March 3, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- THE POPE TO SPANISH BISHOPS: FAITH IS NOT A MERE CULTURAL INHERITANCE

- SPIRITUAL EXERCISES: INVITATION TO AN EXPERIENCE OF GOD

- POPE FRANCIS: ONLY BY SEARCHING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD CAN WE ALL LIVE WITH DIGNITY

- APPEAL FOR HARMONY IN UKRAINE

- POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES THE PRIME MINISTER OF ROMANIA

- THE POPE TO THE COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA: ENCOURAGE THE GROWTH OF A YOUTHFUL UTOPIA

- AGREEMENT RATIFIED BETWEEN HOLY SEE AND REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI

- AUDIENCES

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

THE POPE TO SPANISH BISHOPS: FAITH IS NOT A MERE CULTURAL INHERITANCE

Vatican City, 3 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in audience the prelates of the Spanish Episcopal Conference at the end of their “ad limina” visit, and delivered an address in which, among other things, he praised their intention to “faithfully serve the People of God in pilgrimage in Spain, where the Word of God is well rooted, and which has brought fruits of harmony, culture and holiness”, a fact that is particularly emphasised by the celebration of the upcoming fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus, first doctor of the Church”.

“Now that you are suffering the ordeal of the indifference of many baptised persons and must face today's worldly culture, which closes God into the sphere of private life and excludes Him from the public sphere, you must not forget your history. … Let us always entrust ourselves to Him and seek to sow the seed in the hearts of those entrusted to our pastoral care”, writes the Holy Father.

“The bishops have been entrusted with the task of making these seeds germinate with the courageous and true proclamation of the Gospel, taking great care of their growth by example, education and closeness, to harmonise the 'vineyard of the Lord' from which no-one is excluded”, he continues. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, do not spare any effort in opening new ways to the Gospel, to reach the hearts of all people so that they may discover what already resides therein: Christ as a friend and brother. … It will not be difficult to find these paths if we follow the footsteps of the Lord, who 'came not to be served but to serve', who knew how to respect God's time with humility, to patiently await the process of maturation of each person, without fear of taking the first step towards encounter. He teaches us to listen to all, heart to heart, with tenderness and mercy, and to seek what truly unites and serves in mutual edification”.

In this search, it is important for the bishop not to feel alone, or to think he is alone; that he is aware that the flock entrusted to him 'has a nose' for matters of God. … Likewise in the present moment, in which the mediations of faith are increasingly scarce and there is no lack of difficulties in its transmission, it is necessary to place your Churches in a true state of permanent mission, to call to those who have drifted and to strengthen faith, especially in children. … Faith is not a mere cultural inheritance, but rather a gift, a gift born of the personal encounter with Jesus and the free and joyful acceptance of the new life He offers us. … Awaken and arouse sincere faith, promote preparation for marriage and the accompanying of families, whose vocation is to be the native place for coexistence in love, the original cell of society, transmitter of life and domestic church where faith is forged and lived out. An evangelised family is a valuable agent of evangelisation”.

Pope Francis also refers to the publication last year of the document “Priestly vocations for the 21st century”, as a sign of the particular Churches' interest in the pastoral of vocations. “It is an aspect that a bishop should keep in his heart as an absolute priority, in prayer, in the selection of candidates and the preparation of teams of good formators and competent teachers”, he states.

“Love and service to the poor is a sign of the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to bring”, he emphasises. “I know that in recent years, your Caritas and other charitable works of the Church have earned great recognition, among believers and unbelievers. This brings me much pleasure, and I pray that this may be a way of approaching the source of charity – Christ, who 'went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed', and His Church, who is a mother and can never forget the most disadvantaged among her children”.

The Pope concludes by encouraging the bishops to place themselves “at the forefront of the spiritual and missionary renewal of your particular Churches, as brethren and pastors of the faithful, and also of those who are not, or who have forgotten. To this end, frank and fraternal collaboration within the Episcopal Conference will be of great help, as will mutual support and care in the search for the most suitable approaches to take”.

 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES: INVITATION TO AN EXPERIENCE OF GOD

Vatican City, 3 March 2014 (VIS) – The Italian Federation of Spiritual Exercises (FIES) celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation and to commemorate the occasion the Pope received in audience two hundred of its members.

