frustration of the international community at the lack of speedy progress on nuclear disarmament, and of the inhuman and immoral consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction”. He remarked that the ninth Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference will take place very soon in New York, and that nearly all the States represented in the room are parties to the treaty. “The NPT’s central promise of nuclear weapons States to gradually disarm in exchange for non-nuclear-weapon States to refrain from acquiring nuclear arms remains at an impasse”.

As a consequence, he continued, the Holy See delegation “urges this Committee and the preparation for the ninth NPT Review Conference to focus on the need to move beyond nuclear deterrence, and work toward the establishment of lasting peace founded on mutual trust, rather than a state of mere non-belligerence founded on the logic of mutual destruction. In this regard, the Holy See urges all states to sign and/or ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without further delay, because it is a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime”, adding that the establishment of weapons of mass destruction free zones, in the opinion of the Holy See delegation, “would be a big step in the right direction, as it would demonstrate we can indeed move toward a universal agreement to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction”.

The archbishop concluded by emphasising that the Holy See “welcomes the progress, however modest, in the areas of conventional weapons”, but remains “deeply concerned that the flow of conventional arms continues to exacerbate conflicts around the globe”. He expressed the delegation’s hope that “this year’s session will respond to this challenge, and recognise the grave consequences of the proliferation and use of conventional weapons on human life throughout the world”.


Vatican City, 30 October 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

- Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, and entourage;

- Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, apostolic nuncio in Italy and the Republic of San Marino;

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

- Bishop Jose Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo, Mexico.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

General Audience: the relationship between the visible reality and spiritual nature of the Church

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The Church: spiritual nature and visible reality. “Two different things or a single Church?”, said the Pope in this Wednesday's general audience, returning in his catechesis to the theme of the Church. “If the Church is always one”, he continued, “how can we understand the relationship between the visible and spiritual reality?”.

Francis commented that when we speak about visible reality we must not think only of the Pope, bishops, priests, nuns and consecrated persons. “The visible reality of the Church is constituted by the many baptised brothers and sisters throughout the world who believe, hope and love. … The Church is all of us”. Therefore, the visible reality of the Church cannot be measured or known in its entirety. “How can we know all the wonders that Christ is capable of achieving through us, in the hearts and lives of people?” he said. “See: even the visible reality of the Church goes beyond our control, beyond our strength, and it is a mysterious reality, as it comes from God”.

To understand the relationship between the visible and spiritual realities of the Church we must look to Christ, “whose body is the Church and from whom She is generated, in an act of infinite love. Indeed, also in Christ, through the mystery of the Incarnation, we recognise a human nature and a divine reality, united in the same person in a wonderful and indissoluble way. This applies in a similar way to the Church … who is a mystery too, in which what we are unable to see is more important than what we can see, and can be recognised only with the eyes of faith”.

The Holy Father went on to ask how visible reality could be placed at the service of the spiritual nature of the Church, explaining that it is possible by following the example of Christ, “who made use of His humanity, as He was also a man, to announce and implement the divine plan for redemption and salvation, as He was God. Through her visible reality, from all that we see, the sacraments and the witness of all Christians, the Church is called each day to be close to every person, beginning with the poor; to the suffering and the marginalised, so as to make them aware of Jesus' compassionate and merciful gaze”.

Before concluding, he asked all the faithful present to pray for the gift of faith, “so that we are able to comprehend how, despite our limits and our poverty, the Lord has truly made us instruments of His grace and the visible sign of His love for all humanity. We can become the source of scandal, it is true. But we can also become the source of witness, saying through our lives what Jesus wants from us”.

Pope Francis' appeal to the international community: stop the spread of Ebola and assist the suffering

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – After today's catechesis, Pope Francis expressed his grave concern regarding the worsening of the Ebola epidemic, “this implacable disease that is spreading especially in Africa, and in particular among the most disadvantaged populations”.

The Holy Father expressed his affection and closeness in prayer to those affected, along with the doctors, nurses, volunteers, religious institutes and associations “who are making heroic efforts to help our stricken brothers and sisters”. He renewed his appeal to the international community “to take all necessary measures to eradicate the virus and to alleviate the suffering of those who are so sorely afflicted”.

Addressing the faithful present in St. Peter's Square, he concluded, “I invite you to pray for them and for those who have lost their lives”.

Statistics on the Catholic Church in Turkey

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father will make an apostolic visit to Turkey from 28 to 30 November. The following statistical data on the Catholic Church in the country is provided by the Central Office of Church Statistics.

Turkey has an area of 774,815 square kilometres and a population of 76,140,000 inhabitants of whom 53,000 are Catholics – 0.07 % of the population. There are 7 ecclesiastic circumscriptions, 54 parishes and 13 pastoral centres. The work of the apostolate is carried out by 6 bishops, 58 priests, 7 male religious and 54 female religious, and 2 permanent deacons. There are 2 lay members of secular institutes, 7 lay missionaries and 68 catechists. There are 4 major seminarians.

In addition, the Catholic Church in Turkey has 23 educational centres consisting of pre-schools, primary schools, middle schools and secondary schools, as well as 6 centres of special education. There are also 3 hospitals, 2 clinics and 5 homes for the elderly and disabled.

Private and informal meeting between the Pope and President Evo Morales: affection and closeness to the people and Church of Bolivia

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., explained yesterday afternoon that President Evo Morales’ visit to the Vatican was due to his attendance at the International Meeting of Popular Movements, organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”. Participants in the event received in audience by the Pope on the morning of 28 October.

The visit was not, therefore, organised through the usual diplomatic channels. The private and informal meeting between the Holy Father and the President which took place yesterday evening was an expression of affection and closeness to the Bolivian people and Church, and of support for the improvement of relations between the authorities and the Church within the country.

