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The World Seen From Rome
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Sri Lanka: New Bishop Appointed

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 4:16 PM

The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando as bishop of Mannar, Sri Lanka, transferring him from the office of auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Colombo and from the titular see of Orta.

Bishop Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando

Bishop Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando was born on May 20, 1948 in Jaffna. His parents are of Vembar (Tuticorin diocese) origin and he hails from a big family, four of whom are religious-two priests and two nuns. Bishop Fernando is the youngest son of late V. Xavier Bastian Fernando (Civil Engineer) and late Gnanasorubi Fernando of Vembar, South India.

He was assigned the titular see of Orta. After his primary and secondary school education at St. Benedict’s College, in Colombo and entered the Minor Seminary of St. Aloysius of Columbo Archdiocese.

After completing his studies at the Minor Seminary, he was admitted to the National Seminary of Kandy for philosophical studies. He was sent to Rome, for his theological studies where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Theology and a Licentiate in Moral Theology at Urbaniana University. From 1981 to 1987, while he was teaching at the National Major Seminary of Kandy, he went to the Catholic University of Washington (U.S.A.), where he obtained his Doctorate in Theology.

Pope Paul VI ordained him a priest on Jan. 6, 1973 in the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Colombo on Nov. 28, 2011. He has held the post of professor of Theology and also of rector at the national seminary, and Episcopal Vicar for the South in the Archdiocese of Colombo. At present, he is the Episcopal Vicar for the Tamil Apostolate in the archdiocese.

 

JF

Brazil: Creation of Diocese of Cruz Das Almas

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:57 PM

The Holy Father has erected the diocese of Cruz Das Almas, Brazil, with territory taken from the archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, making it a suffragan of the same archdiocese.

The Holy Father has appointed as first bishop of the diocese of Cruz Das Almas, Brazil, Bishop Antônio Tourinho Neto, currently titular bishop of Satafi and auxiliary of the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife.

Bishop Antônio Tourinho Neto

Bishop Antônio Tourinho Neto was born on January 9, 1964, in Jequié, of the same diocese, in the State of Bahia. He carried out his studies in philosophy at the Catholic University of Salvador (1982-1984) and in theology at the Higher Institute of Theology of the Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (1985-1988). He then obtained a licentiate in canon law from the Institute of Canon Law of Rio de Janeiro (1988-1990).

He was ordained a priest on January 20, 1990, and incardinated in the diocese of Jequié, in which he held the following offices: parish vicar in Aiuquara; diocesan promoter of vocations; diocesan judge auditor; pastor of the parishes of the Cathedral Santo Antônio, of Santo Antônio in Brejões and of Cristo Rei in Jequié; chancellor of the Curia; member of the presbyteral council and the college of consultors; spiritual director of the diocesan João Paulo II Seminary; vicar general.

In addition, he has served as defender of the bond and promoter of justice of the Nordeste 3 Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunal; professor of canon law in the Dom Valfredo Tepe Faculty in Ilhéus and in the Catholic Faculty of Feira de Santana; regional coordinator of the “Fazendas da Esperança (rehabilitation centre for drug users); member of the Brazilian Society of Canonists; ecclesiastical supervisor of various ecclesial movements.

On 12 November 2014, he was appointed as titular bishop of Satafi and auxiliary of the diocese of Olinda and Recife. He received episcopal ordination on 17 January 2015.

 

Centesimus Annus: Christian Social Ethics in the Digital Era”

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:43 PM

The theme of the International Conference, sponsored by the German group of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which was held in Berlin on November 15-16, 2017, was “Christian Social Ethics in the Digital Era,” reported Vatican Radio in Italian on November 22.

Scientists of international renown in several disciplines spent two days exchanging proposals on the general organization of society, in relation to the present technological revolution. A debate took place between the speakers and the participants on the subject of artificial intelligence and the ethical use that can or cannot be made of it.

During the debate, Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, President of the Centesimus Annus-Pro Pontifice Foundation warned: “in the dynamic of the digital era, humanity runs the risk of being considered only as an object.”

Christian social ethics, said Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, must preserve man’s dignity in the progressive digitalization process, avoiding the risk that the smartphone replaces relations and a veritable interpersonal dialogue.

Between “Solitude and Omnipresence”

Auxiliary Bishop Everard J. de Jong of Ruremonde, in the Low Countries, stressed that “for a long time digitalization has concerned all the domains of life, from work to religion, from hospitals to road traffic. Consequently, it also needs ethical criteria for its application and interaction.”

The social networks have made possible relations with the entire world, but the individual user finds himself alone,” he continued. “The social networks have also made it possible to take part in the destiny of others, but the suffering of others is often perceived as something distant, without empathy thus placing a torn man between “solitude and omnipresence,” added the Bishop.

Finally, quoting Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, Bishop de Jong exhorted to promote a new way of thinking. “There must be a different point of view, a thought, a policy, and educational program, a lifestyle and a spirituality that are a resistance against the advancement of the technocratic paradigm.”

Another participant – Gerrit Heineman, head of the Research Center of the University of Applied Sciences of Lower Rhineland in Germany stressed that Christians make up the largest community with some 1.3 billion users of the Internet and that 90% of the generation born after 2000 use the social networks.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

Myanmar and Bangladesh: Pope Will Meet with Rohingyas

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:37 PM

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh, from November 26 to December 2, 2017, his third such journey, will include two events not foreseen in the initial program, noted Greg Burke: an interview with the head of the Burmese Army and the presence of Rohingyas during a meeting at Dhaka. Presenting this trip in the Vatican on November 22, the Director of the Holy See Press Office stressed, in particular, its inter-religious value.

The Holy Father will bring a message of reconciliation, pardon, and peace to these two countries. In this perspective, there will be a private meeting on November 30 with General Min Aung Hlaing. It was Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, who met with Pope Francis last November 18, who desired this interview. The aim, he explained, is “not to promote what [the general] has done, but to have a dialogue with him . . . Perhaps it might soften his heart and perhaps that could be the first step towards peace.”

