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22-06-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 116 

- The Pope in Turin: meeting with the world of work
- Contemplation before the Shroud and Mass in Piazza Vittorio
- To the Salesians: remember St. John Bosco's “street children”
- Francis visits the Cottolengo: the poor continue to be excluded from necessary care
- Meeting with the young: go against the grain
- To the Waldensian Church: God is not resigned to human sin
- The Pope to the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour: the economy contributes to development when rooted in justice
- To the Catholic Biblical Federation: the Word of God is a sacramental
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope in Turin: meeting with the world of work
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis today began his visit to Turin on the occasion of the extraordinary exposition of the Turin Shroud and the bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco. He was welcomed at the airport of the Piedmontese capital by the local religious and civil authorities following an hour-long flight from Rome, and then went on to meet with representatives from the world of work in the Piazzetta Reale.
“My visit to Turin begins with you”, he said to the thousands of people who had been awaiting him in the square since the early hours of the morning. “First of all, I would like to express my closeness to the young unemployed, to those in receipt of unemployment insurance, and those in precarious working conditions; and also to businesspeople, artisans and all those who work in various sectors, especially those who struggle to keep afloat”.
“Work is not necessary only for the economy, but also for the human person, and for his or her dignity and citizenship, and also for social inclusion”, emphasised the Holy Father, noting that Turin has historically been a pole of attraction for work, but is currently hard-hit by the crisis. “There is a lack of work and economic and social inequalities have increased; many people are poor and have problems with housing, health, education and other basic needs. Immigration increases competition, but migrants must not be blamed, as they are victims of iniquity, of this throwaway economy, and of wars. It makes us weep to see what is happening in these days, in which human beings are treated like commodities”.
The Pontiff reiterated that we must say “no” to a series of problems: to the throwaway economy “that expects us to resign ourselves to the exclusion of those who live in abject poverty. … Children are excluded, with a birthrate of 0%, the elderly are excluded, and now the young are excluded, with more than 40% unemployed. That which is not productive is excluded in a throwaway fashion”. We must say “no” to the idolatry of money, “which drives us to enter at all costs among those who, despite the crisis, become rich without caring about the many who are poor, often to the point of going hungry”. We must then say “no” to corruption, which is “so widespread that it seems to be a normal attitude and form of behaviour. But not merely in words, but also in actions. 'No' to collusion with the mafia, to fraud, to kickbacks, and so on”. Finally, “no” to the “iniquity that generates violence. Don Bosco teaches us that the best method is prevention: even social conflict can be prevented, and this must be done with justice”.
The Pope affirmed that, faced with this situation, “one cannot simply wait for recovery. Work is fundamental – it is declared from the beginning of the Italian Constitution – and it is necessary for society as a whole, in all its components, to collaborate so that there is work for all and that it is work worthy of man and woman. This requires an economic model that is not organised on the basis of capital and production but rather in the service of the common good. And, with regard to women, their rights must be forcefully protected; for women, who bear the greater burden in caring for the home, children and the elderly, are still discriminated against at work too”.
“Today I would like to add my voice to those of many workers and businesspeople in asking for a 'social and generational pact'. … Making data and resources available with a view to working together is a precondition for overcoming the current difficult situation and for building a new identity suitable for the times and the needs of the territory. The time has come to reactivate solidarity between generations, to recover trust between the young and adults. … And these are the main things I wanted to say to you. I add one word, which is not intended rhetorically: courage! This does not mean resignation, but rather, the contrary: be bold, be creative, be artisans of the future! For this I pray and I accompany you with my heart”.
Contemplation before the Shroud and Mass in Piazza Vittorio
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) – After his encounter with representatives from the world of work, the Pope proceeded on foot to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which houses the Holy Shroud, traditionally considered to have been wrapped around the body of Christ after his crucifixion. As Roberto Gottardo, president of the diocesan Commission for the Shroud, writes: “The Shroud is a cloth, but it is above all an image. … This image tells us of Jesus, in an immediate way, before science can offer its version and before faith reveals that it is Jesus. All this does not mean that the Shroud is certainly the sheet brought by Joseph of Arimathea below the cross, but certainly anyone who looks at it will find that it immediately recalls this story”. During the exposition of the Shroud in 1998, St. John Paul II affirmed: “The Shroud is also an image of human suffering, that experience that is to varying extents part of the existence of every person, and allows us to recognise this man as one of us”.
