Pope Francis' Message for 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations

'Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus.'

On April 17, 2016, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church will celebrate the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This year's theme is: "The Church, Mother of Vocations."

Here below is the Vatican-provided official translation of the Pope's message:


The Church, Mother of Vocations

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is my great hope that, during the course of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, all the baptized may experience the joy of belonging to the Church and rediscover that the Christian vocation, just like every particular vocation, is born from within the People of God, and is a gift of divine mercy. The Church is the house of mercy, and it is the “soil” where vocations take root, mature and bear fruit.

For this reason, on the occasion of the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I invite all of you to reflect upon the apostolic community, and to give thanks for the role of the community in each person’s vocational journey. In the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I recalled the words of the venerable Saint Bede, describing the call of Saint Matthew: “Miserando atque eligendo” (Misericordiae Vultus, 8). The Lord’s merciful action forgives our sins and opens us to the new life which takes shape in the call to discipleship and mission. Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus. Conversion and vocation are two sides of the same coin, and continually remain interconnected throughout the whole of the missionary disciple’s life.

Blessed Paul VI, in his exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, described various steps in the process of evangelisation. One of these steps is belonging to the Christian community (cf. no. 23), that community from which we first received the witness of faith and the clear proclamation of the Lord’s mercy. This incorporation into the Christian community brings with it all the richness of ecclesial life, particularly the sacraments. Indeed, the Church is not only a place in which we believe, but it is also an object of our faith; it is for this reason that we profess in the Credo: “I believe in the Church”.

The call of God comes to us by means of a mediation which is communal. God calls us to become a part of the Church and, after we have reached a certain maturity within it, he bestows on us a specific vocation. The vocational journey is undertaken together with the brothers and sisters whom the Lord has given to us: it is a con-vocation. The ecclesial dynamism of the call is an antidote to indifference and to individualism. It establishes the communion in which indifference is vanquished by love, because it demands that we go beyond ourselves and place our lives at the service of God’s plan, embracing the historical circumstances of his holy people.

On this day dedicated to prayer for vocations, I urge all the faithful to assume their responsibility for the care and discernment of vocations. When the Apostles sought someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Saint Peter brought together one hundred and twenty of the brethren (cf. Acts 1:15); and in order to chose seven deacons, a group of disciples was gathered (cf. 6:2). Saint Paul gave Titus specific criteria for the selection of presbyters (cf. Titus 1:5-9). Still today, the Christian community is always present in the discernment of vocations, in their formation and in their perseverance (cf. Apost. Ex. Evangelii Gaudium, 107).

Vocations are born within the Church. From the moment a vocation begins to become evident, it is necessary to have an adequate “sense” of the Church. No one is called exclusively for a particular region, or for a group or for an ecclesial movement, but rather for the Church and for the world. “A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, its ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all” (ibid., 130). In responding to God’s call, young people see their own ecclesial horizon expand; they are able to consider various charisms and to undertake a more objective discernment. In this way, the community becomes the home and the family where vocations are born. Candidates gratefully contemplate this mediation of the community as an essential element for their future. They learn to know and to love their brothers and sisters who pursue paths different from their own; and these bonds strengthen in everyone the communion which they share.

Vocations grow within the Church. In the course of formation, candidates for various vocations need to grow in their knowledge of the ecclesial community, overcoming the limited perspectives that we all have at the beginning. To that end, it is helpful to undertake some apostolic experience together with other members of the community, for example: in the company of a good catechist, to communicate the Christian message; together with a religious community, to experience the evangelisation of the peripheries sharing in the life of the cloister, to discover the treasure of contemplation; in contact with missionaries, to know more closely the mission ad gentes; and in the company of diocesan priests, to deepen one’s experience of pastoral life in the parish and in the diocese. For those who are already in formation, the ecclesial community always remains the fundamental formational environment, towards which one should feel a sense of gratitude.

