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Monday, June 30, 2014


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican Apostolic Palace Pope Francis received in audience Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Mgsr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for today’s visit, their first trip abroad as reigning monarchs, which follows the recent visit by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on 28 April. It is hoped that this may mark the strengthening of the existing good relations between the Holy See and Spain.

The conversation focused on themes of common interest and the importance of promoting dialogue and collaboration between the Church and the State for the good of all Spanish society. Finally, mention was made of various problems of an international and regional nature, paying particular attention to areas of conflict.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – The Pope's universal prayer intention for July is “that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth”.

His prayer intention for evangelisation is “that the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries”.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – This coming 5 July, the Pope will visit the Italian region of Molise. He will depart from the Vatican heliport at 7.45 a.m. and, after an hour's journey, will land at the heliport of the University of Molise in Campobasso. At 9 a.m. he will meet with a group of representatives from the world of work and industry in the Great Hall of the University. At 10.30 a.m. he will preside at a Eucharistic celebration at the old Romagnoli Stadium and, to conclude, will greet a group of sick people at the Cathedral of Campobasso and lunch with the poor at the “House of Angels”.

At 2.30 p.m. he will transfer by helicopter to Castelpetroso, where he will encounter a group of young people from the diocese of Abruzzo and Molise in Piazza del Santuario di Castelpetroso. At 4 p.m. he will travel by car to Isernia, where he will meet with the detainees in the local prison. He will greet the sick in the Cathedral of Isernia and, in the surrounding square, will meet with all the citizens and announce the Celestine Jubilee Year. Finally, he will depart for Rome from the heliport of the Isernia fire service. He is expected to arrive in the Vatican around 8.15 p.m.


Vatican City, 29 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican basilica, on the occasion of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis imposed the pallium – symbol of the bond of unity with the see of Peter – on twenty-four new metropolitan archbishops. It will be imposed on a further three – the archbishops of Lilongwe, Malawi; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Freiburg im Bresgau, Germany – in their metropolitan sees.

Pope Francis concelebrated the Eucharist with the new archbishops. As is customary on the feast day of the patron saints of Rome, the event was attended by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and led by Metropolitan of Pergamo Ioannis (Zizioulas), co-president of the Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

In his homily, the Holy Father spoke about various problems and the two issues the clergy can be led to face as a result: fear, and the pastoral responsibility for combating it. He began by considering the beginning of Peter's service in the Christian community of Jerusalem, where fear still reigned because of Herod's persecution of members of the Church.

“There had been the killing of James, and then the imprisonment of Peter himself, in order to placate the people. While Peter was imprisoned and in chains, he heard the voice of the angel telling him, 'Get up quickly… dress yourself and put on your sandals… Put on your mantle and follow me!'. The chains fell from him and the door of the prison opened before him. Peter realised that the Lord had 'rescued him from the hand of Herod'; he realized that the Lord had freed him from fear and from chains. Yes, the Lord liberates us from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free. Today’s liturgical celebration expresses this truth well in the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm: 'The Lord has freed me from all my fears'”.

“The problem for us, then, is fear and looking for refuge in our pastoral responsibilities. I wonder, dear brother bishops, are we afraid? What are we afraid of? And if we are afraid, what forms of refuge do we seek, in our pastoral life, to find security? Do we look for support from those who wield worldly power? Or do we let ourselves be deceived by the pride which seeks gratification and recognition, thinking that these will offer us security? Dear brother bishops, where do we find our security?”

“The witness of the Apostle Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God. Trust in God banishes all fear and sets us free from every form of slavery and all worldly temptation. Today the Bishop of Rome and other bishops, particularly the metropolitans who have received the pallium, feel challenged by the example of Saint Peter to assess to what extent each of us puts his trust in the Lord. Peter recovered this trust when Jesus said to him three times: 'Feed my sheep'. Peter thrice confessed his love for Jesus, thus making up for his threefold denial of Christ during the passion. Peter still regrets the disappointment which he caused the Lord on the night of his betrayal. Now that the Lord asks him: 'Do you love me?', Peter does not trust himself and his own strength, but instead entrusts himself to Jesus and his mercy: 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you'. Precisely at this moment fear, insecurity and cowardice dissipate”.

“Peter experienced how God’s fidelity is always greater than our acts of infidelity, stronger than our denials. He realises that the God’s fidelity dispels our fears and exceeds every human reckoning. Today Jesus also asks us: 'Do you love me?'. He does so because he knows our fears and our struggles. Peter shows us the way: we need to trust in the Lord, who 'knows everything' that is in us, not counting on our capacity to be faithful, but on his unshakable fidelity. Jesus never abandons us, for he cannot deny himself. He is faithful. The fidelity which God constantly shows to us pastors, far in excess of our merits, is the source of our confidence and our peace. The Lord’s fidelity to us keeps kindled within us the desire to serve him and to serve our sisters and brothers in charity”.

“The love of Jesus must suffice for Peter. He must no longer yield to the temptation to curiosity, jealousy, as when, seeing John nearby, he asks Jesus: 'Lord, what about this man?'. But Jesus, before such temptations, says to him in reply: 'What is it to you? Follow me'. This experience of Peter is a message for us too, dear brother archbishops. Today the Lord repeats to me, to you, and to all pastors: Follow me! Waste no time in questioning or in useless chattering; do not dwell on secondary things, but look to what is essential and follow me. Follow me without regard for the difficulties. Follow me in preaching the Gospel. Follow me by the witness of a life shaped by the grace you received in baptism and holy orders. Follow me by speaking of me to those with whom you live, day after day, in your work, your conversations and among your friends. Follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all, especially to the least among us, so that no one will fail to hear the word of life which sets us free from every fear and enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God. Follow me!”.


Vatican City, 29 June 2014 (VIS) – After celebrating Mass in the Vatican basilica with the new metropolitan archbishops, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, as on every Sunday. He remarked that ever since ancient times, the Church of Rome has celebrated the apostles Peter and Paul in a single festivity on the same day, 29 June, so that “the faith in Jesus Christ which made them brothers and martyrs made them into a single entity”.

“St. Peter and St. Paul, so different from each other from a human point of view, were chosen personally by the Lord Jesus and responded to His call, offering all their lives. In both, Christ's grace achieved great things, transforming them. Simon had denied Jesus in the dramatic moment of the passion; Saul had harshly persecuted Christians. But both welcomed God's love and allowed themselves to be transformed by His mercy; they thus became friends and apostles of Christ. They therefore continue to speak to the Church and even nowadays they show us the path of salvation. If we too fall prey to the gravest sins and the darkest night, then God is always able to transform our heart and forgive us everything, thus transforming the darkness of our sin into a dawn of light”.

He went on to cite the Acts of the Apostles, which demonstrate many aspects of their witness. “Peter, for example, teaches us to look to the poor through the eyes of faith and to give them that which is most precious: the power of the name of Jesus. This is what he did with the paralytic; he gave him what he had, which was Jesus”. And the episode of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, the fulcrum of his life, “clearly marks a before and after. Before, Paul was an arch-enemy of the Church. After, he placed all his existence at the service of the Gospel. Also for us, the encounter with the Word of Christ is able to completely transform our lives. It is not possible to listen to this Word and stand firm, unswayed in our habits. It gives us the impetus to defeat the selfishness we have in our hearts, to follow decisively that Master who gave His life for His friends. But it is He Who, with His word, changes us; it is He Who transforms us; it is He Who forgives everything, if we open our hearts and ask for forgiveness”.

