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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Charisms and their action in the Christian community

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The charisms that build the Church and make her fruitful constituted the subject of Pope Francis' catechesis during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, attended by over 35,000 people.

“Ever since the beginning, the Lord has filled his Church with the gifts of His Spirit, making her forever alive ... and among these gifts, we find some that are particularly valuable for the edification and the progress of the Christian community: these are charisms”, said the bishop of Rome, explaining that in everyday language we often refer to “charisma” in relation to a talent or natural ability. However, from a Christian point of view, a charism is far more than a personal quality, a predisposition or a gift: it is a grace, a gift from God the Father, by the action of the Holy Spirit … so that with the same gratuitous love it may be placed at the service of the entire community, for the good of all”.

On the other hand, Pope Francis emphasised that alone it is impossible to understand whether or not one has received a charism or what form it takes, as it is within a community that we learn to recognise them as a sign of the Father's love for all of His sons and daughters. It is therefore good for us to ask ourselves, 'Has the Lord made a charism issue forth in me, in the grace of His Spirit, that my brothers in the Christian community have recognised and encouraged? And how do I act, in relation to this gift: do I experience it with generosity, placing it at the service of all, or do I neglect it and end up forgetting about it? Or does it perhaps become a pretext for pride, so that I expect the community to do things my way?”.

“The most beautiful experience, however, is discovering how many different charisms there are, and with how many gifts of the Spirit the Father fills His Church. This must not be regarded as a cause for confusion or unease: they are all gifts that God gives to the Christian community, so that it might grow harmoniously, in faith and in His love, like one body, the body of Christ. The same Spirit that grants this diversity of charisms also constructs the unity of the Church”. He warned, “Beware, lest these gifts become a cause for envy, division or jealousy! As the apostle Paul recalls in his First Letter to the Corinthians, all charisms are important in the eyes of God, and at the same time, no-one is indispensable. This means that in the Christian community everyone needs the other, and every gift received is fully realised when it is shared with brothers, for the good of all. This is the Church! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, is expressed in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of faith, that is given by the Holy Spirit so that together we can enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life”.

Pope Francis went on to recall that today the Church commemorates St. Therese of Lisieux, who died at the age of 24 and “loved the Church so much that she wanted to be a missionary; she wanted to have every sort of charism. And in prayer she realised that her charism was love. She said, 'In the heart of the Church, I will be love', a beautiful phrase. And we all have this charism: the capacity to love. Today let us ask St. Therese of the Child Jesus for this capacity to love the Church, to love her dearly, and to accept all these charisms with this filial love for the Church, for our hierarchical holy mother Church”.

Pope's greetings to the Little Apostles of Charity, invitation to pray the rosary, and the memory of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Before the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope received in the Paul VI Hall the participants in the pilgrimage organised by the Secular Institute of the Little Apostles of Charity, founded sixty years ago by Blessed Luigi Monza who worked “with skill and love” in the care of the disabled. Pope Francis mentioned the Institute in his catechesis as an example of the charism of care for the most vulnerable, recalling that the work of Luigi Monza was supported by Pope Paul VI when he was archbishop of Milan, Italy, and urged them to be held as an example “for families and for those who hold public responsibilities”.

After the catechesis and during his greetings in various languages, the Holy Father addressed German and Polish pilgrims, reminding them that October is the month of the Holy Rosary, and invited them to meditate on the path and work of Christ through the eyes of Mary, and to pray the rosary to accompany the work of the Synod of Bishops on the family.

He also addressed the Portuguese-speaking faithful, including members of the “Associacao Crista de Empresarios e Gestores” (Christian Association of Businesspeople and Managers), encouraging them to persevere in their testimony in society and to allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit “to understand the true path of history”.

“Keep the flame of faith burning, ignited on the day of your baptism and sustained by the example of the holy martyrs, so that others may see the joy of your life in Christ”, he said to pilgrims from Croatia.

“I also greet Bishop Javier Echevarria, prelate of Opus Dei, as well as the faithful of the prelature present here to give thanks for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo”, he concluded, in Spanish. “May the intercession and the example of the new blessed help them to respond generously to God's call to holiness and to the apostolate in ordinary life, in the service of the Church and of the whole of humanity. Many thanks, and may God bless you”.

Pope Francis' prayer intentions for October

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for October is: “That Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence”.

His intention for evangelisation is: “That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world”.


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Levon Boghos Zekiyan, apostolic administrator “sede plena” of Istanbul of the Armenians, Turkey.

