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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Vatican City, 16 April 2014 (VIS) – The suffering of Jesus on the Cross, that reflects the pain of humanity and represents the divine response to the mystery of the evil that is so difficult to understand, was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during the general audience held today, Holy Wednesday, in which the liturgy presents the story of Judas' betrayal and Christ, it emerges, has a price.

“This dramatic act marks the beginning of the Passion of Christ, a painful path that He chooses with absolute freedom. He says this clearly Himself: 'I lay down my life. … No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord'”. The path of humiliation begins here, with this betrayal, with Jesus as if he were on the market: he is worth thirty pieces of silver. And Jesus undertakes the path of humiliation … unto the end”.

The humiliation of Christ culminates with his death on the Cross, which is “the worst death, reserved to slaves and criminals. Jesus was considered a prophet, but died like a criminal. When we look at Jesus in His Passion, we see as if we were looking in a mirror the evil and pain of death. Often we feel horror at the evil and pain that surrounds us and we ask, 'Why does God allow this?'. It wounds us profoundly to see suffering and death, especially of the innocent. It pains our hearts when we see children suffering. It is the mystery of evil, and Jesus takes upon Himself all this evil, all this suffering. This week it will do good to all of us to take a crucifix and to kiss Christ's wounds. He takes all human suffering upon Himself, He vests Himself with this suffering”.

“We expect that God, in his omnipotence, will defeat injustice, evil, sin and suffering with a triumphant divine victory. Instead, God shows us a humble victory that in human terms seems to be a failure”, continued the Holy Father. “And we can say this: God wins in failure. Indeed, the Son of God on the Cross appears to be a defeated man: He suffers, He is betrayed, He is vilified, and finally dies. But Jesus allows evil to set upon Him, He takes it all upon Him in order to vanquish it. His Passion is not incidental; his death – that death – was 'foretold'. It is an unsettling mystery, but we know the secret of this mystery, of this extraordinary humility: God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son”.

“This week, let us consider Jesus' pain, and let us say to ourselves: it is for me; even if I were the only person in the world, He would have done this, for me. Let us kiss the crucifix and say: 'For me, thank you Jesus, for me ...”. When all appears to be lost, when no-one remains because the shepherd has been smitten and the flock has scattered, God will intervene with the power of the resurrection. Jesus' resurrection is not the happy ending of a fairy tale, it is not the happy ending of a film, but rather it is God's intervention at the point where human hope is shattered. … When all seems lost, at that moment of pain when many people feel the need to kiss the Cross, this is the moment closest to the resurrection. The night is at its darkest just before dawn breaks, just before the light emerges; in the darkest moment, God intervenes and resurrects”.

Jesus, who chose to take this path, “calls us to follow Him on His path of humiliation. When in certain moments in life we are not able to find any way out of our difficulties, when we sink into the deepest darkness, it is the moment of our humiliation in which we are entirely laid bare, in which we discover that we are fragile and sinners. It is precisely in that moment that we must not mask our failure, but rather open ourselves up, trusting in our hope in God, just as Jesus did”.

“This week”, the Holy Father concluded, “it will to us good to take a crucifix in our hands, to kiss it many times and to say, 'Thank you Jesus, thank you, Lord!'”.


Vatican City, 16 April 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday in the Vatican the Holy Father received in private audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:


- Blessed Ludovico da Casoria (ne Arcangelo Palmentieri), Italian professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth (“Bigie) (1814-1885).

- Blessed Amato Ronconi, Italian layperson of the Secular Franciscan Order, founder of the Hospital-Hospice for Poor Pilgrims of Saludecio, now known as the Beato Amato Ronconi Nursing Home (1226-1292).


- Servant of God Alain-Marie Guynot de Boismenu, French professed priest of the Congregation of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; apostolic vicar of Papua (1870-1953).

- Servant of God Wilhelm Janauschek, Austrian professed priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (1859-1926).


