May 24, 2013

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- POPE RECALLS TRAGEDY OF REFUGEES, REAFFIRMING THAT CHURCH ALWAYS CALLS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY TO BE PROTECTED

- SET ASIDE ARROGANCE, LET US BOW BEFORE THOSE WHOM THE LORD HAS ENTRUSTED TO OUR CARE

- CARDINAL SANDRI TAKES POPE'S GREETINGS TO LEBANON AND JORDAN

- AUDIENCES

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

POPE RECALLS TRAGEDY OF REFUGEES, REAFFIRMING THAT CHURCH ALWAYS CALLS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY TO BE PROTECTED

Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) - “The trafficking of persons is an ignoble activity, a disgrace to our society that calls itself 'civilized'! Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience, within themselves and before God!” These were the Pope's words to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, gathered in Rome to discuss the issue of “The Church's Pastoral Care in the Context of Forced Migration”.

The assembly coincides with the publication of the document: “Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Persons Displaced by Force”, which calls attention to the millions of refugees, displaced, and stateless persons. It also addresses the scourge of human trafficking, which more and more frequently affects children who suffer the worst forms of abuse, including being forced into armed conflicts.

“Today,” the pontiff exclaimed, “the Church renews her strong call that the dignity and centrality of each person be always protected, in respect of fundamental rights … rights that she asks be concretely extended to the millions of men and women in every continent whose rights are not recognized. In a world where there is so much talk of rights it seems that the only one to have rights is money. … We are living in a world ruled by money. We live in a world, in a culture ruled by the fetishism of money.” In this context, the Pope noted that the dicastery responsible for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people is very worried by “situations where the family of nations is called to intervene in a spirit of fraternal solidarity with programmes of protection, often established against the backdrop of tragic events that almost daily are affecting the lives of many people. I express my appreciation and my gratitude and encourage you to continue along the path of service to our poorest and most marginalized brothers and sisters.”

The attention of the Church, who is “mother”, is expressed “with special tenderness and closeness for those forced to flee their country and live in-between rootlessness and integration. This tension destroys a person. Christian compassion—this 'suffering with' [con-passione]—is expressed above all in the commitment to know about the events that force one to leave their country and, where necessary, in giving voice to those who are unable to make their cry of sorrow and oppression heard. In this,” he said to the assembly's participants, “you carry out an important task, as well as in making the Christian communities aware of their many brothers and sisters who are marked by wounds that scar their existence: violence, abuse of power, distance from family, traumatic events, flight from home, and uncertainty about their future in refugee camps. These are all dehumanizing elements and they must compel every Christian and the entire community to a concrete attention.”

However, the Holy Father also invited them to also see in the eyes of refugees and forcibly displaced persons ”the light of hope. It is a hope that is expressed in expectation for the future, the desire for friendly relationships, the desire to participate in the society that is hosting them, even through language learning, access to employment, and education for the youngest. I admire the courage of those who hope to gradually resume a normal life, awaiting joy and love to return and lighten their existence. We all can and must nurture that hope!”

Finally, the Pope launched an appeal to governments, legislators, and the entire international community to face the reality of forcibly displaced persons “with effective initiatives and new approaches to safeguard their dignity, to improve the quality of their lives, and to meet the challenges that emerge from modern forms of persecution, oppression, and slavery. It is, I emphasize, human persons who appeal to the solidarity and support, who need urgent measures, but also and above all who need understanding and goodness. Their condition cannot leave us indifferent.”

“As Church,” he concluded, “we remember that when we heal the wounds of refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking, we are practising the commandment of love that Jesus has left us; when we identify with the stranger, with those who are suffering, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. … Here I would also like to recall the care that every pastor and Christian community must have for the journey of faith of Christian refugees and those forcibly uprooted from their lives, as well as for that of Christian emigrants. They require special pastoral care that respects their traditions and accompanies them in a harmonious integration into the ecclesial reality in which they find themselves. Let us not forget the flesh of Christ, who is in the flesh of the refugees. Their flesh is that of Christ.”

 

SET ASIDE ARROGANCE, LET US BOW BEFORE THOSE WHOM THE LORD HAS ENTRUSTED TO OUR CARE

Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis presided at the profession of faith with all the Italian episcopacy gathered for their 65th general assembly. It was the first time that the Holy Father met with all the representatives of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), whom he greeted personally, one by one.

