VATICAN INSTRUCTION ON BURIAL OF THE DEAD AND CREMATION

VATICAN INSTRUCTION ON BURIAL OF THE DEAD AND CREMATION

The Vatican today published a new document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith entitled “Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation.”

While the Instruction notes that the Church is not opposed to cremation, it recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places. It also clearly states that ashes should not be kept in private houses and that the scattering of ashes on land or at sea is not permitted, and notes: “When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.”

Click here for full English text of the new instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: http://www.news.va/en/news/vatican-issues-new-document-on-christian-burial-an

Following are the salient paragraphs:

  • To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must “be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). With the Instruction Piam et Constantem of 5 July 1963, the then Holy Office established that “all necessary measures must be taken to preserve the practice of reverently burying the faithful departed”, adding however that cremation is not “opposed per se to the Christian religion” and that no longer should the sacraments and funeral rites be denied to those who have asked that they be cremated, under the condition that this choice has not been made through “a denial of Christian dogmas, the animosity of a secret society, or hatred of the Catholic religion and the Church”.  Later this change in ecclesiastical discipline was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law (1983) and the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches (1990).

“During the intervening years, the practice of cremation has notably increased in many countries, but simultaneously new ideas contrary to the Church’s faith have also become widespread. …. (After consultation) the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has deemed opportune the publication of a new Instruction, with the intention of underlining the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for the preference of the burial of the remains of the faithful and to set out norms pertaining to the conservation of ashes in the case of cremation.”

“Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning. The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church: … By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul.”

  1. Following the most ancient Christian tradition, the Church insistently recommends that the bodies of the deceased be buried in cemeteries or other sacred places.”

“By burying the bodies of the faithful, the Church confirms her faith in the resurrection of the body, and intends to show the great dignity of the human body as an integral part of the human person whose body forms part of their identity. She cannot, therefore, condone attitudes or permit rites that involve erroneous ideas about death, such as considering death as the definitive annihilation of the person, or the moment of fusion with Mother Nature or the universe, or as a stage in the cycle of regeneration, or as the definitive liberation from the “prison” of the body.

“Furthermore, burial in a cemetery or another sacred place adequately corresponds to the piety and respect owed to the bodies of the faithful departed who through Baptism have become temples of the Holy Spirit and in which ‘as instruments and vessels the Spirit has carried out so many good works’.”

“Finally, the burial of the faithful departed in cemeteries or other sacred places encourages family members and the whole Christian community to pray for and remember the dead, while at the same time fostering the veneration of martyrs and saints.

  1. In circumstances when cremation is chosen because of sanitary, economic or social considerations, this choice must never violate the explicitly-stated or the reasonably inferable wishes of the deceased faithful. The Church raises no doctrinal objections to this practice, since cremation of the deceased’s body does not affect his or her soul, nor does it prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life. Thus cremation, in and of itself, objectively negates neither the Christian doctrine of the soul’s immortality nor that of the resurrection of the body.

“The Church continues to prefer the practice of burying the bodies of the deceased, because this shows a greater esteem towards the deceased. Nevertheless, cremation is not prohibited, “unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine”.

In the absence of motives contrary to Christian doctrine, the Church, after the celebration of the funeral rite, accompanies the choice of cremation, providing the relevant liturgical and pastoral directives, and taking particular care to avoid every form of scandal or the appearance of religious indifferentism.

  1. When, for legitimate motives, cremation of the body has been chosen, the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place, that is, in a cemetery or, in certain cases, in a church or an area, which has been set aside for this purpose, and so dedicated by the competent ecclesial authority.
  2. For the reasons given above, the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence is not permitted. Only in grave and exceptional cases dependent on cultural conditions of a localized nature, may the Ordinary, in agreement with the Episcopal Conference or the Synod of Bishops of the Oriental Churches, concede permission for the conservation of the ashes of the departed in a domestic residence. Nonetheless, the ashes may not be divided among various family members and due respect must be maintained regarding the circumstances of such a conservation.
  3. In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.
  4. When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect on 18 March 2016, approved the present Instruction, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation on 2 March 2016, and ordered its publication.

