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.”


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.


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,”