This feast day inspires great joy in us, because it places us before the work of God's mercy in the hearts of two men. It is the work of God's mercy in these two men who were great sinners. And God wishes to fill us too with His grace, as He did with Peter and Paul. May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome it as they did, with an open heart, and not to receive this grace in vain! And may she support us in the hour of need, to give witness to Jesus Christ and His Gospel”.


Vatican City, 29 June 2014 (VIS) – “The news from Iraq is, unfortunately, very painful”, said the Holy Father after today's Angelus prayer. “I join with the bishops of the country in their appeal to the authorities so that, through dialogue, national unity may be maintained and war avoided. I am close to the thousands of families, especially Christians, who have had to leave their homes and who are in grave danger. Violence begets violence; dialogue is the only path to peace. Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that she might safeguard the people of Iraq”.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – On Saturday afternoon, in the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens, the Pope met with a group of young people from the diocese of Rome embarking on a vocational journey. “This visit to the Virgin is very important in our lives”, he said. “She accompanies us also in our definitive choice, the vocational choice, as she accompanied her Son on his vocational path which was so hard and so painful”.

“When a Christian says to me, not that he does not love the Virgin, but rather that it does not come to mind to look to the Virgin or to pray to the Virgin, I feel sad”, he said, adding that “a Christian without the Virgin is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, these two mothers, two virgin women: the Church and Our Lady. And to 'test' a true Christian vocation, it is necessary to ask oneself, 'how is my relationship with these two Mothers?”.

The Pontiff went on to remark that in today's provisional culture, care must be taken not to lose sight of the definitive. “We are afraid of the definitive. And to choose a vocation, any vocation, including vocations that involve a 'state' such as marriage, consecrated life, the priesthood, one must choose with a view to the definitive. This is contrary to the culture of the provisional. It is a part of the culture in which we must live in this time, but we must live through this and conquer it”.

In conclusion, the Pope encouraged all present to sing the “Salve Regina” and imparted his blessing to all the young people and their families, asking them to pray for him.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of Madagascar, Hery Martial Rajaonarimampianina, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, after expressing satisfaction with the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Madagascar, the Parties focused on the current phase of recovery within the country, underlining the positive contribution of the Catholic Church on the path to national reconciliation and political stability, as well as her contribution in the education and healthcare sectors. Themes of common interest were then considered, such as the struggle against poverty and social inequality.

Mention was made of the international situation and the conflicts affecting various regions in the world.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – The Solemnity of the Holy Patrons of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Peter and Paul, again provided Pope Francis the opportunity to meet with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which always visits Rome on this date. In exchange, a delegation from the Vatican visits Instanbul, Turkey, every 30 November, St. Andrew's Day.

On this occasion the delegation was headed by the metropolitan of Pergamo, Ioannis (Zizioulas), co-president of the international mixed Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, who was accompanied by Archbishop Job de Telmissos and the patriarchal archdeacon John Chryssavgis.

The Holy Father recalled with great affection his “beloved brother” Bartholomaios, with whom he shared his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, during which they were able to repeat the historical embrace between their predecessors, Athenagoras I and Paul VI, which took place fifty years ago in the holy city of Jerusalem. “That prophetic gesture gave a decisive impulse to a journey which, thank God, has never ceased”, remarked Pope Francis. “I consider it a special gift from the Lord that we were able to venerate the holy places together and to pray at each other’s side at the place of Christ’s burial, where we can actually touch the foundation of our hope”. The joy of their common prayer was then renewed during the recent meeting in the Vatican Gardens where they joined in prayer, together with the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, to invoke the gift of peace in the Holy Land”.

“The Lord granted us these occasions of fraternal encounter, in which we were able to express the love uniting us in Christ, and to renew our mutual desire to walk together along the path to full unity”, continued the Holy Father. “We know very well that this unity is a gift of God, a gift that even now the Almighty grants us the grace to attain whenever, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we choose to look at one another with the eyes of faith and to see ourselves as we truly are in God’s plan, according to the designs of his eternal will, and not what we have become as a result of the historical consequences of our sins. If all of us can learn, prompted by the Spirit, to look at one another in God, our path will be even straighter and our cooperation all the more easy in the many areas of daily life which already happily unite us”.

This theological vision “is nourished by faith, hope and love; it gives rise to an authentic theological reflection which is truly 'scientia Dei', a participation in that vision which God has of himself and of us. It is a reflection which can only bring us closer to one another on the path of unity, despite our differing starting points. I hope and I pray, then, that the work of the Joint International Commission can be a sign of this profound understanding, this theology 'on its knees'. In this way, the Commission’s reflections on the concepts of primacy and synodality, communion in the universal Church and the ministry of the Bishop of Rome will not be an academic exercise or a mere debate about irreconcilable positions. All of us need, with courage and confidence, to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. We need to let ourselves be caught up in Christ’s loving gaze upon the Church, his Bride, in our journey of spiritual ecumenism. It is a journey upheld by the martyrdom of so many of our brothers and sisters who, by their witness to Jesus Christ the Lord, have brought about an ecumenism of blood”, concluded the Pope.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis did not make his scheduled visit to Rome's Agostino Gemelli Hospital on Friday afternoon due to a mild indisposition. The Mass at which the Holy Father was expected to preside was instead celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, who also pronounced the homily prepared by the Pontiff.

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., confirmed the Holy Father's engagements planned for Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 and emphasised that there is no cause for concern regarding the Pope's health.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – Below are extensive extracts from the homily the Holy Father prepared for his planned visit to the Roman “Agostino Gemelli” Hospital, which he did not attend due to a mild indisposition. The homily was read on behalf of the Pontiff by Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, during the Mass celebrated at the hospital yesterday.

“God is bound to us, He chose us, and this bond is for ever, not because we are faithful but because the Lord is faithful and tolerates our infidelity, our slowness, our lapses. God is not afraid of bonding with us. … He loves these bonds, he creates bonds; bonds which free, rather than constrain”.

“Nowadays, in particular, fidelity is a value under threat, as we are induced always to seek change, presumed novelty, negotiating the roots of our existence, of our faith. Without fidelity to its roots, however, a society does not move ahead; it may make great technical progress, but not the full progress of all man and all humankind. God's faithful love towards His people was made manifest and fully realised in Jesus Christ … [who] remains faithful and never betrays; even when we err, He always awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father”.

“This love, this faithfulness to the Lord demonstrates the humility of His heart. … We are able to experience and savour the tenderness of this love in every phase of life: in times of joy and of sadness, in times of health and of infirmity and sickness. God's faithfulness teaches us to welcome life as a manifestation of His love and enables us to bear witness to this love to our brethren in humble and meek service. This is what the doctors and paramedical staff in this hospital, which belongs to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, are especially called upon to do. Here, each one of you brings to the sick a little of the love from Christ's Heart, and you do so with competence and professionalism. This means staying faithful to the fundamental values that Fr. Gemelli placed at the base of this university for Italian Catholics, to unite scientific research enlightened by faith to the preparation of qualified Christian professionals”.


