- POPE TO NEW AMBASSADORS: TASK OF AMBASSADOR, THROUGH SMALL STEPS, IS TO BRING PEACE
- POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES DELEGATION FROM EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, EMPHASIZES THAT LUTHERANS AND CATHOLICS WILL CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME
- POPE FRANCIS TO THE YOUTH OF CATHOLIC ACTION ITALY. YOU ONLY NEED A FEW WORDS TO BE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST: 'HERE I AM.'
- POPE EXPRESSES JOY FOR HISTORIC DECISION OF UNITED STATES AND CUBA TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
POPE TO NEW AMBASSADORS: TASK OF AMBASSADOR, THROUGH SMALL STEPS, IS TO BRING PEACE
Vatican City, 18 December 2014 (VIS) -This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the ambassadors of the following nations, presenting their Credential Letters:
- Mr. Vaanchig Purevdorj of Mongolia,
- Mr. Sean Mcweeney, Q.C., of The Bahamas,
- Mr. Edward D.A. Lambert of Dominica,
- Mr. Philip Sang?ka Marmo of Tanzania,
- Mrs. Louise Bang Jespersen of Denmark,
- Mr. Dato Mohd Zulkephli Bin Mohd Noor of Malaysia,
- Dr. Francois Xavier Ngarambe of Rwanda,
- Mr. Jari Petteri Luoto of Finland,
- Mrs. Janet Lowe of New Zealand,
- Sheikh Mouclary Diarra of Mali,
- Mr. Kokou Nayo Atsumikoa M?Beou of Togo,
- Mr. Shameem Ahsan of Bangladesh, and,
- Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser bin Ahmad Ali Al-Thani of Qatar.
The Holy Father welcomed the new ambassadors with the following words: I warmly welcome you and hope that every time you enter this house that you feel at home. I extend our welcome and respect for you and for your peoples and the heads of your governments. I greet you and wish your work to be fruitful, to be fertile. The work of an ambassador lies in small steps, small things, but they always end up making peace, bringing closer the hearts of people, sowing brotherhood among peoples. This is your job, but with little things, tiny things. Today we are all happy because we have seen how two peoples, distanced for so many years, made a step nearer one another yesterday. That was brought about by ambassadors, by diplomacy. Your job is noble work, very noble. I wish it to be fruitful, fertile, and may God bless you. Thank you.
POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES DELEGATION FROM EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, EMPHASIZES THAT LUTHERANS AND CATHOLICS WILL CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME
Vatican City, 18 December 2014 (VIS) Official dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics has been in place for almost 50 years and the progress made in this half century constitutes a solid foundation for sincere friendship lived in faith and spirituality, Pope Francis said this morning on receiving a delegation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany on an ecumenical visit to Rome.
Despite theological differences that persist in various issues of the faith, collaboration and fraternal coexistence characterize the life of our churches and ecclesial communities, which are committed to a common ecumenical journey and joint documents. One such text was the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which was officially signed fifteen years ago in Augsburg. These are, Pope Francis said, important milestones that allow us to confidently continue along the path undertaken.
Although the common goal of full and visible unity of Christians sometimes seems to become more difficult to achieve because of different interpretations regarding the church and its unity, we must not give in to resignation but concentrate on the next possible step. Do not forget, the Pope stressed, ?that we are walking together the path of friendship, mutual respect, and theological research. It is a path that makes us look with hope to the future. That is why, this past 21 November, bells of all the cathedrals in Germany rang to invite all Christian brothers and sisters to a common liturgical service for the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Unitatis Redintegratio, the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism.
The Holy Father expressed his satisfaction that the Commission on Bilateral Dialogue between the German Bishops' Conference and the German Evangelical Lutheran Church is about to finish its work dedicated to God and the Dignity of Man. He emphasized the relevance of issues related to the dignity of the human person at the beginning and end of life, as well as those related to family, marriage, and sexuality, which cannot be excluded or left to the side just because one doesn't want to endanger the ecumenical consensus reached thus far. It would be a shame if new confessional differences arose in such important topics related to human existence.
