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The World Seen From Rome
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Pope Asks Prayers for Kenya

10/22/2017 - 11:49am

Pope Francis on October 22, 2017, offered a special prayer intention for Kenya, in comments following the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square:

“I ask you to unite yourselves to my prayer for peace in the world. In these days I follow with special attention Kenya, which I visited in 2015, and for which I pray so that the whole country is able to address the present difficulties in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, having at heart the quest for the common good.”

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



Maximum Illud: Pope Anticipates Centenary

10/22/2017 - 11:31am

Pope Francis on October 22, 2017 – World Mission Sunday – noted the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, with which Pope Benedict XV sought to give new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel.

The Holy Father sent a letter to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, noting “What Pope Benedict XV so greatly desired almost a century ago, and the Council reiterated some fifty years ago, remains timely.”

In that light, the Pope called for an “Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervor the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity.”


Here is the Holy Father’s Letter:

To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Fernando Filoni
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

On 30 November 2019, we will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, with which Pope Benedict XV sought to give new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel.  In 1919, in the wake of a tragic global conflict that he himself called a “useless slaughter,”[1] the Pope recognized the need for a more evangelical approach to missionary work in the world, so that it would be purified of any colonial overtones and kept far away from the nationalistic and expansionistic aims that had proved so disastrous.  “The Church of God is universal; she is not alien to any people,”[2] he wrote, firmly calling for the rejection of any form of particular interest, inasmuch as the proclamation and the love of the Lord Jesus, spread by holiness of one’s life and good works, are the sole purpose of missionary activity.  Benedict XV thus laid special emphasis on the missio ad gentes, employing the concepts and language of the time, in an effort to revive, particularly among the clergy, a sense of duty towards the missions.

That duty is a response to Jesus’ perennial command to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mk16:15).  Obeying this mandate of the Lord is not an option for the Church: in the words of the Second Vatican Council, it is her “essential task,[3] for the Church is “missionary by nature.”[4]  “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelize.”[5]  The Council went on to say that, if the Church is to remain faithful to herself and to preach Jesus crucified and risen for all, the living and merciful Savior, then “prompted by the Holy Spirit, she must walk the same path Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice.”[6]  In this way, she will effectively proclaim the Lord, “model of that redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peaceful spirit, to which all aspire.”[7]

Even now, as in the past, “the Church, sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and nations, is aware that there still remains an enormous missionary task for her to accomplish.”[8]  In this regard, Saint John Paul II noted that “the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion,” and indeed, “an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service.”[9]  As a result, in words that I would now draw once more to everyone’s attention, Saint John Paul exhorted the Church to undertake a “renewed missionary commitment”, in the conviction that missionary activity “renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive.  Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!  It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support.”[10]

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, drawing from the proceedings of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met to reflect on the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith, I once more set this urgent summons before the whole Church.  There I wrote, “John Paul II asked us to recognize that ‘there must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel’ to those who are far from Christ, ‘because this is the first task of the Church.’  Indeed, ‘today missionary activity still represents the greatest challenge for the Church’ and ‘the missionary task must remain foremost.’ What would happen if we were to take these words seriously?  We would realize that missionary outreach is paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity.”[11]

I am convinced that this challenge remains as urgent as ever. “[It] has a programmatic significance and important consequences.  I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion that cannot leave things as they presently are.  ‘Mere administration’ can no longer be enough.  Throughout the world, let us be ‘permanently in a state of mission.’”[12]  Let us not fear to undertake, with trust in God and great courage, “a missionary option capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.  The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself.  As John Paul II told the Bishops of Oceania, ‘all renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion.’”[13]

The Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud called for transcending national boundaries and bearing witness, with prophetic spirit and evangelical boldness, to God’s saving will through the Church’s universal mission.  May the approaching centenary of that Letter serve as an incentive to combat the recurring temptation lurking beneath every form of ecclesial introversion, self-referential retreat into comfort zones, pastoral pessimism and sterile nostalgia for the past.  Instead, may we be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel.  In these, our troubled times, rent by the tragedies of war and menaced by the baneful tendency to accentuate differences and to incite conflict, may the Good News that in Jesus forgiveness triumphs over sin, life defeats death and love conquers fear, be proclaimed to the world with renewed fervor, and instill trust and hope in everyone.

In the light of this, accepting the proposal of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I hereby call for an Extraordinary Missionary Month to be celebrated in October 2019, with the aim of fostering an increased awareness of the missio ad gentes and taking up again with renewed fervor the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and pastoral activity.  The Missionary Month of October 2018 can serve as a good preparation for this celebration by enabling all the faithful to take to heart the proclamation of the Gospel and to help their communities grow in missionary and evangelizing zeal.  May the love for the Church’s mission, which is “a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people,[14] grow ever stronger!

I entrust you, venerable Brother, the Congregation which you head, and the Pontifical Missionary Societies with the work of preparing for this event, especially by raising awareness among the particular Churches, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and among associations, movements, communities and other ecclesial bodies.  May the Extraordinary Missionary Month prove an intense and fruitful occasion of grace, and promote initiatives and above all prayer, the soul of all missionary activity.  May it likewise advance the preaching of the Gospel, biblical and theological reflection on the Church’s mission, works of Christian charity, and practical works of cooperation and solidarity between Churches, so that missionary zeal may revive and never be wanting among us.[15]

From the Vatican, 22 October 2017

XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint John Paul II
World Mission Sunday


[1] Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples, 1 August 1917: AAS IX (1917), 421-423.

[2] Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, 30 November 1919: AAS 11 (1919), 445.

[3] Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 7 December 1965, 7: AAS 58 (1966), 955.

[4] Ibid., 2: AAS 58 (1966), 948.

[5] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 8 December 1975, 14: AAS 68 (1976), 13.

[6] Decree Ad Gentes, 5: AAS 58 (1966), 952.

[7] Ibid., 8: AAS 58 (1966), 956-957.

[8] Ibid., 10: AAS 58 (1966), 959.

[9] Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio7 December 1990, 1: AAS 83 (1991), 249.

[10] Ibid., 2: AAS 83 (1991), 250-251.

[11] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium 15: AAS 105 (2013), 1026.

[12] Ibid., 25: AAS 105 (2013), 1030.

[13] Ibid., 27: AAS 105 (2013), 1031.

[14] Ibid., 268: AAS 105 (2013), 1128.

[15] Ibid., 80: AAS 105 (2013), 1053.

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana



Angelus Address: “On Rendering to Caesar the Things that Are Caesar’s, and to God the Things that Are God’s”

10/22/2017 - 10:57am

VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 22, 2017 ( Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:15-21) presents to us a new face to face between Jesus and His opponents. The subject addressed is that of tribute to Caesar – a “thorny” question, about the lawfulness or not of paying taxes to the Emperor of Rome, to whom Palestine was subject in Jesus’ time. The positions were different; hence the question addressed to Him by the Pharisees: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (v. 17) a trap set for the Teacher. In fact, according to how He responded He would have been accused of being for or against Rome.

However, in this case Jesus also answers calmly and takes advantage of the malicious question to give an important teaching, rising above the controversy and the opposing sides. He says to the Pharisees” “Show Me the money for the tax?” And they brought Him a coin and, looking at the coin. Jesus asked them:”Whose likeness and inscription is this?” The Pharisees could only answer: “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus concludes: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Cf. vv. 19-21). On one hand, intimating to restore to the Emperor what belonged to him, Jesus said that to pay the tax was not an act of idolatry, but an act owed to the earthly authority; on the other – and it’s here that Jesus gives the “coup” – recalling God’s primacy, He asks that He be given what is due to Him as Lord of man’s life and of history.

The reference to Caesar’s image, engraved in the coin, says that it’s right to feel oneself fully — with rights and duties – citizens of the State, but, symbolically, He makes one think of the other image that is imprinted in every man: the image of God. He is the Lord of all and we, who have been created “in His image,” belong first of all to Him. From the questions posed to him by the Pharisees, Jesus draws a more radical and vital question for each one of us, a question that we can ask ourselves: to whom do I belong? To the family, to the city, to friends, to the school, to work, to politics, to the State” Yes, certainly, but first of all, Jesus reminds us, <we> belong to God. This is <our> fundamental belonging. It is He who has given <us> all that <we> are and that <we> have. And, therefore, day after day we can and must live our life in the acknowledgement of this, our fundamental belonging, and in our heart the acknowledgement of our Father, who created each one of us individually, unrepeatable, but always in keeping with the image of His beloved Son Jesus. It’s a stupendous mystery.

A Christian is called to commit himself concretely to human and social realities without opposing “God” and “Caesar”; to oppose God and Caesar would be a fundamentalist attitude. A Christian is called to commit himself concretely to earthly realities, but illuminating them with the Light that comes from God. The priority entrustment to God and hope in Him do not imply a fleeing from reality but rather rendering diligently to God what belongs to Him. It’s because of this that the believer looks at the future reality, that of God, in order to live his earthly life in fullness and to respond courageously to its challenges.

May the Virgin Mary help us to live always in conformity with the image of God that we bear within us, also making our contribution to the building of the earthly city.

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


After the Angelus

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Beatified yesterday in Barcelona were Blesseds Matteo Casals, Teofilo Casajus, Fernando Saperas and 106 martyr companions belonging to the Religious Congregation of the Claretians, and killed out of hatred for the faith during the Spanish Civil War. May their heroic example and their intercession support Christians who also in our days – and so many – suffer discrimination and persecutions in different parts of the world.

Observed today is World Mission Sunday on the theme “Mission at the Heart of the Church.” I exhort all to live the joy of the mission, witnessing the Gospel in the environments in which each one lives and operates. We are called, at the same time, to support with affection, concrete help and prayer the missionaries who have gone out to proclaim Christ to all those who still don’t know Him. I remind also that it’s my intention to promote an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019, in order to fuel the ardour of the evangelizing activity of the Church ad gentes. On the day of the liturgical memorial of Saint John Paul II, missionary Pope, we entrust to his intercession the mission of the Church in the world.

I ask you to unite yourselves to my prayer for peace in the world. In these days I follow with special attention Kenya, which I visited in 2015, and for which I pray so that the whole country is able to address the present difficulties in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, having at heart the quest for the common good.

