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Today’s news dispatch: Nov. 9, 2015

Pope Ordains Auxiliary Bishop for Rome

On Today’s Feast of Dedication of St. John Lateran, Celebrates Mass in Cathedral Church

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Archbasilica of St John Lateran this evening in a ceremony that included the ordination of a new auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Rome. Pope Francis travelled across Rome to celebrate today’s Feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran – the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome, known as the “mother and head of all the Churches of Rome and of the whole world.”

During the Liturgy, the Holy Father ordained Monsignor Angelo De Donatis to the episcopate. Bishop De Donatis had been serving as pastor of the parish of Saint Mark the Evangelist in Rome.

Vatican Radio reported that Pope Francis’ homily was based on the text prescribed for the ordination of a Bishop.

The Pope reminded the new Bishop that he has been chosen by the Lord. “The title of Bishop is not one of honour but of function, and therefore a Bishop should strive to serve rather than to rule.” Bishops are called “[to] proclaim the message whether it is welcome or unwelcome; [to] correct error with unfailing patience and teaching [and to] pray and offer sacrifice for the people committed to your care and so draw every kind of grace for them from the overflowing holiness of Christ” … and especially, to “love all those whom God places in your care.”

Pope Commends Nobel Peace Prize Winners for Working With ‘Hearts’

During Private Meeting, Nobel Laureates Call Francis ‘True Man of Peace’

Pope Francis met privately with the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize winners on Saturday, calling them “architects of peace.”

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis met for 15 minutes with Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh, Abdessatar Ben Moussa, Wided Bouchamaoui, and Houcine Abbassi on Saturday morning. 

Commending them for the methodology they used for dialogue and bringing stability to Tunisia, the Pontiff said the Nobel Laureates accomplished their work “with their hands and their hearts.”
 
The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, for what the Nobel Committee called “its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.”

The four winners who make up the quartet represented the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. After a series of political assassinations in 2013, these organizations all contributed to establishing a new constitution and facilitating presidential elections last year. 

The Nobel Laureates gave him a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, thanked the Holy Father for receiving them, and called the Pope a “true man of peace.” 

FEATURE: Palliative Care: A Right and Mark of Civilized Society

Pontifical Academy for Life Hosting Conference With Aim of Creating a ‘Religions of the World Charter for Paediatric Palliative Care’

“A four month old baby, sweet, plump and as beautiful as an angel, is suffering from a life-limiting disease, which in a few days will take him away. There are not enough tears to mourn such a loss, but it is possible to help children and adults with chronic or incurable diseases have a better quality of life,a possibility which affords them respect and dignity; this possibility is Palliative Care. It is not a fraud, a placebo or an illusion; it is a right,and one that invests our civilization with meaning.”

These are the words of Silvia Lefebvre D’Ovidio of the Maruzza Foundation, whose mission is to increase the knowledge and awareness of paediatric palliative care.

Her strategy includes urging governments to implement healthcare policies inclusive of palliative care, thus improving the quality of life for children suffering from life-threatening and life-limiting diseases.

When ZENIT interviewed D’Ovidio, she explained: “We want to improve the knowledge and the application of palliative care. We want to focus on the needs of people who are ill – be it a child, an adult, or the elderly – and their families, and not solely on the disease that has hit them. We want to provide the chronically and terminally ill dignity and respect.”

“We want to ensure that every child is in her playroom,or attending her birthday party, with her classmates; we want to ensure that every parent can live a life which is not completely circumscribed by the illness of his or her child; we want to make sure that the elderly are taken care of because man does not lose value due to illness or infirmity.This is a fundamental expression of humanity.”

The Foundation Maruzza Lefebvre D’Ovidio Onlus is a non-profit organization created by Antonio and Eugenia Lefebvre D’Ovidio on October 7, 1999, in memory of their daughter, Maruzza, who died of cancer. The Foundation has worked  for 16 years in the palliative care field to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our society – children and the elderly -have the best possible quality of life in spite of their illnesses, including the right to be treated by medical personnel who have been well trained in the field.