Vatican City, 16 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Siedlce, Poland, as bishop of Legnica (area 7,080, population 851,500, Catholics 776,700, priests 475, religious 279), Poland. He succeeds Bishop Stefan Cichy, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Joao Bosco Barcosa De Sousa, O.F.M., of Uniao da Vitoria, Brazil, as bishop of Osasco (area 2,477, population 2,490,000, Catholics 2,051,000, priests 128, religious 284), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Ercilio Turco, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Bishop Kazimierz Gurda, formerly auxiliary of Kielce, Poland, as bishop of Siedlce (area 11,440, population 737,600, Catholics 726,600, priests 656, religious 392), Poland.

- appointed Msgr. Giuseppe Piemontese, O.F.M. Conv., as bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia (area 871, population 159,700, Catholics 157,900, priests 130, permanent deacons 23, religious 121) Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Monte Sant'Angelo, Italy in 1946, and was ordained a priest in 1971. He gave his perpetual vows in 1977. He has served as priest in a parish in Japigia, Bari, member of the definitor of the Province, provincial minister and custodian of the Sacred Convent of Assisi.


Vatican City, 16 April 2014 (VIS) – During Holy Week, from Thursday 17 to Tuesday 22 April, and on the name day of the Holy Father (St. George) on Thursday 23 April, no daily VIS bulletin will be transmitted. The service will resume on Thursday 24 April.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Vatican City, 15 April 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Holy Father, sent a telegram of condolences to Bishop Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortazar of Valparaiso, Chile, for the fire that over the last 48 hours has devastated the nearby forest, spreading to various zones of the city. It has so far claimed twelve victims and over 10,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes.

“Upon hearing the sad news of the fire that is affecting the city of Valparaiso, Pope Francis wishes to express his spiritual closeness to all the inhabitants, raising prayers for the eternal repose of the souls of the victims of this grave disaster, and sharing in the sorrow of those who have lost their homes and property.

“Likewise, offering the support of prayer for the efforts of the emergency services, the Holy Father urges the authorities and all the people to stay firm in the face of adversity, so that through the spirit of fraternal solidarity and charity, the necessary help may reach all those affected”.

At the end of the telegram Cardinal Parolin asks the bishop to transmit his most heartfelt condolences to the families of the departed and expresses his paternal care for those afflicted.


Vatican City, 15 April 2014 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., responding to questions from journalists, today declared that next May, the Holy See – along with Cyprus, Lithuania, Guinea, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uruguay – will present its Initial Report on the Convention Against Torture (CAT) to the relevant Committee.

“It is a standard procedure adhered to by all States party to the Convention”, said Fr. Lombardi. “Considering the types of obligations included in the Convention, the Holy See signed the Convention in 2002 exclusively in the name of and on the part of Vatican City State. For this reason, the Holy See continues to fulfil its obligations on the part of Vatican City State and to present periodical reports, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Convention”.


Vatican City, 15 April 2014 (VIS) – Tomorrow, Holy Wednesday, the detainees in the Roman prison of “Regina Coeli” will receive, as an Easter gift from the Pope, 1200 pocket-sized copies of the Gospel .It is the same volume, also containing the Acts of the Apostles, that the Pope handed out to the participants in the Angelus of Sunday 6 April in St. Peter's Square, and to the faithful who on the same day attended Mass celebrated by the Pope in the church of St. Gregory the Great. Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Almoner of His Holiness, will be responsible for distributing the Gospels during a visit to the prison.

On Holy Thursday, 17 April, Archbishop Krajewski will celebrated Mass “In Cena Domini” at the “Isola dell'Amore Fraterno”, a voluntary association founded in 1996 that works to provide preventative measures, solidarity and assistance for detainees, ex-convicts and those who are socially marginalised or estranged from their families.


Vatican City, 15 April 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Thursday, 24 April, at 6.00 a.m., Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines, will take possession of the title of St. Mary “Regina Mundi” in Torre Spaccata (Via Alessandro Barbosi, 6).


Vatican City, 15 April 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:

- Bishop Charbel Georges Merhi of the Congregation of Lebanese Maronite Missionaries, emeritus of Buenos Aires.

- Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano and secretary of the Council of Cardinals.


Vatican City, 15 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Rev. Acquirino Francis Kibira as bishop of Kasese (area 3,205, population 610,000, Catholics 292,106, priests 39, religious 66), Uganda. The bishop-elect was born in Kigoto-Bulyansungwe, Uganda in 1958, and was ordained a priest in 1984. He studied sacred scriptures at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including: lecturer at the Katigondo National major seminary, Masaka; head of permanent formation of the clergy; lecturer and dean of studies at St. Paul's National Seminary Kinyamasika, Fort Portal. He is currently rector of the same national seminary. He succeeds Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- appointed Msgr. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo as bishop of Abeokuta (area 10,562, population 2,570,000, Catholics 70,125, priest 61, religious 40), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Ibadan, Nigeria in 1964. He holds a licentiate and a doctorate in history of the Church from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles: lecturer at the minor seminary of the parishes of St. Patrick and St. Ignatius of Loyola; resident priest in St. Mary's Cathedral of Ibadan; priest of the Church of the Assumption at Bodija; lecturer in history of the Church at the Sts. Peter and Paul seminary and the Dominican Institute; president of the Ibadan Diocesan Priests Association and secretary of the Diocesan Priests of All Yorubaland. He is currently vicar general of the archdiocese of Ibadan.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Vatican City, 14 April 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father met with the seminarians of the community of the Pontifical College “Leoniano de Anagni”, and warned them not to fall into the trap of thinking that they are preparing to exercise a profession, to become the employees of a business enterprise or a bureaucratic entity. “You are becoming 'good shepherds', in the image of Jesus, to be like Him, in the midst of His flock, to graze His sheep. Before this vocation, we can answer like the Virgin Mary to the Angel: 'How is this possible?'”

“Becoming good shepherds in the image of Jesus is something very great, and we are so small”, he continued. “Yes, it is true, it is too great; but it is not our work! It is the work of the Holy Spirit, with our collaboration. … I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”, said Francis, emphasising that only in this way is it possible to be deacons and priests of the Church. … If you are not willing to follow this path, with these attitudes and these experiences, it is better to have the courage to seek another. There are many ways, in the Church, to bear Christian witness”. Before concluding, the Pope encouraged the seminarians to reflect on this theme and emphasised that following in Christ's ministry allows no place for mediocrity, who always leads to using the holy people of God to one's own advantage.


Vatican City, 13 April 2014 (VIS) – Today in St. Peter's Square Pope Francis began the rites of Holy Week with the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord.

The ceremony began with the blessing of the palms and the olive branches placed beside the obelisk in the Square, carried in procession to the entrance of the basilica. The young people of Rome and other diocese took part in the celebration, in relation to the 29th World Youth Day, which this year takes the theme, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”.

The Pope based his homily on the question, “Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, before Jesus Who enters Jerusalem on this feast day? … Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”

“This week, we begin with a celebratory procession with olive branches: all the people welcome Jesus. Children and young people sing in praise of Jesus. … But this week proceeds in the mystery of Jesus' death and His resurrection. We have listened to the Passion of the Lord. It will do us good to ask the question, who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I, before Jesus Who enters Jerusalem on this feast day? Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep my distance? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”

We have heard many names: the group of leaders, some who are priests, some Pharisees, some doctors of the Law, who had decided to kill Him. They waited for the opportunity to take Him. Am I like one of them?

“We have also heard another name: Judas. Thirty coins. Am I like Judas? We have heard of other names: the disciples who understood nothing, who slept while the Lord suffered. Do I spend my life asleep? Or am I like the disciples, who did not understand what it was to betray Jesus? Like that other disciple who wanted to resolve everything by the sword: am I like them? Am I like Judas, who pretended to love and to kiss the Master in order to deliver Him into the hands of His enemy, to betray Him? Am I a traitor? Am I like those leaders who are quick to judge and seek false witnesses: am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I believe that in so doing I save the people?

