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Friday, October 9, 2015

Appeal for peace in the Middle East and Africa

Vatican City, 9 October 2015 (VIS) . The Pope exhorted bishops to dedicate the Terce prayer “to the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East”, as he opened the fourth General Congregation of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City this morning. The Pope also launched an appeal to the international community to find a way of resolving current conflicts, and finally urged the bishops to include in their prayer all those zones in Africa that are experiencing similar situations of conflict.

“We are sorely afflicted and follow with profound concern the events in Syria, Iraq, Jerusalem and Jordan, where we are witnessing an escalation of violence that affects innocent civilians and continues to provoke a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. War leads to destruction and multiplies the suffering of the population. Hope and progress come only from the choice to pursue peace. Let us therefore join in intense and trustful prayer to the Lord, a prayer that is intended at the same time to be an expression of closeness to our brother Patriarchs and Bishops present here who come from those regions, to their priests and faithful, and to all the inhabitants”.

He urged the international community to “find a way of effectively helping the interested parties, to broaden their horizons beyond immediate interests and to use the instruments of international law and diplomacy to resolve current conflicts”.

Faith, like love, grows day by day

Vatican City, 9 October 2015 (VIS) – His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Synod of the Chaldean Church offered a meditation during this morning's prayer before the resumption of the work of the Synod. The Patriarch commented on the reading from St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, emphasising the apostle's wish to visit and bring the Gospel to the Christian community in Rome. In this way he affirmed that “living the faith in communion brings consolation”.

“Paul is an apostle who feels that he is sent by God”, he said. “For him, the Gospel is an act of worship, and therefore it is praying, being in communion with God, loving, obeying, and living and bearing witness to the joy of proclaiming the Gospel in everyday life. So, one is not ashamed of the Gospel. He does not subordinate his proclamation to human opportunity or hypocritical respect, but rather considers the Gospel to be a gift of inestimable value that reveals God's justice and grace”.

“Faith is the basic condition for being justified and becoming children of God, as it is faith that gives meaning to life”, he continued. It is not “a static fact, or speculation, but rather an inner vision, a profound mystical relationship, lived in the details of difficult everyday life. Faith, like love, is a commitment and must grow day by day in the long journey of life”. On reconciling love and justice, the Patriarch remarked that “if love does not exceed justice, the Gospel becomes empty. It is enough to hear of the experience of Iraqi Christians who left everything they had in one night in order to stay true to their faith”.

Circuli Minori – families are not alien to us

Vatican City, 9 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning, during the fourth General Congregation, the various Circuli Minori – thirteen in total – presented the results of their reflections on the first part of the Instrumentum Laboris examining the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world.

In general the rapporteurs from the various groups, which were divided according to language (English, French,Spanish, German and Italian) considered that it was necessary to offer, as Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, writes, “a less negative reading of history, culture and the situation of the family at this time. True, there are negative forces at work at this time in history and in the various cultures of the world; but that is far from the full story. If it were the full story, all the Church could do would be to condemn. There are also forces which are positive, even luminous, and these need to be identified since they may well be the signs of God in history”.

“The Church does not inhabit a world out of time, as Vatican Council II, 'the Council of history', recognised”, notes the prelate. “Nor does the Church inhabit a world outside human cultures; the Church shapes cultures and cultures shape the Church. In considering marriage and the family here and now, we were conscious of the need to address the facts of history and the realities of cultures – with both the eyes of faith and the heart of God. That is what it has meant for us to read the signs of the times”.

Another view expressed in various working groups is the need to make greater use of Scriptural language, which “can be closer to the realities of the daily experience of families and can become a bridge between faith and life”, avoiding expressions deemed too “ecclesiastical”. This “would help to understand the nature of God's dream that families are called to make their own and to realise that in the difficulties of life they can place their trust in a God who neither disappoints nor abandons anyone”, explains Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The prelate also observes that “an analysis of the situation of the family should recognise how, with the help of grace, families who are far from perfect, living in an imperfect world, do actually realise their vocation, even though they may fail along their journey. As members of the group we shared a reflection, each of us on the experience on our own family. What emerged was far from a stereotype of an 'ideal family', but rather a collage of families different in their social, ethnic, and religious background. Amid many difficulties our families gave us the gift of love and the gift of faith”.

Family men, men of faith and pastors: according to this view, expressed by Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada, priests and bishops must guide their pastoral ministry. “We are all, first and foremost, family men”, he said. “We have parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins. Therefore, the families of which we speak are not alien to us, they form part of our lives. This must be transparent in our language, in our texts, in our care and compassion for the families of the world. There is a danger of talking about the 'family' as if it were something external to us. We are men of faith. We do not claim to be psychologists, sociologists or economists, although some of us are educated in these fields. We speak primarily as men of faith and this must be seen in the first analytical part of the document. We are pastors. Our concern is that the mission that Christ entrusted to His Church, the mission that is the Church, is always fulfilled in our world today. All the efforts of the Synod must be directed towards this objective. All the documents that we draw up must conform to this fundamental concern. In particular, we would like to help our families to answer two questions: regarding vocation, who are you? And regarding the mission: what are you doing?”.

“Our final document must give hope to our families, showing the confidence we have in them, and must inspire trust in us. We must avoid causing some people to feel excluded from our care, because all families participate in the mission of the Church. We must remember that the families in the Bible are at times dysfunctional, and recall what the Word of God realised in and for them. God can carry out the same miracles today”.

Some groups observe that the analysis of the situation of the family in the Instrumentum Laboris does not reflect a universal condition, but rather a principally Western and in particular European perspective. “The historical contexts and cultures are not the same”, writes Bishop Laurent Ulrich. “It cannot be said that the number of marriages and baptisms is declining throughout the world. And we cannot speak about the same form of the Church's presence in our respective societies. The possibilities of sharing faith in our countries are not all identical, and neither is the public witness that can be given. Similarly, the very reasons that make this difficult are not all the same: the freedom of action in 'free' countries does not mean that it is truly recognised and may lead to contradictory attitudes. Some choose a position of affirming a strong identity, whereas others select a patient but not always well-understood dialogue. In other countries religious or cultural pressure on Christians does not mean that they are silenced, but rather that after many centuries they must face a painful path”.

