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US ambassadors: Religious groups provide aid where governments cannot

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U.S. diplomats asked the Holy See to join the multilateral International Religious Freedom Alliance Wednesday, underscoring the contributions of ...
          

Brooklyn's Bishop DiMarzio to lead Vatican investigation of Bishop Richard Malone and the Diocese of Buffalo

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The Holy See has announced that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn will lead an Apostolic Visitation of the Diocese of Buffalo.
          

To Participants in the General Chapter of the Pious Society of the Daughters of Saint Paul (4 October 2019)

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE GENERAL CHAPTER OF THE
PIOUS SOCIETY OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT PAUL

Clementine Hall
Friday, 4 October 2019

[Multimedia]


 

Dear sisters,

I welcome you who, from the five continents, are participating in the eleventh General Chapter of the Daughters of Saint Paul. And I thank the Superior General for her kind words.

The theme you have chosen for your reflection is “Arise, go on your journey” (Dt 10: 11), trusting in the Promise. A strongly biblical theme, which recalls the experience of Moses, the experience of Abraham, of Elijah, of many, and more generally, the experience of the People of God. The history of salvation, both of the individual person and the population, is rooted in the willingness to depart, to leave, to set out on a journey, not by one’s own initiative, but as the response to the call and trusting in the promise. It is the experience of Grace- Saint Paul would say – that was given to us in Jesus Christ. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15: 16). And this applies not only for the calling, but also for our present and for our future: “Apart from me you can do nothing”, says the Lord (Jn 15: 5).

Dear sisters, in these “delicate and hard” times, as Pope Saint John Paul II said (Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, 13), faith is more necessary than ever. Many say that consecrated life is going through a winter. It may be so, since vocations are scarce, the average age is advancing and fidelity to the commitments made by profession is not always what it should be. In this situation, the great challenge is to get through the winter so as to flourish and bear fruit. The coldness of society, sometimes even within the Church and the consecrated life itself, pushes us to go to the roots, to live the roots. Winter, even in the Church and in consecrated life, is not a time of sterility and death, but a favourable time that allows us to return to the essential. For you: to rediscover the elements of Pauline prophecy, to rediscover the apostolic and missionary itinerancy which cannot be lacking in a Daughter of Saint Paul, so that we can live on the peripheries of thought and on the peripheries of existence.

Born for the Word, to proclaim to all the luminous way of life that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you carry missionary boldness in your DNA. Never let this boldness be diminished, in the knowledge that the protagonist of the mission is the Holy Spirit. This is clear! I hope that the Chapter that you are experiencing will be a good time to ask yourselves: how can we express the Pauline prophecy in response to the calls that come to us in our time?

It is a matter of setting out on the streets of the world, with a contemplative gaze full of empathy for the men and women of our time, hungry for the Good News of the Gospel. To feel part of an outgoing Institute, in mission, putting all your strength at the service of evangelization. Let yourselves be challenged by the reality in which we live, let yourselves be disturbed by reality. Constantly seek ways of proximity, keeping in your hearts the ability to feel compassion for the many needs that surround us. I would like to underline this word, “compassion”. It is a very evangelical word, that the Gospel very often says of Jesus: “He had compassion”. When He sees the crowd, when He sees the daughter of the widow of Nain, when He sees so many situations… “He had compassion, pity”. It is God’s compassion. To be missionary with a witness of life centred in Christ, especially for you, through editorial, digital and multimedia production, and by promoting critical formation via of the media and biblical animation.

All this is impossible without faith: the faith of Abraham who “believed against hope” (Rm 4: 18); the faith of Mary, who even without understanding the mystery that surrounds her, believes and consents: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1: 38); the faith of Peter, who says: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6: 68).

In times of fatigue and frustration, God commands Elijah: “Rise and eat” (1 Kings 19: 5). [Addressing the Superior] Mother general, may they eat well! Do not let yourself be obstructed by tiredness or resignation. Resignation is a woodworm that enters in the soul, embitters the heart. When we think of consecrated men and women with that long face… “Ah, that is how things are, unfortunately!” The use of unfortunately, with that attitude… Do not give in to the spirit of resignation. The road you have travelled is long and fruitful. And the road that remains to be travelled is long (cf. 1 Kings 19: 7). Nourish with the bread of the Word, go ahead, in the midst of the lights and shadows of the cultural context in which we live – take risks, take risks – be faithful to the perspective that is proper to you, that is, not primarily a moral judgment, but the search for opportunities to sow the Word, with the “imagination” of communication. Interpreting the thirst and hunger of our contemporaries: thirst for God, hunger for the Gospel. And all this with a discernment and empathy that originate in trust in God, the God of history. In this context I encourage you to revive the gift of faith by always letting yourselves be enlightened by the Word. It is the centre of your personal and community life, in the liturgy and in lectio divina. The Word that keeps the apostolic spirit alive in your Institute. The gifts you have brought me express this charism of yours. Thank you so much!

“Arise, go on your journey”. This verb “to arise” corresponds to the Greek term anastasis, resurrection: “Get up, arise!” It is an Paschal verb. It is also a spousal verb, as it appears in the Song of Songs (cf. 2,10.13). Get up and “set out”, like Mary Magdalene at the dawn of the resurrection (cf. Jn 20: 1-2); like Peter and the other disciple who run to the tomb (cf. Jn 20: 3-4); and first of all like Mary on her visit to Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1: 39ff). Set out, with the boldness that comes from the Spirit and the creativity that has characterized your Founder. Go out, depart in haste, like the Virgin Mary and Saint Paul: in this way you too are called to communicate, through your apostolic life and works, the Good News to the men and women of today. There is no time to waste. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9: 16).

