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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Pope to participants in the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants: “Migration is an aspiration to hope”


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – “Migration is still an aspiration to hope, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic”, said the Pope in his address to the participants in the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, affirming the powerful hope that inspires many inhabitants of troubled areas throughout the world to seek a better future for their families in other places, even at the risk of disappointment and failure. This, he remarked, is caused in great part by the economic crisis which, to differing degrees, affects every country.

The three-day Congress highlighted the dynamics of cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migrants. “First and foremost you have analysed the factors which cause migration, in particular: inequality, poverty, overpopulation, the growing need for employment in some sectors of the global job market, disasters caused by climate change, wars and persecution, and the desire of younger people to relocate as they seek new opportunities. Moreover, the link between cooperation and development shows, on the one hand, the difference of interests between states and migrants, and, on the other hand, the opportunities which derive for both”.

“In effect, receiving nations draw advantages from employing immigrants for production needs and national prosperity, not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis”, observed the Holy Father. “In turn, the nations which migrants leave show a certain reduction in unemployment and, above all, benefit from earnings which are then sent back to meet the needs of families which remain in the country. Emigrants, in the end, are able to fulfil the desire for a better future for themselves and their families. Yet we know that some problems also accompany these benefits. We find in the countries of origin, among other things, an impoverishment due to the so-called 'brain drain', the effects on infants and young people who grow up without one or both parents, and the risk of marriages failing due to prolonged absences. In the receiving nations, we also see difficulties associated with migrants settling in urban neighbourhoods which are already problematic, as well as their difficulties in integrating and learning to respect the social and cultural conventions which they find. In this regard, pastoral workers play an important role through initiating dialogue, welcoming and assisting with legal issues, mediating with the local population. In the countries of origin, on the other hand, the closeness of pastoral workers to the families and children of migrant parents can lessen the negative repercussions of the parents’ absence”.

However, the Congress affirmed that the implications of the Church's pastoral concern in the overall context of cooperation, development and migration go much further, and “it is here that the Church has much to say. The Christian community, in fact, is continuously engaged in welcoming migrants and sharing with them God’s gifts, in particular the gift of faith”. Furthermore, the Church “promotes pastoral plans for the evangelisation and support of migrants throughout their journey from their country of origin, through countries of transit, to the receiving countries. She gives particular attention to meeting the spiritual needs of migrants through catechesis, liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments”.

“Sadly”, he added, “migrants often experience disappointment, distress, loneliness and marginalisation. In effect, the migrant worker has to deal with the problem both of being uprooted and needing to integrate. Here the Church also seeks to be a source of hope: she develops programs of education and orientation; she raises her voice in defence of migrants’ rights; she offers assistance, including material assistance to everyone, without exception, so that all may be treated as children of God. When encountering migrants, it is important to adopt an integrated perspective, capable of valuing their potential rather than seeing them only as a problem to be confronted and resolved. The authentic right to development regards every person and all people, viewed integrally. This demands that all people be guaranteed a minimal level of participation in the life of the human community. How much more necessary must this be in the case of the Christian community, where no one is a stranger and, therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported”.

“The Church, beyond being a community of the faithful that sees the face of Jesus Christ in its neighbour, is a Mother without limits and without frontiers. She is the Mother of all and so she strives to foster the culture of welcome and solidarity, where no one is considered useless, out of place or disposable. … Migrants, therefore, by virtue of their very humanity, even prior to their cultural values, widen the sense of human fraternity. At the same time, their presence is a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses. In that way, migrants will be able to become partners in constructing a richer identity for the communities which provide them hospitality, as well as the people who welcome them, prompting the development of a society which is inclusive, creative and respectful of the dignity of all”.

The Pope concluded by invoking upon the participants in the Congress “the protection of Mary, Mother of God, and St. Joseph, who themselves experienced the difficulty of exile in Egypt”.


Video message to the participants in the 4th Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a video message to the participants in the fourth edition of the Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which this year focuses on the theme, “Beyond places, in time”. The title, he says, suggests various points for reflection, the first of which is the concept of “going beyond”. “The current situation of social and economic crisis can frighten us, disorientate us or seem so difficult that we conclude there is nothing we can do. The great temptation is to stop and tend to our own wounds, and find in that an excuse not to listen to the cry of the poor and the suffering of those who have lost the dignity of being able to put bread on the table because they have lost their jobs. And those who seek only to cure their own wounds end up preening themselves. This is a trap. The risk is that indifference makes us blind, deaf and mute, present only to ourselves, before the mirror, so that everything happens outside us. Men and women closed up in themselves”. This narcissism, he says, is not the right approach.

“We are required to go beyond this and to respond to real needs”, he continues. “To go overcome, it is necessary to take the initiative. … Nowadays, even in the economic sphere it is urgent to take the initiative, as the system tends to sanction everything and money takes control. The system leads to this form of globalisation which is not good and which sanctions everything. … Taking the initiative in these spheres means having the courage not to let oneself be imprisoned by money and short-term gains which enslave us. We need to find a new way of seeing things!”

“The real problem is not money though, but rather people: we cannot ask of money that which only people can do or create. Money alone does not lead to development: development requires people who have the courage to take initiative. And taking the initiative means developing activity capable of innovation, not only of a technological nature; it is also necessary to renew working relations, experimenting with new forms of participation and responsibility for workers, inventing new ways of entering the world of work, creating a bond of solidarity between business and territory. Taking initiative means overcoming 'assistentialism'”.

“Taking initiative also means considering love as the true motor of change”, he adds. “Freeing talents is the beginning of change; this action allows envy, jealousy, rivalry, disagreement and prejudice, and opening up to joy, to the joy of the new”. He emphasises that the question of talent is of particular relevance to the young: “If we want to go ahead, we must make decisive investments in them and trust in them”.

“'Going beyond places' is not the result of individual chance but of sharing an aim: history is a path towards fulfilment. If we act as a population, if we go ahead together, our existence will illustrate this meaning and this fullness”.


Francis: a strong and widespread desire to walk together


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – “This anniversary invites us to give thanks to God for the many fruits harvested in this last half-century. In particular, there has occurred what the Council recommended: the appreciation of how much there is that is good and true in the life of Christians in every community”. Thus Pope Francis greeted the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the theme of which is “The aim of ecumenism: principles, opportunities and challenges, fifty years after Unitatis Redintegratio”.

The Pontiff remarked that fifty years ago on 21 November, the dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, and the Decree on the Oriental Catholic Churches, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, were also published alongside Unitatis Redintegratio. These three profoundly connected texts offer the ecclesiological vision of Vatican Council II.