The theme of Christian families in the Middle East is present in a significant number of the reports from the Circuli Minores, who aside from offering their solidarity, also warn that the flight of these families from the region would put an end to a millennia-long Christian presence.

The diversity of socio-cultural contexts and pastoral situations is also noted by the group whose rapporteur is Msgr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, S.J. He underlines that this diversity requires an articulation of what is of a universal order and of a particular order, a strong common word able to respond to particular situations. In this respect the group proposes that the episcopal conferences hold a determined power to allow their pastors to be good Samaritans in their ecclesial service. The Cardinal also asks the Synod to facilitate pathways “for the family to live its vocation and its mission according to God's plan and the teaching of the Church”, and to seek to provide “more coherence to the grouping of theological and canonical texts, that seem to be juxtaposed rather than linked together, so as to simplify their expression”.

In the reports from all groups, mention is made of the need for States to pay greater attention to the needs of families and above all to their weakest members, such as the elderly or disabled. Some express concern regarding so-called gender theory which, as Archbishop Durocher writes, “has developed within sociology and philosophy, in an attempt to analyse various human and social phenomena, and may enrich our understanding of the world. However, when these theories become an absolute … they lead to the imposition of a point of view that denies the relationship between sexual identity and the sexual beings we are in our bodies”.

In the Hispanic group, whose rapporteur is the Panamanian Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, notes among other issues “the challenge of the renewal of our Church”. “We have failed in 'Christian formation' and in 'education in faith', and this leads to marriage with many gaps and omissions. This cannot be said to be the family. And it is not simply a question of preparation as there are many couples who, without preparation, have been faithful and happy, and others who are well-prepared and have ended up separating”. The cardinal also speaks about the rupture in the unity between “love, sexuality and procreation”, and notes also a separation from its educational dimension. “The relationship between love, sexuality, marriage, family and the education of children has broken down”.

The Italian Synod Fathers, like many others, note their concern regarding the migratory phenomenon, which affects many families fleeing from war and poverty, and increasingly involves other families and the Church. The issue of bioethics is also prominent, especially among couples who are unable to have children. After reaffirming that the equal dignity of men and women has its roots in the Gospel, the Italian group, whose rapporteur is Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, highlights the need to condemn “the exploitation of child labour, child soldiers and the female body (by, for instance, prostitution, surrogacy, violence and murder, and rape as an act of war)”.

Finally, he warns of the need to affirm that the Church has a positive view of sexuality, as it is an expression of the “symphonic tension between eros and agape”.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 9 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Piero Delbosco as bishop of Cuneo and Fossano (area 1,566, population 120,500, Catholics 108,900, priests 118, permanent deacons 5, religious 291), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Poirino, Italy in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He has served in a number of roles in the archdiocese of Turin, Italy, including parish vicar, parish priest, episcopal vicar, pro-vicar general and moderator of the curia, delegate for the permanent diaconate and preparation for the diaconate, and member of the presbyteral council.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Married couples speak before the Synod Assembly

Vatican City, 8 October 2015 (VIS) – Married couples are participating as auditors in this year's Synod dedicated to the family, presenting their concrete experiences as couples, parents or grandparents before the Assembly of cardinals, bishops, priests and experts. On 5 October the Assembly heard the testimony of the Mexican couple Gertrudiz Clara Rubio de Galindo and Andres Salvador Galindo, executive secretaries of the Episcopal Commission for the Family of the Episcopal Conference, secretaries of CELAM for the Mexico-Central America zone. On 6 October, during the third General Congregation, the Assembly was addressed by Buysile Patronella Nkosi and Meshack Jabulani Nkosi, members of the Advisory Committee for the National Family Desk of the Southern African Episcopal Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Rubio de Galindo and Galindo Lopez have been married for 45 years and have two children and four grandchildren. They commented that the early years of their marriage were difficult due in particular to the economic problems they encountered, and some relatives even advised them to separate for this reason. “In spite of insistence to the contrary, Andres and I decided to fight against the imbalance that this had caused and to persevere with our marriage and the family we had started to raise, although we took this decision without a clear awareness of what the sacrament of marriage meant”, said Gertrudiz Clara Rubio de Galindo. “Shortly after, thanks to God we had the opportunity to have an experience with the Encuentro Matrimonial Catolico, in which we learned to communicate, to forgive, but above all to understand God's plan for us as a married couple and as a family. And we continue to fight for our relationship, but now with more awareness, in accordance with God's plan”.

“Years later, in other period of economic difficulty, after visiting the Basilica of Guadalupe, we decided to collaborate with the family pastoral ministry of the diocese. This decision led us to contribute in various parts of Central America, where throughout the years we have seen that the great problems that occur within families are caused by social, cultural, political, educational, economic and religious factors, and if marriage and the family are weakened, they need to be resuscitated through formation and teaching in terms of its identity and mission”. Therefore, Rubio de Galindo concluded, the pastoral care of the family in the third millennium requires “pastors impassioned by God's plan”, who accompany and form families so that they may discover and experience “their identity and mission”.

On 6 October the Synod Fathers heard the story of Meshack Jabulani and Buysile Patronella Nkosi, married for 35 years and with five children and eight grandchildren. Three of their children, Meshack Jabulani said, are married with non-Catholics and so they “are walking in two faiths but one love”. One of their sons-in-law and their daughter-in-law intend to convert to Catholicism and in Easter 2016 they will be welcomed into the Catholic Church.

During the last 33 years they have accompanied many young people with whom they have shared their life experience, the Word of God and the teachings of the Church. “We pass on the Good News of the love of God for us through His Son Jesus Christ, and we in our life every day try through God's grace to become good news to each other and to young couples and the world. This is made possible by letting the Word of God, Christ Himself, be our compass”.

