July 1, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- The Pope commemorates the late Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians

- People and planet first: the imperative to change course

- Archbishop Tomasi: terrorism is the antithesis of the values and commitments of peaceful national and international co-existence

- Message for Sea Sunday: more resources to combat human trafficking and exploitation

The Pope commemorates the late Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians

Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Bishop Gregoire Ghabroyan, administrator of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, for the funeral of His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, who died on 25 June, to be held in the Cathedral of St. Elie and St. Gregory the Illuminator in Beirut. The message was read during the funeral ceremony by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the return to the house of the Father of our beloved brother in Christ, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. I conserve in my heart the memory of my encounter with him, accompanied by the bishops of the Synod and the faithful of this Patriarchal Church, on the occasion of the commemoration of the victims of the Metz Yegern and the proclamation of St. Gregory of Narek as as Doctor of the universal Church. It was as if these events lived in the vicinity of the relics of the apostle St. Peter had marked the long and faithful journey of your 'Caput et Pater', revealing some of his most characteristic aspects.

“He was, above all, deeply rooted on the Rock that is Christ. He held that the most valuable treasure that a bishop is called upon to minister to is the faith that comes from apostolic preaching. His Beatitude spared nothing in ensuring its dissemination, especially by promoting the continuing formation of the clergy so that, even in difficult contexts, the ministers of God renew their adhesion to Christ, the sole hope and consolation for humanity.

“He dedicated himself to ensuring that the just commemoration of the sufferings of the Armenian people throughout their history become an action of God's grace considering the example of martyrs and witnesses, and at the same time obtained from Him the balm of consolation and reconciliation, which alone may heal the deepest wounds of souls and of peoples.

“Patriarch Nerses was finally able to rejoice with the Armenian people at the elevation of St. Gregory of Narek to the luminous title of Doctor of the Church. His Beatitude wished the spiritual influence of this great saint be an example for pastors and faithful, convinced that through St. Gregory of Narek everyone can experience the wonders that the Lord is able to achieve in the heart that opens up to Him in daily simplicity and humility, and in solidarity with the drama of humanity, through ceaseless intercession.

“Invited to perpetuate this triple heritage left to us by Patriarch Nerses, we implore the Holy Spirit to continue to renew the face of the Armenian Catholic Church, through the commitment of pastors and faithful, and we also entrust to the Father of all Mercy the labours , linked to the the limits and weaknesses of the condition of the pilgrims on their way to the eternal homeland”.

People and planet first: the imperative to change course

Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Conference “People and planet first: the imperative to change course” (Rome, Augustinianum, 2-3 July) organised by the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” and CIDSE, an international network of Catholic non-governmental development organisations.

The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”; Naomi Klein, writer; Ottmar Edenhofer, co-president of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC) and Bernd Nilles, secretary general of Cooperation Internationale pour le Developpement et la Solidarite (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity).

Cardinal Turkson emphasised that the title of the conference, which focuses on climate change, clearly indicates the aim to be pursued: “people and planet, not one or the other, not one at the expense of the other”. He noted that in his recent Encyclical “Laudato si'”, the Pope proposes an integral ecology that respects its human and social dimensions, and shows that climate change is one of the main challenges facing humanity in our times, also highlighting that the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. “Yet the costs of climate change are being borne by those least responsible for it and least able to adapt to it – the poor. Overall, climate change is a global problem with a spectrum of serious implications: environmental, social, economic and political”. In “Laudato si'”, the Pope also laments the failure of past global summits on the environment, and launches an urgent appeal for enforceable international agreements to stop climate change.

In this respect, as Cardinal Turkson observes, the COP21 Conference held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015 will be crucial in identifying strong solutions to the problem of climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals are also relevant in this context, and coincide in various aspects with the points made by Pope Francis in his Encyclical. “For example, the 13th proposed goal will express the imperative to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Related goals include: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development; protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.

“These goals, similar to important points made in 'Laudato si'', await the pledges and the will of the whole world community during the 70th United Nations General Assembly beginning in mid-September 2015. Yet the single biggest obstacle to the imperative to change course is not economic, scientific or even technological, but rather within our minds and hearts. The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions. … The political dimension needs to re-establish democratic control over the economy and finance, that is, over the basic choices made by human societies. This is the path the entire human family is on, the one which leads through New York to Paris and beyond”, concluded the prelate.

Naomi Klein affirmed that what Pope Francis writes in “Laudato si'” “is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for 'every person living on this planet'. And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me”.

“In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on us to act like it. That does not mean gambling the future on the boom and bust cycles of the market. It means policies that directly regulate how much carbon can be extracted from the earth. It means policies that will get us to 100 per cent renewable energy in two or three decades – not by the end of the century. And it means allocating common, shared resources – like the atmosphere – on the basis of justice and equity, not winners-take-all”.

Therefore, “a new kind of climate movement is fast emerging. It is based on the most courageous truth expressed in the encyclical: that our current economic system is both fuelling the climate crisis and actively preventing us from taking the necessary actions to avert it. A movement based on the knowledge that if we don’t want runaway climate change, then we need system change. And because our current system is also fuelling ever widening inequality, we have a chance, in rising to the climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once. In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and fairer economy at the same time”.

“This growing understanding is why you are seeing some surprising and even unlikely alliances. Like, for instance, me at the Vatican. Like trade unions, Indigenous, faith and green groups working more closely together than ever before. Inside these coalitions, we do not agree on everything. … But we understand that the stakes are so high, time is so short and the task is so large that we cannot afford to allow those differences to divide us. When 400,000 people marched for climate justice in New York last September, the slogan was 'To change everything, we need everyone'. Everyone includes political leaders, of course. But having attended many meetings with social movements about the COP summit in Paris, I can report this: there is zero tolerance for yet another failure being dressed up as a success for the cameras. … If the deal fails to bring about immediate emission reductions while providing real and substantive support for poor countries, then it will be declared a failure. As it should be”.