“Firstly, we can rejoice in the fact that the teaching of the Council has been widely received”, affirmed Francis. “In these years, on the basis of theological reasons rooted in the Scripture and in the tradition of the Church, the attitude of us as Catholics has changed in relation to Christians of other Churches and ecclesial communities. Hostility and indifference, which had dug trenches that it seemed impossible to fill and had inflicted deep wounds, now belong to the past, and a healing process has begun that enables us to accept others as brothers or sisters, in the profound unity born of Baptism”.

This change in mentality has made it possible to “deepen our contact with many Churches and ecclesial Communities, and to develop new forms of collaboration. In this respect, the ecumenical traditions of the Sacred Scripture have been very important. Christians of different Churches and ecclesial Communities work together in the service of suffering and needy humanity, for the defence of human life and its inalienable dignity, for the protection of creation and against the injustice that afflict many people and populations”.

He continued, “while we give thanks, we must acknowledge that Christians remain divided, and that divergence in relation to new anthropological and ethical themes complicates our path towards unity. However, we cannot give in to discouragement and resignation, but must continue to trust in God who plants seeds of love and unity in the hearts of Christians, so they can face today's ecumenical challenges with renewed zeal; to cultivate spiritual ecumenism, to recognise the value of ecumenism of blood, and to walk the path of the Gospel together”.

Spiritual ecumenism culminates in the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, “a worldwide network of moments of prayer that, from parochial to international level, infuse the body of the Church with the oxygen of genuine ecumenical spirit; a network of gestures, that unite us in working together charitably; and it is also the sharing of prayer, thoughts and other texts that circulate on the web and may contribute to increasing mutual knowledge, respect and esteem”.

With regard to ecumenism of blood, Unitatis Redintegratio invites us to recognise, “in the brothers and sisters of other Churches and Christian Communities, the capacity, given by God, to bear witness to Christ unto the sacrifice of their lives. These testimonies have not been lacking in these fifty years, and continue to this day. ... Those who persecute Christ in his faithful do not differentiate in terms of confession: they persecute them simply because they are Christians”.

The Pope went on to remark that, in recent months, encountering many non-Catholic Christians, and reading their letters, he has noted the existence of a “widespread and strong desire to walk together, to pray, to know and love the Lord, to collaborate in service and in solidarity with the weak and suffering. I am convinced of this: on a common path, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and learning from each other, we can grow in the communion that already unites us”.

“Fifty years on from Unitatis Redintegratio, the quest for full Christian unity remains a priority for the Catholic Church, and it is therefore one of my main daily concerns. Unity is, first and foremost, a gift from God and it is the work of the Holy Spirit, but we are all called to collaborate, always and in every circumstance”.




The Virgin Mary, protagonist of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Council for Coordination between the Pontifical Academies, on the occasion of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, devoted to the theme “Mary, icon of the infinite beauty of Dios Marialis cultus and the Marian teaching of Blessed Paul VI”, organised by the Pontifical International Marian Academy.

In his message, the Pope spoke about Blessed Paul VI's great love for the Virgin Mary, which he expressed on many occasions during his papacy, as well as in several documents, including his two encyclicals, Mense Maio and Christi Matri, dedicated to the Mother of God and the worship of her as Mater Ecclesiae. He also devoted three apostolic exhortations to Mary: Signum Magnum, Recurrens Mensis October and, finally, Marialis Cultus, published forty years ago this year.

“On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of Vatican Council II, established by Paul VI – not by chance – on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 1965, it is beautiful that you wish to make his voice through the recording of the homily in which he entrusts the fate of the Church, radically renewed through the Council assize, to Mary. On that solemn and historical occasion, Paul VI wished to commend the entire Church to Mary as the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother”.

Similarly, Francis recalled that in crucial and difficult moments for the Church and for humanity, Paul VI always turned to Mary, exhorting the people of God to pray for her intercession and protection, and invoking the gift of peace. “In the wake of the Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation, in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I too entrusted the way of the Church to Mary's maternal and caring intercession, reminding all believers that there is a Marian style to the evangelising activity of the Church, as every time we look to Mary we believe again in the revolutionary power of tenderness and affection. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but rather of the strong, who do not need to mistreat others to feel important”.

The Holy Father continued, “Let us not tire of learning from Mary, of admiring and contemplating her beauty, of letting ourselves be guided by her, she who leads us always to the original source and fullness of authenticity: infinite beauty, that of God, revealed to us in Christ, Son of the Father and Son of Mary”. The Pontiff concluded by awarding the Pontifical Academies Prize to the Italian Interdisciplinary Mariological Association, above all for more than twenty years of publishing the journal Theotokos, and the Pontifical Medal to the “Centro mariano de difusion cultural” of the Order of the Servants of Mary, in Mexico.

Audiences


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, president of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

- Bishop Enrico Dal Covolo, Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University;

- Bishop Anthony Sablan Apuron of Agana, Guam.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Rev. Fr. Ariel Lascarro Tapia as bishop of Magangue (area 20,165, population 838,000, Catholics 677,000, priests 70, religious 30), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Carmen de Bolivar, Colombia in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate in theology from the University of Navarra, Spain, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Cartagena, including parish priest of “San Estanislao Kostka”, “Inmaculada Concepcion”, “Maria, Madre de los pobres”, “Cristo Salvador”, “Maria, Madre de la Iglesia” and “Santa Catalina de Alejandria”; diocesan head of vocational pastoral ministry, delegate for missionary childhood and archdiocesan delegate for the biblical inspiration of pastoral care. He is currently archdiocesan vicar for pastoral care and parish priest of “Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro”, Bocagrande.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Moises Carlos Atisha Contreras, Sch.P., as bishop of San Marcos de Arica (area 16,512, population 198,400, Catholics 140,000, priests 37, deacons 29, religious 30), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago de Cile, Chile in 1969 and gave his religious vows and was ordained a priest in 1994. He has served as spiritual director of the “Colegio Hispano-americano y Calasanz” and as secretary of the National Commission for Youth Pastoral Care in the Chilean Episcopal Conference, and is currently parish priest of “La Ascension del Senor” in the archdiocese of Santiago.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Jorge Martin Torres Carbonell as auxiliary of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1983. He has served as parish priest of “Santa Clara”, “Nino Jesus” and “Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza” in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, as well as head of youth pastoral care in the archdiocese, episcopal vicar for the “Villas de Emergencia”, and dean and member of the presbyteral council. He is currently priest of the the Shrine of San Cayetano of Buenos Aires.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of La Serena, Chile, presented by Bishop Luis Carlos Gleisner Wobbe upon reaching the age limit.