Dear sisters, may the intercession of the Apostle of the Gentiles always assist you. May you also be accompanied by my blessing, which I cordially impart to you and to all your communities throughout the world. Fifty-five countries, you said? [The Superior answers: “Fifty-two countries”]. All over the world! And a greeting to all the sisters. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 4 October 2019


          

To Participants in the General Chapter of the Roman Union of the Order of Saint Ursula (3 October 2019)

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE GENERAL CHAPTER
OF THE ROMAN UNION OF THE ORDER OF SAINT URSULA

Clementine Hall
Thursday, 3 October 2019

[Multimedia]


 

Dear sisters!

I extend a cordial greeting to each of you, and I thank the Prior General. The General Chapter is an event of grace, an ecclesial event: even when it is celebrated in the strictest confidence, it belongs to the life of the Church. All this is particularly evident with reference to your General Chapter, which has as its theme: “A global community moving into new life”. Challenging!

The juxtaposition of these two words: community and global, leads us immediately to ask questions, as it seems contradictory. Generally, the term community is used to indicate a group of people who share a rather restricted environment: such as the religious community, the parish community, in short, a circumscribed form of God’s people; the adjective global, instead, is used to attribute to an entity to which one refers a universal reach, which arrives at the ends of the earth. It seems that these two terms are not meant to be together, yet, this is the reality in which we live and with which we have to deal.

We find ourselves in a time increasingly interconnected and inhabited by peoples who have come to be part of a “global community”. We all find ourselves closer to the great challenges we face. Today, no one can say any more: “This does not concern me”. The protection of human rights, the conquest of freedom of thought and religion, the evangelization of the distant and the near - beginning with oneself -, social justice, the protection of the environment and the common search for sustainable development, the advent of a humanistic economy, of a policy that is truly at the service of man are not “other people’s problems”, but rather they are our problems, they are my problems; they no longer concern only a people or a nation, but the whole world. For example, the burning Amazon is not just a problem in that region, it is a global problem; the migration phenomenon does not affect only some states, but the international community; and so on.

Here then is the hopeful invitation expressed in the second part of your theme: “Moving into new life”. These words take up what Saint Angela Merici often said: “Make new life”. But how is it possible to go towards a new life?

It is possible by opening the doors to Christ and imitating Him in charity, that is, in becoming a neighbour to every man and woman of every language, people and nation, with great respect for the diversity of the other, both cultural and religious.

In the same way you too, dear sisters, with respect for your personal identities and the charismatic originality that characterizes you, are called to “make new life”, to bring a breath of new life to the ends of the earth, knowing how to stay responsibly in the midst of different peoples, nations and cultures, so that the message of faith, hope and charity that you bring may attract people to Christ.

What we live in is an international and intercultural context, so I invite you to seek, in a climate of prayer, the appropriate instruments so that in pursuing your individual and community objectives you do not lose sight of the vast horizon of humanity for which Jesus gave His life. In this regard, it is my hope that the entire Roman Union of the Order of Saint Ursula will take courageous missionary decisions, capable of transforming everything, so that customs, styles, schedules, languages and structures of government and apostolate may become adequate channels for the evangelization of today’s world. To do this, a pastoral conversion of the structures is necessary, so that they are increasingly oriented towards the mission, are “outgoing” - because if they are not outgoing, they are not Church - to encourage the response of all those to whom Jesus offers His friendship.

More than ever, we need consistent witness. Consistent witness, please, do not forget! The Church needs men and women who, beginning with their own personal conversion, are able to offer to listening and understanding to others, together with the joy of the Gospel.

You, dear sisters, are called to bear this witness as faithful daughters of Saint Angela Merici, finding renewed inspiration in her charism, to respond to the thirst of this world, which ultimately thirsts for Christ and thirsts for His Mercy.

In this context I would like to encourage you to continue with enthusiasm your educational task, especially at a time when young people are overburdened with an enormous amount of information and disoriented by the speed with which it is transmitted. Consequently, there is a need for an educational approach that teaches us to think critically, to discern the pros and cons of the means we use, and that can show young people a path of maturation in values.

You know well that a serious human growth in the awareness of values is only possible by combining education with the proclamation of the Gospel. This is done primarily through personal witness, so I invite you to take good care of your spiritual life.

Love for people is a force that promotes the encounter with God and the spiritual life itself, because those who love their neighbour love God, while those who do not love their brother “walk in darkness”, “remain in death” and “have not known God” (1 Jn 2: 11; 3: 14; 4: 8). When we live the spirit of encounter, when we approach others with the intention of seeking their good, we open up our inner self to receive the most beautiful gifts of the Lord. Every time we meet with a brother and sister in love, our faith is more enlightened to recognize God. For this reason, if you wish to grow in spiritual life, you cannot give up being missionaries.

