(Vatican Radio) The Sovereign Order of Malta’s Sovereign Council on Saturday accepted the resignation of Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing.
A press release says that Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein assumes the office of Lieutenant ad interim, and Albrecht Boeselager resumes his office as Grand Chancellor
Please find the Sovereign Order of Malta’s official press release below :
The Sovereign Council, the government of the Sovereign Order of Malta, met this afternoon in the Magistral Palace in Rome. On the agenda was the resignation from Office of Grand Master presented by Fra’ Matthew Festing, in accordance with article 16 of the Constitution of the Order of Malta. The Sovereign Council accepted his resignation from office.
Conforming to the Constitution, the Pope has been notified of the resignation of Fra’ Matthew Festing, which will be communicated to the 106 Heads of State with whom the Order has diplomatic relations.
In accordance with Article 17 of the Constitution, the Grand Commander, Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, has assumed the office of Lieutenant ad interim and will remain the Order of Malta’s head until the election of the successor of the Grand Master.
The Sovereign Council thanked Fra’ Matthew Festing for his great commitment during his nine years in office. Subsequently, the Sovereign Council presided over by the Lieutenant ad interim annulled the decrees establishing the disciplinary procedures against Albrecht Boeselager and the suspension of his membership in the Order. Albrecht Boeselager resumes his office as Grand Chancellor immediately.
In a letter sent yesterday, 27 January 2017, to Fra’ Ludwig Hoffman von Rumerstein and the members of the Sovereign Council, Pope Francis reaffirmed the special relationship between the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Apostolic See.
The Pope affirmed that the Lieutenant ad interim assumes responsibility over the Order’s government, in particular regarding relationships with other States. Pope Francis noted precisely that his Special Delegate will be operating on “the spiritual renewal of the Order, specifically of pag. 2 its professed members.”
The Sovereign Order of Malta ensures its full collaboration with the Special Delegate whom the Holy Father intends to appoint. The Sovereign Order of Malta is most grateful to Pope Francis and the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin for their interest in and care for the Order. The Order appreciates that the Holy Father’s decisions were all carefully taken with regard to and respect for the Order, with a determination to strengthen its sovereignty.
The Lieutenant ad interim together with the Sovereign Council will soon convoke the Council Complete of State for the election of the successor of the Grand Master, according to Art. 23 of the Constitution.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday said the Church is facing a “hemorrhaging” of members of religious orders which is weakening consecrated life, and at the same time, the Church herself.
The Pope was speaking to the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which was discussing the theme “Fidelity and Abandonment,” which explored why people leave their vocation.
The Holy Father said although some leave for good reasons, because after discernment, they discover they do not have a vocation; but noted others leave years after making their final profession, and asks “What happened?”
“There are many factors which affect fidelity [to one’s vocation] in this era of change, which is not only a changing era, in which it is difficult to assume responsibilities which are serious and definitive,” Pope Francis said.
The Holy Father said the primary factor is a “provisional” culture, which leads to living an “à la carte” life which is “a slave to fashion.”
“This culture induces the need to always have ‘side doors’ open to other possibilities; it feeds consumerism and forgets the beauty of a simple and austere life, and in many cases causes an existential void,” – Pope Francis said – “It has also produces a powerful practical relativism, according to which everything is judged in terms of a self-realization which is often extraneous to the values of the Gospel.”
The Holy Father added “we live in a society where economic rules replace those of morality; laws that dictate and impose their own frames of reference at the expense of the values of life; a society where the dictatorship of money and profit proposes a vision of existence in which those who do not render to it are discarded.”
The Pope then turned to the current “world of youth,” which he described as “complex, but at the same time rich and challenging.”
The Holy Father said “young people seek a genuine spiritual life,” but can be seduced by the logic of worldliness, “the search for success at any price, easy money and easy pleasure.” He said this must be countered by “infect[ing] them with the joy of the Gospel…this culture must be evangelized if we do not want young people to succumb.”
Pope Francis finally turned to the situation within institutes of consecrated life, warning against a “counter witness” to fidelity.
“Such situations, among others, are: Routine, fatigue, the weight of managing structures, internal divisions, the search for power, a worldly manner of governing institutions, a service of authority that sometimes becomes authoritarianism and other times is laissez-faire,” – the Pope explained – “If the consecrated life wants to maintain its prophetic mission and its fascination, continuing to be a school of faithfulness for those near and those far, it must maintain the freshness and novelty of the centrality of Jesus; its spiritual attractiveness and the strength of mission; and show the beauty of following Christ and radiate hope and joy.”
The Pope urged them to pay particular attention to living their fraternal life in community, “nourished by communal prayer, prayerful reading of the Word, active participation in the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, fraternal dialogue and sincere communication among members, fraternal correction, mercy towards brothers or sisters who sin, and sharing responsibilities.”
Pope Francis concluded his remarks by bringing up the importance of accompaniment, and the necessity of preparing qualified spiritual guides.
