|- Pope Francis' message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees: “A Church without frontiers, mother to all”|
|- The challenge of migration: indifference must not prevail|
|- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Muller meets the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X|
|- International Theological Commission at the end of its eighth term: appointments and new website|
|- The Holy See at the 58th Conference of the IAEA: nuclear disarmament is a realistic objective|
|- Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 23 September 2014 (VIS) – The full text of the Holy Father's Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2015 is published below:
“Dear brothers and sisters,
Jesus is 'the evangeliser par excellence and the Gospel in person'. His solicitude, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalised, invites all of us to care for the frailest and to recognise his suffering countenance, especially in the victims of new forms of poverty and slavery. The Lord says: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me'. The mission of the Church, herself a pilgrim in the world and the Mother of all, is thus to love Jesus Christ, to adore and love him, particularly in the poorest and most abandoned; among these are certainly migrants and refugees, who are trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers of every kind. For this reason, the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: Church without frontiers, Mother to all.
“The Church opens her arms to welcome all people, without distinction or limits, in order to proclaim that 'God is love'. After his death and resurrection, Jesus entrusted to the disciples the mission of being his witnesses and proclaiming the Gospel of joy and mercy. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples left the Upper Room with courage and enthusiasm; the strength of the Holy Spirit overcame their doubts and uncertainties and enabled all to understand the disciples’ preaching in their own language. From the beginning, the Church has been a mother with a heart open to the whole world, and has been without borders. This mission has continued for two thousand years. But even in the first centuries, the missionary proclamation spoke of the universal motherhood of the Church, which was then developed in the writings of the Fathers and taken up by the Second Vatican Council. The Council Fathers spoke of Ecclesia Mater to explain the Church’s nature. She begets sons and daughters and 'takes them in and embraces them with her love and in her heart'.
“The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable. When living out this motherhood effectively, the Christian community nourishes, guides and indicates the way, accompanying all with patience, and drawing close to them through prayer and works of mercy.
“Today this takes on a particular significance. In fact, in an age of such vast movements of migration, large numbers of people are leaving their homelands, with a suitcase full of fears and desires, to undertake a hopeful and dangerous trip in search of more humane living conditions. Often, however, such migration gives rise to suspicion and hostility, even in ecclesial communities,prior to any knowledge of the migrants’ lives or their stories of persecution and destitution. In such cases, suspicion and prejudice conflict with the biblical commandment of welcoming with respect and solidarity the stranger in need.
On the other hand, we sense in our conscience the call to touch human misery, and to put into practice the commandment of love that Jesus left us when he identified himself with the stranger, with the one who suffers, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. Because of the weakness of our nature, however, 'we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length'.
“The courage born of faith, hope and love enables us to reduce the distances that separate us from human misery. Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognised in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches. Pope Paul VI spoke of this when he said that 'the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others'.
“The multicultural character of society today, for that matter, encourages the Church to take on new commitments of solidarity, communion and evangelisation. Migration movements, in fact, call us to deepen and strengthen the values needed to guarantee peaceful coexistence between persons and cultures. Achieving mere tolerance that respects diversity and ways of sharing between different backgrounds and cultures is not sufficient. This is precisely where the Church contributes to overcoming frontiers and encouraging the 'moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalisation … towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world'.
“Migration movements, however,are on such a scale that only a systematic and active cooperation between States and international organisations can be capable of regulating and managing such movements effectively. For migration affects everyone, not only because of the extent of the phenomenon, but also because of 'the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community'.
“At the international level, frequent debates take place regarding the appropriateness, methods and required norms to deal with the phenomenon of migration. There are agencies and organizations on the international, national and local level which work strenuously to serve those seeking a better life through migration. Notwithstanding their generous and laudable efforts, a more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of cooperation, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person. This will lead to greater effectiveness in the fight against the shameful and criminal trafficking of human beings, the violation of fundamental rights, and all forms of violence, oppression and enslavement. Working together, however, requires reciprocity,joint-action, openness and trust, in the knowledge that 'no country can singlehandedly face the difficulties associated with this phenomenon, which is now so widespread that it affects every continent in the twofold movement of immigration and emigration'.
