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(Vatican Radio) At his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis again returned to the theme of peace building. “My hope,” he said, “is that the exploitation of man by man would be overcome.”

He said, “Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace!”

Pope Francis re-iterated that peace is always possible, and said that we are all called “called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity.” Each one of us, the Holy Father said, “can accomplish gestures of fraternity in dealing with one’s neighbour, especially with those who are tried by family tensions or by disagreements of different kinds.” He continued, “These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace.”

Below, please find the complete text of the Pope’s Angelus address on Sunday:

Dear brothers and sisters, buon giorno!

A beautiful Sunday that gives us the gift of a new year! A beautiful day!

In the Gospel that we read today, Saint John says, "In Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn 1:4-5, 9). People speak a great deal about the light, but they often prefer the deceptive tranquility of the dark. We speak so much about peace, but we often resort to war, or choose complicit silence, or we do nothing concrete to build peace. In fact, St John says that "He came to what was His own, but His own people did not accept Him" (Jn 1:11); because "“this is the verdict, that the light -- Jesus – came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed” (Jn 3:19-20). So says the Gospel of St John. A person's heart can reject the light and prefer the darkness, because the light lays bare their evil works. The one who does evil hates the light; the one who does evil hates peace. 

A few days ago we began the new year in the name of the Mother of God, celebrating World Peace Day on the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers”. My hope is that the exploitation of man by man would be overcome. This exploitation is a social plague that mortifies interpersonal relations and impedes a life of communion imprinted with respect, justice and charity. Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace!

Peace is not only the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, in harmony with nature, and in harmony with others. This is peace. First of all, to silence arms and to extinguish the outbreaks of war remain the unavoidable conditions to begin a journey that leads to the achievement of peace in its different aspects. I think of conflicts are still shedding blood in too many regions of the planet, of tensions in families and in communities -- but in how many families, in how many communities, in how many parishes is there war! as well as the sharp conflicts in our cities and towns between groups of different culture, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We must convince ourselves, despite any appearances to the contrary, that concord is always possible, at every level and in every situation. There is no future without proposals and projects for peace! There is no future without peace!

God, in the Old Testament, has made a promise. The Prophet Isaiah said: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (Is 2:4). It's beautiful! Peace is proclaimed, as a special gift of God, in the birth of the Redeemer: “Peace on earth to those on whom His favour rests (Lk 2:14).” Such a gift requires that we seek it incessantly in prayer. Let us recall, here in the Piazza, that sign: "At the root of peace is prayer." This gift should be sought and should be welcomed every day with commitment, in the situations in which we find ourselves. At the dawn of this new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace. You don't get on with this person? Make peace! At home? Make peace! In your community? Make peace! in your work? Make peace! Works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity. Each one of us should accomplish gestures of fraternity in dealing with one’s neighbour, especially with those who are tried by family tensions or by disagreements of different kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace.

Let us invoke Mary, the...

(Vatican Radio) Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, head of the Holy See Press Office, has published the following "notes" on the new Cardinals, whose names were announced by Pope Francis at the Angelus on Sunday:

With respect to the number of 120 electors, there were 12 places “open” in the College today or in the coming months. The Pope has slightly exceeded this number, but remained very close to it, such that it is substantially respected.

The most evident criteria is evidently that of universality. Fourteen different countries are represented, including some that do not currently have a Cardinal, and some that have never had one. If the retired Archbishops and Bishops are counted, eighteen countries are represented. There are no new Cardinals from North America (the USA or Canada) because they already have a significant number, and that number has remained stable during the past year. (There is a new Mexican Cardinal).

The presence of countries that have never had a Cardinal (Capo Verde, Tonga, Myanmar) is noteworthy. These countries have ecclesial communities that are small or that represent a minority within their country. (The Bishop of Tonga is the President of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific; the Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde is one of the most ancient African Dioceses; the Diocese of Morelia in Mexico is in a region troubled by violence.)

The fact that only one of the new Cardinals is from the Roman Curia is also notable, while “Roman” Cardinals remain about a quarter of the electors. It is evident that the Pope intends to consider the posts of Prefects of the Congregations and of some other very important institutions within the Curia – as, in this case, the Tribunal of the Signatura – as Cardinalatial posts.

The new nominations confirm that the Pope is not bound to the traditions of the “Cardinalatial Sees” – which were motivated by historical reasons in different countries – in which the Cardinalate was considered almost “automatically” connected to such sees. Instead, we have several nominations of Archbishops and Bishops of sees that in the past have not had a Cardinal. This applies, for example, to Italy, Spain, Mexico, Panama…

With regard to the retired nominees, the words of the Pope in his brief introduction should be noted: “They represent so many Bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude” have served as pastors of Dioceses, but also in the Curia and in the diplomatic service. The cardinalatial nominations are intended, then, as a recognition given symbolically to some, but recognizing the merits of all.