Dear Sisters, I ask God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Ursula and Saint Angela Merici, to enlighten you in your discernment and in your decisions, and to give you the strength to put them into practice, always mindful that the ultimate goal of life is to give glory to God. May the grace of the Lord always accompany you and sustain you on your journey. From the heart I bless you and all your communities. All of you! And you, please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 3 October 2019


          

Holy Mass celebrated for the Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State (28 September 2019)

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HOLY MASS CELEBRATED FOR THE GENDARMERIE CORPS OF VATICAN CITY STATE

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Lourdes Grotto, Vatican Gardens
Saturday, 28 September 2019

[Multimedia]


 

A first reading of the Gospel, of this passage of the Gospel, can perhaps lead us to mistake the message for a teaching of Jesus in favour of almsgiving, in favour of justice, that is, a teaching of Jesus of a moral type. But it is something else. Jesus wants to enter precisely into the human path of an entire life, and for this Gospel He speaks of two lives: of a rich man and a poor man, of the paths of each one. This Gospel makes us see destiny – not a magical destiny, no – the destiny that a man or a woman can make for him- or herself, because we make our destiny, we journey on our way and very often we make our own path. Sometimes the Lord intervenes, the Lord gives grace, but we are responsible for our journey. The Lord gives us the gratuitousness of grace, He helps us always to go in his presence, but our journey, the responsibility for our journey, is ours. I would like to enter a little into this message.

“There was a rich man, who wore purple clothes and very fine linen, and every day he gave himself to lavish banquets”. This is one life. There is another: “A poor man, named Lazarus, stood at his door, covered with sores, eager to feed himself with what fell from the table of the rich man; but it was the dogs who came to lick his sores”. Two lives. Not a moment of life: two paths of life, because the rich man continued to lead this life and the poor man continued to suffer in poverty. It is not a fanciful thing: this happens every day in every city, in every part of the world. The Lord recounts this passage from the Gospel with great peace and serenity.

Instead, in the first reading we listened to the prophet Amos, who does not speak of this with such serenity. “Woe”, he begins, “woe to the carefree people of Zion and to those who consider themselves safe on the mountain of Samaria! Lying on ivory beds and lying on their couches, they eat the lambs of the flock and the calves raised in the stable. They sing to the sound of the harp, as David improvises on musical instruments; they drink wine in large cups and are anointed with the most refined ointments, but of the ruin of Joseph – that is, of the poor, of the ruin of the people of Israel –they do not worry. Therefore now they will go into exile at the head of the deportees and the orgy of the dissolute will cease. There is the orgy of the dissolute, there is the rich man and there is injustice towards the chosen people of the Lord, and here is the threat of the Lord Who punishes by sending into exile.

So far it seems to be only a moral teaching: please do justice to one another. But the most essential thing, the strongest, the key to understanding this is given by the initial prayer, the Collect prayer, which says: “O God, you call your poor by name, while the rich man has no name”. This is the problem. Both lead their lives, each one in the choice he has made of life. One has managed to have a name, to make a name for himself, to be called by name, with a noun; the other, the rich, we do not know what his name is – we have only the adjective, “rich”: he failed to develop a name, dignity before God. Life is played out: the coherence of having a name or the inconsistency that leads us to not having a name. The rich man knew that at the door of his house there was this poor man and pretended not to see him, because he looked only at himself, he focused on himself, on vanity, he believed himself to be the master of the universe, and worried about riches and the feasts and things he did. Did he not know what the poor man’s name was? Yes, he knew it, because when he was in hell he asked Abraham: “Send Lazarus”. The hypocrisy of vanity, the hypocrisy of those who believe they can be redeemers of themselves, to save themselves, only with things. But their names do not grow, they have no names, they are anonymous. Instead, in the Gospel text, five times the name of the poor man is said. Five times, an exaggeration, but why does Jesus do this? Because as the prayer says: “Lord, you call your poor by name, while the rich man has no name”. This is the story of this Gospel, the story of two paths of life: one that has managed to carry on his own name; and the other who, concerned about himself, about selfishness, is unable to make his personhood, his dignity grow. He has no name.

Our whole life is something of a path to consolidate, to strengthen our name with the honesty of life, with the path that the Lord points out to us, and for this we must help each other.

One might say to me: “Father, the Gospel is fine, but what does this have to do with the Gendarmerie today? You too must guard all the people who are here, who have the possibility of growing up, of having a name. You are men who work for the dignity of each one of us so that each one of us may have a name and carry on his own name, the name that the Lord wants us to carry. And when you carry out some disciplinary measure – “This cannot be done” – it is precisely to stop this orgy of anonymity that is the ugliest of human orgies: not to accept a name and to wish to return to the darkness of anonymity. That's why it occurred to me that it can be said that the Gendarmerie is the custodian of the names, of all our names. Not to clean up each person’s file: if there is something bad, we burn it away... No, this “name” is not valid. But to help the discipline of the Vatican City State, to enable each of its inhabitants to have a name. And for that I thank you very much. Continue in this way, to work for the dignity of persons, of each one, and in this way you will continue your vocation.

Finally, I would like to say just one word about a sin that I have committed today, and to you who are policemen: today I have smuggled! I smuggled into this Mass a family of friends celebrating the 50th anniversary of their marriage, and I had this Mass and they wanted me to celebrate it for them and so I smuggled them here in this Mass with you. They are forty-six of them, they are there. The spouses, children and grandchildren. A total of forty-six. A lovely family! Pray for them too, that they may have a name. Thank you.