Appointment of deputy editor of “L'Osservatore Romano”


Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has appointed Giuseppe Fiorentino as deputy editor of “L'Osservatore Romano”. The new deputy director was previously a reporter for the same newspaper.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Pope at the Conference on Nutrition at the FAO: “The hungry ask for dignity, not charity”


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis visited the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, on the occasion of the second International Conference on Nutrition, taking place in Rome from 19 to 21 November.

Upon arrival the Holy Father was received by the director general of the FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva, the adjunct director, Oleg Chestnov and Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, Holy See Permanent Observer at the FAO.

The full text of the Pontiff's address, delivered in the Plenary Hall, is published below:

“I am pleased and honoured to speak here today, at this Second International Conference on Nutrition. I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm greeting and the words of welcome addressed to me. I cordially greet the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, and the Director General of the FAO, Professor José Graziano da Silva, and I rejoice in their decision to convene this conference of representatives of States, international institutions, and organisations of civil society, the world of agriculture and the private sector, with the aim of studying together the forms of intervention necessary in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, as well as the changes that must be made to existing strategies. The overall unity of purpose and of action, and above all the spirit of brotherhood, can be decisive in finding appropriate solutions. The Church, as you know, seeks always to be attentive and watchful regarding the spiritual and material welfare of the people, especially those who are marginalised or excluded, to ensure their safety and dignity.

“The fates of nations are intertwined, more than ever before; they are like the members of one family who depend upon each other. However, we live in a time in which the relations between nations are too often damaged by mutual suspicion, that at times turns into forms of military and economic aggression, undermining friendship between brothers and rejecting or discarding what is already excluded. He who lacks his daily bread or a decent job is well aware of this. This is a picture of today’s world, in which it is necessary to recognise the limits of approaches based on the sovereignty of each State, intended as absolute, and national interest, frequently conditioned by small power groups. Your working agenda for developing new standards and greater commitments to feed the world shows this well. From this perspective, I hope that, in the formulation of these commitments, the States are inspired by the conviction that the right to food can only be ensured if we care about the actual subject, that is, the person who suffers the effects of hunger and malnutrition.

“Nowadays there is much talk of rights, frequently neglecting duties; perhaps we have paid too little heed to those who are hungry. It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by “market priorities”, the “primacy of profit”, which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, and ask to be recognised as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity.

“These criteria cannot remain in the limbo of theory. Persons and peoples ask for justice to be put into practice: not only in a legal sense, but also in terms of contribution and distribution. Therefore, development plans and the work of international organisations must take into consideration the wish, so frequent among ordinary people, for respect for fundamental human rights and, in this case, the rights of the hungry. When this is achieved, then humanitarian intervention, emergency relief and development operations – in their truest, fullest sense – will attain greater momentum and bring the desired results.

“Interest in the production, availability and accessibility of foodstuffs, climate change and agricultural trade should certainly inspire rules and technical measures, but the first concern must be the individual as a whole, who lacks daily nourishment and has given up thinking about life, family and social relationships, instead fighting for survival. St. John Paul II, in the inauguration in this hall of the First Conference on Nutrition in 1992, warned the international community against the risk of the “paradox of plenty”, in which there is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes. Unfortunately, this “paradox” remains relevant. There are few subjects about which we find as many fallacies as those related to hunger; few topics as likely to be manipulated by data, statistics, the demands of national security, corruption, or futile lamentation about the economic crisis. This is the first challenge to be overcome.

“The second challenge to be faced is the lack of solidarity; we suspect that subconsciously we would like to remove this word from the dictionary. Our societies are characterised by growing individualism and division: this ends up depriving the weakest of a decent life, and provokes revolts against institutions. When there is a lack of solidarity in a country, the effects are felt throughout the world. Indeed, solidarity is the attitude that makes people capable of reaching our to others and basing their mutual relations on this sense of brotherhood that overcomes differences and limits, and inspires us to seek the common good together.

“Human beings, as they become aware of being partly responsible for the plan of creation, become capable of mutual respect, instead of fighting between themselves, damaging and impoverishing the planet. States, too, understood as a community of persons and peoples, are required to act concertedly, to be willing to help each other through the principles and norms offered by international law. A source of inspiration is natural law, inscribed in the human heart, that speaks a language that everyone can understand: love, justice, peace, elements that are inseparable from each other. Like people, States and international institutions are called to welcome and nurture these values – love, justice, peace – and this must be done with a spirit of dialogue and mutual listening. In this way, the aim of feeding the human family becomes feasible.

“Every woman, man, child and elderly person everywhere should be able to count on these guarantees. It is the duty of every State that cares for the wellbeing of its citizens to subscribe to them unreservedly, and to take the necessary steps to ensure their implementation. This requires perseverance and support. The Catholic Church also offers her contribution in this field through constant attention to the life of the poor in all parts of the world; along the same lines, the Holy See is actively involved in international organisations and through numerous documents and statements. In this way, it contributes to identifying and assuming the criteria to be met in order to develop an equitable international system. These are criteria that, on the ethical plane, are based on the pillars of truth, freedom, justice and solidarity; at the same time, in the legal field, these same criteria include the relationship between rights and food, and the right to life and a dignified existence, the right to be protected by law, not always close to the reality of those who suffer from hunger, and the moral obligation to share the economic wealth of the world.

“If we believe in the principle of the unity of the human family, based on the common paternity of God the Creator, and in the fraternity of human beings, no form of political or economic pressure that exploits the availability of foodstuffs can be considered acceptable. Political and economic pressure: here I think of our sister and mother, Earth, our planet, and of whether we are free of political and economic pressure and able to care for her, to avoid her destruction. We have two conferences ahead of us, in Perù and France, which pose the challenge to us of caring for our planet. I remember a phrase that I heard from an elderly man many years ago: God always forgives … our misdemeanours, our abuse, God always forgives; men forgive at times; but the Earth never forgives. We must care for our sister the Earth, our Mother Earth, so that she does not respond with destruction. But, above all, no system of discrimination, de facto or de jure, linked to the capacity of access to the market of foodstuffs, must be taken as a model for international efforts that aim to eliminate hunger.

“By sharing these reflections with you, I ask that the Almighty, God rich in mercy, bless all those who, with different responsibilities, place themselves at the service of those who experience hunger and who assist them with concrete gestures of closeness. I also pray that the international community might hear the call of this Conference and consider it an expression of the common conscience of humanity: feed the hungry, save life on the planet. Thank you”.


Intense work by the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops will meet on 18 and 19 November to reflect on the results of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held during October, and to prepare for the 14 th General Ordinary Assembly on the theme “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world”, to be held from 4 to 25 October 2015.