Greg Burke also pointed out that a group of Rohingya refugees will attend the ecumenical and inter-religious meeting for peace, planned for December 1 at Dhaka, in Bangladesh. A meeting all the more delicate as the name of these Sunnite Muslims of Bengali language, who live in the north-west of the Rakhine state in Myanmar, is very controversial. The Government has prohibited the use of the term and has also asked the diplomatic community not to use it.

In the two countries, the Pontiff will travel in a non-armored closed pope-mobile. He will stay at the Archbishopric of Yangon and at the headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature in Dhaka.

This third trip to Asia, after that to Korea (August 2014) and Sri Lanka as well as the Philippines (January 2015) is a visit “in the peripheries,” in far away countries where the Catholic community is “very small,” said Burke on Vatican Radio. In Myanmar, they represent less than 1.5% of the population, with some 700,000 faithful. In Bangladesh, 90% of the population is Muslim, 8% Hindu, and the remaining minority is made up of Christians, Buddhists, and traditional religions.

The “inter-religious” dimension in these two countries will be “very important,” stressed the Vatican spokesman. “Myanmar is in the main a Buddhist country, and Bangladesh is, officially, a Muslim country. Here also the Pontiff wishes to show again the significance of religion for peace and for reconciliation.”

The undertaking of these trips is also “a great aid” for Catholics, “a way of reinforcing them in the faith,” he added. “It is interesting that the Pontiff will end his visit in the two countries with a meeting with young people.” From the papal visit, small Catholic communities“ can also draw “great hope,” he added.

Recalling that Bangladesh has recently passed from an “underdeveloped” to a “developing” country, Greg Burke highlighted the Pope’s encouragement “to such poor lands.”

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

Pope Greets Young, Sick, Newlyweds

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:30 PM

Pope Francis reached out to the young, the sick, and newlyweds during his November 22, 2017, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Cecilia,” the Holy Father said. “Dear young people, following her example, grow in faith and in dedication to your neighbour; dear people who are sick, in suffering you experience the support of Christ, Who is always by the side of those in difficulty; and you, dear newlyweds, have the same look of pure love that Saint Cecilia had, to learn to love unconditionally.”

 

JF

Polish Pilgrims: Welcome from Pope Francis

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:23 PM

Pope Francis expressed a “cordial welcome” to Polish pilgrims during his November 22, 2017, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today’s catechesis shows us that Christ remains with us in the mystery of the Eucharist,” said the Holy Father. “He is the food and drink of our salvation. We receive Him often in Holy Communion, we adore Him in the Tabernacle and in our hearts. Let us serve Him in our brothers, to build together with them a new human community, more just and fraternal. Jesus Christ be praised.”

 

JF

Arabic Speakers Get Nod from Holy Father

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:12 PM

Pope Francis extended a “cordial greeting to Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular, those from the Middle East,” during his General Audience on November 22, 2017, in St. Peter’s Square.

“Dear brothers and sisters, participation in the Eucharist makes us enter into the Paschal Mystery of Christ, enabling us to pass with Him from death to life. God bless you!”

 

JF

Pope Greets English Speakers During General Audience

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 3:04 PM

Pope Francis greeted English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in his November 22, 2017, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.  He cited particularly the groups from England, the Netherlands, Poland, Australia, China, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States of America.

“I offer a particular greeting to the Marist and Marianist Brothers taking part in a programme of spiritual renewal, and to the members of the priestly fraternity Companions of Christ,” the Holy Father said. ” Upon all of you and your families, I invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

JF

Pope Francis: The Mass is a Memorial

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 2:54 PM

“The Mass is the memorial of Christ’s Paschal Mystery,” Pope Francis proclaimed on November 22, 2017. “It makes us participants in His victory over sin and death and gives full meaning to our life. “

His remarks came during the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square as part of his new series of catecheses on the Mass.

He said that it is vital to understand “memorial” in the Biblical sense: “It is not merely the recollection of past events, but in a certain sense renders them present and real.”

The Holy Father reminded those present in the square and watching on CTV that “Mass is the memorial of His Passover, of His ‘exodus,’ which He carried out for us, to make us come out of slavery and to introduce us in the Promised Land of eternal life.”

He pointed out that, “The Eucharist always leads us to the summit of God’s action of salvation… Every celebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that sun without a sunset, which is Jesus Risen.”

Pope Francis concluded by emphasizing: “The Mass is to relive Calvary, it’s not a show.”

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Continuing with the catecheses on the Mass, we can ask ourselves: What is the Mass essentially? The Mass is the memorial of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. It makes us participants in His victory over sin and death and gives full meaning to our life.

Therefore, to understand the value of the Mass we must then understand, first of all, the biblical meaning of the “memorial.” It is “not merely the recollection of past events, but in a certain sense renders them present and real. Thus, in fact, Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers, so that they may conform their lives to them. “(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1363). With His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, Jesus Christ has brought Passover to fulfillment. And the Mass is the memorial of His Passover, of His “exodus,” which He carried out for us, to make us come out of slavery and to introduce us in the Promised Land of eternal life. It’s not merely a recollection no, it’s more: it makes present what happened 20 centuries ago. The Eucharist always leads us to the summit of God’s action of salvation: the Lord Jesus, making Himself broken bread for us, sheds on us all His mercy and His love, as He did on the cross, so as to renew our heart, our existence and our way of relating to Him and to brothers. Vatican Council II states: “Every time that the sacrifice of the cross — with which Christ, our Paschal Lamb, was immolated –, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our Redemption is effected” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 3).

Every celebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that sun without a sunset, which is Jesus Risen. To take part in the Mass, in particular on Sunday, means to enter into the victory of the Risen One, to be illumined by His light, warmed by His warmth. Through the Eucharistic Celebration, the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the divine life, which is able to transfigure our whole mortal existence. And in His passage from death to life, from time to eternity, the Lord Jesus draws us with Him to <celebrate> Easter. Easter is celebrated>in the Mass. At Mass, we are with Jesus, dead and risen, and He draws us forward, to eternal life. In the Mass, we are united to Him. Rather, Christ lives in us and we live in Him. ”I have been crucified with Christ — says Saint Paul –, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20). Paul thought thus.

In fact, His Blood frees us from death and from the fear of death. It liberates us not only from the dominion of physical death but of spiritual death, which is the evil, the sin that takes hold of us every time that we fall victims of our sin or of that of others. And then our life is polluted, it loses <its> beauty, it loses meaning, it withers.

