Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Latest News from Vatican Information Service and Pope Francis


19-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 204 

Summary
- General Audience: We are all called to be holy
- New appeal for the Holy Land: building peace is difficult, but life without peace is a torment
- Cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migration must focus on positive aspects
- Other Pontifical Acts
- The Pope receives in audience the President of Senegal: Church's commitment to peace and national reconciliation (pictured)
- International Conference on autism: three days to inspire hope
- The Holy See at the United Nations: civilians are the first victims of conventional weapons
- Fifty years on from the Council decree Unitatis Redintegratio
General Audience: We are all called to be holy
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – As is usual on Wednesday morning, the Pope toured St. Peter's Square to greet the faithful and pilgrims awaiting him before the beginning of the General Audience. He dedicated today's catechesis to the universal vocation to sanctity, to provide an answer to the question, “In what does this universal vocation consist? And how can we fulfil it?”
“Firstly, we must take into account that sanctity is not something that we procure, that we obtain ourselves through our qualities and capacities. Sanctity is a gift, it is the gift that the Lord Jesus gives to us, when He takes us with Him and clothes us in Himself, making us like Him”, he said. “Sanctity is the most beautiful face of the Church: it is rediscovering oneself in communion with God, in the fullness of His life and His love. … It is not the prerogative of the few: sanctity is a gift that is offered to all, without exclusion, and which therefore constitutes the distinctive characteristic of every Christian”.
“To be holy”, he continued, “it is not necessary to be bishops, priests or religious. … We are all called to be holy! … It is by living with live and offering one's own Christian witness in our everyday occupations that we are called to become holy; and each person in the condition and in the state of life in which he finds himself”: consecrated persons, married couples, unmarried baptised persons, parents, grandparents, catechists, educators and volunteers. “Every state of life leads to sanctity, if lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of one's brethren”.
Pope Francis urged those present to examine their consciences, asking how they could respond to the Lord's call to sanctity. He emphasised that when the Lord calls us to be holy, he does not ask us to do something weighty or sad, but rather offers us an invitation to share in his joy. “If we understand it in this way, everything changes and acquires a new meaning, beautiful, starting from the little things of everyday life. … And each step towards sanctity will make us better people, free of selfishness and self-centredness, and open to our brothers and their needs”. He added, “we do not walk the path of sanctity alone, each for himself, but rather together, in that single body that is the Church, loved and sanctified by the Lord Jesus Christ”, and concluded by encouraging those present to continue on this path.
New appeal for the Holy Land: building peace is difficult, but life without peace is a torment
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – “I follow with great concern the alarming increase in tension in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land, with unacceptable episodes of violence that do not even spare places of worship”, said the Pope following today's catechesis. “I assure a special prayer for all the victims of this dramatic situation and for those who suffer its consequences. From the depths of my heart, I appeal to those parties involved to put an end to this spiral of hate and violence and to take courageous decisions for reconciliation and peace. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a torment!”
He went on to remark that on Friday 21 November, the liturgical memory of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy at the Temple, Pro Orantibus Day will be celebrated, dedicated to cloistered religious communities. “It offers a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, devote themselves to God in prayer and constructive silence, acknowledging the primacy due solely to Him. Let us thank the Lord for the witness of cloistered life and ensure that they do not lack our spiritual and material support in order to fulfil their important mission".
In his greetings in various languages, the Pope addressed the Polish pilgrims who yesterday celebrate the memory of Blessed Karolina Koszka, virgin and martyr, on the centenary of her death. “This young girl fulfilled her vocation to sanctity, dedicating herself to the service of those close to her through her purity of heart and fidelity to Christ unto death. May her example encourage all, especially the young, to seek ways to sanctity, even if this involves going against contemporary tendencies to seek an easy life, concentrating on selfish pleasure. I entrust the members of the “Pure Hearts Movement” to the protection of their Blessed patroness”.
Finally, the Holy Father greeted in Italian the young professionals, businesspeople and social entrepreneurs who are participating in the congress organised by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Pontifical Universities of Rome, to promote approaches and attitudes to overcome social and economic exclusion. “I hope that this initiative may contribute to favouring a new mentality in which money is not considered an idol to be served, but rather a means for pursuing the common good”, he concluded.
Cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migration must focus on positive aspects
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – ““Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations” is the theme of the 7th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and taking place from 17 to 21 November. The meeting will be attended by more than three hundred people from 93 countries of all five continents, and will be structured in relation to three themes: the diaspora, migrants as partners, and the dignity of the migrant. In addition, during the conference eleven episcopal conferences will present their pastoral work with migrants and at the end of the meeting a final document will be drawn up, to serve as a guide for the next five years.
