Vatican City, 24 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning, at around 10.30, the Holy Father visited the premises of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) where he spoke with the Board of Directors for approximately twenty minutes, during which he communicated the appointment of the new Director general, Dr. Gian Franco Mammi, to be assisted by Dr. Giulio Mattietti pending the selection of a new Deputy Director.
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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[+]
The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[+]
Last 5 news
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Vatican City, 24 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning, at 10.30 a.m. at the Vatican City State Tribunal, the first hearing in the criminal trial of Msgr. Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, accused of offences connected to the disclosure of reserved information and documents.
The defendants were all present, accompanied by their respective lawyers: Emanuela Bellardini for Msgr. Vallejo Balda, ex officio; Agnese Camilli for Francesca Chaouqui, ex officio; Rita Claudia Baffioni for Nicola Maio, ex officio; Lucia Musso for Emiliano Fittipaldi, private; and Roberto Palombi for Gianluigi Nuzzi, private.
The representative for the injured party, i.e. the Holy See, was not present.
The panel of judges was composed of Professor Giuseppe Della Torre, president; Professor Piero Antonio Bonnet, judge; Professor Paolo Papanti-Pelletier, judge; and Professor Venerando Marano, substitute judge.
The Office of the promotor of justice (the prosecutor's office) was represented by the promotor, Professor Gian Piero Milano, and the adjunct promotor, Professor Roberto Zannotti.
After the reading of the criminal charges by the chancellor, the president communicated that he had forwarded to the Court of Appeal the request for the appointment of two further private lawyers by Nuzzi and Msgr. Vallejo Balda, for eventual authorisation.
Two preliminary objections were heard, by Bellardini regarding the time limits for evidence for the defence, and – following a declaration by Fittipaldi – from Musso on the nullity of the writ served on Fittipaldi due to a lack of precision regarding the alleged offences.
The promotor of justice, in the person of Professor Zannotti, responded to the second objection, arguing that the intention was not to violate the freedom of the press, but that the defendant was required to respond regarding the activities conducted to obtain the published information and documents, and that this had been specified in the writ.
The panel of judges, after a meeting in the chamber lasting three quarters of an hour, rejected the two objections present and established the date of the next hearing, to be held on Monday 30 November at 9.30 a.m., during which the questioning of defendants will commence, starting with Msgr. Vallejo Balda, followed by Francesca Chaouqui, and then the other defendants. Various hearings are expected to be held during that week.
The hearing was closed before midday.
Vatican City, 24 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Fr. Steven Joseph Lopes as ordinary bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of “The Chair of St. Peter”, United States of America. The bishop-elect was born in Fremont, United States of America on 22 April, and was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and is currently an official of the secretariat of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He succeeds Bishop Jeffrey N. Steenson, whose resignation from the pastoral ministry of the same Personal Ordinariate in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Fr. Paul McAleenan and Msgr. John Wilson as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Westminster (area 3,634, population 4,831,000, Catholics 485,300, priests 600, permanent deacons 18, religious 1,289), England.
Bishop-elect McAleenan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1985. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Westminster, including parish vicar and parish priest. He is currently canon of Westminster Cathedral.
Bishop-elect Wilson was born in Sheffield, England in 1968, was baptised in the Anglican Communion and received in the Catholic Church in 1985. He was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a bachelor's degree in theology and religious studies from the University of Leeds, England, a bachelor's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, a licentiate in moral theology from the Alphonsianum of Rome and a doctorate in ethics from the University of Durham, England. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles in the diocese of Leeds, including parish vicar, professor of moral theology, episcopal vicar for evangelisation, and apostolic administrator. He is currently parish priest in Wakefield, Yorkshire. In 2011 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the governor general of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, emphasis was placed on the good bilateral relations, strengthened during recent years by the appointment of an Ambassador to the Holy See. Attention then turned to the contribution offered by the Catholic Church to the promotion of the protection of the human person, as well as in the sectors of education and assistance to those most in need, and the hope of a fruitful mutual collaboration was expressed.
Finally, the parties considered some themes of regional and global relevance, with particular reference to migratory flows and climate change.
Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis' video messages filmed in preparation for his apostolic visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic from 25 to 30 November were broadcast in the three countries.
In the message destined for Kenya and Uganda, after greeting the families of both countries, the Holy Father says, “I am coming as a minister of the Gospel, to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and His message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is meant to confirm the Catholic community in its worship of God and its witness to the Gospel, which teaches the dignity of every man and woman, and commands us to open our hearts to others, especially the poor and those in need”.
“At the same time”, he continues, “I wish to encounter all the people of Kenya and Uganda, and to offer everyone a word of encouragement. We are living at a time when religious believers, and persons of good will everywhere, are called to foster mutual understanding and respect, and to support each other as members of one human family. For all of us are God's children. A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with young people, who are your greatest resource and our most promising hope for a future of solidarity, peace and progress”.