The Holy See in the United Nations: peace must be negotiated in the Middle EastOther Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York participated in the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question. The nuncio's address, structured in six points, focuses on the Holy See's conviction that peace in the Middle East may be achieved only through negotiation and not by unilateral decisions imposed by force.

“As regards the Israeli-Palestinian question, the Holy See reiterates its support for a two State solution”, he affirmed. “Israel and Palestine, with the vigorous support of the competent organs of the United Nations and of the whole international community, must work toward the final objective, which is the realisation of the right of the Palestinians to have their own State, sovereign and independent, and of the right of the Israelis to peace and security”.

“As regards the horrific situation in Syria”, he continued, “the Holy See urgently calls on all parties to stop the massive violations of international humanitarian law and fundamental human rights, and on the international community to help the parties find a solution. There is no other way to alleviate and put an end to the untold sufferings of the entire nation, where half of its population needs humanitarian assistance and around a third has been displaced”.

With regard to Lebanon, “the Holy See calls for international solidarity, at this time that the country is gravely affected by the Syrian crisis and by the massive presence of refugees, and exhorts Lebanon to find a solution as soon as possible to the vacancy of the Presidency of the Republic. The Holy See reaffirms its support for a sovereign and free Lebanon. Lebanon is a 'message', a 'sign' full of hope for the coexistence of the various groups that form it”.

Turning to the “grave violations and abuses committed by the so-called 'Islamic State' in Iraq and Syria, the competent organs of the United Nations must act to prevent possible new genocides and to assist the increasing number of refugees. The Holy See appeals in particular for the protection of the ethnic and religious groups, including the Christian communities, who are specifically targeted and victimised because of their ethnic origins and religious beliefs. The Holy See insists on the respect of the right of these communities and all the displaced persons to return to their homes and to live in dignity and safety”.

“The Holy See hopes that the United Nations take the escalating, ruthless phenomenon of international terrorism as an occasion to urgently re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of the responsibility to protect people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and all forms of unjust aggression. With lessons learned from our failure to stop recent horrors of genocide and presently confronted with blatant, massive violations of fundamental human rights and of international humanitarian law, the time is for courageous decisions”, urged the Permanent Observer.

“The Holy See reiterates its call to all the religious leaders in the region and everywhere in the world to play a leading role in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, in promptly denouncing every use of religion to justify violence, and in educating all to reciprocal understanding and mutual respect”, the nuncio concluded.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Giuseppe Negri, P.I.M.E., of Blumenau, Brazil, as coadjutor of the diocese of Santo Amaro, (area 563, population 3,281,000, Catholics 2,624,000, priests 192, religious 448), Brazil.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Pope in the World Meeting of Popular Movements: combat the structural causes of poverty

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Synod Hall the Holy Father met with participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements (27 to 29 October), organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences and with the leaders of various movements.

The Pope spoke about the term solidarity, “a word that is not always well accepted”, that is much maligned and almost “unrepeatable”; however it is a word that indicates much more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It means thinking and acting in terms of community, of prioritising the life of all over and above the appropriation of goods by the few. It also means fighting the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, lack of land and housing, and the denial of social and labour rights. It means facing the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced displacement, painful migration, human trafficking, drugs, war, violence and all these situations that many of you suffer and that we are all called upon to transform. Solidarity, in its deepest sense, is a way of making history and this is what the popular movements do”.

He went on to remark that this meeting does not correspond to any form of ideology and that the movements work not with ideas, but with reality. “It is not possible to tackle poverty by promoting containment strategies to merely reassure, rendering the poor 'domesticated' , harmless and passive”, he continued. “This meeting corresponds to a more concrete desire, that any father or mother would want for their children: an aspiration that should be within the reach of all but which we sadly see is increasingly unavailable to the majority: land, housing and work. It is strange, but if I talk about this, there are those who think that the Pope is communist”.

“Today, the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression assumes a new dimension, a graphical and hard edge of social injustice: those that cannot be integrated, the marginalised, are discarded, “cast-offs”. This is the throwaway culture … This happens when the centre of an economic system is the god of money and not humanity, the human person. At the centre of every social or economic system there must be the person, the image of God, created as the denominator of the universe. When humanity is displaced and supplanted by money, this disruption of values occurs”.

Pope Francis mentioned the problem of unemployment, and added that “every worker, whether or not he is part of the formal system of paid work, has the right to fair remuneration, social security and a pension. 'Cartoneros', those who live by recycling waste, street vendors, garment makers, craftspeople, fishermen, farmers, builders, miners, workers in companies in receivership, cooperatives and common trades that are excluded from employment rights, who are denied the possibility of forming trades unions, who do not have an adequate or stable income. Today I wish to unite my voice to theirs and to accompany them in their struggle”.

He went on the mention the theme of peace and ecology. “We cannot strive for land, housing, or work if we are not able to maintain peace or if we destroy the planet. … Creation is not our property, that we may exploit as we please; far less so, the property of the few. Creation is a gift, a wonderful gift that God gave us, to care for and to use for the benefit of all, always with respect and gratitude”.

“Why, instead of this, are we accustomed to seeing decent work destroyed, the eviction of many families, the expulsion of peasants from the land, war and the abuse of nature? Because this system has removed humanity from the centre and replaced it with something else! Because of the idolatrous worship of money! Because of the globalisation of indifference – 'what does it matter to me what happens to others, I'll defend myself'”. Because the world has forgotten God, the Father: it has become an orphan because it has turned aside from God”.

He emphasised that “Christians have something very good, a guide to action, a revolutionary programme, we might say. I strongly recommend that you read it, that you read the Beatitudes”.