Vatican City, 30 June 2014 (VIS) – The Autorità Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), the Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State, has signed an agreement to exchange information with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

This Information Sharing Exchange of Letters is the first bilateral agreement of AIF in its role as Financial Supervisor and Regulator within the Holy See and Vatican City State. It represents a significant strengthening of international cooperation between the Holy See and the United States of America.

“This is a further step in Holy See’s efforts towards perfecting a system of financial regulation and part of our commitment to transparency and international cooperation,” said Rene Bruelhart, the Director of AIF. “The Holy See is part of the global family of well-regulated jurisdictions and the signing of this agreement reflects that very clearly.”

The agreement with the OCC follows the passing of the new law regarding financial activities in the Holy See, Law XVIII, in October 2013 and the enactment of AIF’s new statute in November 2013, which introduced a new supervisory function as part of AIF’s mandate.

AIF expects further bilateral agreements with financial supervisors and regulators of other countries to follow in due course, and continues in its efforts to strengthen its own regulatory infrastructure in fostering international cooperation.

The OCC is an independent authority within the Treasury Department of the United States and serves to charter, regulate and supervise all national banks and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States.

AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. According to its mandate, AIF has a double role and acts both as Financial Supervisor and Regulator as well as Financial Intelligence Unit. In its function as Financial Intelligence Unit, AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July 2013, and has already signed MOUs with the Financial Intelligence Units of more than a dozen countries, including the U.K., the United States, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. It was established in 2010 and became operational in 2011.


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

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

- Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, apostolic nuncio in the Arab Republic of Egypt, delegate of the Holy See to the League of Arab States.

- Archbishop Marek Zalewski, apostolic nuncio in Zimbabwe, with members of his family.

- Archbishop Hubertus Matheus Maria van Megen, apostolic nuncio in Sudan and Eritrea.

- Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet of Montevideo, Uruguay.

- Charles Ghislain, ambassador of Belgium, on his farewell visit.

- Fernando Felipe Sanchez Campos, ambassador of Costa Rica, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

On Saturday, 28 June, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Health Care Pastoral).

- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.


Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Gennaro Acampa as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Naples (area 274, population 1,744,000, Catholics 1,715,000, priests 287, permanent deacons 292, religious 3,413), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Naples, Italy in 1945 and was ordained a priest in 1968. He holds a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest in the parish of Sacro Cuore di Gesu in Santa Maria Ognibene, spiritual father of the “Paul VI” minor seminary; spiritual father for aspiring permanent deacons, dean of the 1st deanery of the archdiocese of Naples and member of the diocesan presbyteral council. He is currently curate prepositor of the Collegiate Parish of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples and episcopal vicar for the clergy and for formation.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Vatican City, 27 June 2014 (VIS) – Today in Belgrade a framework Agreement was signed between the Holy See and the Republic of Serbia on collaboration in higher education, which confirms the principles and defines the arrangement of duties between both parties in the field of higher education. The Agreement was signed on behalf of the Holy See by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and for the Republic of Serbia by the vice president of the government and minister of the Exterior, Ivica Dacic.

According to the terms of the Agreement, the Parties will undertake to collaborate in the sector of higher education and to promote direct contract between institutions of this type. Furthermore, they will undertake to standardise the questions regarding mutual recognition of academic qualifications and public documents attesting to higher instruction. To implement this agreement, the two Parties will subsequently stipulate related additional protocols, by which the activities, as well as the organisational and financial conditions of implementation, shall be defined. The Agreement also recognises the right of the Catholic Church in Serbia to establish and direct Institutions of higher education both for ecclesiastical disciplines and other subjects of higher study.

The Agreement will come into force on the date of receipt of the final information, by diplomatic means, pertaining to the fulfilment of all the requisites of the national legal systems of the two Parties for its implementation.


Vatican City, 27 June 2014 (VIS) – The first stage in the canonical trial against the former apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, Josef Wesolowski, has been concluded with the laicisation of the prelate.

From this moment, the accused has two months in which to make an eventual appeal. The penal trial before the Vatican judicial authorities will continue as soon as the canonical sentence has been made definitive.

Finally, with reference to recent media reports, it is necessary to specify that until now Msgr. Wesolowski has been granted relative freedom of movement, as he awaits the verification by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of the basis of these accusations made against him.

Considering the sentence passed by the aforementioned dicastery, all the necessary procedures will be adopted in relation to the former nuncio, in conformity with the gravity of the case.


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

- Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”.

- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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


Vatican City, 27 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Steven John Raica as bishop of Gaylord (area 28,932, population 546,000, Catholics 75,100, priests 80, permanent deacons 22, religious 33), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Munising, U.S.A. in 1952, and was ordained a priest in 1978. He has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Michigan State University, a master's degree in religious studies from the University of Detroit, and a licentiate and doctorate from the Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including priest of the “Holy Family Parish”, Ovid; co-rector of the St. Mary Cathedral, Lansing; priest of the “St. Mary Parish”, Charlotte; judge of the diocesan tribunal; diocesan consultor; member of the presbyteral council, priest of the “St. Ann Parish”, Bellevue; chaplain of the Olivet College, Olivet; and superior of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Rome. He is currently chancellor of the diocese of Lansing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Vatican City, 26 June 2014 (VIS) – “Seeing all of you here today is like looking at a marvellous mosaic made up of people from throughout the world. It is only right that men and women everywhere should have access to research and scientific training”, said the Pope to young astronomers from 23 different countries who are currently participating in a course organised by the Vatican Observatory School in Astrophysics on the theme “Galaxies: Near and Far, Young and Old”, whom he received in audience this morning. “The hope that one day all peoples will be able to enjoy the benefits of science is one which spurs all of us on, scientists in particular”.

He commented that the Vatican Observatory School in Astrophysics is “a place where young people the world over can engage in dialogue and collaboration, helping one another in the search for truth, which in this case is concretised in the study of galaxies. This simple and practical initiative shows how the sciences can be a fitting and effective means for promoting peace and justice. Here too we see a further reason for the Church’s commitment to dialogue with the sciences on the basis of the light provided by faith: it is her conviction that faith is capable of both expanding and enriching the horizons of reason. In this dialogue, the Church rejoices in the marvellous progress of science, seeing it as a sign of the enormous God-given potential of the human mind, even as a mother rejoices and is rightly proud as her children grow in wisdom, and age and grace”.

The Holy Father encouraged those present to share the knowledge they have acquired about the universe with people in their own countries. “Only a fraction of the global population has access to such knowledge, which opens the heart and the mind to the great questions which human beings have always asked: Where do we come from? Where are we going?” he concluded. “The search for an answer to these questions can lead us to an encounter with the Creator, the loving Father, for 'in him we live and move and have our being'”.


