Friday, July 17, 2015

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17-07-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 135 

Summary
- The Pope writes to participants in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry” on the effects of mining
- Justice and Peace speaks out for communities affected by mining
- Decrees for the Causes of Saints
- Audiences

- Consolidated statements for the Holy See and financial statements for the Governorate of Vatican City State
The Pope writes to participants in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry” on the effects of mining
Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, to be communicated to the representatives of communities affected by mining activities participating in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry”, organised by the same dicastery in collaboration with the Latin American “Churches and Mining” network.
“You come from difficult situations and in various ways you experience the repercussions of mining activities, whether they be conducted by large industrial companies, small enterprises or informal operators. You have chosen to gather in Rome on this day of reflection that links to a passage from the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii gaudium', to echo the cry of the many people, families and communities who suffer directly and indirectly as a result of the consequences, too often negative, of mining activities. A cry for lost land; a cry for the extraction of wealth from land that paradoxically does not produce wealth for the local populations who remain poor; a cry of pain in reaction to violence, threats and corruption; a cry of indignation and for help for the violations of human rights, blatantly or discreetly trampled with regard to the health of populations, working conditions, and at times the slavery and human trafficking that feeds the tragic phenomenon of prostitution; a cry of sadness and impotence for the contamination of the water, the air and the land; a cry of incomprehension for the absence for inclusive processes or support from the civil, local and national authorities, which have the fundamental duty to promote the common good.
“Minerals and, in general the wealth of the earth, of the soil and underground, constitute a precious gift from God that humanity has used for thousands of years. Indeed, minerals are fundamental to many sectors of human life and activity. In the Encyclical 'Laudati si'' I wished to make an urgent appeal for collaboration in the care of our common home, countering the dramatic consequences of environmental degradation in the life of the poorest and the excluded, advancing towards an integral, inclusive and sustainable development. The entire mining sector is undoubtedly required to effect a radical paradigm change to improve the situation in many countries. A contribution can be made by the governments of the countries of origin of multinational companies and those in which they operate, businesses and investors, the local authorities who supervise mining operations, workers and their representatives, the international supply chains with their various intermediaries and those who work in the markets of these materials, and the consumers of goods for whose production the minerals are required. All these people are called upon to adopt behaviour inspired by the fact that we constitute a single human family, “that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.
“I encourage the communities represented in this meeting to reflect on how they can interact constructively with all the other actors involved, in a sincere and respectful dialogue. I hope that this occasion may contribute to a greater awareness and responsibility on these themes: and that, based on human dignity, the culture necessary for facing the current crisis may be created. I pray to the Lord that your work in these days be fruitful, and that these fruits can be shared with all those in need. I ask you, please, to pray for me and with affection I bless you, your communities and your families”.
Justice and Peace speaks out for communities affected by mining
Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, presented the dicastery's initiative “A day of Reflection: united with God, we hear a cry”, to be attended by various representatives of communities affected by mining activity in Africa, Asia and America who will gather in the Salesianum Congress Centre in Rome from 17 to 19 July.
Cardinal Turkson explained that the aim of the meeting was to take stock of the situation of these communities, recalling that in 2013 Justice and Peace organised a day of reflection entitled “Mining for the common good”, upon request of the directors of various mining companies, in order to evaluate the human, economic and environmental implications of this activity. A report of the event was distributed to the Episcopal Conferences of the countries involved. A second day of reflection will be held in September, entitled “Creating a new future, Reimaging the future of mining” and so the current initiative, aimed at giving a voice to the communities affected by the mining industry, is intended as preparation for this second meeting.
“There is no lack of reasons and motives for the decision of the Pontifical dicastery”, said the Cardinal. “With the Encyclical 'Laudato si'' the Holy Father urges us to 'hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor'. We cannot remain indifferent to this cry, as the need to her it is 'born of the liberating action of grace within each of us, and thus it is not a mission reserved only to a few: the Church, guided by the Gospel of mercy and by love for mankind, hears the cry for justice and intends to respond to it with all her might'”.
“Many of us are aware of this harrowing cry from those areas where mineral extraction is carried out”, he continued. “To give just a few examples: the 'Africa Progress Report' by the former secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the OECD directives on the issue, the numerous reports on the rights of indigenous populations, the 'Publish what you pay' initiative, legislation on the traceability of minerals currently being developed by the European Parliament, in cinema with films such as 'Blood Diamonds' or 'Avatar', and so on”.
“The Church, on various occasions and for many years, has closely followed mining activities. At national level, the documents of the Episcopal Conferences which denounce human rights violations, illegality, violence and the exploitation of deposits causing pollution and problems for the safety of local produce. … At regional level, it is considered by the Continental Episcopal Conferences, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, and so on, and at transnational level, by Franciscan networks, the CIDSE and Caritas. All these voices follow the same direction: faced with these situations, we cannot allow indifference, cynicism and impunity to continue to prevail. A radical paradigm change is needed in the interests of the common good, justice, sustainability and human dignity”.
In these three days the representatives of the communities affected by mining operations in different ways will act as spokespeople for those who are unable to come to Rome and whose voice frequently goes unheard by experts and commentators. “I must emphasise that some people who are attending the meeting have experienced pressure and intimidation in recent days, for example after having requested a passport. The Pontifical Council has heard testimonies of threats, violence and murder; of retaliation, of compensation never received, and of unkept promises”.
