March 5, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- FRANCIS: DO NOT GET USED TO BEHAVIOUR THAT ANAESTHETISES THE HEART

- THE POPE URGES ACTION AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 

FRANCIS: DO NOT GET USED TO BEHAVIOUR THAT ANAESTHETISES THE HEART

Vatican City, 5 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father celebrated the general audience with 30,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Pope Francis dedicated this Ash Wednesday's catechesis to the Lenten journey of forty days that leads us to the Easter Triduum, and recalled the two suggestions offered to us by the Church in this period: to be more aware of the redemptive work of Christ, and to live our Baptism in a more committed way.

“The awareness of the wonders that the Lord carried out for our salvation should lead our minds and hearts to gratitude to God”, he said, and added, “Fully living out our Baptism – and this is the second invitation – means not becoming inured to the situations of degradation and poverty that we encounter when walking the streets of our cities and towns. There is the risk of passively accepting certain types of behaviour and of not marvelling at the sad realities that surround us. We grow accustomed to violence, as if it were a normal part of our daily news; we get used to seeing our brothers and sisters sleeping in the streets, as they have no roof to shelter them. We are used to refugees who search of freedom and dignity, but are not received as they should be. We get used to living in a society that claims to be able to do without God, in which parents do not teach their children how to pray or how to make the sign of the Cross. This inurement to forms of behaviour that are not Christian, that are the easy way, anaesthetise the heart!” He asked the faithful present, “Do your children know how to make the sign of the Cross? Do they know how to pray the Our Father or the Hail Mary?”.

Francis explained that Lent comes to us “as a Providential moment for changing our route, for recovering our capacity to react when faced with the realities of evil that always challenge us. Lent should be lived as a time of conversion, of renewal at personal and community levels by drawing closer to God and through trusting adhesion to the Gospel. In this way, we are able to look upon our brothers and their needs with new eyes”.

The Pope remarked that this moment is “favourable for converting to love for one's neighbour; a love that assumes the gratitude and mercy of the Lord Who made himself poor so that by his poverty we might become rich, and invited all to “invoke with particular trust the protection and help of the Virgin Mary, so that she, the first believer in Christ, might accompany us in days of intense and penitential prayer, to allow us to celebrate, purified and renewed in spirit, the great Paschal mystery of her Son”.

 

THE POPE URGES ACTION AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Vatican City, 5 March 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the faithful in Brazil on the occasion of the annual Lenten “Fraternity Campaign”, which this year takes on the theme of “Brotherhood and human trafficking”, and whose slogan will be “For freedom Christ has set us free”.

“During the next forty days, we will seek to be more aware of the infinite mercy God has given to us and asks us to give to others, especially those most in need: 'You are free! Go and help your brothers to be free!'. In this sense, and wishing to mobilise Christians and persons of good will in Brazilian society against the social ill of human trafficking, our Brazilian brother bishops propose this year the theme 'Fraternity and human trafficking'”.

“It is not possible to remain indifferent before the knowledge that human beings are bought and sold like goods! I think of the adoption of children for the extraction of their organs, of woman deceived and obliged to prostitute themselves, of workers exploited and denied rights or a voice, and so on. And this is human trafficking. 'It is precisely on this level that we need to make a good examination of conscience: how many times have we permitted a human being to be seen as an object, to be put on show in order to sell a product or to satisfy an immoral desire? The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of this injustice'. Moving on to the family level, entering into the home, how often do we see that even there, often there is abuse. Parents who enslave their children, children who enslave their parents; married couples who, forgetting their duty in receiving this gift, exploit one another as if they were products for consumption, disposable products; the elderly ,without a place in society and children and adolescents without a voice. How many attacks to the basic values of the fabric of family life and social coexistence. Yes, there is a need to profoundly examine our consciences. How can one proclaim the joy of Easter, without lending support to those who are denied their freedom on this earth?”.

He continues, “Be sure: if I offend the human dignity of others, it is because I have previously divested myself of my own. And why have I done this? For power, fame, material goods … in exchange for my dignity as a a son or daughter of God, whose salvation comes at the price of Christ's blood on the Cross and is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit who calls inside us, 'Abba, father!'. Human dignity is the same for all human beings; if I trample that of another, I also trample my own. Christ freed us so that we might live free in freedom! … I hope that Christians and persons of good faith may make efforts to ensure that men, women, young people or children may never more be victims of human trafficking. It is the most effective foundation for re-establishing human dignity and proclaiming Christ's Gospel in towns and country, because Jesus wishes to sow life in abundance everywhere”, concludes the Holy Father.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

Vatican City, 5 March 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Ernesto Giobando, S.J., as auxiliary of the diocese of Buenos Aires (area 203, population 2,917,000, Catholics 2,671,000, priests 791, permanent deacons 11, religious 1,871), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a licentiate from the faculty of philosophy and theology of San Miguel, in the Colegio of San Jose. He gave his vows to the Society of Jesus in 2000. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including minister of CIAS (Centro de Investigacion y Accion Social), superior of the “Regina Martyrum” residence in Buenos Aires, national secretary of the Apostolate of Prayer in Argentina, national director of the Youth Eucharistic Movement; member of the presbyteral council and chief of pastoral for adults in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires. He is currently rector of the Sagrada Familia residence in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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