Vatican Radio REPORT: For a Christian, Jesus is “all”, and this is the source of his or her benevolence.
This was the focus of Pope Francis’s message during Mass on Monday morning at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Pope also affirmed that the righteousness of Jesus exceeds the righteousness of the scribes, that it is superior to the “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” kind of justice.
Amongst those present at the Mass, which was concelebrated by Cardinal Attilio Nicora, was a group of collaborators of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority and a group of Vatican Museums collaborators accompanied by the Museum administrative director, Fr Paolo Nicolini. The Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Tagle, was also present.

“If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also”. Pope Francis focused his homily on Jesus’ earth-shaking words to his disciples. The slap of the cheek – he said - has become a classic take used by some to laugh about Christians. In life, he explained, everyday logic teaches us to “fight to defend our place” and if we receive a slap “we react and return two slaps in order to defend ourselves”. On the other hand, the Pope said, when I advise parents to scold their children I always say: “never slap their cheek”, because “the cheek is dignity”. And Jesus, he continued, after the slap on the cheek goes further and invites us to hand over our coat as well, to undress ourselves completely.

The righteousness that He brings – the Pope affirmed – is another kind of justice that is totally different from “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”. It’s another justice. This is clear when St. Paul speaks of Christians as “people who have nothing in themselves but possess all things in Christ”. So, Christian security is exactly this “all” that is in Christ. “All” - he added – is Jesus Christ. Other things are “nothing” for a Christian. Instead, the Pope warned, “for the spirit of the world “all” means things: riches, vanities”, it means “to be well placed in society” where “Jesus is nothing”. Thus, if a Christian can walk 100 kilometres when he is asked to walk 10, “it’s because for him or for her this is “nothing”. And with serenity, “he or she can give his or her coat when asked for his or her tunic”. This is the secret of Christian benevolence that always goes together with meekness”: it is “all”, it is Jesus Christ:

“A Christian is a person who opens up his or her heart with this spirit of benevolence, because he or she has “all”: Jesus Christ. The other things are “nothing”. Some are good, they have a purpose, but in the moment of choice he or she always chooses “all”, with that meekness, that Christian meekness that is the sign of Jesus’ disciples: meekness and benevolence. To live like this is not easy, because you really do receive slaps! And on both cheeks! But a Christian is meek, a Christian is benevolent: he or she opens up his or her heart. Sometimes we come across these Christians with little hearts, with shrunken hearts…. This is not Christianity: this is selfishness, masked as Christianity”.

“A true Christian” – the Pope continued – “knows how to solve this bi-polar opposition, this tension that exists between “all” and “nothing”, just as Jesus has taught us: “First search for God’s Kingdom and its justice, the rest comes afterwards”.

“God’s Kingdom is “all”, the other is secondary. And all Christian errors, all the Church’s errors, all our errors stem from when we say “nothing” is “all”, and to “all” we say it does not count… Following Jesus is not easy, but it’s not difficult either, because on the path of love the Lord does things in such a way that we can go forward; it is the Lord himself who opens up our heart”.

This is what we must pray for – the Pope said – “when we are confronted with the choice of the slap, the coat, the 100 kilometres”, we must pray the Lord to “open up our heart” so that “we are benevolent and meek” . We must pray so that we do not “fight for small things, for the “nothings” of daily life”.