The Congress is so designed that each day is dedicated to a different topic within the wider context of the theme of this Event: “Cooperation and Development in the Pastoral Care of Migrations”. Our plan of action is structured in such a way so as to culminate, through the different conferences and further debates that elaborate on the key note addresses, in the personal exchange and the expression of concrete ideas and thoughts in the Working Groups of the afternoon. My dear friends, we are here not only to share our experiences and ideas, but to work together to elaborate recommendations and ideas that will be of assistance to each one of us in our pastoral care for the next few years.
The speakers in the inaugural session will be Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council, the Italian minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, and the director general of the International Organisation for Migration (OMI), William Lacy Swing. A text sent by Msgr. Antonio Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States, will also be read.
Cardinal Veglio spoke on the challenges of the migratory phenomenon and the situations of emergency that require the attention of the international community, emphasising the risk that the destination countries receive migrants with hostility, distrust and prejudice. As a response to this problem he proposed two major lines of action: cooperation and development which, in the specific context of pastoral care, must accentuate the positive aspect of migratory phenomena.
The minister of the Interior, Angelino Alfano, acknowledged that migration constitutes a political and institutional priority, and affirmed that receiving and helping immigrants is a responsible decision that Europe must take “to demonstrate in practice that the protection of every human life is the first duty of a State that wishes to define itself as civilised and democratic”. The director of the International Organisation for Migration underlined the absolute priority of welcoming all immigrants and saving every human life, citing the example of the Italian “Mare Nostrum” project, and reiterated the need for more functional cooperation between the states of the European Union to better face salvage operations.
Finally, Msgr. Camilleri, in his discourse, referred to the Church's ongoing commitment to accompanying countries and peoples on their path, often troubled and full of the unpredictable aspects linked to dislocation, and underlined the urgency of combating phenomena such as criminality and violence linked to migration.
In his presentation of the Conference Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council, recalled that in the diaspora – “when migrants often leave behind their families and relatives in the hope of sending back remittances to better their economic and social status, and one day finding a way to help them migrate abroad as well” - there clearly emerges the theme of the family, whose care “requires not only cooperation between the country of origin and the country of destination, but also a strong cooperation between the Church of origin, and the Church which welcomes the migrant family”.
With reference to migrants as partners, he remarked that they contribute and cooperate substantially to the well-being and to the development not only of their country of origin, but of their country of adoption, and emphasised the need of improving public perception of migrants and immigration. He also spoke on the role of women migrants, whose movement in the past was closely linked to family reunification, whereas now they are “protagonists and leading players along with their male counterparts in the role that they undertake in today’s society”.
With regard to the final theme, the dignity of the migrant, the archbishop commented that it is a concept that derives from the acknowledgement that all persons are created in God’s own image and likeness and that religious, ethnic, social and cultural variables, citizenship or lack thereof, do not change this fact that gives any individual an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity. The prelate concluded his presentation by noting the potential of young migrants in building social, economic, cultural and religious bridges of cooperation and understanding across societies and Church communities.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 19 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Fr. Hilario Gonzalez Garcia as bishop of Linares (area 33,453, population 407,000, Catholics 360,000, priests 42, religious 58), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a licentiate from the Pontifical University of Mexico and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Monterrey, including spiritual director, prefect of studies in philosophy and vice rector of the major seminary; chaplain in various female religious communities; and executive secretary of the Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Mexican Episcopal Conference. He is currently rector of the major seminary of Monterrey. He succeeds Bishop Ramon Calderon Batres, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Rene Bruelhart, director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), as president of the same Authority.
18-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 203 

The Pope receives in audience the President of Senegal: Church's commitment to peace and national reconciliation
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the secretary for Relations with States, His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
During the discussions, the cordial relations between the Holy See and Senegal were noted, and the important contribution offered by the Church in the sectors of education and healthcare was underlined, as well as her generous and greatly appreciated commitment to promoting peace and national reconciliation.
Finally, there was an exchange of views on various themes of international interest, with particular reference to the current situations of crisis in the Region.
International Conference on autism: three days to inspire hope
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the 29th International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, on the theme “The person with autism spectrum disorders: animating hope”, which will take place in the Vatican from 20 to 22 November.
The speakers were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care); Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu and Fr. Augusto Chendi, M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery; and Stefano Vicari, head of the Department of Child Neuropsychiatry at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, Rome.
