Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That prisoners may be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity".

His mission intention is: "That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of May to July 2012.


1: Benedict XVI visits Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the "Agostino Gemelli" Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

4: The Pope receives five new non resident ambassadors to the Holy See for the presentation of thier Letters of Credence: Teshome Toga Chanaka of Ethiopia, David Cooney of Ireland, Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara of the Republic of Fiji, Viguen Tchitetchian of Armenia and Dato' Ho May Young, the first ambassador of Malaysia to the Holy See.

5: The Holy Father receives a group of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Regions 10 to 13) at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

5: The Holy Father receives in audience Bamir Topi, president of the Republic of Albania.

13: Benedict XVI makes a pastoral visit to the Italian region of Abruzzo.

18: The Holy Father receives a final group from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose prelates have been travelling to Rome over the past six months on their quinquennial "ad limina Apostolorum" visits.

24: The Holy Father receives participants in the sixty-fourth general assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

24: The Pope receives in separate audiences Rosen Plevneliev, president of the Republic of Bulgaria, and Nikola Gruevski, prime minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, each accompanied by a delegation, for the commemoration of the Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

25: The Holy Father receives in audience Petr Necas, prime minister of the Czech Republic.

27: After celebrating Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Holy Father announces that on 7 October he will proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Universal Church.

28: The Holy Father receives in audience Laura Chinchilla Miranda, president of Costa Rica.


1-3: The Pope makes a pastoral visit to the Italian archdiocese of Milan to participate in the seventh World Meeting of Families. Following the closing Mass he announces that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in Philadelphia, U.S.A., in 2015.

4: Cardinal Rodolfo Ignacio Quezada Toruno, archbishop emeritus of Guatemala, Guatemala, dies at the age of 80.

8: The Holy Father receives in audience Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

9: Benedict XVI receives in audience prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

15: The Holy Father receives in audience Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, president of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

16: The International Theological Commission updates its webpage. The page is to be found on the Vatican website (www.vatican.va) under the section dedicated to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

17: A video message from Benedict XVI is transmitted at the end of the closing Mass of the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, which was held in Dublin, Ireland, from 10 to 17 June on the theme: "The Eucharist. Communion with Christ and with One Another".

20: The Holy Father receives in audience Valdis Dombrovskis, prime minister of the Republic of Latvia.

21: The Holy Father receives in audience Filip Vujanovic, president of Montenegro.

22: The Holy Father receives a first group of prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

25: The American journalist Gregory Burke, currently Rome correspondent for Fox News, is designated for the post of "communications advisor" to the Secretariat of State.

26: Benedict XVI visits areas in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna which have been badly affected by a series of earthquakes.


9: Benedict XVI makes a private visit to to the "Ad Gentes" Centre of the Verbite Missionaries in Nemi, a village near Castelgandolfo.

9: Cardinal Eugenio Araujo Sales, archbishop emeritus of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, dies at the age of 91.

10: The Holy Father makes a pastoral visit to the Italian diocese of Frascati, near Rome.

16: Announcement of the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the forty-sixth World Day of Peace, which will fall on 1 January 2013: "Blessed are the peacemakers".

25: Publication by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples of the Message for World Tourism Day. The theme for this year's Day, which falls on 27 September, is: "Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Germany, presented by Bishop Engelbert Siebler, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Msgr. Lawrence T. Persico of the clergy of the diocese of Greenburg, U.S.A., vicar general and pastor of the parish of St. James in New Alexandria, as bishop of Erie (area 25,734, population 860,340, Catholics 223,668, priests 193, permanent deacons 61, religious 317), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Monessen, U.S.A. in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1977. He has acted as chaplain and chancellor of Assumption Hall, and is vice president of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. He succeeds Bishop Donald W. Trautman, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Vatican City, 29 July 2012 (VIS) - The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and its association with the Eucharist, and the importance of sharing our possessions, were the central themes of the Pope's remarks before praying the Angelus today with faithful gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo.

In the narrative of feeding the five thousand as recounted in today's Gospel, "the emphasis on the topic of 'bread' which is shared, and on giving thanks, are references to the Eucharist", the Holy Father explained. The narrative also mentions a boy who, seeing the difficulty in feeding so many people, shared the little he had: five loaves and two fish. Thus "the miracle did not come from nowhere, it came from an ordinary boy's desire to share what he had. Jesus does not ask us what we do not possess, but shows us that if each of us offers the little we have, a miracle can always happen. God is able to multiply every one of our small deeds of love and make us share in His gift".

In this episode "the crowds were struck by wonder. They saw Jesus as a new Moses, worthy of power, and the new manna as a guarantee for the future. But they stopped at the material aspect, at what they ate, while the Lord, realising 'they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself'. Jesus is not an earthly king who rules, but a king who serves, who bends to man's level to meet not only his material hunger, but his deeper hunger, his hunger for guidance, meaning and truth, his hunger for God".

"Let us ask the Lord to help us rediscover the importance of nourishing ourselves not only with bread, but with truth, love, Christ, the body of Christ. ... At the same time, we wish to pray that no one may lack the bread necessary for a dignified life, and that all inequalities be removed, not through weapons and violence, but through sharing and love".


Vatican City, 29 July 2012 (VIS) - "I am continuing to follow with concern the tragic and increasing violence in Syria, with its depressing sequence of deaths and injuries, also among civilians, and huge numbers of internally displaced persons and refugees in neighbouring States", said the Pope after praying the Angelus. "I therefore ask that the necessary humanitarian assistance and aid be guaranteed. In renewing the expression of my closeness to the suffering people, and my recollection of them in my prayers, I renew my appeal for all violence and bloodshed to end. I ask God to give wisdom of heart, especially to those in positions of greatest responsibility, so that no effort many be spared in the search for peace, also on the part of the international community, through dialogue and reconciliation, with a view to finding an adequate political solution to the conflict.

"My thoughts also go", he added, "to the dear nation of Iraq which has recently suffered numerous serious attacks that have left many dead and injured. May that great country discover the path to stability, reconciliation and peace".

Benedict XVI also turned his attention to the ILVA steelworks in the Italian city of Taranto, which may soon be forced to close due to problems associated with the emission of toxic waste. "I wish to express my closeness to the workers and their families, who are experiencing this difficult time with great apprehension", he said. "While giving assurances of the prayers and support of the Church, I exhort everyone to show a sense of responsibility, and I encourage national and local institutions to make every effort to reach an equitable solution to the issue, one which protects both the right to health and the right to work, especially at this time of economic crisis".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of January to April 2012. Another summary, covering the period from May to July, will be published tomorrow.


1: Benedict XVI presides at a Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, and for the forty-third World Day of Peace which has as its theme this year: "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace".

3: Publication of the Holy Father's Message for the World Day of the Sick, to be held on 11 February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The message, dated from the Vatican on 20 November 2011, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King, is entitled: "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you".

14: The Holy Father receives in audience Mario Monti, prime minister of the Republic of Italy.

19: The Holy Father receives a group of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Regions 4 and 6), at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

20: The Pontifical Council for the Laity publishes a decree approving the celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. The decree, dated 8 January, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, bears the signatures of Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko and Bishop Josef Clemens, respectively president and secretary of the council.

24: Presentation of Benedict XVI's Message for the forty-sixth World Day of Social Communications, entitled: "Silence and Word: Path of Evangelisation".

