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(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday published a new Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaerere (Seeking the Face of God), On Women’s Contemplative Life.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
The promotion of an adequate formation; the centrality of prayer and of the word of God, especially in lectio divina; specific criteria for the autonomy of contemplative communities; and membership of monasteries within federations are some of the main points addressed by Pope Francis in the new Apostolic Constitution.
In the introduction to Vultum Dei quaerere, Pope Francis explains the motivation behind the document, noting the journey the Church has undergone, and “the rapid progress of human history,” in the fifty years since the Second Vatican Council. From that starting point, the Pope points out the need “to weave a dialogue” with contemporary society, while preserving the “fundational values” of contemplative life – silence, attentive listening, the call to an interior life, stability. Through these values, the Pope says, contemplative life “can and must challenge the contemporary mindset.”
The document is introduced by a broad discussion of the importance of nuns and the contemplative life for the Church and the world. Addressing contemplative sisters, the Pope asks, “Without you what would the Church be like, or those living on the fringes of humanity and ministering in the outposts of evangelization?” The Church, he says, “greatly esteems your life of complete self-giving. The Church counts on your prayers and on your self-sacrifice to bring today’s men and women to the good news of the Gospel. The Church needs you!”
The bulk of the document is taken up with a reflection on twelve themes calling for discernment and renewed norms. Among these, Pope Francis calls special attention to the need for adequate formation, to prayer, and to the centrality of the Word of God.
The new document concludes with a series of fourteen articles that set the Pope’s reflections in juridical terms, notably with regard to formation and vocational discernment; the exercise of authority within communities; the autonomy of the various communities; and their relationships to one another – especially in federations. The final article establishes that the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life will be responsible for issuing new regulations with regard to the indications of the Apostolic Constitution.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a special envoy to South Sudan to urge for an end to violence in the country and to help establish dialogue and trust between the warring parties.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, travelled to the capital Juba this week to give support to the Archbishop and to meet with the country’s leaders.
He carried with him a letter from the Pope for President Salva Kiir and one for Vice President Riek Machar who are historic enemies and represent the different ethnic groups.
For almost a year, South Sudan has been trying to emerge from a civil war caused by political rivalry between the Vice President and the President. Violent clashes across the city have left tens of thousands of people dead since December 2013 and a recent flare-up of fighting has caused more casualties, scores of displaced people and a serious humanitarian crisis.
Although a cease-fire is currently in effect in Juba, the threat of more violence continues to loom large.
Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni asked Cardinal Turkson to illustrate the current situation and talk about the Church’s effort to push forward a peaceful process.
Cardinal Peter Turkson says he arrived in Juba last Sunday early enough to celebrate Mass with the faithful, the Archbishop, the priests and the religious.
“To put it mildly: the situation is tough” he says.
He says the violence which flared on the 5th anniversary of the country’s independence recurs intermittently between the warring forces causing a lot of deaths.
And, he explained, it is also very hard on the civilian population who flee the violence to save their lives leaving their homes to be looted. occupied or destroyed.
“A lot of the women and children and even boys have sought refuge in Churches and in schools – and that is where they live – and the priests and brothers and nuns try to take care of them as best as they can” he says.
But Turkson says the situation is desperate and security levels are low.
He says the authorities he has met with have promised to do their best to put a programme of reform on course towards elections in 2018.
Turkson explains that the process has been derailed by recent events but the President maintains the course can be resumed.
“We brought them the greetings of the Pope, his solidarity, two letters he had addressed to the President and to the Vice President – the two protagonists of the conflict” he says.
The Cardinal says his own effort was “to try to get them to come together at some point, to see if we could facilitate a reconciliation, to help them build some trust and confidence in each other”.
Turkson also speaks of the urgent need for help and says he has already contacted Cor Unum in Rome to see what assistance can be organized in terms of medication.
He explains that the displaced population is living in the open and in classrooms and are victims of mosquito bites so there is malaria, dysentery, “there’s even talk about cholera in some areas”.
“So there’s a need for medication and there’s a need for food supplies” he says.
Cardinal Turkson concludes expressing his hope that upon his return to Rome later this week it will be possible to send some concrete aid back to the archbishop “as a help from the side of the Holy See”.
(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) More details have been released about Pope Francis’ upcoming pilgrimage for the eighth centenary of Franciscan feast of the “Pardon of Assisi.”
