13-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 031
|- Extraordinary Consistory: reform will strengthen the credibility of the Church|
|- Press release from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue|
Extraordinary Consistory: reform will strengthen the credibility of the Church
Vatican City, 13 February 2015 (VIS) – The Extraordinary Consistory of the College of Cardinals with Pope Francis did not complete its work this morning as expected. The meeting will continue during the afternoon, with an update on the work of the Commission for the Protection of Minors by its president, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, explained the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., during a press conference today.
Yesterday, Thursday, the meeting continued in a serene and constructive atmosphere, with interventions by a further 28 cardinals who offered different perspectives on the reform of the Curia, focusing on the relationship between the Curia and the local Churches, and underlining the importance of better serving the Church in the world. They spoke of “decentralisation”, and the theme of “subsidiarity” was recurrent. Further reflection was invited on what can be done better and where: or rather, in which cases it would be more useful for the Roman dicasteries to act, and when instead the involvement of the dioceses or the episcopal conferences would be more useful.
Other interventions were dedicated to the usefulness and importance of the central service of the Holy See, bearing in mind the experience in various countries where the local church is weak and may be subject to pressure, and is therefore supported by the work of the Vatican.
Coordination within the Curia was addressed not with a merely functional focus, but rather from the perspective of a sense of communion between the different dicasteries, of communication that creates union in the common mission. More specifically, the interministerial commissions were referred to as tools for achieving this objective and the importance of continuity in this dimension of coordination was noted.
Emphasis was placed on the competence of the Secretariat of State with regard to the Holy See's relations with international organisations and entities as a guarantee of coherence and the assumption of a common position. However, this does not mean that the Secretariat of State acts alone, but rather that it involves the dicasteries with specific competences, always with a guiding unity.
Simplification is a shared criterion. There were several considerations regarding the qualifications of people working in the Curia, from the point of view of professional competence and ecclesial spirit and dedication. Emphasis was placed on the need for professionals from different parts of the world and for the Church to better reflect her universality. In this respect, there was discussion on the role of the laity, women in particular, in the assumption of positions of responsibility in the Roman Curia.
Other interventions focused on the positive elements of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus”, which must not be lost from view; therefore, the reform process must ensure distinct continuity with this document, especially from an ecclesiological point of view.
This morning's meeting, attended by 164 cardinals, focused primarily on a long report with four interventions on themes of an economic nature, introduced by Cardinal George Pell, president of the Secretariat for the Economy. Joseph F.X. Zahra of the Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic and Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA) then spoke about the study the Commission carried out last year on the organisational issues faced by the Holy See, and gave information on the Commission's activity. It was the first time that the College of Cardinals has received such a detailed report in the presence of so many cardinals. The composition, role, work and competences of the Council for the Economy were then the subject of an intervention by Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
Cardinal Pell then gave further information regarding the recent activities of the Secretariat, focusing primarily on the balance for the year that has just commenced. Finally, Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, president of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) spoke about the current situation of this body.
Following the interventions by the cardinals, several questions were raised to the speakers. As well as asking for more specific details, the cardinals expressed their appreciation for the reorganisation work that has taken place and their conviction that this constitutes a convincing reform that prioritises transparency, integrity and competence. The speed with which it has been put into affect was also praised, given that there are already entities working according to the new guidelines. The reforms, it was affirmed, strengthen the credibility of the Church.
Questions of a more technical nature were also posed, regarding the competences of various bodies and the relations between the Holy See and Vatican City State.Pope Francis meets with Delegation from Iran (not part of VIS report)
Pope Francis met with a prominent Iranian politician in the Vatican. Shahindokth Molaverdi, serves as the vice president of the country's Women and Family Affairs Department. She led an all female delegation to the Vatican.
In their meeting they talked about how to improve the interfaith relationship between Islam and Christianity, in an effort to improve a culture of peace.
Each one of them greeted the Pope. They gave him many gifts and thanked them for granting them an audience.
The Iranian delegation gave the Pope a ceramic piece. In turn, Pope Francis gave her, a medallion of the Angel of Peace.
Iran and the Holy See established their diplomatic ties back in 1954.
|Press release from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue|
Vatican City, 13 February 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India have organised a series of events in the country, which will also be attended by Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio in India.