Vocations are sustained by the Church. After definitive commitment, our vocational journey within the Church does not come to an end, but it continues in our willingness to serve, our perseverance and our ongoing formation. The one who has consecrated his life to the Lord is willing to serve the Church wherever it has need. The mission of Paul and Barnabas is a good example of this readiness to serve the Church. Sent on mission by the Holy Spirit and by the community of Antioch (cf. Acts 13, 1-4), they returned to that same community and described what the Lord had worked through them (cf. 14: 27). Missionaries are accompanied and sustained by the Christian community, which always remains a vital point of reference, just as a visible homeland offers security to all who are on pilgrimage towards eternal life.

Among those involved in pastoral activity, priests are especially important. In their ministry, they fulfil the words of Jesus, who said: “I am the gate of the sheepfold […] I am the good shepherd” (Jn 10: 7, 11). The pastoral care of vocations is a fundamental part of their ministry. Priests accompany those who are discerning a vocation, as well as those who have already dedicated their lives to the service of God and of the community.

All the faithful are called to appreciate the ecclesial dynamism of vocations, so that communities of faith can become, after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, like a mother’s womb which welcomes the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1: 35-38). The motherhood of the Church finds expression in constant prayer for vocations and in the work of educating and accompanying all those who perceive God’s call. This motherhood is also expressed through a careful selection of candidates for the ordained ministry and for the consecrated life. Finally, the Church is the mother of vocations in her continual support of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.

We ask the Lord to grant to all those who are on a vocational journey a deep sense of belonging to the Church; and that the Holy Spirit may strengthen among Pastors, and all of the faithful, a deeper sense of communion, discernment and spirit ual fatherhood and motherhood.

Father of mercy, who gave your Son for our salvation and who strengthens us always with the gifts of your Spirit, grant us Christian communities which are alive, fervent and joyous, which are fonts of fraternal life, and which nurture in the young the desire to consecrate themselves to you and to the work of evangelisation. Sustain these communities in their commitment to offer appropriate vocational catechesis and ways of proceeding towards each one’s particular consecration. Grant the wisdom needed for vocational discernment, so that in all things the greatness of your merciful love may shine forth. May Mary, Mother and guide of Jesus, intercede for each Christian community, so that, made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, it may be a source of true vocations for the service of the holy People of God.

From the Vatican, 29 November 2015 
First Sunday of Advent


 [Original text: Italian]

[Vatican-provided text]




Pope Francis Remotely Lights Christmas Tree, Manger in Assisi

Manger Was Installed in Boat Which Safely Delivered Some Tunisian Migrants to Lampedusa

This second weekend of Advent, Pope Francis has remotely lit a Christmas tree and manger scene in Italy.

According to a statement of the Holy See Press Office, Saturday afternoon, in a video-link message from the Vatican, the Holy Father symbolically lit the lights of the Christmas tree and Manger set up in the square in front of the Lower Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.

This year's Manger was installed in a boat that brought to safety some migrants from Tunisia to the Southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

The lighting ceremony took place at the end of the Holy Mass, presided over in the Lower Basilica by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household. Participants in the lighting ceremony included 31 refugees being assisted by the diocesan Caritas of Assisi.

In the video-message, the Pope recalls that Jesus is always with us, even in in the most difficult moments, and reminded all refugees that the Lord is close, so keep your heads high with hope.

Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis' words. (D.C.L.)

* * *

Looking at that boat ... [the Crib was installed in a barge] Jesus is always with us, also in difficult moments. How many brothers and sisters were drowned in the sea! They are now with the Lord. But He came to give us hope, and we must take up that hope. He came to tell us that He is stronger than death, that He is greater than any wickedness. He came to tell us that He is merciful, all mercy; and in this Christmas I invite you to open your heart to mercy, to forgiveness. But it is not easy to forgive these massacres. It’s not easy.

I would like to thank the members of the Coast Guard: they are good women and men. I thank you from my heart, because you have been an instrument of hope that brings us Jesus. Among us, you have been sowers of hope, of the hope of Jesus. Thank you, Antonio, and to you and to all your companions and to all those that this Italian soil has so generously received: the South of Italy has been an example of solidarity for the whole world! I hope that, looking at this Crib, all will be able to say to Jesus: “I have also given a hand so that you are a sign of hope!”

