BOLIVIA - The Pope's message at the forum on climate: "Follow a fair and integral ecology"

Tiquipaya (Agenzia Fides) - On Saturday, October 10 Pope Francis asked the Second World Conference on Climate Change taking place these days in Bolivia, to be guided by the "principles of a fair and integral ecology" that takes into account the people. The Holy Father sent a brief letter to the Forum, based in the Bolivian city of Tiquipaya, which was convened by President Evo Morales to collect the contributions of social movements on the issue of climate change.
The Forum of Tiquipaya, which ends today, Monday, October 12, will make known its findings at the twenty-first World Summit of the United Nations on Climate Change (cop21), to be held in Paris. According to agencies, they were 6,000 participants from 5 continents at the opening of the Forum. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had also arrived in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba to deliver a message at the Conference.

(Source: Agenzia Fides 12/10/2015)


BOLIVIA - Nuncio Diquattro appointed representative of the Holy See at the World Conference on Climate Change

La Paz (Agenzia Fides) - Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio in Bolivia, was appointed representative of the Holy See at the Second World Conference on Climate Change, to be held from 10 to 12 October 2015 in Bolivia. "I am pleased to announce that the Holy See has accepted the invitation of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and have designated me to attend the Peoples' World Conference on Climate Change and the defense of life" said the Nuncio yesterday, as reported in the note sent to Fides from a local source. 
During Pope Francis' visit in Bolivia, last July, the Holy Father mentioned his encyclical on ecology "Laudato Sì" more than once. The document presents a criticism regarding consumerism and irresponsible development, at the same time makes an appeal to intervene to fight climate change. The Bolivian government has found a series of coincidences with this document.
Tiquipaya (Cochabamba) will be for the second time the venue of the climate summit, the results of which will be shown during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP-21) in France. The event in Bolivia will be attended by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Heads of state and delegations from 50 countries.


(Source: Agenzia Fides 09/10/2015)



The Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo supports the reconciliation effort of  "Mussalaha" in Syria


Aleppo (Fides Agency) - "I believe that 'Mussalaha' initiative should be encouraged and supported by all. although it is sometimes hard to accept, reconciliation is a way not to be missed and not to be underestimated": with these words, expressed to Fides Agency, H. E. Mgr Giuseppe Nazzaro, OFM, Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, expresses the institutional support of the Church in Syria to the popular interfaith initiative "Mussalaha" ("Reconciliation"), which is emerging as a "third way" in the Syrian scenario: in an attempt to help quell the ongoing conflict, focuses on "internal dialogue" between the various political, social and religious components of the Syrian population.

The Bishop told Fides: "In my experience in the field, especially for what my Franciscan brothers did in the past, when they were called to intervene in difficult situations, I think the 'Mussalaha' should be supported. I totally agree with its spirit, because its main purpose is to save human lives. "Today’s man, even in the tragic conflict we see in Syria – remarks Mgr. Nazzaro - must realize that a human life is a gift from God and, as such, must be kept for a respect to God that has given it to man, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist ".
The movement "Mussalaha", which is gaining ground, despite the civil war in various areas of Syria, was born "from below, from the civil society, it is interfaith, transparent and independent (see Fides 6, 9, 11 July, 2012). It intends to dialogue with both the parties in conflict and the interest it pursues is only the salvation of human lives, reconciliation, unity and brotherhood of the Syrian people. The movement includes civil and religious leaders, community Chieves, dignitaries and representatives of the professions. Thanks to the efforts of a committee of "Mussalaha", for the mediation in the conflict in recent days, more than 60 civilians, mostly Christians, have left the bombed city of Homs and were rescued. The evacuation of civilians has been possible thanks to the bilateral agreement between the government forces besieging the city, and the factions of the armed revolutionaries.