And now I greet all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from various countries. In particular, the faithful of Luxembourg and those of Ibiza, the Family Movement of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Brazil, <and> the Sisters of the Most Holy Mother Addolorata. I greet and bless affectionately the Peruvian community of Rome, gathered here with the sacred image of the Senor de los Milagros [Lord of Miracles].

I greet the groups of faithful of many Italian parishes, and I encourage them to continue with joy their journey of faith.

And I wish all a good Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

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



Colombia: 5 Conditions for Peace

10/21/2017 - 9:57pm

“Throughout his pastoral visit, Pope Francis delivered passionate speeches, allocutions and homilies addressed to the whole Colombian people, with which he enunciated essential elements needed for the country to take the first and further steps together in the transformation from violence to fraternity, fear to trust, ultimately death to life,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

His remarks came October 20, 2017, at the United Nations in New York, at an event sponsored by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, together with the Permanent Mission of Colombia, Caritas Internationalis, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies of the University of Notre Dame, the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and Grace Initiative, sponsored an event entitled “Reconciliation and Peace in Colombia: The Impact of the Visit of Pope Francis.”

Archbishop Auza listed five elements for peace in Colombia:

  1. Courage
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Reconciliation
  4. Truth and Justice
  5. A culture of encounter

The Archbishop’s Statement

Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza
“Reconciliation and Peace in Colombia:
The Impact of the Visit of Pope Francis”
UN Headquarters, New York, October 20, 2017

Your Excellency Mme Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations,
Mme Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict,
Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists and Dear Friends,

I warmly welcome you this afternoon to this event on the ongoing efforts for reconciliation and peace in Colombia, which the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See is very pleased to be hosting together with the Permanent Mission of Colombia, Caritas Internationalis, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies of the University of Notre Dame, The Catholic Peacebuilding Network, and Grace Initiative.

Last month, from September 6-11, Pope Francis traveled to Colombia to do what we could, through his words, his example, his prayer, and simply his presence, to encourage everyone to do his or her part to bring good out of the evil the country has endured over the last half-century. He chose for the motto of the pastoral visit, “Demos el primer paso,” “Let’s take the first step,” which he said in a video message prior to his trip, he selected because he wanted to help each Colombian take the initiative to “be the first to love, to build bridges, to create fraternity, … to go out to meet the other, to reach out our hand and to exchange a sign of peace.” He wanted to exhort each person to take responsibility for making the first move.

When he met Colombian leaders in front of the Presidential Palace in Bogotà, he acknowledged that over the previous year many first steps and much progress had been made in ending the armed violence and forging paths of reconciliation. He had come, he said, to encourage Colombians to persevere in that journey. The Church, he said, felt a particular duty and desire to accompany the country on that path, by promoting and facilitating reconciliation, and helping to form and strengthen “counselors of peace and dialogue.” “I have wanted to come here,” he summarized, “to tell you that you are not alone, that there are many of us who accompany you in taking this step.”

Throughout his pastoral visit, Pope Francis delivered passionate speeches, allocutions and homilies addressed to the whole Colombian people, with which he enunciated essential elements needed for the country to take the first and further steps together in the transformation from violence to fraternity, fear to trust, ultimately death to life.

I would like briefly to mention five of these essential conditions.

The first is courage. “It is easier to begin a war than to end one,” he said, quoting Gabriel García Marquez, the 1982 Colombian winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. The pursuit of peace requires a “distinct kind of moral courage” that forces us to rise above ourselves, our fears, our painful memories, our past failed attempts, and our pessimism about whether new attempts will succeed. On multiple occasions he focused on those heroes from Colombia’s past and present whom he called “artisans of peace,” many of whom gave their lives, to bring about reconciliation. In doing so, he was encouraging Colombians today, like them, to take the risk to move forward. He said in Villavicencio, “What is needed is for some courageously to take the first step … without waiting for others to do so.  We need only one good person to have hope!  And each of us can be that person!”

The second is forgiveness. Pope Francis acknowledged how hard it is to resist the “temptation to vengeance,” especially after decades of distrust and bloodshed. It’s easier, he said, to want to “expel” others rather than “integrate” them. Wounds of the heart, he added, “are deeper and more difficult to heal than those of the body.” Taking a determined first step toward peace, however, involves, he underlined, “renounc[ing] our claim to be forgiven without showing forgiveness, to be loved without showing love.” He affirmed the words of a survivor of violence who said that it is not possible to live with resentment and declared that only if we help to “untie the knots of violence” and resentment in our hearts “will we unravel the complex threads of disagreements.” Through forgiveness we begin to heal each other’s wounds, he said, because all Colombians, in one way or another, from one side or another, are victims and have suffered the loss of humanity flowing from so much
violence and death. Those who were wrong should be rescued, not destroyed, healed, not eliminated. And in one of the most direct appeals of his journey, he implored, “Dear people of Colombia: do not be afraid of asking for forgiveness and offering it.  … Now is the time to heal wounds, to build bridges, to overcome differences.”

The third is reconciliation. When forgiveness is mutually offered, there is the chance for reconciliation. Pope Francis said that we cannot treat reconciliation as an abstract term. Reconciliation involves, he said, “opening a door to every person who has experienced the tragic reality of conflict,” when people together “overcome the temptation to egoism and … renounce the attempts of pseudo-justice.” Without a sincere commitment to reconciliation, he said, “every effort at peace … is always destined to fail.”

The fourth is the need for truth and justice. The focus on forgiveness and reconciliation cannot eliminate the need for truth and justice. “Truth,” Pope Francis said in Villavicencio, “is an inseparable companion of justice and mercy.  All three together are essential to building peace; each prevents the other from being altered and transformed into instruments of revenge against the weakest.” He said that truth “means telling families torn apart by pain what happened to their missing relatives.  Truth means confessing what happened to minors recruited by violent people.  Truth means recognizing the pain of women who are victims of violence and abuse.”

Justice, he said, is similarly essential to make peace possible. It cannot be a “law of the most powerful,” but must flow from just laws, approved by all, that can help overcome the conflicts that have torn Colombia apart. Such just laws must, he said, confront the “darkness of injustice and social inequality; the corrupting darkness of personal and group interests that consume in a selfish and uncontrolled way what is destined for the good of all; the darkness of disrespect for human life that daily destroys the life of many innocents; the darkness of thirst for vengeance and the hatred which stains the hands of those who would right wrongs on their own authority; the darkness of those who become numb to the pain of so many victims.”

Part of the darkness that needs to be boldly confronted, he specified, is the scourge of drug abuse and the domination of unscrupulous drug lords, who, he says, “reap profits in contempt of moral and civil laws.” In firmly condemning the drug trade that “only sows death everywhere, uproots so many hopes and destroys so many families,” he stressed that “lives of our brothers and sisters cannot be played with, nor their dignity instrumentalized.” He called on the bishops of Colombia in particular to be “fearless in clearly and calmly reminding everyone that a society under the spell of drugs suffers a moral metastasis that peddles hellfire, sows rampant corruption and creates fiscal paradises.” There will be no peace, he suggested, in that earthly hellfire.

Fifth is the need for a culture of encounter. In contrast to that culture of violence and social disintegration that flows from drugs and violence, Pope Francis stressed that there needs to be a culture of encounter. While obviously supporting the Peace Accords, Pope Francis said at the same time, “Peace is not achieved by normative frameworks and institutional arrangements between well-intentioned political or economic groups.” What’s needed, rather, is a “personal encounter between the parties,” one that includes those who “have often been overlooked.” Nothing, he said, “can replace that healing encounter; no collective process excuses us from the [personal] challenge of meeting, clarifying, forgiving.” While leaders have their own work to do from the top down, he was stressing that there is also a need to generate change “from below” through culture, replacing, he said, “the culture of death and violence with the culture of life and encounter.” He prophetically challenged
every Colombian, and in a particular way every Colombian Christian, to ask how much he or she has worked for peace by working for this encounter.

To take the first step, with determination, involves these five elements: courage, forgiveness, reconciliation, truth and justice, and encounter.

Pope Francis asked the Colombians to take this first step together, and in the common direction that leads to peace that he tried to sketch. He added, however, in what he called his “last word” immediately before departing Cartagena to return to Rome, “Let us not be content with [just] ‘taking the first step.’  Instead, let us continue our journey anew each day, going forth to encounter others and to encourage concord and fraternity. We cannot just stand still.” Rather than waiting for others to make the first move, he called everyone to “go out to meet” others, bringing them an embrace of peace free of all violence. That’s the embrace he himself sought to extend to the whole nation. That’s the embrace he’s trying to encourage the whole world to extend toward Colombia and toward each other, so that together we will help bring about a more inclusive and peaceful world.

Thank you once again for coming today and I forward to your active participation in the discussion after the presentations.
Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.



Brazilian College Audience with Pope Francis

10/21/2017 - 3:48pm

Pope Francis on October 21, 2017, stressed the importance of maintain proper balance among the four pillars of a priest’s life: the spiritual dimension, the academic dimension, the human dimension and the pastoral dimension.”

His remarks came in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, when he received the Community of the Pontifical Pio Brazilian College, Rome, for the 300th anniversary of the rediscovery of the venerated Image of Our Lady of Aparecida.

“Neglect of these dimensions opens the door to several ‘diseases’ that can assail the student priest, such as ‘academicism’ and the temptation to turn studies simply into a means of personal affirmation,” the Holy Father said.  He continued: “Do not forget, please, that before being teachers and doctors, you are and must remain priests, pastors of the people of God!”

Address of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you today, three hundred years after the rediscovery of the venerated Image of Our Lady of Aparecida. I thank Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha for the words he addressed to me on behalf of all the priestly community of the Pontifical Pio Brazilian College, as well as the women religious and employees who collaborate in making this house “a little piece of Brazil in Rome”.

How important it is to feel that you are in a welcoming environment, every whenever we find ourselves far from our homeland and gripped by nostalgia (saudades)! An environment of this type helps also in overcoming the difficulties of adapting to a situation in which pastoral activity is not the center of the day. You are no longer parish priests or parish vicars, but student priests. And this new condition carries the danger of generating an imbalance among the four pillars that support the life of a priest: the spiritual dimension, the academic dimension, the human dimension and the pastoral dimension.