Once inside the Cathedral, the Pope knelt before the Holy Shroud, displayed at the major altar, in order to meditate for a moment in the presence of the elder priests of the Cathedral and cloistered nuns. He then proceeded to the chapel that houses the relics of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925), from Turin. Shortly after 10 a.m. he left the Cathedral and travelled by popemobile to Piazza Vittorio, one of the largest squares in Europe, to celebrate Holy Mass before thousands of people and to pray the Angelus.
“The readings we have heard should us how God's love for us is a faithful love, a love that recreates everything, a stable and secure love”, said Francis in his homily. “It is a love that does not deceive us, that never ends. Jesus incarnates that love: it is his Testament. He never ceases to love us, to support us, to forgive us, and so it leads us down the path of life, according to the promise He made to His disciples: 'I am with you always, to the end of the age'. Jesus remains faithful, even when we make mistakes, and he awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father. He is faithful love”.
“The second aspect: the love of God recreates everything, it makes all things new. … Acknowledging our limits and weaknesses is the door that opens up to Jesus' forgiveness, to His love that can renew us profoundly and can recreate us. Salvation can enter into the heart when we open up to the truth and acknowledge our errors, our sins; it is then that we have that beautiful experience of Him, of He who came not for the healthy, but for the sick; not for the righteous, but for sinners. … The sign that we have become 'new' and have been transformed by God's love is knowing how to cast aside the worn and old robes of rancour and enmities, to re-clothe us in the clean tunic of meekness, benevolence, service to others, and the peace of the heart proper to the sons of God. … God's love is stable and secure … as Jesus shows in the miracle narrated in the Gospel, when He calms the storm, commanding the wind and the sea. The disciples are afraid as they realise they are not able to cope, but He opens their heart to the courage of faith. To the man who cries, 'I can't do it any more', the Lord reaches out, offering him the rock of His love, to which anyone can hold, sure of not falling”.
“We can ask ourselves if today we rest firmly on the rock that is God's love; whether we live God's faithful love for us. There is always the risk of forgetting that great love the Lord has shown to us. We Christians too run the risk of letting ourselves be paralysed by fears of the future and seeking security in transient things, in a model of a closed society that tends to exclude more than it includes”.
“May the Holy Spirit help us always to be conscious of this love that, like a rock makes us stable and strong in sufferings small and great; that makes us able not to close ourselves up when faced with difficulties, to face life with courage and to look to the future with hope. As then, on the lake of Galilee, today too in the sea of our existence Jesus is He Who vanquishes the forces of evil and the threats of despair. The peace He gives us is for all; even for many brothers and sisters who flee from wars and persecutions in search of peace and freedom”.
Following Mass, and before praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled that the Shroud, which attracts millions of pilgrims to Turin every year, was the icon of Jesus' love. “The Shroud attracts us through the face and the broken body of Jesus and, at the same time, drives us towards the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person. It drives us in the same direction of the gift of Jesus' love. 'The love of Christ impels us': these words of St. Paul's were the motto of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo”.
“Recalling the apostolic zeal of many priests, saints of this land, starting from Don Bosco, of whom we recall the bicentenary of his birth, I greet you, priests and men and women religious. You dedicate yourselves fully to pastoral work and you are close to the people and their problems. I encourage you to continue in your ministry with joy, always focusing on what is essential in the announcement of the Gospel. And while I thank you, brother bishops of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, for your presence, I exhort you to stay near to your priests with paternal affection and warm closeness”.
“To the Holy Virgin I commend this city, her territory and all who live here, so that they may live in justice, in peace and in fraternity. In particular, I entrust families, the young, the elderly, the imprisoned and all those who suffer, with a special thought for those who suffer from leukaemia today, on National Day Against Leukaemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma. May Mary the Consoler, the Queen of Turin and Piedmont, keep firm your faith, assure your hopes and make your charity fruitful, so as to be 'salt and light' of this blessed land, of which I am a grandson”.
Following the Marian prayer, the Pope transferred to the archbishop's residence by car, greeting the soldiers of the Training School, where he lunched with the detainees of the “Ferrante-Aporti” prison for minors, some immigrants and various people without fixed abode.