Vatican City, 26 June 2014 (VIS) – The Pope embraces all the Churches of the East and is close to their faithful, whose tears, fears and hopes are also ours, a sentiment he manifested this morning, receiving in audience the participants in the assembly of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches, also recalling the comfort, encouragement, and at the same time, the responsibility he encountered during his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“The olive tree which I planted in the Vatican Gardens together with the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, is a symbol of that peace which is secure and enduring only because it is cultivated by many hands. Those who would cultivate the plant of peace must never forget that God alone gives the growth. True peace, the peace which the world cannot give, is a gift to us from Jesus Christ. For all the grievous attacks it endures today, peace can always flourish again. I am grateful that you continue to 'make peace grow' through charity, which is the ultimate aim of all your organizations. With unity and charity Christ’s disciples strive to be peacemakers everywhere, in all peoples and communities, and to overcome persistent forms of discrimination, starting with those based on religion”.

“First among those called to be peacemakers are our brothers and sisters of the Oriental Churches, together with their pastors. Hoping at times against all hope, remaining in the place of their birth where the Gospel of the incarnate Son of God was first proclaimed, may they experience the blessedness reserved to those who are peacemakers: 'they will be called children of God'. And may they always feel the support of the universal Church and never falter in their conviction that the fire of Pentecost, the power of Love, can halt the fire of arms, hatred and vengeance”, he exclaimed. “Their tears and their anguish are ours, as well as their hope! We can express this through our solidarity, if it is one which is concrete and effective, capable of ensuring that the international community upholds the rights of individuals and peoples”.

Francis expressed the closeness of the Catholic Church to the brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq, along with their bishops and priests. “The Church is likewise close to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and the Middle East, but also to the beloved people of Ukraine in the critical situation in which they find themselves, and to the people of Romania. This closeness and concern is expressed in the works which your agencies carry out. I urge you to continue your generous efforts to help them. Your works of relief and assistance in nations most affected by these crises respond to basic needs, particularly of those who are powerless and most vulnerable, as well as the many young people tempted to leave their homeland. And since communities of Eastern Christians are present worldwide, you are working everywhere to bring relief to the displaced and to refugees, restoring their dignity and their security in full respect for their identity and religious freedom”.

Finally, Pope Francis encouraged the participants in the assembly to pursue the goals set in their last Plenary Session, especially those regarding the training of young people and teachers, and uniting them with their interest for the family, especially in view of the upcoming Synod on this theme. He concluded, “the Holy Family of Nazareth, 'which knew anxiety ... as well as the pain of persecution, emigration and hard daily labour' teaches us 'to trust the Father, to imitate Christ and to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit'”.


Vatican City, 26 June 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October 2014) which will focus on “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. The speakers were Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and relator general of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France and delegate president; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, and special secretary, and Professors Francesco Miano and Pina De Simone.

Cardinal Baldisseri explained that the Instrumentum Laboris consists of three parts, conforming to the themes of the Documento Preparatorio. “The first, dedicated to the Gospel of the family, relates to God's plan, biblical and magisterial knowledge and their reception, natural law and the vocation of the person in Christ”, he said. “The difficulties that arise in relation to natural law can be overcome through more attentive reference to the biblical world, to its language and narrative forms, and to the proposal to thematise and deepen the biblically-inspired concept of the 'order of creation', like the possibility of reinterpreting 'natural law' in a more existentially meaningful way. Furthermore, the role of the family, 'fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another', is that of a privileged space for values such as fraternity, love, respect and solidarity between generations, where dignity is promoted, overcoming individualism and contributing to the common good of society”.

“The second part relates to the pastoral challenges inherent in the family, such as the crisis of faith, critical internal situations, external pressures and other problems. The responsibilities of the pastor include preparation for marriage, increasingly necessary nowadays to enable engaged couples make their decision in terms of their personal adhesion to faith to the Lord, to build their families on solid foundations”.

He emphasised that special consideration would be given to difficult pastoral situations, such as unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions, separated and divorced couples, remarried divorcees and eventual further children, single mothers, those who are in canonically irregular situations and non-believers or non-practising Catholics who wish to marry”. The prelate added that with regard to the phenomenon of unmarried couples who live together and de facto unions, increasingly widespread, “the Church has the duty to accompany these couples in the trust that they are able to bear a responsibility, such as that of marriage, that is not too great for them”. In relation to the question of remarried divorcees, whose irregular condition within the Church is a source of suffering, the Instrumentum Laboris “offers real knowledge of their situation, from which the Church is required to find solutions compatible with her teaching and which lead to a serene and reconciled life. In this respect, the need to simplify the judicial procedures for the annulment of marriage would appear relevant”.

“Regarding same-sex unions, a distinction is made between the contexts in which civil legislation is more or less in favour; there is a need for pastoral care on the part of the particular Churches in these situations, including matters relating to children who may be present”.

The third part first presents themes linked to openness to life, such as knowledge and difficulties in receiving the Magisterium, pastoral suggestions, sacramental praxis and the promotion of a mentality open to life. … With regard to the educative responsibility of parents, difficulty emerges in terms of transmitting faith to children, which is then made concrete in Christian initiation; finally, this is a matter of Christian education in difficult family situations, in which the effects on the children extend to the sphere of faith and methods of celebration of the sacraments”.

Cardinal Baldisseri mentioned that the themes not included in the document will be considered in the Ordinary General Assembly scheduled for 4-25 October 2015, based on the theme “Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the family”. This will be the third stage in the process of reflection on the family, which began with the Consistory held on 20 February 2014.

Finally, he explained that the Instrumentum Laboris offers a vision of the reality of the family in the current context, which represents the beginning of a profound reflection, which will take place in the two stages of the Extraordinary General Assembly (2014) and the Ordinary General Assembly (2015), which are closely linked by the theme of the family based on the light of Christ's Gospel. The results of the first, the Extraordinary Assembly, will be used in the preparation of the Instrumentum Laboris of the subsequent Ordinary Assembly, which will be made known only after the publication of the final document, subject to the decision of the Holy Father.

Given the importance of the Synod, a Day of Prayer for the Synod will be held on Sunday 28 September, and the Eucharist will be celebrated every day during the work of the Synod in the Salus Populi Romanii Chapel in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.


Vatican City, 26 June 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued a press release today with the information that a delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will visit Rome from 27 to 29 June 2013 as part of the traditional exchange of delegations for their feasts of patron saints—29 June in Rome for the celebration of the Apostles Peter and Paul and 30 November in Istanbul for the celebration of St. Andrew the Apostle.

His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, co-president of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, will head the delegation and will be accompanied by Archbishop Job de Telmissos and Patriarchal Archdeacon John Chryssavgis.

On Saturday, 28 June, the Patriarchate's delegation will be received by the Holy Father Francis and then will meet with members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. On Sunday, 29 June, the members of the delegation will attend a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Holy Father.


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

- Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.

- Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study).

- Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, apostolic nuncio in Hungary.

- Khetevane Bragation de Moukhrani, ambassador of Georgia, on her farewell visit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning in St. Peter's Square the Holy Father, in his general audience, continued to speak about the People of God, a theme that he began to explore last Wednesday. Today he highlighted the importance for a Christian of belonging to this people, and reiterated that we are not isolated Christians. “Belonging is our identity”, he said. “We are Christians because we belong to the Church. It is like a surname: if our name is 'I am Christian', our surname is 'I belong to the Church'.