He concluded by highlighting the importance of walking together and remarking that “popular movements express the urgent need to revitalise our democracies, that are so often hijacked by many factors. It is impossible to imagine a future for society without the active participation of the majority, and this role extends beyond the logical procedures of formal democracy”.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Richard Daniel Alarcon Urrutia of Tarma, Peru as metropolitan archbishop of Cuzco (area 23,807, population 1,594,000, Catholics 1,538,000, priests 138, religious 318), Peru.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Audience with the President of Uganda: peaceful co-existence between social and religious groups

Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the president of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on certain aspects of life in the country and the good relations existing between the Holy See and the Republic of Uganda were highlighted, with particular reference to the fundamental contribution of the Catholic Church and her collaboration with institutions in the educational, social and healthcare sectors. Furthermore, the importance of peaceful co-existence between the various social and religious components of the country was underlined.

Finally, mention was made of various questions of an international nature, with special attention to the conflicts affecting certain areas of Africa.

Francis in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emphasises the responsibility of humanity in creation

Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father attended the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held in the Casina Pio IV, during which he inaugurated a bust of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, whom he described as “a great Pope. Great for the strength and penetration of his intelligence, great for his important contribution to theology, great for his love of the Church and of human beings, great for his virtue and religiosity”. He recalled that Benedict XVI was the first to invite a president of this Academy to participate in the Synod on new evangelisation, “aware of the importance of science in modern culture”.

Pope Francis chose not to focus on the complex issue of the evolution of nature, the theme the Academy will consider during this session, emphasising however that “God and Christ walk with us and are also present in nature”. “When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magus, with a magic wand able to make everything. But it is not so. He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive and their fullness of being. He gave autonomy to the beings of the Universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality. And so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a conjurer, but the Creator who gives being to all things. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Origin that creates out of love. The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve”.

He continued, “With regard to man, instead, there is a change and something new. When, on the sixth day of the account in Genesis, man is created, God gives the human being another autonomy, an autonomy that is different to that of nature, which is freedom. And he tells man to name everything and to go ahead through history. This makes him responsible for creation, so that he might dominate it in order to develop it until the end of time. Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature. But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realise, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the Creator. So, while limited, the action of humanity is part of God's power and is able to build a world suited to his dual corporal and spiritual life; to build a human world for all human beings and not for a group or a class of privileged persons. This hope and trust in God, the Creator of nature, and in the capacity of the human spirit can offer the researcher a new energy and profound serenity. But it is also true that the action of humanity – when freedom becomes autonomy – which is not freedom, but autonomy – destroys creation and man takes the place of the Creator. And this is the grave sin against God the Creator”, he concluded.

Angelus: love is the measure of faith

Vatican City, 26 October 2014 (VIS) – More than eighty thousand people prayed the Angelus with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square this Sunday. Before the Marian prayer the Holy Father commented on today's Gospel reading, in which he reiterated that all of the divine Law may be summarised in love for God and neighbour: two sides of the same coin.

Pope Francis explained that according to the evangelist Matthew, some Pharisees agreed to put Jesus to the test by asking him which commandment was the most important in the Law. Jesus, citing the book of Deuteronomy, answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment”. “He could have stopped there”, said the bishop of Rome. “Instead, Jesus adds something else that was not asked by the expert of the Law. Indeed, he said: 'And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself'. Even this second commandment is not invented by Jesus, but rather taken from the Book of Leviticus. Its newness consists precisely in putting together these two commandments - the love for God and love for one's neighbour - revealing that they are inseparable and complementary, they are two sides of the same coin. You cannot love God without loving your neighbour and you can’t love your neighbour without loving God”.

Indeed, “the visible sign that a Christian can show to give witness to the world … of the love of God is the love of his brethren. The commandment of love for God and one's neighbour is the first not because it is the first in the list of commandment. Jesus does not place it at the top, but rather at the centre since it is the heart from which everything must begin and to which everything must return and refer to. … In the light of Jesus' words, love is the measure of faith, and faith is the soul of love. We can never separate religious life from the service of the brothers and sisters, to those real brethren we meet. We can never divide prayer, the encounter with God in the Sacraments, from listening to others, from closeness to their lives and especially to their wounds”.

“In the midst of the dense forest of precepts and prescriptions – the legalisms of yesterday and today – Jesus opens up a gap through which we can glimpse two faces: the face of the Father and that of the brother. He does not give us two rules or two precepts: he gives us two faces. Or rather, it is one face: that of God that is reflected in the faces of so many, because in the face of every brother and sister, especially the least, the fragile, the helpless and the needy, the very image of God is present”.

“In this way, Jesus offers every man and woman the fundamental criteria on which to base their lives”, concluded Francis. “But above all, He gives us the Holy Spirit, which enables us to love God and our neighbour like Him, with a free and generous heart. Through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, let us open ourselves to receive this gift of love, always to follow the path of this law, of the two faces that are one face, the law of love”.

Following the Marian prayer, the Holy Father commented that on Saturday in Sao Paulo in Brazil, Mother Assunta Marchetti was proclaimed Blessed. Born in Italy, she was the co-founder of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (the “Scalabrini”). “She was a nun who was exemplary in the service of orphans of Italian immigrants. She saw Jesus in the poor, in orphans, in the sick, in migrants. Let us give thanks to the Lord for this woman, a model of tireless missionary spirit and courageous dedication in the service of charity”.

Pope's message to participants in the congress “In precariousness, hope”

Vatican City, 25 October 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in the national congress organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference in Salerno, Italy, on the theme “In precariousness, hope”. The aim of the conference is to offer, especially to the younger generations, prospects of hope at a time characterised by uncertainty, restlessness and great change.