To the Salesians: remember St. John Bosco's “street children”
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's afternoon in Turin began with a private visit to the Shrine of the Consolata, the most popular basilica in the city, dedicated to Mary the Consoler, protector of the city ever since the twelfth century and invoked during the siege by Franco-Spanish troops in 1706 and during the plague in 1835. The Pope prayed at the altar of the Virgin and Child, the work of Felipe Juvarra, in the company of ten priests from the Cathedral.
From there, he proceeded to the basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians to celebrate with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in their motherhouse on the bicentenary of the birth of the “apostle of the young”, St. John Bosco. Thousands of young people from Salesian oratories from all over the world awaited the Pope outside the basilica. Upon arrival Pope Francis, accompanied by the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, left a floral tribute at the main altar, inaugurated in 1868 at the behest of St. John Bosco, and handed the discourse he had prepared to the Major Rector of the Salesians, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, after which he made some unscripted remarks to those present. Extensive extracts of the Pope's written discourse are published below.
“I thank the Lord with you for having given the Church this saint, who along with many other saints from the region, is an honour and a blessing for the Church and for society in Turin and Piedmont, for Italy and all the world, in particular for the attention he showed to the young and marginalised poor. Much may be said of Don Bosco. However, I would like to emphasise just three characteristics: his trust in Divine Providence; the vocation of being a priest for the young, especially the poorest; and his loyal and active service to the Church, especially to Peter's Successor”.
“Don Bosco carried out his priestly mission up to his last breath, supported by an unswerving trust in God and in His love, and for this he was able to do great things. This relationship of trust with the Lord is also the substance of consecrated life, so that service to the Gospel and to our brothers does not remain a prisoner of our viewpoints, of the transient realities of this world, but rather a continual surpassing of ourselves, anchoring us in external realities and submerging ourselves in the Lord, our strength and our hope. And this will also be our fruitfulness”.
“The other important aspect of the life of Don Bosco is service to the young. He achieved this with steadfastness and constancy, notwithstanding obstacles and hardships, with the sensibility of a generous heart. … The charism of Don Bosco leads us to be educators of the young, implementing that pedagogy of the faith that may be summarised thus: 'evangelise by educating and educate by evangelising'. To evangelise the young, to educate the young full-time, starting from the most fragile and abandoned, proposing an educational style made of reason, religion and affection, universally appreciated as a 'preventive system'. I encourage you to continue with generosity and trust your many activities in support of the new generations: oratories, youth centres, professional institutes, schools and colleges. But without forgetting what Don Bosco called the 'street children': they are greatly in need of hope, of being formed in the joy of Christian life”.
“Don Bosco was always obedient and faithful the Church and the Pope, following suggestions and pastoral indications. Today the Church turns to you, spiritual sons and daughters of this great Saint, and in a concrete way invites you to reach out, to go out anew to find the children and young people where they are: in the peripheries of the metropolises, in the areas of physical and moral danger, in social contexts where many material things are missing, but where above all there is a lack of love, understanding, tenderness and hope. Go towards them with the overflowing paternity of Don Bosco. The oratory of Don Bosco was born of the encounter with street children and for a certain time he lived an itinerant life in the quarters of Turin. May you be able to announce Jesus' mercy to all, making every place an 'oratory', especially those that seem most impervious; carrying in your hearts Don Bosco's oratory style and looking to ever-broader apostolic horizons. From the solid root that he laid down two hundred years ago in the terrain of the Church and in society, many branches have grown: thirty religious institutions that live the charism to share the mission of carrying the Gospel to the outer reaches of the peripheries. The Lord has blessed this service, inspiring among you, throughout these two centuries, a great number of people whom the Church has proclaimed saints and blesseds. I encourage you to continue on this path, imitating the faith of your predecessors”.
Francis visits the Cottolengo: the poor continue to be excluded from necessary care
Vatican City, 21 June 2015 (VIS) - “I could not visit Turin without stopping in this house: the Little House of Divine Providence [Cottolengo], founded almost two centuries ago by St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo. Inspired by the merciful love of God the Father and trusting fully in His Providence, he welcomed the poor, abandoned and sick who could not be received in hospitals at that time”, said the Pope to the patients and differently-abled persons who awaited him at the Cottolengo in Turin following his meeting with the Salesians.