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MORE ON MEDJUGORJE….

On January 18, 2014 the Holy See Press Office released this statement: ”The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, confirmed on Saturday that the international commission investigating the events in Medjugorje held its last meeting on January 17th. The commission, created by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. The commission has reportedly completed its work and will submit the outcomes of its study to the Congregation.” JFL: That commission was created in 2010 so the Vatican is indeed taking its time.

MORE ON MEDJUGORJE….

The following National Catholic Register piece by Edward Pentin is interesting for the simple reason that it does not deny the earlier story by a source in Croatia that the Pope will name an apostolic administrator for Medjugorje (here is the original story I put on my FB page https://www.total-croatia-news.com/item/12828-vatican-to-take-over-administration-of-medugorje¨):

“The Vatican has said reports that Pope Francis is to soon name a special administrator for Medjugorje are “premature”, but it is a hypothesis among others currently under consideration.

In a note to journalists today, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said “in recent days rumors have been circulating about the possible appointment of an apostolic administrator for the Medjugorje shrine”, one which would “report directly to the Holy See.”

Such a possibility is a “hypothetical subject for study among others,” Father Lombardi said, but added “there has still been no decision” about it “and so it is premature to speak of it as a direction already taken, or as an imminent decision”.

Over the past few days, reports in Croatian media have claimed that Pope Francis would soon appoint a special administrator of the Holy See for Medjugorje, possibly taking over in the next few months.

If it were to happen, some assume it would mean that Medjugorje would obtain the status of a shrine which would be managed by the Pope’s administrator, while the parish of Medjugorje and pastoral activities would remain in the hands of the Franciscans of the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province.

“It would seem that the decision would be a win-win situation for everybody,” reported Total Croatia News. “Herzegovinian friars would lose a part of their autonomy in decision-making, but they will no longer have to deal with the local bishop because the Vatican would take over all responsibilities.”

“Medjugorje would become ‘extraterritorial’ in a way, which would mean the end of 35 years of problems in relations between local bishops and the Medjugorje phenomenon,” the article said. “On the other hand, the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno Ratko Perić can also be satisfied, because the authority of the Vatican would guarantee that there would be no deviations in Međugorje.”

In June last year, the Vatican said no decision had been taken regarding certain doctrinal and disciplinary aspects of alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje following the conclusion of a three-year commission that investigated the Medjugorje phenomenon.

Father Lombardi said around that time that no decision was expected until after the summer of 2015, but gave no definitive timescale.

The latest announcement shows that the Pope is in no rush to issue a judgment on the authenticity of Medjugorje, based on the commission’s findings, but that various concrete solutions are being seriously considered.

 

REPORT AT END OF 3-YEAR ASSESSMENT BY VATICAN OF LCWR

REPORT AT END OF 3-YEAR ASSESSMENT BY VATICAN OF LCWR

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious as the group released a report on the implementation of its doctrinal assessment by the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

The LCWR is an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States and represents more than 80 percent of religious sisters in the US. The joint report was issued by the LCWR and Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle who led the three-year assessment process requested by the Vatican. The report marks the conclusion of the sensitive process, which the sisters say was carried out with a “spirit of cooperation among participants.”

Please find below the press release and joint report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Press Release April 16

Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Archbishop Peter Sartain and officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) met April 16.  Archbishop Sartain and LCWR officers presented a joint report (attached) on the implementation of the CDF Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012.  The joint report outlines the manner in which the implementation of the Mandate has been accomplished.  The Congregation accepted the joint report, marking the conclusion of the Doctrinal Assessment of LCWR.  Present for the April 16 meeting were His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Archbishop Peter Sartain, Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ, Sr. Marcia Allen, CSJ, Sr. Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, and Sr. Janet Mock, CSJ, and other officials of CDF.

During the meeting, Archbishop Sartain and LCWR officers outlined the process undertaken by the Bishop Delegates and LCWR over the past three years, noting the spirit of cooperation among participants throughout the sensitive process. Cardinal Müller offered his thoughts on the Doctrinal Assessment as well as the Mandate and its completion.  He expressed gratitude to those present for their willing participation in this important and delicate work and extended thanks to others who had participated, especially Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, and the past officers and Executive Directors of LCWR.

