Vatican News

Pope: Be on guard against pursuit of power and wealth

Vatican News - Tue, 11/08/2016 - 10:15
(Vatican Radio) We cannot serve God well if we hunger after power and wealth. That was Pope Francis’ message as he reflected on the daily readings at his Santa Marta Mass on Tuesday morning. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:  Pope Francis began his homily by saying that if we want to be good and faithful servants of the Lord, we must guard against dishonestly and the pursuit of power. But how often, he said, do we see or hear ourselves saying, even in our own homes, that “I’m in charge here?” Jesus taught us that leaders are those who serve others, and if we want to be first, we must become the servant of all. The Pope stressed that Jesus turns the values of our world upside-down, showing that the search for power is an obstacle to becoming a servant of the Lord A second obstacle, he continued, is dishonesty which can also be found in the life of the Church. Jesus told us that we cannot serve two masters – God and money, the Pope warned, so we have to choose to serve one or the other. Dishonesty, he continued, is not just being a sinner, since we are all sinners and can repent of those sins. But dishonesty, he said, is being duplicitous and playing one hand off against the other, playing the ‘God’ card and the ‘world’ card at the same time. These obstacles of dishonesty and the pursuit of power, the Pope said, take away our peace of mind and leave us anxious, with an ‘itch’ in our hearts. In this way, he said, we live in constant tension, concerned only about appearances and the worldly desires of fame and fortune. We cannot serve the Lord like this, he insisted, so we ask to be freed from these obstacles in order that we may find serenity of body and mind. We are not slaves, but children of God, Pope Francis said, and when we serve Him freely we feel deep peace in our hearts. We hear the voice of the Lord calling “Come, come, come, good and faithful servant”. We all want to be faithful servants of the Lord, he said, but we cannot do it on our own and so we ask God for the grace to overcome these obstacles and to serve Him freely with peace in our hearts. Pope Francis concluded by saying we must constantly remind ourselves that we are unworthy servants, unable to do anything on our own. Instead, he said, we must ask God to open our hearts and let the Spirit in, to remove these obstacles and to transform us into children whose hearts are free to serve the Lord.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Vatican event supports people with rare and neglected diseases

Vatican News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 10:49
(Vatican Radio) A Vatican conference this week aims to show solidarity for persons affected by rare diseases and highlight the plight of poor and vulnerable populations afflicted by neglected diseases, many of whom live in the most remote rural areas of the world.   The conference, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers takes take place from 10 to 12 November, and is entitled “ Towards a Culture of Health that is Welcoming and Supportive at the Service of People with Rare and Neglected Pathologies .”  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Illustrating the three day event, the Secretary of the Council Monsignor Jean-Marie Mupendawatu ,  said the conference comes to life within the spirit of the Holy Year of Mercy. He pointed out that thanks to the Church’s 2000 year old mission to serve the sick - which has made it the world’s largest provider of healthcare services – it is in a unique position to be able to offer significant educational, cultural and pastoral responses to the challenges posed by the conference.   Monsignor Mupendawatu said that according to the World Health Organization a disease is considered rare when it affects one out of 2000 people. He said that today there are between 5000 and 8000 pathologies that are defined ‘rare’ and 80% of them are of genetic origin.  Regarding neglected diseases he said they affect some 400 million people, almost half of them children. Most of these, he said, are infectious and are to be found in tropical climates and in areas where people do not have access to clean water and sanitation or health centers. So – he pointed out – they not only pose a medical and clinical challenge, but also cultural and socio-political ones that call for global commitment.  Addressing United Nations officials in Kenya in 2015, Pope Francis spoke of the issue and called for international agreements to be shaped around the needs of the poor: “Certain health issues, like the elimination of malaria and tuberculosis, treatment of so-called orphan diseases, and neglected sectors of tropical medicine, require urgent political attention, above and beyond all other commercial or political interests.” Monsignor Mupendawatu  explained that the Conference will focus on how to expand treatment coverage, advance research and development and ensure the basic rights and dignity of patients. This – he said – also implies better care of the environment in which man lives.       During the three-day event physicians and medical researchers who are specialized in the field of rare and neglected diseases will address participants and some patients will bring their personal witness and reflections.  Pope Francis will receive the more than 5,000 conference participants, patients, and family members at the conclusion of the event in the Paul VI Hall. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Holy See reiterates no China episcopal ordinations authorised

Vatican News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 09:01
(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, has clarified the Vatican has not authorised any episcopal ordinations in Continental China. “Should such episcopal ordinations have occurred, they would constitute a grave violation of canonical norms,” Burke said in a statement. He reiterated “it is not licit to proceed with any episcopal ordination without the necessary Papal Mandate, even by appealing to particular personal beliefs.”   Declaration of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, concerning the  purported episcopal ordinations without the Pontifical Mandate in Continental China:   “In recent weeks, there has been a series of reports regarding some episcopal ordinations conferred without Papal Mandate of priests of the unofficial community of the Catholic Church in Continental China.  The Holy See has not authorised any ordination, nor has it been officially informed of such  events. Should such episcopal ordinations have occurred, they would constitute a grave violation  of canonical norms. The Holy See hopes that such reports are baseless. If not, it will have to await reliable  information and sure documentation before adequately evaluating the cases. However, it is  reiterated that it is not licit to proceed with any episcopal ordination without the necessary  Papal Mandate, even by appealing to particular personal beliefs”. 7 November 2016 (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: Raise awareness about "scourge" of human trafficking