“Am I like Pilate, in that when I see that the situation is difficult, I wash my hands of it and do not assume my responsibility and condemn people, or allow them to be condemned? Am I like that crowd that does not know if it is in a religious meeting, a court of judgement or a circus, and chooses Barabas? For them it was all the same: it was more entertaining to humiliate Jesus.

“Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, who spit on Him, insult Him, who amuse themselves by humiliating the Lord? Am I like the Cyrenian who returned from work, weary, but who had the good will to help the Lord carry the cross? Am I like those who passed before the Cross and made fun of Jesus: 'He was so brave! If he comes down from the Cross we will believe in Him!' Making fun of Jesus”.

“Am I like those brave women, such as the Mother of Jesus, who were there, who suffered in silence? Am I like Joseph, the secret disciple who carried the copy of Jesus with love, to bury him? Am I like the two Marys, who remained before His tomb crying and praying?

“Am I like the leaders who, the following day went to Pilate to say, 'Look, this man said that he would be resurrected. Careful that this is not another trick'”, and blocked the life, blocked the tomb to defend doctrine, so that life does not come out?

“Where is my heart? Which of these people do I resemble? May this question accompany us throughout the week”.


Vatican City, 14 April 2014 (VIS) – Following the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the seventy thousand faithful present in St- Peter's Square and, before the Marian prayer, he greeted the 250 delegates, bishops, priests, religious and laypeople who participated during these days in the meeting for the World Youth Day organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

“In this way there begins the path of preparation for the next world meeting that will take place in July 2016 in Krakow on the theme 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy'. Before long the young Brazilians will deliver to the Polish youth the Cross of the World Youth Days. It was Blessed John Paul II who entrusted the Cross to the young thirty years ago: he asked them to take it all over the world as a sign of Christ's love for humanity. On 27 April we will have the joy of celebrating the canonization of this Pope, along with John XXIII. John Paul II, who initiated the World Youth Days, will become its great patron; in the communion of saints he will continue to be a father and a friend for the young of the world. Let us ask the Lord that the Cross, along with the icon of Mary 'Salus Populi Romani', be a sign of hope for all, revealing Christ's invincible love to the world”.

Following these words, the World Youth Day Cross was consigned, and Pope Francis added, “I greet all Romans and all pilgrims, and I greet in particular the delegations from Rio de Janeiro and Krakow, led by their archbishops, Cardinals Orani Joao Tempesta and Stanislaw Dziwisz. In this context, I have the joy of announcing that, God willing, on 15 August at Daejeon, in the Republic of Korea, I will meet with the young of Asia in their great continental meeting”.

“And now, let us turn to the Virgin Mary, so that she might help us always to follow Jesus' example faithfully”.


Vatican City, 12 April 2014 (VIS) – “The study of history indeed represents one of the paths for the impassioned search for the truth, which has always pervaded man's soul”, said the Pope in his audience with the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. “Your research, marked both by a genuine passion for the Church and by sincere love for the truth, can be of great help to those who have the task of discerning what the Holy Spirit wants to say to today's Church. ... In your encounter and collaboration with researchers from every culture and religion, you can offer a specific contribution to the dialogue between the Church and the contemporary world”.

At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis commented on one of the initiatives planned by the Committee, the international conference to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, and recalled the prophetic words of Benedict XV in his letter of August 1917 to the leaders of the warring nations: “Nothing is lost by peace; everything may be lost by war”.


Vatican City, 12 April 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father met with the participants in the Congress of the Italian Society for Oncological Surgery, organised by the “La Sapienza” University of Rome and by the Sant'Andrea Hospital. “Scientific research has multiplied the possibilities for prevention and treatment, and has discovered therapies to treat many illnesses”, said the Pope. “But when we speak of in full health, it is necessary not to lose sign of the fact that the human person, created in the image and semblance of God, is a unity of body and spirit. These two elements are distinct but inseparable, because the person is one entity. Therefore, even illness, the experience of pain and suffering, does not relate only to the bodily dimension, but to man in his entirety. This creates the need for an integral treatment, that considers the person as a whole and unites medical care with human, psychological and social support, spiritual guidance, and support for patients' families”.

