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The World Seen From Rome
Updated: 12 min 40 sec ago

Colombia: Pope Receives New Ambassador

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 10:54 AM

Pope Francis on May 24, 2018, received Julio Aníbal Riaño Velandia, ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See, on the occasion of the presentation of his credential letters.

The following is a brief biography of the new ambassador:

Julio Aníbal Riaño Velandia was born on March 3, 1949, and is married with two children.

He graduated in international law and diplomacy from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano Universidad de Bogotà, then he received a master’s degree in regional economics from the Federal University of Brazil)

He has held, among others, the following offices: editorialist for issues concerning Amazonia; professor at the Javeriana University, Colombian Academy of History; director of theses of the Jorge Tadeo Lozano Universidad de Bogotà; university professor of diplomatic law, international protocol and politics, Jorge Tadeo Lozano Universidad de Bogotà; official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1974); deputy director of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; adjunct director of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; minister-embassy counsellor in Argentina; director general for Asia, Africa and Oceania at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; director general of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1994-1999); ambassador to Costa Rica (1999-2006); director general of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2011); minister of the embassy in Mexico (2011-2013); and ambassador to Salvador (since 2013).

Foreign languages known: French, English, Italian, and Portuguese.

 

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Homeless, Migrants to Attend Golden Gala

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 10:42 AM

On behalf of Pope Francis, the Apostolic Almoner has invited the poor, the homeless, refugees, migrants and needy persons to Rome’s Olympic Stadium to take part, on Thursday afternoon, May 31, in the Golden Gala, the annual international track and field event.

The Apostolic Almoner coordinates various charitable events on behalf of the Holy See. The initiative was made possible thanks to the Italian Athletics Federation, which has reserved free places for “the Holy Father’s poor,” who will be accompanied by volunteers of Sant’Egidio Community, of the Auxilium Cooperative and of Vatican Athletics, the “sprinting” representative group of employees of the Holy See.

The objective is to offer an evening of celebration and friendship, through the beauty of a universal and simple sport, such as athletics, and to re-launch the values of hospitality and solidarity. Pope Francis has reminded many times that the poor are in need not only of food, clothes and a place to sleep, but also of a friendly word, a smile, and occasions of relaxation and healthy recreation.

In the “South Curve” of the Olympic Stadium, the Pope’s guests will also receive a box dinner.

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Santa Marta: Mass Dedicated to People of China

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 10:20 AM

Pope Francis on May 24, 2018, dedicated his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta to the “noble Chinese people”, reported Vatican News.

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, observed by Chinese Catholics as the Mother of China. The day is marked as a time to for all to pray for the Church in China.

In his homily, the Holy Father – citing John’s Gospel — warned the rich to offer justice to the poor and workers.

“‘Woe to you who are rich.’ If someone today were to preach these words, the media the next day would write: ‘That priest is a communist.’ But poverty is at the center of the Gospel. Preaching about poverty is at the heart of Jesus’ message: ‘Blessed are the poor’ is the first of the Beatitudes. It is the identity card with which Jesus presents himself in the Synagogue when he returns to his town of Nazareth. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.’ But we have historically given in to the weakness of not preaching about poverty, believing it to be a social or political question. No! It is the Gospel, pure and simple.”

Francis warned of the seduction of riches, noting that they are to be used for the general good.

“You are not free regarding riches. To be free regarding riches you must distance yourself from them and pray to the Lord. If the Lord has given you riches, they are to be given away, in order to do many good things for others in His name. But riches often seduce us and falling into this seduction, we are made slaves to them.”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shanghai_-_Basilique_de_She_Shan_-_13.jpg

The Holy Father expressed this during his weekly General Audience May 23, 2018, on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of  Sheshan, his wishes for the Catholics of China “fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.”

Since 2007, at the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, May 24 marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China.

In the appeal toward the end of the Audience, Pope Francis invited the crowd to “be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful living in China.”

“Let us pray for them the Virgin Mary, so that they may live the faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they know how to accomplish concrete gestures of fraternity, concord, and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” he encouraged.

“Dearest disciples of the Lord in China,” the Holy Father reminded, “the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that in the midst of difficulties you may continue to entrust yourself to the will of God. The help of the Virgin will never fail you and she will protect you with her motherly love.”

PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF SHESHAN

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Washington: Catholic Dioceses Give More Than $58.7 Million for Relief

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 9:52 AM

In response to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and earthquakes in Mexico, Catholics across the United States have contributed nearly $59 million to relief and recovery efforts, it was reported May 21, 20176.

Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), special collections and funds were launched last year to support humanitarian relief efforts as well as to provide pastoral services and financial support to rebuild facilities in dioceses impacted by these disasters.

“The devastation wrought by last year’s unprecedented disasters continues to impact the lives of our brothers and sisters in the United States, across the Caribbean, and in Mexico. We are profoundly grateful to the dioceses that took up special collections or made donations,” said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections “The support of parishioners is an act of charity and a reflection of love for neighbor. We ask for continued prayers of support for the people affected by these historic natural disasters.”

As of mid-May 2018, US dioceses have remitted the following amounts for relief efforts:

Hurricane Harvey – $37.2 Million

Hurricane Irma – $12.8 Million

Hurricane Maria – $6.1 Million

Mexico Earthquakes – $3.5 Million

Humanitarian relief and recovery efforts are being provided by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CCUSA is receiving 50% of Hurricane Harvey funds and 30% of both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria funds; CRS is receiving 20% of Hurricane Irma funds. Initial funding from the special collections supported immediate needs such as food, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Long-term disaster recovery is currently underway. CCUSA recently distributed $13.5 million to nine Catholic Charities agencies in Texas and Louisiana where Hurricane Harvey affected countless people.