Two representatives of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Rev. Fr. Indunil Kodithuwakku, under secretary, and Rev. Fr. Santiago Michael, official for Asia, travelled to India to participate in the Fifth Buddhist-Christian Colloquium on 12 and 13 February in Bodh Gaya. Entitled “Buddhists and Christians Together Fostering Fraternity”, it is divided into five sub-themes: (1) “We belong to one human family”; (2) “From a culture of diversity to a culture of solidarity”; (3) “Fraternity, a prerequisite for overcoming social evils”; (4) “Fraternity wipes away tears”; and (5) “Together fostering fraternity: the way forward”, all to be considered from both Christian and Buddhist points of view. The participants, both Buddhists and Christians, come from various countries: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Mongolia, Taiwan and India. A message will be issued at the end of the event.
From 14 to17 February the representatives of the dicastery will travel to Varanasi to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar declaration “Nostra aetate” (28 October 1965). There will be encounters with the Jain, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu communities, on the theme “Celebrating Diversity of Religions to Foster a World of Peace and Love”.
On 15 February, again in Varasani, at the St. Mary's Cathedral Campus, there will be a multi-religious prayer meeting organised by the PCID, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and the diocese of Varasani, to be attended by representatives of various religions and Christian communities.
Vatican City, 13 February 2015 (VIS) – We wish to inform our readers that tomorrow, Saturday 14 February, due to the Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals, a special edition of the Vatican Information Service bulletin will be transmitted.
The Ricci are an ancient family, which still subsists in a flourishing condition in Tuscany. Peter de Ricci, the father of our saint, was married to Catherine Bonza, a lady of suitable birth. The saint was born at Florence in 1522, and called at her baptism Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine at her religious profession. Having lost her mother in her infancy, she was formed to virtue by a very pious godmother, and whenever she was missing she was always to be found on her knees in some secret part of the house. When she was between six and seven years old, her father placed her in the Convent of Monticelli, near the gates of Florence, where her aunt, Louisa de Ricci, was a nun. This place was to her a paradise: at a distance from the noise and tumult of the world, she served God without impediment or distraction. After some years her father took her home. She continued her usual exercises in the world as much as she was able; but the interruptions and dissipation, inseparable from her station, gave her so much uneasiness that, with the in consent of her father, which she obtained, though with great difficulty, in the year 1535, the fourteenth of her age, she received the religious veil in the convent of Dominicanesses at Prat, in Tuscany, to which her uncle, F. Timothy de Ricci, was director. God, in the merciful design to make her the spouse of his crucified Son, and to imprint in her soul dispositions conformable to his, was pleased to exercise her patience by rigorous trials For two years she suffered inexpressible pains under a complication of violent distempers, which remedies themselves served only to increase. These sufferings she sanctified by the interior dispositions with which she bore them, and which she nourished principally by assiduous meditation on the passion of Christ, in which she found an incredible relish and a solid comfort and joy. After the recovery of her health, which seemed miraculous, she studied more perfectly to die to her senses, and to advance in a penitential life and spirit, in which God had begun to conduct her, by practicing the greatest austerities which were compatible with the obedience she had professed; she fasted two or three days a week on bread and water, and sometimes passed the whole day without taking any nourishment, and chastised her body with disciplines and a sharp iron chain which she wore next her skin. Her obedience, humility, and meekness were still more admirable than her spirit of penance. The least shadow of distinction or commendation gave her inexpressible uneasiness and confusion, and she would have rejoiced to be able to lie hid in the centre of the earth, in order to be entirely unknown to and blotted out of the hearts of all mankind, such were the sentiments of annihilation and contempt of herself in which she constantly lived. It was by profound humility and perfect interior self-denial that she learned to vanquish in her heart the sentiments or life of the first Adam—that is, of corruption, sin, and inordinate self-love. But this victory over herself, and purgation of her affections, was completed by a perfect spirit of prayer; for by the union of her soul with God, and the establishment of the absolute reign of his love in her heart, she was dead to and disengaged from all earthly things. And in one act of sublime prayer she advanced more than by a hundred exterior practices in the purity and ardour of her desire to do constantly what was most agreeable to God, to lose no occasion of practicing every heroic virtue, and of vigorously resisting all that was evil. Prayer, holy meditation, and contemplation were the means by which God imprinted in her soul sublime ideas of his heavenly truths, the strongest and most tender sentiments of all virtues, and the most burning desire to give all to God, with an incredible relish and affection for suffering contempt and poverty for Christ. What she chiefly laboured to obtain, by meditating on his life and sufferings, and what she most earnestly asked of him, was that he would be pleased, in his mercy, to purge her affections of all poison of the inordinate love of creatures, and engrave in her his most holy and divine image, both exterior and interior—that is to say, both in her conversation and her affections, that so she might be animated, and might think, speak, and act by his most Holy Spirit. The saint was chosen, very young, first, mistress of the novices, then sub-prioress, and, in the twenty-fifth year of her age, was appointed perpetual prioress. The reputation of her extraordinary sanctity and prudence drew her many visits from a great number of bishops, princes, and cardinals—among others, of Cervini, Alexander of Medicis, and Aldobrandini, who all three were afterwards raised to St. Peter's chair, under the names of Marcellus II, Clement VIII, and Leo XI.