Pope Francis recalled Pope John Paul II's Moto Proprio “Dolentium hominum” of 1985, remarking that “it is indispensable for healthcare workers to 'be led by an integrally human view of illness” and as a result be “able to effect a fully human approach to the sick person who is suffering'. … Fraternal communion with the sick opens us up to the true beauty of human life”.

Finally, referring the beginning of Holy Week, which culminates in the Triduum of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, he affirmed, “Here human suffering reaches its lowest point, and is redeemed by God. God as love. Only Christ can give meaning to the scandal of innocent pain”.


Vatican City, 14 April 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome.

On Saturday 12 April the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City, 14 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Alan Williams, S.M., as bishop of Brentwood (area 3,967, population 2,789,000, Catholics 225,700, priests 154, permanent deacons 11, religious 293), England. The bishop-elect was born in Blackburn, England in 1951, gave his solemn vows in 1976, and was ordained a priest in 1983. After teaching at St. Mary's College, Blackburn, he served as director of the national shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. He was subsequently chaplain at Sheffield Hallam University and priest of the parish of Sidcup in Southwark, as well as regional superior of the Marist Fathers. In 2008 he returned to the role of director of the national shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, in which he continues to serve. He succeeds Bishop Thomas McMahon, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

On Saturday, 12 April, the Holy Father:

- appointed Fr. Columba Macbeth-Green, O.S.P.P.E., as bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes (area 414,378, population 117,000, Catholics 35,200, priests 21, religious 42), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Forbes, Australia in 1968, gave his solemn vows in 1996, and ordained a priest in 1997. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including: priest of the parish of Tarcutta, Wagga Wagga; prefect of novices in Tarcutta; first counsellor of the Australian Province of the Order; master of novices in Tarcutta; secretary of the Australian Province of the Order; sub-prior of the Penrose Park Monastery, Wollongong; and priest of the parish of Moss Vale, Wollongong. He is currently prior of the Monastery and rector of the Marian Valley shrine, Canugra, Brisbane, and provincial vicar of the Australian Province of the Order. He has also served as chaplain of the police of New South Wales and is currently chaplain of the police of Queensland.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia, Ukraine, presented by Bishop Marian Buczek, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Bishop Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk, O.F.M., auxiliary of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, Ukraine, and apostolic administrator “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of Lutsk, as bishop of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia (area 196,300, population 19,000,000, Catholics 40,000, priests 64, religious 97), Ukraine.

- appointed Bishop Vitaliy Skomarovskyi, auxiliary of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, Ukraine, as bishop of Lutsk (area 40,300, population 2,217,730, Catholics 27,160, priests 26, religious 19), Ukraine.

- appointed Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole, F.D.P., as bishop of Ascoli Piceno (area 840, population 107,503, Catholics 106,512, priests 111, permanent deacons 7, religious 151), Italy. He was previously auxiliary of the archdiocese of L'Aquila, Italy.

- appointed Fr. Maurizio of the clergy of the diocese of Faenza-Modigliana as relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Fr. Tagliaferri is ordinary professor of History of the Church at the Theological Faculty of Emilia-Romagna.

- confirmed Msgr. Guido Marini as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations.

- appointed Professor Margaret Scotford Archer, Great Britain, as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Scotford Archer is currently director of the “Centre d'Ontologie Sociale” at the EPFL Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, pontifical academic and member of the Council of the Academy.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Vatican City, 11 April 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), instituted following Pope Pius XII's appeal for the defence of children following the Second World War. Since then, this organisation, “born of the maternity of the Church”, as Pope Francis remarked, has been committed to promoting the defence of the rights of children, also contributing to the 1989 United Nations Convention and working in constant collaboration with the Holy See in New York, Strasbourg and above all in Geneva.