In response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, CRS worked with Caritas Havana in Cuba to provide roofing and mattresses to affected families. In the British Virgin Islands, CRS, Caritas Antilles, and the British Red Cross set up a joint cash program to help 740 families buy essential items. In Dominica, CRS and Caritas Antilles distributed 750 hygiene kits, 1,590 tarps, 920 buckets and 660 water filters to more than 600 families in four communities in the hardest-hit southeastern region. In the Dominican Republic, CRS partners provided 1,970 families with vouchers for food, hygiene and living supplies, and 330 families with hygiene kits. Teams also worked with the local health ministry to raise awareness about health and hygiene, particularly the danger of waterborne diseases and other health risks.

Two Mexico earthquakes days apart killed nearly 500 people in September 2017 and destroyed homes, infrastructure and utilities, CRS, Caritas Mexico and local partners constructed transitional shelters and distributed 2,859 tarps to vulnerable families. They set up communal cooking facilities to ensure daily hot meals and provided living supplies, including kitchen sets and locally made clay ovens. CRS and its partners also arranged counseling for 1,040 children and young people dealing with grief, distress, and trauma from the earthquakes. Moving forward, CRS will train people to build back better using disaster-resilient construction techniques and to maintain their shelters. In four communities, community-based disaster response teams are being trained in first aid. This outreach was done through CRS’s direct fundraising efforts.

The USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions is managing the US Church share of Hurricane Harvey (50%), Hurricane Irma (30%) and Hurricane Maria (55%) funds. The Subcommittee has awarded $14 million in Hurricane Harvey grants and $3 million in Hurricane Irma grants to assist with Church repairs to parishes and schools in dioceses impacted by the hurricanes. Requests from dioceses for Hurricane Maria support will be considered at the Subcommittee’s June 14 meeting.

The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is managing the Caribbean Church share of Hurricane Irma (20%) and Hurricane Maria (15%) funds, as well as all contributions to the Mexico Earthquakes fund.

Distributions to the responding organizations will continue to be made as funds are received.

 

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Dublin 2018: Pope Grants Plenary Indulgence to Families

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 8:09 AM

Pope Francis will grant a plenary indulgence to the faithful, on the occasion of the 9th World Meeting of Families, to be held in Dublin, Ireland, from August 21-26, 2018.

The announcement was made in a Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Monday, May 21, stated the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life.

The Decree explains that the Plenary Indulgence is granted — under the “usual conditions (Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions) — to the faithful who, with their soul detached from all sin, take part devoutly in certain functions” during the Meeting, “as well as in its solemn conclusion” in the presence of the Pope.

Those who can’t attend the event, states the document, will be able to obtain the indulgence under the same conditions if they are “spiritually united with the faithful present in Dublin, they recite the Our Father, the Creed and other prayers of devotion, to invoke from the Divine Mercy the ends indicated above, especially when the Pope’s words are diffused on television and radio.”

The last lines of the Decree point out that a “partial indulgence is granted to the faithful each time that, with a contrite heart, in the time indicated, they pray for the good of families.”

At present, some 22,000 people from 103 countries have registered for the meeting. With 28% younger than 18, this Meeting has the highest rate of young people,” states the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life.  

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In New Papal Interview, Pope Praises St John XXIII’s Living the Gospel

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 7:57 AM

Pope Francis has praised his precedecessor St Pope John XXIII in a recently-granted interview with Italian daily “Eco di Bergamo.”

To mark the 60th anniversary of St. Pope John XXIII’s election as Pope and 55th anniversary of his death, the late Pope’s home Diocese of Bergamo is hosting the late Pope’s remains for nearly 20 days, and likewise, the Pope granted Bergamo’s newspaper this interview, which was published this morning.

In the interview, the Holy Father discusses issues ranging from young people and Christianity’s need to be an ‘encounter with Christ,’ to interreligious dialogue and terrorism

Responding to other inquiries, the Jesuit Pontiff also reflected on St. John XXIII and praised his witness and love for the Gospel.

“Christianity,” the Pope highlights in the interview, “is not an ideal to follow, a philosophy to adhere to or a moral to be applied,” but is rather “an encounter with Jesus Christ that makes us recognize in the flesh of brothers and sisters His very presence.” It requires going to “the heart” of the Gospel.

This, the Holy Father urges, is an invitation for us “to share the bread with the hungry, to cure the sick, the elderly, those who can not give us anything, nothing in return.” The story of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli who would become St Pope John XXIII, Francis said, is composed of these “gestures of closeness” with the suffering and the needy, regardless of their religion.

The Church, the Pope said, is by nature “missionary,” adding She must go out to witness the Gospel.

Otherwise, he warned, it will become “self-referential” and “ideological.”

Faced with the “barbarization of society,” Francis says it is necessary to look at people and truth, especially because man has free will and responsibility and can either engage in understanding and encounter or opposition and war.

Francis lamented that even in the Church “when one does not live the logic of communion but of corporations,” there are dangers that strategies of war can be waged against others for power or roles.

Hence, he stressed: “It is precisely people who are the antidote to falsehoods, not strategies.”

Faced with questions about interreligious dialogue, the Pope suggested that it is ‘a lie’ and ‘nonsense’ to equate Islam and terrorism.

