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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...[]

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Friday, May 31, 2013


Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president for the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Vuk Jeremic, who then went on to meet with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the course of the cordial conversations, some issues of mutual interest were discussed, in particular, the resolution of international conflicts through peaceful means, with specific reference to the Middle East and the serious humanitarian emergencies those conflicts have caused. In this context, the importance of reconciliation between the communities that make up the various societies and respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities were emphasized. Attention was also given to the problem of human trafficking and the plight of refugees and migrants. Regarding the present global economic crisis, mention was made of the role that the General Assembly of the United Nations could undertake in its programs—that would be environmentally friendly and, at the same time, capable of reducing the distance between the rich and the poor—for an agenda of sustainable development after 2015.

Today’s meeting confirmed the Holy See’s appreciation for the United Nation’s central role in seeking the common good of humanity. Also, the Catholic Church’s contribution, with the means proper to her and respectful of her identity, in promoting the complete dignity of the human person as well as peace and a culture of encounter was not overlooked, with the hopes that such values might always inspire the General Assembly’s debates and deliberations.


Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. He then led, on foot, the Eucharistic procession that wound along Rome's Via Merulana, until reaching the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Following are ample extracts from the Holy Father's homily, which focused on the Gospel story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

In the Gospel we have just heard, there is an expression of Jesus that always strikes me: 'Give them some food yourselves'. ... who are the ones whom we should feed? ... the crowd, the multitude. Jesus is in the midst of the people. He welcomes them; talks to them; heals them. He shows them God's mercy. In their midst, He chooses the twelve Apostles to be with him and, like him, to immerse themselves in the concrete situations of the world. The people follow him and listen to him because Jesus speaks and acts in a new way, with the authority of someone who is authentic and consistent; someone who speaks and acts truthfully; someone who gives the hope that comes from God; one who is revelation of the face of the God who is love. And the people joyfully bless God.”

This evening we are that crowd in the Gospel. We also strive to follow Jesus to listen to him, to enter into communion with him in the Eucharist, to accompany him, so that He might accompany us. Let us ask ourselves: how do I follow Jesus? Jesus speaks in silence, in the Mystery of the Eucharist, and every time He reminds us that following him means going out of ourselves and making our lives not our possession, but a gift to him and to others.”

The invitation that Jesus extends to his disciples to feed the multitude themselves is born of two elements: most of all from the crowd that, having followed Jesus, now finds itself outside, far from inhabited areas, as evening falls, and then, from the disciples' concern, who asked Jesus to dismiss the crowd so that they might seek food and lodging in the nearby towns. Faced with the crowd's needs, the disciples' solution is for everyone to take care of themselves. ... How many times do we Christians have this temptation! We do not care for the needs of others, dismissing them with a pitiful, 'May God help you'. … But Jesus’ solution goes in another direction … He asks the disciples to seat the people in communities of fifty persons. He raises his eyes to heaven, recites the blessing, breaks the loaves, and gives them to the disciples to distribute.”

It is a moment of profound communion. The crowd, whose thirst has been quenched by the word of the Lord, is now nourished by his bread of life. … This evening, we too are gathered around the Lord’s table ... It is in listening to his Word, in nourishing ourselves with his Body and his Blood, that He makes us transforms us from a multitude into a community, from anonymity to communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion, which brings us out from our selfishness to live together our journey in his footsteps, our faith in him. We all ought, therefore, to ask ourselves before the Lord: How do I live the Eucharist? Do I live it anonymously or as a moment of true communion with the Lord and also with the many brothers and sisters who share this same table?”

The multiplication of the loaves [is born of] Jesus' invitation to his disciples: 'Feed them yourselves', 'give', share. What do the disciples share? What little they have: five loaves and two fishes. But it is precisely those loaves and fishes that, in God’s hands, feed the whole crowd. And it is precisely the disciples, bewildered by the inability of their means, by the poverty of what they have at their disposal, who invite the people to sit down and— trusting Jesus' word of—distribute the loaves and fishes that feed the crowd. This tells us that in the Church, but also in society, a keyword that we need not fear is 'solidarity', that is, knowing how to place what we have at God’s disposal, our humble abilities, because only in sharing them, in giving them, that our lives will be fruitful, will bear fruit. Solidarity: a word upon which the spirit of the world looks unkindly!”

Tonight, once again, the Lord gives us the bread which is his body. He makes a gift of himself. We also experiencing “God's solidarity” with humanity, ... a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us. God draws near to us. In the sacrifice of the Cross He lowers himself, entering into the darkness of death in order to give us his life, which conquers evil, selfishness, and death. This evening too, Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist. He shares our journey, or rather, He becomes food, real food that sustains our lives even at the times when the going is rough, when obstacles slow our steps. In the Eucharist, the Lord makes us follow his path, the path of service, sharing, and giving—and what little we have, what little we are, if shared, becomes wealth, because the power of God, which is love, descends into our poverty to transform it.”

Discipleship, communion, and sharing. Let us pray that our participation in the Eucharist may always inspire us: to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion, to share what we are with Him and with our neighbour. Then our lives will be truly fruitful.”


Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) – The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., clarified a few points relative to the broadcast and publication of the daily Mass that Pope Francis celebrates in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae as well as the homilies that he gives.

First of all,” said Fr. Lombardi, “it is necessary to keep in mind the character that the Holy Father himself attributes to the morning celebration of Mass at St. Martha's. It is a Mass attended by a, not small, group of faithful (usually over 50 persons), but the Pope wants to maintain its familiar atmosphere. That is why, notwithstanding the requests that have been received, he has specifically requested that the live video and audio not be broadcast.”

Regarding his homilies, they are not given from a written text but spontaneously and in Italian, a language that the Pope knows well but which isn't his mother tongue. A 'complete' publication, therefore, would necessarily entail a transcription and a reworking of the text at various points, given that the written form is different from the spoken one, which in this case is the original form chosen intentionally by the Holy Father. In short, it would entail editing by the Holy Father himself, but the result would clearly be 'something else', which isn't what the Holy Father intends to do [with his daily homily] each morning.”