“It is necessary to respond to the globalisation of migration with the globalisation of charity and cooperation, in such a way as to make the conditions of migrants more humane. At the same time, greater efforts are needed to guarantee the easing of conditions, often brought about by war or famine,which compel whole peoples to leave their native countries.
“Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop, on a world-wide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order, as well as an increasing commitment to peace, the indispensable condition for all authentic progress.
“Dear migrants and refugees! You have a special place in the heart of the Church, and you help her to enlarge her heart and to manifest her motherhood towards the entire human family. Do not lose your faith and hope! Let us think of the Holy Family during the flight in Egypt: Just as the maternal heart of the Blessed Virgin and the kind heart of Saint Joseph kept alive the confidence that God would never abandon them, so in you may the same hope in the Lord never be wanting. I entrust you to their protection and I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing”.
|The challenge of migration: indifference must not prevail|
Vatican City, 23 September 2014 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning, in which Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, along with Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the same dicastery, presented the Holy Father's message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be held on on the theme, “A Church without frontiers, Mother to all”.
Cardinal Veglio explained that the Message is dated 3 September, the date of the centenary of the election of Pope Benedict XV, and highlighted the importance Pope Francis has attached to establishing an annual day for increasing awareness of the phenomenon of migration. He also emphasised that the Church has faced ever new and challenging situations during her millennial history, and that migration poses fresh challenges not only on account of its magnitude but also for the various social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it gives rise to.
“The biblical commandment to love one's neighbour, to open the door to him as though welcoming God, may come into conflict with certain problematic situations, for instance when immigrants are linked to irregular or delinquent behaviour”. Cardinal Veglio posed the question, “How should the Church respond?”, when faced with such a complex situation, and went on to outline the three recommendations offered by the Pope. These are: the renouncement of oneself, collaboration between the different entities and institutions that work for immigrants, and the humanisation of conditions for immigrants, intensifying efforts to promote a gradual reduction in the root causes of immigration, that cause entire peoples to abandon their homelands.
Archbishop Kalathiparambil went on to consider the theme of multiculturalism in contemporary society, which is in constant evolution. He raised key issues related to forced immigration, explaining that this takes the form of fleeing for salvation, often involving dangerous or life-threatening journeys which may nonetheless offer the only option for reaching a country where protection and the possibility of a dignified life can be found. The prelate highlighted that since many people in these conditions cannot meet the stringent requirements for international travel as they often do not possess, and have no means of obtaining valid documents, they become “vulnerable and defenceless, in search of protection, and easy prey to smugglers and traffickers”.
He remarked that “to respond effectively to the recognition of the need for protection, to restore human dignity to refugees and treat the causes of forced mobility”, States are required to cooperate in a spirit of international solidarity, and added that the Church must make efforts to ensure that “the dignity and the centrality of the human person is protected, promoting solidarity and dialogue between peoples”. He concluded by emphasising that today's challenge is to resist becoming “used to the human tragedy experienced by forcibly displaced persons, and not to allow indifference, 'the weakness of our human nature', to prevail or to give rise to the temptation to be Christians who keep a safe distance from the wounds of the Lord”.
|Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Muller meets the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X|
Vatican City, 23 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office has issued a statement to confirm that this morning from , a cordial meeting took place at the premises of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X. The meeting was also attended by Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the same Congregation, Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., adjunct secretary and Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, along with two assistants from the Society of St. Pius X, Rev. Niklaus Pfluger and Rev. Alain-Marc Nély.
During the meeting, various problems of a doctrinal and canonical nature were examined, and it was decided to proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time in order to overcome difficulties and with a view to the envisioned full reconciliation.
|International Theological Commission at the end of its eighth term: appointments and new website|
Vatican City, 23 September 2014 (VIS) – This year the International Theological Commission concludes its eighth five-year term, which began with the pontifical appointment of its members on 19 June 2009.
As is known, the International Theological Commission, instituted by the Servant of God Paul VI on 11 April 1969, has the task of assisting the Holy See, and in particular the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in examining the most important and current doctrinal questions. The Commission is composed of theologians from various schools and nations, eminent for their scientific excellence and fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church. The Members – no more than thirty in number – are appointed by the Holy Father “ad quinquennium” upon proposal by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and following consultation with the Episcopal Conferences. During the course of its history the Commission has published 27 documents, with the approval of its President.