After blessing and personally greeting each person present, the Pope gave a brief address in which he remarked that “the exclusion of the poor and their difficulty in receiving the necessary assistance and treatment is a situation that unfortunately still exists today. Great progress has been made in medicine and in social assistance, but a culture of waste remains widespread as a consequence of an anthropological crisis that instead of placing man at the centre, favours consumption and economic interests”.
He continued, “among the victims of this culture of waste, I would like to mention the elderly in particular … they are the memory and wisdom of the people. Their longevity is not always considered as a gift from God, but at times instead as a difficult burden to bear, especially when their health is compromised. This mentality is not good for society, and our task is to develop 'antibodies' against this way of looking at the elderly or persons with disabilities, as if theirs were lives no longer worth living. It is a sin, a grave social sin! Instead, Cottolengo loved these people with great tenderness. Here we can learn another outlook on life and on the person. … From him we can learn the reality of evangelical love, so that many poor and sick people may find a home, live as if they were in a family, and feel that they belong to a community rather than being excluded and tolerated”.
“Dear patients, brothers and sisters: you are valuable members of the Church!” exclaimed the Pope. “You are the flesh of Christ crucified, whom we have the honour of touching and serving with love. With the grace of Jesus we can be witnesses and apostles of the divine mercy that saves the world. Looking upon the crucified Christ, full of love for me, and also with the help of those who care for you, you will find the strength and the consolation to bear your cross each day”.
“The reason for the existence of this little house is not mere assistance, or philanthropy, but the Gospel: … Jesus' predilection for the frailest and weakest. And therefore work like this cannot be carried out without prayer … as shown by the six monasteries of nuns of contemplative life linked to it”, concluded the Holy Father, who went on to thank the priests and men and women religious of Turin, in the Cottolengo and throughout the world. “Along with many lay workers, volunteers and 'Friends of the Cottolengo', you are called upon to continue, with creative fidelity, the mission of this great saint of charity”.
Meeting with the young: go against the grain
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) – The first day of the Pope's apostolic trip to Turin concluded with his encounter with the young in Piazza Vittorio. Francis answered to questions from three of them regarding the meaning of love, trust in life and the importance of sharing ideals, setting aside the discourse he had prepared. The following is a summary of the Holy Father's answers:
“Love, life, friends: … these three words are important for life, and they share a common root: the desire to live. … Love moves on two axes: first of all, love is found in actions more than in words: love is concrete. … God began to talk about love when he was involved with His people … when He made a covenant with His people, He saved His people, He made gestures of love, acts of love. And the second dimension, the second axis on which love turns, is that love always communicates itself, that is, love listens and responds, love is found in dialogue and communion. Love is neither deaf nor mute, it communicates itself. … Love is very respectful to others, it does not use them, and therefore love is chaste. … It considers the life of the other person to be sacred: I respect you, I do not want to use you. … Forgive me if I say something you did not expect, but I ask you: make the effort to live love chastely. And a consequence derives from this: … love sacrifices itself for others. Love is service. When Jesus, after the washing of the feet, explains this gesture to the apostles, He teaches them that we are made to serve one another”.
“Very often we breathe an air of distrust in life. There are situations that make us think, 'But is it worth living like this?'. I think of the wars in this world. At times I have said that we are living a third world war, but in pieces. There is war in Europe, there is war in Africa, there is war in the Middle East, there is war in other countries ... But can I trust in a life like this? Can I trust world leaders? When I go to vote for a candidate, can I trust that he or she will not take my country to war? If you trust only in men, you have lost! Think of the people, leaders, entrepreneurs, who say they are Christians and then produce weapons! They say one thing and do another. Hypocrisy … But we see what happened during the last century: in 1914, or rather in 1915 precisely. There was the great tragedy in Armenia. Many people died. I do not know how many, but certainly more than a million. Where were the great powers of the time? They looked away. Why? Because they were interested in war: their war! And those who died, they were second class people, human beings. Then, in the 1930s and 1940s, the tragedy of the Shoah. The great powers had photographed the railway lines that carried the trains to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill Jews, and also Christians, Roma, homosexuals, to kill them there. But tell me, why did they not bomb them? Interests! And soon after, almost at the same time, there were the lagers in Russia: Stalin … how many Christians suffered and were killed. The great powers divided Europe like a cake. Many years had to pass before reaching a certain 'freedom'. There is the hypocrisy of speaking about peace and producing arms, and even selling weapons to this one, who is at war with that one, and to that one who is at war with this!”