Archbishop Zimowski explained that the term “autism” was first used by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911 to describe the introversion of schizophrenic patients. Subsequently, in 1943, his colleague Leo Kanner described the disorder for the first time, affirming that autistic children were born with a congenital incapacity to establish normal contact with other people. It is currently defined as a “neuro-behavioural disturbance (also known as Kanner's Syndrome) of a pervasive type”, of multifactorial origin. In general, autism spectrum disorders manifest themselves before the age of three, and are life-long. The most recent statistics confirm that around 1% of children worldwide are affected.
“The many difficulties, including those of an ethical, moral and spiritual nature, faced by those with autism spectrum disorders and their carers have led us to choose such an important, difficult and delicate theme for this conference”, the prelate explained. “It will be a special occasion for observing the advances that have been made in research and treatment, as well as legal and political-administrative aspects; three valuable days for listening and exchanging experiences, and learning from the world's most qualified specialists.”
The Conference will be attended by more than 650 people from 57 different countries, and will include an encounter with the Holy Father during the Wednesday general audience, as well as an exhibition of paintings by the Taiwanese autistic artist Leland Lee, a moment of prayer and testimonies from people affected by autism spectrum disorders, their families, and associations. Various famous Italian singers will offer a musical contribution.
The Holy See at the United Nations: civilians are the first victims of conventional weapons
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in Geneva spoke at the annual meeting of Parties to the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW), held on 13 November.
Speaking in English, the prelate presented three issues to be considered. First, he spoke on the work carried out on lethal autonomous weapons systems. He emphasised that, with regard to the automation and consequent risk of the dehumanisation of war, a global – “scientific, legal, cultural, economic, ethical, and humanitarian” – rather than solely military approach is indispensable. He added, “I would like to reaffirm our wish that the mandate regarding this topic be renewed taking into account the importance of preserving an official trace of the statements, documents, debates and discussions”.
Secondly, he considered the theme of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. “With growing urbanisation of the world population, the tendency of urban wars will increase. How to protect the civilian populations? What should we do to safeguard civil infrastructures, indispensable for the livelihood of large communities? … What is certain, from the observations and data presently available, is that civilian populations are the first victims of conflicts. In many cases, they have no protection: millions of refugees and displaced people, a majority of them civilian victims, a great number are women and children; there is total or partial destruction of numerous urban centres; total disorganisation of social, academic, economic and political life; the exacerbation of hatred and of feelings of revenge that makes the re-establishment of peace and national reconstruction more difficult, if not impossible. It seems to me that an essential question touches all States parties: Does the CCW have something to say and do in such a situation? For the credibility and the integrity of the Convention and for the respect of the numerous victims, I would like to suggest adding this question to the agenda of the CCW”.
Finally, he mentioned the use of armed drones. “We are witnessing a certain proliferation of this technology and a growing use of it in various conflicts. … The choice of indifference in relation to this question is counter-productive. The fact of not addressing problems at the right moment can have disastrous consequences and make them almost insoluble, as experience in other domains teaches us”. He concluded by emphasising that “there is still time for the CCW to become interested in drones before they become an additional source of greater destabilisation when the international community needs, more than ever, stability, cooperation and peace”.
Fifty years on from the Council decree Unitatis Redintegratio
Vatican City, 18 November 2014 (VIS) – On 21 November 1964, after a long and laborious process, the Council Fathers approved the decree on ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio” by 2,137 votes to 11. The document, which undoubtedly marked a qualitative leap in the relations between the Catholic Church and the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, continues to represent an indispensable point of reference for the Catholic Church in her commitment to ecumenism.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the decree with two events. On Thursday, 20 November, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Vespers will be celebrated, open to all, and attended by the members and consultors of this Council and the representatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome, to give thanks to God for the fruits already gathered along the path of ecumenism during these last fifty years, and to invoke His blessing for the road that still lies ahead.
On 21 November a meeting will take place in the Great Hall of the Pontifical Gregorian University, during which the Pastors and theologians of the Catholic Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities will reread the Council decree, each from his own point of view, discussing today's ecumenical challenges and those that await us in the future. The moderator of the event will be Professor Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L'Osservatore Romano, and the speakers will be Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Bishop Irinej Bulovic of Backa, the Serb Orthodox Patriarch; Professor Timothy George of the Baptist World Alliance; Fr. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap., of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Teny Pirri Simonian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia; and Friederike Nussel of the Lutheran Church.
The meeting will conclude the Council's plenary session, which will take place from 18 to 21 November and will focus on the theme: “The aim of ecumenism: principles, opportunities and challenges, fifty years after 'Unitatis Redintegratio'”. Fifty years after its promulgation, the dicastery considers it useful to examine how the Council degree continues to inspire the ecumenical efforts of the Catholic Church in a changing landscape.

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