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Day: September 16, 2015

Council of cardinals approves Congregation for laity, family, life

(Vatican Radio) The head of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, held a briefing for journalists on Wednesday to report on the work of Pope Francis’ council of nine cardinals which has been meeting at the Casa Santa Marta since Monday.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report: 

The closed door encounter of the Pope and his closest advisors focused on the ongoing process of establishing two new Congregations to bring together the work of several existing Pontifical Councils. In particular, the C9, as it’s called, approved a project for the setting up of a Congregation to deal with laity, family and life issues, presented by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the former archbishop of Milan. That project is now awaiting final approval from Pope Francis, though Fr Lombardi gave no further details regarding the scope or mandate of this new institution.
The cardinals also continued discussions on the formation of a second Congregation dealing with charity, justice and peace, as well as reflecting on the existing process of selecting and appointing new bishops in light of the challenges facing the Church today.
The head of the newly formed Secretariat for Communications, Msgr Dario Viganò reported back to the cardinals on the ongoing work to integrate the nine different institutions that make up the Vatican media machine. In particular he has set up a working group to study the legal and administrative work involved and to move towards the drawing up of a statute for the new Secretariat.
Finally, the cardinals also continued discussions on the work of the Pontifical Commission for Child Protection, looking at the practical implementation of a series of proposals and reviewing a draft preamble for a new constitution. In particular, Fr Lombardi said the cardinals stressed the importance of seeking to speed up the process of dealing with outstanding cases of sexual abuse.
Just one of the C9 group, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, was absent from the meeting for health reasons. Participants agreed to hold their next encounter from December 10th to 12th.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Briefing on the eleventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., held a briefing this morning on the results of the eleventh meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father, which began on Monday 14 November. “The proposal for a new Congregation, provisionally entitled “Laity, Family and Life”, was again taken into consideration”, said Fr. Lombardi. “In this regard Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, designated by the Holy Father in recent months to prepare a study on the feasibility of the project, was heard. At the end of their reflections the Council presented to the Pope a proposal orientated towards the implementation of the project. Consideration of the proposal for a new Congregation dedicated to “Charity, Justice and Peace” was resumed and further reflections were made without yet reaching, however, a conclusive proposal by the Council. The Cardinals went on to reflect on the procedures for the appointment of new bishops, or more specifically on the qualities and requisites for candidates in view of the needs of today’s world, and on the related issue of information gathering. Naturally the theme will need to be explored further and developed in collaboration with the competent Dicasteries concerned. The Prefect of the new Secretariat for Communication reported to the Council on the first steps taken so far and in particular on the appointment of a group to draw up the Statutes for the new Dicastery. The working group has been constituted and has already commenced activity. It is made up of representatives of the institutes variously involved. The Statutes, while taking into account the progressive phase of consolidating the different entities that will form the Secretariat, defines the structure of the Dicastery as “definitive”. Particular attention will be given to evaluating legal and administrative aspects of the communication activities of the Holy See. The regulations will subsequently be drafted and issued. The Cardinals expressed their unanimous appreciation and stressed that, despite the progressive nature of the work, precise guidance must be given to the institutions involved so that, as the Motu Proprio requires, the reform can make decisive progress towards integration and unitary management. The theme proposed during the last session of the Council regarding issues linked to the abuse of minors was again taken into consideration. The matter of how to implement proposals was explored in further depth, especially with regard to the possibility of accelerating the resolution of the many cases still pending. A draft Preamble of the new Constitution was also re-evaluated. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodríguez Maradiaga was absent for health reasons. The next session of the Council is scheduled to be held from 10 to 12 December”….