“Therefore”, he continued, “there are individuals who work without a truly human aim. There are denials of the primacy of the human being, insensitivity to the welfare of the social and natural environment and the full experience of fragility, abandonment and rejection. Those responsible are investors, businesspeople, politicians and governors of the countries where the deposits are found, or rather the countries where the headquarters of the mining multinationals reside”.
“On the other hand, exploited and poor countries are above all in need of honest governments, educated people and investors with an acute sense of justice and the common good, as it is morally unacceptable, politically dangerous, environmentally unsustainable and economically unjustifiable for developing countries to 'continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future'”, he concluded.
Decrees for the Causes of Saints
Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees regarding the heroic virtues of:
- Servant of God Andrey Sheptytsky, O.S.B.M., major archbishop of Leopolis of the Ukrainians, metropolitan of Halyc (1865-1944);
- Servant of God Giuseppe Carraro, Bishop of Verona, Italy (1899-1980);
- Servant of God Agustin Ramirez Barba, Mexican diocesan priest and founder of the Servants of the Lord of Mercy (1881-1967);
- Servant of God Simpliciano della Nativita (ne Aniello Francesco Saverio Maresca), Italian professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts (1827-1898);
- Servant of God Maria del Refugio Aguilar y Torres del Cancino, Mexican founder of the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1866-1937);
- Servant of God Marie-Charlotte Dupouy Bordes (Marie-Teresa), French professed religious of the Society of the Religious of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (1873-1953);
- Servant of God Elisa Miceli, Italian founder of the Rural Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart (1904-1976);
- Servant of God Isabel Mendez Herrero (Isabel of Mary Immaculate), Spanish professed nun of the Servants of St. Joseph (1924-1953).
Audiences
Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
16-07-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 133 
Consolidated statements for the Holy See and financial statements for the Governorate of Vatican City State
Vatican City, July 2015 (VIS) – At the Council for the Economy meeting on 14 July 2015, Cardinal Pell and the staff from the Secretariat for the Economy presented the Consolidated Statements for the Holy See and the Financial Statements for the Governorate. The Statements had been prepared by the Prefecture for Economic Affairs and reviewed and verified by the Secretariat, the Audit Committee of the Council and the External Auditor.
It was noted that 2014 was a year of transition to new Financial Management policies based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The former accounting principles and consolidation perimeter (comprising 64 Holy See entities) were used in preparation of the 2014 Statements. Managers were however asked to ensure they had included all assets and liabilities and provide appropriate certification as to completeness and accuracy. Working with the external auditor, third party confirmation of balances were requested so that, consistent with sound audit practice, amounts could be independently verified. To include all assets and liabilities in the accounts at year end and to prepare for the new policies, a number of closing entries were included which make direct comparison with 2013 figures difficult. Where appropriate relevant points of comparison were provided to the Council.
The journey of transition to new policies is progressing well and the Secretariat was pleased to report high levels of interest and cooperation in the entities. The 2014 Financial Statements reflect an enormous amount of work by staff in many Holy See entities, particularly in the Prefecture for Economic Affairs and the Secretariat for the Economy and Council members expressed their gratitude for the rigorous and professional work and the strong commitment to implementing the financial reforms approved by the Holy Father.
The Financial Statements for the Holy See for 2014 indicate a deficit of 25,621k Euro which is similar to the deficit of 24.471k Euro reported in the 2013 Statements. Had the same accounting treatment applied in 2014 been applied in 2013, the 2013 deficit would have been reported as 37,209k Euro. The improvement in 2014 was largely due to favourable movements in investments held by the Holy See. The main sources of income in 2014, in addition to investments, include the contributions made pursuant to canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law (21m Euro) and the contribution from Institute of Works of Religion (50m Euro).
Net assets increased by 939m Euro as adjustments were made to include all assets and liabilities in the closing balances for 2014. For the entities included in the consolidation perimeter, assets previously off the balance sheet amounted to 1,114m Euro and liabilities amounted to 222m Euro. While the patrimonial situation in the pension fund was not reflected in the closing balance sheet, it was reported that the new pension fund board will be asked to prepare an updated assessment of the overall situation.
As in previous years, the most significant expense included in the Holy See Financial Statements is the cost of staff (126.6m Euro) and the statements indicate a total of 2880 personnel in the 64 Holy See entities included in the consolidation.
The financial statements for the Governorate for 2014 indicate a surplus of 63,519k Euro which is a significant improvement on the 2013 surplus of 33,042k Euro, largely due to continued strong revenue from the cultural activities (especially the Museums) and favourable movements in investments. Net Assets increased by 63.5m Euro and there were no adjustments necessary to include additional assets and liabilities in closing balances for 2014. The Statements indicate a total staff of 1930 in the Governorate.
Following the meeting of the Council for the Economy,the Secretariat for the Economy was advised the Auditor confirmed that a clear audit certificate had been issued for the Holy See and Governorate Financial Statements.
The Council also received a further update on the 2015 Budget. The 2015 Budgets were prepared under the new Financial Management Policies, approved last year by the Holy Father. The Council in late May received a detailed budget submission prepared by the Secretariat. The submission highlighted proposed activities as well as anticipated revenue and expenditure for the coming year and included specific recommendations for each of the 136 entities on the list, as approved by the Holy Father, who are subject to control and vigilance of the Council and Secretariat. The Budgets indicate the deficits experienced in recent years are likely to continue in 2015.
While rapid progress is being made in implementing reforms requested by the Holy Father, the complete transition to the IPSAS is likely to take several years. The 2015 Budgets and the 2015 Statements are the first important steps. From 2015, the Consolidated Statements for the Holy See will include the new practices and additional entities, as required under the new Financial Management Policies and the IPSAS Standards.

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