 

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 28 September 2019

 

 


          

To the «Scholae Cantorum» of the Italian Association of Saint Cecilia (28 September 2019)

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE "SCHOLAE CANTORUM" OF THE ITALIAN ASSOCIATION OF SAINT CECILIA

Paul VI Audience Hall
Saturday, 28 September 2019

[Multimedia]


 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you all: from the President, Msgr. Tarcisio Cola, whom I thank for his words, to the Board of Directors and to you: singers, choir directors and organists, gathered together from various parts of Italy.

You are part of the worthy Italian Santa Cecilia Association, ancient – founded 140 years ago – and still alive and active and eager to serve the Church. The affection and esteem of the Popes for this Association is well known, especially of Saint Pius X, who gave the people of God organic provisions on religious music (cf. Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini, 22 November 1903). Saint Paul VI wanted them to be renewed and active to provide for a music that integrates with the liturgy and that derives its fundamental characteristics from it. Not just any music, but holy music, because rituals are holy; endowed with the nobility of art, because God must be given the best; universal, so that everyone can understand and celebrate. Above all, clearly distinct and different from that used for other purposes. And he recommended that you cultivate the sensus ecclesiae, the discernment of music in the liturgy. He said: “Not everything is valid, not everything is licit, not everything is good. Here the sacred must join with the beautiful in a harmonious and devout synthesis” (Address to the religious sisters in charge of liturgical singing, 15 April 1971). Benedict XVI urged you not to forget the musical heritage of the past, to renew it and increase it with new compositions.

Dear friends, I also encourage you to continue along this path. Being an association is a resource: it helps you to generate movement, interest, commitment to better serve the liturgy. An association that is not a protagonist or owner of any music, but that has as its program love and fidelity to the Church. Together you can better engage in singing as an integral part of the liturgy, inspired by the first model, Gregorian chant. Together you take care of the artistic and liturgical preparation, and you promote the presence of the schola cantorum in every parish community. The choir guides the assembly and – with its specific repertoires – is a qualified voice of spirituality, communion, tradition and liturgical culture. I recommend that you help to sing the whole people of God, with conscious and active participation in the Liturgy. This is important: closeness to the people of God.

There are various fields of your apostolate: the composition of new melodies; promoting singing in seminaries and houses of religious formation; supporting parish choirs, organists, schools of sacred music, young people. Singing, playing, composing, directing and making music in the Church are among the most beautiful things for the glory of God. It is a privilege, a gift from God to express the art of music and to assist participation in the divine mysteries. Beautiful and good music is a privileged tool for approaching the transcendent, and often helps to understand a message even those who are distracted.

I know that your preparation involves sacrifice in terms of the availability of time to devote to rehearsals, to the involvement of people, to performances on feast days, when perhaps friends invite you to go for a walk. Many times! But your dedication to the liturgy and its music represents a way of evangelization at all levels, from children to adults. In fact, the liturgy is the first “teacher” of catechism. Do not forget this: the liturgy is the first “teacher” of catechism.

Sacred music also carries out another task, that of bringing together Christian history: in the liturgy, Gregorian chant, polyphony, popular music and contemporary music resonate. It is as though, in that moment, there were all the past and present generations praising God, each with its own sensitivity. Not only that, but sacred music – and music in general – creates bridges, brings people closer, even the most distant; it knows no barriers of nationality, ethnicity, or skin colour, but involves everyone in a higher language, and always manages to bring together people and groups even from very different backgrounds. Religious music shortens distances, even between those brothers and sisters who sometimes do not feel they are close. For this reason, in each parish the singing group is a group where one encounters availability and mutual help.

For all this, dear brothers, I thank you and I encourage you. May the Lord help you to be constant in your effort. The Church esteems the service you provide in the communities: you help them to feel the attraction of beauty, which detoxifies from mediocrity, raises them upwards, towards God, and unites hearts in praise and tenderness. I bless you and all the members of the Santa Cecilia Association. May Our Lady protect you. And since those who sing pray twice, I trust that you will also pray for me. Thank you!


 

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 28 September 2019

 

 


          

To young people of the "Centro Social Padre David de Oliveira Martins" in Braga (Portugal) (28 September 2019)

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE
"CENTRO SOCIAL PADRE DAVID DE OLIVEIRA MARTINS"
IN BRAGA (PORTUGAL)

Study of the Paul VI Hall
Saturday, 28 September 2019

[Multimedia]


 

Dear brothers and sisters!

I greet you all, and thank Bishop Jorge for his kind words of greeting and presentation of this beautiful gift of God, this marvel that is the Social Centre of Ruuílhe. It is in particular the fruit of the contributions offered by humble and generous people in response to the call of Father David de Oliveira Martins. He did not ask for himself; he asked for his brothers, who extended their arms to him in search of help. God gave him the grace to touch the hearts of the poor and humble, unleashing the revolution of tenderness everywhere, under the banner of “Father David's children”. From Rome, please convey my embrace to the people assisted, and the assistants of the Institution in their various capacities in the service of children, young people, the poor and the elderly. As ambassadors for the love you have for the Church and for the good you want me to do, you have sent the little ones. Thank you, Father Manuel Joaquim!