Instead, Christ gives life back to us; Christ is the fullness of life, and when He confronted death He annihilated it forever: “Rising He destroyed death and renewed life,” (Eucharistic Prayer IV). Christ’s Passover is the definitive victory over death because He transformed His death into a supreme act of love. He died for love! And in the Eucharist, He wishes to communicate to us His paschal, victorious love. If we receive it with faith, we can also truly love God and our neighbor, we can love as He loved us, giving His life.

If the love of Christ is in me, I can give myself fully to the other, in the interior certainty that even if the other were to wound me, I would not die; otherwise, I would have to defend myself. The Martyrs, in fact, gave their life for this certainty of Christ’s victory over death. Only if we experience this power of Christ, the power of His love, are we truly free to give ourselves without fear. This is the Mass: to enter in the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus; when we go to Mass it’s as if we went to Calvary, the same thing. But think: if we in the moment of Mass go to Calvary – let us think imaginatively – and we know that that man there is Jesus, do we then permit ourselves to chat, to take photographs, to engage somewhat in a show? No! Because it’s Jesus! We will certainly be in silence, in mourning and also in the joy of being saved. When we enter the church to celebrate Mass we should think this: I am entering in Calvary, where Jesus gives His life for me. And thus the show disappears, chats disappear, comments and the things that remove us from this most beautiful thing that is the Mass disappear, it’s the triumph of Jesus.

I think that now it’s clearer how Passover is rendered present and operative every time we celebrate Mass, namely, the meaning of the memorial. Participation in the Eucharist makes us enter in Christ’s Paschal Mystery, making us pass with Him from death to life, namely, there in Calvary. The Mass is to relive Calvary, it’s not a show.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

Pope’s Catechesis: Series on Mass Continues

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 8:56 AM

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:25 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

Continuing with the new series of catecheses on the Holy Mass, in his address in Italian the Pope reflected on the theme: “The Mass Is the Memorial of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.”

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Continuing with the catecheses on the Mass, we can ask ourselves: What is the Mass essentially? The Mass is the memorial of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. It makes us participants in His victory over sin and death and gives full meaning to our life.

Therefore, to understand the value of the Mass we must then understand, first of all, the biblical meaning of the “memorial.” It is “not merely the recollection of past events, but in a certain sense renders them present and real. Thus, in fact, Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers, so that they may conform their lives to them. “ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1363). With His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, Jesus Christ has brought Passover to fulfillment. And the Mass is the memorial of His Passover, of His “exodus,” which He carried out for us, to make us come out of slavery and to introduce us in the Promised Land of eternal life. It’s not merely a recollection no, it’s more: it makes present what happened 20 centuries ago. The Eucharist always leads us to the summit of God’s action of salvation: the Lord Jesus, making Himself broken bread for us, sheds on us all His mercy and His love, as He did on the cross, so as to renew our heart, our existence and our way of relating to Him and to brothers. Vatican Council II states: “Every time that the sacrifice of the cross — with which Christ, our Paschal Lamb, was immolated –, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our Redemption is effected” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 3).

Every celebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that sun without a sunset, which is Jesus Risen. To take part in the Mass, in particular on Sunday, means to enter into the victory of the Risen One, to be illumined by His light, warmed by His warmth. Through the Eucharistic Celebration, the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the divine life, which is able to transfigure our whole mortal existence. And in His passage from death to life, from time to eternity, the Lord Jesus draws us with Him to <celebrate> Easter. Easter is celebrated in the Mass. At Mass, we are with Jesus, dead and risen, and He draws us forward, to eternal life. In the Mass, we are united to Him. Rather, Christ lives in us and we live in Him. ”I have been crucified with Christ — says Saint Paul –, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20). Paul thought thus.

In fact, His Blood frees us from death and from the fear of death. It liberates us not only from the dominion of physical death but of spiritual death, which is the evil, the sin that takes hold of us every time that we fall victims of our sin or of that of others. And then our life is polluted, it loses <its> beauty, it loses meaning, it withers.

Instead, Christ gives life back to us; Christ is the fullness of life, and when He confronted death He annihilated it forever: “Rising He destroyed death and renewed life,” (Eucharistic Prayer IV). Christ’s Passover is the definitive victory over death because He transformed His death into a supreme act of love. He died for love! And in the Eucharist, He wishes to communicate to us His paschal, victorious love. If we receive it with faith, we can also truly love God and our neighbor, we can love as He loved us, giving His life.

If the love of Christ is in me, I can give myself fully to the other, in the interior certainty that even if the other were to wound me, I would not die; otherwise, I would have to defend myself. The Martyrs, in fact, gave their life for this certainty of Christ’s victory over death. Only if we experience this power of Christ, the power of His love, are we truly free to give ourselves without fear. This is the Mass: to enter in the Passion, Death, Resurrection <and> Ascension of Jesus; when we go to Mass it’s as if we went to Calvary, the same thing. But think: if we in the moment of Mass go to Calvary – let us think imaginatively – and we know that that man there is Jesus, do we then permit ourselves to chat, to take photographs, to engage somewhat in a show? No! Because it’s Jesus! We will certainly be in silence, in mourning and also in the joy of being saved. When we enter the church to celebrate Mass we <should> think this: I am entering in Calvary, where Jesus gives His life for me. And thus the show disappears, chats disappear, comments and the things that remove us from this most beautiful thing that is the Mass <disappear>, <it’s> the triumph of Jesus.

I think that now it’s clearer how Passover is rendered present and operative every time we celebrate Mass, namely, the meaning of the memorial. Participation in the Eucharist makes us enter in Christ’s Paschal Mystery, making us pass with Him from death to life, namely, there in Calvary. The Mass is to <relive> Calvary, it’s not a show.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

In Italian

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I greet the participants in the Meeting of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations; the participants in the Chapter of the Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation; the participants in the Course of Formation for Missionaries at the Pontifical Salesian University and the members of the Benedict XIII Studies Center of Gravina in Puglia, accompanied by Archbishop Giovanni Ricchiuti.