And to all the refugees I say a word, that of the prophet: Raise your head, the Lord is close -- and with Him strength, salvation and hope. The heart, perhaps, is sorrowful, but the head is high in the hope of the Lord.

All of you refugees, and all of you of the Coast Guard: I embrace you and wish you a Holy Christmas, full of hope, and with many caresses of the Lord.

[Original Text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]




Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Appointed Vatican's New External Auditor

Council for Economy Accepted Recommendation for Major International Accounting Firm to Audit Consolidated Financial Statements

One of the major international accounting firms, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), has been appointed as the Vatican's new external auditor.
According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office Saturday, the Council for the Economy accepted a recommendation from its Audit Committee and appointed PwC to audit the consolidated financial statements.

'PwC will work closely with the staff of the Secretariat of the Economy, and the 2015 audit will commence immediately,' the statement noted.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers is one of the 'Big Four' international accounting firms, along with Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, and Ernst & Young.


On the NET:

Website of Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC): http://www.pwc.com/




Pope's Address to Catholic Schools Parents’ Association

"It is your right to request an appropriate education for your children, an integral education open to the most authentic human and Christian values"

Here is a translation of an address Pope Francis gave Saturday to representatives of the Catholic Schools Parents’ Association (Associazione Genitori Scuole Cattoliche: AGESC).

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome you all, representatives on the Catholic Schools Parents’ Association, on the occasion of the 40 years of your foundation. You are here, not only to be confirmed in your journey of faith, but also to express the truth of the commitment that distinguished you: that, freely assumed, of being educators according to the heart of God and of the Church.

An important world congress took place a short time ago, organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education. In that circumstance, I made evident the importance of promoting an education to the fullness of humanity, because to speak of Catholic education is equivalent to speaking of the human, of humanism. I exhorted to an inclusive education, an education that has a place for all and not to choose in an elitist way the recipients of its commitment.

It is the same challenge that you face today. Your Association places itself at the service of the school and of the family, contributing to the delicate task to throw bridges between school and territory, between school and family, between school and civil institutions. To repair the educational pact, because the educational pact is ruined, because the educational pact is broken! -- and we must repair it. To throw bridges: there is no more noble challenge! To build union where division advances, to generate harmony when the logic of exclusion and of marginalization seems to be the best.

As an Ecclesial Association, you draw from the very heart of the Church an abundance of mercy, which makes of your work a daily service for others. As parents, you are the depositories of the duty and the primary and inalienable right to educate your children, thus helping in a positive  and constant way the task of the school. It is your right to request an appropriate education for your children, an integral education open to the most authentic human and Christian values. It is up to you, however, to see that the school is up to the measure of the educational task entrusted to it, in particular when the education proposed is expressed as “Catholic.” I pray the Lord that the Catholic school will never take for granted the meaning of this adjective! In fact, to be Catholic educators makes the difference

And then we must ask ourselves: what are the requisites for a school to be able to say that it is truly Catholic? This could be a good work to do in your Association. You certainly have done it and do it, but the results are never acquired once and for all. For instance: we know that the Catholic school must transmit an integral, not ideological, culture. But what does this mean concretely? Or again, we are convinced that the Catholic school is called to foster the harmony of diversities. How can this be done concretely? It is a challenge that is anything but easy. Thank God, there are in Italy and in the world many positive experiences that can be known and shared.

In the meeting that Saint John Paul II had with you in June of 1998, he confirmed the importance of the “bridge” that must exist between the school and the society. Do not evade ever the need to build an educating community in which, together with the docents, to various operators and to students, you, parents can be protagonists of the educational process. 

You are not outside of the world, but alive, as the leaven in the dough. The invitation I address to you is simple but audacious: be able to make the difference with the formative quality. Be able to find forms and ways so as not to pass unobserved behind the scenes of society and of culture. Not arousing clamors, not with projects made up of rhetoric. Be able to distinguish yourselves for your constant attention to the person, in a special way to the least, to those that are discarded, rejected, forgotten. Be able to make yourselves noted not by a “facade,” but for an educational coherence rooted in the Christian vision of man and of society.