25: The Holy See, acting also in the name and on behalf of Vatican City State, adheres to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (New York, 1999) and to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (Palermo, 2000). On the same date the Holy See ratifies, likewise in the name and on behalf of Vatican City State, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Vienna, 1988), which it had already signed in the year in which it was adopted.

31: Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A., dies at the age of 88.


6: The Pope receives Laurence Argimon-Pistre, head of the delegation of the European Union, for the presentation of her Letters of Credence.

7: International symposium entitled "Towards Healing and Renewal" bringing together bishops and religious superiors from all over the world with the aim of relaunching the Church's commitment to protecting minors and vulnerable people from child abuse.

7: Publication of the 2012 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the title of which is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews: "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works".

13: Publication of the Pope's Message for the forth-ninth World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The Day is due to be celebrated on 29 April on the theme: "Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God".

14: Official visit to the Vatican of a delegation of ministers from the United Kingdom to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

16: The Pope receives Budiarman Barar, the new ambassador of Indonesia to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

16: The Pope receives Daniel Edgardo Ramada Piendibene, the new ambassador of Uruguay to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

18: Benedict XVI celebrates the fourth ordinary public consistory of his pontificate, during which he creates twenty-two new cardinals.

24: The Holy Father receives in audience His Majesty Siaosi Tupou V, King of Tonga.

29: Inauguration of an exhibition entitled "'Lux in Arcana' - the Vatican Secret Archives unveiled", organised to mark the fourth centenary of the foundation of the Archives.


4: Benedict XVI visits the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino".

9: Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, dies at the age of 91.

9: The Holy Father receives a group of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

10: The Holy Father presides at Vespers in the Roman monastery of San Gregorio al Celio, to mark the visit to Rome of His Grace Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion.

14: Presentation, in the German embassy to the Holy See, of a work by Joseph Ratzinger: "The People and the House of God in Augustine's Doctrine of the Church". The book, the Pope's doctoral thesis from 1953, is part of a series of sixteen volumes which aims to bring together all Joseph Ratzinger's theological works up to the time of his election to the papal throne in 2005.

16: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith opens a new domain within the official website of the Holy See, to facilitate the consultation of its documents which, having the express approbation of the Holy Father, participate in his ordinary Magisterium as Peter's Successor.

23-28: The Holy Father makes an apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba.


7: His Beatitude Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and patriarch emeritus of Antioch of the Syrians, dies in Rome at the age of 82.

10: Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, archbishop emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico, dies at the age of 89.

14: Benedict XVI sends a message to Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, Germany, for the fifth centenary of the first public display of the "Heiliger Rock", said to be the Holy Robe which Jesus wore before His crucifixion.

19: On this seventh anniversary of the election of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the new www.vatican.va widget becomes available to users of the Internet.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted:

- The resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, presented by Bishop Paul Friedrich Wehrle, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Magangue, Colombia, presented by Bishop Jorge Leonardo Gomez Serna O.P., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Saturday 28 July it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

- Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 950th anniversary of the diocese of Sape, Albania, due to take place on 29 September.

- Fr. Edoardo Aldo Cerrato C.O., procurator general of the Congregation of the Oratory and superior of the Oratorian House in Rome, as bishop of Ivrea (area 1,850, population 213,200, Catholics 208,000, priests 139, permanent deacons 17, religious 242), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Turin, Italy in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. Among other things he has worked in pastoral ministry, as preacher during spiritual exercises and retreats for lay people and religious, and as a professor in various institutions.

- As members of the Congregation for Bishops: Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church, and Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Vatican City, 27 July 2012 (VIS) - "Yesterday morning 26 July, the Holy Father received in audience the Commission of Cardinals which is undertaking the administrative investigation into the leaking of reserved information: Cardinal Julian Herranz, Cardinal Jozef Tomko and Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi. The cardinals were accompanied by Fr. Luigi Martignani O.F.M. Cap., secretary of the Commission; Examining Magistrate Piero Antonio Bonnet, and Promoter of Justice Nicola Picardi of the Tribunal of Vatican City State", according to a communique released this morning by the Holy See Press Office.

"The Holy Father was informed about the conclusions reached by the Commission of Cardinals, and about the progress of the criminal procedures currently underway. He thanked them for the information he had received and invited the Vatican magistrates to proceed expeditiously.

"The meeting was also attended by Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State; Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, private secretary to the Holy Father; Domenico Giani, director of the Vatican Gendarmerie, and Gregory Burke, communications consultant of the Secretariat of State".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - It was 1908 when, in the wake of a serious economic crisis, Rome renounced hosting the Olympic Games which were eventually celebrated in London, England. In the same year Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, sought help from the Vatican to support the Games, and Pope St. Pius X in person offered him his support.

More than one hundred years later, the British capital is hosting the Olympic Games for the third time. The event is due to open this evening.

That moment at the beginning of the twentieth century is described in a book entitled "Pio X e lo sport" by Antonella Stelitano. At that time "less than one per cent of the population practised any sporting activity, ... and sport was used only as a form of military training or as a pastime for the upper classes", the author explained in an interview with Vatican Radio.

However "St. Pius X ... was aware of the educational potential of sport". He saw it as a way "to approach young people, and to bring them together while following certain rules and showing respect for adversaries. I believe", the author explained, "that he understood that it was possible to bring people together simply, without any problems of race, religion or differing political ideas".

At that time in history many people did not understand the importance of exercise, said Antonella Stelitano who concluded her interview by recalling an anecdote whereby Pius X told one of his cardinals: "All right, if it is impossible to understand that this can be done, then I myself will do exercise in front of everyone so that they may see that, if the Pope can do it, anyone can do it".


Vatican City, 27 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, U.S.A., as archbishop of San Francisco (area 6,023, population 1,866,000, Catholics 448,000, priests 408, permanent deacons 78, religious 854), U.S.A. He succeeds Archbishop George H. Niederauer, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Jesus Murgui Soriano of Mallorca, Spain, as bishop of Orihuela-Alicante (area 4,415, population 1,653,786, Catholics 1,405,718, priests 407, permanent deacons 7, religious 778), Spain. He succeeds Bishop Rafael Palmero Ramos, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Beginning in the month of August, two priests will be assigned to attend to visitors to the Vatican Museums. They will be available to dialogue with the visitors and to offer them, should they wish, spiritual advice and assistance.

As Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, explains in an article in the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, "there is nothing institutional or pretentious about the initiative. The priests will simply be on hand with a table and two chairs at two strategic points on the normal itinerary visitors follow, and anyone who wishes may approach them to exchange a few words, or to reflect together".

"The Vatican Museums", Bishop Sciacca goes on, "are an 'unicum' among the world's great cultural institutions. They are a precious casket in which, thanks to their wisdom and love of 'beauty', the Roman Pontiffs have gathered together what are perhaps the most exalted works that human genius has produced over the course of the centuries. ... And the Museums are not afraid to show that they, in fact, represent a way through which the good news of God-made-man can be announced to the world". The Museums "welcome everyone, whatever their beliefs or origins, while reminding each of them - through a statue, a piece of gold, a painting or a fresco - of the goal for which we were created".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Paul Pallath as head of the office dealing with procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of priestly ordination, at the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram to Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana, Cuba, for the traffic accident of 22 July which killed Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, founder of the Christian Liberation Movement and winner of the 2002 Sakharov Prize, and Harold Cepero Escalante, youth leader of the Movement, and injured a number of others. The telegram was sent through Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, who was apostolic nuncio to Cuba between 2009 and 2011.