“In my visits in Italy, and in my encounters with the people, I have been able to encounter first-hand the situation of many young people who are jobless, in receipt of unemployment insurance, or in precarious work”, Francis writes. “But this is not only an economic problem – it is a problem of dignity. Where there is no work, there is no dignity – there lacks the experience of the dignity of bringing bread home to the table. And unfortunately, in Italy, there are very many young people without work”.

“Working means planning one's own future, deciding to establish a family. There is truly a sensation that the current moment is the 'passion of the young'. This throwaway culture is very strong: everything that does not bring profit is discarded. The young are cast aside, because they are without work. But this means discarding the future of the people, as the young represent the future of the people. We must say 'no' to this 'throwaway culture'”.

While, however, there is precariousness, the Pope observed that there is also hope, as the title of the congress affirms. “How can we make sure that we are not robbed of hope by the 'shifting sands' of precariousness? With the strength of the Gospel. The Gospel is a source of hope, because it comes from God and because it comes from Jesus Christ, who sympathised with all our precariousness”.

“You are young people who belong to the Church”, concludes the Holy Father, “and you therefore have the gift and the responsibility of bringing the strength of the Gospel to this social and cultural situation”, because “the Gospel generates care for others, the culture of encounter and solidarity. Thus, with the strength of the Gospel, you will be witnesses of hope in precariousness”.

Cardinal Parolin: the obstacles to development derive from a distorted vision of the human being and economic activity

Vatican City, 25 October 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, 24 October, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke at the conference organised by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies dedicated to the theme of “Human Dignity and Human Development”, marking the inauguration of the University of Notre Dame Global Gateway.

The cardinal observed that “the topics which have been discussed show that, in speaking of the relationship between development and human dignity, the terms 'economy', 'economic systems' and the like, can all be employed as synonyms for the term 'development'. This in itself helps us to appreciate better the challenges we face in promoting human dignity. Development is in fact closely linked to the proper management of resources in poorer countries, and the economic decisions made by wealthy countries, which have positive or negative repercussions on the economy of developing countries. But the more fundamental reason for beginning with economics is that the Church’s social teaching has constantly emphasised that the greatest obstacles to universal and integral human development are found in a distorted vision of man and economic activity, one which threatens the dignity of the human person”.

The secretary of State remarked on the continuity between of Francis' magisterium and that of his predecessors, especially Benedict XVI, who “using very similar words, warn that the problems of development and the just regulation of the economy remain insoluble without a holistic vision of the human person and a commitment to constant and coherent moral standards firmly grounded in the natural law and the pursuit of the common good”. As Benedict XVI writes in his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”, “development will never be fully guaranteed through automatic or impersonal forces, whether they derive from the market or from international politics. Development is impossible without upright men and women, without financiers and politicians whose consciences are finely attuned to the requirements of the common good”.

“Conversion of mind and heart is thus required if economic activity as a whole is to be genuinely directed to integral human development”, Cardinal Parolin emphasised. “A 'Promethean faith' in the market, or in other ideologies and forms of aprioristic thinking, will need to be replaced by faith in God and a transcendent vision of men and women as God’s children. This in turn will lead to intellectual conversion in the sense of developing an economic science and praxis which begins with an integral understanding of the human person, that is placed at the service of human development, and is capable of orienting production and consumption to authentic human fulfilment, in our relationship with God and with our neighbour”.


Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, apostolic nuncio in Senegal, Capo Verde and Guinea-Bissau, and apostolic delegate in Mauritania;

- A delegation from the Jewish Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

On Saturday, 25 October, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;

- Carlos Federico de la Riva Guerra, ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, on his farewell visit;

- Maron Curi, president of the “Consejo Nacional Union Cultural Argentino Libanese.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Bernardino C. Cortez as bishop-prelate of the prelature of Infanta (area 7,189, population 516,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 41, religious 132), Philippines. Bishop Cortez was previously auxiliary of Manila, Philippines.

On Saturday, 25 October, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Quesnel Alphonse, S.M.M., auxiliary of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as bishop of Fort-Liberte (area 1,600, population 498,000, Catholics 371,000, priests 48, religious 69), Haiti.

Friday, October 24, 2014

To the Oriental Lumen Foundation: there is no true ecumenical dialogue without the will for inner renewal

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – “Every Christian pilgrimage is not only a geographical journey, but also and above all an opportunity to take a path of inner renewal taking us ever closer to Christ our Lord”, said Pope Francis to the members of the Oriental Lumen Foundation in America, who are meeting in Rome in these days as part of an ecumenical pilgrimage.

“These dimensions are absolutely essential to proceed along the road that leads us to reconciliation and full communion among all believers in Christ. There is no true ecumenical dialogue without openness to inner renewal and the search for greater fidelity to Christ and to His will”.

The Holy Father expressed his satisfaction at learning that the pilgrims had decided to honour the memory of Popes St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, remarking that “this decision underlines their great contribution to the development of ever closer relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches. The example of these two saints is without doubt enriching for all of us, since they always bore witness to an ardent passion for Christian unity”.

The Pope asked those present to pray for him during their pilgrimage to Rome, “so that, with the intercession of these two Saints, my predecessors, I may carry out my ministry as bishop of Rome in the service of the communion and unity of the Church, always following the will of the Lord”. With regard to the pilgrims' upcoming meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holinesss Bartholomaio I, in Fanar, he remarked that he too will meet with the Patriarch during his apostolic trip to Turkey in November. “I beg you to convey to him my cordial and fraternal greetings, as testimony of my affection and esteem”.

Holy Father's calendar for November 2014

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in November:

Saturday, 1: Solemnity of All Saints. At 4 p.m., Holy Mass at the Cemetery of Verano, Rome.