Your journey leads you to look to the future together: not to look at yourselves alone. As Paul teaches, “the present or the future – all are yours, and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3: 21, 23). You are Christ’s! This is the profound meaning of your history to this day, but it is above all the key to facing the future. Always be Christ’s in prayer, in the care of your brothers and sisters, the least among you. Do not be afraid to participate in the revolution to which he calls you: the revolution of tenderness (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 88). Christ walks with you and guides you.

Before greeting you in a more personal way, I want to assure each and every one of you of my affectionate solidarity. Never let the past determine your life. Always look forward. Work and struggle to achieve the things you want. And may none of you ever feel alone; indeed, it is up to every man, created in the image of Christ, to be close to his neighbour. May God grant you to be bearers of His mercy, tenderness and love for one another. And may He bless the Padre David Social Center, with all those who shelter it and all those who manage, inspire and support it. I pray for you; and ask you to pray for me! Thank you.


 

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 28 September 2019

  


          

To the Italian Gymnastics Federation (28 September 2019)

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ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE ITALIAN GYMNASTICS FEDERATION

Consistory Hall
Saturday, 28 September 2019

[Multimedia]


 

Dear friends!

Welcome to this meeting, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of your institution, founded to promote the culture of sport through physical education. I greet you all and thank your President for his words.

The presence of sports associations in society is not only functional for the organization of sporting activity. They are also called upon to foster a mentality which, through sport, promotes the integral development of the human person and social friendship. It is a question of understanding and living the practice of sport not only as a source of physical well-being, but as an ideal of a courageous, positive and optimistic life. In this sense, sport becomes a formative experience that helps the new generations to cultivate the values of life: love for loyalty and justice, the taste for beauty and goodness, the search for freedom and solidarity.

Nowadays, the sports system sometimes appears to be conditioned by a logic of profit, by an exasperated competitive spirit and, unfortunately, also by violent attitudes. Three bad things: profit, exasperated competitiveness, and sometimes violent attitudes. And all three of these bad attitudes lack one thing: the amateur dimension of sport. When sport loses its amateur dimension, these attitudes come out, which lower the level of sport. Faced with these negative aspects, leaders and athletes inspired by the Christian faith are able to bear witness to the humanizing power of the Gospel even in sports environments, and thus contribute to building a more fraternal society.

This is what I also wish you on this anniversary. May you always live sport with loyalty and a healthy competitive spirit, without losing your amateur inspiration. This will help you to face the challenges of life with courage and honesty, with joy and serene confidence in the future. I entrust your Federation to the Lord and bless you. Please, I ask you to pray for me. Thank you!


 

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 28 September 2019

 


          

Doorstop - Burnie Show, Tasmania

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GAVIN PEARCE MP, MEMBER FOR BRADDON: Well g'day everyone and welcome to the northwest. Welcome to Burnie. And I trust we're all here to report on a great agricultural show, the 100th show here in the northwest coast in Burnie. I'm joined here by of course the Prime Minister, We thank the Prime Minister for taking the time out to visit Tasmania once again. Our Premier Will Hodgman, the State Agricultural Minister and indeed our Federal Agriculture Minister in Bridget McKenzie. We're also joined by Senator Richard Colbeck. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, please if today we could promote this as best we can. I think it's important for our region and for our people that have worked so hard. I'll hand over to the PM.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks Gav, well it's great to be here for the hundredth Burnie show and as I just said as the show was opened, this is a wonderful testimony to the ongoing vibrancy of agricultural and regional and rural communities all around the country. We know that around our country at the moment there are just so many rural and regional communities that are hurting and you don't need just to be in drought to be hurting. And there are communities that have been affected by floods up there in North Queensland in large sprawling grazing districts. And you know these are the challenges that exist in the modern day competitiveness of the agricultural sector. But here in Tasmania we have a sector that is doing famously well supported by great trade agreements. That is ensuring that the produce of Tasmania is finding its way into markets like never before around the world and prices to support it. And as we walk around this Show here today and we talk to people in the community I've always been encouraged particularly here in north western, northern Tasmania by the optimism, by the vibrancy, by the confidence and that's the product of you know we're seeing the unemployment rate here fall from 9 per cent to 6.2 per cent. We're seeing jobs created. We're seeing jobs created in the agricultural sector. There are the great projects that are being pursued together with the State Government and Will Hodgman and the team whether it's battery of the nation, or the many other projects we're doing which are going to have a big impact here in north west Tasmania and in northern Tasmania.

But today we're celebrating agricultural shows. Agricultural shows are a great opportunity for communities to come together. And to celebrate their achievements and basically show what they can do. And to come together as communities to celebrate those achievements and we're announcing today the commencement of the 20 million dollar program which is going in to support agricultural shows all around the country. I'm going to ask the Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie to talk a bit more about that. But it's just another part of the way we're trying to support agricultural communities. And in those communities that are doing it really tough, they're great opportunities for them to come together and support each other. I've seen that firsthand as I've visited some of those shows in drought affected parts of the country. It is an opportunity for farmers and agricultural communities to support each other and to get alongside each other and to encourage each other. Today, the Drought Minister has announced a further 13, just over $13 million in support for on farm water infrastructure that is in addition to what we announced last Friday which is the hundred million dollars particularly around financial assistance both to households and into rural communities whether through St Vinnies or the Salvos and other programs that are putting money directly into communities but also putting money into the pockets of farming households with much more relaxed and more flexible arrangements so they can get that assistance.