In his message to the Central African Republic, the Holy Father greets all members of the population with affection and joy, regardless of their ethnic origin or religion. “It will be the first time in my life that I come to the African continent, so beautiful and so rich in its nature, people and cultures; and I look forward to great discoveries and enriching encounters”, he reveals.
“Your country has for too long now experienced a situation of violence and insecurity, of which many of you are innocent victims. The objective of my visit is, first and foremost, to bring you, in the name of Jesus, the comfort of consolation and hope. With all my heart I hope that my visit may contribute, in one way or another, to healing your wounds, and opening the way to a brighter future for Central Africa and all her inhabitants”.
“The theme of this trip will be: passing to the other side. It is a theme which invites your Christian communities to look resolutely ahead, and to encourage each person to renew his relationship with God and his brothers, to build a more just and fraternal world. I will have the joy of opening for you – a little in advance – the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will I hope offer a providential opportunity for authentic forgiveness, for giving and receiving, and for rebirth in love”.
“I come to you as a messenger of peace”, he concludes. “I wish to support interreligious dialogue to foster peaceful coexistence in your country; I know this is possible, as we are all brothers”.
Vatican City, 22 November 2015 (VIS) – On the Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Pope devoted his reflection before today's Angelus prayer to the difference between Jesus' reality and that of the world, referring to the Gospel passage that narrates his appearance before Pilate, in which He affirms that He is King, but that His kingdom “is not of this world”.
“This does not mean that Christ is the king in another world, but rather that He is a different kind of king”, explained Francis. “Here there is a contraposition of two types of logic. Worldly logic is based on ambition and competition; it fights with the weapons of fear, bribery and the manipulation of consciences. The logic of the Gospel, that is, the logic of Jesus, is instead expressed in humility and gratitude. It is affirmed silently but effectively with the force of truth. The kingdoms of this world are at times sustained by arrogance, rivalries, oppression; whereas Christ's is a 'kingdom of justice, of love and of peace'”.
Jesus reveals Himself as King in the crucifixion, demonstrating the “surprising gratuitousness of love”. While the Cross may seem to some to be a failure, it is rather “the failure of sin that sin is a failure. In the failure of human ambitions, there is the triumph of the cross, there is the gratuitousness of love. … For a Christian, to speak of power and strength means to make reference to the power of the cross, and the strength of Jesus’ love: a love that remains firm and complete, even when faced with rejection, and which is shown as the fulfilment of a life committed entirely to the benefit of humanity”.
Paradoxically the truth of Jesus is indeed the challenge posed to him with irony by his adversaries: “He can’t save Himself!” “If Jesus had come down from the cross, he would have given in to the temptations of the Prince of this world. Instead, He does not save Himself so as to be able to save others, to give his life for us, for each one of us”. … One of the wrongdoers who was crucified with Him the 'good thief', understood this well, and pleaded with him, 'remember me when you enter your kingdom'. This criminal this was a criminal was a corrupt person, who had been condemned to death for all the brutalities he had committed in his life. But he saw love in Jesus' attitude and in His humility. Jesus' majesty does not oppress us, but rather frees us from our weaknesses and miseries, encouraging us to walk the path of the good, of reconciliation and forgiveness”.
“Faced with so many lacerations in the world, so many wounds in the flesh of man, let us ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to imitating Jesus, our King, making His kingdom present with gestures of tenderness, of understanding, of mercy”.
After the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned that yesterday in Barcelona, Spain, Federico de Berga and 25 companion martyrs were beatified. They had been “assassinated during the ferocious persecution of the Church during the last century. They were priests, young men who had professed their faith and were awaiting ordination, and lay brethren belonging to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Let us entrust to their intercession the many brothers and sisters of ours who unfortunately in our times, in many parts of the world, are still persecuted for their faith in Christ”.
Finally, the Holy Father commented that on Wednesday he will begin his apostolic trip to Africa to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, and he asked all present to pray for this trip, so that it may be a sign of love for all. “Together, let us ask Our Lady to bless these dear lands, so that there may be peace and prosperity there”.
Vatican City, 22 November 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, following the terrorist attack against a hotel in which 27 people lost their lives. The following is the full text of the message:
“Saddened to learn of the tragic attack in Bamako, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of the mourning families and of the people of Mali. He entrusts all the victims to God's mercy, and prays that He welcome them in His light. He expresses his deepest sympathy with the injured and their families, asking the Lord to bring them comfort and consolation in their suffering. Appalled by this senseless violence, which he strongly condemns, the Holy Father implores of God the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace, and invokes the abundance of divine blessings on all those affected by this tragedy”.
Vatican City, 21 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Holy Father received the participants in the World Congress “Educating today and tomorrow: a renewing passion”, promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education. The congress, held in Rome from 18 to 21 November, commemorated fifty years since “Gravissimum educationis”, the Conciliar declaration on Christian education, and the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution “Ex corde Ecclesiae” on the Catholic university.