At a moment in which the economic crisis makes itself felt heavily also on private schools, many of which are constrained to close, the temptation of “numbers” appears with more insistence, and with it that of discouragement. Yet, despite everything, I repeat to you: the difference is made with the quality of your presence, and not with the quality of the resources that can be put in the field, with the quality of your presence, there, to be bridges. And I was pleased that you [he turns to the President], speaking of the school, talked about the children, the parents and also the grandparents. Because grandparents have something to do! Do not discard the grandparents who are the living memory of the people!

Never sell off the human and Christian values of which you are witnesses in the family, in the school and in the society. Make your contribution generously so that the Catholic school never becomes an “expedient,” or an insignificant alternative among the various formative institutions. Collaborate so that Catholic education has the face of that new humanism that emerged from the Ecclesial Congress of Florence. Commit yourselves, so that Catholic schools are truly open to all. May the Lord Jesus, who in the Holy Family of Nazareth, grew in age, wisdom and grace (cf. Luke 2:52), support your steps and bless your daily commitment.

Thank you for this meeting, thank you for your work and for your witness. I assure you of my remembrance in prayer. And you, please, do not forget to pray for me.

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]




Hebrew Origin of the Jubilee in the Old Testament

In the Torah, the sabbatical year (Shemitta) and the Jubilee (Yovel) are closely connected with each other. After seven sabbatical years, the fiftieth was “consecrated” a jubilee year by the sound of the horn (Shofar) of the ram (Yovel).

The word Jubilee calls to mind the concept of jubilation, or a sentiment of joy, exultation, celebration; it comes from the Hebrew Yovel, the ram’s horn which, according to the Law of Moses, was sounded every 50th year to mark the beginning of a holy year, a year dedicated entirely to the Lord God. “..you shall sound the trumpet throughout the land – we read in the Book of Leviticus – You will declare this fiftieth year sacred and proclaim the liberation of all the inhabitants of the land. This is to be a jubilee for you” (Leviticus 25,9-11).

In the Torah, the sabbatical year (Shemitta) and the Jubilee (Yovel) are closely connected with each other. After seven sabbatical years, the fiftieth was “consecrated” a jubilee year by the sound of the horn (Shofar) of the ram (Yovel).

The purpose of the sabbatical year, like the weekly Sabbath, was to make this time an opportunity to interrupt the slavery of day to day material living so as to avoid closing one’s self in an utilitarian or hedonistic vision of reality, devoting one’s self entirely to the needs of the spirit. A need already emphasized by the link between the “Sabbath day of God” (at the conclusion of creation), that of human beings (after every six days of work) and that of the “land” (Lv. 25,2). Every seventh year land was left fallow. Not ploughed, or sown, whatever it produced was distributed to the weakest social categories, widows, orphans, the poor, strangers.

This ancient institution, after the exile in Egypt, was enriched with other particular aspects to underline the great sense of “liberation”: land and homes were returned to the rightful owner; slaves were set free; unsolved debtors were condoned. It was a periodical celebration of justice and peace, in rediscovered harmony of relations between people and with creation; a general liberation of persons as well as property.

“For the land belongs to me” (Lv 25,23): words of great significance to indicate the ecological balance of nature, which human beings are called to respect and not change by unlimited exploitation for individual profit, and also a re-dimensioning of that instinct of possession which can alienate the human person from God and from other people. God alone is Lord of humanity and of the whole of creation. To retrieve one’s goods and liberty means to enter once again in the cosmic order of their creation and the Creator’s project for good.

Emphasis is given to the ideal-utopia of a situation of equality among all the children of Israel to which the jubilee year intended to give broad echo, heightening expectation for the Messiah, the One who would come sent by God to set free those who are oppressed.

The ancient Hebrew jubilee, a pre-figuration of messianic liberation, is confirmed with the “year of grace” proclaimed by Jesus at the synagogue of Nazareth, at the beginning of his mission. After reading the passage of Isaiah (Is 61, 1-2), Jesus rolled up the scroll and sat down. Everyone was watching him. And he said: “This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen” (Lk 4, 16-21). The inauguration of the “year of grace” was completed with a “year of mercy” of which Jesus was to speak in the parable of the fig tree which bore no fruit. (Lk 13,5-9).