Sunday, 2: Solemnity of All Souls. At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Crypts, a moment of prayer for deceased Supreme Pontiffs.

Monday,3: At 11.30 a.m., Holy Mass for cardinals and bishops who died during this past year.

Sunday, 23: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. At 10.30 a.m. in the Papal Chapel, Holy Mass for the canonisation of Blesseds Giovanni Antonio Farina, Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family, Ludovico da Casoria, Nicola da Longobardi, Eufrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart and Amato Ronconi.

Friday 28 to Sunday 30: Apostolic trip to Turkey.

World Meeting of Popular Movements: the excluded are the motor of social change

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present the World Meeting of Popular Movements, to be held in Rome from 27 to 29 October. The event was organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences and the leaders of various movements.

The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of “Justice and Peace”, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, and Juan Grabois, head of the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy, dedicated principally to organisations and movements for the excluded and marginalised.

Grabois knew Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and emphasised that the then-Cardinal Bergoglio sympathised with the struggle of excluded workers in very difficult moments, and accompanied them in the work of assisting the cartoneros, peasants, those forced to live on the streets and, in general, the heirs of a crisis brought on by neoliberal capitalism. “Francis summons us again today, from a universal perspective; he calls to the poor, organised in thousands of popular movements, to fight, without arrogance but with courage, without violence but with tenacity, for this dignity that has been taken from us, and for social justice”.

“Our encounter responds mainly to concrete and simple objectives we share and want to pass on to our children and grandchildren, but that are increasingly harder for the popular majority to reach: land, housing and work”, he continued, also expressing the need to promote the organisation of the poor “to construct from grass-roots level a human alternative to this exclusionary globalisation that has robbed us of our sacred rights to housing, work, land, the environment and peace”.

The World Meeting of Popular Movements will be attended by the social leaders of the five continents, representing organisations of increasingly excluded social sectors: workers in precarious employment conditions; migrants; temporary workers; the unemployed and those those who are self-employed, without legal protection, labour rights or union recognition; peasants; the landless; indigenous peoples and those at risk of expulsion from the fields as a result of agricultural speculation and violence; and those who live in the peripheries and in temporary settlements, often migrants and displaced peoples, who are marginalised, forgotten, and without adequate urban infrastructure. Alongside them there are trades unions and social, charitable and human rights organisations, who have demonstrated their closeness to these movements and who, it has been suggested, might accompany them, respecting the role of grass-roots movements.

“The aims of the meeting include sharing Pope Francis' thought on social matters, debating the causes of growing social inequality and the increase in exclusion throughout the world, reflecting on the organisational experiences of popular movements and the resolution of problems regarding land, housing and work, evaluating the role of movements in the processes of peace-building and care for the environment, especially in regions affected by conflicts and disputes over natural resources, discussing the relationship between popular movements and the Church, and how to go ahead in the creation of joint and permanent collaboration”.

Grabois emphasised the importance of the two acts with which the meeting will conclude: the publication of a final declaration with the widest consensus possible, and the constitution of a Council of Popular Movements which will work to establish possible cases of global level collaboration.

Cardinal Turkson stated that it was essential for both the Church and the world to “listen to the cry for justice” from the excluded; “not only to the sufferings, but also to the expectations, hopes and proposals which the marginalised themselves have. They must be protagonists of their own lives, and not simply passive recipients of the charity or plans of others. They must be protagonists of the needed economic and social, political and cultural changes. ... The Church wants to make its own the needs and aspirations of the popular movements, and to join with those who, by means of different initiatives, are making every effort to stimulate social change towards a more just world”.


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, apostolic nuncio in Nigeria, and Holy See permanent observer at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS);

- delegation from the World Union of Catholic Teachers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Audience with Prime Minister of Grenada: Catholic Churh's Crontribution in Responding to Challenges Facing the Country

Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received the Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

In the course of the cordial conversations, the parties focused on the good relations existing between the Holy See and Grenada, as well as the important contribution made by the Catholic Church in the educational, social, and charitable spheres, to meet the challenges of the country, especially with regard to youth. In this regard, the need for cooperation between all of the social services, in order to promote the common good and the development of the country, was affirmed.

Pope to Association of Penal Law: Corruption is Greater Evil than Sin

Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father received delegates from the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP), addressing them with a speech focusing on the issues in their subject area that have recourse to the Church in her mission of evangelization and the promotion of the human person.

The Pope began by recalling the need for legal and political methods that are not characterized by the mythological “scapegoat” logic, that is, of an individual unjustly accused of the misfortunes that befall a community and then chosen to be sacrificed. It is also necessary to refute the belief that legal sanctions carry benefit, which requires the implementation of inclusive economic and social policies. He reiterated the primacy of the life and dignity of the human person, reaffirming the absolute condemnation of the death penalty, the use of which is rejected by Christians. In this context he also talked about the so-called extrajudicial executions, that is, the deliberated killing of individuals by some states or their agents that are presented as the unintended consequence of the reasonable, necessary, and proportionate use of force to implement the law. He emphasized that the death penalty is used in totalitarian regimes as “an instrument of suppression of political dissent or of persecution of religious or cultural minorities”.

He then spoke of the conditions of prisoners, including prisoners who have not been convicted and those convicted without a trial, stating that pretrial detention, when used improperly, is another modern form of unlawful punishment that is hidden behind legality. He also referred to the deplorable prison condition in much of the world, sometimes due to lack of infrastructure while other instances are the result of “the arbitrary exercise of ruthless power over detainees”. Pope Francis also spoke about torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment, stating that, in the world today, torture is used not only as a means to achieve a particular purpose, such as a confession or an accusation—practices that are characteristic of a doctrine of national security—but also adds to the evil of detention. Criminal code itself bears responsibility for having allowed, in certain cases, the legitimacy of torture under certain conditions, opening the way for further abuse.