Having learned of the "tragic episode", the Pope asks Cardinal Ortega y Alamino to inform the victims' families of "his heartfelt condolences and spiritual closeness. At the same time he prays to the Lord that the injured may be restored to complete health".

The telegram continues: "The Holy Father likewise raises fervent prayers to God for the eternal repose of the deceased and asks Him to grant consolation and strength to those who, at this sad time, are weeping their irreparable loss. ... Invoking the protection of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre, and as a pledge of copious divine favour at this time of suffering, the Holy Father affectionately imparts his apostolic blessing as a sign of faith and hope in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Message for World Tourism Day published by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples was issued today. The Day, which is due to be celebrated on 27 September, has as its theme this year: "Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development".

The message, signed by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, respectively president and secretary of the pontifical council, recalls the fact that World Tourism Day is promoted annually by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). "The Holy See has adhered to this initiative from its first edition. It considers it an opportunity to dialogue with the civil world and offers its concrete contribution, based on the Gospel, and also sees it as an occasion to sensitise the whole Church about the importance of this sector from the economic and social standpoint and, in particular, in the context of the new evangelisation".

"Also in this edition of the World Day we make the theme proposed by the WTO our own: 'Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development'", the English-language version of the message reads. "It is in harmony with the present 'International Year of Sustainable Energy for All' promulgated by the United Nations with the objective of highlighting 'the need to improve access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services and resources for sustainable development'.

"Tourism has grown at a significant rhythm in the past decades. According to the World Tourism Organisation statistics, it is foreseen that during the year in progress the quota will reach one billion international tourist arrivals, which will become two billion in the year 2030. To these should be added the even higher numbers involved in local tourism. This growth, which surely has positive effects, can lead to a serious environmental impact owing, among other factors, to the immoderate consumption of energy resources, the increase in polluting agents and the production of waste".

"The concept of 'sustainable development' is already engrained in our society and the tourism sector cannot and must not remain on the margin. When we talk about 'sustainable tourism', we are not referring to one means among others, such as cultural, beach or adventure tourism. Every form and expression of tourism must necessarily be sustainable and cannot be otherwise. Along this way, the energy problems have to be taken into due consideration. It is an erroneous assumption to think that 'an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed'".

"In this area also the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People wishes to offer its contribution based on the conviction that 'the Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere'. It is not up to us to propose concrete technical solutions but to show that development cannot be reduced to mere technical, political or economic parameters. We wish to accompany this development with some appropriate ethical guidelines which stress the fact that all growth must always be at the service of the human being and the common good".

"We cannot separate the theme of environmental ecology from concern for an appropriate human ecology in the sense of interest in the human being's integral development. In the same way, we cannot separate our view of man and nature from the bond which unites them with the Creator. God has entrusted the good stewardship of creation to the human being. In the first place, a great educational effort is important in order to promote 'an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles'. This conversion of the mind and heart 'allows us rapidly to become more proficient in the art of living together that respects the alliance between man and nature'.

"It is right to acknowledge that our daily habits are changing and that a greater ecological sensitivity exists. However, it is also true that the risk is easily run of forgetting these motivations during the vacation period in a search for certain comforts to which we believe we are entitled, without always reflecting on their consequences.

"It is necessary to cultivate the ethics of responsibility and prudence and to ask ourselves about the impact and consequences of our actions. In this regard, the Holy Father says: 'The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences'. On this point, it will be important to encourage both entrepreneurs and tourists to consider the repercussions of their decisions and attitudes. In the same way, it is crucial 'to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving efficiency'.

"These underlying ideas must necessarily be translated into concrete actions. Therefore, and with the objective of making the tourist destinations sustainable, all initiatives that are energy efficient and have the least environmental impact possible and lead to using renewable energies, should be promoted and supported to promoting the saving of resources and avoiding contamination. In this regard, it is fundamental for the ecclesial tourism structures and vacations proposals promoted by the Church to be characterised, among other things, by their respect for the environment. All of the sectors involved (businesses, local communities, governments and tourists) must be aware of their respective responsibilities in order to achieve sustainable forms of tourism. Collaboration between all the parts involved is necessary.

"The Social Doctrine of the Church reminds us that 'care for the environment represents a challenge for all of humanity. It is a matter of a common and universal duty, that of respecting a common good'. A good which human beings do not own but are 'stewards', a good which God entrusted to them so that they would administer it properly.

"Pope Benedict XVI says that 'the new evangelisation, to which all are called, requires us to keep in mind and to make good use of the many occasions that tourism offers us to put forward Christ as the supreme response to modern man’s fundamental questions'. Therefore, we invite everyone to promote and use tourism in a respectful and responsible way in order to allow it to develop all of its potentialities, with the certainty that in contemplating the beauty of nature and peoples we can arrive at the encounter with God".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Vincent Dollmann of the clergy of the archdiocese of Strasbourg, France, official of the Congregation for Catholic Education and spiritual director of the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 8,280, population 1,909,000, Catholics 1,367,000, priests 810, permanent deacons 78, religious 1,529). The bishop-elect was born in Mulhouse, France in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1990. He has served as preacher and confessor in the cathedral, spiritual director of the major archdiocesan seminary and pastor of the parish of "Sainte-Madeleine".

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation: Archbishop Paul Youssef Matar of Beirut of the Maronites, Lebanon, and Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The administrative council of the Populorum Progressio Foundation is holding its annual meeting from 24 to 27 July at the Pastoral Care and Spirituality Centre of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, to deliberate on the financing of projects in support of poor indigenous, mixed race and African-American communities of Latin America and the Caribbean. Populorum Progressio, which was founded in 1992, is part of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

The administrative council is composed of the following members: Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Foundation and of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico and president of the administrative council; Archbishop Edmundo Luis Abastoflor Montero of La Paz, Bolivia and vice president of the administrative council; Archbishop Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger S.C.I. of Sao Sebastiao da Bahia, Brazil; Archbishop Javier Augusto del Rio Alba of Arequipa, Peru; Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil, Ecuador; Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio, Colombia, and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, under secretary of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum". Archbishops Ramos Krieger and del Rio Alba joined the council this year as new representatives, respectively, of Brazil and Peru.

The Foundation receives its principal financial support from the Italian Episcopal Conference's committee for charitable initiatives in favour of the Third World, and from private donors. The administrative council traditionally holds its annual session in a country of Latin America or the Caribbean in order to draw attention to the activities and initiatives of the particular Churches there.

A total of 203 projects have been presented this year, involving 19 countries and a total value of USD 2,908,727. The number of projects presented by country are: Brazil (59), Colombia (42), Peru (15), Ecuador (16), El Salvador (6), Haiti (12), Guatemala (5), Argentina (5), Bolivia (10), Paraguay (4), Chile (4), Cuba (5), Costa Rica (6), Mexico (3), Venezuela (2), Nicaragua (3), Dominican Republic (2), Honduras (2) and Uruguay (2).

