September 15, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- The Pope to render homage to martyrs of faith in Albania

- Sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals

- Francis marries twenty couples from the diocese of Rome

- Angelus: the Cross restores hope

- Humanity still has not learnt that war is madness

- Cardinal Aguilar to take possession of his titular church

- Audiences

- Other Pontifical Acts

The Pope to render homage to martyrs of faith in Albania

Vatican City, 15 September 2014 (VIS) – Homage to martyrs of faith, victims of the communist regime, the importance of dialogue with Islam in a country with a Muslim majority but with a notable Christian presence, both Catholic and Orthodox, and the memory of blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, born in Albania, will be the fundamental themes that Pope Francis will address in his upcoming trip to the capital Tirana next Sunday, 21 September, said Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, in a press conference held this morning.

The apostolic trip to Albania is Pope Francis' first in a European country outside Italy and the fourth of his pontificate.

Sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals

Vatican City, 15 September 2014 (VIS) – The sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father began this morning, and will continue during the days of 16 and 17 September. The Council of Cardinals was instituted by Pope Francis to assist in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a plan for the revision of the apostolic constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia.

Francis marries twenty couples from the diocese of Rome

Vatican City, 14 September 2014 (VIS) – This morning, Pope Francis celebrated the marriage of twenty couples from Rome, the diocese of which he is bishop, during a Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica. The cardinal vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini, and Archbishop Filippo Iannone, vice-regent and director of the diocesan Centre for Family Pastoral, concelebrated with the Pontiff.

The couples married by the Pope, according to a press release from the Vicariate of Rome, are like many others, engaged for different lengths of time; some already live together, others have children, and others met within the parish. The youngest couple were born in 1986 and 1989 respectively, whereas the eldest were born in 1958 and 1965.

In his homily, the Holy Father, commenting on the Bible passage that speaks of the long and wearisome journey of the people of Israel through the desert, spoke of marriage as a path with areas of light and shadows, during which the mercy and grace of Christ can regenerate and channel married and family life.

“Today’s first reading speaks to us of the people’s journey through the desert”, he began. “We can imagine them as they walked, led by Moses; they were families: fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, grandparents, men and women of all ages, accompanied by many children and the elderly who struggled to make the journey. This people reminds us of the Church as she makes her way across the desert of the contemporary world, reminds us of the People of God composed, for the most part, of families.

“This makes us think of families, our families, walking along the paths of life with all their day to day experiences. It is impossible to quantify the strength and depth of humanity contained in a family: mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, the sharing of joys and difficulties. Families are the first place in which we are formed as persons and, at the same time, the 'bricks' for the building up of society.

“Let us return to the biblical story. At a certain point, 'the people became impatient on the way'. They are tired, water supplies are low and all they have for food is manna, which, although plentiful and sent by God, seems far too meagre in a time of crisis. And so they complain and protest against God and against Moses: 'Why did you make us leave?'. They are tempted to turn back and abandon the journey.

“Here our thoughts turn to married couples who 'become impatient on the way', the way of conjugal and family life. The hardship of the journey causes them to experience interior weariness; they lose the flavour of matrimony and they cease to draw water from the well of the Sacrament. Daily life becomes burdensome, and often, even 'nauseating'. During such moments of disorientation – the Bible says – poisonous serpents come and bite the people, and many die. This causes the people to repent and to turn to Moses for forgiveness, asking him to beseech the Lord so that he will cast out the snakes. Moses prays to the Lord, and the Lord offers a remedy: a bronze serpent set on a pole; whoever looks at it will be saved from the deadly poison of the vipers.

“What is the meaning of this symbol? God does not destroy the serpents, but rather offers an 'antidote': by means of the bronze serpent fashioned by Moses, God transmits his healing strength, namely his mercy, which is more potent than the Tempter’s poison.

“As we have heard in the Gospel, Jesus identifies Himself with this symbol: out of love the Father 'has given' His only begotten Son so that men and women might have eternal life. Such immense love of the Father spurs the Son to become man, to become a servant and to die for us upon a cross. Out of such love, the Father raises up his Son, giving Him dominion over the entire universe. This is expressed by Saint Paul in his hymn in the Letter to the Philippians. Whoever entrusts himself to Jesus crucified receives the mercy of God and finds healing from the deadly poison of sin.

“The cure which God offers the people applies also, in a particular way, to spouses who 'have become impatient on the way' and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment. To them too, God the Father gives His Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to Him, He will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of His grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.