Something like what St. Austin relates of St. John of Egypt happened to St. Philip Neri and St. Catherine of Ricci. For having some time entertained together a commerce of letters, to satisfy their mutual desire of seeing each other, whilst he was detained at Rome she appeared to him in a vision, and they conversed together a considerable time, each doubtless being in a rapture. This St. Philip Neri, though most circumspect in giving credit to or in publishing visions, declared, saying that Catherine de Ricci, whilst living, had appeared to him in vision, as his disciple Galloni assures us in his life. And the continuators of Bollandus inform us that this was confirmed by the oaths of five witnesses. Bacci, in his life of St. Philip, mentions the same thing, and Pope Gregory XV, in his bull for the canonization of St. Philip Neri, affirms that whilst this saint lived at Rome he conversed a considerable time with Catherine of Ricci, a nun, who was then at Prat, in Tuscany. Most wonderful were the raptures of St. Catherine in meditating on the passion of Christ, which was her daily exercise, but to which she totally devoted herself every week from Thursday noon to three o'clock in the afternoon on Friday. After a long illness she passed from this mortal life to everlasting bliss and the possession of the object of all her desires, on the feast of the Purification of our Lady, on the 2nd of February, in 1589, the sixty-seventh year of her age. The ceremony of her beatification was performed by Clement XII in 1732, and that of her canonization by Benedict XIV in 1746. Her festival is deferred to the 13th of February.In the most perfect state of heavenly contemplation which this life admits of, there must be a time allowed for action, as appears from the most eminent contemplatives among the saints, and those religious institutes which are most devoted to this holy exercise. The mind of man must be frequently unbent, or it will be overset. Many, by a too constant or forced attention, have lost their senses. in he body also stands in need of exercise, and in all stations men owe several exterior duties both to others and themselves, and to neglect any of these, upon presence of giving the preference to prayer, would be a false devotion and dangerous illusion. Though a Christian be a citizen of heaven, while he is a sojourner in this world, he is not to forget the obligations or the necessities to which this state subjects him, or to dream of flights which only angels and their fellow inhabitants of bliss take. As a life altogether taken up in action and business, without frequent prayer and pious meditation, alienates a soul from God and virtue, and weds her totally to the world, so a life spent wholly in contemplation, without any mixture of action, is chimerical, and the attempt dangerous. The art of true devotion consists very much in a familiar and easy habit of accompanying exterior actions and business with a pious attention to the Divine Presence, frequent secret aspirations, and a constant union of the soul with God. This St. Catherine of Ricci practiced at her work, in the exterior duties of her house and office, in her attendance on the sick (which was her favourite employment, and which she usually performed on her knees), and in the tender care of the poor over the whole country. But this hindered not the exercises of contemplation, which were her most assiduous employment. Hence retirement and silence were her delight, in order to entertain herself with t. Creator of all things, and by devout meditation, kindling in her soul the fire of heavenly love, she was never able to satiate the ardour of her desire in adoring and praising the immense greatness and goodness of God.