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Day: July 17, 2015

Cardinal Turkson on climate change at UN

A high-level event was organized at the United Nations in New York on June 29, to address the issue of climate change, in which several eminent personalities from around the world were invited to speak.   Among them were United ‎Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  Cardinal made use of the gathering to highlight some of the issues in the recent environmental encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”, on the Care of Our Common Home.   We bring you a programme on what Ban and Cardinal Turkson said.

(from Vatican Radio)…

Accord lets children’s hospital use Vatican heli facilities

(Vatican Radio) The Governatorate of the Vatican City State and Rome’s Bambino Gesù children’s hospital announced an accord on Friday to allow the hospital to use the heliport located in the Vatican Gardens to transport patients, personnel and medical equipment in urgent cases.  The agreement is preparatory to the insertion of the Vatican heliport within the Regional network for emergency management.  Informed of the initiative, Pope Francis expressed his joy and expressed his approval of the agreement, which will be of great help to the children. Click below to hear our conversation with Dr. Massimiliano Raponi, Director of Health Care Operations at the  Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome

A communiqué regarding the development quotes the President of Bambino Gesù, Mariella Enoc, as saying, “We are grateful to the Holy See, the Secretary of State and the Governatorate in particular, in the person of the SCV’s Secretary General, Bishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga , for this opportunity, which is given to the Bambino Gesù hospital, and especially to the many young patients from all over Italy, who unfortunately need urgently to reach our hospital.” Enoc goes on to say, “It is an important gesture of charity that responds to a basic health need: the physical proximity between the Vatican City State and our seat on the Janiculum Hill, in fact, will significantly shorten transport times, contributing in many cases to saving the lives of children.”  Enoc also offered personal thanks the head of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Commandant Domenico Giani, who, she said, “worked so hard in a spirit of cooperation to achieve this result.” (from Vatican Radio)…

Catholics and Pentecostals conclude dialogue on Charisms

(Vatican Radio) Catholics and Pentecostals have concluded a sixth phase of their International Dialogue which has been working to promote better relations between the two communities for over four decades. The theme of this sixth phase has been focused on “Charisms in the Church: Their Spiritual Significance, Discernment, and Pastoral Implications”, with sessions dedicated to Common Ground, Discernment, Healing and Prophesy.
The final session, which took place in Rome from July 10th to 17th, was dedicated to drafting a final report, due for publication early next year. Daily prayer services, led alternately by Catholics and Pentecostals, have been an important feature of the meeting and participants on Sunday attended Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
The two co-chairs of the dialogue are Bishop Michael Burbidge, head of the U.S. diocese of Raleigh in North Carolina and Rev. Cecil (Mel) Robeck representing the Assemblies of God, a professor of Church history and ecumenics at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Philippa Hitchen sat down with them both to find out more about their achievements and about the impact of the first Latin American pope on relations between the two communities….

Please see below the full press release from the meeting:
Rome, 10-17 July 2015
The Fifth Session of the Sixth Phase of the International Catholic – Pentecostal Dialogue took place in Rome, Italy, from 10 to 17 July 2015.  Participants in the Dialogue include Catholics appointed by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal churches and leaders.  The general theme for the present phase of Dialogue is “Charisms in the Church: Their Spiritual Significance, Discernment, and Pastoral Implications”.   The topics discussed during the past four sessions were Charisms – Our Common Ground (2011), Discernment (2012), Healing (2013) and Prophecy (2014).  The 2015 session was devoted to writing the Final Report, which is expected to be published early in 2016.
The goal of this Dialogue, begun in 1972, is to promote mutual respect and understanding in matters of faith and practice. Genuine exchange and frank discussion concerning the positions and practices of the two traditions have been guiding principles of these conversations, which include daily prayer services that are led alternately by Catholics and Pentecostals.
The Catholic Co-Chair of the Dialogue is Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, NC, USA. The Pentecostal Co-Chair of the Dialogue is Rev. Cecil M. Robeck (Assemblies of God), Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, USA.
During their working sessions in Rome, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, met with the group to engage in conversation, gather perspectives and respond to questions. The participants also had an informal meeting with Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council.
On Sunday, remembering the missionary journeys of Paul and his trip to Rome, participants attended Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, where it is believed that the Apostle to the Gentiles is buried. They enjoyed the hospitality of the Benedictine community.
According to Bishop Burbidge, “It has been a privilege to serve as Co-Chair of this phase of the International Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue and a real honor to work with such dedicated colleagues on both teams as we focused our attention on charisms in the Church and their spiritual significance. Through the scholarly papers that were presented, honest and respectful discussion throughout the Dialogue, and our prayer time together we grew to a deeper understanding of areas of agreement as related to charisms, healing, prophecy, and discernment, as well as points of divergence. We also identified together pastoral challenges and opportunities as we go forth to invite others to a deeper reliance on the gifts of the Spirit who is always at work within us.”
Rev. Robeck noted, “This current round of dialogue has revealed that the teaching of Pentecostals and Catholics on the charisms or gifts of the Holy Spirit have many points of agreement. Both traditions recognize that every believer has been given one or more gifts by the Holy Spirit to be used to build up the Church and to minister to the world. These gifts have been present in the Church since the time of the New Testament. Given the problems posed by society in the current culture, we acknowledge that we face common challenges in which our people must rely upon the help of the Holy Spirit to exercise these charisms in thoughtful and creative ways as they seek to extend the message of love and forgiveness that Jesus Christ brought to the world.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

The Pope writes to the participants in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry” on the effects of mining

Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, to be communicated to the representatives of communities affected by mining activities participating in the meeting “United with God, we hear a cry”, organised by the same dicastery in collaboration with the Latin American “Churches and Mining” network. “You come from difficult situations and in various ways you experience the repercussions of mining activities, whether they be conducted by large industrial companies, small enterprises or informal operators. You have chosen to gather in Rome on this day of reflection that recalls a passage from the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii gaudium’, to echo the cry of the many people, families and communities who suffer directly and indirectly as a result of the consequences, too often negative, of mining activities. A cry for lost land; a cry for the extraction of wealth from land that paradoxically does not produce wealth for the local populations who remain poor; a cry of pain in reaction to violence, threats and corruption; a cry of indignation and for help for the violations of human rights, blatantly or discreetly trampled with regard to the health of populations, working conditions, and at times the slavery and human trafficking that feeds the tragic phenomenon of prostitution; a cry of sadness and impotence for the contamination of the water, the air and the land; a cry of incomprehension for the absence for inclusive processes or support from the civil, local and national authorities, which have the fundamental duty to promote the common good. “Minerals and, in general the wealth of the earth, of the soil and underground, constitute a precious gift from God that humanity has used for thousands of years. Indeed, minerals are fundamental to many sectors of human life and activity. In the Encyclical ‘Laudati si” I wished to make an urgent appeal for collaboration in the care of our common home, countering the dramatic consequences of environmental degradation in the life of the poorest and the excluded, advancing towards an integral, inclusive and sustainable development. The entire mining sector is undoubtedly required to effect a radical paradigm change to improve the situation in many countries. A contribution can be made by the governments of the countries of origin of multinational companies and those in which they operate, businesses and investors, the local authorities who supervise mining operations, workers and their representatives, the international supply chains with their various intermediaries and those who work in the markets of these materials, and the consumers of goods for whose production the minerals are required. All these people are called upon to adopt behaviour inspired by the fact that we constitute a single human family, “that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others. “I encourage the communities represented in this meeting to reflect on how they can interact constructively with all the other actors involved, in a sincere and respectful dialogue. I hope that this occasion may contribute to a greater awareness of and responsibility towards these themes: and that, based on human dignity, the culture necessary for facing the current crisis may be created. I pray to the Lord that your work in these days be fruitful, and that these fruits can be shared with all those in need. I ask you, please, to pray for me and with affection I bless you, your communities and your families”….

Justice and Peace speaks out for communities affected by mining

Vatican City, 17 July 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, presented the dicastery’s initiative “A day of Reflection: united with God, we hear a cry”, to be attended by various representatives of communities affected by mining activity in Africa, Asia and America who will gather in the Salesianum Congress Centre in Rome from 17 to 19 July. Cardinal Turkson explained that the aim of the meeting was to take stock of the situation of these communities, recalling that in 2013 Justice and Peace organised a day of reflection entitled “Mining for the common good”, upon request of the directors of various mining companies, in order to evaluate the human, economic and environmental implications of this activity. A report of the event was distributed to the Episcopal Conferences of the countries involved. A second day of reflection will be held in September, entitled “Creating a new future, Reimaging the future of mining” and so the current initiative, aimed at giving a voice to the communities affected by the mining industry, is intended as preparation for this second meeting. “There is no lack of reasons and motives for the decision of the Pontifical dicastery”, said the Cardinal. “With the Encyclical ‘Laudato si” the Holy Father urges us to ‘hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’. We cannot remain indifferent to this cry, as the need to her it is ‘born of the liberating action of grace within each of us, and thus it is not a mission reserved only to a few: the Church, guided by the Gospel of mercy and by love for mankind, hears the cry for justice and intends to respond to it with all her might’”. “Many of us are aware of this harrowing cry from those areas where mineral extraction is carried out”, he continued. “To give just a few examples: the ‘Africa Progress Report’ by the former secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the OECD directives on the issue, the numerous reports on the rights of indigenous populations, the ‘Publish what you pay’ initiative, legislation on the traceability of minerals currently being developed by the European Parliament, in cinema with films such as ‘Blood Diamonds’ or ‘Avatar’, and so on”. “The Church, on various occasions and for many years, has closely followed mining activities. At national level, the documents of the Episcopal Conferences which denounce human rights violations, illegality, violence and the exploitation of deposits causing pollution and problems for the safety of local produce. … At regional level, it is considered by the Continental Episcopal Conferences, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, and so on, and at transnational level, by Franciscan networks, the CIDSE and Caritas. All these voices follow the same direction: faced with these situations, we cannot allow indifference, cynicism and impunity to continue to prevail. A radical paradigm change is needed in the interests of the common good, justice, sustainability and human dignity”. In these three days the representatives of the communities affected by mining operations in different ways will act as spokespeople for those who are unable to come to Rome and whose voice frequently goes unheard by experts and commentators. “I must emphasise that some people who are attending the meeting have experienced pressure and intimidation in recent days, for example after having requested a passport. The Pontifical Council has heard testimonies of threats, violence and murder; of retaliation, of compensation never received, and of unkept promises”. “Therefore”, he continued, “there are individuals who work without a truly human aim. There are denials of the primacy of the human being, insensitivity to the welfare of the social and natural environment and the full experience of fragility, abandonment and rejection. Those responsible are investors, businesspeople, politicians and governors of the countries where the deposits are found, or rather the countries where the headquarters of the mining multinationals reside”. “On the other hand, exploited and poor countries are above all in need of honest governments, educated people and investors with an acute sense of justice and the common good, as it is morally unacceptable, politically dangerous, environmentally unsustainable and economically unjustifiable for developing countries to ‘continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future’”, he concluded….