Vatican News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 06:45
(Vatican Radio) On Monday, Pope Francis spoke out against human trafficking, in an address to members of RENATE: Religious in Europe Networking against trafficking and exploitation). The group is in Rome for their 2 nd European Assembly, which took place on Sunday. The theme of this year’s assembly was “Ending Trafficking Begins with Us.” Listen:  In his address to members of the group, Pope Francis once again denounced “the trade in human beings” as “a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters, and constitutes a true crime against humanity.” He acknowledged that much has been accomplished in educating the public about human trafficking, but said “much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness” and in coordinating the various efforts of those engaged in fighting against trafficking in human persons. The Holy Father commended the work of RENATE in raising public awareness about the extent of “this scourge which especially affects women and children.” He especially praised them for their “faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in [their] commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.” The Pope made special mention of the work of women in accompanying other women and children in the process of recovery. Pope Francis concluded his remarks by expressing his confidence that the members of RENATE would contribute “to a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great peripheries of society.” The full text of Pope Francis’ address to the Second European Assembly of Renate can be read below: Dear Sisters and Brothers, I extend a cordial welcome to you, who are taking part in this Second Assembly of the Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation.  I thank Sister Imelda Poole for her kind words of greeting on your behalf, and I offer my prayerful good wishes for the fruitfulness of these days of prayer, reflection and discussion.  It is fitting that your Assembly takes place in Rome during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  In this season of grace, all of us are invited to enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s mercy and, like the Good Samaritan, to bring the balm of that mercy to so many open wounds in our world.  One of the most troubling of those open wounds is the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity.  While much has been accomplished in acknowledging its gravity and extent, much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness and effecting a better coordination of efforts by governments, the judiciary, law enforcement officials and social workers. As you well know, one of the challenges to this work of advocacy, education and coordination is a certain indifference and even complicity, a tendency on the part of many to look the other way (cf. Evangelii Gaudium , 211) where powerful economic interests and networks of crime are at play.  For this reason, I express my appreciation of your efforts to raise public awareness of the extent of this scourge, which especially affects women and children.  But in a very special way, I thank you for your faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in your commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.  Your activity in this area reminds us of “the enormous and often silent efforts which have been made for many years by religious congregations, especially women’s congregations”, to care for those wounded in their dignity and scarred by their experiences (cf. Message for the 2015 World Day of Peace , 5).  I think especially of the distinctive contribution made by women in accompanying other women and children on a deeply personal journey of healing and reintegration.    Dear friends, I trust that your sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise in these days will contribute to a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great peripheries of contemporary society.  Commending you, and all those whom you serve, to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord. I will remember all of you in my prayers, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to prisoners: Never lose hope in God’s mercy

Vatican News - Sun, 11/06/2016 - 09:33
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday for the Jubilee for Prisoners in Saint Peter’s Basilica, during which he reminded prison detainees to never lose hope, or fall into the temptation that they can never be forgiven. Around 1,000 detainees from 12 countries took part in the weekend celebrations, along with their families, prison chaplains and staff, and various associations. The Jubilee for Prisoners marks one of the final major events of the Jubilee of Mercy, which will come to an end on November 20. Listen to Ann Schneible’s report: Pope Francis centred his homily for Mass for the Jubilee of Prisoners on the theme of hope as it appears in the day’s Mass readings. For instance, there are the seven brothers from the second book of Maccabees who speak about the hope of being raised again by God, and then Jesus’ response to the Sadducees, that God is not “the God of the dead, but of the living.” “Hope is a gift of God,” and should be nourished, the Pope said. “Whenever someone makes a mistake, the Father’s mercy is all the more present, awakening repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace.” The Pope acknowledged that the loss of freedom experienced by detainees, is the worst part of serving time for one’s crimes. However, he urged those in prison to maintain the “breath” of hope. The Holy Father turned to day’s reading from the letter to the Romans, in which “Paul almost seems to tell us that God too hopes”. “His mercy gives him no rest. He is like that Father in the parable, who keeps hoping for the return of his son who has fallen by the wayside”. “If God hopes, then no one should lose hope.  For hope is the strength to keep moving forward.  It is the power to press on towards the future and a changed life.  It is the incentive to look to tomorrow, so that the love we have known, for all our failings, can show us a new path.” Pope Francis spoke of the “hypocrisy” of those who see prisoners only as “wrongdoers”, and who disregard the possibility of rehabilitation. Going off the cuff from his prepared homily, the Pope said how every time he enters a prison, he asks himself: “‘Why them and not I?’ All of us have the possibility of making mistakes.” The Holy Father reminded those in prison to not be held “captive” by their past mistakes, and “never yield to the temptation of thinking that we cannot be forgiven.”  Pope Francis turned his reflection to the importance of forgiveness among those who have experienced violence or abuse against themselves or their loved ones. Acknowledging that there are some wounds that only God can heal, the Pope said that, nonetheless, “when violence is met with forgiveness, even the hearts of those who have done wrong can be conquered by the love that triumphs over every form of evil.” “In this way, among the victims and among those who wronged them, God raises up true witnesses and workers of mercy.” Pope Francis concluded his reflection by turning to the statue of Our Lady of Mercy, an image of Mary with the child Jesus, who is holding a set of chains. “May she intercede for you, so that your hearts can experience the power of hope for a new life, one worthy of being lived in complete freedom and in service to your neighbour.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Angelus: Pope appeals for better prison living conditions