***

On the NET:

‘Eco di Bergamo:’ https://www.ecodibergamo.it/stories/bergamo-citta/intervista-esclusiva-a-papa-francescoper-larrivo-delle-spoglie-di-giovanni-xxii_1279709_11/

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Pope Meets with “Clericus Cup” Soccer Players at the General Audience

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 6:57 AM

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, during the General Audience held in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis met with 16 representatives of teams, taking part in the 12th edition of the “Clericus Cup” international soccer championship for priests and seminarians, reported L’Osservatore Romano.

The Holy Father was given jerseys of two finalist teams — of the Urban Pontifical College and of the North American Martyrs, which will play the “Clericus Cup” final on May 26.

The two captains — South African Sifiso Ndlovu and American William Nyce — gave the Pontiff personalized jerseys  with the name Francis and the words: “Where each jersey has a soul,” which is the slogan of the Italian Sports Center, promoter of the tournament. The championship is organized under the patronage of the National Tourist and Sports Office of the Italian Episcopal Conference, of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, and of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“Far from shutting themselves away in protected clerical milieus, the championship offers seminarians and young student priests in Rome the occasion to make of sport an instrument of education and of proclamation of the Gospel, especially for young people.”

The kick-off of the 12th edition of the “Clericus Cup” was given on February 24-25, 2018. For the first timer this year, a priest is the referee: Father Jordan Coraglia, 43, Italian priest of the diocese of Brescia.

 

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FORUM: Archbishop Chaput on the Importance of Amendment 8

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 6:52 AM

Below is a reflection of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, of Philadelphia, on ‘the Importance of Amendment 8’ from the Archbishop’s column on Catholic Philly:

***

Amendment 8 to Article 40 of the Irish Constitution reads as follows:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

Approved by more than two-thirds of Irish voters in a September 1983 referendum, it precludes abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. It was, and remains, a unique repudiation of “progressive” social policy as defined by leaders of the European Union.

From the start, Amendment 8 has been targeted by abortion-rights activists both in Ireland and abroad because it explicitly recognizes the humanity of the unborn child. In other words, to legitimize abortion, the law must first dehumanize the child developing in the womb. The only way to sell this kind of legalized homicide to the Irish public has been to control and deform the language of the debate.

Thus pro-life organizations have faced an uphill battle for years in defending Amendment 8 in a misleading and heavily biased media environment.

On May 25, a national referendum will be held determining whether to repeal Amendment 8. Irish pro-life groups have been going door to door in Ireland for months urging citizens to choose life by voting “no” on the repeal effort. An interview with Irish pro-life spokesperson Cora Sherlock by Fordham theologian Charles Camosy last November gives a basic outline of the Amendment 8 political struggle. Additional information can be found at the Prolife Campaign Ireland and Love Both Project sites.

But why should any of this matter to an American audience? The answer to that question comes in an email I received from a married couple with children earlier this week. I’ve removed their names to respect their privacy, but the message is unchanged:

Dear Archbishop Chaput,

Please accept this note as an appeal for prayer against the impending vote to legalize abortion in Ireland.

Forty million Americans claim Irish ancestry. Ireland spread the faith widely in America with Catholic immigrants. For generations, Irish missionary priests and nuns cultivated the Catholic faith in the United States. How are we repaying Ireland? Today, America is backing the repeal of Ireland’s Amendment 8 through the support of U.S. abortion groups and wealthy donors.  See https://repeal.blog/.    

The date is looming: Ireland will vote on May 25. For 1500 years, since St. Patrick brought the faith to Ireland, her people have defended the sanctity of human life. Ireland is the only major European country that still prohibits abortion.  

Bishop Kevin Doran of [the Diocese of Elphin] Ireland stated that, “I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of elderly people and people with disabilities. This is the final frontier. If we cross it, there will be no easy way back.” Lifehouse Ireland reported, “This could be Ireland’s Roe vs. Wade. Where is the outrage in the Irish and American media? Nowhere to be found.”

St. Patrick, St. Brigid, and all Irish saints, protect Ireland from the culture of death.

Sincerely,

[Names withheld]

In his great 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio (“The Development of Peoples”), Blessed Paul VI reminded us that no genuine progress can take place without respecting the spiritual dimension and God-given dignity of the human person. In killing an unborn child, abortion violates human dignity in a uniquely obscene and intimate way.

Ireland has always had the wisdom to reject the kind of social “progress” that depends on the shedding of innocent blood and the destruction of new life. Now that nation’s conscience hangs in the balance. Today, pro-life efforts in Ireland urgently need our support.

This week and throughout the coming days, I ask our clergy and laypeople across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — many of them descendants of our city’s Irish immigrants — to pray for Ireland and especially for the defense of Amendment 8.

***

On the NET:

To the original post: http://archphila.org/statement-of-archbishop-charles-j-chaput-o-f-m-cap-on-the-occasion-of-pope-francis-5th-anniversary-in-petrine-ministry/

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SOON TO BE CARDINAL: Iraq: Patriarch Sako’s Cardinalate Is “a Stimulus to Hope”

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 5:38 AM

This nomination is “a support on the part of the universal Church and of the Holy See, a stimulus to hope, an encouragement to go forward toward the country’s reconciliation,” said the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphael I Sako, who will be created Cardinal on June 29, 2018.

“It’s not for me, but for the Church, which has suffered so much, and for Iraq,” said the Patriarch to Vatican News in Italian, after the Pope’s announcement on May 20, 2018: it’s “for the whole country, for the Christians as well as the Muslims,” he added.

“It’s not the first time that the Pope thinks of the Churches in distress. He created the Nuncio in Syria Cardinal in this way, and today it’s for Iraq.” In fact, Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, was among the 17 Cardinals “created” on November 19, 2016, as a sign of Pope Francis’ solicitude for “beloved and martyred Syria.”