“I understand what you say about distrust in life: today, too, we are living a culture of waste. All that is not of economic use is discarded. … And so, with this culture of waste, is it possible to trust in life? … A young person who cannot study, who does not have a job, who suffers the shame of not feeling worthy because he does not have a job, does not earn life. … How often do young people commit suicide? … Or how often do they go to fight with terrorists, at least to do something, for an ideal? … And this is why Jesus told us not to place our security in wealth, in worldly powers. How can I live a life that does n destroy, that is not a life of destruction, a life that does not discard people? How can a live a life that does not disappoint me?”.
“We must go ahead with our plans to build, and this life does not disappoint. If you are involved in a plan for construction, to help … that sense of distrust in life goes away. Be active, and go against the grain. For you, young people, who experience this economic and also cultural, hedonistic, consumerist situation with its soap bubble values, with these values it is not possible to go ahead. Do constructive things, even if they are small, that bring us together again, that unite us together, with our ideals: this is the best antidote to this distrust of life, against this culture that offers you only pleasure. … The secret is clearly understanding where you live. In this land … at the end of the nineteenth century there were the worst possible conditions for the growth of the young: Freemasonry prevailed, even the Church could do nothing; there was anti-clericalism, there was Satanism. … It was one of the worst times and one of the worst places in the history of Italy. But in that period, many saints were born. Why? Because they realised that they had to swim against the tide of that culture, that way of life. Live in reality, and if that reality is glass and not diamond, I find an alternative reality and make it my own, a reality that is of service to others”.
To the Waldensian Church: God is not resigned to human sin
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) – At 9 a.m. today the Holy Father visited the Waldensian Temple where he was received by the pastor Eugenio Bernardini, moderator of the Waldensian Mass, the president of the Consistory of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Turin, Sergio Velluto, and the pastor Paolo Ribet, titular of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Turin. The moderator of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Uruguay, pastor Oscar Oudri, was also present. The welcome reminded the Pope “of the meetings with friends in the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Rio de la Plata, where I could appreciate the spirituality and faith and learn many good things”.
“One of the main fruits that the ecumenical movement has enabled us to gather in recent years is the rediscovery of the fraternity that unites all those who believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptised in His name”, remarked Francis. “This bond is not based simply on human criteria, such as the radical sharing of the experience on which Christian life is based: the encounter with God's love that is revealed to us in Jesus Christ and the transforming action of the Holy Spirit that helps us on our path in life. The rediscovery of this fraternity enables us to grasp that deep bond that already unites us, despite our differences”.
“Unity, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, does not mean uniformity”, he emphasised. “Brothers, effectively, are united by a common origin, but they are not identical to each other. This is clear in the New Testament where, despite calling brothers all those who share the same faith in Jesus Christ, it can be intuited that not all Christian communities had the same style or an identical internal organisation … and even in the announcement of the Gospel itself there is diversity and at times clashes. Unfortunately, brothers have not and continue not to accept their differences, and end up fighting against each other. Reflecting on the history of our relationship, we cannot but feel sad faced with the conflicts and violence committed in the name of our faith, and I ask the Lord to grant us the grace of acknowledging ourselves as sinners and of forgiving each other. It is God's initiative, that never resigns to man's sin, that opens up new forms of living this fraternity, and from this we cannot escape. I ask forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church for unchristian, even inhuman gestures and behaviour towards you. In the name of Jesus Christ, forgive us”.
The Pope expressed his profound joy at noting that the relations between Catholics and Waldensians are now increasingly based on mutual respect and fraternal charity, and that there have been and are many opportunities to strengthen them, for example “collaboration for the publication in Italian of an interconfessional translation of the Bible, pastoral agreements for the celebration of marriage and, more recently, the draft of a joint appeal opposing violence towards women”. Likewise, this year at Easter the Waldensian Church in the Italian city of Pinerolo offered the Catholic Church the wine for the celebration of Holy Saturday, and the Catholic Church responded by offering the Waldensians the bread for the Holy Supper on Easter Sunday. “It is a gesture between the two Churches that goes far beyond the pure and simple courtesy”, noted Francis. “It is a gesture that anticipates, in some way, the unity of the Eucharistic Mass that we all hope for”.