I greet the Franciscan Family of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pozzo of Capurso; the parish groups, in particular, the faithful of Saint Teresa of the Cross in Lissone; the Association of Italian Blood Donors (AVIS), on the 90th anniversary of its foundation, and the UNITALSI Group of Emilia Romagna.

I greet the representatives of the Food Bank Foundation, and I wish every good for the food collection, which will take place next Saturday in active continuity with the World Day of the Poor, which we celebrated last Sunday.

Finally, I thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Cecilia. Dear young people, following her example, grow in the faith and in dedication to your neighbour; dear sick, in suffering you experience the support of Christ who is always beside one who is undergoing trial; and you, dear newlyweds, have the same look of pure love that Saint Cecilia had, to learn to love unconditionally. And let us all pray to Saint Cecilia, may she teach us to sing with the heart, may she teach us the jubilation of being saved

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

JF

Archbishop Auza: Attack Root Causes of Slavery

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 9:55 PM

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, called on November 21, 2017, for the international community to work towards the eradication of slavery by confronting all of its economic, environmental, political and ethical root causes, emphasizing the importance of preventing and ending the wars and conflicts that create conditions for traffickers to exploit victims.

His statement came during the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations,” at the United Nations in New York.

As long as wars and conflicts rage, trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, forced labor and similar crimes will continue to flourish, according to Archbishop Auza. The Holy See said that migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable targets of traffickers. It called on States and religious organizations to work in collaboration to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery in all its forms, and expressed appreciation for the leaders and followers of various religions who care for those who are forced to live in slave-like conditions.

The statement follows.

Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the
United Nations
United Nations Security Council Open Debate on
Maintenance of international peace and security:
Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations
New York, 21 November 2017

Mr. President,

The Holy See thanks the Presidency of Italy for convening today’s debate and keeping the issue of trafficking in persons in conflict situations high on the Security Council’s agenda.

Security Council Resolution 2331 (2016), which was adopted a year after the landmark Presidential Statement 2015/25 issued in this Council’s first-ever meeting on trafficking in persons, refers to a correlation between trafficking in persons, sexual violence, armed conflict, terrorism and transnational organized crime. The Council has underscored that acts or offences associated with trafficking in persons in conflict may constitute war crimes. The full potential of international criminal justice, however, needs to be exhausted if we are to be effective in our fight against this heinous crime.

To eradicate trafficking in persons, we must confront all its economic, environmental, political, and ethical causes, but it is particularly important to prevent and end the wars and conflicts that make people especially vulnerable to being trafficked. Wars and violent conflicts have become the biggest driving force of forced human displacement. [1] This situation is an enabling environment for human traffickers, who increasingly exploit this tragic humanitarian situation to target refugees, forced migrants and internally displaced persons themselves in their criminal enterprises. As long as wars and conflicts rage, trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, forced labor and similar crimes will continue to flourish. One of the most effective ways to eradicate trafficking in persons is therefore to prevent conflicts and put an end to wars.

Efforts to end violent conflict, moreover, should be accompanied by measures to protect affected populations from traffickers, in particular those most vulnerable, like women and children. In this regard, the Holy See would like to highlight the importance of the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect in the context of the migration and refugee crises that facilitate trafficking in persons. When States and the international community have failed to protect people from war and atrocities such that people have felt compelled to flee their homes, we all have a great and urgent responsibility to protect them from further harm, including falling into the hands of human traffickers. The criminalization of forced migrants, and of undocumented and irregular migrants in general, exacerbates their vulnerabilities, drives them further into the clutches of traffickers and other extreme forms of exploitation, and renders them less likely to collaborate with the law enforcement
authorities to catch and punish the traffickers.

Mr. President,

Achieving the specific targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending trafficking in persons is an integral part of our efforts. Target 5.2 aims to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls… including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation; Target 8.7 seeks to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking; and 16.2 on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, aims to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

Like the Sustainable Development Agenda as a whole, these targets are immense challenges that no individual, organization or State can achieve alone. But, up until now, the response to these targets and to trafficking in persons in general has not been commensurate to the challenge. Despite significant progress and efforts, like the High-Level Meeting on the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons held on September 27-28 this year, much more still needs to be done to achieve better coordination among governments, the judiciary, law enforcement officials and civil society.

Likewise, leaders and followers of various religions around the world must do all in their power, within their respective communities and beyond, to save the millions of children, women and men who are forced to live in slave-like conditions. In this context, my Delegation wishes to thank all faith-based organizations and religious communities, in particular women religious, who have long been at the forefront in the fight against trafficking in persons, and in the commitment to accompany survivors with loving concern on the long journey back to living a life in freedom and dignity.

Mr. President,

On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons this July, Pope Francis warned us all against “getting used” to trafficking in persons, treating it as if it were a “normal thing,” when in reality it is, he said, “ugly, cruel, criminal, an aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, a crime against humanity”. [2] In his name, my Delegation renews the appeal for a universal commitment to ending this heinous crime.

Thank you, Mr. President.

1. The UN High Commission for Refugees annual Global Trends report says an unprecedented 65.6 million people, the highest levels since the Second World War, have been uprooted from their homes by wars, conflicts and persecutions at the end of 2016.
2. Pope Francis, World Day against Trafficking in Persons, 30 July 2017, and his Address to the Participants in the International Conference on Human Trafficking, Vatican City, 10 April 2014.

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

 

JF

Vatican/China: Simultaneous Art Shows

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 3:51 PM

The Vatican announced November 21, 2017, that two simultaneous art exhibitions will be held starting in spring, 2018, one at the Vatican Museums, the other at the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The announcement came at a press conference at the Vatican featuring representatives of the Vatican Museums and the China Culture Investment Fund.

This will be the first time that the Pope’s Museums have organized an exhibition with Chinese cultural institutions, according to Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums. She noted that there isn’t “one” exhibition, but exhibitions in both places.

“I believe, however, that the real novelty is the spirit that has inspired us from the beginning, and on whose solid foundations rests this friendship and this relationship with the cultural institutions of China, and which have led to what we will present to you today,”Jatta said.

“Beauty is always an extraordinary vehicle for talking, at every latitude and longitude, physical or temporal,” she continued. “Without fear, without barriers. On behalf of humanity, because I believe that beauty, in the broadest sense of the term, is a need we all share.”