Naturally, in this particular period of your life, the academic dimension prevails. However this does not imply neglect of the other dimensions. It is necessary to care for your spiritual life: Mass every day, daily prayer, the lectio divina, the personal encounter with the Lord, the recital of the Rosary. The pastoral dimension too must be cared for: where possible, it is healthy and advisable to carry out some form of apostolic activity. And with regard to the human dimension, it is necessary above all to avoid, when faced with a certain emptiness generated by solitude – because now you enjoy the consolation of the People of God less than when you were in your diocese – losing the ecclesial and missionary perspective of your studies.

Neglect of these dimensions opens the door to several “diseases” that can assail the student priest, such as “academicism” and the temptation to turn studies simply into a means of personal affirmation. In both cases on ends up suffocating the faith which must instead be safeguarded, as Saint Paul asked Timothy: “Guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith” (1 Tm 6: 20-21). Do not forget, please, that before being teachers and doctors, you are and must remain priests, pastors of the people of God!

But how is it possible then to maintain balance between these four fundamental pillars of priestly life? I would say that the most effective remedy against the risk of imbalance is priestly fraternity. This was not written, but it comes to me to say it now, because Paul [in the passage cited above] spoke about gossip: what most destroys priestly fraternity is gossip. Gossip is a “terrorist act”, because with gossip you throw a bomb, you destroy the other, and walk away calmly! Therefore, it is necessary to safeguard priestly fraternity. Please, no gossip. It would be good to put a sign at the doorway: “No gossip”. Here [in the Apostolic Palace], there is the image of Our Lady of Silence, at the first floor lift; Our Lady who says, “No gossip”. This is the message for the Curia. Do something similar for yourselves.

Indeed, the new Ratio Fundamentalis for priestly formation, in facing the theme of permanent formation, affirms that “Priestly fraternity is the first setting in which ongoing formation takes place” (no. 82). This is therefore in a certain way the cornerstone of ongoing formation. And this is based on the fact that, through priestly ordination, we participate in the sole priesthood of Christ and form a true family. The grace of the sacrament assumes and elevates our human, psychological and emotional relations, and “grows ever greater and finds expression in the most varied forms of mutual assistance, spiritual and material as well” (Saint John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, 74).

In practice, this means knowing that the first objective of our pastoral charity must be our brother in the priesthood, the first neighbor we have – “Bear one another’s burdens”, the Apostle urges us, “and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6: 2). Pray together, share the joys and challenges of academic life; celebrate, drink a cachacinha… all this is good, it is good to help those who suffer most from the nostalgia; go out together for a walk; live like a family, like brothers, without excluding anyone, including those who are in crisis or perhaps have had lamentable attitudes, because “priestly fraternity excludes no-one” (Pastores dabo vobis, 74).

Dear priests, the people of God love to see and need to see that their priests care for each other and live as a family; and this is even more true when considering Brazil and the challenges, both religious and social, that await you upon your return. Indeed, in this difficult moment in her national history, when many people seem to have lost hope in a better future due to enormous social problems and scandalous corruption, Brazil needs her priests to be a sign of hope. Brazilians need to see a united, fraternal and integral clergy, in which priests find themselves facing obstacles together, without giving in to the temptation of attention-seeking and careerism. Beware of this! I am sure that Brazil will overcome her crisis and I trust that you will be protagonists in this.

To this end, always count on a special help: the help of our Mother in Heaven, whom you Brazilians call Our Lady of Aparecida. The beautiful words of a hymn with which you greet her come to mind: “Holy Virgin, beautiful Virgin; loving Mother, dear Mother; keep us, help us, O Our Lady of Aparecida” (“Virgem santa, Virgem bela; Mãe amável, mãe querida; Amparai-nos, socorrei-nos; Ó Senhora Aparecida”). May these words find confirmation in the life of each one of you. May the Virgin Mary, with her support and help, help you to live in priestly fraternity, ensuring that your period of studies in Rome produces abundant fruits, aside from your academic qualification.

May the Queen of the Pio Brazilian College help make this community a school of fraternity, making every one of you leaven of unity within your respective dioceses, since the diocesanity of the secular priest feeds directly from the experience of fraternity among priests. To confirm these hopes, I heartily impart to the directorate, the students, the women religious and employees, to everyone, as well as your families, my Apostolic Blessing; and I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me. Thank you!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



Pope: Evangelization Includes Disabled

10/21/2017 - 3:01pm

While there has been growth in the awareness of the “dignity of every person,” Pope Francis said on October 21, 2017, that “at cultural level there persist expressions that harm the dignity of these people through the prevalence of a false concept of life.”

The Holy Fathers remarks came in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, and were made to the participants in the Conference Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church, organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, taking place at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, from October 20 – 22, 2017.

“A vision that is often narcissistic and utilitarian unfortunately leads many to consider as marginal people with disabilities, without recognizing in them the multiform human and spiritual wealth,” the Pope explained.  He continued: “An attitude of denying this condition, as if it prevented happiness and the realization of the self, is still too strong in the common mentality. This is shown by the eugenic tendency to suppress unborn children when they are shown to have some form of imperfection.”


Address of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I rejoice at meeting you, especially because in these days you have considered a theme of great importance for the life of the Church in her work of evangelization and Christian formation: Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities. I thank H.E. Msgr. Fisichella for his introduction, the dicastery over which he presides for its service, and all of you for your work in this field.

We know the great development that throughout recent decades has taken place in relation to disability. The growth in awareness of the dignity of every person, especially the weakest, has led to courageous positions being taken for the inclusion of those who live with various forms of handicap, so that no-one need feel like an outsider in their own home. However, at cultural level there persist expressions that harm the dignity of these people through the prevalence of a false concept of life. A vision that is often narcissistic and utilitarian unfortunately leads many to consider as marginal people with disabilities, without recognizing in them the multiform human and spiritual wealth. An attitude of denying this condition, as if it prevented happiness and the realization of the self, is still too strong in the common mentality. This is shown by the eugenic tendency to suppress unborn children when they are shown to have some form of imperfection. In reality, we all know many people who, with their fragility, even in serious cases, have found the path of a good life rich in meaning, if with some hardship. Just as, on the other hand, we know people who are apparently perfect and desperate! Besides, it is a dangerous deceit to think we are invulnerable. Just as a girl I met on my recent trip to Colombia said to me, vulnerability is part of the essence of man.

The answer is love: not the false kind, overly sentimental and pietistic, but the true kind, concrete and respectful. To the extent in which we are welcomed and loved, included in the community and accompanied to look to the future with trust, the true path of life is developed and we experience lasting happiness. This, we know, is valid to all, but the most fragile are the proof. Faith is a great life companion when it permits us to touch with our hand the presence of a Father who never leaves His creatures alone, in no condition of their life. The Church cannot be aphonic or tone-deaf in the defense and promotion of people with disability. Her closeness to families helps her overcome the solitude in which they often risk closing themselves up due to a lack of attention and support. This is even more valid for the responsibility she possesses in the generation and formation of Christian life. There can be no lack in communities of the words and, above all, the gestures to encounter and welcome people with disabilities. The Sunday liturgy in particular must be able to include, so that the encounter with the Risen Lord and with the same community can be a source of hope and courage in the not always easy path of life.

Catechesis, in a special way, is called to discover and experiment with coherent forms so that every person, with his or her gifts, limits and disabilities, even serious, may encounter Jesus on the way and abandon himself to Him with faith. No physical or psychic limit may ever be an obstacle to this encounter, because the face of Christ shines in the intimacy of every person. In addition, let us be careful, especially us, as ministers in Christ’s grace, not to fall into the neo-Pelagian trap of not recognizing the need for the strength of the grace that comes from the Sacraments of Christian initiation. Let us learn to overcome discomfort and fear that at times can be felt with regard to people with disabilities. Let us learn to seek and also to “invent”, with intelligence, suitable tools so that no-one lacks the support of grace. Let us form – first of all by example! – catechists who are increasingly capable of accompanying these people so that they may grow in faith and make their genuine and original contribution to the life of the Church. Finally, I hope that in communities, people with disabilities may too be catechists, also by their witness, to transmit faith in a more effective way.

I thank you for your work in these days, and for your service in the Church. May Our Lady accompany you. I heartily bless you and I ask you, please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



Render to God What is God’s

10/21/2017 - 1:13pm
Angelus Address: “On Rendering to Caesar the Things that Are Caesar’s, and to God the Things that Are God’s”

“A Christian Is Called to Commit Himself to Concretely to Human and Social Realities, without Opposing ‘God’ and “Caesar’”

Maximum Illud: Pope Anticipates Centenary

Call for Extraordinary Mission Month, Oct. 2019

Pope Asks Prayers for Kenya

Violence and Election Turmoil Plague Nation

Colombia: 5 Conditions for Peace

Archbishop Auza Recalls Pope’s September Messages

Pope: Evangelization Includes Disabled

Growth in Awareness of the Dignity of Every Person

Brazilian College Audience with Pope Francis

Keep Balance of Four Pillars of Priest’s Life

Corruption Kills

10/20/2017 - 3:15pm
Fides: Catholic Population Growing to 1.3 Billion

Schools, Hospitals, Social Agencies Serve World

Pope: Market, State, Society Should Cooperate

Address to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Malta: L’Osservatore Romano Deplores Murder of Journalist

Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Pope Offers Condolences for Slain Journalist

Critic of Corruption Killed in Car Bombing

Santa Marta: “Jesus Asks Us for Coherence of Life”

Homily in the Morning Mass of Friday, October 20, 2017

Arch Jurkovic: IP Promotes Innovation

Intellectual Property System must balance interests of innovators, public

Archbishop Follo: God’s Coin

XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time – October 22, 2017

Fides: Catholic Population Growing to 1.3 Billion

10/20/2017 - 2:20pm

The number of Catholics in the world is increasing: almost 1.3 billion, 17.7 percent of the world’s population, reported Agenzia Fides on October 20, 2017.  Agenzia Fides is the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

According to figures from the Church’s Book of Statistics (data related to 2015) and elaborated by Agenzia Fides, the baptized are 12.5 million more than the previous year (2014). This is one of the data in the Dossier published by Agenzia Fides on the occasion of the 91st World Mission Day, which is celebrated on Sunday, October 22, 2017.

The Dossier offers a wealth of statistical information about the Catholic Church around the world.


