June 24, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- General audience: the wounds of the family

- The Pope receives the participants in the meeting for dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics

- Pope's Message for the 50th anniversary of the Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches

- Other Pontifical Acts

General audience: the wounds of the family

Vatican City, 24 June 2015 (VIS) – Following his recent catechesis on external threats to the family, such as poverty and illness, during today's general audience the Pope spoke about those wounds that are produced as a result of family cohabitation.

In all families there are moments of discord, but when harmful words, acts and indifference are ignored, they can be aggravated and transformed into arrogance, hostility and contempt, which can become deep lacerations, dividing husband and wife and inducing them to seek understanding, support and consolation elsewhere. “But often, these forms of support do not think of the good of the family. … And frequently the effects of separation have an impact on the children”.

“But do we still know what a wound to the soul is? Do we feel the weight of the mountain that crushes the soul of a child, in families in which the members treat each other badly and harm each other, to the point of breaking the bonds of conjugal trust?” asked the Pope. … When adults lose their head … when the father and mother harm each other, the soul of the child suffers greatly, feeling a sense of desperation. And they are wounds that leave a lifelong mark”.

“In the family, everything is interconnected: when its soul is wounded at some point, the infection spreads throughout. … Husband and wife are one flesh”, emphasised the Pope, “But their creatures are flesh of their flesh. If we think of the severity with which Jesus warns adults not to offend the little ones, we can also better understand his word on the grave responsibility of safeguarding the conjugal bond that is at the origin of the human family. When a man and a woman become one flesh, all the wounds and neglect of the father and mother are brought to bear on the living flesh of the children”.

The Holy Father also spoke about those cases in which separation is inevitable or indeed morally necessary “to remove the weaker spouse, or young children, from the wounds caused by arrogance and violence, debasement and exploitation, estrangement and indifference”.

However, he said, there is no lack of those who, thanks to God, “supported by faith and love for their children, bear witness to their faithfulness in a bond in which they have believed, however impossible it may seem to revive it. Not all separated people have this vocation, though. Not all recognise, in their solitude, the Lord's call to them. We find many families in irregular situations around us. And this poses many questions: how can we help them? How can we accompany them? How can we accompany them so the children do not become hostages to their father or mother?”.

The Pope concluded his catechesis by asking the Lord for “great faith, to look upon reality through the eyes of God; and great charity, to be near to people with a merciful heart”.

The Pope receives the participants in the meeting for dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics

Vatican City, 24 June 2015 (VIS) – Before today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope received in the room adjacent to the Paul VI Hall the participants in the Meeting for Dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics of the United States on the theme “Suffering, liberation and fraternity”, organised by the Focolare Movement and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and inaugurated yesterday at Castel Gandolfo by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the dicastery.

The meeting, which ends on 27 June, has involved the participation of around fifty delegates from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, representing Catholics and Buddhist communities of different traditions. The Holy Father thanked them for their visit to the Vatican, “a visit that is close to my heart as it is a visit of fraternity, dialogue and friendship. These are things that do great good, that are healthy. In this historical moment, so scarred by wars and hatred, these small gestures are seeds of peace and fraternity. I thank you, and may the Lord bless you”.

Pope's Message for the 50th anniversary of the Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches

Vatican City, 24 June 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis sent a message to the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Reverend Olav Fykse Tveit, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. The text was read by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, during a commemorative congress held at the Centro Pro Unione in Rome.

Francis writes that this occasion offers “a moment to thank the Lord for all that the ecumenical movement has achieved since its beginning over one hundred years ago, inspired by a longing for the unity which Christ intended for his body, the Church, and by an emerging sense of sorrow for the scandal of division between Christians”.

Since its inauguration in 1965, the Joint Working Group has been active “not only in ecumenical issues, but also in the areas of interreligious dialogue, peace and social justice, and works of charity and humanitarian aid”. He added that the Joint Working Group “should not be an inward-looking forum”, but instead should increasingly become “a 'think tank', open to all the opportunities and challenges facing the Churches today in their mission of accompanying suffering humanity on the path to the Kingdom, by imbuing society and culture with Gospel truths and values”.

In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, continued the Pope, “I noted that realities are more important than ideas. The Joint Working Group must be oriented to addressing the real concerns of the Churches throughout the world. In this way, it will be better suited to proposing collaborative steps that not only draw the Churches closer together, but also ensure that they offer an effective diakonia suited to the people's needs”.

In fulfilling this task, “the Joint Working Group distinguishes itself by its own character and aims. The nine reports produced thus far bear witness to the growing understanding and appreciation of the bonds of brotherhood and reconciliation which, in the context of the changing landscape of Christianity in the modern world, sustain Christians in their common witness and evangelising mission. We must recognise, though, that in spite of the many ecumenical achievements of the past half century, Christian mission and witness still suffer due to our divisions. Disagreements on various subjects – in particular anthropological, ethical and social issues, as well as issues related to the understanding of the nature and conditions of the unity we seek – demand further sustained efforts. Our dialogue must continue”.

The Pope concluded his message by encouraging the Group to further its discussion on crucial ecumenical issues and to promote ways for Christians to testify together to the real, though imperfect, communion shared by all the baptised. “May we always trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to assist and guide our journey, often in new and sometimes unexpected ways”, exclaimed Francis.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 24 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Rafael Biernaski, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Curitiba, Brazil, as bishop of Blumenau (area 3,835, population 671,282, Catholics 460,056, priests 67, permanent deacons 53, religious 79), Brazil.

- Bishop Joao Santos Cardoso of Sao Raimundo Nonato, Brazil, as bishop of Bom Jesus da Lapa (area 56,300, population 403,000, Catholics 321,000, priests 33, religious 52), Brazil.

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