April 15, 2013

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

Summary

- POPE RECEIVES SPANISH PRIME MINISTER: NEED FOR DIALOGUE AMONG ALL AREAS OF SOCIETY

- MEETING OF CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH WITH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS

- INCONSISTENCY OF PASTORS AND FAITHFUL UNDERMINES CHURCH’S CREDIBILITY

- POPE REMEMBERS PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS AT THE REGINA COELI

- AUDIENCES

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

POPE RECEIVES SPANISH PRIME MINISTER: NEED FOR DIALOGUE AMONG ALL AREAS OF SOCIETY

Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, His Holiness Francis received His Excellency Mr. Mariano Rajoy Brey, prime minister of Spain. Prime Minister Rajoy then met with the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

“In a cordial atmosphere, the talks allowed an exchange of views on the difficult economic-financial situation in the world that Spain, like other European countries is facing. This situation has provoked a serious labour crisis, involving many families and particularly the young. In such a context, the Church’s nearness was expressed and the noteworthy work for those most in need that Caritas and other ecclesial charitable associations carries out was noted. Reference was also made to the country's current political-institutional structure, noting the need for dialogue in society and among all its components, dialogue that is based on mutual respect and keeping in mind values such as justice and solidarity, in seeking the common good.”

“Moreover, good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Spain were noted, which, in the spirit of the Agreements of 1979, have been strengthened more and more, just as were noted topics of current issues and of interest for the Church in that country. In particular, the institution of marriage and the family and the importance of religious education were discussed. Mention of the international situation, with particular attention on Latin America, was not overlooked.”

 

MEETING OF CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH WITH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – “Today, the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of the United States of America. Archbishop James Peter Sartain, archbishop of Seattle, Washington, USA, and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting,” informs a communique from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“As this was his first opportunity to meet with the Presidency of the LCWR, the Prefect of the Congregation, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.”

“The Prefect then highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium. He also emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member Institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops. For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See.”

“Finally, Archbishop Muller informed the Presidency that he had recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors.”

“It is the sincere desire of the Holy See,” the note concludes, “that this meeting may help to promote the integral witness of women Religious, based on a firm foundation of faith and Christian love, so as to preserve and strengthen it for the enrichment of the Church and society for generations to come.”

 

INCONSISTENCY OF PASTORS AND FAITHFUL UNDERMINES CHURCH’S CREDIBILITY

Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Pope Francis presided over Mass at Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls on his first visit to that basilica as Bishop of Rome. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of the basilica, and Abbot Edmund Power, O.S.B., of the St. Paul Outside-the-Walls Abbey.

In his homily, the Holy Father recalled that the basilica is built above the tomb of St. Paul, “a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart.” He added that these were the three words—proclamation, witness, worship—that he wanted to reflect upon in light of the Word of God in the liturgy's readings.

Commenting on the first reading, in which the Apostles are imprisoned for preaching of the Risen Christ, the Pope observed that Peter and the Twelve “proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what He represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.”

“The proclamation made by Peter and the Apostles,” he emphasized, “does not merely consist of words: fidelity to Christ affects their whole lives, which are changed, given a new direction, and it is through their lives that they bear witness to the faith and to the proclamation of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times to feed his flock, to feed it with his love, and He prophesies to him: 'When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go'. These words are addressed first and foremost to those of us who are pastors: we cannot feed God’s flock unless we let ourselves be carried by God’s will even where we would rather not go, unless we are prepared to bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives.”

“But this also applies to everyone: we all have to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel. … In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships. There are the saints of every day, the 'hidden' saints, a sort of 'middle class of holiness', as a French author said, that 'middle class of holiness' to which we can all belong.”

“But in different parts of the world, there are also those who suffer ... on account of the Gospel; there are those who give their lives in order to remain faithful to Christ ... Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. I am thinking now of some advice that Saint Francis of Assisi gave his brothers: 'Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words'. Preaching with your life, with your witness. Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.”

“All this is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is He who has called us, He who has invited us to travel his path, He who has chosen us. Proclamation and witness are only possible if we are close to him, just as Peter, John and the other disciples in today’s Gospel passage were gathered around the Risen Jesus. … And this is important for us: living an intense relationship with Jesus, an intimacy of dialogue and of life, in such a way as to recognize him as 'the Lord'. Worshipping him!”

“I would like all of us to ask ourselves this question: [ask yourself, ask myself] Do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? … All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshipping the Lord means giving him the place that He must have; worshipping the Lord means stating, believing—not only by our words—that He alone truly guides our lives; worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that He is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.”