“It is hard to remain faithful walking alone or walking with the guidance of brothers and sisters who are not able to listen carefully and patiently, or who lack adequate experience of consecrated life,” – the Holy Father said – “We need brothers and sisters experienced in the ways of God… Many vocations are lost for lack of good leaders.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, has issued a statement for World Leprosy Day, which takes place on the last Sunday of January. “Fear of this disease, which is one of the most feared in human history, defeats reason; lack of knowledge by a community about this pathology excludes those who have been cured of it, who, in their turn, because of the suffering and the forms of discrimination that they have endured, have lost the sense of dignity that belongs to them and is inalienable even though their bodies have mutilations,” – Cardinal Turkson writes – “ ‘For’ them, and above all ‘with’ people who are victims of leprosy, we must engage ourselves more deeply so that they can find welcome, solidarity and justice.” The full Message by Cardinal Turkson is below The eradication of leprosy and the reintegration of people afflicted by hanseniasis: a challenge not yet won. The development of effective pharmacological therapies and the major efforts at a planetary level of many national and international institutions and agencies, with the Catholic Church in the front line, over the last decades have inflicted a very severe blow on Hansen’s disease, known more commonly as leprosy. Hanseniasis, which in the year 1985 still afflicted over five million people in the world, today has about 200,000 new cases each year, but much – very much – still has to be done. As for that matter was highlighted last June at the end of the symposium ‘Towards Holistic Care for People with Hansen’s Disease Respectful of their Dignity’, which was organised by the then Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, every new case of Hansen’s disease is one case too many, as is every residual form of stigma attached to it. Every law that discriminates against patients with Hansen’s disease is one law too many, as is every form of indifference. Within the framework of the initiative promoted in cooperation with the Nippon Foundation-Sasakawa Health Foundation, with the contribution of the Order of Malta, the Raoul Follereau Foundation and the Good Samaritan Foundation, it was further emphasised that given their role, it is important for the leaders of all religions, in their teachings, writings and speeches, to contribute to the elimination of discrimination against people afflicted by Hansen’s disease. On the other hand, as was also emphasised subsequently by the World Health Organisation during the World Forum on hanseniasis held in Seoul in November, physical and psychological care should be assured to patients during and after the end of their treatment. In addition, we should all commit ourselves – and at all levels – to ensuring that in all countries policies relating to the family, to work, to schools, to sport, and policies of every other kind, that directly or indirectly discriminate against these people are changed, and that governments develop implementing plans that involve people with this disease. Lastly, strengthening scientific research in order to develop new medical products, and obtain better diagnostic instruments in order to increase the possibility of early diagnosis, is fundamental. Indeed, in large part new cases are identified only when the infection has provoked permanent lesions and has marked, by now for life, the adults or boys or girls who have this disease. On the other hand, especially in the most remote areas, it is difficult to assure the assistance that is needed to finish the treatment or it is difficult for the patients themselves to understand the importance of – or anyway give priority to – continuing with the pharmacological treatment where this has been begun. But treatment is not enough. A person who has been cured of this disease must be reintegrated to the full into his or her original social fabric: his or her family, community, school, or work environment. In order to promote and contribute to this process of reintegration, which for that matter remains almost impossible in many contexts, associations of former patients should be further supported and encouraged. At the same time, the spread of communities, with these former patients, should be promoted which – as has already taken place, for example, in India, in Brazil and in Ghana – become real families who understand and welcome people, offering a fertile terrain for mutual aid and authentic brotherhood. With reflection, as well, upon the healing of the man with leprosy by Jesus narrated in the first chapter of the Gospel According to Mark. Christ ‘Moved with pity…stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I will do it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean’. Then he ‘said to him, “See that you tell no one anything but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them”’. Thus it was that Jesus not only healed the person in his entirety but also called on the man whom he healed to go to he who could declare his full reintegration into society, his readmission into the ‘human consortium’. Perhaps today as yesterday this is a greatest obstacle to be overcome for those who have been marked by hansensiasis and for those who work for them. The disabilities, the unmistakeable signs left behind by this disease, are still today similar to brands. Fear of this disease, which is one of the most feared in human history, defeats reason; lack of knowledge by a community about this pathology excludes those who have been cured of it, who, in their turn, because of the suffering and the forms of discrimination that they have endured, have lost the sense of dignity that belongs to them and is inalienable even though their bodies have mutilations. ‘For’ them, and above all ‘with’ people who are victims of leprosy, we must engage ourselves more deeply so that they can find welcome, solidarity and justice. (from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent his support to the March for Life, which took place in Washington, DC, on Friday.
The Message – sent by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin – said Pope Francis “trusts that this event, in which so many American citizens speak out on behalf of the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters, will contribute to a mobilization of conscience in defense of the right to life and effective measures to ensure its adequate legal protection.”
Each year, the March for Life draws hundreds of thousands of people to the United States capital to call for the protection of the unborn, and end to euthanasia, and to promote other pro-life issues.
The full text of the Message is below
His Holiness Pope Francis sends warm greetings and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the many thousands of young people from throughout America gathered in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington for the annual March for Life. His Holiness is profoundly grateful for this impressive testimony to the sacredness of every human life. As he has made clear, “so great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right… can justify a decision to terminate that life” (Amoris Laetitia, 83). He trusts that this event, in which so many American citizens speak out on behalf of the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters, will contribute to a mobilization of conscience in defense of the right to life and effective measures to ensure its adequate legal protection. To all present the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State
(from Vatican Radio)…