The Holy See wishes to express special gratitude for the competent and conscientious theological service provided by the Members of the Commission during the term that is about to draw to an end. Three documents have been published during this term: Theology today. Perspectives, Principles and Criteria (approved in 2011 and published in 2012); God the Trinity and the Unity of Humanity: Christian monotheism and its opposition to violence (approved in 2013 and published in 2014) and the more recent Sensus fidei in the life of the Church (approved and published in the current year 2014). In reality, the work of the Commission has been more extensive, as it has also offered valuable contributions on other issues on behalf of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the primary task of the Commission.
On 26 July 2014, with the appointment by the Holy Father Francis of thirty new Members, the Commission began its ninth term. This will continue until 2019, which will also be a jubilee period for the Commission, which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its institution on .
As usual, in view of the aforementioned appointments, during this last year extensive consultations have been carried out with Episcopal Conferences throughout the world, as well as the Synods of the oriental Eparchies. On the basis of the responses received, Cardinal Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presented to the Holy Father a preferential list of candidates. Taking these proposals into consideration, the Pope appointed the theologians who are to form the Commission, at the same time renewing the appointment of Fr. Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P. (France) as secretary general.
With regard to the provenance of the Members, there is an increased number of extra-European appointees in the new composition of the Commission. As well as the 14 representatives of Europe (compared to 14 in the previous term) there are 5 from South America (previously 3), 4 from Asia (previously 4), 3 from Africa (previously 2), 3 from North America (previously 2) and 1 from Australia (previously 1).
Furthermore, there is a notable increase in the contribution of female theologians. In the two previous terms, the Commission benefited from the presence of two renowned theologians, Sister Sara Butler, M.S.B.T., (U.S.A.), and Professor Barbara Hallensleben (Switzerland, of German nationality). Five other female theologians have been appointed for the new term: Sister Prudence Allen, R.S.M., (U.S.A.), Sister Alenka Arko, Com. Loyola (Slovenia-Russia), Moira Mary McQuenn (G.B. – Canada), Tracey Rowland (Australia), Marianne Schlosser (Germany – Austria). Women now constitute 16% of the Commission’s members, a sign of growing female involvement in theological research. In 2014 it was also decided to further diversify the ecclesial provenance of the members, in relation to their religious status and the particular charisms they represent.
The first meeting of the new members, which will take place in plenary session at the premises of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is traditionally held in the first week of Advent – from . The three themes to be considered by the Commission over the coming years will be selected.
The International Theological Commission has renovated and enriched its page on the Vatican website (www.vatican.va), which offers all its documents in various languages, among the section of Commissions linked to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. All the documents published by the Comission are available for consultation, usually in ten or more languages. The Commission has now taken a further step to facilitate consultation while conserving all its documentation on the official site of the Holy See (www.vatican.va), by establishing a new link ( www.cti.va).
Referring to the initials of its Latin name, “Commissio Theologica Internationalis”, the new link has the advantage of being identical for various languages, such as Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Aside from offering a page dedicated to the Commission, the new link also offers the reader the possibility of selecting the language without returning to the Vatican homepage. It is hoped that this new and easier to use page will be a useful tool for stimulating dialogue by enabling an increasingly effective communication of the Commission's theological patrimony both within and beyond the Church.
|The Holy See at the 58th Conference of the IAEA: nuclear disarmament is a realistic objective|
Vatican City, 20 September 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States, attended the 58th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), held in Vienna yesterday. He began his address by emphasising that the Holy See commends and supports all the activities of the IAEA, which contribute to “authentic human development and foster peace and prosperity throughout the world”, and remarked that, in relation to the Agency's significant achievements, “the Holy See believes that improved public awareness and recognition ... would come about through a greater use of the modern means of communication and a deeper cooperation with civic and political authorities”. Moreover, he added, “we believe that these activities … are compatible with Pope Francis' call for fraternity, articulated in his 2014 Message for the World Day of Peace”.