The Foundation is currently going through a period of renewal, both of its membership and secretariat, with the aim of identifying new ways to propagate the activities of Populorum Progressio. This will include a project to be presented to the members by Juan Carlos Navarro, an expert on foundations, with the assistance of Msgr. Silverio Nieto, juridical consultant of "Cor Unum", containing possible changes to the working methods of the Foundation. This year's meeting will also serve to elect a new president and vice president of the administrative council.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley, Scotland, as metropolitan archbishop of Glasgow (area 1,165, population 815,200, Catholics 193,200, priests 192, permanent deacons 15, religious 250), Scotland. He succeeds Archbishop Mario Conti, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Lutsk of the Latins, Ukraine, presented by Bishop Markyian Trofym'yak, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Bishop Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk O.F.M., auxiliary of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, Ukraine, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Lutsk of the Latins.

- Appointed Fr. Tadeusz Wojda S.A.C., bureau chief of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as under secretary of the same congregation.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI invites Christian married couples to be "the sweet and smiling face of the Church" in a message sent to the eleventh international meeting of the "Equipes Notre Dame" Movement, currently being held in Brasilia, Brazil, on the theme: "Daring with the Gospel". The "Equipes Notre Dame" Movement, which promotes conjugal spirituality, was founded in 1939 by the French priest Fr. Henri Caffarel.

In the message, sent through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., the Pope expresses the view that Christian married couples must be "the best and most convincing messengers of the beauty of a love supported and nourished by the faith, a gift of God which is given to everyone abundantly and generously, so that day after day they can discover the meaning of their lives". The Holy Father also notes that the "Equipes Notre Dame" encourage members to avail themselves of the Sacraments, and to make simple concrete commitments such as the "duty to sit down together"; that is, to dedicate time to interpersonal dialogue between the spouses.

"In our world, which is so deeply marked by individualism, activism, haste and distraction, sincere and constant dialogue between spouses is essential to avoid the emerge, development and degeneration of misunderstandings which, unfortunately, often lead to irreparable breaks which no one can then mend", the message concludes


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Newspaper articles have been published in recent days in Italy and Germany on the subject of investigations into the leaking of reserved Vatican documents, articles which hint at serious suspicions of complicity on the part of certain persons close to the Holy Father. The Secretariat of State expresses its firm and total disapproval of those publications, which are not based on objective criteria and seriously damage the honour of the people concerned, who have served the Holy Father faithfully for many years".

These words are contained in a note issued this morning by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., who adds: "The fact that the results of the investigations have not yet been made known by the authorities concerned, in no way legitimises the publication of unfounded and false interpretations and theories. It is not this kind of information that the public has the right to know".

At the same time, in a statement transmitted by Vatican Radio, Fr. Lombardi notes that he has "often repeated that being called before a commission in the course of its investigations in no way means that a person is a suspect. It is evident that the three people mentioned in the article [Ingrid Stampa, Cardinal Paolo Sardi and Bishop Joseph Clemens] many have been called to appear, but this says nothing about their being suspected of shared responsibility or 'complicity'".

"As regards their having been 'dismissed' from office, Cardinal Sardi completed his service at the Secretariat of State when he reached the age of seventy-five, and Ingrid Stampa continues to work in the Secretariat of State. As for Bishop Clemens, he has been secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity for a number of years, and it is not true that he received a letter from the Pope such as the one described in the article in 'Die Welt' (a letter to which the Italian newspaper 'La Repubblica' makes only indirect reference)".


Vatican City, 22 July 2012 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus at midday today, Benedict XVI dedicated some remarks to what he described as "a fundamental and ever enthralling theme of the Bible": the fact that "God is the Pastor of humankind".

Addressing faithful gathered in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Pope explained how this phrase means that "God wants life for us, He wants to guide us to good pastures where we can find nourishment and rest. He does not want us to lose our way and die, but to reach the goal of our journey, which is fullness of life. This is what any mother or father wants for their children: goodness, happiness, fulfilment. In the Gospel Jesus presents Himself as the Pastor of the lost sheep of the House of Israel. His gaze over His people is a 'pastoral' gaze".

"Among the 'lost sheep' whom Jesus saved there was a woman by the name Mary from the village of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee, for which reason she is known as Mary Magdalene. Her feast day falls today. Luke the Evangelist tells us that Jesus freed her from seven demons; in other words, He saved her from utter servitude to the Evil One. And ,in what does this profound healing that God achieves through Jesus consist? It consists in true and complete peace, which is the result of the reconciliation of people in themselves and in all their relations: with God, with others and with the world.

"In fact", the Pope added, "the Evil One always seeks to destroy the work of God by sowing strife in the human heart, between body and soul, between man and God, in interpersonal, social and international relations, even between man and the creation. The Evil One spreads war; God creates peace".


Vatican City, 22 July 2012 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Holy Father spoke of his profound shock at "the senseless violence which took place in Aurora, Denver", and at "the loss of life in the recent ferry disaster near Zanzibar. I share the distress of the families and friends of the victims and the injured, especially the children. Assuring all of you of my closeness in prayer, I impart my blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the risen Lord".

The Holy Father then went on to note that in a few days time the thirtieth Olympic Games are due to begin in London, England. "The Olympics", he said, "are the greatest sporting event in the world, in which athletes from many different nations participate, and thus they have great symbolic value. For this reason the Catholic Church looks to the to Olympics with particular sympathy and interest. Let us pray that, according to God’s will, the London Olympics may be a true experience of brotherhood among the peoples of the Earth".


Vatican City, 21 July 2012 (VIS) - Late this afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. made the following declaration:

"Judge Piero Antonio Bonnet, Examining Magistrate of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, in the wake of today's interrogation of Paolo Gabriele, has decided it is no longer necessary to keep him in custody. He has therefore granted Mr Gabriele parole, meaning that, having provided the necessary guarantees, he will remain under house arrest.

"Mr Gabriele will, then, reside with his family in his own home inside the Vatican, and will follow the norms laid down by the Judge vis-a-vis his contacts and dealings with others.

"The next stage of the procedure, which is expected within a few days, will be the indictment of the Promoter of Justice regarding Mr Gabriele's responsibility for aggravated theft, and the subsequent decision of the Examining Magistrate to send the accused for trial or acquit him.

"As regards the Commission of Cardinals, it submitted its final report to the Holy Father a few days ago".


Vatican City, 21 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique:

"The Holy See, by Decree of the secretary of State acting on a specific pontifical mandate, has decided, in conformity with canonical legislation, to withdraw the right of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru to use the titles of 'Pontifical' and 'Catholic'.

"Since 1967 the University - which was founded in 1917 and canonically erected by Decree of the Holy See in 1942 - has on various occasions unilaterally modified its Statues, seriously prejudicing the interests of the Church.

"Beginning in 1990, the University has been repeatedly requested by the Holy See to bring its Statutes into line with the Apostolic Constitution 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae' (15 August 1990), but has failed to respond to this legal requirement.

"Following the canonical visit of December 2011 and the meeting of the rector with the cardinal secretary of State in February this year, a further attempt at dialogue was made, with a view to adapting the Statutes to Church law.

"Recently, via two letters addressed to the secretary of State, the rector stated that it was impossible to carry out the requirements imposed upon him, and he made the modification of the Statutes conditional on the archdiocese of Lima renouncing its administration of the University's property.

"The participation of the archdiocese of Lima in administering the patrimony of the University has been confirmed on various occasions by the civil courts of Peru.

"In the face of this position taken by the University, which has been confirmed by other initiatives, the Holy See has been obliged to adopt the aforementioned measures. At the same time it reiterates the fact that the University still has a duty to continue to observe canonical legislation.