The Foundation is working not only in Italy, but also at a global level, and this year has organized an important international event:

The international workshop, “Defining the Essence of Palliative Care for Children,” will take place Tuesday at the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome, just a few steps from St. Peter’s Basilica.

The event will be opened by Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, and will bring together experts in paediatric palliative care, theologians from the world’s main faiths, leaders in communications, experts in human rights, and paediatric patients and their families.

The workshop’s participants will be organized into four groups that will work simultaneously: luminaries and experts on palliative medicine from around the world will confer on technical aspects; representatives of international organizations and human rights groups will research human rights aspects; the members of the world’s main faiths will explore spirituality and religion; paediatric patients and families with direct experience of paediatric palliative care will discuss the fundamental need for this type of medicine.

According to Silvia Lefebvre D’Ovidio, “One of the primary aspirations of all Religions is the protection of the most vulnerable, and their moral authority has global reach.”

“Our desire,” she said, “is that the participants of the workshop unanimously establish the importance of paediatric palliative care. This will be done by discussing, composing and undersigning a charter in which the chronically and terminally ill, who are often marginalized and vulnerable, are afforded compassion and respect, regardless of their illnesses, thus safeguarding the dignity of their entire family. “

Silvia wrote in a letter to Pope Francis: “Incurable children are among the most vulnerable people on earth. They live for very few or very many years, and their families can become very fragile as a consequence. They need all our help and support. (…) The meeting on November 10th is dedicated to them. Our aim is to deliver a Charter that will help the representatives of all religions to convey to children suffering from incurable disease and their families, everywhere,the validity and importance of palliative care. Ensuring the quality and dignity of life until the last moment is our desired goal, but at the spiritual core of our mission are the children and their families.”

It is estimated that almost 20 million families have children affected by incurable disease.

The charter will be officially presented at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday, November 11th, at 11:30 in the Marconi Room of Vatican Radio.

On the Net:

Information on the Foundation, on Palliative Care, or on the Workshop’s program: www.maruzza.org

E mail: [email protected]

Pope’s Address to Social Security Institute

“True rest comes precisely from work! One can rest when one is sure of having a secure job, which gives one dignity, to oneself and to one’s family. And one can rest when in old age one is sure of having a pension, which is a right. Both are connected: true rest and work”

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave Saturday to directors and dependents of the the National Institute of Social Security of Italy.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With earnest cordiality I greet you, dependents and directors of the National Institute of Social Security, gathered here in audience for the first time in the secular history of the entity. Thank you so much! Thank you for your presence – you are really numerous! – and thank you to your President for his courteous words.

You carry out at several levels the task of protecting rights linked to the exercise of work; rights based on the nature itself of the human person and on his transcendent dignity. Entrusted in a particular way to your concern is, what I would like to describe as, the protection of the right to rest. I am referring not only to that rest that is upheld and legitimized by an ample series of social services (from the weekly day of rest to holidays – here every worker has a right: cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 19) but also and above all to a dimension of the human being that is not lacking in spiritual roots and for which you also, on your part, are responsible.

God called man to rest (cf. Exodus 34:21; Deuteronomy 5:12.15) and He himself wants to be participant in the seventh day (cf. Exodus 31:17; Genesis 2:2). In the language of faith, therefore, rest is a human and divine dimension at the same time. But with a unique prerogative: that of not being a simple abstention of ordinary toil and commitment, but an occasion to live fully one’s creatureliness, raised to filial dignity by God himself. Therefore, the need to “sanctify” rest  (cf. Exodus 20:8) is linked to that re-proposed weekly by Sunday –  a time that enables one to take care of family, cultural, social and religious life (Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 67).

You are also, in a certain sense, collaborators of the just rest of God’s children. In the multiplicity of services that you render to society, both in terms of care and security, you contribute to lay the bases so that rest can be lived as a genuinely human dimension and, therefore, open to the possibility of a living encounter with God and others.

