Friday, February 5, 2016

Latest #News of #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee


The Pope receives the president of Zambia

Presentation to the Pope of the book on the Papal fleet in the Dardanelles, 1657

Francis to meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba

Annual meeting on interreligious dialogue

General audience: God's justice is mercy

Interview with the Pope: seeking the richness of faith in Mexico

Francis closes the Year of Consecrated Life


Vatican City, 5 February 2016 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the president of the Republic of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, the good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Zambia were noted. The Parties focused on the contribution of the Catholic Church through her educational, social and healthcare institutions, as well as her collaboration in combating poverty and social inequality, and the promotion of peaceful social and religious co-existence through a culture of dialogue and encounter. Attention then turned to themes of common interest, including migration, climate change and the protection of the environment.

Finally, mention was made of the international situation, with special attention to the conflicts that affect various areas of Africa and the commitment of the country to the peace processes in the Region.


Francis to meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba


Vatican City, 5 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12 next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will. They invite all Christians to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits.



Annual meeting on interreligious dialogue


Vatican City, 5 February 2016 (VIS) – The annual meeting between the officials of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the staff of the Office for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation (IRDC) of the World Council of Churches (WCC), took place from 3 to 4 February in Geneva, Switzerland. Appropriately this was during Interfaith Harmony Week.

The meeting included reflection, prayer and the sharing of information regarding activities which had been carried out during 2015, as well as the discussion of plans for 2016. The staff of the two offices have collaborated in a variety of ways during recent years, either through joint initiatives, such as the publication of the document “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct” (2011), or by each other’s supportive participation in events or projects organized by their respective offices.

2015 had marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate which is recognised by the World Council of Churches, to have been a seminal moment in the history of Christian relationships with other religions. The meeting in 2106 offered the opportunity to reflect on future partnerships between the two institutions, in the light of their mutual desire to build further on the impetus given by the celebration of this important document.



Audiences


Vatican City, 5 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has received in audience:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

- Bishop Baldomero Carlos Martini, emeritus of San Justo, Argentina;

- Bishop Han Lim Moon, auxiliary of San Martin, Argentina.



Other Pontifical Acts


Vatican City, 5 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Giuseppe Favale as bishop of Conversano-Monopoli (area 1.099, population 252,786, Catholics 250,000, priests 144, permanent deacons 16, religious 196), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Palagiano, Italy in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1985. He holds a degree in Utroque Iure from the Pontifical Lateran University and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including deputy priest, parish priest of the Cathedral, chancellor of the Curia, judicial vicar and vicar general. He is currently spiritual direction of the "Pio XI" Regional Seminary in Molfetta and delegate for young clergy in the diocese of Castellaneta. He was named Prelate of Honour of His Holiness in 2009. He succeeds Bishop Domenico Padovano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, upon reaching the age limit, was accepted by the Father.

General audience: God's justice is mercy


Vatican City, 3 February 2016 (VIS) – The relationship between mercy and justice, in the light of the Sacred Scriptures, was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis in this Wednesday's general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square and was attended by more than ten thousand people.

"The Sacred Scripture presents God as infinite mercy, but also as perfect justice", he said. "How can the two be reconciled? They may appear to be contradictory, but this is not the case, as it is precisely God's mercy that leads us to achieve true justice. In the legal administration of justice, we see that those who consider themselves to have been victims of abuse consult a judge in court and ask that justice be done. It is a retributive justice, inflicting punishment on the guilty, according to the principle that each person receives what he deserves. … But this route does not lead to true justice, as in reality it does not conquer evil, it simply limits it. Instead, only by responding with good can evil truly be conquered".

The Bible, he explained, proposes a different form of justice, in which the victim invites the guilty party to convert, helping him to understand the harm he has done and appealing to his conscience. "In this way, recognising his blame, he can open up to the forgiveness that the injured party offers. … This is the way of resolving conflicts within families, in relations between spouses and between parents and children, in which the injured party loves the guilty and does not wish to lose the bond between them. It is certainly a difficult path: it demands that the victim be disposed to forgive and wishes for the salvation and the good of the perpetrator of the damage. But only in this way can justice triumph, as if the guilty party acknowledges the harm he has done and ceases to do so, the evil no longer exists and the unjust becomes just, as he has been forgiven and helped to find the way of good".