"The Holy See will carefully follow the evolution of the situation of the University, hoping that in the near future the competent academic authorities may reconsider their position, making it possible to revise the present measures. The renewal requested by the Holy See will make the University better able to respond to its mission of carrying the message of Christ to mankind, society and different cultures, in keeping with the mission of the Church in the world".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata as vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church.

On Saturday 21 July it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Vigevano, Italy, presented by Archbishop-Bishop Vincenzo Di Mauro, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Edward Janiak, auxiliary of Wroclaw, Poland, as bishop of Kalisz (area 10,800, population 756,400, Catholics 746,400, priests 573, religious 807), Poland. He succeeds Bishop Stanislaw Napierala, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Erected the new eparchy of Notre-Dame du Liban de Paris of the Maronites, based in Paris, France. He appointed Fr, Nasser Gemayel, pastor of the parish of "Sainte Tekla" in Masqua, Lebanon, as first eparchal bishop of the new eparchy and apostolic vicar to Maronite faithful in Western and Northern Europe. The bishop-elect was born in Ain Kharroube, Lebanon in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1981. He studied in Lebanon and France, has been active in pastoral care and education and is the author of several books on the Maronite Church.

 - Appointed Fr. Borys Gudziak, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, as apostolic exarch for Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine rite resident in France. The bishop-elect was born in Syracuse, U.S.A. in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1998. He is the author of more than fifty works on the Church, theological formation and various cultural themes. He succeeds Bishop Michel Hrynchyshyn, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "For many months now the Church and the entire international community have been looking with great apprehension and profound sadness at the escalating violence in Syria, where arms seem to have taken the place of dialogue".

These are the opening words of a declaration concerning the situation in Syria, issued yesterday afternoon by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and signed by Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl of the Latins, Poland, respectively president and vice presidents of the CCEE.

"We hope that the authorities in the country, the population and all believers of whatever religion may look to God and find the way to put an end to hostilities, set aside their arms and start down the path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace. The conflict cannot but lead to mourning, destruction and serious consequences for the noble people of Syria. War is a dead end. Happiness can be achieved only by acting together, never by the abusive exercise of power of one side against another", the text reads.

"The coming days could prove decisive for the outcome of this crisis. Therefore we exhort all the Christians of Europe to redouble their prayers for peace in that region. Our faith leads us to hope that a constructive solution to the crisis is possible, one which respects the interests of all sides. It is important to rediscover space for a dialogue of peace; and it is never too late to understand one another, to negotiate and to build a shared future together.

"We are certain that, with God's help, good sense may prevail and lead to peaceful coexistence in truth, justice, love and freedom, and in respect for all monitories, particularly the Christians in the country".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Beginning in August, the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper will be distributed in the United States of America. It will be published by the "Our Sunday Visitor" Catholic publishing house, based in Indiana, which also publishes the "Our Sunday Visitor" weekly newspaper, the largest selling Catholic periodical in the U.S.

The publishing house will also supervise the subscription service and marketing strategies to promote the circulation of the "Osservatore Romano". Thanks to this initiative, news concerning the Pope and the Vatican will now be more accessible to families in the United States.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Early this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the declaration which emerged from the General Chapter of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.

"The recently concluded General Chapter of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X has addressed a declaration regarding the possibility of a canonical normalisation in the relationship of the Society and the Holy See. While it has been made public, the declaration remains primarily an internal document for study and discussion among the members of the Society.

"The Holy See has taken note of this declaration, but awaits the forthcoming official communication of the Priestly Society as their dialogue with the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' continues".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a message, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Bishop Pablo Varela Server, auxiliary of Panama and president of the department for education and culture of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), for the occasion of the twelfth Meeting on African American Pastoral Care. The meeting is due to come to an end tomorrow, 20 July, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The Holy Father encourages the bishops participating in the event "to examine the cultural values, history and traditions of African Americans, with a view to improving the Church's ability to present Jesus Christ as the authentic response to the most profound questions of mankind". In doing this they should allow themselves to be "led by the impulse of the Holy Spirit which came to make all cultures fruitful, 'purifying them, germinating the many seeds which the incarnate Word placed therein, and thus guiding them along the paths of the Gospel". The Pope also invites the bishops and their collaborators "to continue to accompany those beloved peoples, who are often marginalised and ignored".

The theme of the twelfth Meeting on African American Pastoral Care is "African American and Caribbean Pastoral Care and the Aparecida Document. Challenges and Hopes in the Church and in Society". The event is being attended by 250 delegates from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Bolivia, Haiti. Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Jamaica.

The meeting, which opened on 16 July, aims to revitalise the processes whereby African American peoples participate in the Church and in society; to foment unity and the human, social and religious development of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, and to continue the process of building black Christian communities with a specific identity.

Also in Guayaquil and in the context of the same event, the third Meeting of Bishops with African American Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean was held from 13 to 15 July. The participants revised and extended the African American pastoral guidelines, the tenth anniversary of the publication of which falls in 2013.

"Above all", according to a note issued by CELAM, "with the United Nations International Year for People of African Descent in 2011, and the recent call for an International Decade for People of African Descent, the Church in Latin America is seeking to focus particular attention on people of African descent, and their presence and participation in the Church and in society".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, presented by Bishop Rafael Francisco Martinez Sainz, upon having reached the age limit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with State, today presented a briefing to journalists in the Holy See Press Office concerning the publication of the first Mutual Evaluation Report on the Holy See and on Vatican City State ("MONEYVAL Report") regarding adherence to the 40 + IX FATF recommendations against money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Msgr. Balestrero was head of the Holy See delegation to the plenary session of MONEYVAL held in Strasbourg, France, on 4 July.

Extracts from Msgr. Balestrero's English-language presentation are given below:

"Vatican City State has a very small territory, with a small population, a very low level of domestic crime and no market economy. It is not a financial centre and its financial activities are meant to support its works of charity and of religion. However the Holy See enjoys a recognised moral voice and in this sense is deeply connected not only with its immediate neighbours, but with all countries of the world. Moreover the Holy See, as primarily responsible for the universal mission of the Church, has a special ability - even duty - to guide and orient Catholic religious organisations throughout the world. While those organisations exist within their own civil jurisdictions and are bound to follow the laws of those jurisdictions on AML/CFT issues, it is important that the Holy See use its moral authority to raise maximum awareness about the far too frequent transnational crime of money laundering and the financing of terrorism".

Beginning along the path and first accomplishments

"There has always been a clear determination to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as a legal system that already had several of the elements necessary to tackle ML/FT problems.

"At the end of 2010, we passed an AML/CFT law and requested evaluation in February 2011 by MONEYVAL. Our law came into force on 1 April 2011. Our Financial Intelligence Authority was operational by June. In November 2011, we received our first MONEYVAL on-site visit. The team of our evaluators was widely considered to be perhaps the strongest team MONEYVAL had ever assembled. It included the president, the secretary and an administrator of MONEYVAL, the president of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, two senior financial experts and a professor of international law".

Revision of the First AML/CFT Legislation

"Based on the preliminary remarks of the evaluators in November, it became apparent that the first version of the law, while representing an important effort at proper legislation, contained gaps and other difficulties that needed to be addressed in order to move forward.