“No-one becomes a Christian alone; we must think first, with gratitude, of all those who have preceded us”, he continued. “If we believe, if we pray, if we know the Lord and are able to listen to His Word, we feel close to Him and recognise Him in our brethren, and because others before us have lived faith and transmitted it to us, have taught us. The Church is a family in which one is welcomed and learns to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus”. The Pope explained that this is a path that one may undertake not thanks to others, but rather united with others, and emphasised that a “do-it-yourself Church” does not exist.

“How many times did Benedict XVI describe the Church as an ecclesiastical 'we'? Often we hear people say, 'I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I am not interested in the Church...”. There are those who believe they can have a personal relationship, direct and immediate, with Jesus Christ removed from communion and the mediation of the Church. They are dangerous and damaging temptations. They are, as the great Paul VI said, absurd dichotomies. It is true that to walk together is challenging and difficult. … But the Lord has entrusted his message of salvation to human beings, to all all of us, as witnesses; and it is in our brothers and sisters, with their gifts and their limits, that it comes towards us and is revealed to us. And this is what belonging to the Church means. Remember: being Christian means belonging to the Church”.

Before concluding, the Pope asked that the Lord, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, might grant us the grace never to give in to the temptation to think we can do without other people, that we can do without the Church and save ourselves alone, that we can be 'laboratory Christians'. On the contrary, it is not possible to love God without loving one's brethren, it is not possible to love God outside the Church; it is not possible to be in communion with God without being in communion with the Church, and we cannot be good Christians other than by staying together with those who follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, a single body”.

Following his catechesis, the Pope greeted a delegation from the Bethlehem University, the first university founded in the West Bank and inspired by the principles of the schools established by the De La Salle Christian brothers, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. He gave special thanks to them for their “laudable academic activity in support of the Palestinian people”.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis recorded his voice last 30 November, reading several passages from the book “Ombra Bianco” (“White Shadow”) by the Italian author Cristiano Gentile, which seeks to raise public awareness of the situation experienced by albinos in Africa: a population often rejected and repudiated. The Holy Father was invited by the writer to close an international symposium on Africa organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The reading and the Pope's testimony form part of a universal message of peace and brotherhood, addressed on this occasion to African albinos, living symbols of the absolute periphery, the “last of the last”.

Today, 25 July, sees the launch of the international awareness campaign, “Help African Albinos”, on the site www.ombrabianca.com. Any person can follow the Pope's example and lend their voice, reading in Italian, with a multilingual translation system, a phrase from the novel, thus participating in the creation of the first social audio-book ever created. It will be the audio-book read by the greatest number of people in the world and will symbolically give voice to those who have none. The international campaign has the hashtag #HelpAfricanAlbinos and will launch a petition in 6 languages on the site www.change.org to demonstrate closeness and ask for concrete help for African albinos, which will be made possible thanks to a partnership with various NGOs, including Doctors with Africa-CUAMM.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has made public the answers received from the secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life in relation to various questions on the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the Legionaries of Christ, published in full below:

“The Franciscans of the Immaculate: both the commissioner, Fr. Volpi, and all the seminarians of the Franciscans of the Immaculate were received by the Holy Father on 10 June at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a gesture that demonstrates the interest with which Pope Francis follows the situation of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and his closeness to the work that the commissioner is carrying out in the name of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. The Holy Father is punctually informed of all the steps as they taken. At the moment a house in Rome is being sought to accommodate the Friars, brothers of the aforementioned Institute, who attend a Pontifical university in Rome to pursue their studies.

The Legionaries: as anticipated, with the celebration of the General Chapter the Institute has returned to the competence of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. This progression has ended the work of the Apostolic delegate. As a gesture of fraternal closeness, the prefect and the secretary of the dicastery will meet on 3 July at the Legionaries' central seat to comment personally on various corrections that need to be made to the text of the Constitutions presented to the dicastery, and to communicate the name of the Pontifical assistant. The corrections to the text of the Constitutions are very few in number. With regard to the assistant, the role will be assumed by a consecrated person, as anticipated, who knows the Legionaries and will be able to be of help to the general Council on legal and other themes, according to need. It is to be noted that this figure is an assistant, not a visitator, commissioner or delegate. The assistant has neither a voice nor a vote, and is merely an assessor, and was agreed upon before the general Chapter.

The governor general of the Legionaries attended the Congregation following the Chapter to meet the prefect and the secretary. On that occasion, the director general had expressed the wish to receive the prefect and secretary of the dicastery at the seat of the Legionaries. For this reason Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo will make their visit on 3 July.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – The Autorita Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Holy See and Vatican City State, has formalised its bilateral cooperation with Argentina, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Vatican on Tuesday.

The MOU was signed in the Palazzo San Carlo by the director of the AIF, Rene Bruelhart, and the president of the Unidad de Informacion Financiera (UIF) of Argentina, Jose Sbattella.

“We're very pleased to have signed this MOU with Argentina today”, Bruelhart said. “This is an important step to further expand the network to support global efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. We're looking forward to fruitful cooperation with Argentina, which will be beneficial to both parties”.

A Memorandum of Understanding is standard practice and formalises the cooperation and exchange of financial information to fight money laundering and combat terrorist financing across borders between the competent authorities of both countries. It is based on the model Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the Egmont Group, the global organisation of national Financial Intelligence Units, and contains clauses on reciprocity, permitted uses of information and confidentiality.

AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July of 2013, and has already signed MOUs with the Financial Intelligence Units of more than a dozen countries, including the U.K., the United States, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

AIF is the competent authority of the Holy See/Vatican City State to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It was established in 2010.


Vatican City, 25 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- eliminated the diocese of Guiratinga, Brazil, distributing its territory between the current dioceses of Rondonopolis, Barra do Garcas and Paranatinga.

- renamed the diocese of Rondonopolis, Brazil, now Rondonopolis - Guiratinga.

- erected the diocese of Primavera do Leste – Parataninga, Brazil.

- appointed Bishop Derek John Christopher Byrne, SPS., of Guiratinga, Brazil, as first bishop of Primavera do Leste – Parataninga (area 98,056, population 170,000, Catholics 127,500, priests 24, religious 22), Brazil.

- confirmed the election of Abbot Hryhoriy Komar as auxiliary of the Ukrainian eparchy of Sambir – Drohobych, Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Letnya, Ukraine in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 2001. He is currently vicar general of the same diocese. He holds a licentiate in oriental theology, and has served as a teacher and collaborator in several parishes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Vatican City, 24 June 2014 (VIS) – The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Fr. Miguel Ayuso Guixot MCCJ, and Fr. Markus Solo S.V.D., attache in the same dicastery for Islam in Asia and the Pacific, will be in Indonesia until 27 June in order to meet with various members of the episcopal Conference, as well as the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and other Catholic institutions engaged in dialogue. They will also visit Indonesia's most important Islamic organisations, notably the Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah, and will also meet the Council of the Ulama.

In the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, this visit has the aim of implementing interreligious dialogue within a context of respect and friendship, as indicated by Pope Francis.