“We have and have had our numerous challenges, of perhaps not seeing things the same way or hurting each other in one way or another but our redemption has always been to try to be humble enough to say 'I am sorry'. As in the words of the Holy Father, 'pardon me, thank you and may I please' are indispensable words if we are to live in peace and harmony in our family. It is important to remember to say 'I love you' to each other and to the children. Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate', emphasises the importance of love as the principle of life in society, the place where a person learns common good since the family is the first place where a new person learns to love, to forgive, experiences forgiveness and learns to share”.

“The choice we made 35 years ago is the choice we continue to make every day to care for each other in the family and to be faithful to each other as we committed to love forever. To modern society, which unfortunately has developed a 'throwaway culture', this kind of commitment seems to be utter foolishness and is ridiculed and discouraged. Young people then tend to be afraid to get married, and look at this commitment as a burden. Part of our calling is to encourage them to enter into the journey of holy matrimony looking at Christ as their new hope”.

“We have experienced new life being born, and have seen our parents giving us support in raising our children. We have also seen them getting older and more frail and have taken care of them until they passed on. We have seen our children develop to parenthood themselves and us assuming a supportive role for them and their families. We continue to pass on our faith, all the Christian values and the culture of 'Ubuntu' – humaneness. This brings joy and fulfilment and has made our lives richer and fuller through the grace of God”, concluded Nkosi.

Paul VI, champion of dialogue between peoples

Vatican City, 8 October 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, today spoke in Brescia, Italy during the meeting entitled “Dialogue between Peoples in the name of Paul VI”, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI's visit to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 4 October 1965.

The prelate noted that a few months after the beginning of his papacy, in the encyclical “Ecclesiam Suam”, Paul VI proposed dialogue between the Church and the contemporary world as the cornerstone of his pontificate, assigning a fundamental role to dialogue between peoples to guarantee peace and equitable human development. “Pope Montini saw the theme of peace as an urgent and imperative duty, emphasised both by doctrinal reflections on the role of the Church in the contemporary world and the development of international institutions, which were reborn after the interruption of the second World War and grew rapidly in number and quality. We must not forget that the backdrop to Paul VI's commitment to peace, and in contrast to it, was the threat of a total nuclear war, the unfettered arms race and the difficult and at times tragic crisis of the Cold War, such as the raising of the Berlin wall, the Cuban missile crisis, the beginning of the United States' involvement in Vietnam, and many other minor conflicts”.

With regard to dialogue between States and peace-building, Archbishop Gallagher recalled Paul VI's memorable message to the United Nations in 1965 in which he indicated four key points in the mission of the institution: offering States a formula for peaceful co-existence, a sort of international citizenship; working to unite nations, without exclusion; following the formula of equality, so that no State may be superior to the others; and considering the legal pact that unites the member States of the United Nations as a solemn oath that must change the future history of the world: “No more war, no more war”. To these points, the Pope adds another two points relating to the development and dignity of humanity: peace cannot be constructed solely through politics and the balance of forces and interests, but rather with the spirit, with ideas, and with works of peace. It involves working for development and for the rights and fundamental duties of humanity. International dialogue is concerned primarily with the issue of human life, which is sacred.

In the second part of the encyclical “Populorum Progressio”, on the development of peoples, Paul VI explains economic relations with great lucidity, highlighting finance and credit on the one hand, and international trade on the other, as priority areas for joint work. He underlines, among other things, the need for a global fund to assist poor countries, funded by richer nations principally through the limitation of military spending. With regard to international commerce, he observes that the financial and technical efforts to assist developing countries will be illusory if their results are cancelled by the interplay of trade relations between rich and poor countries.

“It is well known that Pope Montini viewed nationalism and racism as basic obstacles to the construction of a fraternal international community, based on the United Nations Charter, on an equitable legal, financial and commercial multilateral system and on respect for human rights”, noted Archbishop Gallagher.

The prelate went on to refer to the international presence that the Holy See acquired during Paul VI's papacy, entering as an Observer in the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1964, participating then as a member in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and often as an observer in many international bodies and at many conventions, from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva, the International Labour Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the Council of Europe and the Organisation of American States.

Again between the years 1963 and 1978 the Holy See participated in the development of the international system for the protection of human rights, through its adhesion to the Convention against Racial Discrimination and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and its participation in the Conference for Cooperation and Security in Europe.

Blessed Paul VI, added Archbishop Gallagher, developed the progress made by St. John XXIII in the opening of the East European countries, adding to the objective of recognition of the rights of the Holy See, the desire to promote religious freedom, including the freedom of the Catholic Church, and to favour peace and harmony between peoples. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, ratified by the Holy See on 25 February 1971, formed part of the efforts made to contain the nuclear threat and the arms race in general, but also served to establish channels for dialogue with the authorities of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Finally, the Holy See, as a State, was invited by the Warsaw Pact to participate in the Helsinki Final Act, which laid the foundations for the basic exercise of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or religious belief for the citizens of Eastern Europe.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The spirit of the family is the constitutional charter of the Church

Vatican City, 7 October 2015 (VIS) – During the period of the Synod dedicated to “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”, the catechesis of the Wednesday general audiences will focus on various aspects of the relationship between the Church and the family, the Pope announced this morning to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis asked all to pray for a good outcome of the Synod assembly, and underlined that the family deserves all the dedication of which the Church is capable, and therefore the Synod is called upon to interpret the care of the Church for the family in our times.

“Men and women of today are in need of a robust injection of family spirit”, he continued. “Indeed, the style of relations – civil, economic, legal, professional, and as citizens – would appear very rational, formal and organised, but also very 'dehydrated', arid and anonymous. At times this becomes unbearable. While seeking to be inclusive in its forms, in reality it abandons an ever greater number of people to solitude and exclusion”.

