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Day: December 18, 2014

Cardinal Parolin: on Holy See’s role in US/Cuba agreement

(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the (Vatican) Secretary of State, said on Thursday that Pope Francis played a very significant role in facilitating the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Parolin spoke of the Holy See’s satisfaction over the agreement between the U.S. and Cuba to restore diplomatic ties and praised the leaders of the two nations for their courageous decision.
Please listen to the interview and also find below the full written transcript of Cardinal Parolin’s remarks in English:   

Q.  What was the specific role of Pope Francis – the first Pope to come from the South American continent?  
A. I would like to repeat the satisfaction of the Holy See for this important step in the relations between the United States and Cuba.  And also to stress that the role of the Holy Father was very significant in this conclusion.  Of course, in the sense that since the beginning of his pontificate, he has stressed the importance for the person and the groups and people to meet together.  What we have called the culture of encounter.  I think that this is the proper word.  But his teaching then, his teaching which also pointed out this importance and this necessity.  At the same time, the help to the two parties, the United States and Cuba, writing to the two presidents and stressing the importance of finding a solution to their historical differences. 
Q.  What was the Holy See’s diplomatic role in these negotiations? 
A. In this case, the Holy See has tried to facilitate the dialogue between the two parties according to the, let’s say, the objective that the Holy Father Pope Francis has given to the diplomacy of the Holy See.  Which is of course traditional in its history, but now he (it) has (a) new  accent (emphasis) because of the situation, the particular situation of our world – which is to build bridges between persons and groups and nations.  And then it was, let’s say, a service of facilitating and of promoting the dialogue between the two parties.
Q.  The roles of President Obama and the Cuban President were also important in these negotiations…
A. Of course, of course.  I would like to, just to highlight the courage they had in this decision.  It is a decision, I think…very important and of course, not everybody agrees with that but I think that it was important from the side of the two presidents to have the courage and the strength to make such a decision.  And I think that we have really, finally, at the end, to thank God who inspired such good sentiments and intentions (of) the two leaders.  Hoping that this example could be taken by many other leaders in the region and in the world and to try, really, to overcome differences and conflict through negotiation and through dialogue.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope to New Ambassadors: Task of Ambassador, through small steps, is to bring peace

Vatican City, 18 December 2014 (VIS) -This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the ambassadors of the following nations, presenting their Credential Letters:       – Mr. Vaanchig Purevdorj of Mongolia,       – Mr. Sean Mcweeney, Q.C., of The Bahamas,       – Mr. Edward D.A. Lambert of Dominica,       – Mr. Philip Sang’ka Marmo of Tanzania,       – Mrs. Louise Bang Jespersen of Denmark,       – Mr. Dato’ Mohd Zulkephli Bin Mohd Noor of Malaysia,       – Dr. Francois Xavier Ngarambe of Rwanda,       – Mr. Jari Petteri Luoto of Finland,       – Mrs. Janet Lowe of New Zealand,       – Sheikh Mouclary Diarra of Mali,       – Mr. Kokou Nayo Atsumikoa M’Beou of Togo,       – Mr. Shameem Ahsan of Bangladesh, and,       – Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser bin Ahmad Ali Al-Thani of Qatar. The Holy Father welcomed the new ambassadors with the following words: “I warmly welcome you and hope that every time you enter this house that you feel at home. I extend our welcome and respect for you and for your peoples and the heads of your governments. I greet you and wish your work to be fruitful, to be fertile. The work of an ambassador lies in small steps, small things, but they always end up making peace, bringing closer the hearts of people, sowing brotherhood among peoples. This is your job, but with little things, tiny things. Today we are all happy because we have seen how two peoples, distanced for so many years, made a step nearer one another yesterday. That was brought about by ambassadors, by diplomacy. Your job is noble work, very noble. I wish it to be fruitful, fertile, and may God bless you. Thank you.”…