The Holy Father will chair the Council on Tuesday 18 and his presence will underline the importance he accords to the Synod as an expression of episcopal collegiality and to the family, the theme of the two Assemblies: the extraordinary Assembly held this year and the Ordinary one, in the preparatory stages.

Alongside the secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the under-secretary, Archbishop Fabio Fabene, the meeting was attended by Cardinals Christoph Schonborn, Wilfried F. Napier, Peter K.A. Turkson, George Pell, Donald W. Wuerl, and Luis A. Tagle, and by Archbishops Bruno Forte and Salvatore Fisichella. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also participated by invitation.

In his introduction to the work of the Synod, the secretary general emphasised the climate of freedom and sincerity and the spirit of fraternal communion that characterised the Assembly, in which everyone was encouraged to contribute. Also, the final document, the Relatio Synodi, faithfully reflects the multi-faceted results of the Synod and offers a good summary of the process that took place during the Assembly.

In the meeting, it was agreed that the current period between the two Assemblies, which is unprecedented in the history of the Synod as an institution, is of great importance. It is necessary to take the path followed so far as a starting point and to make the most of this special opportunity to deepen knowledge of the themes and to promote discussion at the level of the episcopal conferences, finding the means and the tools necessary to further involve various ecclesial bodies in the synodal reflection on the family. Various ideas on communication were also considered, which may be useful in view of the preparation for the upcoming Ordinary Assembly.

The majority of the work was devoted to the preparation of the Lineamenta for the next Ordinary Assembly. The guidelines will be made up, as previously indicated, of the Relatio Synodi, accompanied by a series of points to help in its reception and elaboration.

The Lineamenta are expected to be sent to the Episcopal Conferences at the beginning of December, so that the answers can be received in good time to allow them to be developed in the Instrumentum Laboris before the summer of 2015.


The joy of the Gospel is a missionary joy


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Third World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities began in Rome today. Organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the meeting is a response to the appeal for missionary conversion launched by Pope Francis to all Christians in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.

The congress – the third of this type following those held during the pontificates of St. John Paul II in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2006 – will be attended by more than 300 members of lay associations from 40 countries, gathered to explore the theme “The joy of the Gospel: a missionary joy”.

The congress was inaugurated by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who recalled the rich teaching of the last three pontiffs on what St. John Paul II defined as “the new season of associations of the faithful”. The cardinal emphasised that St. John Paul II closely followed and guided the rapid development of ecclesial movements and new communities, accompanying them with his clear and enlightening words … and indicated a new phase in the life of new charisms, which would necessarily have to follow their initial flourish – the phase of ecclesial maturity”.

For Pope Benedict XVI, he continued, “the multiple forms and the unity of charisms and ministries are inseparable in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit desires the multiplicity of movements in the service of the single Body that is the Church”.

Pope Francis well knows the reality of ecclesial movements, insists that the new charisms “are not a closed patrimony, consigned to a specific group to guard it; they are rather gifts from the Spirit integrated into the ecclesial body, attracted towards the centre that is Christ, from where they are channeled into an evangelical impulse”.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli as bishop of Broken Bay (area 2,763, population 930,000, Catholics 395,000, priests 109, permanent deacons 6, religious 155), Australia. Bishop Comensoli is currently auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

General Audience: We are all called to be holy


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – As is usual on Wednesday morning, the Pope toured St. Peter's Square to greet the faithful and pilgrims awaiting him before the beginning of the General Audience. He dedicated today's catechesis to the universal vocation to sanctity, to provide an answer to the question, “In what does this universal vocation consist? And how can we fulfil it?”

“Firstly, we must take into account that sanctity is not something that we procure, that we obtain ourselves through our qualities and capacities. Sanctity is a gift, it is the gift that the Lord Jesus gives to us, when He takes us with Him and clothes us in Himself, making us like Him”, he said. “Sanctity is the most beautiful face of the Church: it is rediscovering oneself in communion with God, in the fullness of His life and His love. … It is not the prerogative of the few: sanctity is a gift that is offered to all, without exclusion, and which therefore constitutes the distinctive characteristic of every Christian”.

“To be holy”, he continued, “it is not necessary to be bishops, priests or religious. … We are all called to be holy! … It is by living with live and offering one's own Christian witness in our everyday occupations that we are called to become holy; and each person in the condition and in the state of life in which he finds himself”: consecrated persons, married couples, unmarried baptised persons, parents, grandparents, catechists, educators and volunteers. “Every state of life leads to sanctity, if lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of one's brethren”.

Pope Francis urged those present to examine their consciences, asking how they could respond to the Lord's call to sanctity. He emphasised that when the Lord calls us to be holy, he does not ask us to do something weighty or sad, but rather offers us an invitation to share in his joy. “If we understand it in this way, everything changes and acquires a new meaning, beautiful, starting from the little things of everyday life. … And each step towards sanctity will make us better people, free of selfishness and self-centredness, and open to our brothers and their needs”. He added, “we do not walk the path of sanctity alone, each for himself, but rather together, in that single body that is the Church, loved and sanctified by the Lord Jesus Christ”, and concluded by encouraging those present to continue on this path.

New appeal for the Holy Land: building peace is difficult, but life without peace is a torment


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – “I follow with great concern the alarming increase in tension in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land, with unacceptable episodes of violence that do not even spare places of worship”, said the Pope following today's catechesis. “I assure a special prayer for all the victims of this dramatic situation and for those who suffer its consequences. From the depths of my heart, I appeal to those parties involved to put an end to this spiral of hate and violence and to take courageous decisions for reconciliation and peace. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a torment!”

He went on to remark that on Friday 21 November, the liturgical memory of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy at the Temple, Pro Orantibus Day will be celebrated, dedicated to cloistered religious communities. “It offers a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, devote themselves to God in prayer and constructive silence, acknowledging the primacy due solely to Him. Let us thank the Lord for the witness of cloistered life and ensure that they do not lack our spiritual and material support in order to fulfil their important mission".

In his greetings in various languages, the Pope addressed the Polish pilgrims who yesterday celebrate the memory of Blessed Karolina Koszka, virgin and martyr, on the centenary of her death. “This young girl fulfilled her vocation to sanctity, dedicating herself to the service of those close to her through her purity of heart and fidelity to Christ unto death. May her example encourage all, especially the young, to seek ways to sanctity, even if this involves going against contemporary tendencies to seek an easy life, concentrating on selfish pleasure. I entrust the members of the “Pure Hearts Movement” to the protection of their Blessed patroness”.