So the Pontiff is a “father, he opens his eyes and sees where there is need of great support,” continued Patriarch Sako. “That also means that the Church is living, that she’s strong and that it’s necessary to persevere, to stay to witness the Gospel.”

The Cardinal said he had received a number of phone calls from “Muslims, Christians, simple people and civil officials.” “They all said to me that this nomination is for us, for Iraq, for Muslims . . . A Muslim said to me that this nomination is for all believers in God.”

According to the biography published by the Holy See, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako was born on July 4, 1948 in Zakho, Iraq. He studied at the Saint John Seminary held by the Dominican Fathers at Mossul.

Ordained priest on June 1, 1974, he served in Mosul’s Cathedral until 1979. Sent to Rome, he attended Pontifical Oriental Institute, obtaining a doctorate in Oriental Patrology. Later, he obtained a doctorate in history at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.

From 1997 to 2002, he held the post of Rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad. Then, he returned to Mosul as parish priest until his election as Archbishop of Kirkuk on September 27, 2003. He received episcopal ordination on November 14, 2003.

On January 31, 2013, in the course of the Synod convoked in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI, after the renunciation of Cardinal Emmanuel III Karim Delly of the office of Patriarch of Babylon, he was elected Patriarch. His election was confirmed by the Pope the following February 1.

Patriarch Sako has published books on the Fathers of the Church and numerous articles. In addition to Arabic and Chaldean, he understands German, and speaks French, English and Italian.

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Pope Francis Exhorts to Pray the Rosary for Peace

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:37 AM

At the end of the month of May, month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Pope Francis exhorts to pray the Rosary for peace in the world.

Greeting young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds present at the General Audience this May 23, 2018, the Pope encouraged them to “value” this prayer.

“Let us invoke Mary’s intercession, so that the Lord may grant peace and mercy to the Church and to the whole world,” he concluded.

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GENERAL AUDIENCE: On Confirmation (Part I)

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:31 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.

Beginning the new series of catecheses on the Sacrament of Confirmation, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on Christian witness (Biblical passage from Saint Luke’s Gospel 4:16-18).

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present. Then he made an Appeal, inviting to prayer for Catholics in China.

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!

After the catecheses on Baptism, these days that follow the Solemnity of Pentecost invite us to reflect on the witness that the Spirit arouses in the baptized, putting their life in movement, opening it to the good of others. Jesus entrusted a great mission to His disciples: “You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world” (Cf. Matthew 5:13-16). They are images that make us think of our behaviour, because the lack or excess of salt makes food unpleasant, just as the lack and or excess of light impedes our seeing. He who can truly render us salt that gives flavour and preserves from corruption, and light that illuminates the world is only the Spirit of Christ! And this is the gift we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation or Cresima, on which I wish to pause and reflect with you. It’s called “Confirmation” because it confirms Baptism and reinforces its grace (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1289); as also “Cresima” from the fact that we receive the Spirit through the anointing with “chrism” — oil mixed with fragrance consecrated by the Bishop –, term that refers to “Christ,” the Anointed of the Holy Spirit.

The first step is to be reborn to divine life in Baptism; one must then behave as children of God, namely, to be conformed to Christ, who works in the Holy Church, letting oneself be involved in His mission in the world. The anointing of the Holy Spirit provides for this: “without His strength, nothing is in man” (Cf. Sequence of Pentecost). We can do nothing without the strength of the Holy Spirit: it is the Spirit that gives us the strength to go forward; just as the whole life of Jesus was animated by the Spirit, so also the life of the Church and of every member of hers is under the guidance of the same Spirit. Conceived of the Virgin by the Holy Spirit, Jesus undertakes His mission after, coming out of the water of the Jordan. He is consecrated by the Spirit, who descends and remains upon Him (Cf. Mark 1:10; John 1:32). He declares it explicitly in the synagogue of Nazareth: it’s beautiful how Jesus presents himself, what is Jesus’ identity card in the synagogue of Nazareth! Let us listen to how He does it: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). Jesus presents himself in the synagogue of his village as the Anointed, He who was anointed by the Spirit. Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit and is the source of the Spirit promised by the Father (Cf. John 15:26; Luke 24:49) Acts 1:8; 2:33). In reality, on the evening of Easter the Risen One breathes on His disciples saying to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22); and on the day of Pentecost the strength of the Spirit descends on the Apostles in an extraordinary way (Cf. Acts 2:1-4), as we know.

The “Breath” of the Risen Christ fills the lungs of the Church with life; and in fact the mouths of the disciples, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” open to proclaim to all the mighty works of God (Cf. Acts 2:1-11).

Pentecost — which we celebrated last Sunday — is for the Church what the anointing of the Spirit, received at the Jordan, was for Christ, that is, the missionary impulse to consume one’s life for the sanctification of men, to the glory of God. If the Spirit operates in every Sacrament, He does so in a special way in Confirmation that “the faithful receive as Gift of the Holy Spirit” (Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Divinae Consortium Naturae). And in the moment of carrying out the anointing, the Bishop says this word: “Receive the Holy Spirit that was given to you as gift”: the Holy Spirit is the great gift of God. And all of us have the Spirit within. The Spirit is in our heart, in our soul. And the Spirit guides us in life so that we become right salt and right light for men.

If in Baptism it’s the Holy Spirit that immerses us in Christ, in Confirmation it’s Christ that fills us with His Spirit, consecrating us His witnesses, participants in the same principle of life and of mission, according to the celestial Father’s plan. The witness rendered by the Confirmed manifests the reception of the Spirit and docility to His creative inspiration. I wonder: how is it seen that we have received the Gift of the Spirit? <It is seen> if we carry out the works of the Spirit, if we pronounce words taught by the Spirit (Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:13). Christian witness consists in doing only and all that the Spirit of Christ asks us, granting us the strength to carry it out.