"God treats us sinners, in the same way. He continually offers us His forgiveness, He helps us to welcome Him and to be aware of our evil so as to free ourselves of it. God does not seek our condemnation, only our salvation. God does not wish to condemn anyone! … The Lord of Mercy wishes to save everyone. … The problem is letting Him enter into our heart. All the words of the prophets are an impassioned and love-filled plea for our conversion".

God's heart is "the heart of a Father Who loves all His children and wants them to live in goodness and justice, and therefore to live in fullness and happiness. A Father's heart that goes beyond our meagre concept of justice so as to open up to us the immense horizons of His mercy. A Father's heart that does not treat us or repay us according to our sins, as the Psalm says".

"It is precisely a Father's heart that we encounter when we go to the confessional", Francis emphasised. "Perhaps it will tell us something to better understand our evil, but at the confessional we all go in search of a father who will help us change our life; a father who gives us the strength to go on; a father who forgives us in God's name. Therefore, to be a confessor is a great responsibility, as the son or daughter who comes to you seeks only to encounter a father. And you, the priest there in the confessional, are the place where the Father does justice with His mercy", he concluded.

Interview with the Pope: seeking the richness of faith in Mexico


Vatican City, 3 February 2016 (VIS) – Next week Pope Francis will begin his apostolic trip to Mexico. From 12 to 17 February he will visit Mexico City, Ecatepec, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Morelia and Ciudad Juarez, and will pray before Our Lady of Guadalupe. For the occasion, the agency Notimex recorded a series of brief questions and expressions of hope for the Mexican people in four videos, presented to the Holy Father. The Pope responded with a video that will be broadcast today on the Notimex website. The following is a summary of the questions and answers. The images can be obtained from the Vatican Television Centre.

Question: Why are you coming to Mexico? What brings you to Mexico?

Pope Francis: "What moves me most is this: what are coming to look for in Mexico? I will come to Mexico not like a Wise Man loaded with things to bring, messages, ideas, solutions to problems … I come to Mexico as a pilgrim, to look for something among the Mexican people. … I come to seek the wealth of faith you have, I come for that infectious wealth of faith. You have an idiosyncrasy, a way of being that is the fruit of a very long road, a history that has been forged slowly, with pain, with success, with failures, with searching, but with a common thread. You have great richness in your heart and, above all, you are not an orphaned people, as you are proud to have a Mother, and when a man or a woman or a people do not forget their Mother, this provides a wealth that cannot be described; it is received and transmitted. So, I will go in search of some of this in you. A people that does not forget its Mother, the Mother who forged her people in hope".

Question: What does Our Lady of Guadalupe represent for the Pope?

Pope Francis: "Security, tenderness. Sometimes I am afraid of certain problems or something unpleasant happens and I do not know how to react, and I pray to her. I like to repeat to myself, 'Do not be afraid, am I not here, your Mother?'. They are her words: 'Do not be afraid'. … I feel this, that she is our Mother, who cares, protects and leads a people, who leads a family, who gives the warmth of home, who caresses with tenderness and who banishes fear. … It is an eloquent image, that of a Mother like a blanket who covers and cares, in the midst of her people. … This is what I feel before Her. … What I would ask you, as a favour, is that this time, the third time I will be on Mexican soil, that you will let me spend a moment before the image. That is the favour I ask of you".

Question: How would you help us to face the violence here?

Pope Francis: "Violence, corruption, war, children who cannot go to school because their country is at war, trafficking, arms manufacturers who sell weapons so that the wars of the world can continue … this is more or less the climate that we live in the world, and you are experiencing a part of it, a part of this 'war', this part of suffering, of violence, of organised trafficking. If I come to you, it is to receive the best of you and to pray with you, so that the problems … that you know exist may be resolved, because the Mexico of violence, the Mexico of corruption, the Mexico of drug trafficking, the Mexico of the cartels, is not the Mexico that our Mother loves, and of course I do not wish to cover up any of that; on the contrary, I would urge you to fight, day by day, against corruption, against trafficking, against war, against disunity, against organised crime, against human trafficking".