Following the meeting, Cardinal Müller said:  “At the conclusion of this process, the Congregation is confident that LCWR has made clear its mission to support its member Institutes by fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church.  It is this vision that makes religious women and men radical witnesses to the Gospel, and, therefore, is essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church.”

Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, President of LCWR, was unable to be present for the meeting but commented, “We are pleased at the completion of the Mandate, which involved long and challenging exchanges of our understandings of and perspectives on critical matters of Religious Life and its practice. Through these exchanges, conducted always in a spirit of prayer and mutual respect, we were brought to deeper understandings of one another’s experiences, roles, responsibilities, and hopes for the Church and the people it serves. We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.”

Archbishop Sartain added, “Over the past several years, I have had the honor of working with LCWR officers and meeting a large number of LCWR members through the implementation of the Mandate.  Our work included the revision of LCWR Statutes; review of LCWR publications, programs and speakers; and discussion of a wide range of issues raised by the Doctrinal Assessment, LCWR, and the Bishop Delegates. The assistance of CDF officials was essential to the great progress we made.  Our work together was undertaken in an atmosphere of love for the Church and profound respect for the critical place of religious life in the United States, and the very fact of such substantive dialogue between bishops and religious women has been mutually beneficial and a blessing from the Lord.  As we state in our joint final report, ‘The commitment of LCWR leadership to its crucial role in service to the mission and membership of the Conference will continue to guide and strengthen LCWR’s witness to the great vocation of Religious Life, to its sure foundation in Christ, and to ecclesial communion.’  The other two Bishop Delegates and I are grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such a fruitful dialogue.”

Joint Final Report

Following the publication of the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (April 18, 2012), the officers of LCWR and the Bishop Delegates began working in close collaboration toward the implementation of the Mandate which accompanied that document. From the beginning, our extensive conversations were marked by a spirit of prayer, love for the Church, mutual respect, and cooperation. We found our conversations to be mutually beneficial.  In this Joint Final Report, we set forth the manner in which the implementation of the Mandate has been accomplished.

LCWR Statutes:  The Statutes of the Conference were definitively approved for the first time by the Sacred Congregation for Religious in 1962; a revised text was subsequently approved by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on June 29, 1989. LCWR had initiated a review of the Statutes prior to receiving the Mandate.   In response to the 2012 Mandate, a subcommittee representing LCWR and the Bishop Delegates reviewed that document, attentive to the Mandate’s request for greater clarity in expressing the mission and responsibilities of the LCWR as a Conference of Major Superiors under the ultimate direction of the Apostolic See.  Through a collaborative process of mutual learning and of refining several drafts, it was agreed that “the role of the Conference as a public juridic person centered on Jesus Christ and faithful to the teachings of the Church is to undertake through its membership and in collaboration with other sisters those services which develop the life and mission of women religious in responding to the Gospel in the contemporary world” (Statutes, Section 2).  At the conclusion of this drafting and refining process, the subcommittee’s work was considered ready to be submitted to the LCWR Assembly. The 2014 Assembly overwhelmingly approved the text, and it was forwarded to the Apostolic See.  Following a positive review by the CDF, the revised Statutes were approved on February 6, 2015 by Decree of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Conference Publications and Programs:  The Mandate also called for a review of LCWR publications to ensure that the Conference’s mission would be fulfilled in accord with Church teaching.  The Conference’s mission is in service of its members and their positive role of collaboration in the Church’s mission.  At the same time, LCWR publications serve a larger audience in the Church. Many persons desiring spiritual growth have become readers of various publications. The nature of LCWR publications is intended to address spiritual matters rather than engage in formal theological inquiry.  Nevertheless, because of the vital link between spirituality and theology, and in order to inspire, help evaluate experience as Women Religious, and challenge to growth, publications need a sound doctrinal foundation.  To this end, measures are being taken to promote a scholarly rigor that will ensure theological accuracy and help avoid statements that are ambiguous with regard to Church doctrine or could be read as contrary to it.  This exercise of theological responsibility is for the sake of both Conference Members and other readers. At the same time, it serves to protect the credibility of the Conference itself as a long-standing canonical entity of the Church.  In addition, a publications Advisory Committee exists and manuscripts will be reviewed by competent theologians, as a means of safeguarding the theological integrity of the Conference.