Vatican News - Sun, 11/06/2016 - 06:57
(Vatican Radio) Following the celebration of Mass on Sunday for the Jubilee of Prisoners, and after the recitation of the Marian Prayer, Pope Francis made an appeal in favour of the improvement of living conditions in prisons all over the world, in order, he said, “that it fully respects the human dignity of detainees.” In addition, the Pope reiterated the need for a criminal justice system that is not only punitive, but is open to hope and the prospect of re-inserting the offender into society. “In a special way”,  he added, “I submit for the consideration of the competent civilian authorities in all countries the opportunity to make, in this Holy Year of Mercy, an act of clemency towards those prisoners who will be considered eligible to benefit from this measure.” The Pope also recalled on Sunday, the Paris Agreement on the climate of the planet which came into force on Friday. Pope Francis said, “this breakthrough proves that humanity has the ability to work together for the protection of creation and to put the economy at the service of people to build peace and justice.” The Holy Father expressed the hope that a conference on climate which opens on Monday in Marrakech, Morocco, would continue its work aimed at caring for the common home. During his Angelus address Pope Francis remembered the thirty-eight martyrs who were beatified on Saturday in Shkodra, Albania. He said, “they preferred to suffer imprisonment, torture and eventually death, in order to remain faithful to Christ and the Church.” “Their example”,  he added “helps us find strength in the Lord that supports us in times of trouble and inspires acts of kindness, forgiveness and peace.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope's homily for Jubilee of Prisoners

Vatican News - Sun, 11/06/2016 - 04:35
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Mass for the Jubilee of Prisoners in St Peter's Basilica, telling those present, "by learning from past mistakes, you can open a new chapter of your lives."  Below is the English translation of the Pope's homily   The message that God’s word wants to bring us today is surely that of hope. One of the seven brothers condemned to death by King Antiochus Epiphanes speaks of “the hope God gives of being raised again by him” (2 Macc 7:14).  These words demonstrate the faith of those martyrs who, despite suffering and torture, were steadfast in looking to the future.  Theirs was a faith that, in acknowledging God as the source of their hope, reflected the desire to attain a new life. In the Gospel, we have heard how Jesus, with a simple yet complete answer, demolishes the banal casuistry that the Sadducees had set before him.  His response – “He is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him” (Lk 20:38) – reveals the true face of God, who desires only life for all his children.  The hope of being born to a new life, then, is what we must make our own, if we are to be faithful to the teaching of Jesus. Hope is a gift of God.  It is placed deep within each human heart in order to shed light on this life, so often troubled and clouded by so many situations that bring sadness and pain.  We need to nourish the roots of our hope so that they can bear fruit; primarily, the certainty of God’s closeness and compassion, despite whatever evil we have done.  There is no corner of our heart that cannot be touched by God’s love.  Whenever someone makes a mistake, the Father’s mercy is all the more present, awakening repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. Today we celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy for you and with you, our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned.  Mercy, as the expression of God’s love, is something we need to think about more deeply.  Certainly, breaking the law involves paying the price, and losing one’s freedom is the worst part of serving time, because it affects us so deeply.  All the same, hope must not falter.  Paying for the wrong we have done is one thing, but another thing entirely is the “breath” of hope, which cannot be stifled by anyone or anything.  Our heart always yearns for goodness.  We are in debt to the mercy that In his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks of God as “the God of hope” (15:13).  Paul almost seems to tell us that God too hopes.  While this may seem paradoxical, it is true: God hopes!  His mercy gives him no rest. He is like that Father in the parable, who keeps hoping for the return of his son who has fallen by the wayside (Lk 15:11-32).  God does not rest until he finds the sheep that was lost (Lk 15:5).  So if God hopes, then no one should lose hope.  For hope is the strength to keep moving forward.  It is the power to press on towards the future and a changed life.  It is the incentive to look to tomorrow, so that the love we have known, for all our failings, can show us a new path.  In a word, hope is the proof, lying deep in our hearts, of the power of God’s mercy.  That mercy invites us to keep looking ahead and to overcome our attachment to evil and sin through faith and abandonment in him.  Dear friends, today is your Jubilee!  Today, in God’s sight, may your hope be kindled anew.  A Jubilee always brings with it a proclamation of freedom (Lev 25:39-46).  It does not depend on me to grant this, but the Church’s duty, one she cannot renounce, is to awaken within you the desire for true freedom.  Sometimes, a certain hypocrisy leads to people considering you only as wrongdoers, for whom prison is the sole answer.  We don’t think about the possibility that people can change their lives; we put little trust in rehabilitation.  But in this way we forget that we are all sinners and often, without being aware of it, we too are prisoners.  At times we are locked up within our own prejudices or enslaved to the idols of a false sense of wellbeing.  At times we get stuck in our own ideologies or absolutize the laws of the market even as they crush other people.  At such times, we imprison ourselves behind the walls of individualism and self-sufficiency, deprived of the truth that sets us free.  Pointing the finger against someone who has made mistakes cannot become an alibi for concealing our own contradictions.   We know that in God’s eyes no one can consider himself just (cf. Rom 2:1-11).  But no one can live without the certainty of finding forgiveness!  The repentant thief, crucified at Jesus’ side, accompanied him into paradise (cf. Lk 23:43).  So may none of you allow yourselves to be held captive by the past!  True enough, even if we wanted to, we can never rewrite the past.  But the history that starts today, and looks to the future, has yet to be written, by the grace of God and your personal responsibility.  By learning from past mistakes, you can open a new chapter of your lives.  Let us never yield to the temptation of thinking that we cannot be forgiven.  Whatever our hearts may accuse us of, small or great, “God is greater than our hearts” (1 Jn 3:20).  We need but entrust ourselves to his mercy. Faith, even when it is as tiny as a grain of mustard seed, can move mountains (cf. Mt 17:20).  How many times has the power of faith enabled us to utter the word pardon in humanly impossible situations.  People who have suffered violence and abuse, either themselves, or in the person of their loved ones, or their property…  there are some wounds that only God’s power, his mercy, can heal.  But when violence is met with forgiveness, even the hearts of those who have done wrong can be conquered by the love that triumphs over every form of evil.  In this way, among the victims and among those who wronged them, God raises up true witnesses and workers of mercy. Today we venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary in this statue, which represents her as a Mother who holds Jesus in her arms, together with a broken chain; it is the chain of slavery and imprisonment.  May Our Lady look upon each of you with a Mother’s love.  May she intercede for you, so that your hearts can experience the power of hope for a new life, one worthy of being lived in complete freedom and in service to your neighbour. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