First and foremost, the extraordinary Jubilee will be an experience of mercy for each person to feel more intimately the love of God, who like a Father welcomes everyone and excludes no one. This Jubilee will be a significant time for all the Church to remember that mercy is the essence of her proclamation to the world, and to offer to every believer a tangible instrument of the tenderness of God.

In his Bull of Indication (letter announcing the Jubilee of Mercy), Pope Francis also speaks of the social implications of this special year.

 “Corruption prevents us from looking to the future with hope, because its tyrannical greed shatters the plans of the weak and tramples upon the poorest of the poor. It is an evil that embeds itself into the actions of everyday life and spreads, causing great public scandal. Corruption is a sinful hardening of the heart that replaces God with the illusion that money is a form of power. It is a work of darkness, fed by suspicion and intrigue. Corruptio optimi pessima, saint Gregory the Great said with good reason, affirming that no one can think himself immune from this temptation. If we want to drive it out from personal and social life, we need prudence, vigilance, loyalty, transparency, together with the courage to denounce any wrongdoing. If it is not combated openly, sooner or later everyone will become an accomplice to it, and it will end up destroying our very existence.”

This is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched! When faced with evil deeds, even in the face of serious crimes, it is the time to listen to the cry of innocent people who are deprived of their property, their dignity, their feelings, and even their very lives. To stick to the way of evil will only leave one deluded and sad. True life is something entirely different. God never tires of reaching out to us. He is always ready to listen, as I am too, along with my brother bishops and priests. All one needs to do is to accept the invitation to conversion and submit oneself to justice during this special time of mercy offered by the Church.”  (#19)

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, is the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and the English Language Assistant to the Holy See Press Office.





Vatican Collaborates in Documentary on Confession for Year of Mercy

Available for Viewing on YouTube

The Ends of the Earth Have Seen His Mercy

HM Television and Apostolic Penitentiary: program on Confession for Jubilee Year of Mercy.

HM Television, in collaboration with the Apostolic Penitentiary, present “The Ends of the Earth Have Seen His Mercy,” a documentary on the Sacrament of Penance, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. 

Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza; Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Archbishop Krzysztof Nykiel; Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche; the penitentiaries of the four major basilicas of Rome and other experts on the subject help us to enter more deeply into the unfathomable mystery of God’s mercy.

The program opens with a glimpse into the Old Testament to discover “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity, continuing his kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin” (Ex 34:6-7).

What follows is a presentation of Jesus Christ as the Revelation and Incarnation of the Father: “We see the closeness of God our Heavenly Father to us through the Incarnation, through His Son becoming flesh like us, living amongst us” (Archbishop Arthur Roche).

The central part of the program is dedicated to a reflection on the Sacrament of Penance, the instrument God uses to administer His mercy in the forgiveness of sins. The program offers a commentary on the basic requirements for making a good confession as well as an explanation of the needs and effects of reconciliation with God: “When a confession is made with faith, everything falls back into place, because the Lord is always ready to receive us, like the father from the parable of the Prodigal Son. With arms wide open, He awaits us in the confessional. All we have to do is be sincere and have contrition in our hearts” (Cardinal Mauro Piacenza).

The program concludes with a brief reflection on how priests should dedicate themselves to this ministry and a look at the indulgences the Church grants penitents.  

The program includes interviews with:

-Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary

-Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

-Archbishop Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary

-Fr. Fr. Ján Ďačok, SI, Theologian of the Apostolic Penitentiary

-Fr. Pedro Fernández, OP, Penitentiary of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

-Fr. Ciro Stanzione, OFM, Penitentiary of the Basilica of St. John Lateran

-Fr. Kevin Hanley, OFM, Penitentiary of the Basilica of St. Peter (Vatican)

-Fr. Roberto Dotta, OSB, Penitentiary of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls

"The Ends of the Earth Have Seen His Mercy” has a running time of approximately 30 minutes and is available in Spanish, English, and Italian.