(Source: Fides Agency 16 July, 2012)











Syria - The Call of the Franciscans: "Dialogue, no weapons to Syria”


Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - "Syria needs dialogue, not weapons" this is the appeal launched by the Franciscans in Syria, through fr. Romualdo Fernandez OFM, director of the Ecumenical Centre in Tabbaleh (Damascus) and Rector of the Shrine dedicated to the Conversion of St. Paul, in the Syrian capital. In an interview with Fides, fr. Fernandez points out that "the high road to overcome this crisis is the one of the dialogue between the parties. We ask everyone to agree to sit around a table and start a confrontation, which can prevent violence, deaths, killings and massacres, that for too long time has caused bloodshed in our Country. "On the last massacre in the area of Hama, he says that "it is a tragedy, the news are confusing, the truth is the first victim." According to the friar, "if foreign powers continue to arm and finance the parties in conflict, the war continues and the casualties will increase. This is not the way of peace: the road to peace passes through dialogue." As Christians, note fr. Fernandez, "we are open to all our brethren, of every religion" as Franciscans, he repeats, "we are next to the suffering population, to Christians and Muslims, and will never leave this Country. We will stay in Syria, in the service of Gospel. we were there yesterday, we are there today and we'll be there tomorrow, in peacetime and in wartime, in dark times and in bright times. In the certainty that the Lord wants us here and that He will provide for us .”


(Source: Fides Agency 13 July, 2012)


Syria- Agreement Army – Rebels: civilians evacuated from Homs



Homs (Agency Fides) - More than 60 civilians, mostly Christians, have left the city of Homs bombed in the last 48 hours. As reported by the Syrian-Greek Orthodox priest, Fr Maximos Al-Jamal, the evacuation of civilians has been made possible by the bilateral agreement between government forces besieging the city, and the factions of the revolutionary army. According to some Fides sources, mediation was laboriously conducted by members of the Committee for Reconciliation "Mussalaha". Some displaced people moved to Damascus, others to the so-called "Valley of the Christians", yet others have chosen to go to Lebanon. According to some Fides sources, there are at least 100 Christian civilians caught in trap in the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Diwan and al-Hamidiyah and, in the old city of Homs, and are ongoing negotiations to free them all. Representatives of the "Mussalaha" Committee, are working tirelessly and feverishly, some Fides sources note, with the only basic purpose of "saving human lives".
The "Mussalaha" initiative, which is gaining ground, despite the civil war, in different areas of Syria, is accused by some to be "an expression of the regime" or to be a "propaganda tool". Members Committee rejected the accusations, stressing that the initiative came "from below", from civil society, it is an interreligious, a transparent and an independent one. It intends to speak with the parties, so even with the government, but the interest it pursues, is nothing but the salvation of human lives, the reconciliation, the unity and the fraternity of the Syrian people.

 (Source: Fides July 12, 2012)





Maestro Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra on 11 July , 2012 will pay homage to Pope Benedict XVI with a private concert in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. The program includes compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music will be the highlight of the summer tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

After the opening execution in Münich on July 10, 2012, the Orchestra will perform at Versailles (France), Geneva (Switzerland), for the BBC in London (Great Britain) and at the Salzburg Festival. The concert scheduled for the Waldbühne in Berlin, on 29 July, 2012, will be one of the most important of the summer tour "Beethoven for all" and will help fund educational projects organized by the Orchestra in Israel and Palestine.

In a statement on the event one can read that the Holy Father has since long promoted an active dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims. In 1999, Barenboim and Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Each year they gather for summer workshops, in which it is fundamental the contribution of the thought and of the experience of interpreters, each one tied to the problematic situation in the Middle East.



The Pope to ROACO: “No effort be spared to get out Syria from the current situation of violence and crisis”

Dear Cardinals, Your Beatitudes,
Venerable Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Members and friends of ROACO,

I am very happy to welcome and greet you in this regular gathering. I extend greetings to the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and President of ROACO and I thank him for the kind words that he addressed to me. I also thank the Archbishop Secretary, the Under-Secretary, the other officials and all those present. I renew my gratitude to the institutions represented here, to the Churches from Europe and America that support them and to the many benefactors. I assure you of my prayers to the Lord, in the consoling certainty that he "loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7).

Above all it is my hope that you will persevere in "that movement of charity which, by Papal mandate, the Congregation oversees, so that the Holy Land and other Eastern regions may receive material and spiritual support in an ordered and just way so as to meet the demands of their ordinary ecclesial life and other special needs" (Address to the Congregation for Eastern Churches, 9 June 2007). In these words I expressed myself five years ago while visiting the Dicastery for Eastern Churches and I now wish to reiterate firmly that same exhortation so as to underline the urgent needs of the present moment.