New Statute for the Pontifical Academy for Life

Vatican News - Sat, 11/05/2016 - 12:16
(Vatican Radio) The Statute of the Pontifical Academy for Life, signed by the Holy Father on 18 October, was published on Saturday, and will come into effect on 1 January 2017. The following is a working translation of the text.   Part I Nature and Aims Article 1 – Introduction § 1 – The Pontifical Academy for Life, which has its seat in Vatican City State, was instituted by the Supreme Pontiff St. John Paul II by the Motu Proprio Vitae Mysterium of 11 February 1994. The aim of the Pontifical Academy for Life is the defence and promotion of the value of human life and the dignity of the person. § 2 – The specific task of the Academy is to: a) study questions and issues connected with the promotion and defence of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective; b) educate in a culture of life – in relation to those aspects that belong to its specific range of competence – through suitable initiatives, always in full respect of the Magisterium of the Church; c) inform the authorities of the Church, the various institutions of the biomedical sciences, social-healthcare organisations, the mass media and the civil community in general about the most relevant results of its study and research activities in a clear and prompt manner (cf. Vitae Mysterium, 4). § 3 – The Academy has a task of a prevalently scientific nature, directed towards the promotion and defence of human life (cf. Vitae Mysterium, 4). In particular, it studies the various aspects that relate to the care of the dignity of the human person at the different ages of existence, mutual respect between genders and generations, the defence of the dignity of each single human being, the promotion of a quality of human life that integrates material and spiritual value, with a view to an authentic “human ecology”, which may help to recover the original balance of Creation between the human person and the entire universe (cf. Chirograph, 15 August 2016). § 4 – In carrying out the activity provided for in this Statute, the Pontifical Academy for Life cooperates with the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, primarily the Secretary of State and the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, in relation to their respective competences and in a spirit of collaboration. § 5 – In order to promote and disseminate the culture of life, the Academy maintains close contacts with university Institutions, scientific Societies and research centres that pursue the various themes connected with life. Part II Organisation Article 2 – The Structure of the Academy The Pontifical Academy for Life is made up of a Presidency and a Central Office, and the Members, who are also called Academicians. Article 3 – The Presidency The Presidency is made up of the President, the Chancellor and the Governing Council. The direction and running of the ordinary and extraordinary activities of the Academy are the responsibility of the President, together with the Chancellor, assisted by the Governing Council. The Ecclesiastical Advisor also belongs to the Presidency. § 1 – The President a) The President is appointed by the Supreme Pontiff, remains in office for the period indicated in the letter of appointment, and can be reconfirmed in office. b) The President officially represents the Pontifical Academy, directs it in all its activities and is answerable on its behalf to the Holy Father; he convenes and chairs the Governing Council; establishes the agenda and implements the resolutions of the Governing Council. The President convenes and presides over the sessions of the Academy and may invoke the extraordinary collaboration of individual Members. § 2 – The Chancellor a) The Chancellor, appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for the period indicated in the letter of appointment, can be reconfirmed in office. b) The Chancellor can represent the Pontifical Academy for Life on behalf of the President, and collaborates with him in the direction and running of the activities of the Academy. § 3 – The Governing Council a) The Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life is composed of the President, a possible Vice President, the Chancellor and six Councillors appointed by the Supreme Pontiff, of whom four are chosen from among the Ordinary Members of the Academy, the fifth is proposed by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, and the sixth is the President of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Each Councillor remains in office for five years and can be reconfirmed in office. The Ecclesiastical Advisor, if appointed, also belongs to the Governing Council (cf. § 4 of this Article). b) The Governing Council meets in ordinary session at least twice a year to deliberate on the general orientations of the ordinary activities of the Academy and to address special questions connected with the life of the Academy. c) The Governing Council can meet in extraordinary session to examine grave questions that cannot be postponed. At such sessions all the members of the Governing Council who are present have the right to vote. d) The Governing Council chooses and appoints the Corresponding Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, as referred to in Art .5, § 3 of these Statutes, also assessing external proposals, and approves the programmes of study of the General Assemblies and the educational activities, contributing to the general direction of the annual programmes. § 4 – The Ecclesiastical Advisor a) The Ecclesiastical Advisor is appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for a five-year period of office that can be reconfirmed. This office may remain vacant when the office of President or that of Chancellor is held by an Ecclesiastic. b) The Ecclesiastical Advisor has the task of ensuring that the declarations of the Pontifical Academy for Life are in conformity with Catholic doctrine according to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. In addition, he is entrusted with maintaining relations with the Ecclesiastical Superiors. Article 4 – The Central Office a) The Central Office of the Pontifical Academy for Life has its seat in the Vatican. It is the executive organ of the Presidency for the overall organisation, implementation and coordination of the activities of the Academy. The Central Office performs its functions in accordance with the directives of the President and the Chancellor. b) In order to perform its activities in a more effective way, the Central Office is organised into two sections: the scientific section and the technical-administrative section or Secretariat. § 1 The scientific section The scientific section attends to the activities of the Academy in relation to study and research on the basis of the aims set out in the Statutes and the specific tasks of the Pontifical Academy for Life (cf. Article 1). To this end, the section is organised in three areas: study, formation and information. § 2 The technical-administrative section or Secretariat The technical-administrative section attends to the secretarial and administrative