July 17, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- The Pope writes to participants in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry” on the effects of mining

- Justice and Peace speaks out for communities affected by mining

- Decrees for the Causes of Saints

- Audiences

The Pope writes to participants in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry” on the effects of mining

Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, to be communicated to the representatives of communities affected by mining activities participating in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry”, organised by the same dicastery in collaboration with the Latin American “Churches and Mining” network.

“You come from difficult situations and in various ways you experience the repercussions of mining activities, whether they be conducted by large industrial companies, small enterprises or informal operators. You have chosen to gather in Rome on this day of reflection that links to a passage from the Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii gaudium', to echo the cry of the many people, families and communities who suffer directly and indirectly as a result of the consequences, too often negative, of mining activities. A cry for lost land; a cry for the extraction of wealth from land that paradoxically does not produce wealth for the local populations who remain poor; a cry of pain in reaction to violence, threats and corruption; a cry of indignation and for help for the violations of human rights, blatantly or discreetly trampled with regard to the health of populations, working conditions, and at times the slavery and human trafficking that feeds the tragic phenomenon of prostitution; a cry of sadness and impotence for the contamination of the water, the air and the land; a cry of incomprehension for the absence for inclusive processes or support from the civil, local and national authorities, which have the fundamental duty to promote the common good.

“Minerals and, in general the wealth of the earth, of the soil and underground, constitute a precious gift from God that humanity has used for thousands of years. Indeed, minerals are fundamental to many sectors of human life and activity. In the Encyclical 'Laudati si'' I wished to make an urgent appeal for collaboration in the care of our common home, countering the dramatic consequences of environmental degradation in the life of the poorest and the excluded, advancing towards an integral, inclusive and sustainable development. The entire mining sector is undoubtedly required to effect a radical paradigm change to improve the situation in many countries. A contribution can be made by the governments of the countries of origin of multinational companies and those in which they operate, businesses and investors, the local authorities who supervise mining operations, workers and their representatives, the international supply chains with their various intermediaries and those who work in the markets of these materials, and the consumers of goods for whose production the minerals are required. All these people are called upon to adopt behaviour inspired by the fact that we constitute a single human family, “that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.

“I encourage the communities represented in this meeting to reflect on how they can interact constructively with all the other actors involved, in a sincere and respectful dialogue. I hope that this occasion may contribute to a greater awareness and responsibility on these themes: and that, based on human dignity, the culture necessary for facing the current crisis may be created. I pray to the Lord that your work in these days be fruitful, and that these fruits can be shared with all those in need. I ask you, please, to pray for me and with affection I bless you, your communities and your families”.

Justice and Peace speaks out for communities affected by mining

Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, presented the dicastery's initiative “A day of Reflection: united with God, we hear a cry”, to be attended by various representatives of communities affected by mining activity in Africa, Asia and America who will gather in the Salesianum Congress Centre in Rome from 17 to 19 July.

Cardinal Turkson explained that the aim of the meeting was to take stock of the situation of these communities, recalling that in 2013 Justice and Peace organised a day of reflection entitled “Mining for the common good”, upon request of the directors of various mining companies, in order to evaluate the human, economic and environmental implications of this activity. A report of the event was distributed to the Episcopal Conferences of the countries involved. A second day of reflection will be held in September, entitled “Creating a new future, Reimaging the future of mining” and so the current initiative, aimed at giving a voice to the communities affected by the mining industry, is intended as preparation for this second meeting.

“There is no lack of reasons and motives for the decision of the Pontifical dicastery”, said the Cardinal. “With the Encyclical 'Laudato si'' the Holy Father urges us to 'hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor'. We cannot remain indifferent to this cry, as the need to her it is 'born of the liberating action of grace within each of us, and thus it is not a mission reserved only to a few: the Church, guided by the Gospel of mercy and by love for mankind, hears the cry for justice and intends to respond to it with all her might'”.

“Many of us are aware of this harrowing cry from those areas where mineral extraction is carried out”, he continued. “To give just a few examples: the 'Africa Progress Report' by the former secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the OECD directives on the issue, the numerous reports on the rights of indigenous populations, the 'Publish what you pay' initiative, legislation on the traceability of minerals currently being developed by the European Parliament, in cinema with films such as 'Blood Diamonds' or 'Avatar', and so on”.

“The Church, on various occasions and for many years, has closely followed mining activities. At national level, the documents of the Episcopal Conferences which denounce human rights violations, illegality, violence and the exploitation of deposits causing pollution and problems for the safety of local produce. … At regional level, it is considered by the Continental Episcopal Conferences, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, and so on, and at transnational level, by Franciscan networks, the CIDSE and Caritas. All these voices follow the same direction: faced with these situations, we cannot allow indifference, cynicism and impunity to continue to prevail. A radical paradigm change is needed in the interests of the common good, justice, sustainability and human dignity”.

In these three days the representatives of the communities affected by mining operations in different ways will act as spokespeople for those who are unable to come to Rome and whose voice frequently goes unheard by experts and commentators. “I must emphasise that some people who are attending the meeting have experienced pressure and intimidation in recent days, for example after having requested a passport. The Pontifical Council has heard testimonies of threats, violence and murder; of retaliation, of compensation never received, and of unkept promises”.

“Therefore”, he continued, “there are individuals who work without a truly human aim. There are denials of the primacy of the human being, insensitivity to the welfare of the social and natural environment and the full experience of fragility, abandonment and rejection. Those responsible are investors, businesspeople, politicians and governors of the countries where the deposits are found, or rather the countries where the headquarters of the mining multinationals reside”.

“On the other hand, exploited and poor countries are above all in need of honest governments, educated people and investors with an acute sense of justice and the common good, as it is morally unacceptable, politically dangerous, environmentally unsustainable and economically unjustifiable for developing countries to 'continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future'”, he concluded.

Decrees for the Causes of Saints

Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father Francis received in a private audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees regarding the heroic virtues of:

- Servant of God Andrey Sheptytsky, O.S.B.M., major archbishop of Leopolis of the Ukrainians, metropolitan of Halyc (1865-1944);

- Servant of God Giuseppe Carraro, Bishop of Verona, Italy (1899-1980);

- Servant of God Agustin Ramirez Barba, Mexican diocesan priest and founder of the Servants of the Lord of Mercy (1881-1967);

- Servant of God Simpliciano della Nativita (ne Aniello Francesco Saverio Maresca), Italian professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts (1827-1898);

- Servant of God Maria del Refugio Aguilar y Torres del Cancino, Mexican founder of the Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1866-1937);

- Servant of God Marie-Charlotte Dupouy Bordes (Marie-Teresa), French professed religious of the Society of the Religious of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (1873-1953);

- Servant of God Elisa Miceli, Italian founder of the Rural Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart (1904-1976);

- Servant of God Isabel Mendez Herrero (Isabel of Mary Immaculate), Spanish professed nun of the Servants of St. Joseph (1924-1953).

Audiences

Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

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