“Inspired by these steps, we are called to continue to walk together”, emphasised the Pope at the end of his discourse. “One area that offers ample opportunities for collaboration between Waldensians and Catholics is evangelisation. Aware that the Lord has gone before us and precedes us in love, let us go together towards the men and women of today, who at times seem so distracted and indifferent, to transmit to them the heart of the Gospel, or rather 'the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ Who died and rose from the dead'. Another sector in which we can work increasingly united is that of the service to suffering humanity: to the poor, the sick, migrants. … The differences that continue to exist between Catholics and Waldensians on important anthropological and ethical questions do not prevent us from finding forms of cooperation in these and other fields. If we walk together, the Lord will help us to live this communion that precedes any disagreement”.
The meeting at the Waldensian Temple ended with the Lord's Prayer, recited together. The Pope then returned to the archbishop's residence to meet with a number of his relatives – six direct relatives with their families, a total of thirty people for whom he celebrated Holy Mass and with whom he lunched.
Before his return to Rome at 5.30 p.m., the Pope greeted the members of the Committee for the Exposition of the Shroud and the organisers of his visit to Turin, his home town, which Cardinal Bergoglio used to visit every time he travelled to Italy.
The Pope to the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour: the economy contributes to development when rooted in justice
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall Pope Francis received in audience four hundred members of the National Federation of the Knights of the Order of Merit for Labour, which has for a hundred years been awarded to those who have distinguished themselves in the fields of business and economy for their contribution to the creation of work and the promotion of Italian products throughout the world.
“This work is more valuable than ever in an age like ours, in which the economic and financial crisis has been followed by severe stagnation and also a true recession, in a social context already marked by inequalities and unemployment, especially regarding young people. This latter constitutes a true social scourge, inasmuch as it deprives the young of an essential element for their realisation, and deprives the economy of the contribution of their vital strengths. The world of work should be awaiting young people, well-prepared and keen to make efforts and to emerge. Instead, the message that has often been received in these years is that there is no need for them. And this is the symptom of serious dysfunction, that cannot be attributed solely to causes at a global and international level”.
“The common good, which is the ultimate objective of living together, cannot be reached through a mere increase in earnings or production, but has as an indispensable precondition the active involvement of all the members of the social body. The social teaching of the Church continually recalls this fundamental criterion: that the human being is at the centre of development, and while men and women remain passive or at the margins, the common good cannot be considered to have been fully achieved. … Here is the social scope of work: the capacity for involved people and entrusting responsibility, so as to stimulate enterprise, creativity and effort. This has positive effects on the new generations and ensures that society begins to look ahead again, offering prospects and opportunities, and therefore hopes for the future”.
The Holy Father emphasised that this National Foundation has the commendable purpose of ensuring that its members highlight not only the social role of work but also its ethical scope. “Indeed, the economy contributes to the authentic development that does not marginalise peoples and individuals only when it is rooted in justice and respect for the law, when it keeps away from corruption and crime, and when it does not neglect to care for the environment. The practice of justice, as the Biblical texts wisely tell us, is not limited to abstention from iniquity or the observance of the laws (although this is already important!), but instead goes much further. The truly just, as well as respecting the rules, act with conscience and interest in the good of all, and not only for themselves. The just take to heart the fate of the less advantaged and the poorest, never tire of working, and are always ready to take new paths. We hope for the practice of justice in this full sense for every economic worker and all citizens”.
To the Catholic Biblical Federation: the Word of God is a sacramental
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) – The members of the Catholic Biblical Federation were received last Friday by the Holy Father, on the occasion of their tenth plenary session to reflect on the Sacred Scripture as a source of evangelisation, and on the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the dogmatic Constitution on the Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. The Pope handed those present a written discourse, published by the VIS on the same day, and gave a brief improvised address, a summary of which is offered below.