The drought is the first call on the budget. It's our first priority in addressing those immediate fiscal needs but longer term it's also about investing in the necessary water infrastructure. It's not just dams, it's pipes, it's irrigation systems. It's ensuring that we're putting the plumbing in place. We can't make it rain but we can ensure that we're building for the future and we're providing the financial assistance to support those communities to be able to make their way through these very drought-affected times. So with that Bridg, come and tell us more about our investment in the Shows.

SENATOR THE HON BRIDGET MCKENZIE, MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE: Thanks PM, look it's fantastic to be on the North-West Coast of one of those turnaround states where agriculture is just going gangbusters. And it's here in Tasmania. Very, very proud to be part of a government that is seeking to bridge the gap between urban Australians and those of us who live out in the regions and work in the regions and work in agriculture. And agricultural shows are a key part of our task to do that. So we have small shows, we have large shows. This program will mean that you can apply for up to half a million dollars, to not just upgrade your grandstands and build critical infrastructure but to purchase those sort of the movable infrastructure that might make your show much more attractive to get not just the locals along but the people down the road, the people from Hobart, and the people from Melbourne to get out into the region and to see the great horse events, the fantastic cattle and sheep that we've got but also so many of our agricultural shows are the place where you can grow the largest pumpkin, if you're really good- If you've got a great vegie patch your local show is where you can get due recognition, if you make the best jelly slice in town, well it's your local agricultural show where you'll be able to put that on show and get the due recognition.

So by backing our agricultural shows across the country, we're backing vibrant sustainable regions and regional communities who are proud of who they are, proud of where they come from, and very proud of what they do. We will stand with our regional communities particularly in this tough time of drought. And their agricultural show is often one event in the season where they can get off farm, meet with the community, have a look at what everyone else is doing, celebrate what they do and enjoy each other's company and get together. So I'm very proud to be part of a government that's backing agricultural shows right across the country.

ROB WILSON, CHAIR AGRICULTURAL SHOWS AUSTRALIA: Good afternoon everyone, I'm Rob Wilson I chair Agricultural Shows of Australia which is the peak body for that all the 580 shows that operate every year in Australia. And we were talking about, the Minister and the Prime Minister talking about communities, and that's true. They are the lifeblood of communities everywhere. We use around 30,000 volunteers that run shows every year and we provide actually an economic impact to the community of close to a billion dollars now. And it is the resilience of farmers that has seen the resilience of agricultural shows not only here in Burnie but nearby, Campbelltown has had its 150th year, every year there's a handful of shows that are now reaching their hundred years but also there's new societies popping up around the country as well. And that's a testimony to the communities and the people and the $20 million which will go for not only the infrastructure but as the minister said for other sustainable activities reflecting the community, looking at education, looking at technology, looking at digital platforms that we can use now to keep that resilience going. And we now hope for another hundred and fifty years, ag societies will be viable right around Australia.

THE HON WILL HODGMAN MP, PREMIER OF TASMANIA: I'm delighted to be here today at the Burnie show with so many of my parliamentary colleagues and so many members of this community. The Burnie show 2019 is like so much of what Tasmania is about now. Bigger, better, stronger, more people involved. It's the place to be and we're delighted to see such a great community effort to restore life into a show that like many across our state has had difficult periods. As a state government we've invested more into supporting our regional shows because they are the lifeblood of communities right across the state and we'll continue to do so. And similarly the announcement by the Commonwealth Government today it shows once again that we're working in sync to deliver positive things for our communities while other political parties worry about things that don't matter to Tasmanians we are very much working together to keep our economy strong, to invest in services that Tasmanians need to keep this state powering ahead as it is and with more opportunities than ever before. So I want to thank again the Prime Minister for being back in Tasmania and to just highlight the strong collaboration we have whether it be supporting our agricultural sector which is grown by about 10 per cent in the last year alone and that's largely driven through the policies of not only the Commonwealth government and mine but also through the strength and resilience of a more confident farming community. In fact the most confident in the country. So, wonderful to have so many people with us today in what is the turnaround state in the nation.

PRIME MINISTER: Very true. Now questions on this matter and then we can go to questions on other matters and we'll excuse some of our guests.

JOURNALIST: Quick one for Rob?

PREMIER: You do Rob, and then we'll, we won't run away.

JOURNALIST: Nationally, how tough have times been for some of these regional shows?

WILSON: It varies around the country and some shows that have had some difficulty and perhaps go into, take a year off, but more often than not they're back again they get a strong committee around them. We have a very very strong next gen group right around Australia. Every state now has next gen groups and we have our rural ambassador programs and our younger judges and paraders and we're educating and encouraging young people to come up, and they're now taking roles on committees. We've got very young people now, president of show societies and taking an active role along with our volunteers, the people who do a sterling job in all the shows that have been there for a very long time. So it's now a good mix of the experience but certainly the next gen becoming involved. So sure in some areas it's tough but the show mostly goes on.

PRIME MINISTER: Any other questions on the matter of the announcement today? This is the first time I've done a press conference to the sounds of country music. I might make it a normal practice.