"All jurisdictions that receive an on-site visit are given two months to introduce changes in their legislation, that will be included in the evaluation report. Within this time frame, on 25 January 2012, a new law was introduced that provided for more effective cooperation among the Vatican authorities involved in the prevention and countering of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The new law stressed the importance of their mutual connections and the need to better allocate their respective competences in order to establish a stronger and more sustainable AML/CFT system".

The present AML/CFT system

"Some of the more important elements of the current AML/CFT regime include:

"- The establishment of a risk-based approach to AML/CFT work, particularly in regard to the identification of suspicious transactions.

"- Enhanced emphasis on international cooperation, including full exchange of information with foreign counterparts. And I stress that this includes exchange of information including information prior to 1 April 2011.

"- Laws relating to financial institution secrecy are consistent with international standards.

"- The criminal law is significantly improved, by providing a comprehensive definition of money laundering, and an array of predicate crimes in line with international standards, as well as the criminalisation of the financing of terrorism.

"- The power of the courts to prosecute money laundering, financing of terrorism, and its predicate crimes, as well as to freeze and confiscate the proceeds of ML/FT activity has been strengthened.

"- The sanctions for failure to fulfil AML/CFT requirements are enhanced and made applicable to legal persons.

"- Entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a requirement for the exchange of financial information with financial intelligence units from other States. We pledge this to be an effective and reliable tool for exchanging information on the basis of reciprocity with those jurisdictions that are also committed to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

"- The power of the AML/FT supervisor to perform an inspection of any financial institution is made explicit and the law provides for the creation of a specific and detailed regulation upon the basis of which that inspection could be conducted.

"In addition, the Holy See, acting also on behalf of Vatican City State, has ratified the following Conventions: the Vienna Convention against Illicit Traffic on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988); the New York Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), and the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (2000).

"These Conventions are immediately applicable in our legal system, without any further need to implement legislation regarding extradition and cooperation.

"In addition, the area of international cooperation was carefully assessed The findings of the evaluators were that the current system of the Holy See and of Vatican City State is largely compliant with international standards".

Areas Where Evaluators Noted a Need for Improvement

"We are aware that, like other jurisdictions, some areas of the Vatican’s systems to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism still need to improve. After the new law was adopted in January, we addressed many of these issues in the course of our continuing exchanges with the evaluators. Other issues will be addressed expeditiously and giving proof of effectiveness. For example:

"- There are some concerns expressed in the report regarding the use of an MOU to establish the basis for international cooperation between financial intelligence units. We feel that the adoption of this requirement, which is in line with international standards, represents the right approach for the Vatican which, as a smaller jurisdiction, wishes to interact on fair and fully reciprocal terms with other countries. Indeed, this is a common choice made by many jurisdictions, including New Zealand, Canada, Australia and others; nor is this choice disfavored by such noted FATF members as the United States.

"- The Pontifical Commission is mandated by the law to provide for a regulation permitting the AML/CFT supervisor to perform on-site inspections. The evaluators note that until such a regulation becomes law, the supervisor's inspection powers are not yet defined. We agree. That regulation, which is already being drafted, will reflect our seriousness of purpose.

"- The report notes that the original structure of a Financial Intelligence Authority, which combines the financial intelligence unit function and the regulatory functions of a supervisor, appears to create difficulties. This structure of the FIA, which concentrated all AML intelligence and supervision, was inherited from the first version of the law. It was retained in the second version of the law. The evaluators have expressed certain scepticism as to its 'workability'. We are grateful for this observation which we take seriously.

"- The report notes that conflicts of interest may arise due to the same person working at the same time as a supervisor and in one of the supervised entities".

Next Steps After Passing the New Law

"After adoption of the present law, the Holy See has continued to improve its anti-money- laundering system. Above all, the Holy See and the Vatican authorities have moved from shorter-term solutions to the creation of long term, sustainable and effective solutions; and will continue to do.

"For example, after 25 January, that is after the above mentioned period of two months following the first on-site visit:

"- The Holy Sere established and implemented a terrorist list in line with the measures required by the United Nations Security Council.

"- We have officially applied to join the Egmont Group, which is the internationally accredited group of Financial Intelligence Units formed to favour rapid and reciprocal exchanges of information.

"- Through the execution of memoranda of understanding, we have expeditiously moved to insert our own financial intelligence authority into the international network of financial intelligence units.

"- As mentioned, the Commission of Cardinals for Vatican City State is in the process of adopting an inspection regulation.

"- We have initiated further revision of our criminal law, with a view to further modernise its provisions in light of international standards.

"- Shortly we will complete our risk assessment.

"- We are considering ratification of other crime fighting conventions and new legislation regarding non-profit organisations".


"We have taken a definitive step to lay the foundations to a structure - a house if you will - that is to a robust and sustainable system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Now it is our wish to fully construct a building that effectively shows the Holy See’s and Vatican City State’s desire to be a reliable partner in the international community".

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Oscar Roberto Dominguez Couttolenc M.G. of Tlapa, Mexico, as bishop of Ecatepec (area 204, population 4,613,000, Catholics 3,921,00, priests 152, permanent deacons 10, religious 155), Mexico.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Jeronimo Tomas Abreu Herrera, emeritus of Mao-Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, on 27 June at the age of 81.

- Archbishop Paul Coussa, emeritus of Baghdad of the Armenians, Iraq, on 8 July at the age of 94.

- Archbishop Pier Luigi Mazzoni, emeritus of Gaeta, Italy on 12 July at the age of 79.

- Bishop Rene Joseph Rakotopndrabe, emeritus of Toamasina, Madagascar, on 9 July at the age of 79.

- Bishop Jose Sotero Valero Ruz, emeritus of Guanare, Venezuela, on 29 June at the age of 76.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain, to mark the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Monastery of St. Joseph and the beginning of the Carmelite reform by St. Teresa of Avila. The message, ample extracts of which are given below, is dated 16 July.

"The reform of the Carmelite Order, the anniversary of which fills us with inner joy, arose from prayer and tends towards prayer. In promoting a radical return to the original Rule and abandoning the mitigated Rule, St. Teresa of Jesus sought to create a form of life which favoured a personal encounter with the Lord, finding 'a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us. Nor need we feel strange in the presence of so kind a Guest'".

"St. Teresa presented a new way of being Carmelite in a world which was also new. Those were 'difficult times' in which, according to that Mistress of the spirit, ... 'the world is on fire. Men try to condemn Christ once again. They would raze His Church to the ground. No, my sisters, this is no time to treat with God for things of little importance'. Does this luminous and engaging call, written more than four centuries ago by the mystic saint, not sound familiar in our own times?"

"The ultimate goal of Teresa's reform and the creation of new monasteries in a world lacking spiritual values was to protect apostolic work with prayer, proposing a form of evangelical life that would act as a model for people seeking the path of perfection, on the basis of the conviction that all authentic personal and ecclesial reform involves an ever more faithful reproduction of the 'form' of Christ in our own selves. ... Today too, as in the sixteenth century, in the midst of rapid transformation, it is important that trusting prayer be the heart of the apostolate, so that the the redeeming message of Jesus Christ may sound our clearly and dynamically. It is urgently important for the Word of life to resound harmoniously in peoples souls, with sonorous and attractive notes".

"The example of St. Teresa of Avila is of great help to us in this exhilarating task. In her time the saint evangelised unhesitatingly, showing tireless ardour, employing methods free from inertia and using expressions bathed in light. This remains important in the current time, when there is a pressing need for the baptised to renew their hearts through individual prayer in which, following the guidance of St. Teresa, they also focus on contemplation of Christ's blessed humanity as the only way to reach the glory of God".

