January 22, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- GENERAL AUDIENCE: THE DIVISION OF CHRISTIANS MUST STOP

- NEW CALL FOR PEACE IN SYRIA

- FAITH IS AN INSTRUMENT OF UNITY

- POPE'S MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN DAVOS

- THE HOLY SEE AT THE GENEVA II CONFERENCE ON SYRIA

- AUDIENCES

 

GENERAL AUDIENCE: THE DIVISION OF CHRISTIANS MUST STOP

Vatican City, 22 January 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience to the Prayer Week for Christian Unity, which ends next Saturday, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. It is a spiritual initiative in which Christian communities have participated for over one hundred years, and is a time dedicated to prayer for the unity of all baptised persons, in accordance with Christ's will “that they may all be one”. Every year an ecumenical group from one region in the world, under the guidance of the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, suggests the theme and prepares the activities for the Prayer Week. This year the initiatives will be prepared by the Churches and Ecclesiastical Communities of Canada, who have proposed the question posed by St. Paul to the Christians of Corinth: “Is Christ divided?”

“No, Christ is not divided”, said the Holy Father. “But we must recognise sincerely, although with suffering, that our communities continue to experience divisions, which are a scandal. There is no other word for it: the divisions between Christians are a scandal”. Evoking the words of St. Paul, he added, “Each one of you is saying, 'I am of Paul', and 'I of Apollos', and 'I of Cephas', and 'I of Christ'. Even those who named Christ as their leader were not applauded by Paul, because they used Christ's name to separate themselves from others within the Christian community. But the name of Christ creates communion and unity, not division! Baptism and the Cross are central elements in our common Christian discipleship. Divisions, on the other hand, weaken the credibility and effectiveness of our commitment to evangelization”.

In his Letter, the Apostle rebukes the Corinthians for their divisions, but also gives thanks to the Lord because the community has been enriched in Jesus Christ, “in all speech and all knowledge”. “These words are not a simple formality, but rather the sign that first and foremost he sees God's gifts to the community, for which he is sincerely joyful. In spite of the suffering of divisions, which unfortunately persist to this day, we welcome Paul's words as an invitation to rejoice sincerely in the grace conceded by God to other Christians. We have experienced the same baptism, the same Holy Spirit has bestowed grace upon us, so let us rejoice!”.

“It is good to recognise the grace with which God blesses us and, moreover, to find in other Christians something which we need, something we can receive as a gift from our brothers and sisters”, continued the Bishop of Rome. The Canadian group which has prepared this Prayer Week has not invited the communities to think about what they might give to their Christian neighbours, but rather has exhorted us to encounter one another to understand what all communities can receive from time to time from the others. This requires something more. It requires humility, reflection and continual conversion. Let us follow this path, praying for Christian unity and an end to this scandal”, he concluded.

 

NEW CALL FOR PEACE IN SYRIA

Vatican City, 22 January 2014 (VIS) – After his catechesis, the Pope commented that an international Conference in support of peace in Syria opens in Montreux, Switzerland today, to be followed by the Geneva II Peace negotiations which will begin on 24 January.

“I pray that the Lord may touch the hearts of all so that, seeking together the greater good of the Syrian population, so sorely troubled, they may spare no efforts in urgently bringing to an end the violence in this conflict that has already caused too much suffering. I hope that the dear Syrian nation may embark on a decisive path towards reconciliation, concordance and restructuring with the participation of all citizens, so that each person may regard his peers not as enemies or competitors, but rather as brothers to be welcomed and embraced”.

 

FAITH IS AN INSTRUMENT OF UNITY

Vatican City, 22 January 2014 (VIS) – In his greetings in various languages, the Pope, addressing the Arab-speaking faithful – especially those from Egypt – said, “May faith be not a reason for division but rather an instrument of unity and communion with God and with our brothers. May the invocation of the name of the Lord be not a reason for closure but rather a a way to open the heart to the love that unites and enriches”.

He also greeted, in Italian, the participants in the Meeting of Regional Co-ordinators of the Apostolate of the Sea, exhorting them to “be the voice of those workers who live far from their loved ones and face dangerous situations and troubles”.