Yesterday, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

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


Vatican City, 24 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Skiper Bladimir Yanez Calvachi as bishop of Guaranda (area 3,336, population 206,000, Catholics 187,700, priests 34, permanent deacons 6, religious 69), Ecuador. The bishop-elect was born in Machachi, Ecuador in 1972 and was ordained a priest in 1996. He holds a licentiate in dogmatic theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles, including priest in various parishes in the archdiocese of Quito, director of the historical archive of the archdiocese,, notary of the ecclesiastical tribunal of First Instance in Quito and chaplain of various higher colleges. He is currently judge in the ecclesiastical tribunal of First Instance in Quito, chancellor of the archdiocesan curia, editor of the archdiocesan ecclesiastical bulletin, member of the metropolitan cathedral chapter, priest of the parish of “San Juan Bautista” in Sangolqui and episcopal vicar of the zone “Valle de los Chillos y Machachi”.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the traditional Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father commented that today Italy and many other countries celebrate the feast day of the Body and Blood of Christ, “Corpus Domini” or “Corpus Christi”, in which the ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious gift that Jesus left to her.

In the Gospel of St. John we find the narrative on the “bread of life”, spoken by Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum, in which He states: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. Pope Francis explained, “Jesus says that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in him. Our communion with the Lord commits us, his disciples, to imitate him, making of our lives, with our attitudes, a bread broken for others, just as the Master broke the bread that is truly His flesh”.

“Whenever we participate in Holy Mass and are nourished by the body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit works within us; it shapes our hearts, it communicates inner attitudes that transform within us into modes of behaviour in accordance with the Gospel. Firstly, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity among Christians, the courage of Christian witness, the creativity of charity, the ability to give hope to the disheartened, and to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist helps the Christian lifestyle to mature in us. Christ's charity, received with an open heart … changes us, transforms us, makes us capable of loving not according to a human measure, which is always limited, but according to God's measure, and God's measure is without measure”.

“And then we become able to love even those who do not love us”, continued the Pontiff, “and it is not easy. If we know that a person does not love us we tend not to like that person. But no! We must love those who do not love us! We must oppose evil with good, we must forgive, share, welcome others. Thanks to Jesus and his Spirit, even our life becomes 'bread broken' for our brothers. And, living in this way, we discover true joy! The joy of making oneself a gift, to reciprocate the great gift that we have first received, without any merit on our part.

Francis concluded his brief reflection by urging the faithful to recall two things: first, that “the measure of God's love is to love without measure”, and that our life, “with Jesus' love, receiving the Eucharist, transforms our life into a gift”.


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – This coming June 26 will be the United Nations' Day for Victims of Torture. Pope Francis took the opportunity to reiterate his “strong condemnation of all forms of torture” and encouraged Christians to make every effort to collaborate in its abolition and to support the victims and their families. “Torturing people is a mortal sin, a very grave sin”.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis began his pastoral visit to Cassano all'Jonio by meeting the detainees at the Castrovillari penitentiary. He expressed the closeness of the Church to every man and woman in jail all over the world, and reminded them of Jesus' words: “I was in prison and you came to me”.

The Pope arrived by Vatican helicopter at Castrovillari at 9 a.m., and walked the short distance to the prison where he was received by the director, Fedele Rizzo, and after listening to a short address one of the detainees on the forecourt outside the prison, he gave the following discourse:

“When we talk about prisoners, we often underline the theme of respect for the fundamental rights of man and the need for the conditions in which the sentence is served to correspond. This aspect of prison policy is certainly essential and a high level of attention must be maintained in this respect. But this approach is not sufficient, if it is not accompanied and completed by concrete commitment by institutions with a view to the effective reinsertion within society. When this objective is neglected, the fulfilment of the sentence is reduced to a mere instrument of punishment and social retaliation, damaging to both the individual and to society. And God does not do this, with us. God, when He forgives, accompanies us and helps us along the road. Always, and even in small things. When we go to confess, the Lord says to us, 'I forgive you. But now, come with me'. And He helps us to return to the path. He never condemns. He never forgives alone; He forgives and accompanies. And then, we are fragile and have to return to confession again, all of us. But He never tires. He always takes us by the hand again. This is God's love, and we must imitate Him! Society must imitate Him, and take this path”.

“On the other hand, the true and full rehabilitation of the person does not occur as the end point of a merely human progression. In this path there is also the encounter with God, the capacity to allow ourselves to be looked upon by God, Who loves us. It is more difficult to place ourselves before God's gaze than to look at God. It is more difficult to let ourselves be met by God than it is to meet God, because there is always resistance within us. And He waits for us, He watches us, He always seeks us. This God, Who loves us, Who is able to understand us, able to forgive our mistakes. The Lord is a master of rehabilitation: He takes us by the hand and restores us to the social community. The Lord always forgives, He always accompanies, He always understands; we must let ourselves be understood, forgiven, and accompanied”.

“I hope that for every one of you here, this time will not be wasted, but that it can instead become valuable time during which you may ask for and obtain this grace from God. In this way, first of all you will contribute to improving yourselves, but at the same time also the community, as, for better and worse, our actions influence others and the whole of the human family”.

“I convey my affectionate greetings to your families; may the Lord grant you the possibility to embrace them again in serenity and peace. Finally, I wish to offer encouragement to all those who work in this house: the directors, the police guards, and all other staff. I impart a heartfelt blessing to you all, and entrust you to the protection of Our Lady, our Mother. And please, I ask you to pray for me, because I to make my errors and must do penance. Thank you”.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – After his encounter with the detainees at Castrovillari, the Holy Father transferred by helicopter to Cassano all'Jonio where he landed at around 11 a.m., and was welcomed by the local authorities in the “Pietro Toscano” sports field. From there, he went on to the nearby “San Giuseppe Moscati” centre for the elderly, where he spoke with residents. Finally, in the cathedral, he met with the priests of the diocese and delivered the text of his address based on two themes: the joy of the priesthood and the beauty of brotherhood.

“I wish to share with you the ever-new surprise of having been called … by the Lord Jesus”, he writes. “Called to follow Him, to stay with Him, to bring Him to others. … When we are before the Tabernacle … Jesus' gaze renews us. Effectively, it is not easy to stay there, before the Lord, as we are always busy with so many things, with so many people … but at times it is not easy also because Jesus' gaze unsettles us … and challenges us. But this is good for us! In the silence of prayer, Jesus enables us to see whether we are like good workers, or if we have become rather like 'functionaries'; if we are open and generous channels through which His love and His grace flow, or if instead we place ourselves at the centre, and in the place of channels we become 'screens' which do not help in the encounter with the Lord, with the light and strength of the Gospel”.

The beauty of fraternity is that of “following the Lord … not one by one, but together, with our great variety of gifts and personalities; indeed, it is precisely this that enriches the priesthood: this variety in terms of provenance, age, and talents. … It is all lived in communion, in fraternity”. He adds, “and this too is not easy, it is not immediate or to be taken for granted. Firstly because we priests, too, are immersed in today's subjectivist culture, this culture that exalts the 'I' to the point of idolatry. And then also due to a certain pastoral individualism that is unfortunately widespread in our dioceses. We must therefore react to this with the choice of fraternity. I refer intentionally to 'choice'. It cannot simply be something that is left to chance; … no, it is a choice, that corresponds … to the gift that we have received but which must always be welcomed and cultivated: communion in Christ I in the priesthood, around the bishop. This communion needs to be experienced by seeking concrete forms suitable to the times and the specific situation of the territory, but always with an apostolic view, with a missionary style, with fraternity and simplicity of life”.