During the encounter, the Pope heard testimonies from Catholic schools and universities from around the world, and answered three questions. The first was on how educational institutions, present in a diverse range of nations, can be truly Christian. “It is not possible to speak of Catholic education without speaking of humanity, as Catholic identity is God made man”, Francis answered. “Going ahead in terms of attitudes, full human values, opens the door to the seed of Christianity. Faith then follows. Educating in a Christian fashion is not only about catechesis: this is just a part. … It involves educating the young and children in human values in all realities, and one of these is transcendence. … For me, the greatest crisis in education, from a Christian perspective, is closure to transcendence. We are not open to transcendence. It is necessary to prepare hearts so that the Lord manifests Himself”.
In response to the second question, on the meaning of the culture of encounter for all people involved in the promotion of education, Francis said, “It means taking risks. An educator who does not take risks is not able to educate. A father and mother who do not risk do not educate their children well. Risking in a reasoned way. What does this mean? It means learning to walk. The true educator must teach managed and reasonable risk”.
The final question related to the future challenges posed to the educator by the current moments of war, which, the Pope said, required them to become patient builders of peace. “The greatest failure of an educator is to educate 'behind walls'. … The walls of a selective culture, the walls of a culture of safety, the walls of a well-off social sector that does not move ahead”. He concluded by encouraging all educators to think about how they can bring mercy into the field of education. “How can we ensure that the Father's Love, specially emphasised in this Year of Mercy, finds its way into our educational work?”.
Vatican City, 21 November 2015 (VIS) – The Vatican City State Tribunal has notified the defendants and their lawyers of the request for indictment by the Office of the Promotor of Justice, after the completion of the preliminary phase of the current proceedings for the wrongful disclosure of reserved information and documents, and of the consequent Decree of Indictment issued by the president of the Tribunal on 20 November.
The following is an extract of the Decree, which was signed by the Promotor of Justice Gian Pietro Milano, and the adjunct Promotor of Justice Roberto Zannotti.
The Promotor of Justice, with regard to articles 353, 355 and 359 of the Code of Penal Procedure, requests His Excellence the President of the Tribunal to issue, against the persons indicated as follows: Lucio Angel Vallejo, born in Villamediana de Iregua, Spain on 12 June 1961; Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, born in Cosenza, Italy on 18 December 1981; Nicola Maio, born in Benevento on 2 March 1978; Emiliano Fittipaldi, born in Naples on 13 November 1974 and Gianluigi Nuzzi, born in Milan on 3 June 1969, a decree of summons to trial.
Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui and Nicola Maio for the offence defined in art. 248 CPP (this latter as substituted by art. 25 of Law IX of 11 July 2013), “because within the Prefecture for Economic Affairs and COSEA they associated in order to form a criminal organisation, with own autonomous composition and structure, organised by Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, with the objective of committing further crimes of disclosure of information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State”.
All the aforementioned, accused of the crime set forth in articles 63 and 116 bis of the CPP (this latter introduce by Law IX of July 2013), “as, in collaboration with each other, Vallejo Balda in his role as Secretary General of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, Chaouqui as member of COSEA, Maio as collaborator with Vallejo Balda for issues relating to COSEA, Fittipaldi and Nuzzi as journalists, illegally procured and subsequently disclosed information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State; in particular, Vallejo Balda, Chaouqui and Maio obtained such information through their respective roles in the Prefecture for Economic Affairs and in the COSEA; whereas Fittipaldi and Nuzzi solicited and applied pressure, especially to Vallejo Balda, to obtain reserved documents and information, which they used in part to prepare two books published in Italy in November 2015”.
The crimes were committed in Vatican City between March 2013 and November 2015.
Decree of trial
Following the request for trial presented by the Promotor of Justice, the president of Vatican City State Tribunal, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, issued the decree establishing for 24 November 2015, at 10.30, the first hearing in the trial against the defendants Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, specifying that if they do not appear they will be judged in absentia.
At the same time the panel of judges will be composed as follows: Professor Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president; Professor Piero Antonio Bonnet, judge; Professor Paolo Pappanti-Pelletier, judge; Professor Venerando Marano, substitute judge.
The decree establishes that the evidence for the defence must be submitted by 12.30 on 28 November 2015, while the citaiton of texts will be reserved to subsequent provisions.
Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 29 November, at 10.30 a.m., Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand, will take possession of the title of Sant'Ippolito (Via di Sant'Ippolito, 56).
Vatican City, 21 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Hatem Seif El Nasr, ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, presenting his credential letters;
- Archbishop Henryk Jozef Nowacki, apostolic nuncio in Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway;
- Msgr. Francesco Follo, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).
Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Msgr. Tadeusz Litynski as bishop of Zielona Gora – Gorzow (area 14,814, population 1,160,000, Catholics 989,000, priests 641, religious 283), Poland. Msgr. Litynski is currently auxiliary of the same diocese. He succeeds Bishop Stefan Regmunt, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Bishop Rafael Sandoval Sandoval, M.N.M., of Tarahumana, Mexico, as bishop of Autlan (area 14,744, population 357,000, Catholics 341,000, priests 120, religious 192), Mexico.
On Saturday 21 November, the Holy Father appointed:
- Msgr. Nuno Manuel dos Santos Almeida as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Braga (area 2,857, population 964,800, Catholics 886,700, priests 465, permanent deacons 12, religious 676), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Viseu, Portugal in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of Porto, and has served as parish priest in various parishes in the diocese of Viseu, president of the Priestly Fraternity of Viseu, and member of the college of consultors and the presbyteral council.
- Bishop Francisco Mendoza De Leon as coadjutor of the diocese of Antipolo (area 1,828, population 3,958,820, Catholics 3,153,824, priests 178, religious 811), Philippines. Bishop De Leon is currently auxiliary of the same diocese.
- Bishop David William V. Antonio, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, Philippines, as apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the apostolic vicariate of San Jose in Mindoro, Philippines.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was received in audience by the Holy Father Francis. He subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
The cordial discussions, in reaffirming the good relations between the Holy See and Ukraine, were dedicated principally to matters connected with the situation of conflict in the country. In this respect the hope was shared that, with the commitment of all the interested Parties, political solutions may be favoured, starting with the full implementation of the Minsk Accords. At the same time, concern was expressed regarding the difficulties of facing the humanitarian crisis, with particular reference to access for specialised organisations to areas affected by hostilities, to healthcare, to the exchange of prisoners, and the economic and social repercussions of the conflict, experienced throughout the territory.
The meeting provided an opportunity to highlight the important role of the Church in society, as well as the contribution of the Greek Catholic and Latin rite communities to the life of the country.
Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience the prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Germany at the end of their “ad Limina” visit. At the end of the audience the Holy Father handed them a written discourse in which he thanks the German Church for the support given in the form of many works of charity which benefit thousands of people throughout the world. He also mentions that in this exceptional moment, in which large numbers of migrants are arriving in Europe, fleeing from war and persecution, the Christian Churches and many other citizens in Germany have welcomed them warmly offering them assistance and human closeness. Finally, he refers to the erosion of Catholic faith in Germany and the greatly reduced participation in the sacraments and in Sunday Mass in recent decades.
Francis writes that there are great differences not only between the Catholic communities in east and west Germany, but also between north and south, although everywhere the Church is committed with professionalism in social and charitable fields and is very active also in education. On the other hand, in traditionally Catholic regions there has been a major decline in participation in Sunday Mass, as well as in sacramental life. While during the 1960s almost all the faithful participated in Holy Mass every Sunday, now there is attendance of often less than ten per cent, and fewer partake in the sacraments, especially Reconciliation, which has all but disappeared.
In this situation, the Pope emphasises that first it is necessary to overcome this “paralysing resignation”. Although “certainly it is not possible to rebuild from the relics of the good times past … we can be inspired by the life of the first Christians”, such as Priscilla and Aquila, St. Paul's faithful collaborators, who bore witness “with convincing words, but above all with their life, that the truth based on Christ's love for His Church, is truly worthy of faith. They opened up their house for the proclamation of the Gospel”. The example of these “volunteers”, he writes, “can make us reflect, considering the tendency towards a growing institutionalisation. New structures are always being inaugurated, for which in the end there is a lack of faithful. It is a sort of new pelagianism, which leads us to place our trust in administrative structures, in perfect organisations. An excessive centralisation, instead of helping, can complicate the life of the Church and her missionary dynamic. The Church is not a closed system that always revolves around the same questions. The Church is living, and she presents herself to men in their own situations; she knows how to unsettle and to inspire”.
“The current imperative is pastoral conversion, that is, ' a renewal of structures … as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth'. … We must stay among the people with the ardour of those who were the first to welcome the Gospel. And 'whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up … words with new meaning for today's world”.
“In this context of new evangelisation, it is indispensable for the bishop to diligently perform his function as a teacher of the faith – of the faith transmitted and experienced in the living communion of the universal Church – in the many fields of his pastoral ministry”, he continues. “Fidelity to the Church and to the Magisterium does not contradict academic freedom, but requires a humble attitude of service to the gifts of God. The 'sentire cum Ecclesia' must characterise in particular those who educate and form the new generations”.
Parish communities are places where faith is experienced and lived most fully, he adds. “Sacramental life must be one of the bishop's fundamental concerns”. In this regard the Pope highlights two points: Confession and Eucharist. “Confession is the place where the gift of God's forgiveness and mercy is given. In Confession, there begins the transformation of each Christian and the reform of the Church. I trust that greater attention will be given to this Sacrament, which is so important for spiritual renewal, in diocesan and parochial pastoral planning during the Holy Year, and also afterwards. It is also necessary always to emphasise the close relationship between the Eucharist and the priesthood. Pastoral plans that do not accord sufficient importance to priests in their ministry of governing, teaching and sanctifying with regard to the structure and the sacramental life of the Church, experience teaches us, are destined to fail”.