The Pope did not forget the application of criminal sanctions against children and the elderly, condemning its use in both cases. He also recalled some forms of crime that seriously damage the dignity of the human person as well as the common good, including human trafficking, slavery—recognized as a crime against humanity as well as a war crime in both international law and under many nations’ laws—the abject poverty in which more than a billion people live, and corruption. “The scandalous accumulation of global wealth is possible because of the connivance of those with strong powers who are responsible for public affairs. Corruption is a process of death … more evil than sin. An evil that, instead of being forgiven, must be cured.”

Caution in the application of penal codes,” he concluded, “must be the overarching principle of legal systems … and respect for human dignity must not only act to limit the arbitrariness and excesses of government agents but as the guiding criterion for prosecuting and punishing behaviors that represent the most serious attacks on the dignity and integrity of the human person.”


Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio to France,

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples,

- Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 23 October 2014 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Abbot Donato Ogliari, O.S.B., as abbot of the territorial abbey of Montecassino, Italy. He formerly served as abbot of the Santa Maria della Scala Monastery in Noci, Italy. The Holy Father has, at the same time, applied the Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Catholica” to the Abbey of Montecassino with a subsequent reduction of its territory, providing that: the territory on which stand the Abbey Church and Monastery belongs to the new territorial configuration of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction “Territorial Abbey of Montecassino”, effective immediately. The 53 parishes with their faithful, secular and religious clergy, religious communities, and semiarians pass to the pastoral care of the Diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, which will now be named Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

General Audience: The Church is the Body of Christ!

Vatican City, 22 October 2014 (VIS) -This morning, the Holy Father gave a general audience in St. Peter’s Square. An hour earlier he received the athletes of the Bayern Munich Football Club in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

At the general audience, after traversing the square in his Popemobile greeting the faithful present, he continued his series of catechesis on the Church.Today’s mediation focused on the Church as the Body of Christ. Pope Francis defined the Church as “a masterpiece of the Spirit that instills in all the new life of the risen Christ, placing us side by side to serve and support one another, thus making of us one body, built in communion and love”. He emphasized, however, that it is not just “a body built in the Spirit – the Church is the Body of Christ. This is not just a figure of speech. It is what we truly are! It is the great gift that we received on the day of our Baptism!”
The Pope noted that it would be good to remind ourselves more often of what we are and of what the Lord Jesus has made of us. “We are His body,” he stated, “a body that nothing and nobody can snatch away from him and that He fills with all His passion and love just as a husband loves his wife”. He also noted that divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings, and marginalizations “are not good because, instead of building up and growing the Church as the Body of Christ, it is fractured into many pieces and dismembered”.

He recalled some advice that the Apostle Paul gave to the Corinthians, who at the time were facing the same difficulties. It is apt advice for us today: “We should not be jealous but, in our communities, we should appreciate the gifts and qualities of our brothers and sisters. We should draw near to and participate in the suffering of the poor and the most needy. We should express our gratitude to all. Finally,” he concluded, “we should not consider ourselves as superior to others but should, in charity, think of ourselves as members of one another, living and giving of ourselves to the benefit of all.”

At the end of the catechism, Francis greeted the pilgrims and gathered faithful in different languages. He especially addressed the employees of Meridiana airlines, based in the Tempio-Ampurias Diocese of Sardinia, Italy, who are experiencing a very difficult moment of uncertainty regarding their jobs. “I hope,” he said, “that you can reach an equitable solution that takes into account, above all, the dignity of the human person and the essential needs of the families. I send this appeal to all those responsible: please, no family without a job!”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Programme of Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Turkey

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today confirmed that His Holiness Francis, accepting the invitation issued by the civil authorities, His Holiness Bartolomaios I and the bishops, will make an apostolic trip to Turkey from 28 to 30 November 2014, during which he will visit Ankara and Istanbul.

The Pope will leave on the morning of Friday 28 from Rome's Fiumicino Airport, and will arrive at Esenboga Airport, Ankara at approximately 1 pm. He will first visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, after which he will transfer to the presidential palace where he will be received by the president of the Republic and the authorities, to be followed by a meeting with the Prime Minister. He will subsequently visit the president of Religious Affairs in the Diyanet.

On the following day, Saturday 29, the Holy Father will travel by air to Istanbul where he will visit the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, and the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, where he will celebrate Mass. Later, in the patriarchal Church of St. George, there will be an ecumenical prayer and a private meeting with His Holiness Bartholomaios I.

On Sunday 30 Pope Francis will celebrate Mass privately with the apostolic delegation. In the patriarchal Church of St. George a divine liturgy will take place, followed by an ecumenical blessing and the signing of the Joint Declaration. In the afternoon the Holy Father will return to Istanbul Airport to return to Rome, where he is expected to arrive, at Fiumicino Airport, at 6.40 p.m.

The responsibility to protect and the rule of law

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – A state based on the principles of rule of law and justice was the central theme of the address given on 13 October at the United Nations in New York by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See permanent observer at the United Nations, during the 69th session of the General Assembly.

“While commitment to the rule of law would appear to be universal, there nonetheless remains persistent disagreement about the definition of 'the rule of law'. The Holy See Delegation has endorsed a definition of the rule of law, which is both rationally and morally grounded upon the substantial principles of justice, including the inalienable dignity and value of every human person prior to any law or social consensus; and, as a consequence of the recognition of this dignity, those elements of fundamental justice such as respect for the principle of legality (Nullum crimen sine lege), the presumption of innocence and the right to due process. Likewise, regarding relations among States, the rule of law means the paramount respect of human rights, equality of the rights of nations; and respect for international customary law, treaties (Pacta sunt servanda) and other sources of international law. This definition, with its reference point in the natural law, sidesteps self-referential definitional frameworks and anchors the orientation of the rule of law within the ultimate and essential goal of all law, namely to promote and guarantee the dignity of the human person and the common good.