On Tuesday, 30 September, the Holy Father received in audience Rev. Mariano Fassio, regional delegate of the prelature of Opus Dei.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cardinal Parolin to the United Nations: unity of action for the common good

Vatican City, 30 September 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke yesterday at the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which included a debate on the Transformative Development Agenda, among other themes.

Cardinal Parolin, speaking in English, emphasised that the Holy See values the United Nations' efforts to ensure world peace, respect for human dignity, the protection of persons, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and harmonious economic and social development. However, quoting Pope Francis, he remarked that there is the danger of widespread indifference in our time, affecting not only the field of politics but also economic and social sectors, “since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens”. He added, “at times, such apathy is synonymous with irresponsibility. This is the case today, when a union of States, which was created with the fundamental goal of saving generations from the horror of war that brings untold sorrow to humanity, remains passive in the face of hostilities suffered by defenceless populations”. In this context, the Cardinal repeated Pope Francis' appeal to the international community this August to “take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now under way” in the north of Iraq.

He went on to speak in further detail about the situation in Iraq and Syria, where “we are seeing a totally new phenomenon: the existence of a terrorist organisation which threatens all states, vowing to dissolve them and replace them with a pseudo-religious world government”. Unfortunately, he continued, even today “there are those who would presume to wield power by coercing consciences … persecuting and murdering in the name of God. These actions bring injury to entire ethnic groups, populations and ancient cultures. It must be remembered that such violence is born of a disregard for God and falsifies religion itself, since religion aims at … making it clear that each human being is the image of the Creator. In a world of global communications, this new phenomenon has found followers in numerous places, and has succeeded in attracting from around the world young people who are often disillusioned by a widespread indifference and a dearth of values in wealthier societies. This challenge, in all its tragic aspects, should compel the international community to promote a unified response, based on solid juridical criteria and a collective willingness to cooperate for the common good”.

“To this end, the Holy See considers it useful to focus attention on two major areas. The first is to address the cultural and political origins of contemporary challenges, acknowledging the need for innovative strategies to confront these international problems in which cultural factors play a fundamental role. The second area for consideration is a further study of the effectiveness of international law today, namely its successful implementation by those mechanisms used by the United Nations to prevent war, stop aggressors, protect populations and help victims”.

Cardinal Parolin continued, “The situation today requires a more incisive understanding of this law, giving particular attention to the 'responsibility to protect'. In fact, one of the characteristics of the recent terrorist phenomenon is that it disregards the existence of the state and, in fact, the entire international order. … It also undermines and rejects all existing juridical systems, attempting to impose dominion over consciences and complete control over persons. The global nature of this phenomenon, which knows no borders, is precisely why the framework of international law offers the only viable way of dealing with this urgent challenge. This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace. … The present situation, therefore, though indeed quite serious, is an occasion for the member states of the United Nations Organisation to honour the very spirit of the Charter of the United Nations by speaking out on the tragic conflicts which are tearing apart entire peoples and nations. It is disappointing that, up to now, the international community has been characterised by contradictory voices and even by silence with regard to the conflicts in Syria, the Middle East and Ukraine. It is paramount that there be a unity of action for the common good, avoiding the cross-fire of vetoes. … In summary, the promotion of a culture of peace calls for renewed efforts in favour of dialogue, cultural appreciation and cooperation, while respecting the variety of sensibilities. … Ultimately, there must be a genuine willingness to apply thoroughly the current mechanisms of law, while at the same time remaining open to the implications of this crucial moment. This will ensure a multilateral approach that will better serve human dignity, and protect and advance integral human development throughout the world”.

With reference to the approval of the Transformative Development Agenda, Cardinal Parolin confirmed that the Holy See welcomes the 'Sustainable Development Goals' proposed by the Working Group (Open Working Group for Sustainable Goals), which seek to address the structural causes of poverty by promoting dignified work for all. “Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the efforts of the United Nations and of many people of good will, the number of the poor and excluded is increasing not only in developing nations but also in developed ones. The 'responsibility to protect', as stated earlier, refers to extreme aggressions against human rights, cases of serious contempt for humanitarian law or grave natural catastrophes. In a similar way, there is a need to make legal provision for protecting people against other forms of aggression, which are less evident but just as serious and real. For example, a financial system governed only by speculation and the maximisation of profits, or one in which individual persons are regarded as disposable items in a culture of waste, could be tantamount, in certain circumstances, to an offence against human dignity. It follows, therefore, that the United Nations and its member states have an urgent and grave responsibility for the poor and excluded, mindful always that social and economic justice is a essential condition for peace”, he concluded.


Vatican City, 30 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, accompanied by Archbishop Jose Belisario da Silva, of Sao Luis do Maranhao, deputy president, and Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, auxiliary of Brasilia, secretary general.