Click here to see video highlights

A few statistics of interest:

  • Africa has 222 million Catholics, 19.42 percent of the population.
  • The Americas have 635 million Catholics, 63.6 percent of the population.
  • Europe has 285 million Catholics, 39.87 percent of the population.
  • Asia has 141 million Catholic, 3.24 percent of the population.
  • The Catholic Church runs 216,548 schools in the world, attended by more than 60 million pupils.
  • There are about 118,000 Catholic social and charitable institutes (hospitals, care homes for people with leprosy, orphanages, homes for the elderly) scattered throughout the world.


Pope: Market, State, Society Should Cooperate

10/20/2017 - 1:45pm

Pope Francis said there is “a need of great current relevance, such as that of developing new models of cooperation between the market, the State and civil society, in relation to the challenges of our time.”

His comments came October 20, 2017, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, where he received the participants in the meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The Holy Father focused on two key points:

  • The endemic and systemic increase of inequality and the exploitation of the planet, which is greater than the increase in income and wealth.
  • The other cause of exclusion is work that is not worthy of the human person.


Address of the Holy Father

Illustrious Ladies and Gentlemen,

I cordially greet the Members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and those who are participating in these study days, as well as the institutions that support the initiative. This draws attention to a need of great current relevance, such as that of developing new models of cooperation between the market, the State and civil society, in relation to the challenges of our time. In this occasion, I would like to focus briefly on two specific causes that increase exclusion and the existence of existential peripheries.

The first is the endemic and systemic increase of inequality and the exploitation of the planet, which is greater than the increase in income and wealth. However inequality and exploitation are not inevitable, nor are they an historic constant. They are not inevitable because they depend not only on different individual forms of behavior, but also the economic rules that a society decides to adopt. We can think of energy production, the job market, the banking system, welfare, the tax system, the schools sector. According to how these sectors are planned, there are different consequences on the way in which income and wealth are distributed among those who have participated in their production. If the aim of profit prevails, democracy tends to become a plutocracy in which inequalities grow, as does the exploitation of the planet. I repeat: this is not a necessity; there are periods in which, in some countries, inequalities diminish and the environment is better protected.

The other cause of exclusion is work that is not worthy of the human person. Yesteryear, in the age of Rerum novarum (1891), …. Today, beyond this sacrosanct demand, we also ask ourselves why we still have not succeeded in putting into practice the content of the Constitution Gaudium et spes: “The entire process of productive work … must be adapted to the needs of the person and to his way of life” (no. 67) and, we can add with the Encyclical Laudato si’, with respect for creation, our common home.

The creation of new work needs, especially in this time, people who are open and enterprising, fraternal relations, and research and investment in the development of clean energy to face the challenges of climate change. This is concretely possible today. It is necessary to divest ourselves of the pressures of public and private lobbies which defend sectorial interests, and also to overcome forms of spiritual sloth. It is necessary for political action to be placed truly at the service of the human person, of the common good and of respect for nature.

The challenge to meet is therefore that of endeavoring courageously to go beyond the model of social order currently prevalent, transforming it from within. We must ask the market not only to be efficient in the production of wealth and in ensuring sustainable growth, but also of placing itself in the service of integral human development. We cannot sacrifice the “golden calf” of our times – fundamental values such as democracy, justice, freedom, the family, creation – on the altar of efficiency. Substantially, we must aim at “civilizing” the market, with a view to an ethics that is friendly to man and his environment.

A similar issue is the rethinking of the figure and role of the nation-State in a new context such as that of globalization, which has profoundly altered the previous international order. The State cannot be conceived of as the only and exclusive holder of the common good, without permitting intermediary bodies in civil society to freely express all their potential. This would be a violation of the principle of subsidiarity which, combined with that of solidarity, constitutes a fundamental pillar of the social doctrine of the Church. Here the challenge is how to reconcile individual rights with the common good.

In this sense, the specific role of civil society may be compared to that which Charles Péguy attributed to the virtue of hope: like a younger sister in the middle of another two virtues – faith and charity – holding them by the hand and pulling them ahead. This is how the position of civil society seems to me: “pulling” ahead the State and the market so that they rethink their reason for being and their way of working.

Dear friends, I thank you for your attention to these reflections. I invoke the Lord’s blessing upon you, your loved ones and your work.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



Pope Offers Condolences for Slain Journalist

10/20/2017 - 1:09pm

Pope Francis on October 20, 2017, send his condolences for the death of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. A telegram was sent on behalf of the Holy Father by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta.

Galizia, a critic of corruption in her country, died when a bomb exploded in her car after leaving her home at Bidnija, in the North of the Island, on October 16, 2017. Known for her influencing blog Running Commentary, she collaborated with several Maltese journalists.


The Most Reverend Charles J. Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta

Saddened by the tragic death of Daphne Caruana Galizia, His Holiness Pope Francis offers prayers for her eternal rest, and asks you kindly to convey his condolences to her family. The Holy Father also assures you of his spiritual closeness to the Maltese people at this difficult moment, and implores God’s blessings upon the nation.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

© Libreria Editrice Vatican




Malta: L’Osservatore Romano Deplores Murder of Journalist

10/20/2017 - 12:55pm

ROME OCTOBER 18, 2017 ( – In its Italian edition of October 18, 2017, L’Osservatore Romano deplored the murder of a journalist in Malta and echoed the condemnation of the Archbishop of Malta, Monsignor Charles Scicluna.

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a critic of corruption in her country, died when a bomb exploded in her car after leaving her home at Bidnija, in the North of the Island. Known for her influencing blog Running Commentary, she collaborated with several Maltese journalists.

Monsignor Scicluna condemned “with the greatest firmness” the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, which happened last Monday, October 16, 2017, stressed L’Osservatore Romano.

The daily reported that the Archbishop called for the banning of all controversies: “It’s not the moment to start wars between us, or to accuse one another,” but to “defend each one’s dignity, eliminate anger among us and defend the great value of democracy,” he said.

The investigative journalist and blogger Matthew Caruana Galizia, son of the murdered journalist, accused the Maltese Authorities of being “accomplices” of his mother’s murder, noted in addition L’Ossevatore Romano. He addressed the Authorities on Facebook, saying: “You are accomplices and responsible for what happened.”

The Vatican daily also quoted the words of Maltese Prime Minster Joseph Muscat, who denied any involvement of his government. “She was probably my main adversary,” he said in an interview with the Italian daily “La Repubblica.” “She attacked me after I became head of the coalition, but it was her job,” he acknowledged. Rejecting all allegations of corruption, he said that “justice would” soon “be made.” Now, specified the Prime Minister, it’s necessary to “find the agents and executers of a crime that is not ours,” reported the same source.

L’Osservatore Romano also reported the reaction of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, and of the Commissioner of the Rights of Man, Nils Muiznieks, who called for an in depth investigation to identify those responsible for the crime.

According to the same source, the Maltese Minister of the Interior called the FBI and the European Scientific Police to lead the investigations.


Santa Marta: “Jesus Asks Us for Coherence of Life”

10/20/2017 - 12:42pm

VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 20, 2017 ( “Jesus asks us for coherence of life, coherence between what we do and what we live within,” stressed Pope Francis, reflecting on today’s Readings, during the morning Mass of Friday, October 20, 2017 at Saint Martha’s.

“Falsehood does so much harm, hypocrisy does so much harm, it’s a way of living,” observed the Pontiff, whose words were reported by Vatican Radio.

For today’s meditation, Francis was inspired by the First Reading — a passage of the Letter to the Romans (4:1-8), and by Luke’s Gospel (12:1-7), in which Jesus recommends to His disciples to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees.”

Beginning with the Apostle Paul’s words, the Pontiff reminded that “true forgiveness” doesn’t come from “our works,” but is “free,” because it comes from “His grace,” “from His Will.”

“Our works are the response to God’s free love, who has justified us and forgives us always. And our holiness is in fact to receive this forgiveness always,” explained the Holy Father who, quoting today’s Psalm, added: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven” (Psalm 32 (31), v. 2).

It’s the Lord “who has forgiven us original sin and who forgives us every time we go to Him,” continued Francis, reminding that “we can’t forgive ourselves with our works. He alone forgives.” “We can respond with our works to this forgiveness,” he explained.

The Pope warned against that “other way of seeking justification — that of “appearances.” There are those that pull the “holy card face,” as if they were saints.”

However, they are “hypocrites.” They “make up the soul; they live of makeup; holiness is makeup for them, but in their heart “there is no substance,” rather everything is filthy.”

They lead a “hypocritical life” and their justification is that “of appearance.” In sum, they are “soap bubbles.”

Instead, Jesus “asks us to be truthful, but truthful in our heart,” continued Francis. Therefore, He gives us this advice: “when you pray, do it secretly; when you fast, then yes you can use some makeup, so that no one sees in your face the weakness of fasting; and when you give alms, let your left hand not know what your right hand is doing; do it secretly.”

Therefore, the Holy Father exhorted those present to live “the truth always before God, always.” Because “this truth before God is what makes room for the Lord to forgive us.”

One must pray for “the wisdom to accuse oneself,” concluded Francis, who again quoted the Psalmist: “I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and I did not hide my iniquity. I said: “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; then Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32 (31), v. 5).

ZENIT translation by Virginia M. Forrester



Arch Jurkovic: IP Promotes Innovation

10/20/2017 - 12:32pm

“Intellectual Property (IP) benefits public interest by providing incentives for innovation,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

His comments came on October 19, 2017, at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Council Geneva, Item 13: Intellectual Property and the public interest: follow-up on compulsory licensing.

“An efficient intellectual property system can help all countries realize intellectual property’s potential as a catalyst for economic development and social and cultural well-being,” Archbishop Jurkovic continued. “The IP system helps strike a balance between the interests of innovators and the public interest, providing an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish for the benefit of all.”

He noted that “an equitable IP system,” results from “a delicate balancing act”. It requires “flexible policy space” that will “allow each Member to develop and adapt more adequately the set of IP regulations for their particular needs and to ensure predictability and mutual confidence”.

The archbishop stressed the needs of developing counties: “Access to knowledge goods, both to enrich human resources and facilitate economic growth, is an indispensable requirement for the international system.”


Here is the archbishop ‘statement:


Mr. President,

Since this is the first time my Delegation is taking the floor during the current session of the TRIPs Council, allow me to begin by congratulating you on your election as Chair and by assuring you of the full support of the Holy See Delegation.