The Director of the Holy See Press Office stated that careful consideration was given to how to make the wealth of the Pope's homilies available without changing their nature. The Vatican's newspaper, “L'Osservatore Romano” as well as Vatican Radio offer a summary of the Pope's words and Vatican Television broadcasts a brief video that corresponds to the paragraphs chosen by Vatican Radio. He also noted that the difference between the Pope's public and private activities must be recognized. In the former, Pope Francis' complete texts are released, while in the latter it is necessary to “respect the particular character of the situation, the spontaneity and familiarity of the Holy Father's expressions. The solution that was chosen respects, above all, the Pope's wishes and the nature of the morning celebrations while, at the same time, allowing a wide public to have access to the main messages that the Holy Father offers the faithful in those circumstances.”


Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:

   - Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and

   - Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and titular of Tibica.


Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father:

   - appointed Bishop Sergio Osvaldo Buenanueva as bishop of the Diocese of San Francisco (area 19,611, population 222,000, Catholics 217,000, priests 40, religious 34), Argentina. Bishop Buenanueva was previously auxiliary of Mendoza, Argentina, and titular of Rusubbicari. On the Argentine Episcopal Conference he currently serves as president of the Commission for Ministers.

   - appointed Fr. Jean-Pierre Delville as bishop of Liege (area 3,862, population 1,044,000, Catholics 213,987, priests 33, religious 94), Belgium. The bishop-elect, of the clergy of the same diocese, was born in Liege in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1980. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and academic roles, most recently as vicar of the parish of Saint-Lambert in Liege and tenured professor in the Theology Faculty of the Universite catholique of Louvain in Louvain-le-Neuve, Belgium. He succeeds Bishop Aloysius Jousten, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

   - appointed Fr. Peter Brown, C.Ss.R., as bishop of Samoa-Pago Pago (area 197, population 68,000, Catholics 14,000, priests 18, permanent deacons 27, religious 9), American Samoa. Bishop-elect Brown was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1947 and was ordained a priest in 1981. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral, missionary, and institutional roles, most recently as regional superior of the Redemptorist Fathers in New Zealand. He succeeds Bishop John Quinn Weitzel, M.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

   - accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Cochabamba, Bolivia, presented by Bishop Angel Gelmi Bertocchi, titular of Forum Clodii, upon having reached the age limit.

   - accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Motherwell, Scotland, presented by Bishop Joseph Devine, upon having reached the age limit.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Vatican City, 29 May 2013 (VIS) – The mystery of the Church will be the theme of Pope Francis' new cycle of catechesis during the Wednesday general audiences. “A mystery,” he said, “that we all live and in which we all take part.” The Pope, who will discuss this topic in light of Vatican Council II texts, began from the parable of the prodigal son that illustrates God's plan for humanity.

In spite of the rain that suddenly fell on Rome this morning, Francis followed his custom of winding through St. Peter's Square in the Popemobile, greeting the tens of thousands of people present and, before beginning his catechesis, he joked with them, praising their endurance in spite of the inclement weather.

In his teaching, the Holy Father explained that God's plan is “to make of all of us one family of his children, [a family] in which each one feels close to and loved by him … feels the warmth of being the family of God. The Church—not an organization born out of an agreement between some persons but … the work of God, born of this love and progressively built in history—has her origin in this great plan.”

The Church, the pontiff explained, “is born of God's desire to call all men and women to communion with him, to friendship with him, even further, to participate as his children in his very divinity. The word 'Church' itself, from the Greek 'ekklesia', means 'convocation'. God calls us, urges us to leave selfishness behind, the tendency to be wrapped up in oneself, and calls us to be part of his family. This call has its origins in creation itself. God created us so that we might live a relationship of profound friendship with him and, when sin cut off that relationship with him, with others, and with creation, God did not abandon us. The entire story of salvation is the story of God seeking humans, offering us his love, gathering us to him. He called Abraham to be the father of many; He chose the people of Israel to forge a covenant that embraces all peoples; and he sent, in the fullness of time, his Son so that his plan of love and salvation might be fulfilled in a new and eternal covenant with all of humanity.”

When we read the Gospel we see that Jesus gathers a small community around him that welcomes his word, follows it, shares his journey, becomes his family. And with this community He prepares and builds his Church.” It is a Church whose origin lies in the “supreme act of love on the Cross, in Jesus' opened side from which flow blood and water, symbol of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism. In the family of God, in the Church, the lifeblood is God's love that is made concrete in loving him and others, all, without distinction or limits. The Church is a family in which we love and are loved.” The Church is made manifest, as on Pentecost, “when the gift of the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of the Apostles and compels them to go out and begin the journey to proclaim the Gospel, to spread God's love.”

The Pope observed that, even today, “there are some who say: 'Christ yes, the Church no'. Like those who say: 'I believe in God, but not in the priests'. But it is precisely the Church that brings us Christ and brings us to God. The Church is the great family of the children of God. Of course it also has human aspects. there are defects, imperfections, and sins in those who make her up, pastors and faithful. Even the Pope has them, and many. But what is beautiful is that, when we realize that we are sinners we encounter the mercy of God who always forgives. He never forgets us. He gathers us up in his love of forgiveness and mercy. Some say that sin is an offence against God, but it is also an opportunity for the humility to realize that there is something better: God's mercy. Let's think about this.”

How much do I love the Church? Do I pray for her? Do I feel part of the family of the Church? What am I doing to make it a community in which everyone feels welcomed and understood, feels God's mercy and love that renews life? Faith is a gift and an act that has to do with us personally, but God calls us to live our faith together, as a family, as the Church.”

Let us ask the Lord, particularly in this Year of Faith, that our communities, that all the Church, be ever more truly families that live and bring the warmth of God,” the Holy Father concluded.


Vatican City, 29 May 2013 (VIS) – At the end of today's general audience, as he does every Wednesday, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims of the various language groups in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis addressed a few words to the youth who will be gathering this Saturday, 1 June, at Lednica Lake in Poland for the yearly commemoration of the first Baptism of the Polish people in 966.

Remember that God is our Father,” the Pope said to them. “He created us, bestowed our talents on each of us, and guides us along the path of life. He is with us in spite of our weaknesses, our sins, and our omissions. … He is the model of all parenthood, even earthly paternity.”

“”Don't forget,” he urged them, “to thank God for your parents … even if your relationship might not be so good. Parenthood is a gift from God and it is a great responsibility to give new life, which is an unrepeatable image of God. Don't be afraid to be parents. … Also, be open to being spiritual mothers and fathers.”


Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) - The Pope's general prayer intention for June is: “That a culture of dialogue, listening, and mutual respect may prevail among peoples.”

His mission intention is: “That where secularization is strongest, Christian communities may effectively promote a new evangelization.”


Vatican City, 29 May 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon the Holy Father received Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, DC, USA, in audience.


Vatican City, 29 May 2013 (VIS) - No VIS bulletin will be transmitted tomorrow, Solemnity of Corpus Christi and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Friday 31 May.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Vatican City, 28 May 2013 VIS – This morning, in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, together with Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively secretary and undersecretary of the same dicastery, presented two major events of the Year of Faith: a worldwide Eucharistic Adoration and the Day Celebrating the Evangelium Vitae.

The first of these events, the Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration, will be broadcast from St. Peter’s Basilica next Sunday, 2 June from 5:00pm-6:00pm local time. Its theme is: “One Lord, One Faith”, which was chosen to testify to the deep unity that characterizes it. “It will be an event,” Archbishop Fisichella explained, “occurring for the first time in the history of the Church, which is why we can describe it as ‘historical’. The cathedrals of the world will be synchronized with Rome and will, for an hour, be in communion with the Pope in Eucharistic adoration. There has been an incredible response to this initiative, going beyond the cathedrals and involving episcopal conferences, parishes, lay associations, and religious congregations, especially cloistered ones.”

From the Cook Islands to Chile, Burkina Faso, Taiwan, Iraq, Bangladesh, the United States, and the Philippines, the dioceses will be synchronized with St. Peter’s and will pray for the intentions proposed by the Pope. The first is: “For the Church spread throughout the world and united today in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist as a sign of unity. May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”

Pope Francis’ second intention is: “For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”

The Day Celebrating the Evangelium Vitae, entitled “Believing May They Have Life”, will take place from 15 to 16 June. ”We have given it this name to testify to the grand theme that revolves around the Church’s commitment to the promotion, respect, and dignity of human life,” said Archbishop Fisichella. “Pope Francis will preside at Sunday Mass at 10:30am with the entire ‘people of life’ to address his message and to show his care to them as well as to all the ill who will be present at the celebration. Like the other events, it will follow the traditional pattern of the Year of Faith: pilgrimages to St. Peter’s tomb will take place on Saturday afternoon, from 2:00pm until 5:00pm, while at the same time those who wish may go to confession and adore the Blessed Sacrament. There will also be catechesis for the various language groups in several churches around Rome on Saturday morning.”

In the evening of that same day, Saturday 15 June, starting at 8:30pm, “a silent, candle-lit procession will be held along Via della Conciliazione in order to call attention to the theme of human life and its intangible value. It will conclude in St. Peter’s Square where several meaningful testimonials will be given. … Already, groups from the United States, Germany, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Spain, France, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina, Britain, Belgium, Slovakia, Costa Rica, Portugal, and Australia have registered their participation. There will also be families, representatives from episcopal conferences, dioceses, parishes, religious orders, seminaries, humanitarian and health organizations like the Order of Malta, ecclesial movements, associations like Unitalsi and the Red Cross, and pro-life groups as well as many people interested in the promotion and defense of life who aren’t affiliated with a particular association or religion.”


Vatican City, 28 May 2013 VIS – Bishop Mario Toso, S.D.B., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, delivered an address at the Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination (Including Human Rights Youth Education) in Tirana, Albania, on 21 May. The conference was organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The second plenary session dealt with the issue of combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions.

At the last High-Level Conference on tolerance and non-discrimination, held three years ago in Astana,” the prelate said, “the participating States committed, among other things, to counter prejudice, discrimination, intolerance, and violence against Christians and members of other religions, including minority religions, which continue to be present in the OSCE region. They were also called to address the denial of rights, exclusion, and marginalization of Christians and members of other religions in our societies. Unfortunately, examples of intolerance and discrimination against Christians have not diminished but rather increased in various parts of the OSCE region despite a number of meetings and conferences on the subject organized also by the OSCE and Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).”

It is regretful, therefore, to note that across the OSCE region a sharp dividing line has been drawn between religious belief and religious practice, so that Christians are frequently reminded in public discourse (and increasingly even in the courts), that they can believe whatever they like in their own homes or heads, and largely worship as they wish in their own private churches, but they simply cannot act on those beliefs in public. This is a only deliberate twisting and limiting of what religious freedom actually means, and it is not the freedom that was enshrined in international documents, including those of the OSCE beginning with the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, stretching through the 1989 Final Vienna Document and the 1990 Copenhagen Document, and including the 2010 Astana Summit Commemorative Declaration.”

Participating OSCE States,” Bishop Toso emphasized, “must therefore guarantee that intolerance and discrimination against Christians is ended, enabling Christians to speak freely on issues that the government or others may find disagreeable and act on their consciences in the workplace and elsewhere. Discrimination against Christians – even where they are a majority – must be faced as a serious threat to the whole of society and therefore should be fought, as it is done, and rightly so, in the case of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.


Vatican City, 28 May 2013 VIS – Today the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Rodolfo Cetoloni, O.F.M., as bishop of the Diocese of Grosseto (area 1,239, population 134,340, Catholics 124,936, priests 73, permanent deacons 5, religious 50), Italy. Bishop Cetoloni was previously bishop of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, Italy.

- appointed Fr. Jorge Estrada Solorzano as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mexico (area 1,429, population 8,997,000, Catholics 8,038,000, priests 1,789, permanent deacons 146, religious 7,211), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Mexico City in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1995. Since 2008 he has been the director of the Assistance Centre for Priests. He was previously pastor of St. Peter the Apostle parish in the Archdiocese of Mexico.

- accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Mexico presented by Bishop Francisco Clavel Gil, upon having reached the age limit.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Vatican City, 26 May 2013 (VIS) – “We understand reality better not from the center, but from the outskirts”, Pope Francis said to the thousands of persons awaiting him this morning at the Roman parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Prima Porta neighbourhood on the northern outskirts of the city. Upon arriving, the Holy Father, who was accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, and Auxiliary Bishop Guerino Di Tora, greeted the families with children who had been baptized during the year and also heard several confessions. Also with the Pope were his two secretaries, one of whom, one of whom, Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, was celebrating the 29th anniversary of his ordination. The pontiff noted the happy occasion and asked for an applause for Msgr. Xuereb.