activities of the Academy. Article 5 – The Members or Academicians The Pontifical Academy for Life is made up of the Ordinary Members, the Corresponding Members, the Honorary Members and the Young Researcher Members. The appointment of a Member to the Academy requires ascertained willingness to collaborate with the Academy in a spirit of service, solely for the fulfilment of his specific tasks. § 1 – Ordinary Members The Ordinary Members may number up to a maximum of seventy. They are appointed by the Holy Father after hearing the opinions of the Governing Council for a five-year period of office, on the basis of their academic qualifications, proven professional integrity and expertise, and faithful service to the defence and promotion of the right to life of every human person. Upon the termination of their five-year period of office, ordinary Members may be reconfirmed for subsequent mandates, up to the age of eighty. § 2 – The Honorary Members Some Academicians are appointed by the Holy Father as Honorary Members, linked in a particular way to the life and activity of the Academy. § 3 – The Corresponding Members The Corresponding Members are chosen and appointed for a five-year period of office by the Governing Council on the basis of their professional integrity and expertise, and their acknowledged commitment to the promotion and defence of human life. At the end of their five-year period of office, corresponding Members can be reconfirmed for a maximum of two further mandates. § 4 – Young Researcher Members The Young Researcher Members come from disciplines associated with the areas of research of interest to the Academy, with a maximum age of 35, selected and appointed by the Governing Council for a five-year period, renewable for one further mandate. § 5 – Indications and Rules regarding Members a) The Academicians are chosen, without any religious discrimination, from amongst ecclesiastical, religious and lay personalities of various nationalities who are experts in the disciplines pertaining to human life (medicine, the biological sciences, theology, philosophy, anthropology, law, sociology, etc.). b) The new Academicians undertake to promote and defend the principles regarding the value of life and the dignity of the human person interpreted in conformity with the Magisterium of the Church. c) The Academicians are required to take part in the General Assemblies, in which they present scientific communications, notes and memoranda, debate, vote and have the right to propose appointments and subjects for study and research to the Governing Council. d) In the case of inability to take part in the works of the General Assembly, the Academicians must adequately justify their absence. In the case of unjustified absence on more than two occasions during a five-year mandate, the Academician ipso facto ceases to be a Member of the Academy. e) The position of Academician can be revoked, following the procedure stipulated by the Regulations of the Academy, in the event of a public and deliberate action or declaration that is clearly contrary to the aforementioned principles, or gravely offensive to the dignity and credibility of the Catholic Church and the Academy itself. f) Institutional political positions in the person’s own country or abroad are not compatible with appointment to or exercise of the office of Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Thus, should a Member of the Academy accept such a position he or she is suspended from his or her academic functions, and he or she cannot publicly use the title of Member of the Academy until this institutional office has come to an end. Part III Scientific activity and operational instruments Article 6 – Description of ordinary activities The scientific and interdisciplinary activity of the Pontifical Academy for Life shall maintain a close connection with the bodies and institutions through which the Church is present in the world of the biomedical sciences, of health, and of healthcare organisations, also offering its collaboration to medical doctors and researchers (including those who are non-Catholics and non-Christians) who recognise that the dignity of man and the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death, as enunciated by the Magisterium of the Church, is the essential moral foundation of the science and art of medicine. To achieve the aims of its Statutes (cf. Art. 1), the Pontifical Academy for Life: a) organises a General Assembly every year in which all the Members take part; b) convenes and coordinates the activity of work groups of a national and international character; c) studies the legislation in force in the various countries of the world, the directions of international health-care policy, and the principal currents of thought that bear upon the contemporary culture of life; d) publishes the results of its study and research and disseminates its cultural and operational proposals through publications and other instruments of mass communication; e) organises national and international meetings on bioethical questions and issues of great interest; f) organises initiatives that involve formation in bioethics, takes part in them, and offers its own contribution; g) participates with its representatives in the most important scientific, biomedical, juridical, political, philosophical, anthropological, charitable-welfare, moral and pastoral (etc.) initiatives pertaining to the aims of the Academy itself. Part IV Financial Instruments Article 7 – Financial resources As an Institution supported by the Holy See, the Pontifical Academy for Life every year presents a budget for its ordinary and extraordinary activities to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, in accordance with current legislation. § 1 – The Foundation Vitae Mysterium Resources provided by the Foundation Vitae Mysterium are primarily destined for the support of the ordinary or extraordinary activities of the Academy. In the case of sufficient availability of financial resources, a part of these resources can also be allocated to the funding of study grants and other initiatives for formation in bioethics, in particular for people from developing countries, or in regions where the culture of life is most in need of support. Part V Final Provisions Article 8 – Regulations In order to ensure the effective implementation of these Statutes, the President and the Chancellor, after hearing the opinions of the Governing Council, will submit the Regulations of the Pontifical Academy for Life to the Cardinal Secretary of State for his approval. These Regulations shall contain, in addition to a list of positions and job descriptions of the Central Office, supplementary provisions relating to the structure and the working of the Academy. This Statute is approved for five years. I order its promulgation through publication in the daily “L’Osservatore Romano” and subsequently in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, entering into force on 1 January 2017. From the Vatican, 18 October 2016. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis greets Third World Meeting of Popular Movements