JOURNALIST: On native animals, how, are there better ways to protect native animals in the wake of the attack on the wombat in South Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: Well that is something that is predominantly the domain of the State Government in terms of those types of, Will might want to comment on that. And obviously the Commonwealth has a range of legislation which relates to the native species and so on. And so. We'll continue to support those types of initiatives. But is there anything you want to add to that Will?

PRIME MINISTER: Could we ask some questions of you first Prime Minister? What's your response to charges laid against CommInsure?

PRIME MINISTER: Well as we are moving on to other areas I don't want to sort of detain Rob [inaudible].

That's obviously a very serious issue and it's a product of the process doing its job and where financial institutions do the wrong thing, well that's the reason we have prosecutors, that's the reason why we have regulators and that's the sort of thing they should be doing and they should be pursuing those and that should find its way through the normal process through the courts.

JOURNALIST: Could you define negative globalism for us Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: Well any time frankly that global organisations think that they have a greater mandate over a country than the country themselves. I mean I answer to no higher authority than the people of Australia. I don't answer to international institutions or global organisations, and our interests and our policies will be set in Australia by Australians and by the will of the Australian people. Australia has an exemplary record when it comes to our international participation in constructive programs, everything from peacekeeping, to aid support, to our engagement in multilateral forums. That's all positive. But Australia's interests will determine our involvement and we won't be copping from any global organisation or institution any instructions or directions that are at odds with our national interest and with any presumption that somehow some global agenda is bigger than Australia.

JOURNALIST: Could you give us an example where an unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy has sought to coerce Australia or to impose a mandate?

PRIME MINISTER: Australia's policies, whether it's on border protection or anywhere else have been set by Australians, in our interests. And there's plenty of commentary about what Australia should and shouldn't do on these and other issues. I'm just simply making the point that under my Government, our policies will be accountable to Australians first and only.

JOURNALIST: There must be threats for you to make a point?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I have observed now over many years as a Minister and as a Prime Minister that growing global agendas need to frankly recognise at the end of the day that it's nation states who are sovereign. And it's nation states that will set their rules, their policies, and they'll do that- particularly in democracies like Australia which is subject to the ballot box and the rule of law. So I don't have an issue, I'm engaged in many multilateral institutions but the ones I find most constructive are the ones that represent respect the sovereignty of each individual state and we've taken issues to an election, we've taking policies to an election. Well they're the policies I'll implement I won't be pushed into other policies by global institutions.

JOURNALIST: Could you give us an example though?

PRIME MINISTER: I think I've covered the issue.

JOURNALIST: You've had members of your party talk about moving more federal public service jobs to regional areas. But the numbers in Tasmania have actually been declining. Was this just an empty promise on regional jobs?

PRIME MINISTER: Well what I think is great is the unemployment rate here in Braddon has fallen from 9 per cent to 6.2 per cent. I'm interested in jobs, in north western Tasmania, in northern Tasmania, and right across Tasmania. I want to see jobs, see I disagree with the Labor Party. I don't think the way to create jobs is just to employ more public servants. I think the way to create jobs is to have a successful agricultural sector, a successful forestry sector, a successful mining sector. But the Labor Party seems to want to apologise for all of those industries, not us. We support all of those industries proudly. These are Australian jobs that are being created here in Tasmania by these great private sector efforts. You know, you want to create jobs. You've got to have a vibrant private economy. And that's always been the focus of our attention.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] accountable internationalist bureaucracies?

PRIME MINISTER: I think we covered that one off.

JOURNALIST: Lachlan's question was about moving public service jobs to Tasmania, not creating them?

PRIME MINISTER: And we'll  continue to look at those opportunities, we have a Minister for decentralisation and he's taken on that job since the election. He will bring forward proposals to cabinet where he thinks it's in the best interests of the running of those organisations and where we can spread those benefits we will.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] Major General Day’s report on the drought public?

PRIME MINISTER: I couldn't hear the start of the question?

JOURNALIST: Will you make a Major General Day's report public?

PRIME MINISTER: We'll be responding formally to that report quite soon. And it has obviously played a key role in informing a lot of the drought response that we've already made. I mean Major General Day reported to Cabinet some time ago as did the drought envoy, as well, prior to the last election and so all of that information, all of that considerable work that was done has been feeding into the constant drought response that we've been making. I mean that's the nature of responding to this drought. There's just not one report and one response and that's it, set and forget. That's not the way you deal with this. And in some areas this drought has been going on for seven years. And so you need a constant, a constant response and that needs to be continually informed. That's why the Treasurer has been out in drought affected areas just this week. That's why I was out there last week. That's why all of my ministers are out there and listening to the issues that are on the ground and responding. $100 million last week, $13.2 million today. We will continue to respond for as long as the drought circumstances demand it.

JOURNALIST: Have you read the drought coordinator's report?

PRIME MINISTER: Of course I have.

JOURNALIST: How come the Treasurer hasn't?

PRIME MINISTER: It's going through Cabinet and he was certainly there when the drought coordinator reported to Cabinet. It's going through a Cabinet process as we speak and he's part of that Cabinet process.