Finally, “a task of the Bishops that is never sufficiently appreciated is commitment to life. The Church must never tire of being an advocate for life and must not take steps back in her announcement that human life is to be protected unconditionally from the moment of conception until natural death. Here we must never make compromises, as otherwise we too become accomplices to the unfortunately widespread throwaway culture”.
Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Clergy, whose prefect is Cardinal Beniamino Stella, has organised a congress at the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Vatican Council II decrees “Optatum totius” and “Presbyterorum ordinis”, dedicated to the formation of priests. At the closing of the Congress Pope Francis received the participants in audience this morning in the Sala Regia. The following are extensive extracts of his address.
“Given that the vocation to the priesthood is a gift that God gives to some for the good of all, I would like to share with you some thoughts, starting form the relationship between priests and other people, following on from no.3 of 'Presbyterorum ordinis', in which there is a little compendium of the theology of priesthood, from the Letter to the Hebrews: 'Priests, who are taken from among men and ordained for men in the things that belong to God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, nevertheless live on earth with other men as brothers' amid brothers. Let us consider these three moments: 'taken from among men', 'ordained for men', and present among other men”.
“The priest is a man who is born in a certain human context: there he learns the primary values, absorbs the spirituality of the people, grows accustomed to relations. Priests also have a history, they are not 'mushrooms' that suddenly appear in the Cathedral on the day of their ordination. It is important for formators and priests themselves to remember this and to know how to take into account this personal history along the path of formation. … A good priest, therefore, is first of all a man with his own humanity, who knows his own history, with its riches and its wounds, who has learned to make peace with this, achieving the fundamental serenity proper to one of the Lord's disciples. Human formation is therefore a necessity for priests, so that they learn not to be dominate by their limits, but rather to put their talents to use”.
“We priests are apostles of joy: we announce the Gospel, which is the quintessential 'good news'; we certainly do not give strength to the Gospel – some believe this – but we can favour or hinder the encounter between the Gospel and people. Our humanity is a the clay vase in which we conserve God's treasure, a vase we must take care of, so as to transmit well its valuable contents”.
“A priest cannot lose his roots: he always remains a man of the people and the culture that have produced him; our roots help us to remember who we are and to where Christ has called us. We priests do not fall from above but are instead called by God, who takes us 'from among men', to 'ordain us for men'. This is the second step”.
“Responding to God's call, we become priests to serve our brothers and sisters. The images of Christ we take as a point of reference for our ministry as priests are clear: He is the 'Supreme Priest', at the time close to God and close to man; He is the 'Servant', Who washes the feet and makes Himself close to the weakest; and He is the 'Good Shepherd', Who always cares for His flock”.
“They are the three images we must look to, thinking of the ministry of priests, sent to serve men, to bring God's mercy to them, to announce His Word of life. We are not priests for ourselves, and our own sanctification is closely linked to that of our people, our anointment with theirs. You have been anointed for your people. Knowing and remembering that we are ordained for the people, the holy people of God, helps priests not to think of themselves, to be authoritative and not authoritarian, firm but not hard, joyful but not superficial: in short, pastors, not functionaries. St. Ambrose, in the fourth century, said that where there is mercy, there is the spirit of the Lord; where there is rigidity there are only His ministers. The minister without the Lord becomes rigid, and this is a danger for the people of God”.
“Finally, what is born with the people must stay with the people. The priests is always among other men: he is not a professional of pastoral ministry or evangelisation, who arrives and does what he is supposed to do – perhaps well, but as if it were a profession like any other – before then going away and living a separate life. One becomes a priest in order to stay in the midst of the people. The good that priests can do arises above all from their closeness and their tender love for people. They are not philanthropists or functionaries, but fathers and brothers”.
Vatican City, 20 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience the following prelates of the Episcopal Conference of the Federal Republic of Germany, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Köln, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Dominik Schwaderlapp, and Bishop Ansgar Puff;
- Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen, with his auxiliaries, Bishop Karl Borsch and Bishop Johannes Bundgens;
- Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, military ordinary, with his auxiliaries Bishop Ludger Schepers and Bishop Wilhelm Zimmermann;
- Bishop Thomas Löhr, auxiliary of Limburg;
- Bishop Felix Genn, Vescovo di Münster, with his auxiliaries Bishop Heinrich Timmerevers, Bishop Christoph Hegge, BIshop Wilfried Theising and Bishop Stefan Zekorn;
- Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, with his auxiliaries Bishop Robert Brahm, Bishop Jörg Michael Peters and Bishop Helmut Karl Dieser, and
- Bishop Piotr Kryk, apostolic exarch for Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine rite resident in Germany and Scandinavia.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Francis receives the participants in the International Conference “The culture of salus and welcome in the service of man and the planet”
Vatican City, 19 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience the participants in the international conference “The culture of salus and welcome in the service of man and the planet”, organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care), currently being held in the Vatican, which coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of the dicastery and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of St. John Paul II's encyclical letter “Evangelium vitae”.