Vatican News - Sat, 11/05/2016 - 12:11
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening welcomed the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements at the Vatican. The Meeting brings together organizations of people on the margins of society, including the poor, the unemployed and those who have lost their agricultural land. In his remarks, he brought up many of the themes he discussed during his speech to the Second World Meeting of Popular Movements in Bolivia on  9 July 2015. Pope Francis warned against the rule of money, which governs with “the whip of fear, inequality, and violence – economic, social, cultural and military – which creates more and more violence in a downward spiral that never seems to end.” “The entire social doctrine of the Church  and the magisterium of my predecessors rebels against the idol-money that reigns – tyrannizing and terrorizing humanity – instead of serving” said the Holy Father. “No tyranny can be sustained without exploiting our fears,” – continued the Pope – “Citizens are walled-up, terrified, on one side; on the other side, even more terrified, are the excluded and banished.” Pope Francis said this fear “is fed and manipulated.” “Because fear – as well as being a good deal for the merchants of arms and death –  weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others, and in the end it makes us cruel,” he explained. Pope Francis praised the members of the Popular Movements for giving dignity to the worker, and doing their part to reduce unemployment through their cooperatives. He also thanked them for their assistance to migrants, and recalled the scenes he saw when he visited the Greek island of Lesbos, where the sight of so many children demonstrated the “bankruptcy of humanity.” “What happens in the world today, if it is a bank which goes into bankruptcy, immediately there appear outrageous sums to save it,” – Pope Francis said – “But when the bankruptcy of humanity arrives, not one-thousandth of that will be used to save our suffering brothers and sisters? Thus the Mediterranean has become a cemetery, and not just the Mediterranean ... many cemeteries are near walls; walls stained with innocent blood.” The Holy Father told the organizations they are called to “revitalize and re-establish democracies going through a real crisis.” “Do not fall into the temptation of being put into a box that reduces you to secondary actors or, worse, to mere administrators of the existing misery,” he said. The Pope also warned them against corruption. “The measure is very high: we must live the vocation of serving others with a strong sense of austerity and humility,” he said. The Holy Father concluded by praying that God “fill you with his love and defend you on the path, providing sufficient strength to sustain you, and give you the courage to break the chain of hatred; that strength is hope.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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38 martyrs killed by the Communist regime beatified in Albania

Vatican News - Sat, 11/05/2016 - 09:23
(Vatican Radio) Thirtyeight martyrs killed between 1945 and 1974 by the Communist regime have been beatified in the city of Shkodër in northwestern Albania. The ceremony took place in the Square of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and was presided over by Cardinal Angelo Amato , Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In his homily Cardinal Amato said:  “While the persecutors dissolve like so many black shadows which are lost forever in the darkness of eternal oblivion,  martyrs are guiding lights  that shine in the sky of humanity, showing the true face of  man’s goodness, his profound identity created in the image of God”. The canonical process for the recognition of the martyrdom and the official approval of the witness and sacrifice for the faith culminated in a decree promulgated by Pope Francis in April 2016 which gave the green light for the beatification of the martyrs. Saturday’s beatifications double the number of Catholics declared blessed after having died during communist rule in Eastern Europe. Father Anton Zogaj was shot on a beach near Durres after refusing to divulge confessional secrets. Father Lazer Shantoja , a nationally admired poet, was shot in the head after being forced to crawl in excruciating pain when his arms and legs were broken under torture. Archbishop Nikolle Vincenc Prennushi of Durres, who died of torture and exhaustion in 1949, two years into a 20-year hard labor sentence as an “agent of foreign powers.”  Bishop Frano Gjini of Lezhe, who died in 1948 declaring his “spirit and heart are with the Pope,” according to the execution record. Father Shtjefen Kurti was sentenced and shot for “reactionary anti-state activities” in 1971 after secretly baptizing another convict’s child at a labor camp. Father Giovanni Fausti , Italian vice provincial of Albania’s Jesuit order, who was beaten and spat at by communist onlookers during his trial and execution. The list also features two priests drowned in 1948 when their heads were forced down in a prison cesspit with rifle butts; several foreign clergy, including one who was shot for giving last rites to a wounded fugitive; and three lay Catholics including 22-year-old Franciscan novice, Sister Maria Tuci , who died in Shkoder’s civic hospital after being tied in a sack and tortured. Archbishop Angelo Massafra of Shkoder, President of the Albanian Bishops’ Conference reportedly said the list of martyrs had been agreed upon after Church consultations in 1994 and 2000, but added that many others could also be declared blessed in future. Around 130 Catholic priests were executed or died through imprisonment, alongside thousands of lay Christians, under communist rule in Albania, which lasted from 1944 to 1991. Catholics currently make up a tenth of Albania’s population of 2.9 million, according to a 2011 census, making them the second largest religious group after Muslims, many of whom also died under communist rule. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Anti-Trafficking Conference brings religious to Rome