“What we must always remember is that it’s not too late to veer off the dangerous road we are on, the one that is leading us towards 4 degrees of warming”, emphasised Naomi Klein. “Indeed we could still keep warming below 1.5 degrees if we made it our top collective priority. It would be difficult, to be sure. As difficult as the rationing and industrial conversions that were once made in wartime. As ambitious as the anti-poverty and public works programs launched in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Second World War. But difficult is not the same as impossible. And giving up in the face of a task that could save countless and lives prevent so much suffering – simply because it is difficult, costly and requires sacrifice from those of us who can most afford to make do with less – is not pragmatism. It is surrender of the most cowardly kind. And there is no cost-benefit analysis in the world that is capable of justifying it”.

Archbishop Tomasi: terrorism is the antithesis of the values and commitments of peaceful national and international co-existence

Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Holy See permanent observer at the United Nations and other international bodies in Geneva spoke yesterday at the 29 th Session of the Human Rights Council Panel on the effects of terrorism on the enjoyment by all persons of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“The Holy See Delegation would like to denounce most especially terrorist acts carried out in the name of religion”, said the nuncio. “As Pope Francis states, 'religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext'. … Acts of terrorism cause the destruction of human rights, political freedoms and the rule of law. Terrorism is the antithesis of the shared values and commitments which serve as the basis for peaceful coexistence domestically and internationally. Indeed, with the proliferation of terrorism and the impunity which its proponents enjoy, we can say that there is also a 'globalisation of terrorism'. ... A situation is thus created where the positive political will of the major players is required in order to address and resolve the problem of global terrorism and its disastrous effects”.

“The Holy See is deeply convinced that terrorism, especially those forms that derive from religious extremism, must be confronted with concerted political efforts by all players, especially by all the local and regional parties involved, as well as by the major international players, whose role is indispensable in negotiating and finding a viable solution, diplomatic or otherwise, to protect life and the future stability of the regions touched by terrorism. The response to terrorism cannot be merely by way of military action. Political participation, fair and just legal systems, and cutting all forms of public and private support for terrorism are means not only to respond, but also to prevent, terrorism. It is also important to remember the positive obligation that States have to undertake in order to protect their citizens and, where that is not possible, to collaborate with other regional authorities in order to address the threats posed by terrorist groups”, concluded Archbishop Tomasi.

Message for Sea Sunday: more resources to combat human trafficking and exploitation

Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples today published its message for Sea Sunday (12 July), signed by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, respectively president and secretary of the dicastery. The following is the full text of the message:

“To transport goods and products around the world, the global economy deeply relies on the maritime industry supported by a workforce of around 1.2 million seafarers, who at sea and in the oceans frequently facing the strong and powerful forces of nature, manage ships of all kinds and dimensions.

As ports are built far away from the cities, and because of the fast turnaround in loading and unloading cargo, the crews sailing the ships are like 'invisible' people. As individuals we do not acknowledge the importance and the benefits that the maritime profession brings to our life and we become aware of their work and sacrifices only when disasters strike.

In spite of the technological development that makes life on board more comfortable and makes it easier to communicate with loved ones, seafarers are forced to spend long months in a restricted space, away from their families. Restrictive and unjust regulations often limit shore leave when in port and the continuous threat of piracy in many sea routes adds stress while sailing. We are still confident that the ratification and coming into force of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 by a growing number of countries, accompanied by effective inspections by flag States will result in a tangible improvement of the labour and working conditions on board all ships.

In the present day, with war, violence and political instability in several countries, a new phenomenon has been affecting the shipping industry. Since last year, alongside the coast guards and the naval forces of Italy, Malta and European Union, the merchant vessels transiting in the Mediterranean Sea have been actively involved in the by-now daily task of rescuing thousands and thousands of migrants trying to reach the coasts of Italy in all kinds of overcrowded and substandard crafts.

Since time immemorial seafarers have fulfilled the obligation to rescue people in distress at sea under any conditions. However, as it has been stressed by other maritime organisations, for the merchant vessels rescuing migrants at sea remains a health, safety and security risk for seafarers. Commercial ships are designed to transport goods (containers, oil, gas, etc.) and all the facilities are custom-made for the limited number of crew members on board. For these reasons merchant vessels are not equipped to provide assistance to a large number of migrants.

Seafarers are professionally qualified in their work and trained to handle a number of emergency situations but rescuing hundreds of often frantic men, women and children is something that no training course in maritime school has prepared them for. Furthermore, the physical effort in seeking to rescue as many persons as possible, and witnessing numerous lifeless bodies in the sea, render the experience traumatic and leave the crews exhausted and psychologically distressed, in need of specific psychological and spiritual support.

On Sea Sunday as the Catholic Church we would like to express our appreciation for seafarers in general for their fundamental contribution to the international trade. This year in particular, we would like to recognise the great humanitarian effort made by the crews of merchant vessels that without hesitation, sometimes risking their own life, have engaged in many rescue operations saving thousands of migrants lives.

Our gratitude goes also to all the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea for their daily commitment in serving the people of the sea; their presence in the docks is the sign of the Church in their midst and shows the compassionate and merciful face of Christ.

In conclusion, while we appeal to the governments in Europe, the countries of origin of migration flows, and international organisations to cooperate in searching for a durable and definitive political solution to instability in those countries, we would also like to call for more resources to be committed not only for search and rescue missions but also to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of persons escaping from conditions of conflict and poverty”.

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