"'May you bring us a little peace', one of you said. Peace is something that must be worked on every day, and – to use a phrase that sounds like a contradiction – it must be fought for, every day. It is necessary to combat every day for peace, not for war. It is necessary to sow gentleness, understanding, peace. St. Francis prayed, 'Lord, make me an instrument of your peace'. I would like to be an instrument of peace in Mexico, but with all of you. … And how is peace formed? Peace is a craft, it is formed by hand. From the education of a child to the care for an elderly person: they are all seeds of peace. Peace is born of tenderness, peace is born of understanding, peace is born or is made in dialogue, not in rupture, and this is the key word: dialogue. Dialogue between leaders, dialogue with the people, and dialogue among all people. … Do not be afraid of listening to others, to seeing their motivations. And please, do not enter into any traps to make money; it enslaves life in an inner war and takes away freedom, because peace brings freedom. I come to ask the Virgin, along with you, to give us this peace, so that Our Lady of Guadalupe may give us peace in our heart, in the family, in the city, and in all the country".

Question: What do you wish for from us, and what are your hopes for us?

Pope Francis: "I come to serve, to be a servant of the faith for you … because I felt this vocation … to serve the faith of the people. But this faith must grow and go out into daily life; it must be a public faith. And faith becomes strong when it is public, above all … in moments of crisis. … It is true that there is a crisis of faith in the world. But it is also true that there is a great blessing and a desire … for faith to come forth, for faith to be missionary, for faith not to be closed up in a tin. Our faith is not a museum faith, and the Church is not a museum. Our faith is born of contact, of dialogue with Jesus Christ, our Saviour, with the Lord. … If faith does not go out into the street, it is no use; and taking faith out into the street does not mean merely a procession. That faith goes out into the street means that we show ourselves to be Christians in the workplace, in the family, at university, in college. … Faith wants to be on the streets, like Jesus. … Where did Jesus spend most of his time? On the street, preaching the Gospel, bearing witness. … Our faith demands that we too go forth, that we do not keep Jesus confined to ourselves without letting Him out, as Jesus goes out with us, so if we do not go forth, neither does He. … Renewing the faith means going out into the streets, not being afraid of conflict, seeking solutions to family, school, social and economic problems. Faith has to be my inspiration for my commitment to my people, and it has its risks and its dangers. I would like to end with some of our Mother's words; through me, she is saying to you, 'Do not be afraid of going forth, do not be afraid, my child, I am here and I am your Mother".



Francis closes the Year of Consecrated Life


Vatican City, 3 February 2016 (VIS) – Yesterday, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Day of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis presided at the Holy Mass for the Jubilee of Consecrated Life, held in the Vatican Basilica at 5.30 p.m. Members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life concelebrated with the Holy Father.

During the rite, which opened with the blessing of the candles and the procession, the Pope pronounced a homily, extensive extracts of which are published below. He emphasised that gratitude, for the gift of the Holy Spirit that always inspires the Church through different charisms is the word that best summarises the Year of Consecrated Life.

"Before our eyes there is a simple, humble and great fact: Jesus was taken by Mary and Joseph to the temple of Jerusalem. He is a child like any other … but He is unique: He is the only begotten Son Who came for all of us. This Child brought us God's mercy and tenderness. Jesus is the face of the Father's mercy. This is the icon that the Gospel offers us at the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, a year lived with great enthusiasm. Like a river, it now flows into the sea of mercy, in this immense mystery of love that we are experiencing with the extraordinary Jubilee".

"Today's feast, especially in the East, is called the feast of encounter. Indeed, in the Gospel there are several encounters. In the temple, Jesus comes towards us and we come towards Him. We contemplate the encounter with the elderly Simeon, who represents the faithful hope of Israel and the exultation of the heart for the fulfilment of the ancient promises. We also admire the encounter with the elderly prophetess Anna. Simeon and Anna are hope and prophecy; Jesus is newness and completion. He presents Himself to us as God's perennial surprise. In this Child, born for all, the past, made up of memory and promise, and the future, full of hope, are brought together".

"We can see here the beginning of consecrated life. Consecrated men and women are called, first of all, to be men and women of encounter. Vocation, indeed, is not the result of a project of our own … but rather the grace of the Lord Who reaches out to us, through a life-changing encounter. Those who encounter Jesus cannot stay the same as they were before. Those who live this encounter become witnesses and make encounter possible for others too; and they become promoters of the culture of encounter, avoiding the self-referentiality that causes us to become self-centred".