Ecumenical dialogue today can no longer be separated from the reality and the life of our churches. In 2017, Lutheran and Catholic Christians will jointly commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On that occasion, Lutherans and Catholics around the world will, for the first time, have the opportunity to share the same ecumenical commemoration, not in the form of a triumphalistic celebration, but as the profession of our common faith in the Triune God. At the center of this event, therefore, there will be common prayer and the plea that our Lord Jesus Christ pardon for our mutual faults, along with the joy of journeying together on a shared ecumenical path. This meaningfully references the document produced by the Lutheran-Catholic Commission for Unity published last year entitled ?From Conflict to Communion: The Joint Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. May this commemoration of the Reformation encourage us all to carry out, with God's help and the support of his Spirit, further steps towards unity and to not just limit ourselves to what we have already achieved!
POPE FRANCIS TO THE YOUTH OF CATHOLIC ACTION ITALY. YOU ONLY NEED A FEW WORDS TO BE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST: 'HERE I AM.'
Vatican City, 18 December 2014 (VIS) - I have heard that this year you are working on a theme with the slogan 'Everything to Discover'. It's a beautiful journey, one which requires courage and the hard work of exploring to then rejoice when the plan that Jesus has for each of us is discovered. This is what Pope Frances told the youth of Catholic Action Italy this morning when he met with them in the Vatican. Regarding their theme, especially the word everything, the Holy Father offered some advice for ?walking well in Catholic Action, in your family, and in your communities.
?Never give up, he said, ?because what Jesus thought for your path is something to be built together: together with your parents, your brothers and sisters, and your friends from school, from catechism, from your parishes, and from Catholic Action. Concern yourselves with the needs of the poorest, those suffering the most, and those who are most lonely because whoever has chosen to love Jesus cannot not love their neighbor. Your journey in Catholic Action, therefore, will become total love.
The Pope asked them not to forget the Church and her priests, and to put themselves at the service of their community, because the Church is not just priests and bishops, but the entire community. So put yourselves at the service of the community. Give of your time, energy, personal qualities and skills in your parishes and thus bear witness that the wealth of each is a gift from God that should be fully shared. He also encouraged them to be apostles of peace and serenity starting with their families. Remind your parents, siblings, and peers that it is beautiful to love one another and that misunderstandings can be overcome because, united to Jesus, everything is possible. To that end, Pope Francis encouraged them to talk to Jesus in prayer. He is your best friend who will never abandon you. Entrust your joys and sorrows to Him. Turn to Him any time you make a mistake or do something wrong. You can be sure that He will forgive you. And speak to all of Jesus, of his love, his mercy, his tenderness, because friendship with Jesus who gave himself for us is an event that must be told.
Finally, he emphasized that with the grace of his birth, Jesus wants to help us take a stronger, safer, and happier step toward being his disciples and that it only takes a few words, which our Mother, the Virgin, teaches us; the words of her response to the Lord's call; Here I am.
POPE EXPRESSES JOY FOR HISTORIC DECISION OF UNITED STATES AND CUBA TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
Vatican City, 18 December 2014 (VIS) - The following is the full text of a communique published yesterday afternoon by the Governorate of Vatican City State.
The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the Governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history.
In recent months, Pope Francis wrote letters to the President of the Republic of Cuba, His Excellency Mr Raul Castro, and the President of the United States, The Honorable Barack Obama, and invited them to resolve humanitarian questions of common interest, including the situation of certain prisoners, in order to initiate a new phase in relations between the two parties.
The Holy See received delegations of the two countries in the Vatican last October and provided its good offices to facilitate a constructive dialogue on delicate matters, resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties.
The Holy See will continue to assure its support for initiatives which both nations will undertake to strengthen their bilateral relations and promote the well-being of their respective citizens.
Vatican City, 18 December 2014 (VIS) ? This morning the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and
- Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Singapore, non-residential pontifical representative for Vietnam, and apostolic nuncio to the Association of South-East Asian Nations.
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