“I am firmly convinced that the upcoming simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition will start a new chapter in the cultural exchanges between the Chinese people and the Vatican, enabling greater closeness and comprehension between two countries with a profound cultural tradition,” said Zhu Jiancheng, secretary general of the China Culture Investment Fund. “We are about to inaugurate the simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition, an event which crosses borders and time and unites cultures, and which will further strengthen the friendship between China and the Vatican, and will favor the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican.”

The spirit of the initiative was summarized by master painter Yan Zhang, whose paintings will be included in the exhibitions:

“Dialogue between us is possible and inevitable because of our common sense of goodness. In the twenty-first century, the extraordinary plan to build a solid bridge of dialogue between Beijing and the Vatican will make the Silk Road shine once again! May friendship and peace reign in the world!”

 

Remarks of Barbara Jatta

I am particularly glad to open this press conference, thanking all of you for your presence. Special thanks are due to our illustrious guests, or rather I would say our friends from the People’s Republic of China, gathered here on such a special occasion.

In the life, complex and fascinating, of an institution as multi-faceted as the Vatican Museums, ordinary activities may at times assume particular tones.

Organizing exhibitions is, in effect, I would say a rather everyday activity for an international museum such as ours. We promote some of them directly: a select few. There are far more, dozens every year, in which we participate in various countries throughout the world. At times we do this simply by loaning works, others as co-organizers (there comes to mind the current exhibition in Santiago in Chile, which I recently inaugurated in person).

In this respect, there would be no news in the fact that the Vatican Museums are holding an exhibition, and in all probability, none of you would be here today.

Our meeting is special, however, for a series of reasons.

First and foremost, because it will be the first time that the Pope’s Museums have organized an exhibition with Chinese cultural institutions. This seems to me to be a first fact of primary importance.

Secondly, because it would not really be “one” exhibition, but rather a much wider-ranging project composed of two “corresponding” exhibitions, one in the Vatican and one in China, and this latter will not be limited to one city, but will instead be itinerant. My friends present here on the panel will explain the details, whereas I will limit myself to some brief points.

I believe, however, that the real novelty is the spirit that has inspired us from the beginning, and on whose solid foundations rests this friendship and this relationship with the cultural institutions of China, and which have led to what we will present to you today.

In these months, as this idea gradually took shape, we found ourselves, perhaps unexpectedly, with a shared awareness of the joint task required, more so today than in the past, of realities such as ours: to be able to speak a universal language, that can only be that of beauty, which makes a powerful appeal to harmony and unity.

Beauty is always an extraordinary vehicle for talking, at every latitude and longitude, physical or temporal. Without fear, without barriers. On behalf of humanity, because I believe that beauty, in the broadest sense of the term, is a need we all share.

I think that it is precisely here that we find the key to the success of what in the Vatican Museums we like to define as the “diplomacy of art”, which is certainly not our own discovery, but which belongs instead to the centuries-long tradition of the Church. However, it is up to us today to carry forth and to creatively re-interpret this in constant rapport with the global scenario in front of us. I think that this is what the Holy Father expects of “his” Museums!

I am, therefore, convinced that the activities we will present to you today will bear an abundant harvest and will be a positive sign of hope which, looking around us, we are all in need of.

 

Remarks of Zhu Jiancheng

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Vatican promoter of this event for their scrupulous organization and warm hospitality. In particular, I would like to thank Msgr. Nicolini for all that he has done.

I am firmly convinced that the upcoming simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition will start a new chapter in the cultural exchanges between the Chinese people and the Vatican, enabling greater closeness and comprehension between two countries with a profound cultural tradition.

This event has great significance in the promotion of mutual understanding and reciprocal trust between the two parties.

An ancient Chinese philosopher, Maestro Han Fei Zi (280 B.C. to 233 B.C.) said, “The relations between nations depend upon the closeness between the peoples, and the closeness between peoples depends upon the communication of hearts”. We all know that this is also the thought of Pope Francis.

China has a long history of peace diplomacy. Already 2100 years ago China opened the Silk Road and promoted exchange between eastern and western culture.

Cultural exchange precedes diplomacy. The China Culture Investment Fund was founded in 2011 by the competent governmental departments of the People’s Republic of China, but it is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting culture and cultural exchanges with other countries.

It has already carried out a series of significant activities in the field of culture and diplomacy for “world peace”.

On 31 May this year, two large works by Maestro Zhang Yan were donated by us, on behalf of the Chinese people, to the Pope. It was a response to the greeting Pope Francis addressed in 2014 to the Secretary General Xi and to the Chinese people.

We are about to inaugurate the simultaneous Sino-Vatican Exhibition, an event which crosses borders and time and unites cultures, and which will further strengthen the friendship between China and the Vatican and will favor the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican.

Today, in the twenty-first century, we hope that with the impetus of the project “One Belt, one Road” proposed by the president Xi Jinping, we will actively carry out an exchange of culture and art between China and the Vatican. Together we will promote the civilization of all the world and the progress of humanity.

 

Remarks of Yan Zhang

His Holiness, Pope Francis, Distinguished guests,

Today for me is a great honor, as my works “Nature and Religion” join more significant and symbolic pieces from the Chinese collections of the Vatican Museums and the National Museum of China, which will be exhibited simultaneously at the Vatican Museums and in Beijing.

At this historical moment, of major efforts to develop the civil relations between China and the Vatican, as a member of the 1,38 billion people of Chinese nationality, I would like to express our sincere homage of true friendship to His Holiness Pope Francis and to all those who have contributed to the cultural exchanges. The two exhibitions represent the two extremes of a bridge of dialogue of civilization. As a messenger of this cultural exchange, it is my pleasure and my privilege to transmit the greetings and friendship of the Chinese people.

The Vatican is the fulcrum of faith for a sixth of the world’s population, and it was the heart of the European Renaissance. From the Renaissance, and then with the First Industrial Revolution, and above all at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, the world has experienced a great increase in material wealth and technological progress. And yet, on the other hand, the relationship between men, and between man and nature, has never been so strained. Humanity has even developed the capacity to destroy our ecosystem and ourselves. This is true of the 1.2 billion Catholics, the 1.38 billion Chinese and the 7.2 billion inhabitants of our world: we all inevitably face the final challenge posed to the human race. The survival or destruction of life on Earth depends upon our response to this final challenge for humanity.