Francis, after stating that in a well-constructed society, privileges should only be for children and the elderly because the future of the people is in their hands”, went on to comment on the theme of abuse of minors. “I feel that I must take responsibility for all the harm that some priests – quite a number, but not in proportion to the total – I must take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the damage they have caused through sexual abuse of children. The Church is aware of this damage. It is their own personal and moral damage, but they are men of the Church. And we will not take one step backwards in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we must be even stronger. You do not interfere with children.

“In our times, it is important to implement projects against forced labour, against the recruitment of child soldiers, and against every type of violence against minors. On a more positive note, it is necessary to emphasise the right of children to grow up within a family, with a father and a mother able to create a suitable environment for their development and emotional maturity. Continuing to mature in the relationship, in the complementarity of the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother, and thus preparing the way for emotional maturity”.

“This means, at the same time, supporting parents' right to moral and religious education for their children. In this regard, I would like to express my refusal of any type of educational experimentation on children. One does not experiment on children and young people. They are not guinea pigs! The horrors of the manipulation of education that we have experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained current relevance in various guises and in proposals that, under the pretext of modernity, compel children and the young to take the dictatorial path of 'unitary thought'”. A great educator said to me, little more than a week ago, “At times, we don't know if these projects – referring to real education projects – are sending a child to school or to a re-education camp”.

“Working for human rights presupposes keeping anthropological formation alive, being well prepared regarding the reality of the human person, and knowing how to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary cultures and mentalities that are spread by the mass media. Obviously this does not mean seeking refuge in protected environments, which these days are incapable of giving life, which are linked to cultures that have already moved on. …. No, this isn't right. It means facing with the positive values of the human person the new challenges that the new culture presents. For you, this means offering to your managers and workers a permanent formation regarding the anthropology of the child, as it is there that rights and duties are based. This decides the approach to educational projects, that obviously must continue to progress, mature and adapt to the signs of the times, always respecting human identity and freedom of conscience.

“Thank you again, and I wish you well in your work. I am reminded of the logo of the Commission for the protection of childhood and adolescence in Buenos Aires. It was an image of the Holy Family seated on a donkey, fleeing to Egypt to defend the Child. At times it is necessary to flee; at times it is necessary to stop to protect oneself; and at times one must fight. But always with tenderness”.


Vatican City, 11 April 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received 470 members of the Italian Movement for Life. The Pontiff thanked them for their work, especially for the “Progetto Gemma” (a form of prenatal adoption at a distance to assist pregnant women in difficulty) which, he said, “in these twenty years has enabled, through a particular form of concrete solidarity, the birth of many children who otherwise would never have seen the light of day”.

“Human life is sacred and inviolable”, he emphasised. “Every civil right is based on the recognition of the first, fundamental right, the right to life, which is not subject to any condition, of a qualitative, economic and certainly not of an ideological nature. Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' places a clear limit guaranteeing the value of human life, today we must also say 'No to an economy of exclusion and inequality'. This economy kills. … Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a 'throwaway' culture which is now spreading. In this way life too is discarded”, continued the Holy Father, quoting from his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”.

“One of the most serious risks of our age is the divorce of economy and morality, the separation between the opportunities offered by a market which has every technological novelty at its disposal and the basic ethical norms of human nature, which are increasingly neglected. Therefore it is necessary to reaffirm our solid opposition to any direct offence against life, especially when innocent and defenceless, and the unborn child in its mother's womb is the quintessence of innocence. Let us remember the words of Vatican Council II: 'Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes'”.

“I remember once, a long time ago”, he added, “I participated in a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted them and while I spoke to them, one of them called me to one side. He had a package and he said to me, 'Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments I have used to carry out abortions. I have encountered the Lord and repented, and now I fight for life'. He gave me all those instruments. Let us pray for this good man”.

“Every Christian has the responsibility of this witness to the Gospel: to protect life with courage and love in all its phases. I encourage you to do this, always with an attitude of closeness and proximity, so that every woman feels considered as a person, listened to, welcomed and accompanied”.