Click the following link to view the trailer: 

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA1yaue44E8
Italian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqbdFJ20OeM 
Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhU0nVQfMYU

Click the following link to view the program in its entirety:

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxFH0GegR5w 
Italian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPnQFOBmAbw 
Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ijzACCQl_Y

<p dir="ltr">The DVD version of the program (in all three languages) is available for purchase on the EUK Mamie Foundation website: http://www.eukmamie.org/en/catalogue/dvd/specials/2266-his-mercy

It can also be downloaded free of charge, with the possibility of making a donation to HM Television to help support future productions.

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?” (Ezk 18:23) 




Father Lombardi Statement on So-called 'Vatileaks 2'

'Judges and lawyers at Vatican City State Tribunal: Guaranteeing a fair trial' 

Below is the Vatican-provided text of Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi's note this morning regarding the opening of the trial for the dissemination of reserved documents commonly referred to as 'Vatileaks 2:'


Judges and lawyers at Vatican City State Tribunal: guaranteeing a fair trial - Note of Father Federico Lombardi

In recent weeks, since the opening of the trial for the dissemination of reserved documents commonly known as “Vatileaks 2”, many observations and evaluations have been written regarding the judicial system of Vatican City State and in particular on the Tribunal where this trial and its related procedures are taking place. Since many of these observations are inappropriate, or at times entirely unjustified, it would appear opportune to offer some considerations enabling a clearer view and a more just evaluation of this fundamental aspect of the situation.

Firstly, although this should be self-evident, it is necessary to recall that Vatican City State has its own legal order, entirely autonomous and separate from the Italian legal system, and has its own judicial bodies for the various levels of judgement and the necessary legislation in terms of criminal matters and procedure.

Within this latter there exist all the procedural guarantees characteristic of the most advanced contemporary legal systems. Indeed, all the fundamental principles are established and fully implemented: an independent and impartial tribunal constituted by law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a technical defence (by private or ex officio legal representation), and the freedom of the judicial college to form an opinion on the basis of evidence in public hearing and in debate between the prosecution and the defence, leading to the issuance of a sentence able to be substantiated and with the possibility of being contested by appeal and ultimately annulled.

All those engaged in judicial roles, both investigators and judges, are selected via cooptation; they may not be recruited by way of a public selection procedure open to the citizens of the State, as normally occurs in other States. They are selected from among professionals of the highest level, with consolidated experience and a recognised reputation (as may be seen in their curricula vitae, which can be consulted via internet). Indeed, they are all professors in Italian universities.

With regard to the lawyers, a violation of the right to a defence has been hypothesised. In this respect it is necessary to avoid a basic mistake: the current Vatican legislation, applied by the legal authorities, is perfectly in line with procedural law in the majority of jurisdictions throughout the world, where a specific qualification is required for admission to practice in the courts; this is issued subject to certain prerequisites and the possession of specified qualifications. It is therefore unsurprising that a lawyer able to practice in Italy may not be able to do so in Vatican City State, just as he or she would not be able to practice in Germany or France. Arguments to the contrary would imply that a foreign defendant would be able to claim to be represented in Italy by a foreign private lawyer, which is not permitted. Such conditions do not constitute a limit imposed by the Vatican legal order, but rather a further confirmation of its autonomy and completeness.

All lawyers are enrolled on an easily consulted professional register of lawyers with right of audience before the Vatican City State Tribunal. Ex officio or private lawyers may be selected from the professionals on this register.

These are lawyers qualified not only at the Tribunals of the Church and the Holy See, but also in the Italian courts, as they are all registered in the respective councils of the Order of Italian lawyers. In addition, they also possess a second degree in canon law and a further diploma conferred following a three-year specialist course at the Roman Rota. Therefore, they are professionals who, aside from being in authorised to practise in Italy, are also in possession of further knowledge rendering them eligible for practice in a jurisdiction in which a knowledge of canon law is necessary.

These are prerequisites necessary to guarantee the professionalism and competence of those who are entrusted with ensuring the proper conduct of a trial which, for various reasons, attracts broad attention.

[Original text: Italian - working translation]

[Provided by the Vatican]