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

In Italian

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking faithful.

I’m happy to receive the participants in the General Chapter of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the Pauline Co-operators. I invite each one to second the voice of the Holy Spirit through concrete good actions.

I greet the Clericus Cup Group, the Parishes of Saint Nicholas of Bari at Polvica di Chiaiano and the Pastoral Unit of Castel del Piano Pila of Perugia; the Student Groups, in particular those of the Mary Help of Christians School of Rome; the Faculty of Civil and Industrial Engineering of La Sapienza University of Rome and the Volunteer Fire Brigade of Bondeno.

I entrust to Our Lady in particular the young people, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds that are present here today. I exhort all to value in this month of May the prayer of the holy Rosary. We invoke Mary’s intercession, so that the Lord may grant peace and mercy to the whole world.

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

The Holy Father’s Appeal

Tomorrow, May 24, is the annual feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary “Help of Christians,” venerated particularly in the Sheshan Shrine of Shanghai in China. This feast invites us to be united spiritually with all the Catholic faithful that live in China. We pray to Our Lady for them, so that they can live the faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they are able to carry out concrete gestures of fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.

Dear disciples of the Lord in China, the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that even amid the difficulties you are able to continue to entrust yourselves to the Will of God. Our Lady will never be lacking in her help to you,  and she will protect you with her mother’s love.

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

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‘Invoke the Holy Spirit More,’ Urges Pope

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 7:04 AM

Invoke the Holy Spirit more….

Pope Francis encouraged Arabic-speaking Christians, especially those from the Middle East present in St. Peter’s Square, to do so during today’s General Audience of Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

After his catechesis on Confirmation, the Pope said: ‘Dear brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us the wisdom and the truth of Christ. 

“Let us invoke the Spirit more often, to guide us on the path of the true disciples of Jesus. “

Pope Francis concluded, saying: “May the Lord bless you all! “

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IOR Publishes Annual Report 2017

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 6:40 AM

On April 24th, 2018 the Board of Superintendence of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) unanimously approved the Financial Statements for 2017 and submitted to the Cardinals’ Commission a proposal to allocate all profits to the Holy See.

In 2017, the IOR continued with prudence to offer financial services to the Catholic Church across the world and the Vatican City State.

Key points:

 The Institute served approximately 15,000 clients representing €5.3 billion in
assets (€ 5.7 billion in 2016), of which €3.5 billion are asset under management
and custody accounts.

 The net result was €31.9 million (2016 net result was € 36 million including €13
million in extraordinary items related to release of provisions).

 The main contribution to IOR’s net result came from the management of IOR
assets for €44.3 million. IOR investment policy has remained prudent and was
a continuation of previous year strategies.

 The Institute has continued the process of optimising costs initiated in previous years, reducing its cost base to €18.7 million (€19.1 million in 2016).

 At 31 December 2017, the Institute’s equity after profit allocation was €627.2
million. The CET1 ratio was 68.26%, (64.53% in 2016).This highlights the Institute’s high solvency and low risk profile.

Notes on management for 2017:

In addition to delivering those financial objectives, the Institute also achieved important qualitative objectives amongst which:

 Investment consistent with Catholic Ethics: Respect of human life, creation and human dignity are some of the inalienable values that guide the Institute in the selection of its investments. Indeed, the Institute expressed its commitment to contribute to the “care of the common home”, invoked by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, and select its investments notably on the basis of two fundamental themes:

a) corporate social responsibility,
b) the role of companies in creating a sustainable future.

In 2017, the Institute continued to rule out investments in companies that violate or do not fully respect the globally recognized principles of human rights, labour standards, the fight against corruption and the fight against environmental crime.

The Institute also expressed its willingness to disinvest from existing holdings if compliance with these principles were no longer met.

The Institute has also invested in projects that promote the development of poorer countries and are in line with the realization of a sustainable future for future generations.

 Charitable activities. During 2017 the Institute contributed to many charitable and social activities, both through financial donations and by letting real estate properties it owns at a reduced rent or offering them free of charge to entities with social aims.

Visit www.ior.va website for further information

ANNUAL REPORT: http://www.ior.va/content/dam/ior/documenti/rapporto-annuale/annual%20report_2017.pdf

[Courtesy of IOR]

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Pope to Chinese Catholics: ‘Universal Church Prays With You & for You’

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 6:26 AM
Pope Francis wishes the Catholics of China “fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.” The Holy Father expressed this during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday morning, May 23, 2018, on the eve of the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, venerated at the Sheshan Shrine in Shanghai. Since 2007, at the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, May 24 marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. In the appeal toward the end of the Audience, Pope Francis invited the crowd to “be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful living in China.”

“Let us pray for them the Virgin Mary, so that they may live the faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they know how to accomplish concrete gestures of fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” he encouraged.

“Dearest disciples of the Lord in China,” the Holy Father reminded, “the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that in the midst of difficulties you may continue to entrust yourself to the will of God. The help of the Virgin will never fail you and she will protect you with her motherly love.”

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Pope Francis Will Receive 5 Priests Who Were Victims of Abuse in Chile

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 6:18 AM

From June 1-3, 2018, the Holy Father will receive a second group of victims of the Reverend Fernando Karadima and his followers, of the parish of the Sacred Heart of Providencia (“El Bosque”), states the Holy See, in a press released dated May 22, 2018.