Intellectual Property (IP) benefits public interest by providing incentives for innovation. An efficient intellectual property system can help all countries realize intellectual property’s potential as a catalyst for economic development and social and cultural well-being. The IP system helps strike a balance between the interests of innovators and the public interest, providing an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish for the benefit of all. An equitable IP system, by definition, results from a delicate balancing act. As recalled by the WIPO Copyright Convention of 1996, there is “the need to maintain a balance between the rights of authors and the larger public interest, particularly education, research and access to information”. A flexible policy space, within the boundaries of the internationally agreed objectives, principles and standards, is necessary to allow each Member to develop and adapt more adequately the set of IP regulations for their particular needs and to ensure predictability and mutual confidence.

Intellectual property, as foreseen by Article 7 of the TRIPs Agreement, should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of users and producers of technological knowledge, in a manner conducive to social 2 and economic welfare and to balance rights and obligations. The search for a balance between the need, on the one hand, to protect IPRs and to provide incentives for Research and Development and the need, on the other hand, to address concerns about the potential impact of such protection on the health sector, in particular its effects on prices, has been continuously stated by the Holy See at this Council and other fora.

In line with the objectives and principles of the TRIPS as enshrined in Articles 7 and 8, a number of flexibilities have developed into an integral part of the TRIPS framework and they can be used to pursue public health objectives. However, to implement these flexibilities, action is needed at the domestic level by incorporating them into national IP regimes, keeping in mind each country’s specific needs and policy objectives. WTO Members have the flexibility to interpret and implement TRIPS provisions in a manner supportive of their right to protect public health. The United Nations High Level Panel on Access to Medicine, in its report to the Secretary General, highlighted the importance of TRIPS flexibilities and, addressing the hoped for achievement of 3 Sustainable Development Goals which they regard, recommended their use.

The Delegation of the Holy See recognizes that the acceleration of the search for solutions to problems in the world to which intellectual property rights protection may respond, has been accompanied by an acceleration in the influence of investment capital to transform IP from an economic asset and compensation for individual innovators into a capital asset or production factor for industry.

In an era of digitization and globalization, the needs of developing countries are even more critical. Access to knowledge goods, both to enrich human resources and facilitate economic growth, is an indispensable requirement for the international system. Developing countries have a role to play by actively implementing limitations and exceptions in a manner that best suits their domestic needs, especially the need to stimulate local creativity. In this sense, the efforts of developing countries to make greater use of flexibilities, limitations and exceptions to intellectual property to advance public policy objectives in areas such as health, education, agriculture, food, 3 and technology transfer could represent a tremendous step forward. The role of limitations and exceptions in promoting public welfare is a matter of importance not only for users of knowledge goods, but for creators as well. Without the appropriate balance between protection and access, the international IP system not only impoverishes the global public but, ultimately, it undermines its own ability to sustain and reward the creative enterprise for the long-term future.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

Respect for the exercise of intellectual property rights is clearly subordinated to the common good. It serves as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. The knowledge economy is increasingly evolving into a driving force in the global economy. Thus, there is a need to protect intellectual property rights as an incentive for innovation and technology creation, yet it is also important to ensure broad access to technology and knowledge especially for low-income countries. The new goods derived from progress in science and technology are key to world trade integration and the use of the flexibilities by the less-developed countries could help them catch up and gain international trade competitiveness.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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

Archbishop Follo: God’s Coin

10/20/2017 - 2:00am


Let us understand that the coin of God’s is us on whom the charity of the divine image is engraved.

Roman Rite
XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time – October 22, 2017
Is 45.1.4-6; Ps 96; 1Thes 1.1-5; Mt 22: 15-21

Ambrosian Rite
Acts 10, 34-48a; Ps 96; 1Cor 1.17b-24; Lk 24, 44-49a
First Sunday after the Dedication – ‘The Missionary Mandate’

1) The taxes to the State, man to God.

The subject of this Sunday’s Gospel is the debate between Jesus, the Pharisees and the Herodians who want to trap him with a question about the tribute to be paid to the Romans. Under the appearance of fidelity to the law of God or to the Roman emperor, they seek reasons to accuse him. If, to the question “Is it lawful or not to pay the tribute to Caesar?” Jesus replies “You must pay,” they could, along with the people, accuse him of being a friend of the Romans. If the Messiah gives the answer “You do not have to pay,” they could report him to the Roman authorities accusing him of being a revolutionary. In short, the Pharisees want to put him in a situation they think is without exit. Instead, Christ finds a way out answering to the question regarding the tribute to Caesar with a striking political realism. The tax is paid to the emperor because the image on the coin is his, but every human being carries in himself the image of God and, therefore, belongs to Him, and to Him alone. It is to Him that everyone must “pay” the tribute because he or she owes it to God for his or her own existence.

In his answer “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”, Christ does not remain only on the political level but clearly states that what matters most is the Kingdom of God. The words of Christ illuminate the line of the Christian’s conduct in the world. Faith does not require his detachment from temporal realities but becomes an incentive to be committed with laborious generosity to transform them from within, contributing to the establishment of the Kingdom of heaven.

If the first consideration that comes from today’s Gospel is that the Messiah does not oppose the State to God but affirms the duty to contribute to the common good also paying taxes, the second thought that comes to mind is that the sentence “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God” does not oppose Caesar to God ( man or God) neither juxtaposes Cesare to God (man and God), but it is as if to say “Give man what is his so that he may feel and live the joy of giving God what is God’s”.

Referring to the image of Caesar imprinted on the coin, of which the Pharisees and the Herodians speak, Jesus reminds them and us that we are created in the image and likeness of God. If their tribute belongs to Caesar, their lives belong to God. Jesus starts from the duty to return the money to Caesar, whose image is imprinted on the coin, to get to the obligation of restoring man to God, whose image is “imprinted” in the human nature. It is fair to give back to Caesar the money with his image; it is right and proper to give back to God the man made in His image.

By proposing these reflections, I put myself on the path of the Church Fathers, one of whom wrote “The image of God is not imprinted on gold, but on mankind. Caesar’s coin is gold, that of God is humanity …  Therefore, give your material riches to Caesar, but keep for God the unique innocence of your conscience, where God is contemplated … Caesar, in fact, demanded his image on every coin, but God chose the man he created to reflect his glory “(Anonymous, incomplete work on Matthew, Homily 42). St. Augustine has repeatedly used this reference in his homilies “If Caesar claims his image imprinted on the coin, would not God ask man for the divine image sculpted in him?” (Ennarrationes in Psalmos, Psalm 94, 2). And again “As the money is given back to Caesar, so the soul, enlightened and impressed by the light of his face, is given back to God… Christ in fact dwells in the inner man” (Ibidem, Psalm 4, 8). Man cannot be reduced only to materiality and spirituality is the prevailing dimension of every existence.

2) Returning man to God.

Commanding to pay the tribute to Caesar, Jesus Christ recognizes the civil power and his rights, but equally clearly recalls that God’s superior rights must be respected (cf. Dignitatis humanae, 8). Saying, “Give to God what is of God,” the Messiah clearly teaches that the most important thing is the Kingdom of God.

Thus, on the one hand, in the light of the Gospel that tells of this diatribe on the tribute to Caesar (see Mk 12, 13-17, Mt 22, 15-22, Lk 20, 20-26), the Christians recognize and respect the distinction and the autonomy of the state, considering it a great progress for humanity and a fundamental condition for the freedom of the Church and the fulfillment of its universal mission of salvation among all peoples. On the other hand, the believers in Christ take seriously the command of giving back to God what is God’s, namely all things, “because of the Lord is the earth and all that it contains” (1 Cor. 10:26). Let us return to God our loved ones, our neighbor, and all men honoring them in taking care of them as a precious treasure. Every woman and every man are golden talents offered to us for our good. They are, in the world, the real gold coins that carry engraved in them the image and the inscription of God.

A peculiar way of returning everything to God is the one of consecrated virgins who, thanks their consecration, are “human space inhabited by the Trinity” (VC 41). They testify how the total gift of self to this Love urges them “to take care of the divine image deformed in the faces of the brothers and sisters “(VC 75d) and thus reveal the Mystery of a God who is at the service of man.

The lives of these women are based on at least three pillars.

The first pillar is the “Consecration” itself, which is determined by the initiative of the free love of God who calls and by the faith in Him as a response to this call. Consecration is life centered on God, in total abandonment and loving confidence, life of gratuity and gratitude and of the special manifestation of the Mystery of God in a simple and humble person.

The second pillar is love for the brothers and the sisters from all over the world. The consecrated woman is called to share Love because the gift received is a gift to be given and shared in gratitude and love to God who first loved her. The gift made to her by God does not exclude others, but through her it is destined to circulate first and foremost among all those with whom she lives and works, and then to reach the whole world.

The third pillar, or rather, the goal of Consecrated Life is a mission to be done for the men and the women who live in this world of God “Go into all the world” (Mk 16:15). The Christian’s mission to go, enclosed in the heart of the Gospel and solemnly resonating on Pentecost, has a secret that is guarded as a precious pearl in the Gospel: Remain in my love. To go and to remain: these are the two evangelical coordinates in which the consecrated virgin moves, and from which she daily draws his lifeblood. This “going all over the world” is the continuation of self-giving to others, lived within the Churches. Then, from within the community, it extends to all the other human beings. In this gesture of donation, the others are also perceived as a gift of God for us. With them we must live and share the gifts we have received from the Lord. In this journey in the world, the fundamental commitments are the praise to God, the testimony of Jesus on a personal and community level, and the explicit announcement of His name to the nations by living a true missionary dimension and returning the world to God.

Patristic reading

Saint John Chrysostome (344/354 – 407)

Homily LXX. Matthew Chapter 22, Verse 15


“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk.”

Then. When? When most of all they ought to have been moved to compunction, when they should have been amazed at His love to man, when they should have feared the things to come, when from the past they ought to have believed touching the future also. For indeed the things that had been said cried aloud in actual fulfillment I mean, that publicans and harlots believed, and prophets and righteous men were slain, and from these things they ought not to have gainsaid touching their own destruction, but even to believe and to be sobered.

But nevertheless not even so do their wicked acts cease, but travail and proceed further. And forasmuch as they could not lay hands. on Him (for they feared the multitude), they took another way with the intention of bringing Him into danger, and making Him guilty of crimes against the state.