On Monday, 29 September, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops;

- Msgr. Carlos Nannei of the prelature of Opus Dei, Argentina.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 30 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, auxiliary of Westminster, England, as bishop of Salford (area 1,800, population 2,603,000, Catholics 267,938, priests 284, religious 280), England. He accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Terence John Brain, upon reaching the age limit.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Audience with the president of Malta: commitment of Church and state in the phenomenon of migration

Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who subsequently met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions focused on the good relations between the Holy See and Malta and highlighted the significant contribution made by the Catholic Church in the fields of education and welfare, especially in favour of the poor. The conversation then turned to various themes of mutual interest, with special reference to the role of Christian values in the edification of Maltese society and the strengthening of the institution of the family.

Finally, the Parties discussed Malta’s contribution within the European Union, along with a number of questions of an international nature, such as the situations of conflict in the Mediterranean region, expressing hope for a prompt solution via dialogue, as well as the phenomenon of migration towards Europe, which involves commitment on the part of the Church and the Government.

To the members of the United Bible Societies: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”

Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – “Yours is the fruit of a patient, careful, fraternal, competent and, above all, faithful work. If you do not believe, you do not understand; if you do not believe, you cannot stand firm”, said the Holy Father to the members of the United Bible Societies, whom he received this morning in the Consistory Hall for the presentation of the Italian language Bible, “Parola del Signore – La Bibbia Interconfessionale in lingua corrente” (“The Word of the Lord – The Interconfessional Bible in current language”). “I hope that this text, which is presented with the blessing of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, will encourage all Italian-speaking Christians to meditate on, life, bear witness to and celebrate God's message”.

“I would very much like all Christians to be able to learn 'the sublime science of Jesus Christ' through frequent reading of the Word of God, as the sacred text offers nourishment for the soul and is the pure and perennial source of the spiritual life of us all”, he added. “We must make every effort so that each believer may read God’s Word, because as Saint Jerome says, 'ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ'”. The Pope offered his heartfelt thanks to those present for their valuable work, encouraging them to “continue on the journey you have undertaken, so as to allow for the better and deeper comprehension of the Word of the living God”.

The young and the elderly: without balance between generations, the freedom of society becomes authoritarianism

Vatican City, 28 September 2014 (VIS) – Today in St. Peter's Square a meeting was held to celebrate old age, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family, entitled “The blessing of long life”. The meeting, which brought together thousands of elderly and grandparents accompanied by their relatives from all over the world, began at 8.30 a.m. with a “tour of old age through five Biblical episodes”. An hour later, the Holy Father arrived in the Square to join the elderly, with whom he had spoken before Mass at 10.30 a.m. The Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was personally invited by Pope Francis and participated in the meeting.

The Pope explained that the first reading “echoes in various ways the Fourth Commandment: 'Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you'. A people has no future without such an encounter between generations, without children being able to accept with gratitude the witness of life from the hands of their parents. And part of this gratitude for those who gave you life is also gratitude for our heavenly Father. There are times when generations of young people, for complex historical and cultural reasons, feel a deeper need to be independent from their parents, 'breaking free', as it were, from the legacy of the older generation. It is a kind of adolescent rebellion. But unless the encounter, the meeting of generations, is re-established, unless a new and fruitful intergenerational equilibrium is restored, what results is a serious impoverishment for all, and the freedom which prevails in society is actually a false freedom, which almost always becomes a form of authoritarianism”.

Francis emphasised that “Jesus did not abolish the law of the family and the passing of generations, but brought it to fulfilment. The Lord formed a new family, in which bonds of kinship are less important than our relationship with him and our doing the will of God the Father. Yet the love of Jesus and the Father completes and fulfils our love of parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents; it renews family relationships with the lymph of the Gospel and of the Holy Spirit”. He remarked that Mary, when she visited her relatives Elizabeth and Zechariah, “was able to listen to those elderly and amazed parents; she treasured their wisdom, and it proved precious for her in her journey as a woman, as a wife and as a mother”, and added, “the Virgin Mary likewise shows us the way: the way of encounter between the young and the elderly. The future of a people necessarily supposes this encounter: the young give the strength which enable a people to move forward, while the elderly consolidate this strength by their memory and their traditional wisdom”.

Francis praises the example of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo and asks for prayers for the upcoming Synod

Vatican City, 28 September 2014 (VIS) – At the end of today's Holy Mass, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful present in St. Peter's Square, after greeting elderly pilgrims from various countries, the participants in the congress-pilgrimage “Singing faith”, organised to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the choir of the diocese of Roma, and after mentioning the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, celebrated in Madrid, Spain on Saturday. “May his exemplary Christian and priestly witness awaken in many people the wish to join with Jesus and the Gospel”. Pope Francis went on to remind those present that the Assembly of the Synod on the Family begins next Sunday, and encouraged all the faithful to pray for this important event, that he entrusts to the intercession of Mary “Salus Populi Romani”.