JOURNALIST: At tomorrow's state liberal Council, they're going to put up a motion that the federal government call on China to respect the rule of law, democracy, and civil liberties of Hong Kong. Do you think it's up to the state to try and direct foreign policy?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I think the motion is an expression, I think, of the concern of Australians and Tasmanians in particular about the events that we're seeing unfold in Hong Kong. The Australian Government and I, and the Foreign Minister have similarly expressed our concern about those events. But our response has been one to counsel restraint and respect for the one country, two systems arrangement, and for that to be honoured, and we'll continue to follow that path as a Commonwealth Government. I mean, in the Liberal Party members put up motions, the parliamentary parties are the ones that set policies. That's what's different between us and the Labor Party, in the Labor Party they're bound by these things and in the Liberal party that's not how our party runs, it was never set up that way. But it is an important sentiment to acknowledge, that there are real concerns about this. And I think those concerns are felt right across the country, but how we manage them and how we respond to them, we do carefully and we do constructively.

JOURNALIST: On Alexander Downer, what do you say to US Republicans including supporters of Donald Trump who say that Alexander Downer is part of an international conspiracy?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I think it's laughable. And the Ambassador has communicated that in the United States already, so I'd refer you to his comments and I endorse them.

JOURNALIST: There's another motion in the Liberal conference calling for Tony Abbott to be appointed the ambassador to the Holy See would you support that?

PRIME MINISTER: We'll make those judgements. But I can tell you that Mr Abbott has no interest in serving in that role. So that would mean that the recommendation would be quite moot.

JOURNALIST: The Burnie Show is a far cry from the UN, how do you rank the two?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I'd rather be at the Burnie Show. Every day of the week. And I'd rather be in Australia every day of the week too.

QUESTION: Scott, can I ask an ordinary question, to do with this drought, and I have followed it. There was one farmer, on the news probably last year some time. And he had dug three pits and stored feed in those pits, so for three years he managed to keep himself going. Now is his expertise on that being looked at, asked about to help other farmers because, with a lot of the feed being brought in, yes that's all very well because it's given out when it's eaten, but if it's stored it means every farmer will have that possibility of storage? 

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, now thank you for the question. This was one of the key issues that came up in the national drought summit we held about this time last year. And that's why one of our immediate responses after last year's drought summit was to increase the incentives that we had and through the tax system to encourage the development of those silage capabilities and capacities. You're absolutely right. While you've got to deal in response to the drought to the immediate needs which are basically financial, then the issues going down the track, opportunities to develop on farm water infrastructure, broader water infrastructure and not just dams and pipelines, and other forms of irrigation infrastructure but it's also silage.

QUESTION: Is that farmer being involved?

PRIME MINISTER: I can only assume there's been some input, I couldn't- not knowing specifically the chap.

QUESTION: Well there should be because he's been there and he's doing it.

PRIME MINISTER: This is where we're getting our information from. I get them from farmers.

QUESTION: Just look him up, because he's the only one who's done it.

PRIME MINISTER: Well there are a lot of farmers who invested in silage. It's not true to say there's only been one. There's been many of them and many of them have been taking up that incentive that we put in place a year ago to plan for future, because the one thing that I'm always impressed with by our farming community particularly those impacted by drought Is they’re planning for when it rains. They have not resigned themselves to any other circumstance of it not raining, and they have hope for the future and it's important that we continue to give them that hope. Now many farmers during the course of the drought will make decisions about whether they choose to stay on the land or not. And that's a difficult, and it's a hard decision for them to make. And we have to support them in that decision. That's why last week one of the things we announced was further financial assistance for farmers who were looking to change their skills base and get trained in different areas and to enable them to earn more off-farm income to support them to stay on the land. So we have a very comprehensive and deep and wide drought response. It was born out of the national drought summit about this time last year. That is our drought strategy which we continue to implement. But it is an ever receding finishing post. We never stop. We will keep responding and we will keep listening. Thank you very much for your question.

JOURNALIST: On private health insurance. The private health care lobby is pushing for tax breaks for employers to pay for the private health insurance for workers. Would the government consider that type of plan?

PRIME MINISTER: Well we're very keen to ensure that we arrest, particularly amongst younger people, the take up of private health insurance having fallen in recent times. I wouldn't say those falls are dramatic, but they have receded and that is a concern. That's why in the past our side of politics when we've been in government have been the ones that put in place the incentives for people to hold private health insurance. When Labor was in power they were stripping those away because they couldn't fund their Budget and they just attacked private health insurance. And I didn't think that was a very far sighted view. So we will seek to ensure that the right incentives are in place. We'll be considering all the options that are available as we proceed in to next year's budget and to ensure that we can maintain a great private health insurance system in this country. I think it's one of the great features of our health system that it is a hybrid of both the public and the private systems. We don't rely all on one, like they do in the United States essentially in the private sphere, or all on the public sphere, as we see in the UK and places like that. Australia's health system is quite unique. It is very effective. And it is the envy of the world pretty much in the way it is structured. That doesn't mean it's perfect, it doesn't mean there's not more we have to do as Will and I often discuss, and premiers discuss all the time, at leader-level about what we have to do in health, but we want to make sure that our hybrid private public system remains vibrant and so we will always listen to suggestions but we've got to make those decisions consistent with the budget rules and your priorities. But that's why you have a strong economy by the way. If you don't have a strong economy you don't have a strong budget. If you don't have a strong budget you can't invest in hospitals and schools or in rural agricultural shows. And that's why having a strong economy, driven by vibrant industries like agriculture is so critical to the services that Australians rely on, so it's been great great to see you. I'm going to go enjoy the show. Cheers.




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