The family, however, “opens for the whole of society a far more human prospect: it opens children's eyes onto life … and introduces them to the need for bonds of fidelity, sincerity, trust, cooperation and respect; it encourages the planning of an inhabitable world and the belief in relationships of trust, even in difficult situations. … And we are all aware of the indispensable nature of the care of the family for its smallest members, the most vulnerable, the wounded, and even those who have encountered the most disasters in the conduct of their lives”.

Nevertheless, the Pope remarked, “the family is not granted due recognition or support in the political and social organisation of contemporary society. I would add: not only does the family not receive adequate recognition, but it no longer generates learning. At times it would seem that, in spite of all its science and technology, modern society is still not able to translate this knowledge into better forms of civil coexistence. … In this situation, the opposite extremes of this brutalisation of relationships – that is, technocratic obtuseness and amoral familism – come together and feed into one another. It is a paradox”.

“The Church perceives today, at this precise point, the historical meaning of her mission with regard to the family and genuine family spirit; starting from a careful revision of life. .. It could be said that the 'family spirit' is a constitutional charter for the Church. This is how Christianity should appear and should be. … The Church is and must be the family of God”.

The Pope recalled that when Jesus invited Peter to follow Him, He said that He would have made him a “fisher of men”. “And this called for a new type of net. We could say that today families are one of the most important nets for the mission of Peter and the Church. It is not a net that takes prisoners! On the contrary, it liberates from the treacherous waters of abandonment and indifference, that drown many human beings in a sea of loneliness and indifference. Families are well aware of the dignity of being sons and not slaves or outsiders”.

“From here, from the family, Jesus begins again his path among human beings to persuade them that God has not forgotten them. From here Peter takes strength for his ministry. From here the Church, in obedience to the Word of the Master, goes out to fish offshore, sure that if it takes place, the catch will be miraculous. May the enthusiasm of the Synod Fathers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, kindle the zeal of a Church that abandons the old nets and goes out to fish again, trusting in the Word of her Lord. Let us pray intensely for this! Indeed, Christ promised and reassures us: if even a bad father does not refuse to give bread to his hungry children, of course God would not refuse to give the Spirit to those who, imperfect as they are, ask with impassioned insistence”.

Rapporteurs and moderators of the Circuli Minori of the Synod

Vatican City, 7 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today published the following list of rapporteurs and moderators of the Circuli Minori:

Circulus Gallicus “A”: Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille, France, elected
Circulus Gallicus “B”: Msgr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, S.J,. elected
Circulus Gallicus “C”: Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, elected
Circulus Anglicus “A”: Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, elected
Circulus Anglicus “B”: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, elected
Circulus Anglicus “C”: Bishop Mark Benedict Coleridge, elected
Circulus Anglicus “D”: Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., elected
Circulus Italicus “A”: Rev. Fr. Manuel Jesus Arroba Conde, C.M.F., elected
Circulus Italicus “B”: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, elected
Circulus Italicus “C”: Bishop Franco Giulio Brambilla, elected
Circulus Hibericus “A”: Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R.,elected
Circulus Hibericus “B”: Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo, elected
Circulus Germanicus: Archbishop Heiner Koch, elected
Circulus Gallicus “A”: Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, elected
Circulus Gallicus “B”: Cardinal Robert Sarah, elected
Circulus Gallicus “C”: Maurice Piat, C.S.Sp., elected
Circulus Anglicus “A”: Cardinal George Pell, elected
Circulus Anglicus “B”: Cardinal Vincent Nichols, elected
Circulus Anglicus “C”: Eamon Martin, elected
Circulus Anglicus “D”: Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, elected
Circulus Italicus “A”: Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, elected
Circulus Italicus “B”: Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, elected
Circulus Italicus “C”: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, elected
Circulus Hibericus “A”: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B. elected
Circulus Hibericus “B”: Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, elected
Circulus Germanicus: Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P.,elected

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 7 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Fr. Luy Gonzaga Nguyen Hung Vi as bishop of Kontum (area 25,240, population 1,775,200, Catholics 300,649, priests 169, religious 477), Vietnam. The bishop-elect was born in Ha Noi, Vietnam, in 1952, and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a licentiate in liturgy from the Institut Catholique of Paris, France, and has served as parish vicar of Binh Cang in Nha Trang, director of the minor seminary of Kontum in Ho Chi Minh City, and secretary of the episcopal office in Kontum. He is currently pastor of the parish of Phuong Nghia, Kontum. He succeeds Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Bishop Carmelo Cuttitta, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Palermo, Italy, as bishop of Ragusa (area 1,029, population 221,835, Catholics 213,252, priests 130, permanent deacons 8, religious 276), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Paolo Urso, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Fr. Peter Huynh Van Hai as bishop of Vinh Long (area 6,772, population 3,976,552, Catholics 199,404, priests 205, religious 775), Vietnam. The bishop-elect was born in 1954 in Ben Tre, Vietnam, and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Institut Catholique of Paris, France, and has served as head of vocations for the diocese of Vinh Long. He is currently lecturer in philosophy in the major seminaries of Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It is not easy to be a prophet, says Cardinal Alencherry to the Synod

Vatican City, 6 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning at 9 a.m., with the recitation of the Terce prayer, the third Congregation of the General Ordinary Assembly on the Family opened in the Synod Hall.

His Beatitude Cardinal George Alencherry, major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India, and president of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church, pronounced a homily in which he underlined, in the light of the Bible readings, the prophetic mission of the Church in our times.

“The reading from Jeremiah gives us a message very much applicable to the goal of our Synodal deliberations on family”, he began. “Prophet Jeremiah uttered a few oracles to the royal family of Judah cautioning the King against the ruin that may fall upon the Kingdom, if the King does not render Justice and righteousness and save the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor. Josiah and Jehoiakim were the kings of Judah, at that time. We know that both of them were weak kings, and Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, destroyed the Kingdom of Judah and the temple. Owing to the failures of the kings the people were driven to exile and all the sufferings that arose from it. Josiah and Nebuchadnezzar, the kings of Judah, could not render justice and righteousness and save the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor. Justice means the acceptance of the reign of God and righteousness is the grace of God resulting from the acceptance of God’s reign. The kings of Judah failed in their responsibility to give justice and righteousness to the people, and accordingly the people had to suffer the consequences”.

