|Audience with the President of Uganda: peaceful co-existence between social and religious groups|
Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the president of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on certain aspects of life in the country and the good relations existing between the Holy See and the Republic of Uganda were highlighted, with particular reference to the fundamental contribution of the Catholic Church and her collaboration with institutions in the educational, social and healthcare sectors. Furthermore, the importance of peaceful co-existence between the various social and religious components of the country was underlined.
Finally, mention was made of various questions of an international nature, with special attention to the conflicts affecting certain areas of Africa.
|Francis in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emphasises the responsibility of humanity in creation|
Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father attended the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held in the Casina Pio IV, during which he inaugurated a bust of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, whom he described as “a great Pope. Great for the strength and penetration of his intelligence, great for his important contribution to theology, great for his love of the Church and of human beings, great for his virtue and religiosity”. He recalled that Benedict XVI was the first to invite a president of this Academy to participate in the Synod on new evangelisation, “aware of the importance of science in modern culture”.
Pope Francis chose not to focus on the complex issue of the evolution of nature, the theme the Academy will consider during this session, emphasising however that “God and Christ walk with us and are also present in nature”. “When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magus, with a magic wand able to make everything. But it is not so. He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive and their fullness of being. He gave autonomy to the beings of the Universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality. And so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a conjurer, but the Creator who gives being to all things. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Origin that creates out of love. The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve”.
He continued, “With regard to man, instead, there is a change and something new. When, on the sixth day of the account in Genesis, man is created, God gives the human being another autonomy, an autonomy that is different to that of nature, which is freedom. And he tells man to name everything and to go ahead through history. This makes him responsible for creation, so that he might dominate it in order to develop it until the end of time. Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature. But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realise, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the Creator. So, while limited, the action of humanity is part of God's power and is able to build a world suited to his dual corporal and spiritual life; to build a human world for all human beings and not for a group or a class of privileged persons. This hope and trust in God, the Creator of nature, and in the capacity of the human spirit can offer the researcher a new energy and profound serenity. But it is also true that the action of humanity – when freedom becomes autonomy – which is not freedom, but autonomy – destroys creation and man takes the place of the Creator. And this is the grave sin against God the Creator”, he concluded.
|Angelus: love is the measure of faith|
Vatican City, 26 October 2014 (VIS) – More than eighty thousand people prayed the Angelus with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square . Before the Marian prayer the Holy Father commented on today's Gospel reading, in which he reiterated that all of the divine Law may be summarised in love for God and neighbour: two sides of the same coin.
Pope Francis explained that according to the evangelist Matthew, some Pharisees agreed to put Jesus to the test by asking him which commandment was the most important in the Law. Jesus, citing the book of Deuteronomy, answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment”. “He could have stopped there”, said the bishop of Rome. “Instead, Jesus adds something else that was not asked by the expert of the Law. Indeed, he said: 'And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself'. Even this second commandment is not invented by Jesus, but rather taken from the Book of Leviticus. Its newness consists precisely in putting together these two commandments - the love for God and love for one's neighbour - revealing that they are inseparable and complementary, they are two sides of the same coin. You cannot love God without loving your neighbour and you can’t love your neighbour without loving God”.
Indeed, “the visible sign that a Christian can show to give witness to the world … of the love of God is the love of his brethren. The commandment of love for God and one's neighbour is the first not because it is the first in the list of commandment. Jesus does not place it at the top, but rather at the centre since it is the heart from which everything must begin and to which everything must return and refer to. … In the light of Jesus' words, love is the measure of faith, and faith is the soul of love. We can never separate religious life from the service of the brothers and sisters, to those real brethren we meet. We can never divide prayer, the encounter with God in the Sacraments, from listening to others, from closeness to their lives and especially to their wounds”.
“In the midst of the dense forest of precepts and prescriptions – the legalisms of yesterday and today – Jesus opens up a gap through which we can glimpse two faces: the face of the Father and that of the brother. He does not give us two rules or two precepts: he gives us two faces. Or rather, it is one face: that of God that is reflected in the faces of so many, because in the face of every brother and sister, especially the least, the fragile, the helpless and the needy, the very image of God is present”.
“In this way, Jesus offers every man and woman the fundamental criteria on which to base their lives”, concluded Francis. “But above all, He gives us the Holy Spirit, which enables us to love God and our neighbour like Him, with a free and generous heart. Through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, let us open ourselves to receive this gift of love, always to follow the path of this law, of the two faces that are one face, the law of love”.