For “they sent out unto Him their disciples with the Herodians saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto C’sar or not?1

For they were now tributaries, their state having passed under the rule of the Romans. Forasmuch then as they saw that Theudas and Judas2 with their companies for this cause were put to death, as having prepared for a revolt, they were minded to bring Him too by these words into such a suspicion. Therefore they sent both their own disciples, and Herod’s soldiers, digging, as they thought, a precipice on either side, and in every direction setting the snare, so that, whatever He should say, they might lay hold of it; and if He should answer in favor of the Herodians, themselves might find fault with Him, but if in their favor, the others should accuse Him. And yet He had given the didrachmas, 3 but they knew not that.

And in either way indeed they expected to lay hold of Him; but they desired rather that He should say something against the Herodians. Wherefore they send their disciples also to urge. Him thereto by their presence, that they might deliver Him to the governor as a usurper. For this Luke also intimates and shows, by saying, that they asked also in the presence of the multitude, so that the testimony should be the stronger.

But the result was altogether opposite; for in a larger body of spectators they afforded the demonstration of their folly.

And see their flattery, and their hidden craft. “We know,” their words are, “that Thou art true.” How said ye then, “He is a deceiver,” and “deceiveth the people,” and “hath a devil,” and “is not of God?”4 how a little while before did ye devise to slay Him? 

But they are at everything, whatsoever their craft against Him may suggest. For since, when a little before they had said in self will, “By what authority doest Thou these things?”5 they did not meet with an answer to the question, they look to puff Him up by their flattery, and to persuade Him to say something against the established laws, and opposed to the prevailing government.

Wherefore also they testify the truth unto Him, confessing what was really so, nevertheless, not with an upright mind, nor willingly; and add thereto, saying, “Thou carest not for any man.” See how plainly they are desiring to urge Him to these sayings, that would make Him both offend Herod, and incur the suspicion of being an usurper, as standing up against the laws, so that they might punish Him, as a mover of sedition, and an usurper. For in saying, “Thou carest not for any man,” and, “Thou regardest not the person of man,” they were hinting at Herod and Caesar, “Tell us therefore, what thinkest Thou?” Now ye honor Him, and esteem Him a Teacher, having despised and insulted Him oftentimes, when He was discoursing of the things that concern your salvation. Whence also they are become confederates.

And see their craftiness. They say not, Tell us what is good, what is expedient, what is lawful? But, “What thinkest Thou?” So much did they look to this one object, to betray Him, and to set Him at enmity with the rulers. And Mark declaring this, and more plainly discovering their self-will, and their murderous disposition, affirms them to have said, “Shall we give C’sar tribute, or shall we not give?”6 So that they were breathing anger, and travailing with a plot against Him, yet they feigned respect.

What then saith He? “Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” Seest thou how He talks with them with more than usual severity? For since their wickedness was now complete and manifest, He cuts the deeper, first confounding and silencing them, by publishing their secret thoughts, and making it manifest to all with what kind of intent they are coming unto Him.

And these things He did, repulsing their wickedness, so that they might not suffer hurt in attempting the same things again. And yet their words were full of much respect, for they both called Him Master, and bore witness to His truth, and that He was no respecter of persons; but being God, He was deceived by none of these things. Wherefore they also ought to have conjectured, that the rebuke was not the result of conjecture, but a sign of His knowing their secret thoughts.

2. He stopped not, however, at the rebuke, although it was enough merely to have convicted them of their purpose, and to have put them to shame for their wickedness; but He stoppeth not at this, but in another way closes their mouths; for, “Shew me,” saith He, “the tribute money.” And when they had shown it, as He ever doth, by their tongue He brings out the decision, and causes them to decide, that it is lawful; which was a clear and plain victory. So that. when He asks, not from ignorance doth He ask, but because it is His will to cause them to be bound by their own answers. For when, on being asked, “Whose is the image?” they said, “C’sar’s;” He saith, “Render unto C’sar the things that are C’sar’s.”7 For this is not to give but to render, and this He shows both by the image, and by the superscription.

Then that they might not say, Thou art subjecting us to men, He added, “And unto God the things that are God’s.” For it is possible both to fulfill to men their claims and to give unto God the things that are due to God from us. Wherefore Paul also saith, “Render unto all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear.”8

But thou, when thou hearest, “Render unto C’sar the things which are Ct, “Ren’sar’s” know that He is speaking only of those things, which are no detriment to godliness; since if it be any such thing as this, such a thing is no longer C’sar’s tribute, but the devil’s.

When they heard these things, their mouths were stopped, and they “marveled” at His wisdom. Ought they not then to have believed, ought they not to have been amazed. For indeed, He gave them proof of His Godhead, by revealing the secrets of their hearts, and with gentleness did He silence them.

What then? Did they believe? By no means, but they “left Him, and went their way;” and after them, “came to Him the Sadducees.”

O folly! When the others had been put to silence, these made the attack, when they ought to have been the more backward. But such is the nature of rashness, shameless, and importunate, and attempting things impossible. Therefore the evangelist also, amazed at their folly, signified this very thing, by saying, “On that day came to Him.”9 On that day. On what day? In which He had convicted their craftiness, and put them to shame. But who are these? A sect of the Jews different from the Pharisees, and much worse than they, who said, “that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit.10 For these were some of a grosset sort, and eager after the things of the body. For there were many sects even amongst the Jews. Wherefore Paul also saith, “I am a Pharisee, of the strictest sect amongst us.”11

And they say nothing indeed directly about a resurrection; but they feign a story, and make up a case, which, as I suppose, never so much as had an existence; thinking to drive Him to perplexity, and desiring to overthrow both things, both the existence of a resurrection, and of such a resurrection.

And again, these too attack Him with a show of moderation, saying, “Master, Moses said, If a man die, not having children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased; and, having no issue, 12 left his wife unto his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven?”13

See Him answering these like a teacher. For though out of craft they came unto Him, yet was their question rather one of ignorance. Therefore neither doth He say unto them, “Ye hypocrites.”

Moreover, in order that He might not blame, saying, “Wherefore had seven one wife?” they add the authority of Moses; although, as I have said before, it was a fiction, in my judgment at least. For the third would not have taken her, when he saw the two bridegrooms dead; or if the third, yet not the fourth or the fifth; and if even these, much more the sixth or the seventh would not have come unto the woman, but have shrunk from her. For such is the nature of the Jews. For if now many have this feeling, much more then had they; when at least, even without this, they often avoided marrying in this way, and that when the law was constraining them. Thus, at any rate, Ruth, that Moabitish woman, was thrust off to him that was further off from her kindred; and Tamar too was thus compelled to obtain, by stealth, seed from her husband’s kinsman.

And wherefore did they not feign two or three, but seven? In order the more abundantly to bring derision, as they thought, upon the resurrection. Wherefore they further say, “they all had her,” as driving Him into some difficulty.

What then saith Christ? He replies unto both, as taking His stand not against the words, but the purpose, and on every occasion revealing the secrets of their hearts; and at one time exposing them, at another time leaving the refutation of them that question Him to their conscience. See, at any rate here, how He proves both points, as well that there will be a resurrection, as that it will not be such a resurrection as they suspect.

For what saith He? “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”14 For since, as if they knew them, they put forward Moses and the law, He shows that this question is that of men very ignorant of the Scriptures. For hence also arose their tempting Him, from their being ignorant of the Scriptures, and from their not knowing the power of God as they ought.

“For what marvel then is it,” He saith, “if ye tempt me, who am as yet unknown to you, when at least ye know not so much as the power of God, of which ye have had so much experience, and neither from common sense nor from the Scriptures have become acquainted with it;” if indeed even common sense causes us to know this, that to God all things are possible. And in the first place He answers to the question asked. For since this was the cause for their not believing a resurrection, that they think the order of things is like this, He cures the cause, then the symptom also (for thence arose the disease too), and shows the manner of the resurrection. “For in the resurrection,” saith He, “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels of God in Heaven.”15 But Luke saith, “As Sons of God.”16

If then they marry not, the question is vain. But not because they do not marry, therefore are they angels, but because they are as angels, therefore they do not marry. By this He removed many other difficulties also, all which things Paul intimated by one word, saying, “For the fashion of this world passeth away.”17

And by these words He declared how great a thing the resurrection is; and that moreover there is a resurrection, He proves. And indeed this too was demonstrated at the same time by what He had said, nevertheless over and above He adds again to His word by what He saith now. For neither at their question only did He stop, but at their thought. Thus when they are not dealing with great craft, but are asking in ignorance, He teaches even over and above, but when it is of wickedness only, not even to their question doth He answer.

And again by Moses doth He stop their mouths, since they too had brought forward Moses; and He saith, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”18 Not of them that are not His meaning is, and that are utterly blotted out, and are to rise no more. For He said not, I was, but, I am; of them that are, and them that live. For like as Adam, although he lived on the day that he ate of the tree, died in the sentence: even so also these, although they had died, lived in the promise of the resurrection.

How then doth He say elsewhere, “That He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living?”19 But this is not contrary to that. For here He speaks of the dead, who are also themselves to live. And moreover too, “I am the God of Abraham,” is another thing from, “That He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” He knew of another death too, concerning which He saith, “Let the dead bury their dead.”20

“And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine.”21 Yet not even here the Sadducees; but these go away defeated, while the impartial multitude reap the benefit.

Since then the resurrection is like this, come let us do all things, that we may obtain the first honors there. But, if ye will, let us show you some even before the resurrection here pursuing and reaping these blessings, again having made our resort to the deserts. For again will I enter upon the same discourse, since I see you listening with more pleasure.

Let us behold then to-day also the spiritual camps, let us behold their pleasure unalloyed with fear. For not with spears are they encamped like the soldiers, for at this point I lately ended my discourse, neither with shields and breastplates; but bare of all these wilt thou see them, yet achieving such things, as not even with arms do they.