At 9:30am, in the square in front of the church, after being welcomed by the parish pastor, Don Benoni Ambarus, he presided at Mass, during which he administered the Sacrament of the Eucharist to 16 children and gave communion to another 28 children who had made First Communion in the past few weeks.

In his homily, warm and conversational in tone, interspersed with questions from and answers to the children present, the Pope recalled Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, observing that, as soon as the Virgin heard the news that her cousin was also pregnant, Mary--the Gospel says—“set out in haste”, without waiting or thinking that Elizabeth “will probably have friends who will help her.” “It’s beautiful to think this about the Virgin, our Mother, who sets out in haste because she has this within her: helping. She goes to help, not to boast and say to her cousin: ‘Listen, I’m in charge now because I am the mother of God!’ No she didn’t do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like that. She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says ‘Our Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!’ … Because she always sets out in haste, she doesn’t forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, when they are in need and call upon her, she sets out in haste. And this gives us a security, the certainty of always having our mother near, always at our side. … Our Lady who always comes for us quickly.”

Our Lady also helps us to understand God well … to understand Jesus’ life,” the pontiff continued, beginning a conversation with the children.

I ask you, children: Who knows who God is? Raise your hands, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? One? But they told me that there are three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! … They are three in one, three persons in one. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin: the Father, who created all things, who created us. What does the Son do? … He loves us? And what else? He brings the Word of God! Jesus came to teach us God’s Word. And what else? What did Jesus do on earth? He saved us! Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us. And the Holy Spirit, what does He do? He loves us!”

Now all the children together: the Father creates everything, He creates the world. Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is the Christian life: talking with the Father, talking with the Son, and talking with the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved us, but He also walks with us in life. … And how does He walk? What does He do when He walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins the trophy! What does Jesus do when He walks with us? … First of all He helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, helps us, guides us, and teaches us how to go forward. Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. … When it’s difficult, right? And even with our homework! … He gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? … In Communion He gives us strength, He helps us exactly by giving us strength. … But when you say ‘He gives us Communion’, does a piece of bread give you so much strength? … It looks like bread! But it’s not really bread. What is it? It Jesus’ body. Jesus comes into our hearts.”

Well, let’s all think about this, all of us. The Father gave us life; Jesus gave us salvation. He accompanies us, guides us, supports us, and teaches us. And the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think about God like this and ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, who is always quick to help us, to teach us to understand how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is, and how the Holy Spirit is.”

After Mass, the Pope greeted the parish pastors and returned to the Vatican to pray the Angelus.


Vatican City, 26 May 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Every year, the light of Easter renews in us the joy and wonder of the faith,” Pope Francis said. “We recognize that God is not something vague. Our God is not some smoke. He is concrete; not an abstraction but having a name: ‘God is love.’ Not some sentimental or affective love, but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life; the love of the Son who dies upon the cross and rises again; the love of the Spirit, who renews humanity and the world. Understanding that God is love does us much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us.”

The Most Holy Trinity is not a product of human reasoning. It is the face with which God revealed himself, not from a cathedra on high, but walking with humanity. It is Jesus who revealed the Father to us and who promised us the Holy Spirit … who teaches us everything that we don’t know, who guides us from within, who gives us good ideas and good inspiration.”

At the end of the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled Don Giuseppe Puglisi, priest and martyr, who was killed by the mafia in 1993 and proclaimed a blessed yesterday, Saturday 25 May.

Don Puglisi,” he continued, “was an exemplary priest, especially dedicated to pastoral work with young people. Teaching them according to the Gospel, he snatched them away from a life of crime. For this [the mafia] tried to defeat him by killing him. In fact, however, he is the one who won, with the Risen Christ. I think of the many sufferings of the men and women, and even of children, who are exploited by the different mafias, who exploit them by forcing them into work that makes them slaves, with prostitution, and with many societal pressures. The mafias are behind this exploitation and slavery.”

Let us pray to the Lord,” the Holy Father asked, “to convert the hearts of these people. They cannot do this! Brothers and sisters, they cannot make us slaves! We must pray to the Lord! Let us … praise God for Don Giuseppe Puglisi’s shining witness and let us treasure his example!”


Vatican City, 25 May 2013 (VIS) – Members of the "Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontefice" Foundation, which was established 20 years ago by Blessed John Paul II, were received this afternoon by Pope Francis during their annual international conference. This year's theme is “Rethinking Solidarity for Work: Challenges of the 21st Century”.

In his address to them, the Bishop of Rome noted that the foundation bears the same name as an encyclical published by John Paul II on the centenary anniversary of “Rerum Novarum” and has, therefore, the Church's social doctrine as the scope of its analysis and action. “Rethinking solidarity,” he said, “doesn't mean questioning the recent Magisterium that, in fact, demonstrates ever more its vision and its relevance. Rather, 'rethinking' seems to me to mean two things: first of all combining the Magisterium with socio-economic development that, being constant and quick, always presents new aspects and second, 'rethinking' means going more in depth, reflecting further, to make all of a value's worth emerge—solidarity in this case—which draws upon the Gospel profoundly, that is, upon Jesus Christ and thus contains inexhaustible potential.”

The current economic and social crisis adds urgency to this 'rethinking'. … It is a phenomenon, like that of unemployment—the lack and the loss of a job—that is spreading like wildfire in large areas of the West and that is alarmingly extending the boundaries of poverty. And there is no worse material poverty, I would like to emphasize, than that which deprives someone of earning their living, deprives them of the dignity of work. By now this 'something wrong' is not just affecting the southern regions of the world, but the entire planet. Hence the need to 'rethink solidarity', no longer as simple assistance to the poor but as a global rethinking of the entire system, seeking ways to reform and correct it in a manner consistent with fundamental human rights, the rights of all men and women. This word 'solidarity', which isn't seen in a good light by the economic world—as if it were a bad word—needs to have its deserved social citizenship restored.”