The Mandate also addressed care in the selection of programs and speakers at General Assemblies and other LCWR-sponsored events.  The choice of topics and speakers appropriate to the Conference’s mission and service will be carried out in a prayerful, thoughtful and discerning manner.  As with written publications, LCWR expects speakers and presenters to speak with integrity and to further the aims and purposes of the Conference, which unfold within the wider context of the Church’s faith and mission.  When a topic explicitly addresses matters of faith, speakers are expected to employ the ecclesial language of faith.  When exploring contemporary issues, particularly those which, while not explicitly theological nevertheless touch upon faith and morals, LCWR expects speakers and presenters to have due regard for the Church’s faith and to pose questions for further reflection in a manner that suggests how faith might shed light on such issues. As with publications, this kind of professional integrity will serve the Members well.  Finally, a revised process for the selection of the Outstanding Leadership Award recipient has been articulated.

Other issues addressed by the Mandate:  Over the past three years, considerable time and attention were given to dialogue regarding other matters raised by the Mandate, including the importance of the celebration of the Eucharist; the place of the Liturgy of the Hours in religious communities; the centrality of a communal process of contemplative prayer practiced at LCWR Assemblies and other gatherings; the relationship between LCWR and other organizations; and the essential understanding of LCWR as an instrument of ecclesial communion.  These discussions had their origin in the Mandate and led to clarifying and fruitful conversation.

Conclusion:    Our work together in response to the Mandate has borne much fruit, for which we give thanks to God and the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The very fact of such substantive dialogue between bishops and religious has been a blessing to be appreciated and further encouraged. The Commitment of LCWR leadership to its crucial role in service to the mission and membership of the Conference will continue to guide and strengthen LCWR’s witness to the great vocation of Religious Life, to its sure foundation in Christ, and to ecclesial communion.

Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle

Most Rev. Leonard Blair, Archbishop of Hartford

Most Rev. Thomas J. Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois

Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, LCWR President

Sr. Marcia Allen, CSJ, LCWR President-Elect

Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ, LCWR Past President

Sr. Joan Marie Steadman,, CSC,  LCWR Executive Director

 

POPE FRANCIS WELCOMES BABY LAMBS BLESSED ON FEAST OF ST. AGNES – HOLY FATHER GIVES THANKS FOR PILGRIMAGE TO ASIA – PAPAL APPEAL FOR PEACE, RECONCILIATION IN NIGER – POPE NAMES MEMBERS TO NEW VATICAN APPEALS BODY

POPE FRANCIS WELCOMES BABY LAMBS BLESSED ON FEAST OF ST. AGNES

Just before 9 am Wednesday morning, in keeping with the tradition for the January 21 liturgical memory of St. Agnes, two lambs, blessed earlier in the morning in the Roman basilica named for this saint, were presented to Pope Francis in the atrium of the Santa Marta residence where he lives. The lambs are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains. When their wool is shorn, the Sisters of St. Cecelia weave it into the palliums that, on the June 29th feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, are bestowed on new metropolitan archbishops as signs of their office.

POPE FRANCIS - BLESSING OF LAMBS

The pallium is a white woolen circular band embroidered with six black crosses which is worn over the shoulders and has two hanging pieces, one in front and another in back. Worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops, it symbolizes authority and expresses the special bond between the bishops and the Roman Pontiff. In a 1978 document, “Inter Eximina Episcopalis,” Pope Paul VI restricted its use to the Pope and metropolitan archbishops. Six years later, Pope John Paul decreed that it would be conferred on the metropolitans by the Pope on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Usually in attendance at the January 21 ceremony in the Apostolic Palace are two Trappist fathers, several nuns, two canons of the Chapter of St. John, the dean of the Roman Rota, and two officials from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, and a number of other invited guests.

