September 16, 2015

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

Summary

- The universal scope of the family

- Francis asks for prayers for his trip to Cuba and the United States

- The Pope to EU environment ministers: it is time to honour our ecological debt

- Briefing on the eleventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals

- Other Pontifical Acts

The universal scope of the family

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – In the catechesis of today's general audience, Pope Francis concluded his reflections on marriage and the family, on the eve of events directly linked to this theme: the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and the Synod of Bishops in Rome. “Both have a global reach, which corresponds both to the universal dimension of Christianity and to the universal scope of the fundamental and indispensable human community of the family”.

“Our civilisation currently appears marked by the long term effects of a society managed by economic technocracy. The subordination of ethics to the logic of profit is sustained by substantial means and enjoys enormous media support. … A new alliance of man and woman would seem not only necessary, but also strategic for the emancipation of peoples from their colonisation by money”, he continued. “This alliance must once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence. It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of the sentiment of life, and the bonds of memory and hope”.

“Of this alliance, the matrimonial-familiar community of man and woman is its generative grammar, its 'golden bond', so to speak. Faith draws upon knowledge of God's creation: He entrusted to the family not only the care of intimacy for its own sake, but also the project of making the entire world domestic. It is precisely the family that is at the origin and the base of this worldwide culture that saves us: it saves us from many attacks, many forms of destruction, and many forms of colonisation, for instance by money and ideologies, that so threaten the world. The family is a base from which we defend ourselves”.

“The Biblical Word of creation has provided us with the fundamental inspiration for our brief reflections on the family during the Wednesday audiences. … God's creation is not simply a philosophical premise: it is the universal horizon of life and faith. The divine plan consists only of creation and its salvation. It is for the salvation of the creature – of every creature – that God became man. … The world He created is entrusted to man and to woman: what happens between casts the die for all that follows. Their refusal of God's blessing leads them fatally to the delirium of omnipotence that ruins all things. It is what we call 'original sin'. And we all come into the world with the legacy of this disease”.

However, “we are not cursed or abandoned to our own devices. 'I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies', God says to the deceitful and enchanting snake. With these words God bestows upon the woman a protective barrier against evil, to which she may resort, if she wishes, for every generation. This means that the women bears a secret and special blessing, for the defence of her creature against the Evil One. … Many stereotypes exists, often offensive, regarding the woman as temptress who inspires evil. Instead, there is space for a theology of the woman worthy of this blessing from God, for her and for her generation”.

“God's merciful protection of man and woman never ends. … The symbolic language of the Bible tells us that before casting them out of the Garden of Eden, God gave them animal skin tunics and dressed them. This gesture of tenderness means that, even in the painful consequences of our sin, God does not want us to remain naked and abandoned to our destiny as sinners. This divine tenderness, this care for us, we see incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God 'born of woman'. ... It is God's caress to our wounds, our mistakes, our sins. But God loves us as we are and wants to lead us ahead with this plan, and the woman is the strongest at taking it forward”.

“The promise God makes to man and woman, at the origin of history, includes all human beings, up to the end of history. If we have enough faith, the families of the peoples of the world will recognise themselves in this blessing. In any case, may whoever allows him- or herself to be moved by this vision, regardless of the people, nation, or religion to which he or she belongs, walk with us and become our brother or sister, without proselytism. Let us walk together under this blessing and with God's aim to make us all brothers and sisters in life in a world that goes ahead and that is born precisely of the family, the union of man and woman”.

Francis asks for prayers for his trip to Cuba and the United States

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – After today's catechesis the Holy Father mentioned that this Saturday he will commence, with high expectations, his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States of America. The main reason for the trip is the Eighth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia, but Francis will also visit the central headquarters of the United Nations to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the founding of this institution.

“Until then, I greet with affection the Cuban and American faithful who, guided by their pastors, are preparing themselves spiritually. I ask all to accompany me with prayer, invoking the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Mary Most Holy, patroness of Cuba as Our Lady of Charity del Cobre, and patroness of the United States as the Immaculate Conception”.

He also spoke about the forthcoming beatification of Pio Alberto del Corona (1837-1912), bishop of San Miniato, Italy, and founder of the Dominican Brothers of the Holy Spirit, to take place this Saturday in the same diocese. “He was a committed guide and a wise teacher of the people entrusted to him. May his example and his intercession help the Church to walk in the spirit of the Gospel, bringing fruit to good works”.