On 4 Aug, the Pope will make a private pilgrimage to Assisi, a small medieval town in the Italian region of Umbria known for being the birthplace of the Franciscan order. While there, he will pray in the Porziuncola chapel, where the feast of the “Pardon of Assisi” originated.
According to new details released on the local website for the Franciscan order, the Holy Father will arrive in Assisi by helicopter at 3:40pm. At 4pm, he will arrive at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, inside which the small Porziuncola chapel is located. There, he will take a moment of silent prayer in the chapel, before offering a reflection on the Gospel of Matthew 18:21-35.
Afterwards, Pope Francis will meet with Franciscan bishops and superiors, and then will greet pilgrims gathered in the piazza outside the basilica.
At 6pm, the Pope will be taken by car to the Migaghelli sports field, before travelling back to the Vatican via helicopter.
Over the course of his short visit, the Pope will be received by several local religious authorities, including Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi-Nocera, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Fr Michael Anthony Perry, and provincial minister of the Friars Minor of Umbria, Fr Claudio Durighetto.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his personal greetings to young people from throughout the world gathering in Krakow for World Youth Day and to all the people of the “beloved Polish nation” as he prepares to travel to Poland next week.
Listen to Ann Schneible's report:
The Pope’s 15th apostolic journey abroad, from 27 to 31 July, will take him to Krakow where the 31st WYD is being held, to Czestochowa and to the former Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Please find below the full text of the Pope's video message:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The 31st World Youth Day is fast approaching. I look forward to meeting the young people from throughout the world gathered in Kraków and having the opportunity to meet the beloved Polish nation. My entire visit will be inspired by Mercy during this Jubilee Year, and by the grateful and blessed memory of Saint John Paul II, who instituted the World Youth Days and was the guide of the Polish people in its recent historic journey towards freedom.
Dear young people of Poland, I know that for some time now you have been preparing, especially with your prayers, for this great encounter in Kraków. I thank you heartily for everything that you have done, and for the love with which you have done it. Even now I embrace you and I bless you.
Dear young people from throughout Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania! I also bless your countries, your hopes and your journey to Kraków, praying that it will be a pilgrimage of faith and fraternity. May the Lord Jesus grant you the grace to experience personally his words: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt 5:7).
I am very anxious to meet you and to offer the world a new sign of harmony, a mosaic of different faces, from many races, languages, peoples and cultures, but all united in the name of Jesus, who is the Face of Mercy.
I now turn to you, dear sons and daughters of the Polish nation! For me, it is a great gift of the Lord to visit you. You are a nation that throughout its history has experienced so many trials, some particularly difficult, and has persevered through the power of faith, upheld by the maternal hands of the Virgin Mary. I am certain that my pilgrimage to the shrine of Czestochowa will immerse me in this proven faith and do me so much good. I thank you for your prayers in preparation for my visit. I thank the bishops and priests, the men and women religious, and the lay faithful, especially families, to whom I will symbolically bring the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The moral and spiritual “health” of a nation is seen in its families. That is why Saint John Paul II showed such great concern for engaged couples, young married couples and families. Continue along this road!
Dear brothers and sisters, I send you this message as a pledge of my affection. Let us keep close to one another in prayer. I look forward to seeing you in Poland!(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has addressed the XIV Ministerial Conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The full text of the intervention is below.
Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Apostolic Nuncio,
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office and other
International Organizations in Geneva
at the XIV Ministerial Conference of UNCTAD
Nairobi, 19th July 2016
At the outset, the Holy See wishes to thank warmly the Government of Kenya and the city of Nairobi for hosting this Ministerial Conference. The theme “From Decision to Action: moving toward an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development” clearly signals the ambition and intent we must bring to the attention of the international community.
1. The Holy See strongly supported the original aspiration of UNCTAD which aimed at creating a global trading system supporting the development of poor countries: a system able to promote the rebalancing of international economic relations to promote justice and equity, to promote social progress and better standards of life in greater freedom, to create a better and more effective system of international economic cooperation, as part of a new and just global economic order whereby the division of the world into areas of poverty and plenty may be overcome and prosperity achieved by all. This system facilitates regional trade and corrects imbalances between different trade partners, with special concern for trade in raw materials and food. The last conference in Doha took place during a critical phase of the world economic crisis which left many governments struggling to offset the effects of financial retrenchments in banks, businesses and households as they seek to correct their balance sheets. In this context, many developed economies have turned to “unconventional” monetary policy instruments in efforts at recovery.