"The power of Christ will lead to a redoubling of efforts to ensure that the people of God recover their vigour in the only way possible: by finding space within ourselves for the feelings of the Lord Jesus, and in all circumstances seeking to live His Gospel to the full. This means, above all, allowing the Holy Spirit to make us friends of the Master and to mould us to Him. It also means accepting all His mandates and adopting in ourselves criteria such as humility of conduct, renunciation of the superfluous, not harming others and acting with simplicity and humbleness of heart. Thus those around us will perceive the joy that arises from our adherence to the Lord; they will see that we put nothing before His love, and that we are always ready to give reasons for our hope".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Blessed are the peacemakers" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the forty-sixth World Day of Peace, which will fall on 1 January 2013, according to a communique released today by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. "The annual Message of the Pope, in the complexity of the present time, will encourage everyone to take responsibility with regard to peace-building", the English-language communique reads.

"The Message will embrace, therefore, the fullness and diversity of the concept of peace, starting from the human being: inner peace and outer peace; then, highlighting the anthropological emergency, the nature and incidence of nihilism; and, at the same time, fundamental rights, in the first place freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of religion. The Message will offer, as well, an ethical reflection on some measures the world is going to take to contain the financial and economic crisis, the educational crisis, the crisis of the institutions and politics, which is also - in many cases - a worrying crisis of democracy.

"The Message will also look at the fifteth Anniversary of Vatican Council II and of the Encyclical Letter by Pope John XXIII, 'Pacem in Terris', according to which the primacy is always for human dignity and freedom, for the building of an earthly city to the service of every person, without any discrimination, and directed to the common good which is based on justice and true peace.

"'Blessed are the peacemakers' will be the eighth Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace. Following are the titles of the previous ones: 'In Truth, Peace' (2006), 'The Human Person, Heart of Peace' (2007), 'The Human Family, a Community of Peace' (2008), 'Fighting Poverty to Build Peace' (2009), 'If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation' (2010), 'Religious Freedom, the path to peace' (2011), 'Educating young people in justice and peace' (2012)".


Vatican City, 15 July 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI visited the town of Frascati, located near his summer residence of Castelgandolfo. In 1962 Blessed Pope John XXIII ordered that the pastoral care of the diocese of Frascati be entrusted to a residential bishop, while the title of that suburbicarian see be retained by a cardinal. The current holder of the title is Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father. The visit of Benedict XVI is the fourth visit by a Pontiff to that diocese, following those made by John XXIII in 1959, Paul VI in 1963, and John Paul II in 1980.

On arrival, the Pope was greeted by Stefano Di Tommaso, mayor of Frascati, and by Bishop Raffaello Martinelli. He then entered the cathedral where he paused in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament before celebrating Mass in the atrium of the building, which is dedicated to St. Peter and overlooks a square of the same name.

Extracts from the Holy Father's homily are given below:

"In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus takes the initiative to send the twelve Apostles on a mission. ... The fact that Jesus calls certain disciples to collaborate directly in His mission, is an expression of one aspect His love: He does not disdain the help that other men can contribute to His work, He knows their limits and weaknesses, but does not despise them; indeed, He confers on them the dignity of being His emissaries. Jesus sends them out two by two and gives them instructions. ... The first instruction concerns the spirit of detachment: the Apostles must not be attached to money and comforts. Jesus warns the disciples that they will not always receive a favourable welcome: at times they will be rejected, and may also be persecuted. But that should not affect them: they must speak in the name of Jesus and preach the Kingdom of God, without worrying about success. They must leave the outcome in the hands of God.

"The first reading presented the same perspective, showing us that often God’s messengers are not well received. This is the case of the prophet Amos (who) preached with great energy against injustice, especially denouncing the abuses of the king and chiefs, abuses that offend the Lord, and render acts of worship vain. ... But, whether accepted or rejected, Amos continued to prophesy, preaching what God says and not what people wanted to hear. This remains the mandate of the Church: she does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power".

"The other very important indication of the Gospel is that the Twelve must not be content to preach conversion: their preaching must be accompanied, according to the instructions and example given by Jesus, by the bodily and spiritual care of the sick. He speaks of the concrete curing of diseases, ... of purifying the human mind, ... of cleaning the eyes of the soul that are obscured by ideology and therefore cannot see God, cannot see truth and justice. ... The apostolic mission must always include two aspects: preaching the word of God and manifesting His goodness with acts of charity, service and dedication".

"The Lord calls us all, distributing different gifts for different tasks in the Church. He calls us to the priesthood and consecrated life, and He calls us to marriage and commitment as lay people within the Church and society. ... Two complementary paths that illuminate each other, enrich each other and together enrich the community. ... The Lord bountifully sows His gifts, He calls you to follow Him and to continue His mission today".

"I propose you intensely live the Year of Faith, which will begin in October, fifty years from the opening of Vatican Council II. The conciliar documents contain an enormous wealth for the formation of new generations of Christians, for the formation of our consciousness. Read them, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and rediscover the beauty of being Christians, of being Church and enjoying the great 'we' that Jesus formed around Him, to evangelise the world: the 'we' of the Church, never closed, but always open and projected towards the proclamation of the Gospel".


Vatican City, 15 July 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, having returned from his pastoral visit to Frascati, the Holy Father appeared on the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below.

"In the liturgical calendar", he said, "15 July is the memory of the Franciscan St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Doctor of the Church, the successor of St. Francis of Assisi at the head of the Order of Friars Minor. He wrote the first biography of Francis, and at the end of his life was also bishop of this diocese of Albano".

"The whole life and theology of St. Bonaventure have Jesus Christ as their core inspiration. This centrality of Christ is also to be found in the second reading of today’s Mass, the famous hymn of the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, which begins: 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens'. The Apostle then goes on to show us how this blessing is realised in four passages all of which begin with the same expression 'in Him', referring to Jesus Christ. 'In Him' the Father chose us before the creation of the world; 'in Him' we are redeemed through His blood, 'in Him' we have become heirs predestined to be 'the praise of his glory'; 'in Him' those who believe in the Gospel receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. This hymn contains the Pauline view of history, which St. Bonaventure helped to spread in the Church: all of history is centred on Christ, Who is a guarantee of novelty and renewal in every age. In Jesus, God has spoken and given everything, but because He is an inexhaustible treasure, the Holy Spirit never ceases to reveal and update His mystery. Therefore, the work of Christ and the Church never regresses, but always progresses".

After praying the Angelus the Holy Father described the holidays as "a favourable moment to reflect upon our lives, and to open our hearts to other people and to God. I invite you to concern yourselves with those who suffer solitude and abandonment, in the street, in their own homes, in hospitals or in care homes. Do not hesitate to visit them".

Finally the Pope recalled the fact that today marks the liturgical memory of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mother of God of the Scapular. "Blessed John Paul II wore and loved the scapular", he said. "To all his compatriots - in Poland, in the world and here in Castelgandolfo - I express the hope that Mary, the best of mothers, may protect you with her mantle in the struggle against evil, intercede in your request for grace, and show you the path that leads to God".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This afternoon the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

On Sunday 15 July he received in audience Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, Canada, presented by Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie O.M.I., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Fr. William Stang O.M.I., vicar general, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same archdiocese.