The baby lambs, under one year of age, are normally tucked into wicker baskets, and both lambs and baskets are adorned with flowers. In 2004 St. John Paul II blessed the lambs during a general audience in the Paul VI Hall as both the audience and St. Agnes’ feast day occurred on a Wednesday.

Agnes died about 305 and is buried in the basilica named for her on Rome’s Via Nomentana. Historical accounts vary about the birth, life and manner of death of Agnes but generally it isrecounted that, in order to preserve her virginity, she was martyred at a very young age, probably 12. She is usually depicted with a lamb because the Latin word so similar to her name, agnus, means “lamb.” The name Agnes is actually derived from the feminine Greek adjective hagné meaning “chaste, pure.”

A couple of years ago I was intrigued by the January 21 press office communiqué about this event. It had been slightly altered since the announcement the previous day that the Pope would bless “two live baby lambs.” Naturally it was the word “live” that intrigued me – as if he might bless lambs that were no longer alive. That word did not appear the day of the blessings!

In 2011, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, carried an interview with Sr. Hanna Pomniaowska, one of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth who prepares the lambs every year for their Vatican visit. This order of nuns has been preparing the baby lambs for 130 years and it was their founder, Blessed Frances Siedliska, who started this custom in 1884. Up to that date another order of nuns had prepared the lambs but it became difficult when the nuns began to age. At that time the Sisters of the Holy Family took over the duties.

Two lambs are brought to the sisters on January 20 by the Trappist Fathers of Tre Fontane (Three Fountains). The nuns then bring the lambs to the top floor of their residence where there is a terrace with a laundry room where the lambs are washed with delicate soap usually used for children until their wool is white as the driven snow and they are dried with a hair dryer that, in recent years, has replaced the towels they once used.

The nuns are careful to completely dry the lambs so that, at their tender age, they do not fall sick. The room is well heated. After the lambs are dried they are placed in a tub that is covered with straw and closed with canvas so they don’t catch cold.  A meal of straw is fed to the lambs who then spend the night in the laundry.

The morning of January 21, the nuns place two small capes on the lambs, one is red to indicate St. Agnes’ martyrdom and the other is white to indicate her virginity. There are also three letters on each mantle: S.A.V. (St. Agnes Virgin) and S.A.M. (St. Agnes Martyr). The sisters weave crowns of interlocking red and white flowers, place them on the baby lambs’ heads, and then put the lambs in a decorated basket. The lambs are tied so they don’t escape.  In fact, one of them did escape a few years back, jumping up and running from the altar at St. Agnes basilica.

In the morning the lambs are brought to St. Agnes Basilica where they are placed on the altar and blessed. Following this ceremony, two papal sediari or chair bearers bring the lambs in a van to the Vatican where they are presented to the Holy Father. It is usually the sisters who are celebrating a jubilee of religious vows who are present in the papal chapel of Urban VIII.

HOLY FATHER GIVES THANKS FOR PILGRIMAGE TO ASIA

The general audience today was dedicated, as is customary in the first Wednesday after a papal trip, to Pope Francis’ just-completed and very successful pilgrimage to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. He named the highlights of each country, and when he spoke of families with numerous children – a topic of his interview on the papal plane with  journalists – he said – to great applause – that large families are not the cause of poverty, as many say, rather it is the econonic system.  He also received enthusiastic applause when he spoke of corruption.

As he began the catechesis in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis confessed, “I will always keep in my heart the recollection of the joyful welcome I received from the crowds.” He said the culmination of his stay in Sri Lanka was the canonization of St. Joseph Vaz, whose “example of holiness and love for his neighbor continue to inspire the Church in Sri Lanka in her apostolate of charity and education. He added that the new saint represented “a model for all Christians, who are called upon today to offer the salvific truth of the Gospel in a multi-religious context.”

Francis mentioned his meeting with governmental authorities, emphasizing the importance of dialogue, respect for human dignity and efforts to involve all in finding suitable solutions for reconciliation and the common good.

The Holy Father highlighted his encounter with religious leaders, noting the good relations that exist between the various communities. “In this context, I wanted to encourage the cooperation that has already been initiated between the followers of different religious traditions, also in order to heal with the salve of forgiveness the wounds of those still afflicted by the sufferings of recent years.”