“The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out. The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. This is the task that you both share. 'I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a woman'; 'I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a man'. Here we see the reciprocity of differences. The path is not always a smooth one, free of disagreements, otherwise it would not be human. It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life! Within this theology which the word of God offers us concerning the people on a journey, spouses on a journey, I would like to give you some advice. It is normal for husband and wife to argue: it’s normal. It always happens. But my advice is this: never let the day end without having first made peace. Never! A small gesture is sufficient. Thus the journey may continue. Marriage is a symbol of life, real life: it is not 'fiction'! It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross. My desire for you is that you have a good journey, a fruitful one, growing in love. I wish you happiness. There will be crosses! But the Lord is always there to help us move forward. May the Lord bless you!”.

Angelus: the Cross restores hope

Vatican City, 14 September 2014 (VIS) – At midday today, after celebrating the marriage of twenty couples from the diocese of Rome, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful present in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis commented that today, 14 September, the Church celebrates the festivity of the Exaltation of the Cross. “Any non-Christian might ask, why 'exalt' the Cross? We can answer that we do not exalt just any cross, or all crosses: we exalt Jesus Cross, as it was upon the Cross that he revealed the extent of God's love for humanity”, he explained. “The Father gave his Son to save us, and this involved the death of Jesus, and he died on the Cross. Why? Why was the Cross necessary? Because of the gravity of the evil that had enslaved us. The Cross of Jesus expresses both of these things: all the negative force of evil, and all the gentle omnipotence of God's mercy. The Cross appeared to decree Jesus' demise, but in reality it marked His victory. … And it is precisely for this reason that God 'exalted' Jesus, conferring upon Him a universal kingship”.

“When we turn our gaze to the Cross, where Jesus was nailed”, he continued, “we contemplate the sign of God's infinite love for each one of us, and the root of our salvation. From this Cross there springs the mercy of the Father who embraces the entire world. Through the Cross, the evil one is vanquished and death defeated, we are given life, and hope is restored to us. … The Cross of Jesus is our only true hope! This is why the Chruch exalts the glorious Cross of Jesus, sign of God's immense love, sign of our salvation, and path to the Resurrection. And this is our hope”.

“When we contemplate and celebrate the Holy Cross”, he concluded, “we think with emotion of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted and killed for their fidelity to Christ. This happens especially where religious freedom is not guaranteed or fully realised. It also occurs, however, in countries and in environments where in principle freedom and human rights are protected, but where in practice believers and Christians in particular often encounter limitations or discrimination. Therefore, today we remember them and pray especially for them”.

Humanity still has not learnt that war is madness

Vatican City, 14 September 2014 (VIS) – Following today's Marian prayer, the Holy Father mentioned that tomorrow the Security Council of the United Nations begins peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, to promote peace and protect the civil population that is suffering the consequences of a long-standing conflict.

“I assure the peacekeepers of the support and prayer of the Catholic Church, and encourage the efforts of the international community to come to the aid of Central Africans of good will. May the violence give way to dialogue as soon as possible, and may the opposing forces set aside their particular interests and make the necessary provisions to ensure that every citizen, of every ethnic and religious group, may collaborate in constructing the common good. May the Lord accompany this work for peace!”, he exclaimed.

The Pope went on to speak about his visit on Saturday to the Austro-Hungarian cemetery and the military monument of Redipuglia, Italy, where he prayed for those who lost their lives in the First World War. “The figures are frightening: around eight million fallen soldiers and around seven million civilians killed. This shows us what madness war is! A madness from which humanity still has not learnt its lesson: it was followed by another world war soon after, and many others that are still in progress. When will we learn this lesson? I invite everyone to look to the Crucified Jesus to understand that hatred and evil must be met with forgiveness and goodness, to understand that the solution of war leads only to more evil and death!”

Cardinal Aguilar to take possession of his titular church

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday, 21 September, at 11 a.m., Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, archbishop emeritus of Pamplona y Tudela, Spain, will take possession of the title of Sant'Angela Merici (Via di Sant'Angela Merici, 57).

Audiences

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Daniel Ruben Herrera Piedrabuena, federal judge of La Rioja, with his wife and entourage.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Marcus Stock as bishop of Leeds (area 5,033, population 2,068,000, Catholics 157,766, priests 182, permanent deacons 24, religious 149), England. The bishop-elect was born in London, England in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He studied theology at Oxford University and dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of “St. Birinus” in Dorchester-on-Thames, “St. Peter's” in Bloxwich, and Coleshill, and director of Catholic schools for the archdiocese of Birmingham. He is currently secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales and advisor to the Heythrop College Faculty of Theology, London. In 2011 he was nominated Prelate of Honour of His Holiness.

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