In 1993, twenty-four years ago, I began a systematic and continuous reflection on these themes, which led me to the realization of more than twenty paintings, including the works Cradling Arm and Iron Staff Lama, which explore the theme of “Nature and Religion” through the use of the expressive and tolerant strength proper to oil painting, and the focus on the final question of man, which is common to both Chinese and western painting and culture. On 31 May 2017, Cradling Arm and Iron Staff Lama – the works that best represent my work and reflection over these last twenty years – were offered as a gift to His Holiness Pope Francis as a sign of friendship on behalf of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and were then generously given by the Holy Father to the Vatican Museums to be included and displayed in the permanent collection.

I produced a charcoal sketch of the Sacred Mountain, which was presented to the Holy Father. At the request of the Vatican Library, I completed the reproduction by creating a painting of the sketch for the Vatican Library collection.

For me, Kanrenmuqi is the sacred mountain of all humanity, incorporating the essence of religion. It represents the place of a permanent spirit that should be eternity, and cannot be destroyed!

The “Father” is love among the faithful, like father and son: white as snow, white also like the Pope’s robe. The mountain is like the body and with the cross it bears.

In the end, I would say that no matter to what country we belong or what belief we profess, “nothing in the world is irrelevant with us”. Mother Earth, which as Pope Francis says in his Encyclical Laudato si’ is a beautiful mother welcoming us in her arms, shows that the great family of nations can be tolerant and united. Chinese and Vatican cultures too need communication and exchange, as do all the cultures of Earth. The sacred mountain is a natural symbol of the dialogue and civilization of the encounter. Selfless friendship between China and Pope Francis and the idea that we are all a single family will urge men to rethink the relationship between humanity, life, society, and nature. The aesthetics of art will reveal in us the complete awareness of the environment, benevolence, and tolerance.

Dialogue between us is possible and inevitable because of our common sense of goodness. In the twenty-first century, the extraordinary plan to build a solid bridge of dialogue between Beijing and the Vatican will make the Silk Road shine once again! May friendship and peace reign in the world!

 

Santa Marta: Cultural Colonization Doesn’t Tolerate Differences

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 2:58 PM

Cultural and ideological colonization doesn’t tolerate differences and makes everything equal, ending by persecuting believers,” said Pope Francis in his homily of the Mass celebrated this morning, November 21, 2017, in the chapel of Santa Marta Residence.

In his homily, the Holy Father said that “ideological and cultural colonizations only see the present, they deny the past and don’t see the future. They live in the moment, not in time, and that’s why they can’t promise us anything.”

“And with this attitude that all be the same and erase differences, they commit the very bad sin of blasphemy against God the Creator,” he explained. “Every time there is a cultural or ideological colonization, one sins against God the Creator because one wants to change Creation as He made it,” he continued.

The Pontiff based his reflection on the Eleazar’s martyrdom, narrated in the Book of the Maccabees proposed in the First Reading (2 Maccabees 6:18-31).

Persecution

Francis pointed out that there are three main types of persecutions: one that is only religious; another that is politico-religious, such as, for instance, the “Thirty Years War” or “Saint Bartholomew’s Night,” and a third that is purely “cultural,” namely, when “a new culture arrives that wants to make everything new and sweeps away all traditions, history, and even a people’s religion.” This last type of persecution is the one Eleazar met, condemned to die because of his fidelity to God.

“Everything new,” “modernity” is a real ideological colonization, which wants to impose on the people of Israel “this unique custom,” in virtue of which everything is done like this and there is freedom for other things. And some accepted it because it seemed a good thing to them to be like the rest, and thus traditions are eliminated and the people begin to live in a different way, explained Francis.

Some resistances are born to defend the “true traditions,” such as that of Eleazar, a worthy and very respected man, clarified the Bishop of Rome, who pointed out that the story of these martyrs, of these heroes is told in the Book of the Maccabees.

A persecution stemming from ideological colonization always goes on thus: it destroys, “makes everything the same, isn’t capable of tolerating differences,” stressed the Pontiff.

Francis ended his homily hoping that Eleazar’s example “will help us in moments, perhaps, of confusion, given the cultural and spiritual colonizations proposed to us.”

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

Christmas Concert Returns to the Vatican

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 2:48 PM

The 2017 Christmas Concert will be held again in the Vatican this year on December 16. The funds collected will be allocated to educational projects for young people and children: one of the Don Bosco Foundation in the World and another of the organization of pontifical right Scholas Occurrentes.

 In the presentation event, held on Monday, November 20 in the Marconi Room of Vatican Radio, Jose Maria del Corral, President of Scholas Occurrents, announced that in the first semester of 2018, the first meeting will be held in the Vatican of young people victims of bullying and cyber-bullying, and an Observatory will be established against bullying.

The Congregation for Catholic Education is sponsoring the initiative.  Its Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, pointed out: “Our dicastery is concerned with education and, usually, doesn’t sponsor cultural events. However, “to have a secure peace, it’s necessary to invest in education,” to generate a “culture of hospitality and fraternity.”

Thus a concrete answer is given by supporting these two initiatives, said the Archbishop, because recent <statistics> indicate large numbers of illiteracy in the world, especially to “help each person to become a concrete protagonist,” to build a better world.

In addition to “giving positive answers”, the “two projects have two points in common: children and young people.”

Scholas’ Director said that they are “working with young people against ‘cyber-bullying,’” and to do so, they are “using the Internet, in addition to art, culture, and sport.”

Last time we spoke about sports for young people, said Jose Maria del Corral, convinced that the soccer ball and books can go together, which is “not such a modern thing, but old,” as demonstrated by “Don Bosco, Champagnat, and Lasalle, who fomented sports along with study.”

A Way Out through Art

 “Sports, art, technology are Scholas’ working points, and this time, with the Christmas Concert, we are here because of art,” clarified the organization’s Director. Thus Scholas brings together public and private schools of different creeds.