 

POPE'S MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN DAVOS

Vatican City, 22 January 2014 (VIS) – The participants in the 44th World Economic Forum, to be held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, have received a message from Pope Francis, in which he invites the Heads of State, economists and businesspeople attending the meeting to approach economics from an inclusive perspective, taking into account the dignity of every human person and the common good. The Pope also manifested his hope that this encounter may represent an opportunity for in-depth reflection on the causes of the economic crisis that has gripped the world during recent years.

The 2014 edition of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will be attended by 40 heads of State and Government and more than 2,500 other participants from around 100 countries, 1,500 of whom are business leaders from the thousand companies that make up the Forum, as well as representatives of international organisations, civil society, the media, education and arts.

Published below is the Pope's message to Klaus Schwab, executive president of the World Economic Forum, which was read by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”.

“I am very grateful for your kind invitation to address the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, which, as is customary, will be held at Davos-Klosters at the end of this month. Trusting that the meeting will provide an occasion for deeper reflection on the causes of the economic crisis affecting the world these past few years, I would like to offer some considerations in the hope that they might enrich the discussions of the Forum and make a useful contribution to its important work.

“Ours is a time of notable changes and significant progress in different areas which have important consequences for the life of humanity. In fact, 'we must praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications' (Evangelii Gaudium, 52), in addition to many other areas of human activity, and we must recognize the fundamental role that modern business activity has had in bringing about these changes, by stimulating and developing the immense resources of human intelligence. Nonetheless, the successes which have been achieved, even if they have reduced poverty for a great number of people, often have led to a widespread social exclusion. Indeed, the majority of the men and women of our time still continue to experience daily insecurity, often with dramatic consequences.

“In the context of your meeting, I wish to emphasize the importance that the various political and economic sectors have in promoting an inclusive approach which takes into consideration the dignity of every human person and the common good. I am referring to a concern that ought to shape every political and economic decision, but which at times seems to be little more than an afterthought. Those working in these sectors have a precise responsibility towards others, particularly those who are most frail, weak and vulnerable. It is intolerable that thousands of people continue to die every day from hunger, even though substantial quantities of food are available, and often simply wasted. Likewise, we cannot but be moved by the many refugees seeking minimally dignified living conditions, who not only fail to find hospitality, but often, tragically, perish in moving from place to place. I know that these words are forceful, even dramatic, but they seek both to affirm and to challenge the ability of this assembly to make a difference. In fact, those who have demonstrated their aptitude for being innovative and for improving the lives of many people by their ingenuity and professional expertise can further contribute by putting their skills at the service of those who are still living in dire poverty.

“What is needed, then, is a renewed, profound and broadened sense of responsibility on the part of all. 'Business is - in fact - a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life' (Evangelii Gaudium, 203). Such men and women are able to serve more effectively the common good and to make the goods of this world more accessible to all. Nevertheless, the growth of equality demands something more than economic growth, even though it presupposes it. It demands first of all 'a transcendent vision of the person' (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 11), because 'without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space' (ibid.). It also calls for decisions, mechanisms and processes directed to a better distribution of wealth, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.

“I am convinced that from such an openness to the transcendent a new political and business mentality can take shape, one capable of guiding all economic and financial activity within the horizon of an ethical approach which is truly humane. The international business community can count on many men and women of great personal honesty and integrity, whose work is inspired and guided by high ideals of fairness, generosity and concern for the authentic development of the human family. I urge you to draw upon these great human and moral resources and to take up this challenge with determination and far-sightedness. Without ignoring, naturally, the specific scientific and professional requirements of every context, I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it.

“Dear Mr Chairman and friends: I hope that you may see in these brief words a sign of my pastoral concern and a constructive contribution to help your activities to be ever more noble and fruitful. I renew my best wishes for a successful meeting, as I invoke divine blessings on you and the participants of the Forum, as well as on your families and all your work”.

 

THE HOLY SEE AT THE GENEVA II CONFERENCE ON SYRIA

Vatican City, 22 January 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, today communicated that the Holy See has been invited to participate in the Geneva II International Conference on Syria, which will take place in Montreux, Switzerland, from 22 to 23 January. The delegation is made up of Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, representative of the Holy See before the United Nations Office and Specialised Institutions in Geneva and Msgr. Alberto Ortega Martin from the secretariat of State.

 

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, 22 January 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in audience Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all'Jonio, secretary general “ad interim” of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

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