The Pope presides at liturgy commemorating the 200th anniversary of the reconstitution of the Society of Jesus

Vatican City, 28 September 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, in the Basilica of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Pope presided at a liturgy of thanksgiving to mark the 200th anniversary of the reconstitution of the Society of Jesus in the universal Church, sanctioned by Pope Pius VII with the Bull “Sollicitudo Omnium ecclesiarum” of 7 August 1814. During the liturgy, which included the Vespers prayer and the Te Deum, following the Gospel reading and before the renewal of vows by some of the Jesuits present, the Holy Father gave a homily, extensive extracts of which are published below:

“The Society under the name of Jesus has lived difficult times of persecution. During the leadership of Fr. Lorenzo Ricci, 'enemies of the Church succeeded in obtaining the suppression of the Society' by my predecessor Clement XIV. Today, remembering its restoration, we are called to recover our memory, calling to mind the benefits received and the particular gifts. Today, I want to do that here with you.

“In times of trial and tribulation, dust clouds of doubt and suffering are always raised and it is not easy to move forward, to continue the journey. Many temptations come, especially in difficult times and in crises: to stop to discuss ideas, to allow oneself to be carried away by the desolation, to focus on the fact of being persecuted, and not to see the other. Reading the letters of Fr. Ricci, one thing struck me: his ability to avoid being harnessed by these temptations and to propose to the Jesuits, in a time of trouble, a vision of the things that rooted them even more in the spirituality of the Society”.

“The Society … lived the conflict to the end, without minimising it. It lived humiliation along with the humiliated Christ; it obeyed. You never save yourself from conflict with cunning and with strategies of resistance. In the confusion and humiliation, the Society preferred to live the discernment of God's will, without seeking a way out of the conflict in a seemingly quiet manner. It is never apparent tranquillity that satisfies our hearts, but true peace that is a gift from God. One should never seek the easy 'compromise'. ... Only discernment saves us from real uprooting, from true 'suppression' of the heart, which is selfishness, worldliness, the loss of our horizon. Our hope, is Jesus; it is only Jesus. Thus Fr. Ricci and the Society during the suppression privileged history rather than a grey 'little tale', knowing that love judges history and that hope – even in darkness – is greater than our expectations. … We can review briefly this process of discernment and service. When in 1759, the decrees of Pombal destroyed the Portuguese provinces of the Society, Fr. Ricci lived the conflict, not complaining and letting himself fall into desolation, but inviting prayers to ask for the good spirit, the true supernatural spirit of vocation, the perfect docility to God's grace. When in 1761, the storm advanced in France … he asked that all trust be placed in God. ... In 1760, after the expulsion of the Spanish Jesuits, he continued to call for prayer. And finally, on February 21, 1773, just six months before the signing of the Brief Dominus ac Redemptor, with the utter lack of human help, he sees the hand of God's mercy, which invites those, who submit to the test, not to confide in anyone but God. … The important thing for Fr. Ricci that the Society, until the last, is true to the spirit of its vocation, which is for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.

“The Society, even faced with its own demise, remained true to the purpose for which it was founded. To this, Ricci concludes with an exhortation to keep alive the spirit of charity, unity, obedience, patience, evangelical simplicity, true friendship with God. Everything else is worldliness.

“Let us remember our history: the Society 'was given the grace not only to believe in the Lord, but also to suffer for His sake'. We do well to remember this. The ship of the Society has been tossed around by the waves and there is nothing surprising in this. Even the boat of Peter can be tossed about today. The night and the powers of darkness are always near. It is tiring to row. The Jesuits must be 'brave and expert rowers': row then! Row, be strong, even with the headwind! We row in the service of the Church. We row together! But while we row - we all row, even the Pope rows in the barque of Peter - we must pray a lot. … The Lord, even if we are men of little faith, will save us”.

“The Society, restored by my predecessor Pius VII, was made up of men, who were brave and humble in their witness of hope, love and apostolic creativity, that of the Spirit. Pius VII … gave permission to the Jesuits, who still existed here and there, thanks to a Lutheran monarch and an Orthodox monarch, 'to remain united in one body'. … The Society resumed its apostolic activity of preaching and teaching, spiritual ministries, scientific research and social action, the missions and care for the poor, the suffering and the marginalised. Today, the Society also deals with the tragic problem of refugees and displaced persons with intelligence and industriousness; and it strives with discernment to integrate service to faith and the promotion of justice in conformity with the Gospel. I confirm today what Paul VI told us at our 32nd General Congregation and which I heard with my own ears: "Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme situations, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, where there has been and there is confrontation between the deepest desires of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, there you have been and there are Jesuits.