He went on to say that “we have lived an intense experience in Madrid, where young people in a difficult situation found a way out through art.”

Next week in Naples we begin with a project of active citizenship, together with other young people who recently left prison,” he continued.

He mentioned that “in the schools, cell phones are removed ‘as if they were weapons’ and, instead, we, parents, give them to them.” What is desired is that parents help them to know how to use them because we have verified “many situations of bullying,” noted del Corral.

Child Protection

For his part, Father Tullio Order, President of the Don Bosco Foundation in the World, stressed the correctness with which the funds are used. This year, in particular, there are two projects dedicated to child protection.

One project is in India, working to change the tradition that gives girls as brides. The other is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring areas, where boys and girls are obliged to work in the mines.

This involves some 4,000 people directly or indirectly, he said. And children who leave this work must be given access to instruction. He also pointed out that each kilo of coltan [dull metallic mineral] used for mobile phones results in the death of two children, due to landslides.

The aim of the Salesian projects is “to put an end to these sores and to reinsert young people in the society,” concluded Monsignor Zani.

Stefania Scorpio, who has promoted the Christmas Concert, explained that in 2006 the Concert ceased being held in Paul VI Hall and that,  it will return there next December 6, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its establishment.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

 

Third Section Established in Secretariat of State

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:16 AM

The Holy Father has established the Third Section of the Secretariat of State, with the denomination of Section for Diplomatic Staff of the Holy See, reinforcing the current office of the Delegate for Pontifical Representations, it was announced November 21, 2017, in a communique from the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The Section, which will be within the Secretariat of State, will be chaired by the Delegate for Pontifical Representations (currently H.E. Msgr. Jan Romeo Pawlowski).

It will have the aim of manifesting the attention and closeness of the Holy Father and the Superiors of the Secretariat of State to diplomatic personnel. To this end, the Delegate for Pontifical Representations may be expected to make regular visits to the offices of the Pontifical Representations.

The Third Section will deal exclusively with matters relating to the staff who work in the diplomatic service of the Holy See or who prepare to do so – such as, for example, selection, initial and continuing formation, conditions of life and service, promotions, permits, etc.

In the exercise of these functions it will be granted the just autonomy and, at the same time, will seek to establish close collaboration with the Section for General Affairs (which will continue to handle general matters of the Pontifical Representations), and with the Section for Relations with States (which will continue to deal with the political aspects of the work of the Pontifical Representations). In this sense, the Delegate for the Pontifical Representations will participate, along with His Excellency the Substitute for General Affairs and His Excellency the Secretary for Relations with States, in weekly coordination meetings chaired by the Secretary of State. Furthermore, he will convene and chair ad hoc meetings for the preparation of the appointments of Pontifical Representatives. Finally, he will be responsible, along with the President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, for the selection and formation of candidates.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

JF

Pope Francis Video Message to Bangladesh

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:03 AM

Saying he is “especially keen to meet Religious Leaders in Ramna,” Pope Francis sent a video message to Bangladesh on November 21, 2017, just ahead of his upcoming apostolic journey: November 27-30, 2017, in Myanmar; and November 30-December 2, 2017, in Bangladesh.

In his message, the Holy Father said he comes “as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and also wishes “to encounter the entire population.”

Message of the Holy Father

Dear friends,

As I prepare to visit Bangladesh, in just a few days’ time, I wish to send a word of greeting and friendship to all the people. I cannot wait for the moment in which we will be able to stay together.

I come as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to proclaim His message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is intended to confirm the Catholic community of Bangladesh in its faith and witness of the Gospel, which teaches the dignity of every man and woman, and calls upon us to open our hearts to others, especially the poorest and most in need.

At the same time I wish to encounter the entire population. I am especially keen to meet religious leaders in Ramna. We live in a time in which believers and men of good will in every place are called to promote mutual comprehension and respect, and to support each other as members of the single human family.

I know that many in Bangladesh are hard at work to prepare for my visit, and I thank them. I ask each one of you to pray that the days in which I will be with you may be a source of hope and encouragement for all. I invoke divine blessings of joy and peace upon you and your families! See you soon!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

JF

2018 Youth Synod: October 3-28

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 10:43 AM

Pope Francis announced the official dates of the 2018 Youth Synod: it will take place in Rome from October 3 to 28, 2018.

The pope also appointed Brazilian Cardinal Sergio da Rocha as general rapporteur, and two Italian priests as special secretaries: Fathers Giacomo Costa, Jesuit, and Rossano Sala, Salesian.

 

JF

US: Pope Appoints Two New Bishops

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 10:24 AM

Pope Francis on November 21, 2017, appointed new bishops to the US dioceses of Nashville and Jefferson City.

The Holy Father appointed as bishop of Nashville, Bishop-elect J. Mark Spalding, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Louisville, currently vicar general and pastor of the “Holy Trinity Parish” and the “Holy Name Parish” in Louisville.

The Pope also appointed bishop of Jefferson City, Bishop-elect W. Shawn McKnight, of the clergy of the diocese of Wichita, currently pastor of the “Church of the Magdalen Parish” in Wichita.

Msgr. J. Mark Spalding

Msgr. J. Mark Spalding was born on January 13, 1965, in Lebanon, Kentucky, in the Archdiocese of Louisville. After attending Bethlehem High School in Bardstown (1979 to 1983), he carried out his studies in philosophy at the “Saint Meinrad College Seminary” in Saint Meinrad, Indiana (1983-1987), and in theology at the “American College” Seminary in Leuven, Belgium (1987-1991), obtaining a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of Leuven (1992).

He was ordained a priest on August 3, 1991, for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Since priestly ordination he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the “Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral Parish” in Bardstown (1992-1996), of the “Saint Augustine Parish” in Lebanon (1996-1998), and of the “Saint Margaret Mary Parish” in Louisville (1998-1999); judicial vicar (1998-2011); pastor of the “Immaculate Conception Parish” in LaGrange (1999-2011), of the “Holy Trinity Parish” (since 2011) and the “Holy Name Parish” (since 2016) in Louisville, and vicar general (2011-2017). Since 1998 he has been a member of the presbyteral council and the college of consultors.