The present economic and social situation, all the more sensitive on account of its global dimensions, continues to create problems in economically developed areas of the world, and, more seriously, spills over into less affluent regions, seriously compromising their present and their future. The East, the motherland of ancient Christian traditions, is especially affected by this process, which engenders uncertainty and instability that also has an impact on the Church and in the ecumenical and interreligious fields. These factors tend to reopen the endemic wounds of history and they have a damaging effect on dialogue and peaceful cohabitation among peoples. They also weaken authentic respect for human rights, especially the right to personal and community religious freedom. This right should be guaranteed in its public profession, not only in terms of worship, but also in relation to the pastoral, educational, charitable and social activities that are indispensable for its effective exercise.

The representatives of the Holy Land, including the Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Antonio Franco, the Vicar of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Father Custodian, all regular participants in ROACO, are joined this year by the two Major Archbishops, His Beatitude Cardinal George Alencherry of the SyroMalabar Church of India and His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine. Also present are the Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari, and the Bishop President of Caritas Syria. This gives me the opportunity to open up the gaze of the Church of Rome to the universal dimension that is so deeply rooted and constitutes one of the essential marks of the mystery of the Church. It also gives me the opportunity to reaffirm my closeness to the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in Syria, especially innocent children and the defenceless. May our prayer, our commitment and our active brotherhood in Christ, as an oil of consolation, help them not to lose sight of the light of hope in this moment of darkness, and obtain from God wisdom of heart for all in positions of responsibility so that bloodshed and violence, that only bring pain and death, may cease and give way to reconciliation, harmony and peace. Every effort should be made, including by the international community, to bring Syria out of the present situation of violence and crisis, which has already lasted a long time and risks becoming a wider conflict that would have highly negative consequences for the country and the whole region. I also issue an urgent and heartfelt appeal, in view of the extreme need of the population, that the necessary humanitarian assistance be guaranteed, and extended to the many persons who have been forced to leave their homes, some of them becoming refugees in neighbouring countries. The precious gift of human life must always be defended.

Dear friends of ROACO, the Year of Faith, which I have instituted to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, will offer fruitful suggestions to Aid to the Eastern Churches, that are a providential witness to what we read in the Word of God: that faith without works withers and dies (cf. Jas 2:17). May you always be eloquent signs of the charity that flows from the heart of Christ and presents the Church to the world in her true mission and identity by placing her at the service of God who is Love. Today in the Latin Rite we celebrate Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, whom I ask to sustain our thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit and to pray with us so that the Lord may also raise up in our days exemplary agents of charity towards others. May the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God always accompany the Eastern Churches in their homeland and in the diaspora, bringing them encouragement and hope for a renewed service to the Gospel. May she also watch over the coming journey which – God willing – I will make to Lebanon for the solemn closing of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. I look forward to offering the Lebanese Church and Nation my paternal and fraternal embrace. In the meantime I am pleased to impart to your Organizations, to all present, to your dear ones, and to the communities entrusted to your care, my affectionate Apostolic Blessing.

(Source: Fides news 22nd June 2012)



In today’s society, characterized by the constant hammering of all kinds of news spread by multimedia, it is detected that the truth is hard to emerge from the presentation of the facts set forth herein, indeed, somewhat distorted. This bothers not a little the careful recipients of these reports, who perceive more and more unease and disenchantment.



One of the most diffused aspects in the reports of current events is the violence that is magnified to an extent far greater than its effective reach and is justified by motivations that are not always objective and convincing. The presentation of the facts, for the most part biased and inaccurate, is exacerbating the minds of people affected by these events closely. This happens mostly in various parts of the globe.



Extrapolating from the various situations the example given by Syria, it is detected that the fights do not tend to crease and the parties involved through the dissemination of news mostly false, misrepresent what is really happening in that Country. This, certainly, does not help to resolve the crisis in Syria, that in case of its prolongation, as it is easy to guess, could make even more precarious and unstable the delicate structures in this area of Middle East and add more violence, suffering and bereavement.



From these considerations a question arises whose answer is quite difficult to implement in practice. The question is the following: “Who can help these people, who sometimes unknowingly contribute to cause such havoc, to come out of the poverty where they are? These people are to be considered poor, not as indigent but for the fact of having a great inner emptiness to be filled. If one could succeed in helping them…………….

August 22,  2011