“The consequence of loving the Lord,” the Pope said to the bishops, “is giving everything—absolutely everything, even up to our very lives—for him. This is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry: it is the litmus test that says how deeply we have embraced the gift received in responding to Jesus' call and how connected we are to the persons and the communities that have been entrusted to us. We are not the expression of an organizational structure or need. Even with the service of our authority we are called to be marked by the presence of the Risen Lord, to build the community, therefore, in fraternal charity. This shouldn't be overlooked, however: even the greatest love, in fact, when it is not continuously nourished, grows weak and dies.”

“Lack of vigilance—we know—makes the shepherd lukewarm, makes him distracted, forgetful, and even impatient. It seduces him with the prospect of career, the lure of money, and compromises with the spirit of the world. It makes him lazy, transforming him into a functionary, a cleric more worried about self, about organization and structures than the true good of the People of God. It runs the risk then, as did the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even though formally presenting itself as and speaking in his name. It obscures the holiness of the hierarchical Mother Church, making it less fruitful.”

“Who are we, brothers, before God? What are our trials?... As it did for Peter, Jesus' insistent and heartfelt question can leave us sorrowful and more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by thousands of internal and external constraints, which often arouse confusion, frustration, even disbelief. These are certainly not the feelings or the attitudes that the Lord means to awaken. Instead, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaint, and in discouragement. … Jesus, the Good Shepherd, neither humiliates nor abandons us to remorse. In him, the Father's tenderness speaks to us, comforting and restoring us. He leads us from the disintegration of shame—because it is truly shame that breaks us down—to the fabric of trust, restoring courage, entrusting us again with responsibility, and delivering us to the mission.”

"This is why," the Bishop of Rome concluded, "being Shepherds also means being ready to walk amidst the flock: capable of hearing the silent story of those who suffer and of sustaining the steps of those who are afraid of not making it; careful to lift up, to reassure, and to inspire hope. Through sharing with the poor our faith comes out strengthened. Let us, therefore, set aside every type of arrogance in order to bow before those whom the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among these, a special place, a very special place, let us keep for our priests. Especially for them our hearts, our hands, and our doors must stay open at all times. They are the first faithful that we bishops have: our priests.”

 

CARDINAL SANDRI TAKES POPE'S GREETINGS TO LEBANON AND JORDAN

Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will travel to Lebanon from 24 – 28 May, continuing on to Jordan until 1 June. In addition to attending the ordination of the new Maronite Bishops of Argentina and Australia on Sunday, 26 May, he will celebrate Mass at the inter-ritual Shrine of Our Lady of Zahle with the participation of the Melkite Archbishop and other pastors of the local Eastern Churches with their respective faithful. The main intention of the prayer in these circumstances will be the plea for peace in Syria, Lebanon, and the entire Middle East.

In the following days, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches will meet with the Maronite, Melkite, Syrian, and Armenian patriarchs as well as some religious communities, especially the young volunteers of Caritas Lebanon who, along with other humanitarian organizations, are attempting to deal with the enormous tragedy of refugees fleeing Syria.

The visit to Jordan will also be devoted to meeting the pastors and faithful of the various Catholic communities, especially that of the Greek Melkite communities in Petra and Philadelphia and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose territory extends throughout the country. On Thursday, 30 May, the cardinal will attend the inauguration of the University of Madaba, belonging to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan is expected to attend. Before returning to Rome, the Cardinal will visit a camp of refugees who have fled from Syria and other Middle Eastern regions.

To all, pastors and faithful, the government and the peoples of Lebanon and Jordan, reads a press release, “the cardinal will bring the affectionate greeting, sharing in the worries and the sorrows of these regions, of Pope Francis, and imparting the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of closeness and hope in the Lord for the countries of the entire Middle Eastern region.”

 

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received:

   - His excellency Mr. Marin Raykov Nikolov, prime minister of Bulgaria, with his wife and entourage.

   - His excellency Mr. Trajko Veljanovski, vice president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with his wife and entourage.

   - Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta, O. Cist., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 24 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father erected the new diocese of Dolisie (area 25,930, population 210,000, Catholics 71,000, priests 32, religious 3) Democratic Republic of the Congo, with territory taken from the Diocese of Nkayi, making it a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Brazzaville. He appointed Fr. Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou as first bishop of the new diocese. Bishop-elect Manamika Bafouakouahou, previously vicar general of the Diocese of Kinkala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, was born in Brazzaville in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1993. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and diocesan level roles, most recently, since 2004, as episcopal delegate for diocesan Caritas and coordinator of the Sant'Agostino Seminary of Kinkala.

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