“The words of the prophet are applicable to rulers and leaders of all the times and also to the people governed by them. In many countries of the world people are denied justice and righteousness as a result of the promotion of individualism, hedonism and oppression by secularist values and lines of action. The question arises as to whether the leaders of the Church have come forward with a prophetic role like that of Jeremiah to support the people with the Word of God and by personal witness”.

“Jeremiah had to suffer the cost of his prophetic role”, the Cardinal observed. “His life was a symbol of the message he gave. Suffering and ruin he had to take upon himself. He was asked to accept three signs in his life: not to marry, not to attend funerals and not to attend parties”.

“'Do not take a wife': Jeremiah is not to experience the deep love of a bride, for the bride, Israel, has rejected Yahweh’s love. He must experience loneliness, as Yahweh experiences loneliness. In Christian times, celibacy becomes a sign”.

“'Do not go into a house where there is mourning': Jeremiah is not to mourn or show compassion to the dead, because Yahweh has lost all feelings for his people. They will die unlamented”.

“'Do not go into a house where there is a celebration': Jeremiah is not to join any celebration, because there is nothing to celebrate. Jeremiah is called to lead a terrible life, and no wonder he goes into deep depression and bitter lament. It is not easy to be a prophet”.

“The pastors of the Church in the present times are called to take upon their lives a prophetic role of suffering and kenosis, similar to that of the prophet Jeremiah”, concluded His Beatitude, citing Pope Francis' words in his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”:

“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: 'Give them something to eat'”.

Monday, October 5, 2015

First General Congregation: the Synod is the Church that walks together to see reality with the eyes of faith, says the Pope

Vatican City, 5 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning at 9 a.m. the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world” commenced in the Vatican. In the presence of the Holy Father, the first to speak was the Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, who presented to the Synod Fathers a brief meditation summarising the intentions and spirit of the Assembly.

“Brothers, who come from the four corners of the world summoned by Peter, moved by the love of Jesus and the Mother Church”, he began. “St. Paul invites us, indeed, to joy. The joy of the gospel that Pope Francisco tirelessly proclaims worldwide. But as he himself has told us, the greatest risk in the world today, with its multiple and overwhelming consumption, is an individualistic sorrow that springs from the comfortable and covetous heart, the feeble search for superficial pleasures, the isolated consciousness. Sometimes it saddens us to hear how the world has focused on this Synod as if we came together as two opposing sides to defend entrenched positions. Therefore, with Jesus Christ joy is always born and reborn'”.

“But let us take heart”, he continued. “We are not a Church in danger of extinction or indeed far less. Neither is the family, although it is threatened and opposed. Nor do we come to mourn or lament the difficulties. Psalm 26 tells us: 'Be brave, take heart. Hope in the Lord'. Let us all have one mind: let us all seek the unanimity that comes from dialogue, not ideas defended at all costs. St. Paul reminds us to have same sentiments as Christ. Live in peace: as Evangelii Gaudium tells us, dialogue contributes to peace, because the Church proclaims the 'Gospel of peace'. To proclaim Jesus Christ, Who is peace in person, the Mother Church encourages us to be instruments of peace and credible witnesses of a reconciled life. It is time to know how to plan a culture that favours dialogue and the pursuit of consensus and agreements as a form of encounter. We are not in need of a project of few and for the few, or an enlightened or minority that appropriates a collective sentiment”.

“Therefore, we wish to begin the Synod in peace”, he concluded. “It is not the peace of the world, made of compromises and commitments that frequently are not fulfilled. It is the peace of Christ, peace with ourselves. And the conclusion is clear: 'The God of love and peace will be with you'. So we can say, 'Stay with us, Lord', not because the day is ending, but rather because it is beginning. A new day for the families of the world, believers or not, families tired of the uncertainties and doubts sown by various ideologies such as deconstruction, cultural and social contradictions, fragility and loneliness. Abide with us Lord, so that this Synod indicate a path of joy and hope for all families”.

The Holy Father than introduced the work of the first day, explaining that “the Synod is not a convention or a locutory; it is not a parliament or a senate, where an accord is sought. The Synod, instead, is an ecclesial expression, that is, the Church who walks together to read reality with the eyes of faith, and which therefore does not represent a museum to be looked at or even to be protected, but is rather a living source from which the Church slakes her thirst so as to slake the thirst and enlighten the deposit of life”.

The Synod is, furthermore, “a protected space where the Church can experience the action of the Holy Spirit. In the Synod the Spirit speaks through the language of all those who let themselves be guided by God, Who always surprises us, by God Who shows to the smallest among us what He hides from the wise and the intelligent, by God Who created the law and the Sabbath for man and not vice versa, by God Who leaves his ninety-nine sheep to seek the one lost sheep, by God Who is always greater than our logic and our calculations. However, let us remember that the Synod may be a space for the action of the Holy Spirit only if we participants clothe ourselves in apostolic courage, evangelical humility and trustful prayer”.

“Apostolic courage so that we do not let ourselves be afraid neither before the seductions of the world, that tend to extinguish in the heart of men the light of the truth, substituting it will small temporary lights, neither before the hardening of some hearts that, in spite of good intentions, distance people from God”, underlined the Pope.

“Evangelical humility so that we empty ourselves of our own conventions and prejudices in order to listen to our brother Bishops and to fill ourselves with God. Humility that leads us not to point a finger at others to judge them, but rather to offer them a hand to help them up without ever feeling superior to them”.

“Trustful prayer is the action of the heart when it opens to God, when it calms our mood so we hear the gentle voice of God that speaks in the silence. Without listening to God, all of our words will remain words alone, that nether satisfy nor serve. Without allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, all our decisions will be mere decorations that instead of exalting the Gospel, cover or conceal it”.