“In 1814, at the time of the restoration, the Jesuits were a small flock, a 'small Society', which however knew how to invest, following the trials of the cross, in the great mission of bringing the light of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This is how we must feel today therefore: outbound, in mission. The Jesuit identity is that of a man who loves God and loves and serves his brothers, showing by example not only that in which he believes, but also that in which he hopes, and who is the One in whom he has put his trust”.

The Pope's message for the beatification of the Opus Dei prelate Alvaro del Portillo: in the simplicity of everyday life we can find the way to holiness

Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – The bishop Alvaro del Portillo (1914-1994), first successor of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer at the helm of Opus Dei, was beatified in Madrid, Spain this morning. The Holy Father sent a message to Bishop Javier Echevarria, current Prelate of Opus Dei, which was read during the ceremony, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato,S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The message was signed 26 June, the feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer.

“I like to recall the short prayer that the Servant of God repeated frequently, especially in personal celebrations and anniversaries: 'Thank you, I’m sorry, help me more!' These are words that bring us closer to the reality of his interior life and his dealing with the Lord, and which can also help us to give a new impulse to our own Christian life”, writes the Pope.

“Firstly, thank you. It is the immediate and spontaneous reaction of the soul before God's goodness. … And God always precedes us. Alvaro del Portillo was aware of the many gifts God had given him, and he thanked God for that manifestation of his fatherly love. But he did not stop there. His gratitude for the Lord’s love awakened in his heart the wish to follow him with greater selflessness and generosity, and to live a humble life of service to others. Particularly evident was his love for the Church, bride of Christ, whom he served with a heart stripped of worldly interests, free of discord, always welcoming to all, and always seeking the positive in others, what unites and what builds”.

Secondly, there is the phrase “I’m sorry”. Francis explains in his letter that Don Alvaro “often admitted that he saw himself before God with empty hands, unable to respond to so much generosity. However, the admission of human poverty is not the fruit of despair … but instead means opening oneself to His mercy, His love … that does not humiliate, nor does it sink into the abyss of despair; rather, it lives us from our prostration and enables us to walk with more determination and joy. The Servant of God Alvaro knew the need we have of divine mercy, and he dedicated much of his personal energy to encourage persons to approach the Sacrament of Confession, the Sacrament of joy.”

Finally, “help me more. Yes, the Lord never abandons us. … His grace never fails us, and with His help we can proclaim His name to all the world. Beating in the heart of the new Blessed was the desire to take the Good News to all hearts. He went to many countries encouraging evangelisation projects, without being hindered by difficulties, moved by his love for God and for his brothers. … The first condition for proclaiming Christ is to love them, as Christ loved them before us. From there, the Lord awaits us. We cannot keep our faith to ourselves; it is a gift that we have received in order to be able to give it and share it with others”.

“Blessed Alvaro del Portillo sends us a very clear message; he tells us to trust in the Lord, who is our brother, our friend who never disappoints us and who is always at our side,” concludes the Holy Father. “He encourages us not to be afraid to go against the current or to suffer for proclaiming the Gospel. In addition, he teaches us that in the simplicity and ordinariness of our life we can find a sure path of holiness”.

Francis: the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist is a source of hope for the world

Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – “The Eucharist occupies the central position in the Church because it is what makes the Church. As Vatican Council II affirms, it is the 'sacrament of piety, sign of unity, bond of charity'”, said the Pope this morning, as he received in audience the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Councils.

The theme of the next congress, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, “perfectly reflects the bond between the Eucharist, the mission and Christian hope”, continued the Pontiff. “Today there is a lack of hope in the world, and therefore humanity needs to hear the message of our hope in Jesus Christ. The Church proclaims this message with renewed ardour, using new methods and new expressions. With the spirit of 'new evangelisation', the Church brings this message to all and, in particular, those who despite being baptised, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to Christian life”.

“The encounter between Jesus in the Eucharist will be a source of hope for the world if, transformed by the power of the Holy See in the image on He Whom we meet, we accept the mission of transforming the world, giving the fullness of life that we ourselves have received and experienced, bringing hope, forgiveness, healing and love to those who are in need, especially the poor, the dispossessed and the oppressed, sharing life and aspirations and walking alongside them in search of an authentic human life in Jesus Christ”, concluded Pope Francis, invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, to take place in Cebu, Philippines in January 2015.

Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love

Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Social Communications published a note today explaining the theme of World Communications Day 2015: “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love”. The theme follows in continuity with the previous year’s message, and dovetails with the central theme of the next two Synods on the family.

It is important to recall that World Communications Day, the only World Day established by Vatican Council II, is celebrated in many countries, upon the recommendation of bishops throughout the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost, and that the Holy Father's Message for the event is traditionally published on the feast day of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists (24 January).

“The daily news show us the difficulties facing the family today”, according to the note. “Often cultural changes do not help us appreciate how much the family is a good for society.

“The relationships between the members of the family community are inspired and guided by the law of 'free giving'. By respecting and fostering personal dignity in each and every one as the only basis for value, this free giving takes the form of heartfelt acceptance, encounter and dialogue, disinterested availability, generous service and deep solidarity.

“Today, how can we tell people who are perhaps wounded and disillusioned that love between a man and a woman is a good thing? How can we help children know that they are a most precious gift? How can we warm the hearts of people, especially those who are wounded and disappointed, and help them rediscover the beauty of love? How can we show that the family is the privileged place where we experience the beauty of life, the joy and the gift of love, the consolation of forgiveness offered and received, and the encounter with the other?

“Today the Church must learn again how to show that the family is a great gift, something good and beautiful. The Church is called to show more vividly that the gift of love, which the bride and groom offer each other, draws all people to God. It is an exciting task because it moves people to look at the true reality of the human person, and it opens the doors to the future, to life”.


Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Marcelo Julio Martin, ex-honorary consul of the Helvetic Confederation in Rosario, Argentina, and family;

- Stephan Weil, prime minister of Lower Saxony, and entourage.

On Saturday, 27 September, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio in Mexico;

- Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, apostolic nuncio in the Philippines;

- Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, apostolic nuncio in Tanzania.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Salvatore Angerami as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Naples (area 274, population 1,744,000, Catholics 1,715,000, priests 1,053, permanent deacons 292, religious 3,413), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Naples, Italy in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He studied engineering at the University “Federico II” of Naples and exercised the profession of engineer for some years before undertaking theological and philosophical studies at the archiepiscopal seminary of Naples. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of San Gennaro al Vomero, archiepiscopal delegate for buildings of worship, ordinary confessor and spiritual father of the preparatory community of the archiepiscopal major seminary, member of the diocesan council for economic affairs, and member of the Commission of Religious Art. He is currently rector of the archiepiscopal seminary of Naples.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pope Francis receives in audience the Focolare Movement

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – Contemplate, go forth, and educate: these were the three directions Pope Francis gave this morning to the Focolare Movement, whose general assembly takes place in Rome this week.

The Work of Mary, better known as the Focolare Movement, was born within the bosom of the Catholic Church “from a small seed that, over the years, has grown into a tree that now extends its branches in all the expressions of the Christian family and also among members of different religions, and among many who cultivate justice and solidarity alongside the search for truth”.

Pope Francis referred with great affection and admiration to Chiara Lubich, founder and firs president of the Focolare Movement, commenting that, “faithful to the charism from which it was born and by which it is nurtured, the Focolare Movement now finds itself faced with the same task that awaits the Church as a whole: offering, with responsibility and creativity, its special contribution to this new season of evangelisation”. He gave three directions on how to achieve this: contemplate, go forth, and educate.

To contemplate, it is necessary to “enlarge one's inner capacity to accommodate Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, to make contemplation the indispensable condition for a supportive presence and effective action that is truly free and pure”. To contemplate means living in the company of brothers and sisters, breaking the bread of communion and fraternity with them, together crossing the threshold that leads to the Father, since contemplation that excludes others is a deception. It is narcissism”.

The next step is to “go forth like Jesus from the bosom of the Father to proclaim the word of love to all, unto His sacrifice on the Cross. We must learn from Him, from Jesus, the 'drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good seed'. We must not linger, but rather, with God's help, must aim high and broaden our horizons! And to do this, we must go forth with courage 'unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach'. He awaits us in the suffering and in the cries of our brothers, in the wounds of society and in the questions posed by the culture of our times. It pains the heart when we see a Church, faced with a humanity with many wounds – moral, existential, of war – making philosophical, theological and spiritual Byzantisms, while lacking a spirituality of action. It is necessary to go forth, because the Church is like a field hospital. In this type of hospital, the first thing you do is tend to the injured, rather than analysing their cholesterol levels; you do that later”.