“When one takes on an option for “nothing”, it is from that option that conflicts arise in families, in friendships, between friends, in society. Conflicts that end in war: for “nothing”! “Nothing” is always the seed of wars. Because it is the seed of selfishness. “All” is Jesus. Let us ask the Lord to open up our heart, to make us humble, meek and benevolent because we have “all” in Him; and let’s ask him to help us avoid creating everyday problems stemming from “nothing”.
Vatican City, 17 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His Excellency Mr. Nicolas Maduro Moros, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. President Maduro then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the talks, which were held in a cordial atmosphere, topics focused on included the country's social and political situation after the recent death of President Hugo Chavez Frias, as well as current issues such as poverty and the fight against crime and drug trafficking.
As the talks continued, reference was made to the Catholic Church's historical presence in the country and her decisive contribution to charity, health care, and education, and the need for constant and sincere dialogue between the Episcopal Conference and the State for the development of the entire nation was agreed upon.
Finally, the regional situation was discussed, with particular reference made to the peace process in Colombia.
Vatican City, 17 June 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday a letter from the Holy Father to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron was made public. It was sent in response to the message he had received on 5 June regarding the British presidency of the G8 and the upcoming meeting scheduled to take place at Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on 17 and 18 June, with the theme of “A G8 Meeting that Goes Back to First Principles”.
In the letter, the Holy Father emphasized that, for the theme “to attain its broadest and deepest resonance, it is necessary to ensure that all political and economic activity, whether national or international,” makes reference to humanity. “Indeed, such activity must, on the one hand, enable the maximum expression of freedom and creativity, both individual and collective, while on the other hand it must promote and guarantee their responsible exercise in solidarity, with particular attention to the poorest.”
Francis praised the priorities that the British Presidency has set out for the upcoming summit, noting that the fundamental reference to humanity is not lacking, “specifically in the proposal for concerted action by the Group to eliminate definitively the scourge of hunger and to ensure food security. Similarly, a further sign of attention to the human person is the inclusion as one of the central themes on the agenda of the protection of women and children from sexual violence in conflict situations, even though it must be remembered that the indispensable context for the development of all the afore-mentioned political actions is that of international peace. … and this year [the G8] cannot fail to address the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria,” the Pope noted.
“The actions included on the agenda of the British G8 Presidency, which point towards law as the golden thread of development – as well as the consequent commitments to deal with tax avoidance and to ensure transparency and responsibility on the part of governments,” Francis said, “are measures that indicate the deep ethical roots of these problems, since, as my predecessor Benedict XVI made clear, the present global crisis shows that ethics is not something external to the economy, but is an integral and unavoidable element of economic thought and action.”
The Holy Father repeated that the long-term measures “designed to ensure an adequate legal framework for all economic actions, as well as the associated urgent measures to resolve the global economic crisis, must be guided by the ethics of truth”. First and foremost, this entails a respect for the truth of the human person, “who is not simply an additional economic factor, or a disposable good, but is equipped with a nature and a dignity that cannot be reduced to simple economic calculus. Therefore concern for the fundamental material and spiritual welfare of every human person is the starting-point for every political and economic solution and the ultimate measure of its effectiveness and its ethical validity.”
Stressing that “the goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they may be, even in their mothers' wombs,” the Pope, in his letter, noted that “every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one's own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless.”
Pope Francis wrote that he wished to share these thoughts with the Prime Minister “with a view to highlighting what is implicit in all political choices, but can sometimes be forgotten: the primary importance of putting humanity, every single man and woman, at the centre of all political and economic activity, both nationally and internationally, because man is the truest and deepest resource for politics and economics, as well as their ultimate end.”
Vatican City, 15 June 2013 (VIS) – In a declaration published this morning, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Press Office of the Holy See, made it known that: “The Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), with the approval of the Holy Father, has appointed 'ad interim' Msgr. Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca as Prelate of the Institute.”
“In his capacity as prelate, Msgr. Battista Ricca will act as secretary of the meetings of the Cardinals’ Commission and will attend meetings of the Board of Superintendence in accordance with the Institute’s statutes.”
“Msgr. Battista Ricca, who was born in Offlaga in the province of Brescia, Italy, in 1956, is part of the Diplomatic Service, serving in the First Section of the Secretariat of State. He is also Director of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, the Domus Romana Sacerdotalis, and the Casa San Benedetto.”
“As can be recalled, he succeeds Archbishop Piero Pioppo, currently Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, who held the post from 2006 to 2010.”
“With the appointment of Mr. Ernst von Freyberg as President of the Institute and of Msgr. Battista Ricca as its prelate, the Cardinals’ Commission has filled the two important positions that are provided for in the statutes of the IOR, which had been vacant for some time. Msgr. Battista Ricca’s appointment is effective immediately.”
Vatican City, 17 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:
   - His Excellency Mr. Rowsch N. Shaways, vice prime minister of the Republic of Iraq, and
   - Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, S.D.B., bishop emeritus of Hong Kong.
On Saturday, 15 June in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Holy Father received:
   - Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, and
   - Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Vatican City, 15 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
   - appointed Msgr. Xavier Munyongani as bishop of the Diocese of Gweru (area 29,158, population 2,313,000, Catholics 368,000, priests 54, religious 216), Zimbabwe. The bishop-elect was born in Mutero Mission, Gutu District, Zimbabwe, in 1950 and was ordained a priest in 1977. Since ordination he has served in many pastoral, academic, and administrative roles in the Dioceses of Gweru and Masvingo, Zimbabwe, as well as serving in London, England, since 2007, as chaplain of the Zimbabwe Catholic Community.
   - appointed Fr. Alphonse Nguyen Huu Long, P.S.S., as auxiliary of the Diocese of Hung Hoa (area 54,352, population 7,187,000, Catholics 235,000, priests 63, religious 242), Vietnam, assigning him the Titular See of Gummi in Byzacena. The bishop-elect was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1990. Since ordination he has: served as vicar for the parish of Tam Ky (1990-1994); obtained a license in Canon Law from the Institut Catholique of Paris, France; served as pastor for the parishes of Ha Lam (1999-2001) and Tra Kieu (2001-2003); served as spiritual director and professor of Canon Law, Church History, and Catechesis at the Major Seminary of Hue (2003-2011) as well as that institution's rector since 2011.
   - appointed Fr. Pierre Nguyen Van Vien as auxiliary of the Diocese of Vinh (area 30,594, population 6,285,000, Catholics 506,992, priests 197, religious 1,882), Vietnam, assigning him the Titular See of Megalopolis in Proconsulari. The bishop-elect was born in Huong Phuong, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, in 1965 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Vinh in 1999. Since ordination he has done pastoral service for the Vietnamese community in Sydney, Australia, where he obtained his doctorate in Theology, served as vice rector and professor of Dogmatics at Vinh Thanh's Major Seminary, and, since, 2010, served as general vicar of the Diocese of Vinh.
   - appointed Cardinal Audrys Juozas Backis, archbishop emeritus of Vilnius, Lithuania, as his special envoy to the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus' scheduled to take place in Kiev, Ukraine from 17-18 August 2013.
   - appointed Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana, Cuba, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the First anniversary of the elevation of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of San Salvador, El Salvador, and the erection of the Dioceses of Santa Ana and San Miguel as well as the closing ceremony of the national Eucharistic Congress in El Salvador scheduled for 11 August 2013.