Vatican News - Sat, 11/05/2016 - 09:00
(Vatican Radio) An anti-trafficking conference begins in Rome on Sunday, and it brings together members of religious congregations working to end the scourge and to rescue victims. The organization behind the event is RENATE , which stand for R eligious in E urope N etworking A gainst T rafficking and E xploitation. The theme of the event is “Ending human trafficking begins with us.” “Is a very, very important title, because unless every human being works together to fight this clandestine criminal act then there is no way in fact that people will be rescued,” said Sister Imelda Poole IBVM, the president of RENATE. Sister Poole has been working with trafficking victims in Albania for the past 11 years. Listen to the interview with Sr. Imelda Poole: One of the highlights of the conference will be on Monday, when the RENATE produced film Giving Voice to the Voiceless . The film expresses, in a dynamic way, the RENATE mission against human trafficking, in many European countries including Albania. The 2nd RENATE assembly takes place in Rome from 6-12 November. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis recalls Charles of Austria: a model for our times

Vatican News - Sat, 11/05/2016 - 07:55
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received family members of the House of Hasburg visiting the Vatican for a Jubilee pilgrimage. To the some 300 people gathered in the Clementine Hall, the Pope said “I am happy to receive you in the occasion of this pilgrimage that you have undertaken as a family” and he highlighted the fact that ‘family’ implies a wealth of interconnections and variety and is a value to be “rediscovered” in current times. The Pope recalled one of the Hasburg family’s most remarkable ancestors: Blessed Charles of Austria who was beatified in 2004 by Saint Pope John Paul II. Remembering that some 100 years ago or so he ascended to the throne, the Pope said Charles’ spiritual presence is such that the Hasburg family is not nostalgically imbued in the past but, to the contrary, “it is actively present in the challenges and needs” of our time. He mentioned how some of those present for the audience have roles of responsibility in organizations of solidarity and human and cultural development, as well as in the support of “the European project as a common home founded on human and Christian values”.     Pope Francis also expressed his joy for having learnt that in the new generations of the Hasburg family some have been called to vocations of priestly and consecrated life: “a confirmation of the fact that the Christian family provides fertile ground for the seeds of vocation – including that of marriage.”  “Charles of Austria was first of all a good family father and as such a servant of life and peace” he said. The Pope recalled that Charles had been called to arms as a simple soldier at the beginning of WWI, and after having ascended to the throne in 1916,  in accord with the appeals of Pope Benedict XV, “he used all his strength in pursuit of  peace, at the cost of being misunderstood and mocked at. For this reason too he offers us an example for our times, and we can invoke him as an intercessor of peace for humanity”.        (from Vatican Radio)...
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Holy See: End "counterproductive illogic of war" in Middle East