He went on to stress that the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons is “paramount for all humankind. Yet the attainment of this objective cannot be the final word with regard to peace: special emphasis must be given to worldwide nuclear disarmament. This must be a goal for all states, especially for those who possess nuclear weapons or who want to develop or acquire them. Furthermore it is a goal which ought not to be considered unrealistic. The reality of peace unquestionably requires a change of course which can be accomplished by decision-making which is clear and firm, and by a willingness to seek and achieve nuclear disarmament. As in years past, the Holy See urges governments and scientific experts engaged in the field of military defence to work strenuously towards such disarmament”. He commented that this year is the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, and the seventy-fifth of the Second World War, conflicts whose terrible consequences we still experience to this day.
Archbishop Camilleri turned his attention to the great worldwide interest in ensuring the enhancement and improvement of nuclear safety since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plants in March 2011. “This is the path that must be pursued: doing everything humanly possible to prevent accidents at nuclear facilities and minimising any consequences should an accident occur”. He concluded by confirming that the Holy See delegation “wishes to encourage and support the efforts and innovative approaches tht concern the management and safe disposal of radioactive waste”, and reiterated the great importance attached by the Holy See to the successful cooperation of the IAEA with other United Nations organisations such as the WHO and the FAO.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 20 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of Chicago (area 3,654, population 6,251,000, Catholics 2,438,000, priests 1,559, permanent deacons 660, religious 2,787), U.S.A. He succeeds Cardinal Francis E. George, O.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same metropolitan archdiocese, upon reaching the age limit, was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Rev. Fr. Riccardo Luca Guariglia, O.S.B., as ordinary abbot of the territorial abbey of Montevergine (area 3, population 232, Catholics 232, priests 12, religious 27), Italy. Fr. Guariglia is currently lecturer in fundamental theology at the “Madonna delle Grazie” Theological Institute in Benevento, Italy, and claustral prior and master of novices of the monastic community of Montevergine.
- Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India, as his special envoy to the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the evangelisation of Myanmar, to be held in Yangon from.
- Msgr. Paolo Rudelli, nunciature advisor, as special advisor and Holy See permanent observer at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 20 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed the new members of the International Theological Commission and has renewed the mandate of a number of members from its previous five-year term. For the 2014-2019 term, the Commission will be composed of the following members:
- Fr. Serge Thomas Bonino, O.P., secretary general, France;
- Rev. Terwase Henry Akaabiam, Nigeria;
- Sister Prudence Allen, R.S.M., U.S.A.;
- Sister Alenka Arko, Loyola Community, Russian Federation - Slovenia;
- Msgr. Antonio Luiz Catelan Ferreira, Brazil;
- Msgr. Piero Coda, Italy;
- Rev. Lajos Dolhai, Hungary;
- P. Peter Dubovsky, S.J., Slovakia;
- Rev. Mario Angel Flores Ramos, Mexico;
- Rev. Carlos Maria Galli, Argentina;
- Rev. Krzysztof Gozdz, Poland;
- Rev. Gaby Alfred Hachem, Lebanon;
- Fr. Thomas Kollamparampil, C.M.I., India;
- Rev. Koffi Messan Laurent Kpogo, Togo;
- Rev. Oswaldo Martinez Mendoza, Colombia;
- Professor Moira Mary McQueen, Canada – Great Britain;
- Rev. Karl Heinz Menke, Germany;
- Rev.do John Junyang PARK, Corea;
- Fr. Bernard Pottier, S.J., Belgium;
- Rev. Javier Prades Lopez, Spain;
- Professor Tracey Rowland, Australia;
- Professor Hector Gustavo Sanchez Rojas, S.C.V., Peru;
- Professor Marianne Schlosser, Austria – Germany;
- Rev. Nicholaus Segeja M'Hela, Tanzania;
- Rev. Pierangelo Sequeri, Italy;
- Rev. Zeljko Tanjic, Croatia;
- Fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner III, O.P., Philippines;
- Fr. Gabino Uribarri Bilbao, S.J., Spain;
- Rev. Philippe Vallin, France;
- Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M.Cap., U.S.A.