“This has a consequence in our lives,” the pontiff noted. “We have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge and upon which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, careerism, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to dominate others, the claim to be the sole masters of our lives, some sins to which we are bound, and many others. This evening I would like a question to resound in each of your hearts, and I would like you to answer it honestly: Have I considered which idol lies hidden in my life that prevents me from worshipping the Lord? Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the centre, as the privileged path of our lives.”

“The Lord,” concluded the Bishop of Rome, “calls us each day to follow him with courage and fidelity. He has made us the great gift of choosing us as his disciples. He invites us to proclaim him with joy as the Risen one, but He asks us to do so by word and by the witness of our lives, in daily life. The Lord is the only God of our lives, and He invites us to strip ourselves of our many idols and to worship him alone. To proclaim, to witness, to worship.”

 

POPE REMEMBERS PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS AT THE REGINA COELI

Vatican City, 14 April 2013 (VIS) – The episode narrated in the Acts of the Apostles that tells of the time Jesus first preached in Jerusalem and the attempts of the high priests and city leaders to stop the growth of the community of believers in Christ was the central theme of the Regina Coeli this third Sunday of Easter.

The Pope explained to the thousands of persons gathered in St. Peter's Square that the Twelve, who had been jailed with the order to not teach any more in Christ's name, responded to their persecutors: “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus … God exalted him at his right hand as leader and saviour … We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit.” “They then had the Apostles flogged and ordered them again not to speak any more in Jesus' name. And [the Twelve] went, as it says in Scripture, 'rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name' [of Jesus].”

“I ask myself,” the Bishop of Rome said, “ where did the first disciples find the strength for their witness? Not just that: Where did their joy and courage to proclaim, in spite of the obstacles and violence, come from? Let's not forget that the Apostles were simple people. They weren't scribes, doctors of the law, or members of the priestly class. How could they, with their limits and the opposition made to them by the authorities, 'have filled Jerusalem with your teaching'? It is clear that only the Risen Lord's presence to them and the Holy Spirit's action can explain this fact. … Their faith was based on such a strong and personal experience of Christ, died and risen, that they had no fear of anything or anyone. In fact, they saw persecution as a badge of honour that allowed them to follow in Jesus' footsteps and to be like him, witnessing with their lives.”

“This story of the first Christian community tells us something very important, which holds for the Church in every age, even for us: when a person truly knows Jesus Christ and believes in him, they experience his presence in their life and the strength of his Resurrection, and they cannot help but to communicate this experience. If this person encounters misunderstanding or adversity, they act as Jesus did at his Passion: they respond with love and with the strength of truth.”

“Praying the Regina Coeli together,” the Pope concluded, “we ask Mary Most Holy's assistance so that the Church throughout the world might proclaim, with sincerity and courage, the Lord's Resurrection, and might give effective witness to it with signs of fraternal love. Fraternal love is the closest witness that we can give that Jesus is alive with us, that Jesus is risen. Let us pray in a special way for the Christians who are suffering persecution. In these days there are many Christians who are suffering persecution, so very many in many countries. Let us pray wholeheartedly for them with love. May they feel the living and comforting presence of the Risen Lord.”

After the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father noted that yesterday, in Venice, Italy, Don Luca Passi, 19th century founder of the Pious Society of St. Dorothy for the Laity and the Institute of the Teaching Sisters of St Dorothy, was beatified. He also spoke of the Day of the Sacred Heart University, which is celebrated today in Italy, the theme of which is “New Generations: Beyond the Crisis” this year.

“This university,” he said, “born of the mind and heart of Fr. Agostino Gemelli, with great popular support, has trained thousands upon thousands of young people to be competent and responsible citizens, builders of the common good. I invite you to always support this University so that it might continue to offer an excellent education to new generations, so that they can face the challenges of our present time.”

 

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received:

- His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, and his entourage, and

seven prelates of the Triveneto region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

- Patriarch Francesco Moraglia of Venice,

- Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo, bishop of Padua,

- Bishop Giuseppe Zenti of Verona,

- Bishop Lucio Soravito de Franceschi of Adria-Rovigo,

- Bishop Giuseppe Andrich of Belluno-Feltre,

- Bishop Beniamino Pizziol of Vicenza, and

- Bishop Adriano Tessarollo of Chioggia.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Apostolic Vicariate of Alep of the Latin Rite, Syria, presented by Bishop Giuseppe Nazzaro O.F.M., upon having reached the age limit. At the same time, the Holy Father has appointed Fr. Georges Abou-Khazen, O.F.M., as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same vicariate.

The Holy Father Francis has named Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as his special envoy to the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Budslau, Belarus, which is scheduled to take place from 5 to 6 July 2013 at the National Shrine in the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev.

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