Rev. W. Shawn McKnight

The Rev. William Shawn McKnight was born on June 26, 1968, in Wichita, in the diocese of the same name. He attended the University of Dallas, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry (1990). He entered the Seminary and carried out his ecclesiastical studies in the Pontifical “Josephinum” College in Columbus, Ohio (1990-1994). He subsequently obtained a licentiate (1999) and a doctorate (2001) in sacramental theology from the Pontifical Saint Anselm Athenaeum in Rome. He has published several articles on sacramental pastoral themes.

He was ordained a priest on May 28, 1994, for the diocese of Wichita.

Since priestly ordination, he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the “Blessed Sacrament Parish” in Wichita (1994-1997); parish administrator of the “Saint Patrick Parish” in Chanute (1999); chaplain and adjunct professor at “Newman University” in Wichita (2000-2001); pastor of the “Saint Mark the Evangelist Parish” in Colwich (2000-2003); diocesan director of Divine Worship, diocesan consultor and member of the presbyteral council (2000-2005); director of liturgy (2003-2007), assistant professor (2003-2008), dean of students (2004-2006), director of formation (2006-2007) and vice-president for “Development and Alumni Relations” (2007-2008) at the Pontifical “Josephinum” College in Columbus, Ohio; pastor of the “Blessed Sacrament Parish” in Wichita (2008-2010); Faculty member of the “Saint Meinrad” Seminary in Indiana for the formation of permanent deacons (2005-2010); executive director for the Office of the Clergy and Consecrated Life of the Episcopal Conference of the United States (2010-2015); pastor of the “Church of the Magdalen” parish in Wichita (since 2015).

 

JF

Multiple Anointings of the Sick

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 1:54 AM

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: Is it possible, in the anointing of the sick within Mass, to use the sacramental form, “Through this holy anointing …,” only once, for all of those to be anointed, and to anoint each individual silently? Would such sacraments be valid? — K.L., Halifax, Massachusetts

A: According to the liturgical and sacramental theology such a practice would not be a valid administration of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The introduction to the Rite of Anointing of the Sick, when addressing the anointing of large groups (within or outside of Mass), states the following:

“108. The rites for anointing outside Mass and anointing within Mass may be used to anoint a number of people within the same celebration. These rites are appropriate for large gatherings of a diocese, parish, or society for the sick, or for pilgrimages. These celebrations should take place in a church, chapel, or other appropriate place where the sick and others can easily gather. On occasion, they may also take place in hospitals and other institutions.

“If the Ordinary decides that many people are to be anointed in the same celebration, either he or his delegate should ensure that all disciplinary norms concerning anointing are observed, as well as the norms for pastoral preparation and liturgical celebration. In particular, the practice of indiscriminately anointing numbers of people on these occasions simply because they are ill or have reached an advanced age is to be avoided. Only those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age are proper subjects for the sacrament. The Ordinary also designates the priests who will take part in the celebration of the sacrament.

“The full participation of those present must be fostered by every means, especially through the use of appropriate songs, so that the celebration manifests the Easter joy which is proper to this sacrament.

“109. The communal rite begins with a greeting followed by a reception of the sick, which is a sympathetic expression of Christ’s concern for those who are ill and of the role of the sick in the people of God. Before the rite of dismissal, the blessing is given. The celebration may conclude with an appropriate song.

“110. If there are large numbers of sick people to be anointed, other priests may assist the celebrant. Each priest lays hands on some of the sick and anoints them, using the sacramental form. Everything else is done once for all, and the prayers are said in the plural by the celebrant. After the sacramental form has been heard at least once by those present, suitable songs may be sung while the rest of the sick are being anointed.”

Later in the rite, describing the ritual to be used for anointing within Mass the same principles apply, it says:

“137. The liturgy of the word is celebrated in the usual way according to the instructions in no. 134. The general intercessions are omitted since they are included in the litany. In the homily, the celebrant should show how the sacred text speaks of the meaning of illness in the history of salvation and of the grace given by the sacrament of anointing.

“A brief period of silence may follow the homily.

“138. The priest may adapt or shorten the litany according to the condition of the sick persons.

“139. In silence, the priest lays hands on the head of each sick person. If there are several priests present, each one lays hands on some of the sick.

“140. The priest says a prayer of thanksgiving over blessed oil or he may bless the oil himself (see PCS 21), using one of the following:

“141. The priest anoints the sick person with the blessed oil. If there are large numbers of sick people to be anointed, other priests may assist the celebrant. Each priest anoints some of the sick, using the sacramental form as described in no. 124.”

The sacramental form found in the above-mentioned 124 is:

“First he anoints the forehead, saying:

“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen

“Then he anoints the hands, saying:

“May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. R/ Amen.

“The sacramental form is said only once, for the anointing of the forehead and hands, and is not repeated. Depending upon the culture and traditions of the place, as well as the condition of the sick person, the priest may also anoint additional parts of the body, for example, the area of pain or injury. He does not repeat the sacramental form.”

I think it is therefore clear that the sacramental form must be repeated each time a person is anointed.

In this case, it is like other sacraments where an action takes place while the sacramental form is pronounced, such as baptism and confirmation. In all these sacraments the action and the words must be pronounced by the same person at the same time.

There might be some historical doubt as to whether this is true for baptism since there have been cases of multitudes being baptized in a single occasion, beginning with the 3,000 Christians added on the day of Pentecost.

Ordination, at least in the Roman rite, separates the imposition of hands and the sacramental form so that several men can be ordained to a particular degree of ministry at the same time.

Matrimony is usually simultaneous, but it is possible to be married by proxy in separate venues.

In some special cases, the absolution of a sin has to be delayed so that there is a temporal separation between the matter and form of the sacrament.

The Eucharistic sacrifice and the real presence take place at the words of consecration, but the transformation involves all the hosts intended for consecration by the celebrant and not just the host in his hands.

 * * *

 Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

Missal for Myanmar and Bangladesh

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 3:25 PM

The Vatican on November 20, 2017, released the Missal that will be used on the Holy Father’s Apostolic Journey November 27-30, 2017, in Myanmar; and November 30-December 2, 2017, in Bangladesh.

20171126-messale-myanmar-bangladesh

The full schedule of the trip is here.