Pope Francis adds a third theme: that of staying with families and working for them. “It is a task that the Lord asks of us especially in this time that is difficult both for the family as an institution and for families affected by the crisis. But it is precisely in difficult times that God makes us aware of His vicinity, His grace and the prophetic strength of His Word. And we are called upon to be witnesses and mediators of this vicinity to families and this prophetic strength for the family”, he concludes.

After leaving the cathedral, the Pope proceeded to the bishop's residence followed by the seminary, where he lunched with the poor assisted by the diocesan branch of Caritas and the young people assisted at the Saman Mauro Rostagno rehabilitation centre. After lunch, he transferred by car to the Casa Serena where he met with elderly residents, and finally continued on his trip to Sibari.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – During his journey from Cassano all'Jonio to Sibari, a distance of slightly less than twenty kilometres, the Pope stopped in the parish of San Giuseppe where, on 3 May last year, the priest Lazzaro Longobardi was murdered. Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference, described him as “a martyr to charity”.

The Holy Father arrived at Marina de Sibari at 4 p.m. and, after greeting the numerous faithful awaiting him, he celebrated the Holy Mass of Corpus Domini, commenting that while on Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, Corpus Domini is a feast primarily of thanksgiving and adoration.

“Indeed, the procession with the Most Holy Sacrament is traditional on this day”, he explained. “Adoring Jesus Christ and walking with Him. These are the two inseparable aspects of this feast day, which characterise all the life of the Christian people: a people who adore God and a people who walk, who do not stay in one place, who walk!”

First of all we are people who adore God. We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him! When, instead, we substitute adoration of the Lord with adoration of money, the way opens to sin, to personal interest and abuse; when one no longer adores God, the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live through dishonesty and violence. Your land, so beautiful, knows the signs and the consequences of this sin. The 'ndrangheta is this: adoration of evil and disdain for the common good. We must fight this evil and expel it. We must say no!”, he exclaimed. “The Church, who is so committed to educating consciences, must make increasing efforts to ensure that good may prevail. We ask this of our boys and girls, our young people in need of hope. To be able to respond to these needs, faith can help us. Those who follow this path of evil in life, as the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God: they are excommunicated!”

“Today we confess with our gaze turned to the Corpus Domini, to the Sacrament on the altar. And for this faith we renounce Satan and all his seductions; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride, power, violence. We Christians do not wish to worship anything or anyone else in this world other than Jesus Christ, Who is present in the holy Eucharist”.

“Perhaps we do not always fully realise the meaning of this: of what consequences our profession of faith has or should have”, remarked the Pontiff. “This, our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ … in the consecrated bread and wine is authentic if we make an effort to walk behind Him and with Him. To worship is to walk; a people who worships is a people who walks, seeking to put into practice the commandment He gave to His disciples at the Last Supper: 'as I have loved you, so you must love one another'. A people that loves God in the Eucharist is a people who walks in charity. Worship God in the Eucharist, walk with God in fraternal charity”.

“Today, as bishop of Rome, I am here to confirm you not only in faith but also in charity, to accompany you and encourage you on your path with Jesus Charity. … I extend my support to all the pastors and faithful of the Church in Calabria, courageously committed to evangelisation and promoting styles of life and initiatives centred on the needs of the poor and the least among us. And I extend this also to the civil authorities who endeavour to live their political and administrative commitment for what it is, a service to the common good. I encourage all of you to bear witness to concrete solidarity with your brothers and sisters, especially with those most in need of justice, hope and tenderness”.

Francis went on to thank God for all the signs of hope that can be seen in families, parishes, associations, and ecclesial movements in Calabria, and urged the young not to be robbed of their hope as, “adoring Jesus in your hearts and staying united with Him you will be able to oppose evil, injustice and violence with the strength of goodness, truth, and beauty”.

“The Body of the Lord makes us one entity, one family, the People of God reunited around Jesus, the Bread of life. What I have said to the young I say to all of you: if you worship Christ and walk behind Him and with Him, your diocesan Church and your parishes will grow in faith and charity, in the joy of evangelisation. You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly, and the young all walk one next to the other, they support each other, they help each other, and they love each other like brothers, especially in moments of difficulty. May Mary, our mother, the Eucharistic woman you venerate in many shrines, especially in that of Castrovillari, precede you in this pilgrimage of faith”, he concluded.

At 5.30 p.m., after the Eucharist, the Pope transferred to the heliport next to the sports field, departing at 6 p.m. and landing an hour and a half later.


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Oriental Churches will hold the 87th Plenary Assembly of the ROACO (“Riunione Opere Aiuto Chiese Orientali”, “Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches”) from 23 to 26 June. On Tuesday 24 at 8.30 a.m. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the same dicastery, will celebrate the Eucharist at the altar of St. John Paul II in the Vatican Basilica to commend the works of the Assembly to the intercession of the saint. In the afternoon, the participants will visit one of the Formative Institutions of the Pontifical Oriental Institute; the former, along with the nine Oriental Colleges, is supported with the contribution of the ROACO agencies.

A representative of the Secretariat of the Economy was also invited to assist the new entity in getting to know the methods according to which the Congregation for the Oriental Churches carries out its work in the coordination of disbursements, the ownership of which remains with each individual agency.

Among the themes the Congregation will consider are the situation of the Greek Catholic Churches in Romania and Ukraine, the grave situation in Syria, and the ecclesial situation of the Holy Land, including confirmation of the work carried out thanks to donations received in the Good Friday collection.

The Assembly will conclude on Thursday 26 June with an audience with the Holy Father in the morning, and in the afternoon, a Eucharistic celebration with the members of the Boards of Regents of Bethlehem University, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning a letter was published, written in Latin and dated 9 June, by which Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Greek Catholic eparchy of Mukachevo, scheduled to take place at the major seminary of Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on 28 June 2014.

The pontifical mission to accompany the cardinal is composed of Fr. Pavlov Sabov, former priest of the parishes of Strypa and Jarok in Uzhhorod and currently collaborating priest at the Cathedral of Uzhhorod, Fr. Vasyl Chvasta, priest of the Church of Divine Mercy at Uzhhorod and syncellus for the laity.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, with the assent of the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Church, has transferred:

- Archbishop Georges Bacouni, previously of the archieparchy of Tiro of the Greek Melkites in Lebanon to the archieparchy of Akka (Catholics 80,000, priests 36, religious 36, permanent deacons 4) in Israel.

- Bishop Michael Abrass B.A., previously of the patriarchal curia of Antioch of the Greek Melkites in Lebanon to the archieparchy of Tiro of the Greek Melkites (Catholics 3,050 priests 8, religious 6) in Lebanon,elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.


Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, apostolic nuncio in Nicaragua.

- Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, accompanied by the vice-president, Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Valencia and the secretary general, Fr. Jose Maria Gil Tamayo.

- Fratel Enzo Bianchi, prior of the monastery of Bose.

- Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

On Saturday, 21 June, the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Guido Anselmo Pecorari, apostolic nuncio in Bulgaria.


Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Real Tremblay C.SS.R, president of the Pontifical Academy Theology. Fr. Trembaly is professor emeritus of Fundamental Moral Theology in the Alfonsianium Academy of Rome and ordinary member and adviser to the Pontifical Academy of Theology.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Vatican City, 20 June 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, on the Solemnity of Corpus Domini, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass in the square of St. John Lateran, the cathedral basilica of Rome. He commented in his homily that human beings not only suffer from physical hunger, but hunger also for life, love and eternity, for the manna that God gave to the people of Israel in the desert and which the Eucharist symbolises.

Referring to Moses' phrase: “The Lord your God … fed you with manna which you did not know”, Francis spoke about the history of the chosen people, whom God led out of Egypt and their condition of slaves to guide them to the promised land. However, once established there, the Israelites enjoyed prosperity and were in danger of forgetting their past of famine and despair. Moses urged them to return to the essentials, to the experience of total reliance on God, when their survival was entirely entrusted to His hands”.

“As well as physical hunger, man also suffers from another form of hunger that cannot be sated with ordinary food. It is a hunger for life, a hunger for love, a hunger for eternity. Manna is the sign … that prefigured the food that satisfies this profound hunger present in man. Jesus gives us this nourishment – or rather, He Himself is the living bread that gives life to the world. His Body is the true food in the form of bread; His Blood is the true sustenance in the form of wine. It is not a simple form of nourishment to sate our bodies, like manna; the Body of Christ is the bread of the last times, able to give life, eternal life, because the substance of this bread is Love”.

The Eucharist communicates “God's love for us: a love so great that it nourishes itself; it is a gratuitous love, always available to every person who hungers or who is in need of regeneration. To live the experience of faith means allowing oneself to be nourished by the Lord and to build our existence not on material goods, but on a reality that does not perish: the gifts of God, His Word and His Body”.

“If we look around ourselves”, continued the bishop of Rome, “we realise that many forms of sustenance are offered to us, that do not come from the Lord and seemingly offer more satisfaction. Some sate themselves with money, others with success and vanity, others with power and pride. But the food that truly nourishes and sates us is only that which comes from the Lord! The food that the Lord offers us is different from the others, and it may perhaps be less appetising than other delicacies the world offers us. We dream of other meals, like the Hebrews in the desert, who missed the meat and onions they ate in Egypt, but forgot that they ate those meals at the table of their slavery. In that moment of temptation, they retained the memories of that food, but it was a diseased memory, a selective memory”.

“The Father says to us: 'I have fed you with manna which you did not know'. Let us restore our memory and learn to recognise the false victuals that delude and corrupt, because they are the fruit of selfishness, self-sufficiency and sin: poisoned foods. Soon, in the procession, we will follow Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist. The Host is our manna, through which the Lord gives Himself to us. And we turn to Him with trust: Jesus, defend us from the temptations of the worldly food that enslaves us; purify our memory, so that we may not be imprisoned by selfish and worldly selectivity, but become instead the living memory of Your presence throughout the history of Your people, a memory that becomes a 'memorial' of your gesture of redeeming love”.

Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father led the procession along Via Merulana up to the basilica of St. Mary Major, where he imparted his solemn blessing with the Most Holy Sacrament.


Vatican City, 20 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Pope received in audience the participants in the 31st International Drug Enforcement Conference, which took place in Rome from 17 to 19 June. He thanked them for their work “in combating this most serious and complex problem of our time”, expressing his hope that they will accomplish their goals: a more effective coordination of anti-narcotics policies, better sharing of relevant information and the development of an operative strategy aimed at fighting the drug trade.

In his address, the Holy Father commented that “the scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders. As a result, the lives of more and more young people and adolescents are in danger. Faced with this reality, I can only manifest my grief and concern”.

“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible”, he continued: “the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem. Attempts, however limited, to legalise so-called 'recreational drugs', are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects. Substitute drugs are not an adequate therapy but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon. Here I would reaffirm what I have stated on another occasion: No to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that. No to any kind of drug use. But to say this 'no', one has to say 'yes' to life, 'yes' to love, 'yes' to others, 'yes' to education, 'yes' to greater job opportunities. If we say 'yes' to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction”.

“The Church, faithful to Jesus’ command to go out to all those places where people suffer, thirst, hunger and are imprisoned, does not abandon those who have fallen into the trap of drug addiction, but goes out to meet them with creative love. She takes them by the hand, thanks to the efforts of countless workers and volunteers, and helps them to rediscover their dignity and to revive those inner strengths, those personal talents, which drug use had buried but can never obliterate, since every man and woman is created in the image and likeness of God”.

“The example of all those young people who are striving to overcome drug dependency and to rebuild their lives can serve as a powerful incentive for all of us to look with confidence to the future”, Francis concluded, encouraging the members of the Conference to carry on their work with constantly renewed hope.


Vatican City, 20 June 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received the participants in the International Congress organised by the Department of Law of the Maria SS. Assunta University of Rome (LUMSA) and the School of Law of the St. John's University on the theme: “religious freedom according the international law and the global conflict of values”, held in Rome on 20 and 21 June. Francis remarked that the theme of religious freedom has recently become the subject of intense debate between governments and the various religious confessions, and added that the Catholic Church, in this field, has a long history of supporting religious freedom, culminating in the Vatican Council II Declaration “Dignitatis humanae”.

“Every human is a 'seeker' of truth on his origins and destiny. In his mind and in his 'heart', questions and thoughts arise that cannot be repressed or stifled, since they emerge from the depths of the person and are a part of the intimate essence of the person. They are religious questions, and religious freedom is necessary for them to manifest themselves fully”. Francis emphasised that “reason recognises that religious freedom is a fundamental right of man, reflecting his highest dignity, that of seeking the truth and adhering to it, and recognising it as an indispensable condition for realising all his potential. Religious freedom is not simply freedom of thought or private worship. It is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly, consequent to the truth one has found”. The Pope described this situation as the “great challenge of the globalised world, a sickness, in which weak thought even reduces the general ethical level, in the name of a false concept of tolerance that ends up persecuting those who defend the truth on humanity and its ethical consequences”.

“Legal systems, at both national and international level, are therefore required to recognise, guarantee and protect religious freedom, which is a right intrinsically inherent in human nature, in man's dignity as a free being, and is also an indicator of a healthy democracy and one of the main sources of the legitimacy of the State”. He added, “religious freedom … favours the development of relationships of mutual respect between the different Confessions and their healthy collaboration with the State and political society, without confusion of roles and without antagonism”.

He underlined that it is incomprehensible and troubling that people continue to suffer discrimination, restriction of their rights and even persecution for professing their faith. “Nowadays, persecution of Christians is stronger than it was in the first centuries of the Church, and there are more Christian martyrs than in that time. This is happening 1700 years after the edict of Constantine, which granted Christians the freedom to publicly profess their faith”. Pope Francis concluded by expressing his hope that the Congress would demonstrate in depth and with scientific rigour the reasons that oblige legal systems to respect and defend religious freedom.

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