“The surprises of God, that help us to realise that all our plans all our thoughts and many things, before the living Word of God, collapse and crumble. When a Church closes up in herself and forgets that she has been sent to announce the Gospel, that is, the Good News, to move hearts with the kerygma, then she ages and weakens. And, I would add, she sickens and dies”.
“I have heard it said many times that the diocese in northern Africa at the time of St. Augustine were dead Churches. No! There are two ways of dying: dying closed in oneself or dying by giving life as witness. And a Church that has the courage – the parrhesia – to carry forward the Word of God without shame is on the road to martyrdom”.
“In the first reading of today's Mass we have heard that Paul tell of the things he suffered, to 'boast'. 'But whatever anyone else dares to boast of – I am speaking as a fool – I also dare to boast of that'. The outline is this. But if St. Paul had stayed there, in one of the churches, like that of Corinth, and only there, he would not have suffered all that he says. Why? Because he was an outgoing man – when he saw that things were going well, he handed over to another and went on. He is a model”.
“At the end he says this beautiful phrase: after 'boasting' of his many journeys, the many times he was whipped, the time he was stoned, all of that, 'if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness'. In another passage – you Biblical scholars must know it – he says, 'I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses'. Paul's third boast is not vanity: 'But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ'. This is his strength. And this is an outgoing Church, a martyrial Church. She is a Church who takes to the street, who walks. But I prefer a Church wounded in an accident rather than a Church that sickens from being closed up in herself. With this parrhesia and this hypomone; that patience that is shouldering situations, but also the tenderness of carrying the injured faithful on one's shoulders, that have been given to her. A pastoral Church. Only the Word of God and, alongside the Word, the Eucharist. The brothers who gather to praise the Lord with the weakness of bread and wine, the Body of the Lord, the Blood of the Lord”.
“The Word of God is not something that makes life easy. No, no. It always places us in difficulty! If someone bears it with sincerity, it places him in difficulty, it embarrasses him many times. But it is necessary to tell the truth, with tenderness, with that shouldering of situations and of people. It can be understood as a fraternal respect that knows how to 'caress'”.
“One of the things that worry me is the functional proclamation of the Word of God in homilies. Please, do everything to help your brothers – deacons, priests and bishops – to give the Word of God in their homilies, so that it reaches the heart. A thought, an image, a sentiment can also reach... but the Word of God must arrive. There are many who are capable, but they make the mistake of offering a beautiful theological dissertation. … The Word of God is a sacramental! For Luther it is a sacrament, that acts also ex opere operato (effective in and of itself, Ed.). Then the tendency was more towards the Tridentine view, that of ex opere operantis (receiving its efficacy through the mediator, Ed.). Theologians then found the Word of God to be somewhere between; part ex opere operato, part ex opere operantis. It is a sacramental. Discourses are not sacramental, they are discourses done well. But in the homilies may there be the Word of God, as it touches the heart”.
Vatican City, 20 June 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Joaquin Mbana Nchama, ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, presenting his credential letters;
- Bishop Jorge Pedro Carrion Pavlich of Puno, Peru;
- Dr. Giuseppe Guzzetti, president of the Associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse di Risparmio (ACRI) (Association of Foundations and Savings Banks), and entourage.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 22 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, apostolic nuncio in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde and apostolic delegate to Mauritania, as apostolic nuncio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On Saturday 20 June, the Holy Father:
- appointed Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza, O.F.M., of Huejutla, Mexico, as bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa (area 19,860, population 989,000, Catholics 904,000, priests 147, religious 179), Mexico. He succeeds Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- given his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Patriarchal Church of Fr. Abata Hanna Rahme, O.L.M., as eparchal bishop of Baalbek – Deir El-Ahmar (Catholics 66,050, priests 19, permanent deacons 1, religious 39), Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Aynata, Lebanon in 1960, gave his solemn vows in 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and theology from the Sorbonne University, Paris, where he was also conferred a doctorate in history of religions and religious anthropology. Within the Lebanese Maronite Order he has also served as superior of the St. Charbel Convent in Bekaa-Kafra, director of schools of the Order, member of the secretariat general of the Catholic Schools of Lebanon, and professor at the “St. Esprit” University of Kaslik. He is currently protosyncellus of the eparchy of Baalbek – Deir El-Ahmar.