With reference to the Philippines, the Pope underscored “the constant fruitfulness of the Gospel and its capacity to inspire a society worthy of mankind, in which there is a place for the dignity of each person and the aspirations of the Filipino population.”

He explained that the main aim of his visit was to express his closeness to those brothers and sisters who had suffered as a result of the devastation wrought in November 2013 by typhoon Yolanda. “The power of God’s love, revealed in the mystery of the Cross, was made evident in the spirit of solidarity shown by the many acts of charity and sacrifice that marked those days of darkness.”

He also mentioned the young volunteer Kristel, who was killed in a freak accident after his visit to Tacloban when scaffolding collapsed due to extreme weather conditions. In fact, typhoon-like conditions forced the Pope to leave Tacloban on the island of Leyte four hours earlier than planned and to thus cancel some events on the Tacloban agenda.

Francis went on to speak about his encounter with families in Manila. “I have heard it said that families with many children and high birth rates are among the causes of poverty. It seems to me a simplistic opinion. I can say that the main cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from the center and replaced him with the god of money; an economic system that excludes and creates the throwaway culture in which we live. … It is necessary to protect families, which face various threats, so that they can bear witness to the beauty of the family in God’s plan.”

Sustained applause greeted these remarks.

Finally, he talked about his meeting with the young. “I wanted to offer them my encouragement for their efforts in contributing to the renewal of society, especially through their service to the poor and the protection of the natural environment. Care for the poor is an essential element of our Christian life and witness – because corruption steals from the poor – and requires a culture of honesty,” he concluded, and once again greeted by applause.

PAPAL APPEAL FOR PEACE, RECONCILIATION IN NIGER

Following the general audience catechesis, the Pope launched an appeal for prayer for “the victims of the events of recent days in beloved Niger. Let us invoke from the Lord the gift of reconciliation and peace, so that religious feeling is not transformed into a cause of violence, oppression and destruction. I hope that a climate of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence may be reinstated as soon as possible, for the good of all.”

Speaking on Wednesday, the Holy Father mentioned specifically the “brutalities perpetrated against Christians, children and Churches.”

“War must not be waged in the name of God” he said, receiving yet more applause.

Vatican Radio reported that last week, in Niger’s capital Niamey and in the town of Zinder, at least 15 people were killed in two days of violent protests against the publication in France of a satirical magazine depicting Islam’s prophet. Over a dozen Christian Churches and other buildings were set ablaze. Security forces have been using tear gas to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters taking part in banned demonstrations in the capital.

POPE NAMES MEMBERS TO NEW VATICAN APPEALS BODY

The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed the following members of the College for the Review of Appeals to the Ordinary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, instituted by the Rescriptum ex Audientia SS.mi of 3 November 2014:

President: Bishop Charles J. Scicluna, auxiliary of Malta;

Members: Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA) and the Financial Information Authority (AIF); Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Archbishop Jose Luis Mollaghan, emeritus of Rosario, Argentina; and Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Supplementary members are: Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, president of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See and of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia.

 

POPE FRANCIS TO G-20: YOUR DECISIONS AFFECT COUNTLESS LIVES, ESPECIALLY POOR AND MARGINALIZED – NEW JUDICIAL BODY CREATED WITHIN DOCTRINE CONGREGATION – RAP AND ROCK ARTISTS AT SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE

POPE FRANCIS TO G-20: YOUR DECISIONS AFFECT COUNTLESS LIVES, ESPECIALLY POOR AND MARGINALIZED

The Holy Father has sent a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia who will chair the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the 20 Countries (G-20) scheduled to take place November 15-16 in Brisbane. The G-20 agenda will focus on efforts to relaunch sustained and sustainable growth of the world economy and the fundamental imperative – which emerged from the preparatory work – of creating dignified and stable employment for all.

Pope Francis began his message by asking “the G20 Heads of State and Government not to forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions, and it would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle. Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists. In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.

“It is my hope,” says the papal message, “that a substantial and productive consensus can be achieved regarding the agenda items. I likewise hope that the assessment of the results of this consensus will not be restricted to global indices but will take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality.”