2. The trade slowdown of the last three years has been widespread across most of the developing and developed countries. Average trade growth rates for all regions are now very low and just a fraction of what they were in the pre-crisis period. The reasons for the ongoing trade slowdown are to be found in a variety of factors. While some of these factors are likely to have only temporary effects and are possible cyclical in nature, others are likely to be more long lasting and related to structural shifts. As usual, it is very difficult to make predictions, but there are still valid reasons to believe that trade growth in the future will be driven by different factors than in the past. This implies that developing countries willing to benefit from international trade should be ready to adapt their trade strategies by taking into account some of the recent changes in trends in international trade. Economic and financial actors, both at the international and national levels, need to recognize that economic activities function not only through self-regulation of the market and agreements limited to reconciling the interests of the most powerful countries, but they need also to take into account that they are at the service of persons who work and contribute to development. Most importantly any development and growth strategy needs to be centred on the human person and on the primacy of human work. The Holy See believes that in order to achieve this result it is of primary importance to integrate the different social and economic dimensions of development, so as to create an international system balanced on an idea of development that would be truly sustainable, inclusive and equitable at all levels.
3. In this sense, agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of poor countries: it accounts for more than one fourth of the GDP and more than a third of employment, reaching more than 50% in the poorest countries. Promoting agricultural productivity is important for several reasons. First, it addresses the problem of food insecurity which still plagues a large part of the population of LDCs. Despite the recent improvement in economic conditions throughout the world hunger is still claiming too many lives among the poorest Agricultural development is also crucial in terms of global sustainability. It is well known that in developing countries there is a high concentration of forest and ecosystems that are crucial for ecological development. In these countries agricultural production is intimately linked with natural resources exploitation, deforestation and biodiversity preservation. The opportunity to combine agricultural development with ecological sustainability has too enormous stakes and consequences for the entire planet for it not to be considered a priority action.
In this respect, trade can be an important channel for fostering agricultural development in local communities; moreover, the development of small farmers and small producers could be vital not only in reducing poverty but also in providing new ways for preserving local ecosystems. In the agricultural sector there is in fact the danger that its development could ultimately damage small farmers. Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production
4. The international trading system is regulated by an increasing number of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Most of the recent trade agreements address not only goods but also services, and deal with rules beyond reciprocal tariff concessions. The Holy See strongly stresses the importance of recognising a primacy of multilateral agreements over bilateral and regional ones. Despite its limits and its complexity, the multilateral framework gives pluralism a universal dimension and facilitates an inclusive dialogue. More specifically in a multilateral framework weaker and smaller countries are better safeguarded than in a regional and bilateral setting where the counterparts are large and strong countries. In such asymmetric settings advanced economies inevitably have more bargaining power with respect to LDCs, with the result that the latter are not fully able to benefit from the agreements.
5. The issue of foreign debt and the alleviation of the debt burden for poor countries remain a major concern for the Holy See. In fact the Holy Father has recently made an appeal to the leaders of nations to “to forgive or manage in a sustainable way the international debt of the poorer nations” The debt of developing countries must be placed in a broader context of economic, political and technological relations which has brought an increased interdependence between countries, as well as the need for international collaboration in pursuing the objectives of the common good. This interdependence should give rise to a new and broader concept of solidarity that respect the equal dignity of all peoples, rather than leading to domination by the strongest, national self-interest, inequalities and injustices. As Pope Francis stated, “It must never be forgotten that political and economic activity is only effective when it is understood as a prudential activity, guided by a perennial concept of justice and constantly conscious of the fact that, above and beyond our plans and programs, we are dealing with real men and women who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights.”
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) provides a clear mandate to address the vulture funds problem The role of UNCTAD in helping developing countries to attain such long-term debt sustainability has been of great importance and will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future. In this sense, it is crucial that UNCTAD continues its research and analysis of the international financial and monetary system and price volatility of commodities and it should propose recommendations to address the problems in financial markets that result in macroeconomic instability, distortions of international trade and increased levels of poverty and inequality.
In conclusion Mr. President,
6. The international community should use this Conference outcome document as an instrument also to promote innovative economic policies, to support the development of agricultural sector in poor areas and to promote the SME participation in global and South-South trade. These policies need adequately fund through development aid, aimed at fulfilling the needs of the poorest and marginalized segments of the world population. Given the productive, technological and scientific capacities of the world economy in the 21st century, the international community cannot wait until the end of the current global economic crisis, or until
the transition of least developing countries into emerging economies, in order to fulfill the fundamental human rights that millions of people are still not enjoying, in particular, but not exclusively, in Africa.