This, which is an honor, becomes at the same time a burden. In fact, you are called to face ever more complex challenges. They stem be it from today’s society, with the criticality of its balances and the fragility of its relations, be it from the world of work, plagued by occupational insufficiency and by the precariousness of the guarantees that it is able to offer. And if one lives like this, how can one rest? Rest is the right we all have when we have work; however, if the situation of unemployment, of social injustice, of black labor, of precariousness of work is so strong, how can one rest? What should we say? We can say it is shameful!. “Ah, you want to work?” – “Yes!” –. “Very good. Let’s come to an agreement: you begin to work in September but until July, and, after July, August and part of September you don’t eat and you don’t rest.” This is happening today! And it is happening today in the whole world. And here, it is also happening today in Rome! Rest, because there is work, otherwise, one cannot rest.

Common, rather, up to some time ago, was to associate the end of the pension to the reaching of the so-called third age, in which to enjoy a merited rest and offer wisdom and counsel to the new generations. The contemporary age has sensibly changed these rhythms. On one hand, the eventuality of rest has been anticipated, sometimes diluted in time, sometimes renegotiated to aberrant extremes, as that which succeeds in perverting the hypothesis itself of the cessation of work. On the other hand, the need of care remained, both for one who lost or never had work, as well as for one was constrained to interrupt it for different reasons. If one interrupts one’s work health care collapses ….

Your difficult task is to see that indispensable subventions are not lacking for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families. Among your priorities, special care for feminine work must not be lacking, as well as maternity care, which must always protect nascent life and one who serves it daily. Protect women, the work of women! Insurance for old age, sickness, accidents linked to work must not be lacking. The right to a pension must not be lacking and I underline the right – a pension is a right! – as it is about this. Be conscious of the lofty dignity of each worker, to whose service your work is dedicated. By supporting their income during and after their time of work you contribute to the quality of their commitment as investment for a life to the measure of man.

Moreover, to work means to prolong God’s work in history, contributing to it in a personal, useful and creative way (cf. Ibid., 34). By supporting work you support this work itself. And, in addition, by guaranteeing a fitting subsistence to one who must leave work activity, you reaffirm the most profound reality: work, in fact, cannot be a mere gear in the perverse mechanism that grinds resources to obtain ever greater profits. Hence, work cannot be prolonged or reduced in function of the earnings of a few and of productive forms that sacrifice values, relations and principles. This is true for the economy in general, “can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 204). And it is true, analogously, for all social institutions, whose principle, subject and end is and must be the human person (cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 25). His dignity can never be harmed, not even when he ceases to be economically productive.

Some of you might think: “But how strange this Pope is: first he speaks of rest, and then he says all these things about the right to work!” They are connected things! True rest comes precisely from work! One can rest when one is sure of having a secure job, which gives one dignity, to oneself and to one’s family. And one can rest when in old age one is sure of having a pension, which is a right. Both are connected: true rest and work.

Man must not be forgotten: this is the imperative. Man must be loved and served with care, responsibility and availability. To work for one who works, and not the last who would like to do so but cannot. And to do so, not as a work of solidarity but as a duty of justice and subsidiarity. Support the weakest, so that no one lacks the dignity and freedom to live an authentically human life.

Thank you so much for this meeting. I invoke upon each of you and upon your families the Lord’s blessing. I assure you of my remembrance in prayer and I ask you, please, to pray for me.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Holy See to UN: Something Effective Must Be Done With Explosive Remnants of War

“The legacy of the present conflicts should not make whole populations hostage of the explosive remnants of war and abandoned weapons”

Here is a statement from the Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, made Monday at the meeting of the States Parties to Protocol V of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).

* * *

Mr. President,

At the outset, the Holy See Delegation would like to congratulate you for your election and we look forward to working with you to make our meeting a success in preventing and reducing the suffering of whole populations living in conflict areas.

Several military conflicts are unfolding in different regions of the world, from Europe to the Middle East to Africa, and the world is watching passively or even ignoring cynically. The humanitarian consequences of these conflicts are horrendous: Hundreds of thousands of dead and injured, millions of refugees, whole generations sacrificed. The parties to different international instruments of international humanitarian law developed to face these kinds of situations, at the least to minimize the humanitarian suffering, seem very little willing to live up to their responsibility.