The youngest of the new Cardinals is Archbishop Mafi of Tonga (b. 1961), who will become the youngest member of the College of Cardinals.

The oldest is Archbishop Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop emeritus of Manizales (b. 1919).

(from Vatican Radio)

(Vatican Radio) At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis announced the names of fifteen Archbishops and Bishops whom he will raise to the dignity of the Cardinalate on February 14, 2015. In addition, the Holy Father announced that five retired Archbishops and Bishops “distinguished for their pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church” would also be made Cardinals.

Below, please find the complete text of the Pope’s announcement, with the names of all those set to be elevated to the Cardinalate:

“As was already announced, on February 14 next I will have the joy of holding a Concistory, during which I will name 15 new Cardinals who, coming from 14 countries from every continent, manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular Churches present in the world.

“On Sunday February 15 I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 12 and 13 I will hold a Consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the orientations and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia.

“The new Cardinals are:

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Archbishiop Manuel José Macario do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal)

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)

Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington (New Zealand)

Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo (Italy)

Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Văn Nhon of Hà Nôi (Viêt Nam)

Archbishop Alberto Suàrez Inda of Morelia (Mexico)

Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon (Myanmar)

Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok (Thailand)

Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento (Italy)

Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., of Montevideo (Uruguay)

Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Vallodolid (Spain)

Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, O.A.R., of David (Panamá)

Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Archipelago of Cape Verde)

Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga (Island of Tonga)

“Additionally, I will join to the Members of the College of Cardinals five Archbishops and Bishops Emeriti who are distinguished for their pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church. They represent so many Bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude, have given witness of love for Christ and for the people of God in particular Churches, in the Rome Curia, and in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See.

“They are:

José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales

Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus

Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, Apostolic Nuncio

Luis Héctor Villaba, Archbishop Emeritus of Tucumán

Júlio Duarte Langa, Bishop Emeritus of Xai-Xai

“Let us pray for the new Cardinals, that, renewed in their love for Christ, they might be witnesses of His Gospel in the City of Rome and in the world, and with their pastoral experience they might support me more intensely in my apostolic service.”

(from Vatican Radio)

(Vatican Radio) For the second time in as many days a large cargo ship filled with hundreds of migrants, thought to be mostly Syrians, has been apparently abandoned by its crew whilst en route to Italy. So is this a new tactic by the people smugglers as some contend?  James Stapleton is the International Communications Coordinator for the Jesuit Refugee Service and he spoke to Susy Hodges.

Listen to the interview with James Stapleton of Jesuit Refugee Service:  

Stapleton says this latest incident involving a cargo ship filled with migrants shows the extreme lengths to which Syrians who have been uprooted by their nation’s civil war are prepared to go in order to seek sanctuary for themselves and their families in Europe.  “What we’re seeing is a new level of desperation on the part of Syrians.”  

NOT CLEAR IF SMUGGLERS ACTUALLY ABANDONED SHIP

Stapleton says at this stage it’s still unclear how events really unfolded on board the Ezadeen cargo ship.  “We were told that it’s not clear that the smugglers actually abandoned this ship, that they may have pretended to be part of the crew, also to claim asylum from Italy.”

Stapleton explains that the situation for Syrian refugees who fled to neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Jordan is “getting worse” all the time with money running out, resources stretched to the limit and no chance of employment. “People don’t see any end in sight”, he said, and so are prepared “to take the most desperate measures” to seek a new future. 

RISK OF INCREASING DEATHS

With the ending of Italy’s Mare Nostrum rescue mission, Stapleton fears that the dangers being faced by migrants trying to reach Italy by sea will get worse and he predicts that this year could see “an increasing number of deaths.”

(from Vatican Radio)

(Vatican Radio)  The number of Catholics in the world has increased with growth registered across all five continents. The figures are taken by the Fides news agency from the latest edition of the Church’s Book of Statistics updated to 31 December 2012. These show that on that date the number of Catholics in the world stood at 1,228,621,000 with an overall increase of more than 15,000,000 compared to the previous year. The Americas and Africa registered the biggest increases followed by Asia, Europe and Oceania. The world percentage of Catholics stood at 17.49 %, a decrease of 0.01% compared to the end of 2011.

The total number of priests in the world increased by 895 to 414,313.  Europe once again registered the largest decrease (-1,375) followed by the Americas (-90) and Oceania (-80). In Africa the number of priests grew by 1,076 and in Asia by 1,364.

There was an overall decrease in the number of women religious worldwide, whose numbers dropped by 10,677 to 702,529. Once again Africa and Asia showed increases whilst Europe and the Americas showed the biggest decrease in the number of women religious. 

The number of lay missionaries in the world is 362,488 with an overall decrease of 19,234.

In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,188 kindergartens, 95,246 primary schools and 43,783 secondary schools. Charity and healthcare centres in the world run by the Church are 115,352.  

(from Vatican Radio)
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