Francis noted that, “the G20 Summits, which began with the financial crisis of 2008, have taken place against the terrible backdrop of military conflicts, and this has resulted in disagreements between the Group’s members.” He wrote that, thankfully, those disagreements have not prevented genuine dialogue within the G20” but “more is required. These conflicts leave deep scars and result in unbearable humanitarian situations around the world. I take this opportunity to ask the G20 Member States to be examples of generosity and solidarity in meeting the many needs of the victims of these conflicts, and especially of refugees.”

“The situation in the Middle East,” said the Holy Father, “has revived debate about the responsibility of the international community to protect individuals and peoples from extreme attacks on human rights and a total disregard for humanitarian law.”

He highlighted “ the need to protect citizens of all countries from forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious. I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximization of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity. A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice. Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level.”

NEW JUDICIAL BODY CREATED WITHIN DOCTRINE CONGREGATION

The Vatican today announced the creation of a new judicial body, a college, created within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) whose purpose will be to deal with the most serious crimes, such as sexual abuse of minors and abuses of the sacrament of Penance. It will also act as an appeals court for clergy accused of such offenses.

The Vatican released the following today:

St. John Paul II’s Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (SST), published on April 30, 2001 and implemented on May 21, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, defines the offenses reserved to the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Art. 1-6), in accordance with Art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges these offenses by penal or administrative procedures (cf. Art. 21 paras 1 and 2, No. 1 SST), taking into account the possibility of submitting the decision directly to the Supreme Pontiff in the most serious cases (see Art. 21 para. 2, No. 2 SST). Crimes against faith remain, in the first instance, within the sphere of competence of the Ordinary or the Hierarch (cf. Art. 2 para. 2 SST).

Due to the number of appeals and the need to guarantee that they are examined more rapidly and following detailed reflection, in the Audience granted to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on 3 November 2014, the Holy Father Francis decreed the following:

  1. A special college is to be instituted within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of seven cardinals or bishops, who may either be members of the Dicastery or external to it;
  2. The President and the members of the aforementioned College are to be appointed by the Pope;
  3. The College is a provision made by the Ordinary Session of the Congregation to enable greater efficiency in processing appeals in accordance with Art. 27 SST, without substantive modification to its competences as established in the same Art. 27 SST;
  4. Should the offender be of episcopal dignity, his appeal shall be examined by the Ordinary Session, which will also be able to decide specific cases according to the Pope’s judgement. Other cases to be decided by the College may also be deferred to the Ordinary Session;
  5. The College shall periodically report its decisions to the Ordinary Session;
  6. Specific internal regulations shall determine the working methods of the College.

RAP AND ROCK ARTISTS AT SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE

A conference entitled, “’Music: Listening and Vision” was held Monday’ at Rome’s MAXXI museum as part of the Vatican’s Cortile dei Gentili – Courtyard of the Gentiles – initiative that was created by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Cortile dei Gentili has the aim of promoting dialogue between believers and non-believers on the great issues facing the modern world and such gatherings have been held in many cities in Italy and Europe. The council invites notables in the arts, politics, religion and education to participate.

Rap and rock artists attended Monday’s conference in an attempt to bring together young believers and non-believers alike for a meeting on spirituality. In particular, said an ANSA report on the conference, students heard from Italian musicians on the spiritual power of music. Hosting the conference with Cardinal Ravasi was MAXXI Foundation president, former Italian culture minister Giovanna Melandri.

Renowned composer Nicola Piovani, who won an Oscar for his work on the soundtrack to the film “Life is Beautiful,” joined Rome singer-songwriter Antonello Venditti, Dire Straits guitarist Phil Palmer, and Italian rapper Er Piotta, who received the most applause from the student audience. The event was hosted by Cardinal Ravasi and MAXXI Foundation president, former Italian culture minister Giovanna Melandri.

The cardinal said a dialogue around music is fundamentally about addressing communication. “The issue of language is fundamental, as shown by the effectiveness of a Pope like Francis, who is connected not only to the message but also to how it’s communicated,”