At the end of his address, the Holy Father reiterated that the crisis is not just an economic or financial one, but rather is rooted in an ethical and anthropological crisis. “Chasing the idols of power, profit, and money over and above the value of the human person has become a basic rule of operation and a decisive criterion of organization. It has been forgotten, and still we forget, that above business logic and the parameters of the market lies human being and that there is something owed to humans as humans, in virtue of their profound dignity: the opportunity to live in dignity and to actively participate in the common good.”


Vatican City, 27 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received:

- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers,

- Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., president emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and

- Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of Xai-Xai, Mozambique and president of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique.

On Saturday, 25 May, the Holy Father received:

- Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and

- Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India.


Vatican City, 25 May 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, presented by Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, previously coadjutor of the same archdiocese.

- appointed Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest emeritus of the Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls Basilica, as special envoy to the closing celebration of the sixth centenary of the discovery of the statue of Santa Maria della Libera to be held in the shrine of Cercemaggiore, Italy on 2 July of this year.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) - “The trafficking of persons is an ignoble activity, a disgrace to our society that calls itself 'civilized'! Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience, within themselves and before God!” These were the Pope's words to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, gathered in Rome to discuss the issue of “The Church's Pastoral Care in the Context of Forced Migration”.

The assembly coincides with the publication of the document: “Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Persons Displaced by Force”, which calls attention to the millions of refugees, displaced, and stateless persons. It also addresses the scourge of human trafficking, which more and more frequently affects children who suffer the worst forms of abuse, including being forced into armed conflicts.

Today,” the pontiff exclaimed, “the Church renews her strong call that the dignity and centrality of each person be always protected, in respect of fundamental rights … rights that she asks be concretely extended to the millions of men and women in every continent whose rights are not recognized. In a world where there is so much talk of rights it seems that the only one to have rights is money. … We are living in a world ruled by money. We live in a world, in a culture ruled by the fetishism of money.” In this context, the Pope noted that the dicastery responsible for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people is very worried by “situations where the family of nations is called to intervene in a spirit of fraternal solidarity with programmes of protection, often established against the backdrop of tragic events that almost daily are affecting the lives of many people. I express my appreciation and my gratitude and encourage you to continue along the path of service to our poorest and most marginalized brothers and sisters.”

The attention of the Church, who is “mother”, is expressed “with special tenderness and closeness for those forced to flee their country and live in-between rootlessness and integration. This tension destroys a person. Christian compassion—this 'suffering with' [con-passione]—is expressed above all in the commitment to know about the events that force one to leave their country and, where necessary, in giving voice to those who are unable to make their cry of sorrow and oppression heard. In this,” he said to the assembly's participants, “you carry out an important task, as well as in making the Christian communities aware of their many brothers and sisters who are marked by wounds that scar their existence: violence, abuse of power, distance from family, traumatic events, flight from home, and uncertainty about their future in refugee camps. These are all dehumanizing elements and they must compel every Christian and the entire community to a concrete attention.”

However, the Holy Father also invited them to also see in the eyes of refugees and forcibly displaced persons ”the light of hope. It is a hope that is expressed in expectation for the future, the desire for friendly relationships, the desire to participate in the society that is hosting them, even through language learning, access to employment, and education for the youngest. I admire the courage of those who hope to gradually resume a normal life, awaiting joy and love to return and lighten their existence. We all can and must nurture that hope!”

Finally, the Pope launched an appeal to governments, legislators, and the entire international community to face the reality of forcibly displaced persons “with effective initiatives and new approaches to safeguard their dignity, to improve the quality of their lives, and to meet the challenges that emerge from modern forms of persecution, oppression, and slavery. It is, I emphasize, human persons who appeal to the solidarity and support, who need urgent measures, but also and above all who need understanding and goodness. Their condition cannot leave us indifferent.”

As Church,” he concluded, “we remember that when we heal the wounds of refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking, we are practising the commandment of love that Jesus has left us; when we identify with the stranger, with those who are suffering, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. … Here I would also like to recall the care that every pastor and Christian community must have for the journey of faith of Christian refugees and those forcibly uprooted from their lives, as well as for that of Christian emigrants. They require special pastoral care that respects their traditions and accompanies them in a harmonious integration into the ecclesial reality in which they find themselves. Let us not forget the flesh of Christ, who is in the flesh of the refugees. Their flesh is that of Christ.”


Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis presided at the profession of faith with all the Italian episcopacy gathered for their 65th general assembly. It was the first time that the Holy Father met with all the representatives of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), whom he greeted personally, one by one.

The consequence of loving the Lord,” the Pope said to the bishops, “is giving everything—absolutely everything, even up to our very lives—for him. This is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry: it is the litmus test that says how deeply we have embraced the gift received in responding to Jesus' call and how connected we are to the persons and the communities that have been entrusted to us. We are not the expression of an organizational structure or need. Even with the service of our authority we are called to be marked by the presence of the Risen Lord, to build the community, therefore, in fraternal charity. This shouldn't be overlooked, however: even the greatest love, in fact, when it is not continuously nourished, grows weak and dies.”

Lack of vigilance—we know—makes the shepherd lukewarm, makes him distracted, forgetful, and even impatient. It seduces him with the prospect of career, the lure of money, and compromises with the spirit of the world. It makes him lazy, transforming him into a functionary, a cleric more worried about self, about organization and structures than the true good of the People of God. It runs the risk then, as did the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even though formally presenting itself as and speaking in his name. It obscures the holiness of the hierarchical Mother Church, making it less fruitful.”

Who are we, brothers, before God? What are our trials?... As it did for Peter, Jesus' insistent and heartfelt question can leave us sorrowful and more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by thousands of internal and external constraints, which often arouse confusion, frustration, even disbelief. These are certainly not the feelings or the attitudes that the Lord means to awaken. Instead, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaint, and in discouragement. … Jesus, the Good Shepherd, neither humiliates nor abandons us to remorse. In him, the Father's tenderness speaks to us, comforting and restoring us. He leads us from the disintegration of shame—because it is truly shame that breaks us down—to the fabric of trust, restoring courage, entrusting us again with responsibility, and delivering us to the mission.”

"This is why," the Bishop of Rome concluded, "being Shepherds also means being ready to walk amidst the flock: capable of hearing the silent story of those who suffer and of sustaining the steps of those who are afraid of not making it; careful to lift up, to reassure, and to inspire hope. Through sharing with the poor our faith comes out strengthened. Let us, therefore, set aside every type of arrogance in order to bow before those whom the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among these, a special place, a very special place, let us keep for our priests. Especially for them our hearts, our hands, and our doors must stay open at all times. They are the first faithful that we bishops have: our priests.”


Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will travel to Lebanon from 24 – 28 May, continuing on to Jordan until 1 June. In addition to attending the ordination of the new Maronite Bishops of Argentina and Australia on Sunday, 26 May, he will celebrate Mass at the inter-ritual Shrine of Our Lady of Zahle with the participation of the Melkite Archbishop and other pastors of the local Eastern Churches with their respective faithful. The main intention of the prayer in these circumstances will be the plea for peace in Syria, Lebanon, and the entire Middle East.

In the following days, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will meet with the Maronite, Melkite, Syrian, and Armenian patriarchs as well as some religious communities, especially the young volunteers of Caritas Lebanon who, along with other humanitarian organizations, are attempting to deal with the enormous tragedy of refugees fleeing Syria.

The visit to Jordan will also be devoted to meeting the pastors and faithful of the various Catholic communities, especially that of the Greek Melkite communities in Petra and Philadelphia and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose territory extends throughout the country. On Thursday, 30 May, the cardinal will attend the inauguration of the University of Madaba, belonging to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan is expected to attend. Before returning to Rome, the Cardinal will visit a camp of refugees who have fled from Syria and other Middle Eastern regions.

To all, pastors and faithful, the government and the peoples of Lebanon and Jordan, reads a press release, “the cardinal will bring the affectionate greeting, sharing in the worries and the sorrows of these regions, of Pope Francis, and imparting the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of closeness and hope in the Lord for the countries of the entire Middle Eastern region.”


Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received:

   - His excellency Mr. Marin Raykov Nikolov, prime minister of Bulgaria, with his wife and entourage.

   - His excellency Mr. Trajko Veljanovski, vice president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with his wife and entourage.

   - Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta, O. Cist., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father erected the new diocese of Dolisie (area 25,930, population 210,000, Catholics 71,000, priests 32, religious 3) Democratic Republic of the Congo, with territory taken from the Diocese of Nkayi, making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Brazzaville. He appointed Fr. Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou as first bishop of the new diocese. Bishop-elect Manamika Bafouakouahou, previously vicar general of the Diocese of Kinkala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, was born in Brazzaville in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1993. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and diocesan level roles, most recently, since 2004, as episcopal delegate for diocesan Caritas and coordinator of the Sant'Agostino Seminary of Kinkala.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena, president of the Republic of El Salvador. President Funes then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial talks, satisfaction was express for the good relations between the Holy See and the nation of El Salvador. In particular, Servant of God Archbishop Oscar Amulfo Romero y Galdamez of San Salvador was spoken of and the importance of his witness for the entire nation.

Appreciation was also expressed for the contribution that the Church offers for the reconciliation and consolidation of peace, as well as in the areas of charity, education, and the eradication of poverty and organized crime. Some ethical issues such as the defence of human life, marriage, and the family were also discussed.


Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, native of Benin and first African-born prelate to be prefect of a Vatican dicastery (of the Congregation for Bishops), will be memorialised by the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome with a Chair bearing his name and dedicated to “Political Socialization in Africa”. The news was made public this morning in the press office of the Holy See, at a conference participated in by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”; His excellency Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, president of the Republic of Benin; Msgr. Patrick Valdrini, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University; and Dr. Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia, director of the Department of Human and Social Sciences – African Studies at the Pontifical Lateran University.

Cardinal Gantin was born in 1922 in Toffo, Benin, and studied at the seminary of Ouidah. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1951 and left Benin two years later to pursue studies in Rome. He received a license in Theology and Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University. In 1956, he was ordained a bishop and in 1960 was named metropolitan archbishop of Cotonou. As president of the Episcopal Conference of Benin, he participated in three sessions of Vatican Council II and in the first World Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1967). In 1971 he was named adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and resigned the pastoral care of his diocese. In 1976, he was named president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He was created a cardinal by Paul VI in 1977. In 1984, he was named prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. Nine years later, in 1993, he was elected dean of the College of Cardinals. When he turned 80, no longer a cardinal elector, he resigned his post as dean and returned to his country. He died in Paris, where he had travelled for health reasons, in 2008 and was buried in Ouidah. Benedict XVI, during his trip to Benin in 2011, visited his tomb.

Today, 23 May 2013,” Cardinal Sarah said, “the Pontifical Lateran University dedicates a Chair in his name to recall what his life meant for the people of Benin, for the Church in Africa, and for the universal Church … as well as for the contribution that he made, both on a pastoral level and his invitation to the Christian world to participate in culture and politics as the main form of service to the betterment of society and the spiritual well-being of humanity. … I hope that this Chair in his name—on “Socialization Policy in Africa”—will initiate reflection on politics in the African context and prepare future leaders of African society who are guided by the Church's Social Doctrine.”

For his part, Dr. Nkafu Nkemnkia explained that the Chair will be articulated as courses and seminars, will promote conferences and workshops, and will seek collaboration with institutions and structures in order to increase and give value to African political culture. “The contribution of the Chair will be a renewal, but above all a formation of leaders, motivated by deep-rooted ethical principles, to overcome the difficult situation of crisis and corruption, both in politicians as well as in civil society itself, through a just economic vision and a more balanced form of the service that politics should offer.”


Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) – Today was published a letter, written in Latin and dated 18 May of this year, in which Pope Francis confirms Cardinal Agostino Vallini as vicar general for the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Vallini was appointed to that position on 27 June 2008 by Benedict XVI, a role that also entails the positions of Archpriest of St. John Lateran Basilica and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.


Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received:

five members of the presidency of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE):

  - Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich, Germany, president;
  - Bishop Gianni Ambrosio of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy, vice president;
  - Bishop Virgil Bercea of Oradea Mareof the Romanians, Romania, vice president;
  - Bishop Jean Kockerols, auxiliary of Malines-Brussels, Belgium, and titular of Ypres, vice president; and
  - Fr. Patrick Daly, general secretary.

Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated his Wednesday general audience catechesis to the Holy Spirit, without whom, “the Church could not live or carry out the mission that Jesus has entrusted us with, of going out and making disciples of all nations. Evangelisation is the Church's mission, not just of a few, but my, your, our mission. … To evangelize, then, it is necessary to open ourselves once again to the action of God's Spirit, without fear of what He might ask us or where He might lead us. Let us entrust ourselves to him. He will enable us to live and to bear witness to our faith. He will illuminate the hearts of those we meet. This was the experience of Pentecost: of the Apostles gathered with Mary in the Upper Room.”

The Holy Spirit, descending upon the Apostles, makes them go out of the room in which they had locked themselves out of fear. He makes them go out of themselves and transforms them into heralds and witnesses ' of the mighty acts of God'. This transformation, wrought by the Holy Spirit, is reflected in the crowd that rushed to the scene, coming 'from every nation under heaven' so that each might hear the Apostles' words as if they were proclaimed in their own language.”

This is the first important effect of the Holy Spirit … unity, communion.” … At Pentecost, these divisions [the confusion of languages as in the Biblical story of the tower of Babel] are overcome. …A new language, that of the love that the Holy Spirit 'pours out into our hearts' [is established]. … We must all ask ourselves: how am I letting myself be guided by the Holy Spirit so that my life and my witness to the faith might be of unity and communion? … What am I doing with my life?” Pope Francis asked, raising his voice. “Am I creating unity? Or am I dividing, with my gossip, criticism, and jealousies? What am I doing? Let's think about this.”

A second effect of the Holy Spirit's action, the pontiff continued, “is the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel of Jesus to all, frankly and out loud, in every time and in every place. … Let us never close ourselves to this action! Let us live the Gospel with humility and courage. … Evangelising, proclaiming Jesus give us joy.”

I will just mention a third element, which is particularly important, however: a new evangelisation, a Church that evangelises must always begin from prayer, from asking, as did the Apostles in the Upper Room, for the fire of the Holy Spirit. Only a faithful and intense relationship with God allows us to go out of our own closures and announce the Gospel with 'parrhesia' (boldly).”

Before concluding, Pope Francis recalled the words of Benedict XVI: “Today the Church 'feels the wind of the Holy Spirit who helps us, who shows us the right road; and so, we are on our way ... with new enthusiasm' … Let us renew each day our trust in the Holy Spirit's action. Let us let ourselves be guided by him. Let us be men and women of prayer who witness to the Gospel with courage, becoming instruments of God's unity and communion in our world.”

At the end of his catechesis the Holy Father greeted the nearly 50,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square. He particularly encouraged everyone to pray for the victims, especially the children, of the disaster that occurred in Oklahoma, USA.


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – At the end of this morning's general audience, the Holy Father—noting that this Friday, 24 May, is the day dedicated to the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the National Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, China—launched an appeal, inviting “Catholics around the world to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters in China; to implore of God the grace to proclaim Christ, dead and risen, with humility and joy; to be faithful to his Church and the Successor of Peter; and to live their everyday lives in service to their country and their fellow citizens in a manner consistent with the faith they profess.”

The Pope offered these words to be said in order to call upon Mary's intercession: “Our Lady of Sheshan, in their everyday struggles, sustain the commitment of all those in China, so that they may continue to believe, to hope, to love, and so they may never fear to speak of Jesus to the world and of the world to Jesus.”

Mary, Virgin most faithful, support Chinese Catholics. Make their commitments, which are not easy, ever more precious in the eyes of the Lord and help the affection and the participation of the Church in China to grow in the path of the universal Church.”


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon in the Press Office of the Holy See, Rene Brulhart, director of the Vatican Financial Information Authority (L’Autorità di Informazione Finanziara, AIF), presented the AIF's first annual report, which examines their activities and statistics from 2012. The AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See and the Vatican City State for financial intelligence and for supervision and regulation in the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism. It was established in 2010 and became operational in April of 2011.

Over the course of the year,” reads a press release accompanying the conference, “AIF reported the submission of six Suspicious Transaction Reports, up from only one in the previous year. AIF itself forwarded two Suspicious Transaction Reports to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation.”

"The statistics and trends from 2012 are encouraging and indicates that the system is consistently improving," said Dr. Brulhart. In 2012, AIF also initiated the systematic screening and analysis of Cash Transaction Reports submitted by the obliged entities.

In our efforts to actively tackle any potential abuse of the financial system,” continued Director Brulhart, “we initiated a close and constructive interaction with the Secretariat of State, the Gendarmeria, the Promoter of Justice and the institutions under our oversight in order to improve awareness and safety and ensure a coordinated internal cooperation in AML/CFT matters.”

A further important element of the report is the progress made in international cooperation that builds on the clear commitment of the Holy See to be a credible partner in the international fight against money laundering. 2012 saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with relevant authorities in Belgium and Spain. Dr. Brulhart stated that “it will continue to be our policy in 2013 to further strengthening international cooperation by signing several more Memorandum of Understanding with our partners in other relevant countries and jurisdictions.”

The outlook for 2013 foresees a further strengthening of the AML/CFT system including the implementation of Moneyval Recommendations through appropriate new or amended legislation and a continuation of the awareness enhancing process across all relevant authorities and institutions.

The full-year report is available at:


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – “My presence here this afternoon represents, first of all, a heartfelt 'thank you' to the Missionaries of Charity founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who have worked here for 25 years, with many volunteers, for the many people who are in need of assistance. Thank you! All of you make the Church's love for the poor visible … and with your daily service you are—as the Psalm says—'You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing'. … How many people have you fed in these years; how many wounded, above all wounded spiritually, have you cared for!”

With these words Pope Francis addressed the missionaries, volunteers, and residents in the Gift of Mary Hospitality House located within Vatican City, just outside St. Peter's Square. He visited the community yesterday, Tuesday 21 May, at around 5:30pm in the afternoon, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II's placing the house under the care of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City, and the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, Sr. Mary Prema Pierick, M.C., and the sisters placed a garland of flowers around the pontiff's neck, in a gesture from Hindu tradition. The house accommodates around 25 women and feeds around 60 people on a daily basis.

In his brief speech to the community, the Pope focused on three words: house, gift, and Mary.