"Jesus, to come towards us, did not hesitate to share in our human condition. … He did not save us 'from outside', He did not stay out of our drama, but instead chose to share our life. Consecrated men and women are called to be a concrete sign of this closeness to God, this sharing in the condition of frailty and sin and the wounds of man in our time".

"The Gospel also tells us that 'the child's father and mother marvelled at what was said about Him'. Joseph and Mary wondered at this encounter full of light and hope for all peoples. And we too, as Christians and as consecrated persons, are guardians of wonder. A wonder that always asks to be renewed; woe to those who settle into habit in spiritual life; woe to those whose charisms are crystallised in abstract doctrine. The charisms of the founders, as I have said many times, must not be sealed up in bottles – they are not museum pieces. Our founders were moved by the Holy Spirit, and were not afraid of getting their hands dirty in everyday life, getting involved in the problems of the people and reaching out courageously to the geographical and existential peripheries".

"Finally, from today's feast we learn to live with gratitude for the encounter with Jesus and for the gift of the vocation to consecrated life. Giving thanks: the Eucharist. How beautiful it is when we encounter the happy face of consecrated persons, perhaps of advanced age like Simeon or Anna, content and full of gratitude for their vocation. This is a word that can summarise all that we have lived during this Year of Consecrated Life: gratitude for the gift of the Holy Spirit, that always inspires the Church through the various charisms".

Following Mass in the Basilica, the Pope went out into St. Peter's Square to greet the many consecrated men and women who had not been able to enter the Vatican Basilica. He addressed the following words to them:

"Thank you for ending here, all together, this Year of Consecrated Life. And keep going! Each one of us has a place, a job to do in the Church. Please, do not forget your first vocation, your first call. Remember this. And with that love with which you were called, today the Lord continues to call to you. Do not let that beauty, that wonder of the first call, diminish. Keep working. … There is always something to do. The main thing is to pray. The centre of consecrated life is prayer. And so we age, but we age like good wine!".

"Let me say something to you. I like it when I find elderly men and women religious, with shining eyes, because the fire of spiritual life is alight in them. That flame has not been extinguished. … Continue to work and to look to tomorrow with hope, always asking the Lord to send us new vocations, so that our work of consecrated may keep going ahead. And memory: do not forget the first call! Work, day by day, and then the hope to go ahead and to sow. May the others who follow us receive the legacy we leave to them".



Presentation to the Pope of the book on the Papal fleet in the Dardanelles, 1657


Vatican City, 3 February 2016 (VIS) – This morning, at the conclusion of the General Audience, Rinaldo Marmara presented to Pope Francis a copy of his book "La Squadra Pontificia ai Dardanelli 1657 / Ilk Canakkale Zaferі 1657". This volume is an Italian and Turkish transliteration of a manuscript from the Chigi collection of the Vatican Apostolic Library that is an account of the papal fleet that participated in the Second Battle of the Dardanelles in 1657. During a presentation of the book last evening, the author stated that his objective was to make important archival material from the Vatican Archives and Vatican Library accessible to Turkish historians and researchers. The book, notwithstanding the painful memories of history, illustrates the importance of scholarly research and opening up archives to historical investigation in the service of truth and building bridges of cooperation and mutual understanding.

In light of this, the repeated commitment of Turkey to make its archives available to historians and researchers of interested parties in order to arrive jointly at a better understanding of historical events and the pain and suffering endured by all parties, regardless of their religious or ethnic identity, caught up in war and conflict, including the tragic events of 1915, is noted and appreciated. The painful events of history should not be forgotten; instead they require careful examination and reflection so that they may lead to the healing and purification of memory so necessary for reconciliation and forgiveness for individuals and peoples, as St. John Paul II affirmed.

The memory of the suffering and pain of both the distant and the more recent past, as in the case of the assassination of Taha Carım, Ambassador of Turkey to the Holy See, in June 1977, at the hands of a terrorist group, urges us also to acknowledge the suffering of the present and to condemn all acts of violence and terrorism, which continue to cause victims today.

Particularly heinous and offensive is violence and terrorism committed in the name of God or religion. As His Holiness Pope Francis stated during his visit to the Central African Republic: “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. … Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself". May these words inspire all people of goodwill to remember and affirm their brotherhood, solidarity, compassion and shared humanity and to reiterate their common stand against all violence.


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