-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Francis Appoints Presidents-Delegates for Upcoming Synod on the Family
Appeals For Persecuted Christians in Africa, Syria, and the Ukraine
By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY, February 21, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis has appointed three Presidents-Delegates for the upcoming Synod of Bishops that will discuss the "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the New Evangelization". Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi made the announcement during a briefing with journalists at the Holy See Press Office.
The presidents are: Cardinal André Armand Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris (France); Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines); and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida (Brazil).
The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops will take place from October 5-19 at the Vatican.
Before discussing the interventions of the Consistory, Fr. Lombardi relayed a message by the Holy Father and the College of Cardinals, that appeals for the safety of "numerous Christians, who in various parts of the world, are always more frequently victims of acts of intolerance of persecution."
Earlier today, the Holy Father expressed his solidarity with the people of Ukraine where protests between government forces and opposition groups took a bloody turn. Among the other countries mentioned in Fr. Lombardi's statement were South Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and the ongoing conflict in Syria.
"For its part, the Catholic Church, in condemning every violence perpetrated in the name of religious affiliation, will continue its commitment to peace and reconciliation, through interreligious dialogue and the many works of charity that provide daily help and comfort to those suffering throughout the world," Fr. Lombardi said.
The Consistory of the Cardinals, now in its second day, is also focused on the theme of the family. Fr. Lombardi said that among principal issues discussed in the interventions made by the Cardinals dealt with Christian anthropological vision of the family, as well as the relation between that vision in the context of today's secularized society.
"In this sense there was no climate of complaint, rather of realism in seeing the difficulty of the situation, of the Christian vision in a culture that mainly goes in other directions," Fr. Lombardi said.
Reiterating his statement yesterday, Fr. Lombardi told journalists that the Consistory is not meant to preempt the upcoming Synod of Bishops, but as a preparation for it.
"There is no need to await from this Consistory a conclusion or a unified approach, but it seems to me that - as some have said in the interventions as well - it is an encouraging introduction to the path of the Synod," he said.
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