This structure, built and inaugurated by Blessed John Paul II,” he said, “… is a 'home'. And when we say 'home', we mean a place of welcome … where you can feel good, re-find yourself, feel part of … a community. Even more profoundly, 'home' is a word with a typically familial flavour that recalls the warmth, affection, and love that can be felt in a family. A 'home' thus represents the most precious human wealth, that of encounter, that of the relationships between persons of different ages, cultures, and histories, but who live together and who, together, help one another to grow. … And that is what this house has sought to be for 25 years! At the border between the Vatican and Italy, it is a powerful reminder to all of us—to the Church, to the city of Rome—to always be more of a family, a 'home' in which we are open to welcome, to attention, and to fraternity.”

Then there is a second very important word, 'gift', which qualifies this house and defines it typical identity. … I mean that this house gives welcome, material and spiritual support to you, dear guests, coming from various parts of the world. But you also are a gift for this house and for the Church. You tell us that loving God and our neighbour is not something abstract but profoundly concrete. It means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to serve and serving him concretely. … Here is lived a an open hospitality, regardless of one's nationality or religion, according to Jesus' teaching: 'Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.' We must recover the entire sense of gift, of gratuity and solidarity. A savage capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, give in order to get, exploitation without looking at persons …. and we see the results in the crisis we are living through! This house is a place that teaches charity, a 'school' of charity, that teaches us to go out to every person, not for profit, but out of love.”

Finally, there is one more feature of this house: it is qualified as a gift 'of Mary'. … Mary is an example and an inspiration for those who live in this house, and for all of us, to live charity towards our neighbour, not out of a type of social duty, but starting from God's love, from God's charity. … Mary is the one who leads us to Jesus and who teaches us how to go out from Jesus … For us Christians, love for one's neighbour is born from the love of God and is the clearest expression of it. Here you seek to love your neighbour, but also to let yourselves be loved by them. These two attitudes go hand in hand. There cannot be one without the other.”


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father sent a message, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., to Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, for the tornado that devastated the city and suburbs, causing numerous victims and wounded on Monday, 20 May.

The Holy Father,” reads the text, “has followed with deep concern the aftermath of the devastating tornado which has struck Oklahoma and he asks you convey to the entire community the assurance of his solidarity and closeness in prayer. Conscious of the tragic loss of life and the immensity of the work of rebuilding that lies ahead, he asks Almighty God to grant eternal rest to the departed, comfort to the afflicted, and strength and hope to the homeless and the injured. In a particular way he commends to the Father of mercies the many young children among the victims and their grieving families. Upon the local civil and religious leaders, and upon all involved in the relief efforts, His Holiness invokes the Risen Lord’s gifts of consolation, strength, and perseverance in every good.”


Vatican City, 22 May 2013 (VIS) – After this morning's general audience, the Holy Father received the President of the Republic of Benin, Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, in the study adjoining the Paul VI Audience Hall.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – “Let us pray for the victims and those who are missing, especially children, affected by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma City yesterday. Hear us, O Lord,” said Pope Francis this morning during daily Mass celebrated in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel.

Subsequently, Pope Francis launched a tweet from his @Pontifex account: “I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them.

The tornado that struck the state of Oklahoma, USA, yesterday has caused 91 deaths, 20 of whom were children, and destroyed over 7,000 buildings. Entire neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Oklahoma City were destroyed. There are over a hundred wounded and still missing persons.


Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – In response to questions from reporters about an alleged exorcism performed by the Holy Father Francis in St. Peter’s Square after last Sunday’s Mass, the Director of the Holy See Press Office Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said: “The Holy Father had no intention to perform any exorcism. Instead, as he frequently does for the sick and suffering persons who approach him, he simply meant to pray for a suffering person who was presented to him.”


Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – On 21 May 1972, Michelangelo's Pieta, exhibited to the public in St. Peter's Basilica, was attacked by a hammer-wielding tourist who had managed to elude the sanctuary's guards. Hungarian-born Australian geologist Laszlo Toth, who suffered from sever mental problems, threw himself at the sculpture shouting, “I am Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!” and he struck the Pieta 15 times destroying the Madonna's nose, breaking off her left forearm, and smashing that arm's elbow into over 50 pieces.

Today, 41 years later, the Vatican Museums are dedicating a study day to the sculpture's reconstruction entitled: “Michelangelo's Pieta: In Memory of 21 May 1972 – A Restoration Story”. During the course of the day's planned events, the complex and delicate task of restoration that took place between 1972 and 1973 in the Vatican Museums under the care of then-director, the Brazilian Deoclecio Redig de Campos, will be analysed. Thanks to the existence of numerous casts, the skill of several specialists, and reusing original fragments as well as a paste made of glue and marble dust, it was possible to faithfully restore the work.

The Pieta is considered Michelangelo's first masterpiece—he was little more than twenty when he sculpted it—and it is the only one he signed. The sash running across the Virgin's chest reads: “MICHAEL.A[N]GELVS BONAROTVS FLORENT[INVS] FACIEBAT”. The study day will reveal, among other things and thanks to documents conserved by the Office of the Fabric of St. Peter's, the various places the statue resided before its placement, in 1779, in the first chapel on the right of the nave of St. Peter's Basilica where it is visible today, but protected after the attack, by bullet-proof glass that separates it from the visitors to the basilica. The only time that the Pieta has left Vatican territory was in 1964 when it travelled to the Universal Expo in New York to be admired by over 21 million people. On that occasion, the photographer Robert Hupka immortalized it in a book entitled “An Act of Love”. Another little-known fact about the work regards the crowns that have adorned the Virgin's head throughout the centuries, which will be discussed by the archaeologist Pietro Zander.

The study day will also have the exclusive viewing of the documentary “Violence and the Pieta”, restored in colour and digital format by the recently deceased Brando Giordani in collaboration with RAI's Department of Culture, that narrates the entire process of the statue's reconstruction. The documentary was filmed by the express will of Pope Paul VI who compared the shattered statue with an image of the Church in tears, attacked by evil.

Another of Michelangelo's celebrated statues, the David, which is found in Florence's Accademia Art Gallery, was also attacked by a mentally unsound person with a hammer in 1991. The toe's of the statue's left foot were broken off. That restoration process, undertaken by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (workshop of semi-precious stones) in Florence, will be presented in the afternoon, serving to introduce one of the Vatican Museum's latest initiatives: the creation of a virtual gipsoteca (plaster cast gallery) with 3D models and “clones” of the collections' most irreplaceable works.
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