“We have spoken about children: there are many of them! But I would also like to speak about grandparents, the other side of life! Because we must also care for grandparents, because children and grandparents are the hope of the people. Children and young people, because they lead the people ahead; and the elderly, because they hold the wisdom of history, they are the memory of the people. Protect life in a time in which children and grandparents enter into this throwaway culture and are regarded as disposable material. No! Children and the elderly are the hope of a population!”

He concluded, “The Lord supports the activities you carry out as Help Centres for Life and as a Movement for Life, in particular the project “One of Us”. I entrust you to the heavenly intercession of the Virgin Mother Mary and impart a heartfelt blessing to your families”.


Vatican City, 11 April 2014 (VIS) – On the occasion of the initiation of the “Dialogue for Peace” between the government and opposition groups in Venezuela, in which the Holy See has been invited as a mediator, the Holy Father has sent a message to President Nicolas Maduro Moros, members of government, representatives of the Democratic Unity Roundtable and the chancellors of UNASUR, to express his wish that “unity always prevail over conflict”: The message was read yesterday during the inaugural session of the event by Archbishop Aldo Giordano, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela. The full text is reproduced below:

“Firstly, I would like to thank you for your invitation to the Holy See to participate in the process of dialogue and peace for your beloved country. To each one of you I wish first o all to assure my prayers that the meeting and the process you are undertaking may bear the desired fruit of national reconciliation and peace, gifts we invoke from God for the entire Venezuelan population.

“I am aware of the disquiet and suffering experienced by many people and, while I express my concerns over what is happening, I renew my affection for all Venezuelans and in particular for the victims of the violence and their families. I am deeply convinced that violence can never lead to the peace and well-being of a country, since it always generates violence alone. On the contrary, through dialogue you are able to rediscover the common shared foundation that will lead you to overcome the current moment of conflict and polarisation, which so deeply wounds Venezuela, to find forms of collaboration. Respect for and acknowledgement of the differences that exist between the Parties will promote the common good. All of you, indeed, share the love for your countries and for your people, as well as serious concerns linked to the economic crisis, violence and criminality. You all have at heart the future of your children and the wish for peace that distinguishes Venezuelans. You all have in common your faith in God and the will to defend the dignity of the human person.

It is precisely this that you have in common and which presses you to undertake the dialogue that begins today, at the base of which there must be an authentic culture of encounter, that is aware that unity always prevails over conflict. I encourage you, therefore, not to stop at this current situation of conflict, but rather to be open with each other in order to become authentic peacemakers. At the heart of every sincere dialogue there is, above all, acknowledgement and respect for the other. Above all there is the 'heroism' of forgiveness and mercy, which frees us from resentment and hatred, and opens a truly new path. It will be a long and difficult road that will require patience and courage, but it is the only one that can lead to peace and justice. For the good of all your people and for the future of your children, I ask you to find this courage.

“With these sentiments I accompany the dear Venezuelan nation, and to each one of you I impart a heartfelt apostolic blessing, invoking the Lord's help”.


Vatican City, 11 April 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

- Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Crema, Italy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Vatican City, 10 April 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience the professors, students and non-teaching staff of the Gregorian Pontifical University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute. These institutions, brought together in a consortium by Pope Pius XI in 1923, were entrusted to the Society of Jesus and the Holy Father recalled the importance of collaboration between them in “safeguarding historical memory and, at the same time, taking responsibility for the present and looking to the future with creativity and imagination”.

Pope Francis indicated two aspects that should characterise the task of the members of the consortium, both teachers and students. The first is to acknowledge the value of the place where they work and study – the city and above all the Church of Rome. “There is a part and there is a present. There are the roots of faith: the memories of the Apostles and the Martyrs; and there is the ecclesial 'today', the current path of this Church which presides over charity, the service of unity and universality. All this must not be taken for granted! … But at the same time you bring here the variety of your Churches of origin and of your cultures. … This offers a valuable opportunity for growth in faith and in opening the mind and the heart to the horizon of Catholicity. Within this horizon, the dialectic between 'centre' and 'periphery' takes on a form of its own, an evangelical form according to the logic of a God who reaches the centre from the periphery, to then return to the periphery”.