Pope urges Lutherans and Catholics to take further steps towards unity

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with a delegation of German Lutheran and Catholic leaders, urging them to continue working towards the goal of unity among all Christians. The delegation was headed by the presiding bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany, Gerhard Ulrich, together with members of the ecumenical commission of the German Catholic Bishops Conference. Philippa Hitchen reports:
Listen : 

In his words to the German Church leaders, the Pope said half a century of significant progress in the dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics is grounded in sincere friendship and growing cooperation between the two communities. He said the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed 15 years ago in the Bavarian city of Augsburg, is a milestone which enables us to continue with confidence along the ecumenical journey  which St John Paul II described as an essential task of the Catholic Church.
Noting how the bells in all cathedrals across Germany were rung last month to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II decree on ecumenism, the Pope said we must celebrate past progress, while looking towards the future with hope. While the goal of full unity sometimes seems to be clouded by different views of the nature of Church, Pope Francis said we must never resign ourselves but rather be focused on the next step forward.
The Pope noted with pleasure that the bilateral dialogue commission of the German bishops conference and the Lutheran Evangelical Church is concluding its work on the theme of God and human dignity. He noted that all questions regarding the family, marriage, sexuality and human life are essential issues that must not be ignored out of fear of jeopardising our ecumenical consensus.
Finally Pope Francis looked ahead to the fifth centenary of the Reformation which Lutherans and Catholics will be commemorating together in 2017, not as “a triumphalistic celebration”, but as a “profession of our common faith in the One, Triune God”. He said may this event encourage us all, with the help of God and the support of the Holy Spirit, to take further steps towards reconciliation and unity. 
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope to children: Jesus is your best friend

(Vatican Radio) Italian Catholic Action is one of the most active lay movements in Italy today and is made up of both adults and children and it was to the children of this group that the Pope extended his Christmas greetings on Thursday.
This year these boys and girls have been focusing on a particular theme “Everything to be discovered” and Pope Francis, reflecting on this slogan had some useful tips for the children present.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report

Firstly, the Holy Father said, “never give up” because Jesus’ plan for you is to be built together with, parents,  brothers, sisters, friends, classmates, and catechism.
Imparting more words of wisdom, the Pope told the children to concern themselves with the needs of the poorest and those who suffer and he also asked them to donate time to their parishes.
In another point Pope Francis stressed how important it is to love the Church and to love oneself and he called on the young to be apostles of peace and serenity adding that misunderstandings can be overcome because united Jesus, everything is possible. He then urged all present to talk to Jesus who, he said, is the greatest friend that never leaves us.
The Pope, then said to the children, “what do you think? Do you feel like putting into practice this proposal.” He continued by saying,”(I think you already living out a lot of these things.”
Pope Francis concluded by saying, “with the grace of his birth, Jesus wants to help you take a step even stronger, more confident and more joyful to become his disciples.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis: pleased about U.S. and Cuba agreement

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis spoke on Thursday at his joy over the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba, two nations who have been estranged for many years, saying this was a result of diplomacy. His remarks came in a  brief off-the-cuff address to non-resident Ambassadors to the Holy See; Bahamas, Bangladesh, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Tanzania  and Togo. He said the work of an Ambassador is to take small steps aimed at building peace, bringing the hearts of people closer together and sowing brotherhood between peoples and nations. 
Please find below an English translation of the pope’s remarks to the non-resident Ambassadors:
“I give you a warm welcome and I hope that every time you come here you feel as though at home. Our welcome and our respect (are) for you and also for your people and the Heads of your Governments.  I greet you all and hope your work will be fruitful. The work of an Ambassador is a job of taking small steps, doing small things but whose aim always is to build peace, to bring the hearts of people closer together and sow brotherhood between peoples.  This is your work, but done with small things, very small things.  And today we are all happy because yesterday we saw two nations, who were estranged for so many years, take a step to bring them closer together. This was achieved by Ambassadors, by diplomacy. Yours is a noble, very noble work. I hope it will be fruitful and may God bless you. Thank you.” 
(from Vatican Radio)…