In this document, said the Holy Father, we find “the constitutive elements of the 'culture of salus': hospitality, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. They are Jesus' habitual attitudes towards the many people in need He encounters every day: people suffering sicknesses of every type, public sinners, the possessed, the marginalised, the poor and outsiders. … These attitudes are those that the encyclical calls the 'positive requirements' of the commandment regarding the inviolability of life, which with Jesus are revealed in all their breadth and depth, and today can, or indeed must characterise pastoral care in relation to health: 'they range from caring for the life of one's brother (whether a blood brother, someone belonging to the same people, or a foreigner living in the land of Israel) to showing concern for the stranger, even to the point of loving one's enemy'”.
“This closeness to the other, to the point of feeling that he is someone who belongs to me, overcomes every barrier of nationality, social extraction and religion … as the good Samaritan of the Gospel parable teaches us. It also overcomes that culture in a negative sense in which, both in rich and poor countries, human beings are accepted or refused according to utilitarian criteria, especially in terms of social or economic utility. This mentality is the parent of the so-called 'medicine of desires': an increasingly widespread custom in rich countries, characterised by the search for physical perfection at all costs, in the illusion of eternal youth; a custom that leads indeed to the rejection and marginalisation of all that is not 'efficient', that is seen as a burden or a hindrance, or is simply ugly”.
Similarly, being a neighbour to others, as Francis mentions in his encyclical “Laudato si'”, means also taking on binding responsibilities towards creation and our common home, which belongs to all and is entrusted to the care of all, also for generations to come. … This conversion … to the 'Gospel of creation” requires us to “make our own and become interpreters of the cry for human dignity, raised above all by by poorest and the excluded, as those who are sick and who suffer so often are”.
“I hope that in these days of study and debate, in which you also consider the environmental aspect in its aspects most closely linked to physical, mental, spiritual and social health of the person, you may contribute to a new development of the culture of salus, understood in its fullest sense. I encourage you, in this regard, always to keep in mind, in your work, the real situations faced by those populations who suffer as a result of the damages caused by environmental degradation, whose impact on health is often serious and permanent”, concluded the Pope.
Vatican City, 19 November 2015 (VIS) – In view of Pope Francis' upcoming trip to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic (25-30 November), the Central Church Statistics Office has published the statistics relating to the Catholic Church in the three countries, current as of 31 December 2014.
Kenya has a surface area of 580,367 km2 and a population of 42,961 .000 inhabitants, of whom 13,862,000 are Catholics, equivalent to 32.3% of the population. There are 26 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 925 parishes and 6,542 pastoral centres. There are currently 38 bishops, 2,744 priests, 6303 religious (798 male and 5,505 female), and 11,343 catechists. There are 5,501 seminarians. The Church has 12,195 centres for Catholic education, from pre-school to university level. With regard to charitable and social centres belonging to the Church or directed by ecclesiastics or religious, in Kenya there are 513 hospitals and clinics, 21 leper colonies, 117 homes for the elderly, sick or disabled, 1,173 orphanages and nurseries, 110 family advisory centres, 11 special centres for social education or rehabilitation and 203 institutions of other types.
Uganda has a surface area of 241,038 km2 and a population of 36,497,000 inhabitants, of whom 17,148,000 are Catholics, equivalent to 47% of the population. There are 20 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 540 parishes and 6.900 pastoral centres. There are currently 32 bishops, 2180 priests, 4,266 religious (567 male and 3,699 female), and 15,864 catechists. There are 6.984 seminarians. The Church has 7,050 centres for Catholic education, from pre-school to university level. With regard to charitable and social centres belonging to the Church or directed by ecclesiastics or religious, in Uganda there are 298 hospitals and clinics, one leper colony, 16 homes for the elderly, sick or disabled, 62 orphanages and nurseries, 130 family advisory centres and other centres for the protection of life, 8 special centres for social education or rehabilitation and 56 institutions of other types.
The Central African Republic has a surface area of 622,984 km2 and a population of 4.621.000 inhabitants, of whom 1,724,000 are Catholics, equivalent to 37.3% of the population. There are 9 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 119 parishes and 2,017 pastoral centres. There are currently 16 bishops, 350 priests, 387 religious (44 male and 343 female), and 6,279 catechists. There are 379 seminarians. The Church has 305 centres for Catholic education, from pre-school to secondary level. With regard to charitable and social centres belonging to the Church or directed by ecclesiastics or religious, in the Central African Republic there are 52 hospitals and clinics, 10 leper colonies, 11 homes for the elderly, sick or disabled, 18 orphanages and nurseries, 8 family advisory centres, 2 special centres for social education or rehabilitation and 17 institutions of other types.