And if thou art able to observe, come and stretch forth thy hand to me, and let us go unto this war, both of us, and let us see their battle array. For these too fight every day, and slay their adversaries, and conquer all the lusts that are plotting against us; and thou wilt see these cast out on the ground, and not able so much as to struggle, but proving by very deed that saying of the apostle, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”22

Seest thou a multitude of dead lying there, slain by the sword of the Spirit? Therefore in that place is no drunkenness nor gluttony. And their table proves it, and the trophy that is set thereon. For drunkenness and gluttony lie dead, put to the rout by the drinking of water, though this be multiform, and a many-headed monster. For like as in the fabled Scylla and Hydra, so in drunkenness may one see many heads, on one side fornication growing up, on another wrath; on one hand sloth, on another lawless lusts; but all these things are taken away. And yet all those other armies, though they get the better in ten thousand wars, are taken captive by these; and neither arms, nor spears, nor whatever else there may be, is able to stand against these phalanxes; but the very giants, the heroes, those that do countless brave deeds, thou wilt find without bonds bound by sleep and drunkenness, without slaughter or wounds lying like the wounded, or rather in more grievous case. For those at least struggle; but these do not even this, but straightway give up.

Seest thou that this host is greater and more to be admired? For the enemies that got the better of the others it destroys by its mere will. For they do so weaken the mother of all evils that she cannot even trouble them anymore; and the leader being overthrown, and the head removed, the rest of the body also lies still.

And this victory one may see each of them that abide there, achieving. For it is not as in these wars of ours, where, if any enemy hath received a blow from one, he is no more grievous to another, having been once overthrown; but it is necessary for all to smite this monster; and he that hath not smitten and overthrown her, is surely troubled by her.

Seest thou a glorious victory? For such a trophy as the hosts in all pans of the world having met together have not power to erect, this each one of those men erects; and all things that from the army of drunkenness lie mingled together wounded, delirious words of frenzy, insane thoughts, unpleasing haughtiness. And they imitate their own Lord, at whom the Scripture marveling saith, “He shall drink of the brook in the way, therefore shall He lift up the head.”23

Would ye see also another multitude of dead? Let us see the lusts that arise from luxurious living, those that are cherished by the makers of sauces, by the cooks, the furnishers of feasts, the confectioners. For I am ashamed indeed to speak of all; however, I will tell of the birds from Phasis, the soups that are mixed from various things: the moist, the dry dishes, the laws made about these things. For like as if ordering some city and marshaling hosts, even so these too make laws, and ordain such a thing first, and such a thing second, and some bring in first birds roasted on the embers, filled within with fish; and others make of other material the beginnings of these unlawful feasts; and them is much rivalry about these things, about quality, and about order, and about quantity; and they take a pride in the things, for which they ought to bury themselves for shame; some saying that they have spent the half of the day, some all of it, some that they have added the night too. Behold, O wretched man, the measure of thy belly, and be ashamed of thy unmeasured earnestness! 

But there is nothing like this amongst those angels; but all these desires also are dead. For their meals are not unto fullness, and unto luxurious living, but unto necessity. No bird hunters are there, no fishermen, but bread and water. But this confusion, and the disturbance, and the turmoils, are all removed from thence, alike from the house and from the body, and great is the haven, but amongst these great the tempest.

Burst open now in thought the belly of them who feed on such things, and thou wilt see the vast refuse, and the unclean channel, and the whited sepulchre.

But what come after these I am even ashamed to tell, the disagreeable erucations, the vomitings, the discharges downwards and upwards.

But go and see even these desires dead there, and those more violent lusts that spring from these; I mean, those of impurity. For these too thou wilt see all overthrown, with their horses, with their beasts of burden. For the beast of burden, and the weapon, and the horse of a filthy deed, is a filthy word. But thou wilt see such like horse and rider together, and their weapons thrown down; but here quite the contrary, and souls cast down dead. But not at their meal only is the victory of these holy men glorious, but in the other things also, in money, in glory, in envy, in all diseases of the soul.

Surely does not this host seem to thee mightier than that, and the meal better? Nay, who will gainsay it? None, not even of those persons themselves, though he be very mad. For this guides us on to Heaven, that drags to hell; this the devil lays out, that Christ; for this luxury gives laws, and intemperance, for that self-denial and sobriety, here Christ is present, there the devil. For where there is drunkenness, the devil is there; where there are filthy words, where there is surfeiting, there the devils hold their choirs. Such a table had that rich man, therefore not even of a drop of water was he master.

But these have not such a table, but they already practice the ways of the angels. They marry not, they are not given in marriage, neither do they sleep excessively, nor live luxuriously, but except a few things they are even bodiless.

Now who is there that so easily overcomes his enemies as he that sets up a trophy while at his dinner? Therefore also the prophet saith, “Thou hast prepared a table before me, in the presence of them that trouble me.”24 One could not be wrong in repeating this oracle about this table. For nothing so troubles a soul as disorderly concupiscence, and luxury, and drunkenness, and the evils that spring from these; and this they know full well who have had experience thereof.

And if thou wast to learn also, whence this table is procured, and whence that; then thou wouldest see wall the difference between each. Whence then is this procured. From countless tears, from widows defrauded, from orphans despoiled; but the other from honest labor. And this table is like to a fair and wall-favored woman, needing nothing external, but having her beauty from nature; but that to some ugly and ill-favored harlot, wearing much paint, but not able to disguise her deformity, but the nearer she is, the more convicted. For this too, when it is nearer to him that is at it, then shows its ugliness more. For look not I tell thee, at the banqueters, as they come only, but also as they go away, and then thou wilt see its ugliness. For that, as being free, suffers them that come unto it to say nothing shameful; but this nothing seemly, as being a harlot, and dishonored. This seeks the profit of him that is at it that the hurt. And one not but that we must offend Him.

Let us go away therefore unto those men. Thence we shall learn with how many bonds we are encompassed. Thence shall we learn to set before ourselves a table full of countless blessings, most sweet, without cost, delivered from care, free from envy and jealousy and every disease, and full of good hope, and having its many trophies. No turmoil of soul there, no sorrow, no wrath; all is calm, all is peace.

For tell me not of the silence of them that serve in the houses of the rich, but of the clamor of them that dine; I mean, not that which they make one to another (for this too is worthy of derision), but that within, that in the soul, that brings on them a great captivity, the tumults of the thoughts, the sleet, the darkness, the tempest, by which all things are mingled and confused, and are like to some night battle. But not in the monks’ tents are such things as these; but great is the calm, great the quietness. And that table is succeeded by a sleep that is like death, but this by sobriety and wakefulness; that by punishment, this by the kingdom of heaven, and the immortal rewards.

This then let us follow, that we may enjoy also the fruits thereof; unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom be glory and might world without end. Amen.

1 Mt 22,16-17.
2 Ac 5,36-37.
4 Jn 7,12 Jn 8,48 Jn 9,16.
5 Mt 21,23.
6 Mc 12,15.
7 Mt 22,20-21. [Abridged.] 
8 Rm 13, 7.
9 Mt 22, 22-23. [The article may not form part of the citation. It does not occur in the New Testament passage.—R.]
10 Ac 23, 8.
11 Ac 23, 6, and Ac 26, 5.
12 [R. V., “seed.”]
13 . [With the trifling variations the Greek of these verses agrees with the received text.—R.]
14 Mt 22, 29.
15 Mt 22, 30. [The second verb is peculiar, but conveys the same sense as the received text.—R.]
16 Lc 20, 36.
17 1Co 7, 31.
18 Mt 22, 31-32. [In the last clause the text differs from the received, oJ qeov” being omitted (so Tischendorf). The R. V. follows a slightly different reading “God is; not the God,” etc.—R.]
19 Rm 14,9.
20 Mt 8,22.
21 Mt 22,33.
22 Ga 5,24.
23 Ps 110,7.
24 Ps 23,5. [LXX.]





Arch Jurkovic: Protect Asylum Seekers

10/19/2017 - 6:06pm

The international community needs a plan of action to help those seeking asylum, according to Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

His remarks came on October 17, 2017, at the 2nd Thematic Discussion towards a Global Compact on Refugees Panel 3: “How can we support receiving States to identify persons in need of international protection?”

The archbishop also drew attention to “the increasing phenomenon of unaccompanied children seeking asylum, especially because this is frequently the direct result of the desperate situation of many families and because it is too often “solved” by an ambiguous system of detention.”

His Statement Follows:

Mr. Moderator,

Best practices and lessons learned do not always stem from positive experiences, but rather quite the contrary.

When faced with large-scale situations it is important that receiving countries, especially developing ones, be given timely support to scale up or establish appropriate procedures to ensure that those with international protection needs are duly recognized. In this regard, the Delegation of the Holy See wishes to stress that international protection has to be seen as a dynamic and action-oriented function, rather than an abstract concept, aimed at safeguarding the dignity and safety of persons.

The adoption of inadequate or unfairly strict acceptance policies and lengthy modalities for processing asylum claims impacts dangerously on the safety of persons in need of protection, with the end result being increased human suffering.

Mr. Moderator,

The securitization of border control and the wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers should not be seen as a dichotomy, but rather as mutually reinforcing. It is important to adopt inclusive and non-discriminatory national security policies that prioritize the safety and protection of citizens as well as those of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing armed conflict, persecution or widespread violence to find safety quickly by ensuring an expeditious screening and admission process.1

Indeed, an exclusively security-oriented approach ignores the tragedies that force people to seek protection elsewhere. Addressing the problem of identifying persons in need of international protection from the perspective of the uprooted, can help the international community to devise a more comprehensive and humane program of action. In this regard, arbitrary and collective expulsions can never be a viable option. The principle of “non-refoulement” has to be respected in every case.

Finally, my Delegation wishes to draw attention to the increasing phenomenon of unaccompanied children seeking asylum, especially because this is frequently the direct result of the desperate situation of many families and because it is too often “solved” by an ambiguous system of detention. Could the panelists share some successful examples of policies and mechanisms in the identification of persons in need of protection that allow for greater sensitivity to the needs of refugee families, consistent with ethical legal provisions and practices?

I thank you, Mr. Moderator.

1 Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points, Migrants and Refugees Section, Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

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



Archbishop Auza: Outer Space a Common Heritage

10/19/2017 - 5:48pm

Outer space is a common heritage of humanity and is destined for the common good, according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. His comments came on October 18, 2017, during the Fourth Committee debate on Agenda Item 52, dedicated to “International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space,” at the United Nations in New York.

He noted that as space activities increase, outer space pollution has also escalated.  A crisis of the environment on earth or in space means a crisis for humanity, he said, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the environment and its inhabitants. He called for urgent action to be taken by the international community to combat the increasing problem of space pollution, encouraging the establishment of treaties, guidelines, and agencies that adequately enable and safeguard sustainable and peaceful uses of outer space.

His statement follows.