The second aspect was the relationship between study and spiritual life, and which constitutes “one of the challenges of our times: transmitting knowledge and offering a key to a vital understanding, not an accumulation of unconnected notions. There is a need for a true evangelical hermeneutics to better understand life, the world, and humankind, not a synthesis but a spiritual atmosphere of research and certainty based on the truths of reason and faith. Philosophy and theology enable us to acquire the convictions that structure and strengthen intelligence and enlighten will … but all this is fruitful only if it is done with an open mind and on one's knees. The theologian who is satisfied with his complete and conclusive thought is mediocre. A good theologian and philosopher is open, or incomplete in thought, always open to the 'maius' of God and of the truth, always in development. … And the theologian who does not pray or does not adore God ends up sinking into the most repugnant narcissism. And this is an ecclesiastical sickness. Narcissism in theologians and in thinkers is harmful and repugnant”.

The Holy Father continued, “The aim of study in any pontifical university is ecclesial. Research and study are to be integrated with personal and community life, with missionary commitment, with fraternal charity and sharing with the poor, with attention to inner life in relation to the Lord. Your Institutes are not machines for producing theologians and philosophers; they are communities in which one grows, and growth occurs in the family”. The university family is “indispensable for creating an attitude of concrete humanity and wisdom, making students into people capable of building humanity, of transmitting the truth in a human dimension, of knowing that if there lacks the goodness and beauty of belonging to a working family one ends up as an intellectual without talent, an ethicist without goodness, a thinker lacking the splendour of beauty and simply 'adorned' with formalism. Respectful and daily contact with the laboriousness and the witness of the men and women in your institutions will give you the quota of realism necessary for your science to be human and not merely that of the laboratory”, he concluded.


Vatican City, 10 April 2014 (VIS) – “An open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”: the Holy Father thus described human trafficking in his English-language address to the participants in the “Second International Conference on Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership”, which took place from 9 to 10 April in the Vatican, organised by the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales. “This is an important meeting, a gesture on the part of the Church and people of good will who want to cry out, 'Enough!'”, he added.

“The very fact of our being here to combine our efforts means that we want our strategies and areas of expertise to be accompanied and reinforced by the mercy of the Gospel, by closeness to the men and women who are victims of this crime”, said the Pope. “Our meeting today includes law enforcement authorities, who are primarily responsible for combating this tragic reality by a vigorous application of the law. It also includes humanitarian and social workers, whose task it is to provide victims with welcome, human warmth and the possibility of building a new life. These are two different approaches, but they can and must go together. To dialogue and exchange views on the basis of these two complementary approaches is important. Conferences such as this are extremely helpful, and, I would say, much needed”.

Before concluding, the Holy Father thanked the participants for their collaboration and commented on the importance of the fact that, “one year after your first meeting, you have regrouped from throughout the world in order to advance your common efforts”.


Vatican City, 10 April 2014 (VIS) – The Declaration of Commitment following the “Second International Conference on Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership”, which took place in the Vatican's Casina Pio IV, is published in full below:

“On this date 10 April 2014 in the Vatican, senior law enforcement officials and representatives of the Catholic Church met to plan ways of together combating human trafficking and slavery.

The Holy Father Pope Francis has endorsed this event and has stated:

“I exhort the international community to adopt an even more unanimous and effective strategy against human trafficking, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end, and that their inviolable dignity may always be respected.

As senior law enforcement officials within the international community, we commit to eradicate the scourge of this serious criminal activity, which abuses vulnerable people. This conference is part, of a process where we work together on the international stage to develop strategies in prevention, pastoral care and re-integration, placing the victim at the centre of all we do.

I make a personal commitment to developing partnerships with the Church and civil society to bring to justice those who are responsible for these horrendous crimes and to alleviate the suffering of the victims”.


Vatican City, 10 April 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Zvonimir Jankuloski, the new ambassador of the ex-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.

- Archbishop Peter Rajic, apostolic nuncio in Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, apostolic delegate in the Arabian Peninsula.

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