They are five priests, victims of sexual abuses and of abuses of power and conscience. Two other priests will be with them, who have helped the victims in their juridical and spiritual itinerary, and two laymen involved in this suffering. All will be guests of the Holy Father in Casa Santa Marta.

The great majority of these people took part in the meetings held in Chile last February, during the special mission of Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu. The rest have collaborated in the weeks after the visit.

Closeness to Abused Priests

With this new meeting, planned a month ago, Pope Francis wants to show his closeness to the abused priests, to accompany them in their pain, and to listen to their valuable opinion to improve the existing preventive measures and the fight against abuses in the Church.

The first phase thus concludes the Holy Father’s meetings with the victims of the abusive system established several decades ago in the mentioned parish. These priests and laymen represent all the victims of the abuses of the clergy in Chile, but the repetition of similar initiatives in the future is not discarded.

Prayer and Solidarity

There will be several meetings in the course of the weekend, which will unfold in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. On Saturday morning, June 2, the Pope will celebrate a private Mass in Saint Martha’s House. Planned in the early afternoon is a group meeting, followed by individual conversations.

The Pontiff continues to ask the faithful of Chile – especially the faithful of the parishes where these priests carry out their pastoral ministry – to accompany them with prayer and solidarity during these days.

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General Audience: Pope: Confirmation Makes Us Sharers in Jesus’ Own Life & Mission

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 5:28 AM

Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:

***

Speaker:

Dear brothers and sisters: In these days following the Church’s celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis turns to the sacrament of Confirmation, which “confirms” the grace of our Baptism and “anoints” us with the Spirit to bear witness to Christ before the world. Jesus himself, filled with the Holy Spirit, carried out his mission as the Lord’s Anointed, and after his death and resurrection, bestowed the Spirit upon his disciples, who went forth from the Upper Room to proclaim God’s mighty works (cf. Acts 2:11). As Christ was anointed by the Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan, so at Pentecost the Church received the Spirit in order to carry out her mission of preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In Confirmation, Jesus fills us with his Spirit and makes us sharers in his own life and mission, in accordance with the Father’s saving plan. May this sacrament strengthen us to be ever docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, as we strive in all our actions and words to live fully the new life received in Baptism and to advance the Church’s mission in the world.

© Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Feast Day of St. Rita: Patron of Impossibilities

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:42 AM

Anyone who reads the lives of the saints knows that pain and suffering often precede veneration.  In the case of St. Rita of Cascia, life might be seen as a path of tears and disappointments.

But she persevered and has been called the Patron Saint of the Impossible, observed on May 22.

Margherita Lotti, later to become St. Rita, was born in 1381 in a small town in central Italy.  From an early age, she wished to be a nun. But her parents had other plans and betrothed her to an older many when she was 12.  For the next 18 years, she existed in an abusive, miserable marriage until her persistence in prayer and faith brought about a change in her husband.  They had two sons.

Sadly, it was a time of violent family feuding in Italy and her husband was killed in a fight.  Her sons planned to avenge his death, but fell ill and died before they could act.

That left St. Rita a childless widow – but with the opportunity to become a nun as she had dreamed as a girl. Ironically, the nuns in the Augustinian convent she wished to join were hesitant in light of her being from a “violent family.”

She persisted in prayer and faith and eventually was admitted. Until her death in 1457, she spent her time praying for sinners, for the suffering, for those in need, for those facing challenges that seemed impossible.

She found deep consolation in uniting her suffering to others and especially to Christ. For the last 15 years of her life she bore a small would that appeared on her forehead that appeared like the wounds Christ suffered from the crown of thorns.

St. Rita was beatified by Pope Urban VIII in 1626 and canonized by Pope Leo XII in 1900.

She is interred at the international shrine in her honor in Cascia, Italy.  A national shrine in her honor is maintained in Philadelphia. Both websites offer stories about the saint and a wealth of devotional materials.

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Poland: Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop Polak Meet

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:38 AM

Metropolitan Hilarion, president of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, met on May 19, 2018, with Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Primate of Poland and president of the Group for Relations with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The meeting took place in the seat of the Polish Episcopate and concerned the continuation of the dialogue launched in 2012 with the announcement of the Common Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia.

The meeting was organized during the visit in Poland of Metropolitan Hilarion, who came to celebrate the first liturgy in the church of Saint Sophia in Warsaw, and to congratulate on to Metropolitan Sawa on the occasion of his 80th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his ministry at the office of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Warsaw and all of Poland.

Pope with Metropolitan Hilarion © L’Osservatore Romano

During the conversation at the seat of the Episcopate, both sides expressed their will to continue the dialogue between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Russian Orthodox Church, based on the content of the Common Message to the Nations of Poland and Russia, signed in Warsaw on August 17, 2012 by Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Józef Michalik, then president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The importance of the Catholic-Orthodox conference which took place on November 27-30, 2013 in Warsaw, was also mentioned. “The role of Christianity from Poland and Russia in Europe”, with the participation of a delegation of 17 members of the Moscow Patriarchate with Metropolitan Hilarion at the head and the highest authorities of the Polish Episcopate.

The May 19 meeting was also attended by Polish members of the Group for Contacts with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Polish Bishops’ Conference: Fr. Jarosław Mrówczyński, deputy secretary general of the Polish Episcopate and Marcin Przeciszewski, editor-in-chief of Polish Catholic Information Agency (KAI), as well as Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman of the Episcopate. Metropolitan Hilarion was accompanied by Igor Jakimczuk and Alexander Ershov from the Moscow Patriarchate and Fr. Mirosław Demczuk from the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Immediately after the meeting in the seat of the Episcopate, Metropolitan Hilarion went to the service at the newly built Orthodox temple of St. Sophia in Warsaw to celebrate the first liturgy and to bless a cross of the dome.