“Dear brothers”, concluded Francis, “as I said, the Synod is not a parliament where, in order to reach a consensus or a common accord we resort to negotiation, pacts or compromise; the only method of the Synod is to open itself to the Holy Spirit with apostolic courage, with evangelical courage and with trustful prayer so that He may guide us, enlighten us and let us put before our eyes not our own personal views, but our faith in God, fidelity to the Magisterium, the good of the Church and the salus animarum”.

The president delegate, the cardinal archbishop of Paris Andre Vingt-Trois, then commented that the Pope's decision to convoke two sessions of the Synod of Bishops on the mission of the family in the contemporary world has been fruitful and that the episcopate has borne witness to this. The particular Churches have made efforts to contribute to the work by answering to the questionnaire that informed the Instrumentum Laboris. “Our Synod is led by the Church”. The cardinal also mentioned the Motu Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus, with which the Holy Father has reformed the canonical procedures regarding the declaration of nullity of marriage, which offers valuable direction on the spirit according to which this phase of the Synod should unfold. “Without casting doubt on the sacramental tradition of our Church, nor its doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, you invite us to share our pastoral experiences and to open the paths of mercy by which the Lord calls all those who wish to and are able to enter into a space for conversion with a view to forgiveness”.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod, explained the working methods of the Synod of Bishops in this extraordinary assembly, including the time available for interventions by the Synod Fathers and the greater space accorded to the Circuli Minori to foster more intense debate, as well as the importance conceded to the contributions by couples and the relationships between the Synod and the media.

Finally, the general rapporteur, the cardinal archbishop of Ezstergom-Budapest, Peter Erdo, illustrated the first part of the Instrumentum Laboris, which begins by listening to the challenges to the family, placing them in the contemporary socio-cultural context, and its anthropological change, characterised by a “flight from institutions” leading to institutional instability and the predominance of individualism and subjectivism. He then spoke about the discernment of the family vocation, the divine pedagogy of the family and indissolubility as a gift and a task, mentioning the family in the Magisterium of the Church and its missionary dimension, as well as “wounded” families, placing them in the context of mercy and truth. The cardinal touched upon the theme of the evangelising dimension of the family and ecclesial accompaniment of family units, as well as the issue of reproductive responsibility and the challenges of education.

“Listening to the Word of God, our response must show the sincere and fraternal attention to the needs of our contemporaries, to transmit to them the liberating truth and to be witnesses of our greatest mercy. To face today's challenges to the family. The Church must convert and become more alive, more personal, and more community-based, also at the levels of the parish and the small community. It would appear that a community reawakening is already in process in many areas. So that it might be more general and increasingly profound, we ask that the light of the Holy Spirit show us also the concrete steps we need to take. In this way, the vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world, the theme of this Synod, would appear in the serene and concrete light that enables us to grow in hope and trust in God's mercy; in that mercy to which Pope Francis wished to dedicate an extraordinary Jubilee. Let us thank the Holy Father for this decision of hope and entrust our work to the Holy Family of Nazareth”.

“The man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved”

Vatican City, 4 October 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father presided at the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”. In his homily, the bishop of Rome commented on the Biblical texts of this 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, noting that they focus on “three themes: solitude, love between man and woman, and the family”.

Regarding solitude, he spoke of Adam's dominion over all the other creatures in the Garden of Eden, “a sign of his dominion, his clear and undisputed power”. Nonetheless, “he felt alone, because 'there was not found a helper fit for him'”. Loneliness, said the Pope, “is experienced by countless men and women in our own day. I think of the elderly, abandoned even by their loved ones and children; widows and widowers; the many men and women left by their spouses; all those who feel alone, misunderstood and unheard; migrants and refugees fleeing from war and persecution; and those many young people who are victims of the culture of consumerism, the culture of waste, the throwaway culture”.

“Today we experience the paradox of a globalised world filled with luxurious mansions and skyscrapers, but a lessening of the warmth of homes and families; many ambitious plans and projects, but little time to enjoy them... Our experience today is, in some way, like that of Adam: so much power and at the same time so much loneliness and vulnerability. The image of this is the family. People are less and less serious about building a solid and fruitful relationship of love: in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, in good times and in bad. Love which is lasting, faithful, conscientious, stable and fruitful is increasingly looked down upon, viewed as a quaint relic of the past”.

In the first reading we hear that God was pained by Adam’s loneliness, and resolved to make him a helper fit for him. “These words show that nothing makes man’s heart as happy as another heart like his own, a heart which loves him and takes away his sense of being alone. These words also show that God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone. He made men and women for happiness, to share their journey with someone who complements them, to live the wondrous experience of love: to love and to be loved, and to see their love bear fruit in children, as today’s Psalm says. This is God’s dream for His beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self”.

“What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder”, said the Pope, turning to the theme of the family. “This is an exhortation to believers to overcome every form of individualism and legalism which conceals a narrow self-centredness and a fear of accepting the true meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan. Indeed, only in the light of the folly of the gratuitousness of Jesus’ paschal love will the folly of the gratuitousness of an exclusive and life-long conjugal love make sense”.

“For God, marriage is not some adolescent utopia, but a dream without which his creatures will be doomed to solitude”, he continued. “Indeed, being afraid to accept this plan paralyses the human heart. Paradoxically, people today – who often ridicule this plan – continue to be attracted and fascinated by every authentic love, by every steadfast love, by every fruitful love, by every faithful and enduring love. We see people chase after fleeting loves while dreaming of true love; they chase after carnal pleasures but desire total self-giving”.

“In this extremely difficult social and marital context, the Church is called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love. To carry out her mission in fidelity to her Master as a voice crying out in the desert, in defending faithful love and encouraging the many families which live married life as an experience which reveals of God’s love; in defending the sacredness of life, of every life; in defending the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace and of the human person’s ability to love seriously”.