Vatican City, 19 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience prelates from the Episcopal Conference of the Federal Republic of Germany, on their “ad Limina” visit:
- Bishop Herwig Gossl, auxiliary of Bamberg;
- Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke, O.S.B., of Eichstatt;
- Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann of Speyer, with his auxiliary, Bishop Otto Georgens;
- Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann of Wurzburg, with his auxiliary Bishop Ulrich Boom;
- Bishop Matthias Konig and Bishop Hubert Berenbrinker, auxiliaries of Paderborn;
- Bishop Ulrich Neymeyr of Erfurt, with his auxiliary, Bishop Reinhard Hauke;
- Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen of Fulda, with his auxiliary, Bishop Karl Heinz Diez;
- Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg;
- Archbishop Stephan Burger of Freiburg im Breisgau, with his auxiliaries Bishop Bernt Joachim Uhl and Bishop Michael Gerber;
- Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, with his auxiliary Bishop Udo Bentz;
- Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, with his auxiliaries Bishop Johannes Kreidler and Bishop Thomas Maria Renz;
- Bishop Manfred Grothe, apostolic administrator of Limburg;
- Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, with his auxiliary, Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke;
- Bishop Norbert Trelle of Hildesheim, with his auxiliaries Bishop Nikolaus Schwerdtfeger and Bishop Heinz-Gunter Bongartz;
- Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode of Osnabruck, with his auxiliary, Bishop Johannes Wubbe;
- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munchen und Freising, with his auxiliaries Bishop Bernhard Hasslberger and Bishop Wolfgang Bischof;
- Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, with his auxiliaries Bishop Anton Losinger and Bishop Florian Worner;
- Bishop Stefan Oster, S.D.B., of Passau;
- Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg;
- Archbishop Heiner Koch, archbishop of Berlin, with his auxiliary Bishop Matthias Heinrich; and
- Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Gorlitz;
- Msgr. Andreas Kutschke, diocesan administrator of Dresden.
Vatican City, 19 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Anthony Bernard Paul as bishop of Melaka-Johor (area 20,364, population 3,696,000, Catholics 39,537, priests 36, permanent deacons 9, religious 45), Malaysia. The bishop-elect was born in Alor Star, Malaysia in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He has served in a number of role in the diocese of Penang, including parish vicar, pastor of various parishes, diocesan head of vocations and parish administrator. He is currently pastor of the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Penang and vicar for pastoral ministry. He succeeds Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing, S.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – As we approach the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of today's Wednesday general audience to the meaning of the “Holy Door”, which he will open on 8 December in St. Peter's Basilica. This great door is that of God's mercy, which welcomes our repentance and offers us the grace of forgiveness; a door which is opened generously but whose threshold must be crossed with courage.
Francis referred to the recent Synod of Bishops, “which gave all families and all the Church as strong impetus to meet at the threshold of this open door. The Church was encouraged to open her doors, to go forth with the Lord towards His sons and daughters who walk together, at times uncertain, at times lost, in these difficult times. Christian families, in particular, have been encouraged to open the door to the Lord Who waits to enter, bringing His blessing. But the Lord never forces the door; He asks permission to enter through ours, although His doors are always open”.
“There are still places in the world where doors are not locked, but there are also many where reinforced doors have become normal. We must not accept the idea of having to apply this system to our whole life, to life within the family, in the city, in society, and far less so in the life of the Church. … An inhospitable Church, like a family closed in on itself, mortifies the Gospel and makes the world arid. No more reinforced doors in the Church!” he exclaimed.
“The symbolic management of doors – thresholds, passages, frontiers – has become crucial. The door must protect, certainly, but not repudiate. The door must not be forced: on the contrary, it is necessary to ask permission to enter, as hospitality shines in the freedom of welcome, and darkens in the arrogance of invasion. The door is opened frequently, to see if there is anyone waiting outside, who perhaps does not have the courage or even the strength to knock. How many people no longer trust … to knock on the door of our Christian heart, at the doors of our Churches. … We have lost their trust; please, we must not let this happen. The door says many things about the house, and also the Church”.
“We ourselves are the guardians and servants of the Door of God, Who is Jesus”, affirmed Francis. “Jesus is the door that lets us enter and leave. Because God's flock is a refuge, not a prison. … We must pass by the door and listen to Jesus' voice; if we hear His tone of voice, we are safe and sound. … If the guardian hears the voice of the Shepherd, then he opens, and he lets in all the sheep that the Shepherd brings, all of them, including those lost in the woods, that the Good Shepherd has gone to find. The sheep are not chosen by the guardian, but rather by the Good Shepherd. The guardian too obeys the voice of the Shepherd. The Church is the door to the house of the Lord but she is not the proprietor of the house of the Lord”.