Pope urges EU Environment Ministers to work hard in view of SDGs

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged EU Environment Ministers to work harder to put into place new policies to fight environmental degradation and poverty, which he says are closely connected.
The Pope was speaking to Environment Ministers of European Union Member States whom he received on Wednesday morning in audience in the Vatican.
Please find below Vatican Radio’s translation of the Pope’s address:
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
I cordially greet all of you Environment Ministers of the European Union whose appointment, in recent years, has become increasingly important for the care of our common home. In fact, the environment is a collective heritage of all humanity, and each of us is responsible for it. It is a responsibility that can only be shared and that requires effective collaboration within the international community.
Thank you very much for having called this meeting which gives me the opportunity to share with you, if only briefly, some thoughts also in view of  important international events in the coming months: the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals at the end of this month and the Cop 21 Summit in Paris.
I would like to focus on three principles. First of all, the principle of solidarity, a word that is sometimes forgotten and others abused in a sterile manner. We know that those who are most vulnerable to environmental degradation are the poor; they are the ones who suffer its most serious consequences. Thus, solidarity means the implementation of effective tools that are able to fight environmental degradation and poverty at the same time. There are many positive experiences in this regard. For example the development and transfer of appropriate technologies that are able to make the best possible use of the human, natural and socio-economic resources that are most readily available at a local level, in order to ensure their long-term sustainability.
Second, the principle of justice. In the “Laudato si’” encyclical I spoke of “ecological debt”, especially between North and South connected to trade imbalances with consequences in the context of ecology, as well as the disproportionate use of natural resources historically exploited  by some countries. We must honor this debt. These nations are called upon to contribute to solving this debt by setting a good example: limiting in a big way  consumption of non-renewable energy; providing resources to countries in need for the promotion of policies and programmes for sustainable development; adopting appropriate systems for the management of forests, transportation, waste; seriously addressing the grave problem of food waste; favouring a circular model of economy; encouraging new attitudes and lifestyles.
Thirdly, the principle of participation, which requires the involvement of all stakeholders, even of those who often remain at the margins of decision-making. We live, in fact, in a very interesting historical time: on the one hand science and technology give us unprecedented power; on the other, a proper use of this power requires that we adopt a more integral and inclusive vision. This demands that we open the door to dialogue, a dialogue that is inspired by a vision which is rooted in that of integral ecology, the very subject of the “Laudato si’” encyclical.  This is obviously a big cultural, spiritual and educational challenge. Solidarity, justice and participation for the respect of our dignity and for respect of creation.
Dear Ministers, the Cop21 summit is fast approaching and there is still a long way to go to achieve a result that is capable of bringing together the many positive stimuli that have been offered as a contribution to this important process. I strongly encourage you to intensify your work, along with that of your colleagues, so that in Paris the desired result is achieved. On my part and on the part of Holy See there will be no lack of support for an adequate response to the cry of the Earth and to the cry of the poor. Thank you.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope Francis concludes catecheses on the Family

(Vatican Radio) During his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis concluded his series of reflections on the family. The Holy Father said, “We are on the eve of beautiful and challenging events, which are directly joined to this great theme: the World Meeting of families in Philadelphia, and the Synod of Bishops here in Rome.” Both events, he continued, “have a worldwide breath, which corresponds to the universal dimension of Christianity, but also to the universal scope of this fundamental and irreplaceable human community, which is precisely the family.”
Below, please find the English-language summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis at Wednesday’s General Audience:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we conclude our series of catecheses on marriage and the family, on the eve of two significant international events: the World Meeting of Families, to be held next week in Philadelphia, and the Synod of Bishops here in Rome. In these past months, guided by God’s Word, we have reflected on the perennial value of the covenant between man and woman for the future of the entire human family. In the Creator’s plan, marriage and the family have an essential role in shaping an ever more humane political, economic and social life. This role is all the more critical today, in a society increasingly subject to technology and to forms of economic colonization which subordinate ethics to profits. From the beginning, God entrusted His creation to man and woman. Despite our rejection of His original blessing, He continues to watch over our efforts to make this world our common home. In a special way, by the coming of Jesus His Son, He has maintained His promise (cf. Gen 3:15) to bless and protect us in every generation. May families everywhere come to know this blessing!
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope asks for prayers for Apostolic Voyage to Cuba, USA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday appealed for prayers for his Apostolic Voyage to Cuba and to the United States, which begins on Saturday. “I greet the Cuban and the American people,” he said, “who, guided by their Pastors, have prepared themselves spiritually” for the visit. The Pope invoked the “light and strength of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Mary Most Holy” the Patroness of Cuba under the title of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, and the Patroness of America under the title of the Immaculate Conception.
The Holy Father also noted that on Saturday Pio Alberto del Corona will be beatified in the diocese of San Miniato, in Italy. Venerable Pio Alberto was Bishop of San Miniato and founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis described him as a “zealous guide and a wise teacher of the people entrusted to him” and prayed that his example and intercession “might help the Church to journey in the spirit of the Gospel, bearing fruits of good works.”
Below please find Vatican Radio’s translation of the Pope’s appeal at the end of Wednesday’s General Audience:
Next Saturday I will depart for an Apostolic Voyage to Cuba and the United States of America, a mission to which I am going with great hope. The principle reason for the Voyage is the Eighth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia. I will also be going to the central headquarters of the United Nations on the 70th anniversary of its institution. Even now I greet with affection the Cuban and American people, who, guided by their pastors, are spiritually prepared. I ask everyone to accompany me with prayer, invoking the light and strength of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Patroness of Cuba as the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, and Patroness of the United States of America as the Immaculate Conception.
Also next Saturday, at San Miniato, Pio Alberto del Corona, Bishop of that Diocese and founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit, will be beatified. He was a zealous guide and wise teacher of the people entrusted to him. May his example and his intercession help the Church to journey in the spirit of the Gospel, bearing fruits of good works. 
(from Vatican Radio)…