Following the Marian prayer, the Holy Father commented that in Sao Paulo in Brazil, Mother Assunta Marchetti was proclaimed Blessed. Born in Italy, she was the co-founder of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (the “Scalabrini”). “She was a nun who was exemplary in the service of orphans of Italian immigrants. She saw Jesus in the poor, in orphans, in the sick, in migrants. Let us give thanks to the Lord for this woman, a model of tireless missionary spirit and courageous dedication in the service of charity”.
|Pope's message to participants in the congress “In precariousness, hope”|
Vatican City, 25 October 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in the national congress organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference in Salerno, Italy, on the theme “In precariousness, hope”. The aim of the conference is to offer, especially to the younger generations, prospects of hope at a time characterised by uncertainty, restlessness and great change.
“In my visits in Italy, and in my encounters with the people, I have been able to encounter first-hand the situation of many young people who are jobless, in receipt of unemployment insurance, or in precarious work”, Francis writes. “But this is not only an economic problem – it is a problem of dignity. Where there is no work, there is no dignity – there lacks the experience of the dignity of bringing bread home to the table. And unfortunately, in Italy, there are very many young people without work”.
“Working means planning one's own future, deciding to establish a family. There is truly a sensation that the current moment is the 'passion of the young'. This throwaway culture is very strong: everything that does not bring profit is discarded. The young are cast aside, because they are without work. But this means discarding the future of the people, as the young represent the future of the people. We must say 'no' to this 'throwaway culture'”.
While, however, there is precariousness, the Pope observed that there is also hope, as the title of the congress affirms. “How can we make sure that we are not robbed of hope by the 'shifting sands' of precariousness? With the strength of the Gospel. The Gospel is a source of hope, because it comes from God and because it comes from Jesus Christ, who sympathised with all our precariousness”.
“You are young people who belong to the Church”, concludes the Holy Father, “and you therefore have the gift and the responsibility of bringing the strength of the Gospel to this social and cultural situation”, because “the Gospel generates care for others, the culture of encounter and solidarity. Thus, with the strength of the Gospel, you will be witnesses of hope in precariousness”.
|Cardinal Parolin: the obstacles to development derive from a distorted vision of the human being and economic activity|
Vatican City, 25 October 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday, 24 October, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke at the conference organised by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies dedicated to the theme of “Human Dignity and Human Development”, marking the inauguration of the University of Notre Dame Global Gateway.
The cardinal observed that “the topics which have been discussed show that, in speaking of the relationship between development and human dignity, the terms 'economy', 'economic systems' and the like, can all be employed as synonyms for the term 'development'. This in itself helps us to appreciate better the challenges we face in promoting human dignity. Development is in fact closely linked to the proper management of resources in poorer countries, and the economic decisions made by wealthy countries, which have positive or negative repercussions on the economy of developing countries. But the more fundamental reason for beginning with economics is that the Church’s social teaching has constantly emphasised that the greatest obstacles to universal and integral human development are found in a distorted vision of man and economic activity, one which threatens the dignity of the human person”.
The secretary of State remarked on the continuity between of Francis' magisterium and that of his predecessors, especially Benedict XVI, who “using very similar words, warn that the problems of development and the just regulation of the economy remain insoluble without a holistic vision of the human person and a commitment to constant and coherent moral standards firmly grounded in the natural law and the pursuit of the common good”. As Benedict XVI writes in his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”, “development will never be fully guaranteed through automatic or impersonal forces, whether they derive from the market or from international politics. Development is impossible without upright men and women, without financiers and politicians whose consciences are finely attuned to the requirements of the common good”.
“Conversion of mind and heart is thus required if economic activity as a whole is to be genuinely directed to integral human development”, Cardinal Parolin emphasised. “A 'Promethean faith' in the market, or in other ideologies and forms of aprioristic thinking, will need to be replaced by faith in God and a transcendent vision of men and women as God’s children. This in turn will lead to intellectual conversion in the sense of developing an economic science and praxis which begins with an integral understanding of the human person, that is placed at the service of human development, and is capable of orienting production and consumption to authentic human fulfilment, in our relationship with God and with our neighbour”.
Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, apostolic nuncio in Senegal, Capo Verde and Guinea-Bissau, and apostolic delegate in Mauritania;
- A delegation from the Jewish Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
On Saturday, 25 October, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Carlos Federico de la Riva Guerra, ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, on his farewell visit;
- Maron Curi, president of the “Consejo Nacional Union Cultural Argentino Libanese.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 27 October 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Bernardino C. Cortez as bishop-prelate of the prelature of Infanta (area 7,189, population 516,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 41, religious 132), Philippines. Bishop Cortez was previously auxiliary of Manila, Philippines.
On Saturday, 25 October, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Quesnel Alphonse, S.M.M., auxiliary of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as bishop of Fort-Liberte (area 1,600, population 498,000, Catholics 371,000, priests 48, religious 69), Haiti.