“To carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. … To carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgement of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a 'field hospital' with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support”.

Francis recalled St. John Paul II who said: “Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved”, and added “The Church must search out these persons, welcome and accompany them, for a Church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission, and, instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock: 'For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brethren'”.

“In this spirit”, he concluded, “we ask the Lord to accompany us during the Synod and to guide His Church, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse”.

Society is not strong without the family

Vatican City, September 2015 (VIS) – In today's Sunday Angelus the Pope again asked the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for prayers for the Synod on the Family inaugurated yesterday with Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

“The Synod Fathers, from all over the world and gathered around St. Peter's Successor will reflect during these three weeks on the vocation and the mission of the Church in the Church and in society, for a careful spiritual and pastoral discernment. We will keep our gaze fixed on Jesus in order to find, on the basis of His teaching of truth and mercy, the most appropriate routes for adequate commitment on the part of the Church, with families and for families, so that the Creator's original plan for man and woman may be implemented and may operate in all its beauty and strength in today's world”.

In this sense, the reading of the Book of Genesis on complementarity and reciprocity between the man and woman who unite and become one flesh, “that is, one life, one existence”, and in this way “transmit their life to new human beings: they become parents. They participate in the creative power of God Himself. But”, he warned, “be careful! God is love, and one participates in His work when one loves with and like Him. … And this is also the love that is given to spouses in the Sacrament of marriage. It is the love that nurtures their relationship, through joy and suffering, in moments of serenity and difficulty. It is the love that awakens the desire to create children, to wait for them, welcome them, raise them and educate them. It is the same love that, in today's Gospel, Jesus reveals to the children: 'Let the children come to me, do not prevent them'.

“Today we ask the Lord that all parents and educators in the world, as in society as a whole, are made instruments of that acceptance and love with which Jesus embraces the little ones. He looks into their hearts with the tenderness and care of a father and, at the same time, a mother. I think of so many children that are hungry, abandoned, exploited, forced into the war, refused. It is painful to see images of children that are unhappy, looking lost, fleeing from poverty and conflicts. They are knocking on our doors and our hearts begging for help. May the Lord help us not to be a 'fortress-society,' but rather a 'family-society' which welcomes – with the proper rules -but always welcomes with love”.

The Pope concluded by invoking the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the Synod Fathers and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, uniting with those who today, Italian Shrine of Pompeii, pray the traditional supplication to the Our Lady of the Rosary.

Following the Angelus, Francis mentioned the beatification yesterday in Santander, Spain, of Pio Heredia and seventeen companions of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance of St. Bernard, killed in hatred of the faith during the Spanish civil war and the religious persecution of the 1930s. “Let us praise the Lord for their courageous witness, and with their intercession, let us beg that He liberate the world from the scourge of war”.

He prayed for the victims of a landslide that swept away an entire village in Guatemala, and of the flood in the Cote d'Azur in France, and urged concrete acts of solidarity in their support. He also affectionately greeted Italian pilgrims on the feast day of the their patron, St. Francis of Assisi.

Prayer Vigil for the Synod – the Church can light up the darkness of humanity

Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) - “When life proves difficult and demanding, we can be tempted to step back, turn away and withdraw, perhaps even in the name of prudence and realism, and thus flee the responsibility of doing our part as best we can”, said the Holy Father during his inauguration of the prayer vigil for the Synod of Bishops, held during the night of Saturday 3 October. Organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference, large numbers of faithful and pilgrims participated in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope spoke about the human fear that the prophet Elijah experienced and how he got up and fled for his life, and recalled that “just a year ago, in this same Square, we invoked the Holy Spirit and asked that - in discussing the theme of the family - the Synod Fathers might listen attentively to one another, with their gaze fixed on Jesus, the definitive Word of the Father and the criterion by which everything is to be measured. This evening, our prayer cannot be otherwise. For as Patriarch Athenagoras Metropolitan Ignatius IV Hazim reminded us, without the Holy Spirit God is far off, Christ remains in the past, the Church becomes a mere organisation, authority becomes domination, mission becomes propaganda, worship becomes mystique, Christian life the morality of slaves”.

“Let us pray that the Synod which opens tomorrow will show how the experience of marriage and family is rich and humanly fulfilling”, he continued. “May the Synod acknowledge, esteem, and proclaim all that is beautiful, good and holy about that experience. May it embrace situations of vulnerability and hardship: war, illness, grief, wounded relationships and brokenness, which create distress, resentment and separation. May it remind these families, and every family, that the Gospel is always 'good news' which once again enables us to start over. From the treasury of the Church’s living tradition may the Fathers draw words of comfort and hope for families called in our own day to build the future of the ecclesial community and the city of man”.

The Pope emphasised that “every family is always a light, however faint, amid the darkness of this world. Jesus’ own human experience took shape in the heart of a family, where he lived for thirty years. His family was like any number of others, living in an obscure village on the outskirts of the Empire”.

He gave the example of Charles de Foucauld who “came to understand that we do not grow in the love of God by avoiding the entanglement of human relations. For in loving others, we learn to love God, in stooping down to help our neighbour, we are lifted up to God. Through his fraternal closeness and his solidarity with the poor and the abandoned, he came to understand that it is they who evangelise us, they who help us to grow in humanity”.

The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to enter into the mystery of the family in order to be able to understand it. “The family is a place where evangelical holiness is lived out in the most ordinary conditions. There we are formed by the memory of past generations and we put down roots which enable us to go far. The family is a place of discernment, where we learn to recognise God’s plan for our lives and to embrace it with trust. It is a place of gratuitousness. of discreet fraternal presence and solidarity, a place where we learn to step out of ourselves and accept others, to forgive and to be feel forgiven”.

“Let us set out once more from Nazareth for a Synod which, more than speaking about the family, can learn from the family, readily acknowledging its dignity, its strength and its value, despite all its problems and difficulties. In the 'Galilee of the nations' of our own time, we will rediscover the richness and strength of a Church which is a mother, ever capable of giving and nourishing life, accompanying it with devotion, tenderness, and moral strength. For unless we can unite compassion with justice, we will end up being needlessly severe and deeply unjust”.