“For this reason, in future debates of the rule of law my delegation would welcome increased attention to the human person and the society in which he or she lives, because, in addition to the police force, courts, judges, prosecutors and the rest of the legal infrastructure, the rule of law is unattainable without social trust, solidarity, civic responsibility, good governance and moral education. The family, religious communities and civil society play indispensable roles in creating a society that can promote public integrity and sustain the rule of law. As Pope Francis affirmed: 'When a society, whether local, national or global, is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquillity'. This is why the promotion of the rule of law needs to be indispensably supported and verified by prioritising the allocation of public resources to human integral development.

Archbishop Auza went on to observe that the UN Charter and the mandates contained within its purposes and principles are at the centre of the international framework governing rule of law. “In the exercise of these powers, it is appropriate to emphasise the commitment of States to fulfil their obligations to promote universal respect for, and the promotion and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. If the international rule of law is to reflect justice, frameworks to international protection of persons must be fairly and impartially applied by States to guarantee equal recourse to the protections available under the UN Charter. I refer here in particular to religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and other regions awaiting urgent measures to effect this protection, including through further legal elaboration of the responsibility to protect”.

He continued, “the 'responsibility to protect' is a recognition of the equality of all before the law, based on the innate dignity of every man and woman. The Holy See wishes to reaffirm that every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights and from the consequences of humanitarian crises. If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the UN Charter and in other international instruments. The action of the international institutions, provided that it respects the principles undergirding the international order, cannot be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty”.

Finally, the nuncio reiterated that the Holy See hopes that the “alarming, escalating phenomenon of international terrorism, new in some of its expressions and utterly ruthless in its barbarity, be an occasion for a deeper and more urgent study on how to re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of our common responsibility to protect people from all forms of unjust aggression”.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Francis in the Consistory: we cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians

Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the New Synod Hall, there commenced the Ordinary Public Consistory, presided at by Pope Francis, for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa. and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, foundress of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament.

The Holy Father wished to dedicate the opening of the Consistory to the Middle East, and in particular, the situation experienced by Christians. Francis thanked those brothers from the region for their presence, remarking that “We share a desire for peace and stability in the Middle East, and the will the promote the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, reconciliation and political commitment. At the same time, we would like to give all the help possible to Christian communities to support them in remaining in the region. … We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who have profess the name of Jesus there for over two thousand years”.

The Pope emphasised his concerns regarding recent events, especially in Iraq and Syria. “We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism on an unimaginable scale”, he commented. “Many of our brothers and sisters are brutally persecuted and driven from their homes. It seems that an awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it as is if people do not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And unfortunately all this encounters indifference on the part of many”.

“This unjust situation requires, aside from our constant prayer, an adequate response on the part of the international community. I am sure that, with the Lord's help, today's meeting will produce valid reflections and suggestions to enable us to help our brothers who suffer, and also to face the crisis of the reduction of the Christian presence in the land where Christianity was born and from where it spread”.

Pope Francis closes the Synod and beatifies Paul VI

Vatican City, 19 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Mass celebrated at 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square this morning, during which Pope Paul VI was proclaimed Blessed, closed the Synod of Bishops devoted to “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. The ceremony was attended by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and 70,000 faithful from all over the world, and the Holy Father concelebrated with the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops and presbyters who took part in the Synod.

Following the rite of beatification and the Gospel reading, Francis pronounced a homily in which he emphasised that during the Synod, the participants felt “felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church ... called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost it”. He described the new Blessed as a “courageous Christian, a tireless apostle and the great helmsman of the Council”.

“We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s'. Goaded by the Pharisees who want to put him to the test in matters of religion, Jesus gives this ironic and brilliant reply. It is a striking phrase which the Lord has bequeathed to all those who experience qualms of conscience, particularly when their comfort, their wealth, their prestige, their power and their reputation are in question. This happens all the time; it always has”.

He continued, “Jesus puts the stress on the second part of the phrase: 'and [render] to God the things that are God’s'. This means acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other. This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises. God is not afraid of the new! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways. He renews us: he constantly makes us 'new'. A Christian who lives the Gospel is 'God’s newness' in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this 'newness'!”.

“'Rendering to God the things that are God’s' means being docile to his will, devoting our lives to him and working for his kingdom of mercy, love and peace. Here is where our true strength is found; here is the leaven which makes it grow and the salt which gives flavour to all our efforts to combat the prevalent pessimism which the world proposes to us. Here too is where our hope is found, for when we put our hope in God we are neither fleeing from reality nor seeking an alibi: instead, we are striving to render to God what is God’s. That is why we Christians look to the future, God’s future. It is so that we can live this life to the fullest – with our feet firmly planted on the ground – and respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way”.

“In these days, during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops, we have seen how true this is. 'Synod' means 'journeying together'. And indeed pastors and lay people from every part of the world have come to Rome, bringing the voice of their particular Churches in order to help today’s families walk the path the Gospel with their gaze fixed on Jesus. It has been a great experience, in which we have lived synodality and collegiality, and felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church. For the Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost it. For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul 'we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers'. May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in true freedom and humble creativity, continue to guide the journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015. We have sown and we continued to sow, patiently and perseveringly, in the certainty that it is the Lord who gives growth to what we have sown”.

Pope Francis went on to focus on the figure of Pope Paul VI, recalling on the day of his beatification the words with which he established the Synod of Bishops: “by carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods… to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society”.