Vatican News - Sat, 11/05/2016 - 07:41
(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, on Friday said “peacemaking and substantive dialogue including genuine bilateral negotiations must replace the counterproductive illogic of violence and war, currently underway in the Middle East.” The Vatican diplomat was speaking to the United Nations General Assembly as they discussed the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). “The Holy See notes that the areas where UNRWA exercises its responsibilities includes territories of the ancient Christian heartland where for two millennia Christians have been part and parcel of the culture and history of the peoples in the region, along with other ethnic and religious groups,” – Archbishop Auza said – “Greatly reduced in number, they are today among the refugees served by UNRWA. Forced by violent persecution, in some places by outright slaughter, and by the harsh geopolitical realities of the region, they have left their homes, becoming internally displaced or leaving in search of peace and security outside the region.”   The full statement is below   Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See Seventy-first Session of the United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee Agenda Item 49: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) New York , 4th November 2016   Mr. Chair, My delegation has reviewed with great care the 2015 Annual Report of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).1 This report, together with the frequent briefings focusing on the refugees served by UNRWA, paint a very sobering picture of the financial woes and of the unacceptable situation that more than five million Palestinians in need of humanitarian assistance found themselves in. Before my delegation addresses the important issues in the report, it wishes to extend prayers and condolences to the families of the UNRWA workers who have been killed while providing humanitarian aid to victims of conflict and political turmoil. We also offer our heartfelt prayers for the UNRWA workers who have been injured in the line of duty. The Holy See notes that the areas where UNRWA exercises its responsibilities includes territories of the ancient Christian heartland where for two millennia Christians have been part and parcel of the culture and history of the peoples in the region, along with other ethnic and religious groups. Greatly reduced in number, they are today among the refugees served by UNRWA. Forced by violent persecution, in some places by outright slaughter, and by the harsh geopolitical realities of the region, they have left their homes, becoming internally displaced or leaving in search of peace and security outside the region. Mr. Chair, Like UNRWA, various entities and organizations of the Catholic Church provide education, health-care and social services to the internally displaced and to the refugees. They include educational programs for children and adults and rehabilitation efforts for those physically and mentally traumatized by incessant conflict. These services are provided to all in need not on the basis of creed. Generous donors associated with the Catholic Church around the globe, such as the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Aid to Church in Need, the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, inter alia , make these activities possible. Like UNRWA, the works of the Holy See in the region are donor driven. One of the problems mentioned in the 2015 UNRWA report is that resources do not match the ever-increasing needs. The peace process between Israelis and Palestinians has stalled. 1 A/71/13 Unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric have led to tensions and violence in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The Holy See views the holy City of Jerusalem as the spiritual patrimony of the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In this context, the Holy See renews its support for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem, which should, inter alia , ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of all its inhabitants, as well as the secure, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities. My delegation notes with grave concern that, as indicated in the UNRWA report under consideration, heinous crimes are being committed daily against refugee populations as their education, health-care facilities and essential civilian infrastructure are being targeted by the warring parties. Because of the besiegement and bombardment by indiscriminate weaponry, Palestinian refugees in Syria must flee again as camps become targets of military actions. The 2015 UNRWA report, along with daily media reports, do not give us much hope that all these barbaric acts against the civilian population along with the Palestinian refugees will end soon. Mr. Chair, The Holy See takes this opportunity once more to express its deep gratitude and appreciation to the people of Lebanon and Jordan for their enduring collaboration with UNRWA, in particular for taking in many Palestinian refugees, and for contending heroically, together with some other countries in the region, with the influx of refugees from Iraq and Syria. Lebanon, desperately needs the attention and the support of the International Community to stabilize its institutions, protect its four million or so citizens, and to deal with millions of refugees fleeing the conflicts of the Near East Region. Jordan, long a beacon in the acceptance of refugees within its borders, requires as well international assistance to take care of the millions of refugees in its territory, to guarantee security and social cohesion to its own people, and to fend off attempts by terrorist and extremists groups seeking to push Jordan into the spiral of violence which plagues the region. Peacemaking and substantive dialogue including genuine bilateral negotiations must replace the counterproductive illogic of violence and war, currently underway in the Middle East. Military solutions and the support of client states or non-state actors by the industrialized nations of the world have succeeded only in the increase of civilian casualties, with death and injury, as the horrendously powerful weapons which they sold or gifted to their clients are used to commit crimes against defenseless civilians. Accessible humanitarian assistance for the refugees and the internally displaced must replace the current flood of weapons inundating the region from all over the globe. Mr. Chair, No matter how grim the picture might be, let us never give up hope that the unquenchable quest for peace, so much desired and so much needed, will eventually dawn in that land so significant to all and so sacred to many. Thank you, Mr. Chair. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis sends Message to Bishops of France

Vatican News - Fri, 11/04/2016 - 12:02
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has told the Bishops of France to help the people of their country to “strengthen their hope” and to “contribute to the search for the common good” in the context of nation still “marked by the attacks which have ravaged your country,” which is also facing “important” elections. The message were conveyed by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as the Bishops begin their Plenary Assembly. The theme of the meeting is on “ having the courage to reach the peripheries in need of the Gospel ” (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 20); including in a rural world facing change, “which will, in no doubt, be an opportunity for a new start for the mission of the Church in France.” “A few days before the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope asks the Lord to help you open new paths so ‘the years to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God’ (Misericordiae Vultus, n. 5)” – the Message continues – “Entrusting the bishops of France to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Salomon Le Clercq, the Holy Father sends you his Apostolic Blessing with affection.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis prayer intentions for November: Countries receiving refugees

Vatican News - Fri, 11/04/2016 - 09:44
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for November is for Countries Receiving Refugees : That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.  The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope’s Video on this prayer intention. The full text of the Pope’s Video is below: Can one country alone manage the problems of forced migration? We must move away from indifference and the fear of accepting the other. [1] Because that other could be you. Or me… Join me in this prayer request: That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.   [2]       [1] Message of his Holiness Pope Francis for the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2015). Church Without Frontiers, Mother To All. [2] Universal Prayer Intention of the Holy Father entrusted to the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer). November 2016.     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope offers Holy Mass for deceased Cardinals and Bishops

Vatican News - Fri, 11/04/2016 - 06:07
(Vatican Radio) At the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s Basilica on Friday, Pope Francis offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in suffrage for the souls of Cardinals and Bishops who have died in the course of the past year. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  “These our Brothers,” Pope Francis said, “have reached the goal, after having served the Church and loved the Lord Jesus.” The Holy Father reminded those present that for each of us, the journey “to the house of the Father” begins in the first moment of our existence; and, through Baptism, the first moment when we receive sanctifying grace. An important stage of that journey, for priests, is the moment they receive priestly ordination. “From that moment,” he said, “we are united in a special way to Christ, associated with His priestly ministry.” The Cardinals and Bishops we remember today, he continued, “throughout their lives, especially after having consecrated themselves to God, dedicated themselves to witnessing and to giving to others the love of Christ.” They were “pastors of the flock of Christ,” and, in imitation of Him, they spent their lives in working for the salvation of those entrusted to their care. Now, he said, “we are here to pray for them, to offer the divine Sacrifice in suffrage for their souls, and to ask the Lord to make them shine forever in His kingdom of light.” In fact, he said, their death is “the entrance into the fullness of life.” Precisely in the light of faith, “we feel even closer to our deceased Brothers”; although we seem separated by death, “the power of Christ and of His Spirit unites us in an even more profound way.” Pope Francis concluded his homily by reminding us that “nourished by the Bread of Life, we too, together with all those who have gone before us, wait with firm hope the day of the face-to-face encounter with the luminous and merciful countenance of the Father.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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