Finally, the third direction: educate. “It is necessary, as the Gospel demands, to form new men and women, and to do this there must be a school in humanity that measures up to the humanity of Jesus. … Without adequate education of the new generations, it is illusory to imagine the realisation of a serious and lasting project in the service of a new humanity”.

“Chiara Lubich, in her time, coined an expression that remains relevant in our times”, concluded the Holy Father. “Today, she said, we need to form 'world-people', men and women with the soul, the heart and the mind of Jesus and therefore capable of recognising and interpreting the needs, worries and hopes that reside in the heart of every person”.

Holy Father's calendar for October 2014

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations over which the Holy Father will preside during the month of October:

Sunday 4: At 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, prayer vigil in preparation for the Synod on the family.

Sunday 5: 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in the Papal Chapel of the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for the opening of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.

Sunday 12: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for thanksgiving for the equipollent canonisation of the French Canadian Saints Marie de l'Incarnation, O.S.U. (1599-1672), and Francois de Montmorency-Laval, M.E.P. (1623-1708).

Sunday 19: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time. At 10.30 a.m. in the Papal Chapel of the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family and the beatification of the Servant of God, Supreme Pontiff Paul VI.

Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See has communicated to the competent offices of the United Nations in Geneva the document “Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child”. The Concluding Observations were presented by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 5 February, following the reports, written responses and interactive dialogue submitted to the Committee by the Holy See as a State signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The full English text of the Holy See's comments may be consulted at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2014/documents/rc-seg-st-20140205_concluding-observations-rights-child_en.html

Cardinal Parolin encourages people of faith to condemn terrorist acts

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin participated in the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on terrorism, held last Wednesday, 24 September in New York, on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. Cardinal Parolin began by congratulating the U.S.A. on assuming the presidency of the Security Council and applauded the timely convocation of the debate, which came “at a time when every region of the world faces the dehumanising impact of terrorism”. He continued, “This is not a phenomenon which impacts only certain peoples, religions or regions, but rather is a crime which impacts the entire international community. The ongoing, and in some regions escalating use of terrorism is a reminder that such as shared challenge requires a shared commitment from all nations and all people of good will”.

He added that international cooperation “must also address the root causes upon which terrorism feeds in order to grow”, and emphasised the strong cultural component of the present terroristic challenge. “Young people travelling abroad to join the ranks of terrorist organisations are often youth of poor immigrant families, deluded by what they feel is a situation of exclusion, and by the lack of values of some wealthy societies. Together with the legal tools and resources to prevent citizens from becoming foreign terrorist fighters, governments should engage with civil society to address the problems of communities most at risk of recruitment and radicalisation, and to achieve their smooth and satisfactory social integration”.

“The Holy See – which is a sovereign international subject that also represents a world faith community – affirms that people of faith have a resolute responsibility to condemn those who seek to detach faith from reason and to instrumentalise faith as a justification for violence”, he emphasised, concluding that, “at the same time, it should be stressed that to end the new terroristic phenomenon, the goal of achieving cultural understanding among peoples and countries, and social justice for all, is indispensable”.

The KAICIID deplores the abuse of religion to justify violent conflict

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, based in New York, U.S.A., yesterday published a declaration of principles, signed by the foreign ministers of Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain, as well as by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in his role as Holy See Observer, to help build a united front to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the north of Iraq, as well as in other regions of the world. The declaration was approved unanimously by the multireligious Board of Directors of KAICIID, who represent the major world religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

The full text of the Declaration, entitled “In the Face of Conflict”, is published below:

“We believe in the sanctity of life and the inherent dignity of the person. We believe that religion is an enabler of respect and reconciliation. We believe that dialogue among people of different religions and cultures is the path to lasting peace and social cohesion.

“We affirm the purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. These equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

“We condemn violent conflict in the world, more so violence committed in the name of religion, and call for an end to violent hostility. We deplore loss of life and commend those who seek to alleviate suffering, as well as those who strive to promote wellbeing, harmony and peace. We oppose the instrumentalisation of religion to make war. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. And we condemn hate speech and extremism that incite violence and fuel prejudice. KAICIID combats prejudice and intolerance, in all their forms.

“KAICIID counteracts the abuse of religion to justify oppression, violence and conflict and facilitates peaceful resolution by bringing conflict parties to the dialogue table. We continue to enhance interreligious and intercultural dialogue in order to foster respect, understanding and cooperation among people.

“We resolve to promote mutual respect and understanding among followers of all religions and peoples of all cultures, particularly through dialogue. Let us look upon each other as sisters and brothers and, and let us appreciate difference as enrichment rather than fearing 'otherness' as a threat”.