It is worth noting that this is the first visit of Metropolitan Hilarion – person number 2 in the Russian Orthodox Church after Patriarch Kirill – in Poland after 5 years, when first, in August 2012, he accompanied the patriarch in his historic journey to the country, and then at the end of November 2013, when he participated in a conference on relations between the Churches and the peoples of Poland and Russia.

 

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‘It Is Not a Sin to Criticize the Pope Here!’ Pope Francis Tells Italian Bishops

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 8:09 AM

‘It is not a sin to criticize the Pope here!’

Pope Francis told Italian prelates this yesterday May 21, 2018, during the Italian Episcopal Conference’s (CEI) 71st General Assembly, which is taking place until May 24 on the theme: “Which Ecclesial Presence in the Current Communicative Context.”

In the address, the Holy Father expressed his primary concerns, and then the doors closed for private discussion.

After thanking them for their prensence, especially in inaugurating the Feast Day of Mary Mother of the Church, he invited: “Let us all say from our heart, all together: “Monstra te esse matrem”. Always: “Monstra te esse matrem.

Expressing the prayer means ‘Make us feel that you are the mother,’ he noted it is recognition that we are not alone, that Mary accompanies us as a mother,’

“It is the motherhood of the Church, of the Hierarchical Holy Mother Church, which is gathered here … But that she is a mother. “Hierarchical Holy Mother Church”, as Saint Ignatius [of Loyola] so liked to say.”

The Holy Father prayed that Mary, our Mother, “help us so that the Church may be a mother. And – following the inspiration of the fathers – may our soul also be a mother. The three women: Mary, the Church and our soul. All three mothers. May the Church be Mother, may our soul be a Mother.”

Expressing he wishes the meeting be a time of dialogue and reflection, the Pontiff shared the three things that worry him. He urged them to not hesitate to voice their thoughts frankly, noting: “it is not a sin to criticize the Pope here! It is not a sin, it can be done.”

First Concern

The first thing that troubles me is the crisis of vocations, he said, noting, with this, “our paternity at stake.”

“Regarding this concern, rather, this haemorrhage of vocations,” he said, “I have spoken to at the Plenary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, explaining that it is the poisoned fruit of the culture of the temporary, of relativism and the dictatorship of money, which distances the young from consecrated life; alongside, certainly, the tragic reduction in births, this “demographic winter”; as well as the scandals and lukewarm witness.”

“How many seminaries, churches and monasteries will be closed in the coming years due to a lack of vocations? God knows. It is sad to see that this land, which has for long centuries been fertile and generous in producing missionaries, nuns, priest full of apostolic zeal, is entering along with the old continent in a vocational sterility without searching for effective remedies. I believe that it searches for them but we are not managing to find them!”

The Pope went on to propose “a more concrete and generous sharing, fidei donum, among Italian dioceses, which would certainly enrich all the dioceses that give and those that receive, strengthening in the hearts of the clergy and the faithful the sensus ecclesiae and the sensus fidei.”

Second Concern

The Pope’s second concern, he said, is evangelical poverty and transparency.

“For me, always – because I learnt as a Jesuit in the constitution – poverty is the “mother” and the “wall” of apostolic life. It is the mother because it gives birth, and it is the wall because it protects. Without poverty there is no apostolic zeal, there is no life of service to others… It is a concern that relates to money and transparency. In reality, one who believes cannot speak of poverty and live like a pharaoh.”

When at times we see these things, the Pope said, it is a counter-witness to speak of poverty and lead a life of luxury; and it is very scandalous to deal with money without transparency or to manage the assets of the Church as if they were personal assets.

“You know the financial scandals that there have been in some dioceses… Please, it makes me very sad to hear that an ecclesiastic has allowed himself to be manipulated, putting himself in situations in which he is out of his depth or worse still, managing the “widow’s loose change” in a dishonest manner.”

We have the duty, the Pope noted, to manage in an exemplary way, through clear and common rules.

Third Concern

The third concern, the Pontiff said, is the reduction and merging of dioceses.

“It is not easy, because, especially in this time… Last year we were about to merge one with another, but they came to me from there and said: “It is tiny, the diocese… Father, why are you doing this? The university has gone, they have closed a school, now there is no mayor, there is a delegate, now you too…”. And we feel this pain and say, “Let the bishop remain, because they are suffering”. But I think that there are dioceses that can be merged.”

He noted that this is a pastoral need, studied and examined several times, even before the Concordat of 1929. Noting we are talking about an historic and current issue, neglected for too long, and also claimed necessary by predecessors including Paul VI, he said: “I believe the time has come to conclude it as soon as possible.”

“Perhaps there are one or two cases that cannot be done now, for what I said earlier – because it is an abandoned territory – but something can be done.”

After sharing this as starting points for reflection, Pope Francis said he left the floor open to them to speak freely and again giving thanks.

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Pope’s Address to Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI)

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 7:29 AM

Here is a Vatican-provided translation of the address Pope Francis gave Monday, May 21, 2018, to Italian prelates meeting for the Italian Episcopal Conference’s (CEI) 71st General Assembly, which is taking place May 24 on the theme: “Which ecclesial presence in the current communicative context.”

***

Dear brothers, good evening!

Welcome to the Vatican. But I think that this room [the Synod Hall] is in the Vatican only when there is the Pope, because it is on Italian territory. Also the Paul VI Hall… That is what they say, is it true?