The Pope concluded his catechesis by reiterating that the Holy Family of Nazareth knew well what was meant by an open or closed door for someone awaiting the birth of a child, for those who do not have shelter, and for those who must flee danger. May Christian families make the threshold of their home a little sign of the great Door of God's mercy and welcome. It is precisely in this way that the Church must be recognised, in every corner of the earth, “as the guardian of a God Who knocks to enter, with the welcome of a God Who does not close the door in your face with the excuse that you do not belong to the household”.
“With this spirit”, he concluded, “we approach the Jubilee: there will be the Holy Door, but it is the door of God's great mercy. There will also be the door of our heart, to receive all God's forgiveness and to give ours in turn, welcoming all those who knock on our door”.
Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – After today's catechesis the Pope recalled that Thursday 20 November will be the Universal Children's Day. “It is a duty of all to protect children and to place their well-being before any other criterion, so that they are never subjected to forms of servitude or mistreatment”, he said. “I hope that the international community may keep careful watch over the living conditions of children, especially where they are at risk of recruitment by armed groups, and may help families guarantee to every boy and girl the right to schooling and education”.
He also mentioned that on 21 November the Church commemorates the Presentation of Mary in the Temple and therefore asks the grace of the gift of the vocation of men and women who, in monasteries and hermitages, have dedicated their lives to God. So that cloistered communities may fulfil their important mission, in prayer and in active silence, let us ensure they do not lack our spiritual and material closeness”.
Francis cordially welcomed pilgrims from Poland, especially the representatives of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarnosc”. “For thirty-five years your union has been engaged in the world of work, both physical and intellectual, as well as in the protection of the fundamental rights of the person and society. Be faithful to this commitment, so that political or economic interests do not prevail over the values that constitute the essence of human solidarity. I entrust you and all the members of the Union to the protection of your patron, Blessed Don Jerzy Popieluszko, and I impart to you my heartfelt blessing”.
Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in the months of December 2015 and January 2016:
Tuesday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door.
Tuesday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 4 p.m. in Piazza di Spagna, veneration of the image of Mary Immaculate.
Saturday 12: Feast of Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Sunday 13: “Gaudete Sunday” Third of Advent. At 9.30 a.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door.
Sunday 13: “Gaudete Sunday” Third of Advent. At 10.30 a.m. in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door, presided by Cardinal James Harvey.
Thursday 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. At 9.30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Friday 25: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, at 12 p.m., “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.
Sunday 27: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for Families.
Thursday 31: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, First Vespers and Te Deum, in Thanksgiving for the past year.
Friday 1: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. 49th World Peace Day. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Friday 1: Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. At 5 p.m. in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, Holy Mass and opening of the Holy Door.
Wednesday 6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass.
Sunday 10: Sunday after the Epiphany: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. At 9.30 a.m. in the Sistine Chapel. Holy Mass and baptism of babies.
Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon at 6.30 p.m. the ceremony was held for the “Recognitio” of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica. After a prayer, the cardinal archpriest Angelo Comastri, who led the procession of the Basilica Chapter, and the admonition of the Master of Ceremonies, four workers broke down the wall sealing the Holy Door inside the Basilica, extracting the metal chest held since the moment of closing the door during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 and containing the “documents” of the last Holy Year, including the key to the Holy Door, the handles, the parchments, the paving stones and commemorative medals.
After praying at the Altar of Confession, the procession reached the chapter house where the metal chest extracted from the door was opened using a blowtorch, in the presence of the Master of liturgical ceremonies of His Holiness, Msgr. Guido Marini, who took delivery of the documents and the objects of the “Recognitio”, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
On Monday 16 November the same ceremony was held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and it will take place tomorrow in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, and on Monday 23 November in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.
Vatican City, 18 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Feira de Santana, Brazil, presented by Archbishop Itamar Vian, O.F.M. Cap., upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Msgr. Zanoni Demettino Castro, coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese.
- appointed Bishop Juan Antonio Menendez Fernandez, auxiliary of Oviedo, Spain, as bishop of Astorga (area 11,535, population 262,741, Catholics 253,178, priests 214, religious 293), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Camilo Lorenzo Iglesias, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck, Austria, as bishop of Linz (area 8,261, population 307,500, Catholics 224,800, priests 52, permanent deacons 13, religious 49), Austria. He succeeds Bishop Ludwig Schwarz, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Msgr. Nelio Domingos Zortea as bishop of Jatai, (area 38,997, population 598,000, Catholics 488,000, priests 38, permanent deacons 14, religious 79), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Irai, Brazil in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including bursar and rector of the minor seminary, member of the Presbytery and director of an interdiocesan centre of theology. He is currently parish priest in the Cathedral of the same diocese.
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In accordance with international regulations on Intellectual Property and Author’s Rights, VIS authorises reproduction of news items issued by the Vatican Information Service, partially or in their entirety, on condition that the source (VIS – Vatican Information Service) is quoted.