Cardinals Nichols, Soo-Jung and Brenes Solorzano take possession of their titular churches

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that:

- on Thursday 2 October, Cardinal Vincent Gerard Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, will take possession of the title of the Most Holy Redeemer and St. Alphonse in Via Merulana, Via Merulana, 26;

- on Saturday, 4 October, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung, archbishop of Seoul, will take possession of the title of San Crisogono, Piazza Sonnino, 44;

- on Sunday 5 October, Cardinal Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano, archbishop of Managua, will take possession of the title of St. Joachim at Prati di Castello, Piazza dei Quiriti, 17.


Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Professor Klaus Schwab, Germany, founder and executive president of the World Economic Forum (WEF), with his wife and entourage;

- Abdou Diouf, secretary general of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), with his wife and entourage;

- Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, apostolic nuncio in Japan;

- Diego Bossio, executive director of the “Administracion Nacional de la Securidad Social”, (ANSES), Argentina.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Tuxtepec, Mexico as metropolitan archbishop of Durango (area 82,017, population 1,385,000, Catholics 1,170,000, priests 178, permanent deacons 8, religious 275), Mexico. He succeeds Archbishop Hector Gonzalez Martinez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Catholics and Orthodox to the international community: listen to religious leaders in the Middle East

Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – The eighth meeting of the Joint International Commission for dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church was held in Amman, Jordan from 15 to 23 September. It was hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III, and attended by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan who participated in the plenary session held on the afternoon of Monday, 22 September. The meeting was attended by twenty-three members representing the Catholic Church and all the Orthodox Churches, with the exception of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria. The meetings were chaired by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Metropolitan of Pergamon Ioannis (Zizioulas) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

On the first day of the meeting, as is customary, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox members met separately to coordinate their work and to discuss, among other things, the draft text of the document “Synodality and Primacy”, drawn up by the Coordinating Committee in 2012 during the two meetings held in Rome in 2011 and Paris in 2012. Because of the many questions raised about the text, the Commission proposed the drafting of a new one, to be referred to the next Coordinating Committee for further elaboration and improvement, in view of the next plenary session of the Joint Commission.

The Commission members, assembled near the holy sites connected with the baptism of Jesus Christ, united their voices to express their deep concern for and solidarity with the Christians and members of other religious traditions of this entire region who are being persecuted, displaced and murdered. They categorically rejected the idea that such horrifying crimes can be justified in the name of God or of religion, and expressed their profound gratitude to all those engaged in bringing relief to millions of refugees and displaced persons. Furthermore, they prayed for all the religious leaders of the region, so that they might continue to comfort their people and keep alive their vision of their return to their lands and homes, which in recent times have been occupied and often profaned. The Commission implored the international community to listen seriously to those leaders regarding the most useful ways to intervene and protect those who are being persecuted, and to ensure the continuing vital presence of Christianity in the Middle East. They also launched a fresh appeal for the liberation of the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, and all others who have been kidnapped, including priests and religious.

The meeting of the Joint Commission was marked by a spirit of friendship and trustful collaboration. The members greatly appreciated the generous hospitality of the host Church, and they strongly commend the continuing work of the dialogue to the prayers of the faithful.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has proceeded with the replacement of Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, appointing Bishop Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Rios of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo as apostolic administrator Sede Vacante.

Note regarding the succession of the bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today published the following note regarding the succession of the bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Msgr. Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano.

“Following a careful examination of the conclusions drawn following the apostolic visits carried out by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Clergy to the bishop, the diocese and the seminarians of Ciudad del Este, the Holy Father has decided to substitute Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano and has appointed Bishop Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Rios of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Ciudad del Este.

“This was a difficult decision on the part of the Holy See, taken for serious pastoral reasons and for the greater good of the unity of the Church in Ciudad del Este and the episcopal communion in Paraguay.

“The Holy Father, in the exercise of his ministry as the 'perpetual and visible foundation of the unity of both the bishops and the multitude of the faithful', asked the clergy and all the People of God of Ciudad del Este to accept the Holy See's decision with a spirit of obedience and docility and without prejudice, guided by faith.

“On the other hand, the Church in Paraguay, guided by her pastors, is invited to embark on a serious process of reconciliation in order to overcome any form of sectarianism or discord, so as not to harm the countenance of the one Church, 'born of the blood of His Son' and so that Christ's flock may not be deprived of the joy of the Gospel”.


Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Miroslava Rosas Vargas, the new ambassador of Panama to the Holy See, presenting her credential letters;

- Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy;

- Cardinal Andrew Yeom-Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, Korea;

- Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, apostolic nuncio in Belgium and Luxembourg;

- Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio in Belorus;

- Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, apostolic nuncio in Colombia;

- Marcos Aguinis.
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