Friday, September 13, 2013


Vatican City, 13 September 2013 (VIS) – Francis sent a message to participants in the 47th Social Week for Italian Catholics, which will be held from 12 - 15 September in Turin, to commend their choice of the theme “The Family: Hope and Future for Italian Society” and for linking the family with these two concepts. The Pope also commented that for the Christian community, the family is “a path for generations through which faith, love and fundamental moral values are transmitted, as well as concrete solidarity, hard work, patience, and also plans, hope, and future. All of this - which the Christian community lives in the light of faith, hope and charity - it has never kept to herself, but every day it becomes leaven in the dough of society, for the greater common good.”

The tradition of the Social Weeks began in 1907 and one of its promoters was the blessed Giuseppe Toniolo. This will in fact be the first Week convened since his beatification on 28 April 2012. The Weeks are proposed as high profile cultural and ecclesiastical initiatives which aim to face and, if possible, anticipate the at times radical challenges posed by the evolution of society.

“Hope and future”, writes the Pope, “presuppose memory. The memory of the elderly gives us the support we need to continue on our path. The future of society ... is rooted in the elderly and the young: the latter because they have the strength and youth to carry history forward, and the former because they are the source of living memory. A population that does not take care of the elderly and of children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise”.

“As the Church, we offer a concept of the family rooted in the Book of Genesis, of the unity in the difference between man and woman, and the fruitfulness of this complementarity, and we recognise it as an asset for all, as the first natural society. … The family understood in this way remains the first and principle building block of society and of an economy on a human scale. … The consequences, positive or negative, of decisions of a principally cultural or political nature in relation to the family touch upon the various areas of the life of a society and a country”.

In his message, Pope Francis reiterated that we cannot ignore the suffering of many families caused by a lack of employment, housing problems, the fractures that may develop within a family or a marriage, and “the violence that unfortunately lurks and does damage inside our homes”. However at the same time, he concluded, we must remember the “simple, but beautiful and courageous witness given by many families, who experience matrimony and parenthood with joy, illuminated and supported by the grace of the Lord, without fear of facing the moments of the cross that, lived in union with the Lord, do not obstruct the path of love, but rather make it stronger and more complete”.

Le notizie contenute nei servizi del Vatican Information Service possono essere riprodotte parzialmente o totalmente citando la fonte:
V.I. S. - Vatican Information Service -
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service - 00120 Città del Vaticano 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vatican Says Clerical Celibacy in the Roman Communion is Open to Discussion

VATICAN CITY 12 September 2013 (ORCNS) - Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State of the Vatican, said yesterday that clerical celibacy is open to discussion in the Roman Communion. He pointed out that celibacy is not a dogma of the Church, but a discipline. The Roman Communion did not make celibacy a requirement for the Roman Rite until the Second Lateran Council in 1139. Married clerics are still common within Eastern Rite Catholicism, the Orthodox, and Old Roman Catholics. 

Archbishop Pietro Parolin
Credit: Osservatore Romano

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Patriarchal Address on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin 2013

8 SEPTEMBER 2013 (ORCNS) - The Patriarch of Saint Stephen, Cardinal Johnson, gave his annual address on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham.

VENERABLE Brethren and members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, greetings and Apostolic blessings on this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year of our Lord 2013. It is customary on this feast day to bless seeds and seedlings. These symbols of new life help us to remember to respect life as Mary did, bringing the Prince of Peace into the world. Now, though, the seeds of war are being sown after more than a decade of continuous global conflict. We speak, of course, of the pending military action in Syria planned by the United States of America. It is true that there exist just wars, the doctrine of which was first laid down by Saint Augustine. Yet, there is grave doubt as to the justice of this planned war. More troubling is that the American government seems determined to press for military action now without considering even the basic points of Just War Doctrine. A government, if it is to be legitimate, must exercise extreme diligence in such grave matters. As the government possesses information that the people do not, the government bears the majority of the responsibility. The burden of proof lies with the State to demonstrate that it is a just war rather than with those who oppose war to demonstrate that it is not a just war.

While there is much violence and strife in Syria at present, there appears to be no sufficient case made for American involvement in yet another regional conflict. Other nations around the world that have typically allied with America in military action have thus far refused to participate in the proposed Syrian campaign. Furthermore, have other means truly been exhausted? Where is the evidence that diplomacy has not worked? The mere fact that diplomatic efforts do not bear fruit according to one’s own timeframe does not itself justify warfare nor make warfare inevitable. War may only be just if it is truly a last resort. That is not the only condition for a just war, but it is an essential one and perhaps the most essential one.

The Christian population of Syria is approximately 10%, making is a small minority compared to the Muslims. Make no mistake that they are in danger. Prelates of the Church in Syria have already been victims of anti-Christian hate. If there is military involvement in Syria by the Western governments or the United States alone, there is good reason to believe that Christians in Syria will be in even more grave danger than they are now.

We call upon the American government to exercise extreme caution and diligently discern whether or not their planned military action in Syria is truly necessary. They must seek to find and exercise every possible alternative to war before initiating a war. A war in which all alternatives have not, within the bounds of human weakness, been exhausted is mal in se, and the faithful are right in opposing it. Remember always that one’s duty is first to Christ and His Holy Church. This is and always is above all duty to country.

Whatever the decision of the American government, we as Christians must bear witness to the truth of Christ and openly pray and work for peace. We must also pray especially for the safety of any military personnel sent into Syria, and that any who may die will not die in vain. Our increasingly secularized society has long since abandoned respect for life, and a society that does not respect life will not respect peace. The sword is taken not for justice but for vanity, for life has become cheap. Where is the respect for our fellow man? Where is our respect for life, regardless of national border? Let a renewal of the faith begin inside each of us. Let the spark of this faith grow into a flame that cannot be hid from others. Let the Passion of Christ on the Cross be shown to the world in part through our own passionate life in Christ!

We commend and thank each of you for your tireless and diligent service to Christ’s Holy Church in this year. The liturgical year drawing to a close was dedicated to Faith and Tradition. We now announce that the upcoming liturgical year will be the Year of Chivalry and Service. May the traditions of chivalry remind us that the sword may only be taken only as a last resort in defense of life and justice and with the ultimate goal of peace.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, + Son, + and Holy + Ghost, come upon you and remain with you always. R. Amen.