“A Church which is family is also able to show the closeness and love of a father ... a Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters, will never end up considering anyone simply as a burden, a problem, an expense, a concern or a risk. Other persons are essentially a gift, and always remain so, even when they walk different paths. The Church is an open house, far from outward pomp, hospitable in the simplicity of her members. … This Church can indeed light up the darkness felt by so many men and women. She can credibly point them towards the goal and walk at their side, precisely because she herself first experienced what it is to be endlessly reborn in the merciful heart of the Father”, Francis concluded.

The Pope receives volunteers from the Food Bank and again denounces food waste

Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received in audience seven thousand volunteers from the Food Bank Foundation, established 25 years ago by the Italian businessman Danilo Fossati and Don Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation, to combat food waste, recovering and distributing food among the poor and families in need.

In his address to them, Francis underlined that hunger has now assumed the dimensions of a true scandal that threatens the life and dignity of many people: men and women, children and the elderly. “Every day we must face this injustice: in a world rich in food resources, thanks also to enormous technological progress, there are too many people who do not have the essentials for survival; and this is true not only of poor countries, but increasingly so in rich and developed societies. The situation is aggravated by the increase in migratory flows, which bring thousands of refugees to Europe, fleeing their countries and in need of everything. In the face of such an immeasurable problem, Jesus' words resonate: 'For I was hungry and you gave me food'. We see in the Gospel that the Lord, when He realises that the crowd that has come to listen to Him is hungry, does not ignore the problem, nor does He give a good speech on the fight against poverty; instead He performs a gesture that leaves everyone astonished. He takes the little that the disciples have brought with them, He blesses it, and He multiplies the bread and fishes, so that in the end 'they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over'”.

“We cannot perform a miracle as Jesus did; however we can do something when faced wit the emergency of hunger, something useful, that also has the power of a miracle. First of all we can educate ourselves in humanity, in recognising the humanity present in every person, in need of everything. This is perhaps what Danilo Fossati, entrepreneur in the food sector and founder of the Food Bank, was thinking of when he confided to Don Giussani his unease at seeing the destruction of products that could still be consumed, when so many people in Italy suffered from hunger”.

The bishop of Rome remarked that the Foundation has its roots in the heart of those two men who were not indifferent to the cry of the poor and “understood that something needed to change in the mentality of the people, that the walls of individualism and selfishness had to be broken down. … Jesus Himself invites us to make space in our heart for the urgency of feeding the hungry, and the Church has made it one of the works of corporal mercy”.

Finally, commenting that the Food Bank volunteers encounter hundreds of people every day, the Pope reminded them of the need to remember that they are “people and not numbers, each one with his or her burden that at times seems impossible to bear. Always keeping this in mind, you will be able to look them in the eye, to hold their hand, to descry the flesh of Christ in them and to help them regain their dignity and get back on their feet. I encourage you to be brothers and friends to the poor; to let them feel that they are important in God's eyes”.

Mass for the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps

Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) – Following the festivity of St. Michael Archangel, patron of the Vatican City State Gendarmerie Corps, Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in the Governorate Chapel, attended by the members of the Corps.

The Holy Father spoke in his homily about St. Michael's battle against Satan, affirming that “there is a war between good and evil, in which we must choose what we want, good or evil. But … the methods of war adopted by these two enemies are totally opposed to one another. In the initial prayer … we ask for the grace to be defended by Archangel Michael against the temptations of the devil, and this is one of the devil's methods: temptation”.

He then explained “the three steps of the method of the ancient serpent, the devil. First, having things: in this case bread, wealth, the wealth that gradually leads to corruption, and this corruption is not a tale, it is everywhere. Many people are willing to sell their soul for a pittance, they sell their happiness, their life, everything. It is the first step: money and wealth. Then, when you have it you feel important, which leads to the second step: vanity. What the devil said to Jesus: Let's go to the terrace, 'cast Yourself down from here' – make a great spectacle! Living for vanity. And the third step is power, pride and arrogance: 'to you I will give all this authority', you will be in command”.

“This also happens to us, in small things, always, in small things: too attached to wealth, we like it when we are praised, like the peacock. And many people become ridiculous. Vanity makes us become ridiculous. Or, in the end, when you have power you feel as if you are God, and this is the great sin”.

“You who have a difficult job, in which there are always conflicts and you have to put in things in their place, often enabling crime to be avoided. Pray to the Lord that, by the intercession of St. Michael Archangel, He will defend you from any temptation of corruption for money, for wealth, for vanity or arrogance. The humbler you are, like Jesus, the humbler your service will be and the more fruitful and useful it will be for all of us”.

Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office

Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) – The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today made the following statement:

“With regard to the declarations and interview given by Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa it should be observed that, notwithstanding the respect due to the events and personal situations, and reflections on the issue, the decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure. Msgr. Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary”.


Vatican City, 3 October 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;

- Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio in Belarus.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 5 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Archbishop Salvatore Ligorio of Matera-Irsina, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Potenza-Muro-Lucano-Marsico Nuovo (area 1,634, population 154,600, Catholics 152,600, priests 113, permanent deacons 23, religious 124), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Agostino Superbo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Andrea Migliavacca as bishop of San Miniato (area 691, population 176,794, Catholics 161,000, priests 79, permanent deacons 10, religious 122), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Pavia, Italy in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a degree in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University and has served in a number of pastoral and administrative roles in Pavia, including notary of the diocesan ecclesiastical tribunal, adjunct judicial vicar, head of youth pastoral, Catholic Action assistant for youth, parish administrator of the San Genesio ed Uniti. He is currently vice chancellor and judge of the Lombard Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunal, rector of the diocesan seminary and head of vocations, judicial vicar and canon of the Cathedral Chapter.
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