Finally, the Holy Father greeted in Italian the young professionals, businesspeople and social entrepreneurs who are participating in the congress organised by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Pontifical Universities of Rome, to promote approaches and attitudes to overcome social and economic exclusion. “I hope that this initiative may contribute to favouring a new mentality in which money is not considered an idol to be served, but rather a means for pursuing the common good”, he concluded.


Cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migration must focus on positive aspects


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – ““Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations” is the theme of the 7th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and taking place from 17 to 21 November. The meeting will be attended by more than three hundred people from 93 countries of all five continents, and will be structured in relation to three themes: the diaspora, migrants as partners, and the dignity of the migrant. In addition, during the conference eleven episcopal conferences will present their pastoral work with migrants and at the end of the meeting a final document will be drawn up, to serve as a guide for the next five years.

The Congress is so designed that each day is dedicated to a different topic within the wider context of the theme of this Event: “Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations”. Our plan of action is structured in such a way so as to culminate, through the different conferences and further debates that elaborate on the key note addresses, in the personal exchange and the expression of concrete ideas and thoughts in the Working Groups of the afternoon. My dear friends, we are here not only to share our experiences and ideas, but to work together to elaborate recommendations and ideas that will be of assistance to each one of us in our pastoral care for the next few years.

The speakers in the inaugural session will be Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council, the Italian minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, and the director general of the International Organisation for Migration (OMI), William Lacy Swing. A text sent by Msgr. Antonio Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States, will also be read.

Cardinal Veglio spoke on the challenges of the migratory phenomenon and the situations of emergency that require the attention of the international community, emphasising the risk that the destination countries receive migrants with hostility, distrust and prejudice. As a response to this problem he proposed two major lines of action: cooperation and development which, in the specific context of pastoral care, must accentuate the positive aspect of migratory phenomena.

The minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, acknowledged that migration constitutes a political and institutional priority, and affirmed that receiving and helping immigrants is a responsible decision that Europe must take “to demonstrate in practice that the protection of every human life is the first duty of a State that wishes to define itself as civilised and democratic”. The director of the International Organisation for Migration underlined the absolute priority of welcoming all immigrants and saving every human life, citing the example of the Italian “Mare Nostrum” project, and reiterated the need for more functional cooperation between the states of the European Union to better face salvage operations.

Finally, Msgr. Camilleri, in his discourse, referred to the Church's ongoing commitment to accompanying countries and peoples on their path, often troubled and full of the unpredictable aspects linked to dislocation, and underlined the urgency of combating phenomena such as criminality and violence linked to migration.

In his presentation of the Conference Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council, recalled that in the diaspora – “when migrants often leave behind their families and relatives in the hope of sending back remittances to better their economic and social status, and one day finding a way to help them migrate abroad as well” - there clearly emerges the theme of the family, whose care “requires not only cooperation between the country of origin and the country of destination, but also a strong cooperation between the Church of origin, and the Church which welcomes the migrant family”.

With reference to migrants as partners, he remarked that they contribute and cooperate substantially to the well-being and to the development not only of their country of origin, but of their country of adoption, and emphasised the need of improving public perception of migrants and immigration. He also spoke on the role of women migrants, whose movement in the past was closely linked to family reunification, whereas now they are “protagonists and leading players along with their male counterparts in the role that they undertake in today’s society”.

With regard to the final theme, the dignity of the migrant, the archbishop commented that it is a concept that derives from the acknowledgement that all persons are created in God’s own image and likeness and that religious, ethnic, social and cultural variables, citizenship or lack thereof, do not change this fact that gives any individual an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity. The prelate concluded his presentation by noting the potential of young migrants in building social, economic, cultural and religious bridges of cooperation and understanding across societies and Church communities.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Rev. Fr. Hilario Gonzalez Garcia as bishop of Linares (area 33,453, population 407,000, Catholics 360,000, priests 42, religious 58), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a licentiate from the Pontifical University of Mexico and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Monterrey, including spiritual director, prefect of studies in philosophy and vice rector of the major seminary; chaplain in various female religious communities; and executive secretary of the Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Mexican Episcopal Conference. He is currently rector of the major seminary of Monterrey. He succeeds Bishop Ramon Calderon Batres, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rene Bruelhart, director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), as president of the same Authority.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Pope receives in audience the President of Senegal: Church's commitment to peace and national reconciliation


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the secretary for Relations with States, His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

During the discussions, the cordial relations between the Holy See and Senegal were noted, and the important contribution offered by the Church in the sectors of education and healthcare was underlined, as well as her generous and greatly appreciated commitment to promoting peace and national reconciliation.

Finally, there was an exchange of views on various themes of international interest, with particular reference to the current situations of crisis in the Region.

International Conference on autism: three days to inspire hope


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the 29th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, on the theme “The person with autism spectrum disorders: animating hope”, which will take place in the Vatican from 20 to 22 November.

The speakers were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care); Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu and Fr. Augusto Chendi, M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery; and Stefano Vicari, head of the Department of Child Neuropsychiatry at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, Rome.

Archbishop Zimowski explained that the term “autism” was first used by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911 to describe the introversion of schizophrenic patients. Subsequently, in 1943, his colleague Leo Kanner described the disorder for the first time, affirming that autistic children were born with a congenital incapacity to establish normal contact with other people. It is currently defined as a “neuro-behavioural disturbance (also known as Kanner's Syndrome) of a pervasive type”, of multifactorial origin. In general, autism spectrum disorders manifest themselves before the age of three, and are life-long. The most recent statistics confirm that around 1% of children worldwide are affected.

“The many difficulties, including those of an ethical, moral and spiritual nature, faced by those with autism spectrum disorders and their carers have led us to choose such an important, difficult and delicate theme for this conference”, the prelate explained. “It will be a special occasion for observing the advances that have been made in research and treatment, as well as legal and political-administrative aspects; three valuable days for listening and exchanging experiences, and learning from the world's most qualified specialists.”

The Conference will be attended by more than 650 people from 57 different countries, and will include an encounter with the Holy Father during the Wednesday general audience, as well as an exhibition of paintings by the Taiwanese autistic artist Leland Lee, a moment of prayer and testimonies from people affected by autism spectrum disorders, their families, and associations. Various famous Italian singers will offer a musical contribution.


The Holy See at the United Nations: civilians are the first victims of conventional weapons


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in Geneva spoke at the annual meeting of Parties to the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW), held on 13 November.

Speaking in English, the prelate presented three issues to be considered. First, he spoke on the work carried out on lethal autonomous weapons systems. He emphasised that, with regard to the automation and consequent risk of the dehumanisation of war, a global – “scientific, legal, cultural, economic, ethical, and humanitarian” – rather than solely military approach is indispensable. He added, “I would like to reaffirm our wish that the mandate regarding this topic be renewed taking into account the importance of preserving an official trace of the statements, documents, debates and discussions”.

