Vatican Roundup

Pope calls for Catholics to face challenges of migration

The Pope’s message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on January 17 in most countries has been published by the Vatican.

Presenting the message, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, explained that the day fits naturally into the Year of Mercy and is timely in light of the world’s growing migration crises.

“Migration especially affects the local Churches, as they are closest to migrants and refugees,” he explained, saying that it is hoped that the day will inspire local Churches to reflect, pray and act. “There we meet these people face to face and it is at that level that our encounter can truly assume a dimension nature”.

The Pope’s text, he explained, addresses humanitarian crises linked with migration around the world, highlights questions of identity and integration, and emphasises the Church’s prophetic role in encouraging welcome. 

Faced with these problems and questions, the Pope affirms that “the response of the Gospel is mercy”, which leads to solidarity with others and a culture of encounter.


Nothing unusual about Davis meeting – Lombardi

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met controversial county clerk Kim Davis while in Washington DC, but insists the details of Ms Davis’ situation were not discussed, and says the meeting does not mean Rome supports her position “in all of its particular and complex aspects”.

Ms Davis, elected clerk of Kentucky’s Rowan County and a committed Apostolic Christian since 2011, refused to grant marriage licenses in the aftermath of the June 26 US Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry. With all Rowan County marriage licences bearing her signature, she claimed that issuing them to same-sex couples would violate her religious values. 

Briefly jailed for contempt of court, she has become a totemic figure for opponents of same-sex marriage and proponents of religious freedom in the US. 

Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ said Ms Davis was one of several dozen people the nunciature invited to meet Pope Francis, and that there was only a brief exchange between the two. Ms Davis has claimed she and Pope Francis spoke for 15 minutes, and that the Pope said “thank you for your courage”. 


Remind poor they matter, foodbank volunteers are urged

Even the richest countries appear to struggle to feed their poor despite the world being able to produce enough food for everyone, Pope Francis has said, calling hunger a “true scandal” that threatens the life and dignity of millions of people.

The Pope was speaking at an October 3 meeting in the Vatican with more than 7,000 volunteers and coordinators of Italian food banks, along with representatives from food banks elsewhere. The meeting was sponsored by the Italian Food Bank Foundation, which assists local food-distribution outlets and encourages large-scale food producers to donate excess or imperfect products to local food banks rather than destroy the products.

Praising the efforts of those gathered “to fight the waste of food, recover it and distribute it to families in difficulty and to the poor” the Pope urged those gathered to remember always that those who seek their help are persons, not numbers. Recalling how in the Gospels Jesus makes clear that people will be judged on how they respond to others’ hunger, he said, “Be brothers and friends of the poor; let them know they are important in God's eyes”.