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the
United Nations
Seventy-Second Session of the General Assembly, Fourth Committee
Agenda Item 52: International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space
New York, 17 October 2017

Mr. Chair,

This morning, my Delegation delivered a Statement at the First Committee on the necessity of preventing an arms race in outer space. This afternoon, my Delegation would like to focus on the need to take care of our outer space, which is universally recognized as a common heritage of humanity and, as such, destined for the universal common good.

As space activities increase, outer space pollution has also increased at an alarming rate, defiling outer space with debris, chemical effluents, biological contamination and radioactive contamination. As early as 1959, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) already anticipated that space activities would pollute the Earth, thus underlining the need for cooperation between States to protect outer space from contamination.

Indeed, the outer space is fully a part of our comprehensive environment, and thus it deserves as much care as our environment here below. Pope Francis has repeatedly underlined the importance of protecting our environment, “which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.”[1] With their Message to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew reminded us that “The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility… Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation.”[2]

Pope Francis has set forth principles and actions that should guide our action to protect and care for the environment. To take care of our environment is, first of all, a moral imperative. The environment is a gift entrusted to our responsible stewardship. Among the many considerations that flow from this fundamental principle are intergenerational solidarity and a focus not merely on rights but also on responsibilities. Pope Francis has frequently affirmed that intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but a basic question of justice since the world we have received also belongs to those who follow us. Thus, while care for our environment immediately benefits us, it is also a gift to future generations. [3] Indeed, the concept of the common good extends to future generations, and outer space as a common heritage of mankind is a common good that we hand on future generations.

Within this broader vision, the environment is not regarded as something separate from us or as a mere setting in which we live. We are in relation to it, included in it and thus in constant symbiotic interaction with it. A crisis of the environment necessarily means a crisis for humanity. The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.[4]

In his Intervention to the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September last, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, underlined that “this call for responsible stewardship finds particular urgency before the deteriorating conditions of our common home and an often purely utilitarian worldview concerning the things that surround us.” “This dramatic reality”, Archbishop Gallagher urged, “must lead all of us to take stock of our shared and individual responsibilities. The pressing call and challenge to care for creation invite all of humanity to work without hesitation toward sustainable and integral development, [5] and toward sustainable, peaceful uses of outer space.

Mr. Chair,

Better norms for the protection of outer space are an imperative. As States are exploiting outer space more and more, there is an urgent requirement for an international effort to combat the increasing problem of space pollution. The present international legal system has yet to respond adequately to this challenge. Various proposals are on the table to address this situation, including the drafting of new treaties and guidelines, and the establishment of an appropriate agency. The Holy See hopes that the development of an international normative system adequate to protect outer space and our Earth from further degradation will not be long in coming, for the health of our planet and for the good of all humanity.

My delegation therefore commends the continued work of COPUOS and the efforts of all those who toil toward the realization of an international legal system adequate to regulate the peaceful uses of outer space and to safeguard for future generations this common heritage of mankind.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1. Pope Francis. Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, 22 March 2013.
2. Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Joint Message on the World Day of Prayer for 3. Creation, Vatican and Fanar, 1^st September 2017.  Cfr. also Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ n. 261; Pope Francis, Letter for the Establishment of the World Day of Prayer for Creation, 6 August 2015.
Cfr. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ n. 159.
4. Ibid. n. 95.
5. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Intervention during the General Debate of the Seventy-Second Session of the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations General Assembly Hall, 25 September 2017.

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



Serbia: Pope Receives New Ambassador

10/19/2017 - 5:24pm

Pope Francis on October 19, 2017, received in audience Dejan Šahović, ambassador of Serbia to the Holy See, on the occasion of the presentation of his credential letters.

The following is a brief biography of the new ambassador:

H.E. Mr. Dejan Šahović
Ambassador of Serbia to the Holy See

H.E. Mr. Dejan Šahović was born in 1955, and is married with two children.

He holds a degree in Law from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade. He has held the following offices, among others: Junior staff in the Yugoslav Bank for Foreign Economic Cooperation, Department for Political Risk Insurance (1981-1986); Third Secretary at the Federal Secretariat for Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1986); Third Secretary and subsequently Second Secretary at the Embassy at the United Nations in New York (1987-1991); Second Secretary at the Federal Secretariat for Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1986); political official in the field Missions of the United Nations in Cambodia, South Africa and Tajikistan (1992-1996); Attorney (1996-2000); advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000); Permanent Representative of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at the United Nations in New York (2001-2004); Permanent Representative of the State of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro at the United Nations in Geneva (2004-2006); Assistant Minister in charge of multilateral affairs (2006); National Coordinator for the Presidency of Serbia of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (2007); Ambassador of Serbia in Hungary (2008-2012); Deputy Head of the Cabinet of the President for the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly; Head of the Task Force for the Presidency of OSCE 2015 of Serbia (2013-2015); and since 2016, Ambassador in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign languages spoken: English.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



Pope Receives Students of “Institution des Chartreux”

10/19/2017 - 5:11pm

“You have the capacity of deciding your future,” told students of the “Institution des Chartreux” of Lyon, France, during an October 19, 2017, audience in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

‘I am glad to know that your academic formation includes a strong human, philosophical and spiritual dimension, and for this I thank God,” the Holy Father told the students.  He continued: “Indeed, it is essential that, from now and in your future professional life, you learn to remain free from the allure of money, from the slavery in which money traps those who worship it.”

Address of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you with joy on the occasion of your cultural and spiritual stay in Rome. With you, I cordially greet the Superior of the Institution des Chartreux and the teachers who accompany you, without forgetting those who have stayed in Lyon, also Cardinal Barbarin.

You are engaged in a course of study that prepares you to enter the great schools of commerce that, when the moment comes, will enable you to exercise a profession in the world of international finance. I am glad to know that your academic formation includes a strong human, philosophical and spiritual dimension, and for this I thank God. Indeed, it is essential that, from now and in your future professional life, you learn to remain free from the allure of money, from the slavery in which money traps those who worship it. And it is also important that you are able to acquire today the strength and the courage not to obey blindly the invisible hand of the market. Therefore, I encourage you to draw benefits from your time studying to train yourselves to be promoters and defenders of a growth in equality, artisans of a just and fitting administration of our common home, namely the world (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 204; 206).

Here in Rome you experience a form of immersion in the history that has so strongly marked the rise of the European nations. Admiring what the genius of men and the hopes they have cultivated have been capable of realizing, you too must take care to leave your imprint on history. Indeed, you have the capacity of deciding your future! I wish to repeat it: you have the capacity of deciding your future. Therefore I urge you to become responsible for this world and the life of every man. Never forget that “every injustice against a poor person is an open wound, and diminishes your very dignity” (Catechesis, 20 September 2017). And, even though this world expects you to head towards success, give yourselves the means and the time to journey the paths of fraternity, to build bridges between men rather than walls, to add your stone to the edification of a more just and humane society.

From this perspective, I invite those of you who are Christians to remain always joined to Christ in prayer, to learn to entrust everything to God, and in this way you will not succumb to the temptation of discouragement or desperation. I would also like to say, with respect and affection, to those who are not Christians: never forget, in his gaze on others and on yourselves, “man infinitely transcends man” (Blaise Pascal, Thoughts, fragment 122). And I encourage all of you to work for good, to become humbly the seed of a new world.

With this hope, entrusting each one of you to the Lord so that you may cultivate the culture of encounter and sharing within the single human family, I heartily invoke the Lord’s blessing on you and those who accompany you, as well as your families and the Institution des Chartreux. Merci beaucoup!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican



Refugees Bring Talents, Culture

10/19/2017 - 4:46pm

“While it is important to share the responsibility and burden of refugee reception and resettlement and to rightly stress what States are doing for refugees, it is also fair to ask ourselves: what are refugees doing for the host communities?” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

His comments came October 18, 2017, at the 3rd Thematic Discussion towards a Global Compact on Refugees Panel 2: “How can we support the inclusion of refugees in national systems and services?”

“Despite the tragedy and gravity of their situations, refugees bring their talents through knowledge, practical skills, experience, culture and spirituality that can enrich the receiving countries,” the archbishop pointed out.

Here is his statement:

Mr. Moderator,

While it is important to share the responsibility and burden of refugee reception and resettlement and to rightly stress what States are doing for refugees, it is also fair to ask ourselves: what are refugees doing for the host communities?

Despite the tragedy and gravity of their situations, refugees bring their talents through knowledge, practical skills, experience, culture and spirituality that can enrich the receiving countries. The Delegation of the Holy See draws attention to the fact that so many are placed “on hold”, often at significant expense to host and donor countries, and wishes to elaborate briefly on two particular aspects that have been raised in the present panel discussion: education and health.

Today, over half of the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate are children, including a staggering 3.5 million refugee children aged 5 to 17 who did not have the chance to attend school last year.1 My Delegation wishes to highlight the critical importance of adopting policies that allow refugee children to access quality education from the early stages of their displacement, in order to protect them from human trafficking, forced labor and other forms of slavery.

Schools are a form of protection where the safety of children can be monitored and fostered. It is important to enact policies which ensure that the primary and secondary education to which refugees have access meets the same standards of education received by citizens.2

Mr. Moderator,

The importance of granting access to healthcare is self-explanatory. It is encouraging to hear that legislation is being passed to allow refugees to work, and to access national healthcare and education systems. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health should be exercised through non-discriminatory, comprehensive laws, policies and practices firmly rooted in the centrality of the human person and founded on the right to life.

In this regard, the health and well-being of refugees should not be considered as a separate variable from the health of the host population. The fear that refugees spread infectious diseases finds no evidence and ignores the tragedy of their situation. The integration of refugees into existing national health systems, plans and policies, could also help alleviate certain logistical barriers which have been too often experienced.

Mr. Moderator,

Access to education and healthcare inspires hope among refugees and greatly contributes to restoring their dignity. The Delegation of the Holy See wishes to encourage donor States to tailor aid and assistance to include the development of medical, educational, and social services infrastructure in hosting areas. A percentage of such assistance, as well as access to programs and services provided to refugees, could be also set aside for the benefit of local populations experiencing similar disadvantages.

Let us keep in mind that, after all, the decision of our brothers and sisters to flee their home out of fear and desperation is a leap of faith in the solidarity and unity of the human family.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator


2 Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points, Migrants and Refugees Section, Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

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