Secondly, he considered the theme of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. “With growing urbanisation of the world population, the tendency of urban wars will increase. How to protect the civilian populations? What should we do to safeguard civil infrastructures, indispensable for the livelihood of large communities? … What is certain, from the observations and data presently available, is that civilian populations are the first victims of conflicts. In many cases, they have no protection: millions of refugees and displaced people, a majority of them civilian victims, a great number are women and children; there is total or partial destruction of numerous urban centres; total disorganisation of social, academic, economic and political life; the exacerbation of hatred and of feelings of revenge that makes the re-establishment of peace and national reconstruction more difficult, if not impossible. It seems to me that an essential question touches all States parties: Does the CCW have something to say and do in such a situation? For the credibility and the integrity of the Convention and for the respect of the numerous victims, I would like to suggest adding this question to the agenda of the CCW”.

Finally, he mentioned the use of armed drones. “We are witnessing a certain proliferation of this technology and a growing use of it in various conflicts. … The choice of indifference in relation to this question is counter-productive. The fact of not addressing problems at the right moment can have disastrous consequences and make them almost insoluble, as experience in other domains teaches us”. He concluded by emphasising that “there is still time for the CCW to become interested in drones before they become an additional source of greater destabilisation when the international community needs, more than ever, stability, cooperation and peace”.


Fifty years on from the Council decree Unitatis Redintegratio


Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – On 21 November 1964, after a long and laborious process, the Council Fathers approved the decree on ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio” by 2,137 votes to 11. The document, which undoubtedly marked a qualitative leap in the relations between the Catholic Church and the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, continues to represent an indispensable point of reference for the Catholic Church in her commitment to ecumenism.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the decree with two events. On Thursday, 20 November, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Vespers will be celebrated, open to all, and attended by the members and consultors of this Council and the representatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome, to give thanks to God for the fruits already gathered along the path of ecumenism during these last fifty years, and to invoke His blessing for the road that still lies ahead.

On 21 November a meeting will take place in the Great Hall of the Pontifical Gregorian University, during which the Pastors and theologians of the Catholic Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities will reread the Council decree, each from his own point of view, discussing today's ecumenical challenges and those that await us in the future. The moderator of the event will be Professor Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano, and the speakers will be Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Bishop Irinej Bulovic of Backa, the Serb Orthodox Patriarch; Professor Timothy George of the Baptist World Alliance; Fr. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap., of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Teny Pirri Simonian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia; and Friederike Nussel of the Lutheran Church.

The meeting will conclude the Council's plenary session, which will take place from 18 to 21 November and will focus on the theme: “The aim of ecumenism: principles, opportunities and challenges, fifty years after 'Unitatis Redintegratio'”. Fifty years after its promulgation, the dicastery considers it useful to examine how the Council degree continues to inspire the ecumenical efforts of the Catholic Church in a changing landscape.

Monday, November 17, 2014

International interreligious colloquium on complementarity, foundation of marriage and the family


Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – “Complementarity is a valuable word, with multiple meanings. It may refer to different situations in which one element completes another or compensates for a lack. However, complementarity is much more than this”, said the Pope this morning to the participants in the international interreligious colloquium on complementarity between man and woman, organised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in collaboration with the Pontifical Councils for the Family, for Interreligious Dialogue, and for Promoting Christian Unity.

He continued, “This complementarity is the foundation of marriage and the family, which is the first school where we learn to appreciate our gifts and those of others, and where we begin to learn the art of living together. For most of us, the family constitutes the principal environment in which we begin to 'breathe' values and ideals, as well as to realise our potential for virtue and charity. At the same time, as we know, families may be the locus of tensions: between selfishness and altruism, reason and passion, between immediate desires and long-term aims.

The Pontiff spoke about the crisis that currently affects marriage and the family, and recalled that in the throwaway culture in which we live, increasing numbers of people reject the public commitment of marriage. “This revolution in habits and morality has often flown the flag of freedom, but in reality it has led to spiritual and material devastation for countless human beings, especially the most vulnerable. Evidence is mounting that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with an increase in poverty and a series of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly”. Similarly, he explained that the crisis in the family has given rise to a crisis in human ecology, “as social environments, like natural environments, need to be protected”, and he emphasised the need to promote a “new human ecology”.

It is important, he added, to promote the fundamental pillars that support a nation: its immaterial goods. “The family remains the foundation of coexistence and the guarantee against social fracture. Children have the right to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother, able to create an environment suitable for their development and their emotional maturation. … The young represent the future: it is important that they are not left to be swept up by this damaging mentality of the temporary, and that they are revolutionary for their courage to seek a strong and lasting love”.

The Holy Father concluded by expressing his hope that this colloquium may be “a source of inspiration for all those who seek to support and strengthen the union between man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful asset for people, families, communities and society”, and confirmed his intention to attend the next World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A., in September 2015.

To the bishops of Zambia: evangelise cultures to inculturate the Gospel


Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – The fruits of the labour of missionaries, attention to the family, guidance of the young, care for AIDS sufferers and the need to collaborate with political leaders for the common good are the central points of the written discourse that Pope Francis handed to the bishops of the Zambia Episcopal Conference whom he received in audience this morning at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit.

The Pope recalls the “rich deposit of faith” brought to Zambia by missionary religious, remarking that “despite the sometimes painful meeting of ancient ways with the new hope that Christ the Lord brings to all cultures, the word of faith took deep root”. The “plentiful spiritual harvest is evident in the many Catholic-run clinics, hospitals and schools, and parishes throughout Zambia, a wide diversity of lay ministries, and substantial numbers of vocations to the priesthood in a society that has been transformed by Christian values.

The great challenges that pastors face in this moment relate in particular to the family, since, as the prelates affirmed in their meeting with the Pontiff, “many, especially the poor in their struggle for survival, are led astray by empty promises in false teachings that seem to offer quick relief in times of desperation”. Therefore, Francis urges the bishops, alongside their priests, to form solid Christian families through catechesis, who “will know, understand and love the truths of the faith more deeply”, and “affirm Catholic couples in their desire for fidelity in their conjugal life and in their yearning to provide a stable spiritual home for their children”. He also urged them to be close to the young “as they seek to establish and articulate their identity in a disorienting age”. He adds, “Help them to find their purpose in the challenge and joy of co-creation with God that is the vocation to married life … or in the vocations to the priesthood or religious life, which the Church has been given for the salvation of souls”.

