October 29, 2014

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- General Audience: the relationship between the visible reality and spiritual nature of the Church

- Pope Francis' appeal to the international community: stop the spread of Ebola and assist the suffering

- Statistics on the Catholic Church in Turkey

- Private and informal meeting between the Pope and President Evo Morales: affection and closeness to the people and Church of Bolivia

- The Holy See in the United Nations: peace must be negotiated in the Middle East

- Other Pontifical Acts

General Audience: the relationship between the visible reality and spiritual nature of the Church

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The Church: spiritual nature and visible reality. “Two different things or a single Church?”, said the Pope in this Wednesday's general audience, returning in his catechesis to the theme of the Church. “If the Church is always one”, he continued, “how can we understand the relationship between the visible and spiritual reality?”.

Francis commented that when we speak about visible reality we must not think only of the Pope, bishops, priests, nuns and consecrated persons. “The visible reality of the Church is constituted by the many baptised brothers and sisters throughout the world who believe, hope and love. … The Church is all of us”. Therefore, the visible reality of the Church cannot be measured or known in its entirety. “How can we know all the wonders that Christ is capable of achieving through us, in the hearts and lives of people?” he said. “See: even the visible reality of the Church goes beyond our control, beyond our strength, and it is a mysterious reality, as it comes from God”.

To understand the relationship between the visible and spiritual realities of the Church we must look to Christ, “whose body is the Church and from whom She is generated, in an act of infinite love. Indeed, also in Christ, through the mystery of the Incarnation, we recognise a human nature and a divine reality, united in the same person in a wonderful and indissoluble way. This applies in a similar way to the Church … who is a mystery too, in which what we are unable to see is more important than what we can see, and can be recognised only with the eyes of faith”.

The Holy Father went on to ask how visible reality could be placed at the service of the spiritual nature of the Church, explaining that it is possible by following the example of Christ, “who made use of His humanity, as He was also a man, to announce and implement the divine plan for redemption and salvation, as He was God. Through her visible reality, from all that we see, the sacraments and the witness of all Christians, the Church is called each day to be close to every person, beginning with the poor; to the suffering and the marginalised, so as to make them aware of Jesus' compassionate and merciful gaze”.

Before concluding, he asked all the faithful present to pray for the gift of faith, “so that we are able to comprehend how, despite our limits and our poverty, the Lord has truly made us instruments of His grace and the visible sign of His love for all humanity. We can become the source of scandal, it is true. But we can also become the source of witness, saying through our lives what Jesus wants from us”.

Pope Francis' appeal to the international community: stop the spread of Ebola and assist the suffering

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – After today's catechesis, Pope Francis expressed his grave concern regarding the worsening of the Ebola epidemic, “this implacable disease that is spreading especially in Africa, and in particular among the most disadvantaged populations”.

The Holy Father expressed his affection and closeness in prayer to those affected, along with the doctors, nurses, volunteers, religious institutes and associations “who are making heroic efforts to help our stricken brothers and sisters”. He renewed his appeal to the international community “to take all necessary measures to eradicate the virus and to alleviate the suffering of those who are so sorely afflicted”.

Addressing the faithful present in St. Peter's Square, he concluded, “I invite you to pray for them and for those who have lost their lives”.

Statistics on the Catholic Church in Turkey

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father will make an apostolic visit to Turkey from 28 to 30 November. The following statistical data on the Catholic Church in the country is provided by the Central Office of Church Statistics.

Turkey has an area of 774,815 square kilometres and a population of 76,140,000 inhabitants of whom 53,000 are Catholics – 0.07 % of the population. There are 7 ecclesiastic circumscriptions, 54 parishes and 13 pastoral centres. The work of the apostolate is carried out by 6 bishops, 58 priests, 7 male religious and 54 female religious, and 2 permanent deacons. There are 2 lay members of secular institutes, 7 lay missionaries and 68 catechists. There are 4 major seminarians.

In addition, the Catholic Church in Turkey has 23 educational centres consisting of pre-schools, primary schools, middle schools and secondary schools, as well as 6 centres of special education. There are also 3 hospitals, 2 clinics and 5 homes for the elderly and disabled.

Private and informal meeting between the Pope and President Evo Morales: affection and closeness to the people and Church of Bolivia

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., explained yesterday afternoon that President Evo Morales’ visit to the Vatican was due to his attendance at the International Meeting of Popular Movements, organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”. Participants in the event received in audience by the Pope on the morning of 28 October.

The visit was not, therefore, organised through the usual diplomatic channels. The private and informal meeting between the Holy Father and the President which took place yesterday evening was an expression of affection and closeness to the Bolivian people and Church, and of support for the improvement of relations between the authorities and the Church within the country.

The Holy See in the United Nations: peace must be negotiated in the Middle East

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York participated in the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question. The nuncio's address, structured in six points, focuses on the Holy See's conviction that peace in the Middle East may be achieved only through negotiation and not by unilateral decisions imposed by force.

“As regards the Israeli-Palestinian question, the Holy See reiterates its support for a two State solution”, he affirmed. “Israel and Palestine, with the vigorous support of the competent organs of the United Nations and of the whole international community, must work toward the final objective, which is the realisation of the right of the Palestinians to have their own State, sovereign and independent, and of the right of the Israelis to peace and security”.

“As regards the horrific situation in Syria”, he continued, “the Holy See urgently calls on all parties to stop the massive violations of international humanitarian law and fundamental human rights, and on the international community to help the parties find a solution. There is no other way to alleviate and put an end to the untold sufferings of the entire nation, where half of its population needs humanitarian assistance and around a third has been displaced”.

With regard to Lebanon, “the Holy See calls for international solidarity, at this time that the country is gravely affected by the Syrian crisis and by the massive presence of refugees, and exhorts Lebanon to find a solution as soon as possible to the vacancy of the Presidency of the Republic. The Holy See reaffirms its support for a sovereign and free Lebanon. Lebanon is a 'message', a 'sign' full of hope for the coexistence of the various groups that form it”.

Turning to the “grave violations and abuses committed by the so-called 'Islamic State' in Iraq and Syria, the competent organs of the United Nations must act to prevent possible new genocides and to assist the increasing number of refugees. The Holy See appeals in particular for the protection of the ethnic and religious groups, including the Christian communities, who are specifically targeted and victimised because of their ethnic origins and religious beliefs. The Holy See insists on the respect of the right of these communities and all the displaced persons to return to their homes and to live in dignity and safety”.

“The Holy See hopes that the United Nations take the escalating, ruthless phenomenon of international terrorism as an occasion to urgently re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of the responsibility to protect people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and all forms of unjust aggression. With lessons learned from our failure to stop recent horrors of genocide and presently confronted with blatant, massive violations of fundamental human rights and of international humanitarian law, the time is for courageous decisions”, urged the Permanent Observer.

“The Holy See reiterates its call to all the religious leaders in the region and everywhere in the world to play a leading role in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, in promptly denouncing every use of religion to justify violence, and in educating all to reciprocal understanding and mutual respect”, the nuncio concluded.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 29 October 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Giuseppe Negri, P.I.M.E., of Blumenau, Brazil, as coadjutor of the diocese of Santo Amaro, (area 563, population 3,281,000, Catholics 2,624,000, priests 192, religious 448), Brazil.

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