The theme chosen by the FIES for the assembly is “Enamoured by spiritual beauty to spread the fragrance of Christ”, a theme which, according to Pope Francis, “expresses the conviction that proposing the spiritual exercises means an invitation to an experience of God, of His love and beauty. He who lives the Exercises in an authentic way experiences the attraction and the appeal of God, and returns renewed, transformed in ordinary life, in ministry, in daily relationships, bringing with him the fragrance of Christ”.

“Men and women need to meet God, to know him 'not by hearsay'. “Your service is entirely orientated towards this, and you accomplish this by providing space and time for listening intensely to the Word in silence and prayer. Special places for this spiritual experience are offered by the Houses of Spirituality which, for this reason, are supported by appropriate staff. I encourage the Pastors of the various communities to ensure that there is no lack of Houses for Spiritual Exercises, where well trained workers and prepared preachers, endowed with doctrinal and spiritual qualities, are true masters of the spirit”.

“However, we must never forget that the true agent of spiritual life is the Holy Spirit, Who supports our initiatives for good and our prayers. … A good course of Spiritual Exercises contributes to renewing, in those who participate, an unconditional adhesion to Christ and a help in understanding that prayer is the irreplaceable means of union with Christ crucified”, concluded the Holy Father.

 

POPE FRANCIS: ONLY BY SEARCHING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD CAN WE ALL LIVE WITH DIGNITY

Vatican City, 2 March 2014 (VIS) – At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, he spoke about “divine Providence” and how it is presented by the prophet Isaiah, with the image of maternal love, full of tenderness. “God does not forget about us, any of us! … He forgets no-one, He remembers every name and surname”, he continued. “He loves us, and does not forget about us. What a beautiful thought is this invitation to trust in God”.

“Thinking of all those who live in precarious conditions, or even in poverty that is an affront to their dignity, these words of Jesus' may seem abstract, if not illusory. But in fact they are more relevant than ever! They remind us that we cannot serve two masters: God and wealth. For as long as each person seeks to accumulate wealth for himself, there will be no justice. We must understand this well! If, instead, trusting in God's providence, we seek his Kingdom together, then no-one will lack the means to live with dignity”.

“A heart occupied with the desire to possess is a heart full of this desire, but without God. … In a heart possessed by wealth, there is not much space for faith. … If, however, we leave for God the space that is due to Him – the first place – then His love will lead us also to share our wealth, to put it at the service of projects for solidarity and development, as we may see in many examples, some of them recent, in the history of the Church. And in this way God's Providence passes through our service to others, our sharing with others”.

“The path that Jesus shows to us may seem unrealistic compared to the prevalent mentality and in view of the problems caused by the economic crisis. … To ensure that no-one lacks bread, water, clothing, shelter, work, and health, it is necessary for all of us to recognise that we are children of the Father in Heaven and that we are therefore all brothers, and to behave accordingly”. The Pope concluded by inviting those present to invoke the intercession of Our Lady “so that we may all make efforts to live in a simple and sober way, keeping watch over the needs of our most disadvantaged brothers”.

 

APPEAL FOR HARMONY IN UKRAINE

Vatican City, 3 March 2014 (VIS) – Following the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis launched an appeal for harmony in Ukraine, asking the faithful to pray for the delicate situation in the country is currently experiencing. “While I hope that all the parties within the country will make efforts to overcome misunderstandings and to build the future of the nation together, I also make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support every initiative in support of dialogue and harmony”.

The Pope mentioned that this week sees the beginning of Lent, “the path of the People of God towards Easter: a path of conversion, and of struggle against evil through prayer, fasting, and mercy”. He added that “humanity needs justice, reconciliation, peace, and we can obtain these only by returning with all our hearts to God, their source. We are all in need of God's forgiveness. Let us enter Lent with a spirit of adoration for God and of fraternal solidarity with those who, in these times, suffer as a result of poverty and violent conflicts”.