“In a special way, invite those who have grown lukewarm and feel lost to return to the full practice of the faith. As pastors of the flock, do not forget to seek out the weakest members of Zambian society, among whom are the materially poor and those afflicted with AIDS; for the great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them His friendship, His blessing, His word, the celebration of the Sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith”.

“Never tire of being kind and firm fathers to your priests, helping them resist materialism and the standards of the world, while recognising their just needs. Continue also to promote the treasure of religious life in your dioceses. … In this challenging time after the death of President Sata, I invite you to continue working with your political leaders for the common good, deepening your prophetic witness in defence of the poor in order to uplift the lives of the weak”, concludes Francis, reminding the prelates that “the Church’s mission to evangelise never ends: 'it is imperative to evangelise cultures in order to inculturate the Gospel... Each culture and social group needs purification and growth'”.


Angelus: Jesus does not ask us to conserve talents in a safe


Vatican City, 16 November 2014 (VIS) – At midday, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father commented on this Sunday's Gospel reading, the parable of the talents in which a man, before departing on a trip, entrusts to three servants his wealth in talents, coins of great value, asking that they make the fortune fruitful. The first two servants doubled the wealth, but the third, for fear of losing his portion, hid it in a hole. Upon his return, the master asks for the accounts and, while he rewards the first two, punishes the third.

Francis explains that the master in the parable is Jesus, we are the servants, and the talents are the patrimony that the Lord entrusts to us. “The patrimony of His Word, the Eucharist, faith in the Heavenly Father, his forgiveness … in summary, many things, his most precious goods. Not just to guard them, but to make them grow. While in common usage the term 'talent' refers to a marked individual quality, such as talent in music, in sport, and so on, in the parable the talents represent the gifts of the Lord. … The hole that the 'wicked and lazy' servant digs in the ground indicates the fear of risk that obstructs creativity and the fruitfulness of love. … Jesus does not ask us to preserve his grace in a safe … but instead wants us to put it to the good of others. All the gifts that we have received are to be given to others, and in this way they grow. … And as for us, what have we done with them? Who have we 'infected' with our faith? How many people have we encouraged with our hope? How much love have we shared with our neighbour? … Any environment, even the most distant and impracticable, may become a place where the talents may bear fruit. There are no situations or places that are precluded from Christian presence and witness. The testimony that Jesus asks of us is not closed, it is open, and it depends on us”.

The parable of the talents “urges us not to hide our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel, but to make it circulate in our life … as a power that disrupts and renews. The same is true of forgiveness, that the Lord gives us especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; let us not keep it closed up in ourselves, but instead let it break down the walls that our selfishness has built up, and take the first step in reactivating paralysed relationships, resuming dialogue where there is no longer communication”. Pope Francis encouraged those present to re-read the parable in the Gospel of St. Matthew to reflect on how we use or hide the talents we receive.

“Also, the Lord does not give everyone the same things, or in the same way: he knows us personally and entrusts what it right for us, but there is one thing that is the same in everyone: the same, immense trust. God trusts us, God has hope in us. Let us not disappoint Him! Let us not be deceived by fear, but rather reciprocate trust with trust”.


Immigrants and citizens: do not yield to the temptation of confrontation


Vatican City, 16 November 2014 (VIS) – After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis spoke about the tensions that have emerged during recent days between residents and immigrants in various areas of Rome.

“These are events that have occurred in various European cities, especially in outlying areas where other hardships are experienced. I invite all institutions, at all levels, to consider as a priority what now constitutes a social emergency and which, if not faced as soon as possible and in an appropriate manner, risks degenerating further. The Christian community makes concrete efforts to ensure that encounter takes the place of confrontation. Citizens and immigrants, with representatives of institutions, can meet, even in a room in the parish, and speak together about the situation. The important thing is not to yield to the temptation of confrontation, rejecting every form of violence. It is possible to engage in dialogue, to listen, to plan together and, in this way, overcome suspicion and prejudice, and to build a safer, more peaceful and inclusive co-existence”.

He also remarked that today is World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. “Let us remember in prayer those who have lost their lives in these circumstances”. He concluded, “I hope for constant efforts in the prevention of road accidents, as well as prudence and respect for traffic laws by drivers”.


Francis receives Catholic doctors: no life is qualitatively more significant than another


Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received in audience six thousand doctors, members of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of its foundation. In his address, he commented that “the conquests of science and medicine can contribute to the improvement of human life, provided that they do not drift away from the ethical root of such disciplines”.

“Attention to human life, especially when it is most in difficulty, in the case of the sick, the elderly, and children, profoundly involves the mission of the Church. She is also called upon to participate in the debate on human life, presenting her outlook based on the Gospel. In many contexts, quality of life is linked predominantly to economic conditions, 'well-being', beauty and the pleasure of life in a physical sense, forgetting other deeper dimensions – relational, spiritual and religious – of existence. In reality, in the light of faith and good reason, human life is always sacred and always 'of quality'. There does not exist a human life that is more sacred than another, just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another, simply on the basis of greater means, rights, and economic and social opportunities”, emphasised the Holy Father.

Therefore, he continued, the work of Catholic doctors must offer witness “by word and by deed that human life is always sacred, valid and inviolable, and as such must be loved, defended and cared for”. The profession of medicine, “enriched with the spirit of faith, is a further reason to collaborate with those – even of different religious beliefs or thought – who recognise the dignity of human beings as a criterion for their activity. Indeed, while the Hippocratic oath commits you to serving life, the Gospel leads you further – to love it always and anyway, especially when in need of particular care and attention”.

“Prevalent thought offers a 'false compassion': that which sees abortion as being in favour of women, procuring euthanasia as an act of dignity, and the 'production' of a child – considered as a right instead of being welcomed as a gift – as a scientific conquest, as well as using human lives as 'guinea pigs', presumably to save others. Instead, compassion based on the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that of the Good Samaritan, who 'sees', who 'has compassion', who approaches and offers concrete help”. The Pontiff concluded, “Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with many forms of suffering: I encourage you to take these on as 'good Samaritans', taking special care of the elderly, the sick and the disabled. Faithfulness to the Gospel of life and the response to it as a gift from God will at times require courageous, counter-current decisions that, in particular circumstances, may lead to conscientious objection, and to the many social consequences that such fidelity leads to. We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But it is a bad form of experimentation. … Playing with life … is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, Who created all things as they are”.


The Holy See at the United Nations: defending the civil population from remnants of war


Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva spoke on 10 November at the 8 th Conference of the States Party to Protocol V of the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW). Protocol V stipulates the obligations and the best practices to defend the civil population against the dangers of explosive remnants of war and abandoned ordinances.