Thank you so much for your presence, for inaugurating this day of Mary Mother of the Church. Let us all say from our heart, all together: “Monstra te esse matrem”. Always: “Monstra te esse matrem”. It is prayer: “Make us feel that you are the mother”, that we are not alone, that You accompany us as a mother. It is the motherhood of the Church, of the Hierarchical Holy Mother Church, which is gathered here … But that she is a mother. “Hierarchical Holy Mother Church”, as Saint Ignatius [of Loyola] so liked to say. May Mary, our Mother, help us so that the Church may be a mother. And – following the inspiration of the fathers – may our soul also be a mother. The three women: Mary, the Church and our soul. All three mothers. May the Church be Mother, may our soul be a Mother.

I thank you for this meeting, which I would like to be a moment of dialogue and reflection. I thought, after thanking you for all the work you do – it is a lot! – of sharing with you three of my concerns, not to “cudgel” you, no, but rather to say that these things worry me, and you will see… And to give you the opportunity to speak, so that you can address all your questions, concerns and criticisms to me – it is not a sin to criticize the Pope here! It is not a sin, it can be done – and the inspirations that you carry in your heart.

The first thing that troubles me is the crisis of vocations. And it is our paternity that is at stake here. Regarding this concern, rather, this haemorrhage of vocations, I have spoken to at the Plenary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, explaining that it is the poisoned fruit of the culture of the temporary, of relativism and the dictatorship of money, which distances the young from consecrated life; alongside, certainly, the tragic reduction in births, this “demographic winter”; as well as the scandals and lukewarm witness. How many seminaries, churches and monasteries will be closed in the coming years due to a lack of vocations? God knows. It is sad to see that this land, which has for long centuries been fertile and generous in producing missionaries, nuns, priest full of apostolic zeal, is entering along with the old continent in a vocational sterility without searching for effective remedies. I believe that it searches for them but we are not managing to find them!

I propose, for example, a more concrete – because we must begin with practical things, those that are in our hands – I propose to you a more concrete and generous sharing, fidei donum, among Italian dioceses, which would certainly enrich all the dioceses that give and those that receive, strengthening in the hearts of the clergy and the faithful the sensus ecclesiae and the sensus fidei. See if you can … make an exchange of fidei donum [priests] from one diocese to another. I think os the dioceses in Piedmont: there is great sterility… And I think of Puglia, where there is an overabundance… Think, a good creativity: a fidei donum system within Italy. Some of you are smiling… But let us see if you are able to do this.

My second concern: evangelical poverty and transparency. For me, always – because I learnt as a Jesuit in the constitution – poverty is the “mother” and the “wall” of apostolic life. It is the mother because it gives birth, and it is the wall because it protects. Without poverty there is no apostolic zeal, there is no life of service to others… It is a concern that relates to money and transparency. In reality, one who believes cannot speak of poverty and live like a pharaoh. At times we see these things… It is a counter-witness to speak of poverty and lead a life of luxury; and it is very scandalous to deal with money without transparency or to manage the assets of the Church as if they were personal assets. You know the financial scandals that there have been in some dioceses… Please, it makes me very sad to hear that an ecclesiastic has allowed himself to be manipulated, putting himself in situations in which he is out of his depth or worse still, managing the “widow’s loose change” in a dishonest manner. We have the duty to manage in an exemplary way, through clear and common rules, what one day we will give account for to the master of the vineyard. I think of one of you, for example – I know him well – who never, never invites to dinner or to lunch with the money of the diocese: he always pays from his own pocket, otherwise he does not invite. Little gestures, as a purpose expressed in spiritual exercises. We have the duty to manage in an exemplary way, through clear and common rules, what one day we will give account for to the master of the vineyard. I am aware – this I want to say to you – and I acknowledge that the C.E.I. has done much in recent years especially, on the path of poverty and transparency. Good work for transparency. But more must be done for certain things, but I will speak about this later.

And the third concern is the reduction and merging of dioceses. It is not easy, because, especially in this time… Last year we were about to merge one with another, but they came to me from there and said: “It is tiny, the diocese… Father, why are you doing this? The university has gone, they have closed a school, now there is no mayor, there is a delegate, now you too…”. And we feel this pain and say, “Let the bishop remain, because they are suffering”. But I think that there are dioceses that can be merged. I already raised this matter on 23 May 2013, the reduction of Italian dioceses. It is certainly a pastoral need, studied and examined several times – you know – even before the Concordat of 1929. Indeed, Paul VI, in 1964, speaking on 14 April to the Assembly of bishops, spoke of the “excessive number of dioceses”; and subsequently, on 23 June 1966, he returned to the issue when he met with the Assembly of the C.E.I., saying: “It will therefore be necessary to redraw the boundaries of some dioceses, but most of all, we must go ahead with the merging of not a few dioceses, so that the resulting circumscription has a territorial extension, a demographic consistency, and an endowment of clergy and works sufficient to support a truly functional diocesan organization and to develop effective and unitary pastoral activity”. So far, Paul VI. And also the Congregation for Bishops in 2016 – but I spoke about it in 2013 – asked the regional Episcopal Conferences to send to the General Secretariat of the C.E.I. their opinions regarding a plan to reorganize the dioceses. So, we are talking about an historic and current issue, neglected for too long, and I believe the time has come to conclude it as soon as possible. It is easy to do it, it is easy … Perhaps there are one or two cases that cannot be done now, for what I said earlier – because it is an abandoned territory – but something can be done.

These are my three concerns that I wanted to share with you as starting points for reflection. Now I leave the floor open to you, and I thank you for the parrhesia. Many thanks.

[Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided Translation]

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