7. The Holy See believes that this Conference should therefore aim at a high level of ambition and should focus on how the international community will ensure that UNCTAD plays its full and meaningful role in supporting the new global development agenda, with a particular attention to the needs of poor countries and of the poor people. UNCTAD XIV should address the contemporary needs and priorities of developing countries in the current volatile and unbalanced global environment. As stated by Pope Francis, It is important that ethics once again play its due part in the world of finance and that markets serve the interests of peoples and the common good of humanity
In fact, we should reaffirm that an essential ingredient for an enabling international environment for development is a healthy and positive approach to the issue of good global governance.(from Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram to the Master General of the Order of Preachers – the Dominicans – who are currently holding the General Chapter of Priors Provincial in the central Italian city of Bologna.
The General Chapter of Priors General is the second of three specific kinds of General Chapters, each being held at three-year intervals for a 9-year cycle that ends with the election of a new Master General. The sequence begins with General Chapter of delegates – called “diffinitors” in Dominican parlance; then the General Chapter of Priors Provincial; and then, the Elective General Chapter.
This General Chapter of Priors Provincial is taking place in the context of the 800th anniversary of the confirmation of the Order under Pope Honorius III, and in the middle of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
In his telegram, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis expresses the hope that all Dominicans find the spiritual wherewithal to rededicate themselves to the charism and legacy of St Dominic their Founder, who was, “a tireless apostle of grace and forgiveness, compassionate towards the poor and an ardent defender of truth.” The Holy Father also calls on all Dominicans, saying, “Testify to mercy, professing it and embodying it in life.”
Click below to hear our report
Pope Francis’ telegram concludes with an exhortation to the whole Dominican family and all its members to be signs of the nearness and tenderness of God, that society might in this day rediscover the urgency of solidarity, love, and forgiveness.
Please find the full text of the English translation prepared by the Dominicans, below
R BRUNO CADORE, OP MASTER GENERAL ORDER OF PREACHERS CONVENTO SANTA SABINA PIAZZA PIETRO D'ILLIRIA, 1 00153 ROMA
ON THE OCCASION OF THE GENERAL CHAPTER OF THE PRIORS PROVINCIAL OF THE ORDER OF PREACHERS, TAKING PLACE IN BOLOGNA, IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY AND OF THE EIGHT HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONFIRMATION OF THE ORDER BY POPE HONORIUS III, HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, IN SENDING HIS CORDIAL AND GOOD WISHES, INVOKES THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, RECALLING THAT MERCY IS THE PILLAR THAT SUPPORTS THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH.
ALL OF ITS PASTORAL ACTION MUST BE EMBRACED BY TENDERNESS AND NOTHING OF ITS PROCLAMATION OR WITNESS BEFORE THE WORLD CAN BE WITHOUT MERCY. THE CREDIBILITY OF THE CHURCH COMES THROUGH THE PATH OF MERCIFUL AND COMPASSIONATE LOVE WHICH GIVES NEW LIFE AND THE COURAGE TO LOOK TO THE FUTURE WITH HOPE.
THE HOLY FATHER WISHES THAT ALL WHO FOLLOW THE CHARISM OF SAINT DOMINIC - TIRELESS APOSTLE OF GRACE AND FORGIVENESS, COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS THE POOR AND AN ARDENT DEFENDER OF TRUTH - SHOULD TESTIFY TO MERCY, PROFESSING IT AND EMBODYING IT IN LIFE, AND SHOULD BE SIGNS OF THE NEARNESS AND TENDERNESS OF GOD, SO THAT SOCIETY TODAY MIGHT REDISCOVER THE URGENCY OF SOLIDARITY, LOVE AND FORGIVENESS.
WHILE REQUESTING YOUR PRAYERS TO SUPPORT HIS PETRINE MINISTRY, HE, THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY AND OF ALL THE SAINTS OF THE DOMINICAN FAMILY, IMPARTS TO YOU, AS WELL AS TO ALL THE CAPITULAR FRIARS, THE REQUESTED APOSTOLIC BLESSING, EXTENDING IT GLADLY TO THE ENTIRE ORDER.
FROM THE VATICAN, 15 JULY 2016
CARDINAL PIETRO PAROLIN
SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE HOLY FATHER(from Vatican Radio)