“When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thank you. Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church. In his personal journal, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: 'Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour'”.

The Holy Father concluded, “In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularised and hostile society, he was able to hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord. Paul VI truly 'rendered to God what is God’s' by devoting his whole life to the 'sacred, solemn and serious task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ', loving the Church and leading her so that she might be 'a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation'”.

Angelus: Paul VI, tireless supporter of the missio ad gentes

Vatican City, 19 October 2014 (VIS) – Following the Holy Mass for the closure of the Synod of Bishops and before praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims from Italy, especially the dioceses of Brescia, Milan and Roma, closely linked to the life and ministry of Paul VI.

The new Blessed, said Pope Francis, was a tireless supporter of the missio ad gentes, as shown above all by the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii nuntiandi”, with which he sought to reawaken “zeal for and commitment to the mission of the Church. It is important to conside this aspect of Paul VI's papacy today, the very day we celebrate World Mission Sunday”.

“Before invoking Our Lady together with the Angelus prayer, I would like to underline Blessed Paul VI's profound marian devotion. The Christian people will always be grateful to this pontiff for the apostolic exhortation 'Marialis cultus' and for having proclaimed Mary as 'Mother of the Church', on the occasion of the closure of the third session of Vatican Council II. Mary, Queen of the Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to faithfully fulfil the Lord's will in our life, as the new Blessed did”.

The Final Report and votes conclude the work of the Synod of Bishops

Vatican City, 19 October 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the work of the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”, concluded with a final synodal report (Relatio Synodi), the different points of which were subject to a vote by the Synod Fathers. The Holy Father authorised the immediate publication of the full text of the Relatio Synodi, which will provide the focus for reflection by all the Episcopal Conferences throughout the world this year in preparation for the Synod Assembly in October 2015, and which was approved by a majority of Synod Fathers. He also authorised the publication of the number of votes for each point. The full text of the Relatio Synodi in Italian and the result of the votes may be consulted at:


The Pope speaks to the Synod Fathers: we walk a path together

Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – At the end of the fifteenth and final general congregation, and after the votes had been cast, Pope Francis addressed the Synod Fathers, affirming that during these two weeks the participants in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly have truly experienced synodality, a path of solidarity, a “journey together”.

However, Pope Francis observed, as in every journey there were moments of travelling smoothly and swiftly, as if wishing to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible, and moments of fatigue, of wanting to say “enough”, and at other times, moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and pains of the faithful; moments of consolation, grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and joy of married life. It is a journey during which the stronger are compelled to help those who are less strong, and the more experienced lend themselves to serve others, also through debate.

He continued by remarking that since it is a journey taken by human beings, there have also been moments of disappointment, tension and temptation, of which he gave five examples. The first is the temptation to hostile inflexibility, closing oneself within the written word, the letter of the law, rather than the spirit, not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, and cleaving to the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. This, he said, is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and the so-called “traditionalists and intellectuals.

Then there is the temptation of “do-goodism”, that in the name of deceptive mercy binds wounds without first treating and healing them; that addresses symptoms rather than causes and roots. It is the temptation of do-gooders, of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals”.

The third temptation is to transform stones into bread to break the long, hard, and painful fast; and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick; to transform it into unbearable burdens. The fourth is the temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, rather than remaining there in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and turning it to the Spirit of God. Finally, there is the temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei”, thinking of ourselves not as guardians but as its owners or masters; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous and pompous language to say much yet at the same time to say nothing.

However, the Holy Father commented these temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, as no disciple is greater than his master, so if Jesus Himself was tempted, and even called Beelzebul, then His disciples should not expect better treatment. He added that he would be worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions, this movement of the spirits, as it was called by St. Ignatius; if all were in a state of agreement or silent in false, quietist peace.

Instead, he expressed his joy at having heard speeches and interventions full of faith, pastoral and doctrinal zeal, wisdom, frankness, courage, and parrhesia, since what was set before the eyes of the Synod Fathers was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law”, the “salus animarum”. This occurred without ever calling into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage, its indissolubility, unity, faithfulness, fruitfulness, and openness to life.

Pope Francis went on to emphasise that the Church is the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on wounds; who does not regard humanity from a glass house, ready to judge or categorise people. The Church is one, holy, Catholic, apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God's mercy. The Church is the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine; she is not afraid to dine and drink with prostitutes and publicans. Her doors are wide open to receive the needy, the repentant, and not only those who consider themselves perfect. The Church is not ashamed of the brother who has fallen, pretending not to see him, but on the contrary is involved and obliged to lift him up and set him on the path again, accompanying him to the definitive encounter with her spouse, in heavenly Jerusalem.

This, he continued, is the Church, our Mother. And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. This should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators have imagined that they see a quarrelsome Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners. The Pope emphasised the need to live through all this calmly and with inner peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro, with the presence of the Pope as a guarantee for all.

The duty of the Pope, he remarked, is to guarantee the unity of the Church, to remind the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow Christ's Gospel and to remind the pastors that their first duty is to nurture the flock that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek the lost sheep with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears. His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, when he stated that the Church is called and commits herself to exercising this kind of authority which is service … not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ ... through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter … to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community.

As the Council stated, the Church's role is to ensure that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free. It is through us, Pope Benedict continues, that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord; this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant, gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope.

Therefore, said the Pontiff, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – “Il servus servorum Dei”, the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, setting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful and despite enjoying supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church.

Finally, Francis reminded those present that there remains a year before the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in which to develop, with true spiritual discernment, the ideas that have been proposed, and to find concrete solutions to many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families. There is a year to work on the “Relatio Synodi”, the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. He concluded by asking the Lord to accompany and guide all the participants in the Synod in their journey.

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