This annual meeting of States parties to Protocol V of the CCW is an opportunity to have an honest review of the relevance of this treaty in the real world. It is legitimate to ask the simple question: what did Protocol V change for entire populations living in conflict areas? Are these populations better protected from the explosive remnants of war? Are any preventive measures taken by the parties to the conflicts to reduce the harm caused to the civilian populations, especially the weakest ones: children, women, elderly, disabled people?

Too many countries are plagued with explosive remnants of war from old and new conflicts. The extensive use of ammunitions with high failure rates are provoking a large number of victims and preparing for a humanitarian catastrophe in the future. Abandoned weapons are another concern leading to arms trafficking, terrorist attacks, destabilizing factors that open the way for new conflicts. This issue was a big problem in the last years and is now a reason to worry about the future in many regions and for many populations.

In this area, Sates parties to Protocol V have a special responsibility. It is not a secret that several States parties, during the negotiations and the adoption of this Protocol, were seeking a stronger treaty able to respond effectively to the root causes and the consequences of explosive remnants of war. Notwithstanding the weakness of this instrument, this Delegation hoped and is still hoping that a serious and honest implementation of Protocol V would make a difference in the lives of affected populations. What remains is to overcome the many qualifiers and ambiguities and to embark on a real and effective cooperation between affected countries and users of weapons. Beyond the letter of treaties, legally weak or strong, all actors have a shared responsibility to protect each and every human person out of a shared common dignity, out of an ethical responsibility and out of caring for the future of a peaceful and stable world order.

Mr. President,

The legacy of the present conflicts should not make whole populations hostage of the explosive remnants of war and abandoned weapons. A serious implementation of Protocol V will help to keep a glimpse of hope to prevent additional victims. It is of great importance that Protocol V be an effective element making possible reconstruction, reconciliation and development once conflicts are over.

Mr. President, I thank you.

US Bishops Call for Prayer as Supreme Court Decides to Hear Little Sisters’ Case

“At stake is nothing less than their freedom to serve others”

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that it will take up all seven pending cases challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) mandate to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. These cases include dozens of religious schools, universities, and charities, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, who run nursing homes across the country for the elderly poor.  

Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, responded to the decision by inviting everyone to join in prayer.

“Charitable ministries across the nation simply want to provide life-affirming health care for their employees, without fear of massive government penalties. At stake is nothing less than their freedom to serve others. Let us pray for justice for those who offer mercy,” he said in a statement.

“For years, we have prayed that the federal government would not force those who serve the needy—such as the Little Sisters of the Poor—to fund or facilitate coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions. Today, as the matter moves to the Supreme Court, we renew our prayer that this basic freedom will prevail. This freedom is not only common sense, it is what the law requires. And it is in keeping with our great national tradition of respecting religious freedom and diversity, which Pope Francis recognized to be ‘one of America’s most precious possessions.'”

Archbishop Lori’s call to prayer follows Pope Francis’ recent affirmation of the efforts of the United States Bishops in reminding us that “all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend [religious] freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”

Also during his recent trip to the U.S., Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pope Francis Meets President of Poland

Discussions Focused on Positive Contribution Church Makes in Polish Society

Pope Francis has met with the President of Poland and at the heart of their discussions was how the Catholic Church positively contributes to Polish society.

According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, the Pope met with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Vatican this morning and the discussions were cordial and touched on the Pope’s upcoming visit to the homeland of Saint Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day.

“During the cordial discussions,” the comminuque stated, “the Church’s positive contribution to Polish society was emphasised, also in view of the Holy Father’s planned visit to Kraków next year on the occasion of World Youth Day.” 

In addition to focusing on issues of mutual interest, such as promoting the family, supporting social groups most in need and welcoming migrants, the statement added, the Pontiff and head of state also discussed issues concerning the international community, such as peace and security. They gave special attention to the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East.

After meeting with the Holy Father, President Duda met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Under-Secretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri.

World Youth Day (WYD) is an international Catholic encounter with the Pope which is typically celebrated every three years in a different country. The most recent WYD was celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23-28, 2013, and the upcoming World Youth Day takes place in Krakow, Poland, July 25-31, 2016. WYD is open to all young people who want to take part and is considered an opportunity to experience the universality of the Church and draw closer to Christ.

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On the NET:

More about World Youth Day: http://worldyouthday.com/

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