“For the sake of credibility and to keep the door open for negotiating and adopting other instruments in the future, it is incumbent upon all States parties to take seriously the implementation of this instrument in its preventative dimension as well as in its remedial dimension”, said Archbishop Tomasi in his English-language address. “The many conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, North Africa and Europe remind us of our responsibilities regarding explosive remnants of war and abandoned ordinances. Apart from the safety of civilians, we are witnessing national and regional destabilisation because of the lack of safety and security of stocks, that the international community is unable or not sufficiently prepared to prevent. … It is true that the primary responsibility lies with the affected State. But international cooperation is also an obligation. Almost all current conflicts involve national, regional and international actors, state actors and non-state actors. It must also be borne in mind that the majority of countries in conflict are developing countries which do not always have sufficient means to overcome the consequences of armed conflict on their soil”.

“The success of the partnership between States, international organisations and non-governmental organisations in several areas of disarmament is well established. CCW, including Protocol V, has always opened its door to the participation of civil society and its organisations. We all profit from the professionalism and expertise of these organisations. We believe they should continue to have a place and a voice in this sphere, and a role to play in international cooperation in the prevention and remedy of damages caused by explosive remnants of war”.

“Wars and armed conflicts are always a failure of politics and of humanity”, he concluded. “International humanitarian law should keep this essential human dimension to make coexistence possible nationally and internationally. When the international community fails to preserve peace, it should not accept a second failure. Protocol V is a modest attempt to prevent innocent people from becoming victims once the conflict is over. Compliance is not only a legal obligation. It is in the first place a moral duty towards the people and a political duty to restore peace”.


Cardinal Gracias, Pope's special envoy at the 500th anniversary of the evangelisation of Myanmar


Vatican City, 15 November 2014 (VIS) – In a letter made public today, written in Latin and dated 16 October, the Holy Father nominated Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, as his special envoy at the celebration of the fifth centenary of the evangelisation of Myanmar, scheduled to take place in Yangon from 21-23 November 2014.

The pontifical mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Rev. Fr. Mariano Soe Naing, S.D.B., professor in the Theological Institute of the St. Joseph Major Seminary, Yangon, and Rev. Fr. Peter Sein Hlaing, O.O., lecturer at the same Institute.


Audiences


Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has received in audience:

- Archbishop Ivan Jurkovie, apostolic nuncio in Russia and Uzbekistan;

- Mehmet Pagaci, new ambassador of Turkey to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters;

- Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, Korea;

- Maestro Daniel Baremboim and entourage;


- Eleven prelates of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, on their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit:

- Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis"of Mpika;

- Bishop Patrick Chisanga, O.F.M. Conv., of Mansa;

- Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu of Lusaka;

- Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu of Chipata, with his auxiliary, Bishop Benjamin Phiri;

- Bishop Clement Mulenga, S.D.B., of Kabwe;

- Bishop Raymond Mpezele of Livingstone;

- Bishop Evans Chinyama Chinyemba, O.M.I., of Mongu;

- Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monse;

- Bishop Alick Banda of Ndola;

- Bishop Charles Joseph Sampa Kasonde of Solwezi.


On Saturday, 15 November, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

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

- Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada, with the deputy president, Bishop David Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, and the deputy secretary, Bede Hubbard.


Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 17 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Rev. Fr. Cristobal Ascencio Garcia as bishop of Apatzingan (area 13,102, population 404,000, Catholics 373,000, priests 59, religious 126), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in El Josefino de Allende, Mexico in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1985. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, including parish priest of the “Espiritu Santu” parish; prefect and subsequently rector of the major seminary, and judge in the ecclesiastical tribunal and the Appeals Tribunal. He is currently parish priest of the “San Francisco de Asis” parish in Tepatitlan di Morelos. He succeeds Bishop Miguel Patino Velazquez, M.S.F., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Juan Carlos Ares as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Buenos Aires (area 203, population 2,944,000, Catholics 2,696,000, priests 782, permanent deacons 10, religious 1,951), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1989. He has served as parish priest of the “San Rafael” parish, chaplain of Scouts in Argentina for the Episcopal Vicariate Devoto, deputy director of the Schools Department of the archiepiscopate of Buenos Aires, and parish priest of “San Ramon Nonato”. He is currently parish priest of “Nuestra Senora de Balvanera”.

- appointed Rev. Martin Fassi as auxiliary of the diocese of San Isidro (area 1,379, population 1,178,000, Catholics 1,120,000, priests 138, permanent deacons 38, religious 203), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in San Isidro, Argentina in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1984. He studied philosophy and theology in the San Agustin major seminary, San Isidro, and has served as formator of the regional seminary “Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion” in Resistencia, missionary in the diocese of Olguin, Cuba, and parish priest in the “Purisima Concepcion” parish of Pacheco. He is currently vicar general of the diocese of San Isidro.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, presented by Bishop Miguel Romano Gomez, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Saturday, 15 November, the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Stephen Tjephe as bishop of the diocese of Loikaw (area 11,670, population 346,000, Catholics 74,868, priests 93, religious 235), Myanmar. Msgr. Tjephe is currently auxiliary of Liokaw and apostolic administrator “sede vacante ed ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the same diocese.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Francisco Javier Pistilli Scorzara, J. Sch., as bishop of Encarnacion (area 16,525, population 611,000, Catholics 502,000, priests 52, permanent deacons 1, religious 110), Paraguay. The bishop-elect was born in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1965, gave his religious vows in 1988 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He completed his studies at the theologate of the Capuchin Franciscan Fathers in Munster, Germany, and has served as parish vicar in the Nuestra Senora del Rosario parish in Luque, Asuncion; and master of novices in Tuparanda, San Lorenzo. He is currently regional superior of the Secular Institute of Schonstatt Fathers for Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Nigeria. He succeeds Bishop Ignacio Gogorza Izaguirre, S.C.I. Of Beth, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Encarnacion, Paraguay, presented by Bishop Claudio Silvero Acosta, S.C.I. Beth, upon reaching the age limit.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Heinz Wilhem Steckling, O.M.I., as bishop of Ciudad del Este (area 29,562, population 795,000, Catholics 783,200, priests 111, permanent deacons 1, religious 198), Paraguay. The bishop-elect was born in Werl, Germany in 1947 and was ordained a priest in 1974. He holds a diploma in theology from the University of Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany. He has served in as provincial of the vice provincia of Pilcomayo e Nord Argentina of the Oblate Missionaries and superior general of his congregation and is currently rector of the major seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Asuncion, Paraguay, and consultor for the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

- appointed Rev. Fr. Lorenzo Lorusso, O.P., as under secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Fr. Lorusso is currently consultor of the same dicastery, rector of the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, and lecturer in Law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.
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