 

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES THE PRIME MINISTER OF ROMANIA

Vatican City, 1 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Victor Ponta, prime minister of Romania, who subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The prime minister greeted the Holy Father on behalf of the Orthodox Patriarch Daniel. The cordial discussions focused on the themes of the family, education, religious freedom and the protection of common values, in a context of fruitful cooperation between the Holy See and Romania at a bilateral level and within the international community. In considering the potential of the Catholic Church for contributing to the common good of society as a whole, other open questions were discussed regarding the Catholic community in Romania. Finally, there was an exchange of opinions on the current international situation, emphasising the hope that the path of dialogue and negotiation may be followed to bring an end to the various conflicts afflicting the world.

 

THE POPE TO THE COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA: ENCOURAGE THE GROWTH OF A YOUTHFUL UTOPIA

Vatican City, 1 March 2014 (VIS) – During his audience with the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, which took place yesterday, 28 February, Pope Francis gave an off the cuff address to those present, a summary of which is given below.

“The transmission of faith, and educational emergency. … If there is an educational emergency in relation to the transmission of faith, it is how to approach the theme of catechesis for the young from the perspective of fundamental theology. That is, the issue of the anthropological assumptions that affect the transmission of faith nowadays, and that create this educational emergency for the young people of Latin America”.

“The first issue regarding education is that to educate involves three dimensions: the transmission of knowledge, habits and a sense of values – these three aspects together. To transmit faith, it is necessary to create the habit of a certain type of conduct. … If we want to transmit only the content of faith, then it will be something superficial or ideological, without roots. … It is important to transmit to the young … the good management of utopia. In Latin America, we have had experience of a not entirely balanced management of utopian ideals which in some places, although not all, and at certain moments, has overwhelmed us. At least in the case of Argentina, we can say that many young people in Catholic Action, as a result of a poor education in managing the concept of utopia, ended up participating in guerilla conflicts in the 1970s. … To know how to guide and help the growth of youthful utopia is a wealth. A youth without utopia ages prematurely, is old before his time. How can we ensure that this desire typical of youth, this desire for utopia, leads to an encounter with Jesus Christ? It is a path we need to take”.

“Youthful utopia grows well when it is accompanied by memory and discernment. Utopia looks to the future, memory looks to the past, and the present is discerned. Young people need to receive memory and plant or root their utopia in this memory. … This brings us to my insistence … on the encounter between the elderly and the young. … Some bishops from various countries in crisis, where there are high levels of unemployment among the young, have told me that part of the solution for the young rests in the fact that they now keep their grandparents company. They have started to meet with their grandparents again, their grandparents are pensioners and so they come out of their rest homes and return to their families, bringing with them their memory; this encounter. … This phenomenon of the encounter between children and young people and their grandparents has preserved faith in the countries of the East, during the entire Communist era, because their parents could not go to Church. ...The encounter between children and young people and their grandparents is crucial for receiving the memory of a people and discernment of the present: to be teachers of discernment, spiritual advisers. And here we see the importance, for the transmission of faith to the young, of the “face to face” apostolate. Discernment of the present cannot be done without a good confessor, a good spiritual guide who has the patience to spend hours and hours listening to the young”.

“As a educational emergency, in this transmission of faith and also of culture, the problem is our throwaway culture. Nowadays, on account of the economic system that has taken root in the world, which has at its centre the god of money and not the human person, everything is ordered according to this logic, and anything that does not fit within this order is discarded. Children are discarded, when their existence is troublesome or unwanted. The Spanish bishops recently spoke to me about the number of abortions, and I was left speechless. … In some Latin American countries there is hidden euthanasia … because the social authorities will pay only up to a certain point, after which the elderly have to get by as best they can”.

“Nowadays, how inconvenient it is to this worldwide system to consider the number of young people to whom it is necessary to provide work … there is a high percentage of unemployed among the young. We are creating a generation of young people who do not have the experience of dignity. The problem is not that they have nothing to eat – their grandparents provide for them, or their parishes, or the welfare state. … They have bread to eat, but they do not have the dignity of earning bread and bringing it home to the table”.