The Pope to EU environment ministers: it is time to honour our ecological debt

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – This morning, before the Wednesday general audience, the Pope received the environment ministers of the European Union who will soon face two important events: the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the COP 21 in Paris. Francis remarked that their mission is increasingly important since the environment is a “collective good, a patrimony for all humanity, and the responsibility of each one of us – a responsibility that can only be transversal and which requires effective collaboration within the entire international community”.

He went on to suggest to the ministers three principles which should inspire their work, starting with the principle of solidarity. “A word that is sometimes forgotten, and at other times abused in a sterile fashion. We know that the people most vulnerable to environmental degradation are the poor, who suffer the most serious consequences. Solidarity therefore means creating effective tools able to unite the fight against environmental degradation with the struggle against poverty. Many positive experiences exist in this area, such as the development and transfer of appropriate technologies able to make the best use of human, natural and socio-economic resources, rendering them more accessible at local level, so as to guarantee sustainability also in the long term”.

Secondly, there is the principle of justice. “In the encyclical 'Laudato si'' I spoke about our ecological debt, especially between the North and the South, linked to commercial imbalances with consequences in the environmental sphere, such as the disproportionate use of natural resources historically made by some countries. We must honour that debt. These latter are required to contribute to settling the debt by offering a good example, substantially limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy, contributing resources to countries in need to promote policies and programmes of sustainable development, adopting suitable systems for managing forests, transport and refuse, and facing the serious problem of food waste, promoting a circular model for the economy and encouraging new attitudes and lifestyles”.

Thirdly, there is the principle of participation, which “requires the involvement of all the parties involved, including those who often remain marginal to decision-making processes. Indeed, we live in a very interesting historical moment: on the one hand, science and technology place unprecedented power in our hands, whereas on the other, the correct use of such power presupposes the adoption of a more integral and integrating vision. This requires us to open the doors to dialogue, a dialogue inspired by a vision rooted in that integral ecology that is the subject of 'Laudato si''. This is obviously a great cultural, spirital and educational challenge: solidarity, justice and participation respecting our dignity and respecting creation”.

The Pope concluded by encouraging the ministers in their work, emphasising that both he and the Holy See would guarantee their support “to adequately respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”.

Briefing on the eleventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., held a briefing this morning on the results of the eleventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father, which began on Monday 14 November.

“The proposal for a new Congregation, provisionally entitled “Laity, Family and Life”, was again taken into consideration”, said Fr. Lombardi. “In this regard Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, designated by the Holy Father in recent months to prepare a study on the feasibility of the project, was heard. At the end of their reflections the Council presented to the Pope a proposal orientated towards the implementation of the project.

Consideration of the proposal for a new Congregation dedicated to “Charity, Justice and Peace” was resumed and further reflections were made without yet reaching, however, a conclusive proposal by the Council.

The Cardinals went on to reflect on the procedures for the appointment of new bishops, or more specifically on the qualities and requisites for candidates in view of the needs of today’s world, and on the related issue of information gathering. Naturally the theme will need to be explored further and developed in collaboration with the competent Dicasteries concerned.

The Prefect of the new Secretariat for Communication reported to the Council on the first steps taken so far and in particular on the appointment of a group to draw up the Statutes for the new Dicastery. The working group has been constituted and has already commenced activity. It is made up of representatives of the institutes variously involved. The Statutes, while taking into account the progressive phase of consolidating the different entities that will form the Secretariat, defines the structure of the Dicastery as “definitive”. Particular attention will be given to evaluating legal and administrative aspects of the communication activities of the Holy See. The regulations will subsequently be drafted and issued.

The Cardinals expressed their unanimous appreciation and stressed that, despite the progressive nature of the work, precise guidance must be given to the institutions involved so that, as the Motu Proprio requires, the reform can make decisive progress towards integration and unitary management.

The theme proposed during the last session of the Council regarding issues linked to the abuse of minors was again taken into consideration. The matter of how to implement proposals was explored in further depth, especially with regard to the possibility of accelerating the resolution of the many cases still pending.

A draft Preamble of the new Constitution was also re-evaluated.

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodríguez Maradiaga was absent for health reasons.

The next session of the Council is scheduled to be held from 10 to 12 December”.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral ministry of the diocese of Cajazeiras, Brazil, presented by Bishop Jose Gonzalez Alonso upon reaching the age limit.

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