“Within this throwaway culture, we see young people who need us more than ever – not only for that utopia they have, because a young person without work has an anaesthetised sense of utopia, or is at the point of losing it – not only for this, but also for the urgency of transmitting faith to a youth that has itself now too become waste material. And drugs enter into this waste material. It is not a question of vice, there are many forms of addiction. As in all periods of change, there are strange phenomena including the proliferation of addictions; ludomania, or compulsive gambling, for instance, has reached extremely high levels. But drugs are an instrument of death among the young”.

“We are discarding our young. What does the future hold? An obligation: the 'traditio fe' is also 'traditio spei', and we must achieve this. The final question I wish to put to you is this: when utopia falls to disenchantment, what can we do? The utopia of today's enthusiastic youth is slipping away towards disenchantment. Disenchanted youth, to whom we must give faith and hope”.

 

AGREEMENT RATIFIED BETWEEN HOLY SEE AND REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI

Vatican City, 3 March 2014 (VIS) – On Friday 28 February 2014, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi, Laurent Kavakure, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Burundi on matters of common interest, signed in Bujumbura on 6 November 2012.

The solemn act was attended by:

On behalf of the Holy See, Bishop Gervais Banshimiyubusa of Ngozi, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi (CECAB); Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura, deputy president of the CECAB; Bishop Joaquim Ntahondereye of Muyinga; Bishop Bonaventure Nahimana of Rutana; Bishop-elect Georges Bizimana, coadjutor of Bubanza; Rev. Jose Nahum Jairo Salas Castaneda of the apostolic nunciature in Burundi, and Rev. A. Lambert Niciteretse, secretary general of the CECAB;

On behalf of the Republic of Burundi, Emile Butoyi, chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Ambassador Egyde Ndikuriyo, director general for Europe, America and non-governmental organisations; Ambassador Antoine Ntahobwa, director for America; Ambassador Ernest Ndabashintze, advisor to the minister of Foreign Affairs; and Emerence Nahonkuriye, assistant to the minister of Foreign Affairs.

The framework agreement, acknowledging the good relations that have developed between the Holy See and Burundi over the last fifty years, defines and guarantees the legal status of the Catholic Church and regulates various areas, such as canonical marriage, places of worship, Catholic institutions of education and instruction, the welfare and charitable activities of the Church, pastoral care of the armed forces and of penitential and hospital environments, and the property and tax laws.

The framework agreement, which consists of a Preamble of 22 Articles with an Appendix, entered into effect with the exchange of the instruments of ratification, in accordance with Article 22, paragraph 1.

 

AUDIENCES

Vatican City, 3 March 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

- Ten prelates of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, on their “ad limina” visit:

- Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes of Oviedo, with his auxiliary, Bishop Juan Antonio Menendez Fernandez;

- Bishop Camilo Lorenzo Iglesias of Astorga

- Bishop Julian Lopez Martin of Leon;

- Bishop Vicente Jimenez Zamora of Santander;

- Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela;

- Bishop Alfonso Carrasco Rouco of Lugo;

- Bishop Manuel Sanchez Monge of Mondonedo-Ferrol;

- Bishop Jose Leonardo Lemos Montanet of Orense; and

- Bishop Luis Quintero Fiuza of Tui-Vigo.

On Saturday, 1 March, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Fernando Zegers Santa Cruz, ambassador of Chile to the Holy See, on his farewell visit.

- Ten prelates of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, on their “ad limina” visit:

- Archbishop Santiago Garcia Aracil of Merida-Badajoz;

- Bishop Francisco Cerro Chaves of Coria-Caceres;

- Bishop Amadeo Rodriguez Magro of Plasencia;

- Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Toledo, with his auxiliary, Bishop Angel Fernandez Collado;

- Bishop Ciriaco Benavente Mateos of Albacete;

- Bishop Antonio Angel Algora Hernando of Ciudad Real;

- Bishop Jose Maria Yanguas Sanz of Cuenca;

- Bishop Atilano Rodriguez Martinez of Siguenza-Guadalajara; and

- Bishop Juan del Rio Martin, military ordinary for Spain.

- Professor George Weigel.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 3 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, official of the Secretariat of State, as prelate secretary general for the economy.

On Saturday, 1 March, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Cese Budejovice, Czech Republic, presented by Bishop Jiri Pad'our, O.F.M. Cap., upon having reached the age limit.

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