- Erected the new diocese of Udupi (area 3,500, population 1,445,240, Catholics 106,149, priests 86, religious 225) India, with territory taken from the diocese of Mangalore, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Bangalore. He appointed Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo of Shimoga, India, as first bishop of the new diocese.

On Saturday 14 July it was made public that the Holy Father appointed Fr. Gregory Bittman, judicial vicar and chancellor of the archdiocese of Edmonton, Canada, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 81,151, population 1,589,080, Catholics 378,545, priests 175, permanent deacons 20, religious 362). The bishop-elect was born in Hamilton, Canada in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1996. He has worked in pastoral care in a number of parishes.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Being witnesses of Jesus Christ in Africa today. 'Salt of the earth ... light of the World'" is the theme of the forthcoming Pan African Congress for Catholic Laity, which has been organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and is due to take place in Yaounde, Cameroon, from 4 to 9 September. The initiative is part of the council's tradition of organising continental and/or regional congresses for Catholic lay people in various parts of the world.

The event will be held at the Catholic University of Central Africa, and the decision to hold the congress in Africa is related to the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola in 2009 and, more recently, his visit to Benin in November 2011 to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Africae Munus".

According to a communique released today: "the meeting demonstrates the commitment of the Pontifical Council for the Laity to journey together with the particular Churches. It also helps the laity to live their faith in communion with their pastors and to rediscover their co-responsibility for the Church’s mission in its many fields of apostolate".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Choluteca, Honduras, presented by Bishop Guido Plante P.M.E., upon having reached the age limit.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Rodolfo Ignacio Quezada Toruno, archbishop emeritus of Guatemala, Guatemala, on 4 June at the age of 80.

- Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, archbishop emeritus of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 9 July at the age of 91.

- Bishop Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini, emeritus of Guarulhos, Brazil, on 13 June at the age of 76.

- Archbishop Raymond Eid, emeritus of Damascus of the Maronites, Syria, on 11 June at the age of 81.

- Bishop Ireneo Garcia Alonso, emeritus of Albacete, Spain, on 4 June at the age of 89.

- Bishop Jouzas Tunaitis, former auxiliary of Vilnius, Lithuania, on 1 June at the age of 83.

- Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto, emeritus of Coimbra, Portugal, on 15 June at the age of 77.

- Bishop Angelo Cuniberti I.M.C., former apostolic vicar of Florencia, Colombia, on 26 June at the age of 91.

- Bishop Sergio Goretti emeritus of Assisi - Nocera Umbra - Gualdo Tadino, Italy, on 22 June at the age of 83.

- Bishop Anthony Ekezia Ilonu, emeritus of Okigwe, Nigeria, on 15 June at the age of 74.

- Archbishop Joviano de Lima Junior S.S.S. of Riberao Preto, Brazil, on 21 June at the age
of 70.

- Archbishop Alcides Mendoza Castro, emeritus of Cuzco, Peru, on 20 June at the age of 84.

- Bishop Mogale Paul Nkhumishe, emeritus of Polokwane, South Africa, on 29 June at the age of 74.

- Archbishop Aloysio Jose Leal Penna S.J., emeritus of Botucatu, Brazil, on 19 June at the age of 79.

- Bishop Gilbert Blaize Rego, emeritus of Simla and Chandigarh, India, on 21 June at the age of 90.

- Bishop Rudolf Schmid, former auxiliary of Augsburg, Germany, on 24 June at the age of 97.

- Archbishop Albert Joseph Tsiahoana, emeritus of Antsiranana, Madagascar, on 15 June at the age of 84.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Vatican City, 12 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father welcomed Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Republic of Italy, and his wife, Clio Maria Bittoni to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. They met briefly in the Apostolic Palace's Garden of the Moor, later conversing along the parapets of the gardens.

At 6:00pm the president and the Holy Father attended a concert of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, directed by Maestro Daniel Barenboim, whom they greeted after the performance. Afterwards the president of the Republic and his wife dined with the Pope in his private apartments.


Vatican City, 12 July 2012 (VIS) - "It pleases me to welcome an orchestra such as this one, which was born of the conviction, or better yet, of the experience that music unites persons, over and above any division". With these words the Pope thanked Director Daniel Barenboim and the musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for the concert given in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, patron of Europe.

"Music", the pontiff continued, "is the harmony of differences ... from the multiplicity of tones of the various instruments a symphony can arise. However, this doesn't happen magically or automatically. It comes only from ... a patient and laborious commitment, which requires time and sacrifices in the effort to listen to one another, avoiding excessive egoism and privileging the best success of the whole".

"In these moments I am thinking of the great symphony of peace between the peoples that is never complete. My generation, like that of Director Barenboim's parents', lived the tragedy of the Second World war and the Shoah. It is highly meaningful that the maestro desired to bring a to life a project like the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: a group in which musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arabic nations play; Jewish, Muslim, and Christian persons. The numerous acknowledgements that have been conferred on you and this orchestra demonstrate your professional excellence as well as your ethical and spiritual commitment".

Continuing, the Pope emphasized that the symphonies that were performed, Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth, express two aspects of life: "drama and peace; humanity's struggle against adversity and its enlightening immersion in a bucolic environment... The message I would like to draw from it for today is this: to achieve peace we must dedicate ourselves to dialogue with a personal and communal conversion, patiently seeking possible areas of understanding".

"I wish and pray that each of you", he concluded, "continue sowing the hope for peace in the world through the universal language of music".


Vatican City, 12 July 2012 (VIS) - Members of the press and spokespersons of the European Episcopal conferences met in Cologne, Germany to discuss the relationship between the media and the Catholic Church.

Bishops, priests, and laypersons from across the continent are participating in the various sessions of the meeting, which will take place from 11 to 14 July. It will deal with, among other themes, communication regarding financial issues related to the life of the churches. A special session will be held dedicated to the Year of Faith and the media projects of the various episcopal conferences related to this event.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Vatican City, 11 July 2012 (VIS) - The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee held an extraordinary meeting in Rome on 10 July 2012, corresponding to Shaban 20, 1433. The meeting was presided over for the Catholic side by His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and for the Muslim side by H.E. Prof. Dr. Hamid bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue.

The participants exchanged views about the relations between Christians and Muslim in the current situation of the world. In order to continue their deliberations and in the continuity of the dialogue existing since 1995, the two parties agreed to hold the next meeting of the Committee in Rome, in the first week of July 2013, corresponding to the first week of Shaban 1434, for two full working days. Eight participants from each side will participate in the meeting, which will have the theme "Believers in front of Materialism and Secularism",


Vatican City, 11 July 2012 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, S.D.B., as archbishop of Passo Fundo (area 12,000, population 537,000, Catholics 425,000, priests 150, religious 415), Brazil. Archbishop Altieri, formerly bishop of Caraguatatuba, succeeds Archbishop Pedro Ercilio Simon, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Passo Fundo the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Marek Jedraszewski as archbishop of Lodz (area 5,200, population 1,502,000, Catholics 1,421,500, priests 767, religious 778), Poland. Formerly auxiliary bishop of Poznan, Poland, he succeeds Archbishop Wladyslaw Ziolek, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Lodz the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Elias Gonsalves, director of Social Work of the archdiocese of Bombay, as bishop of the diocese of Amravati (area 46,447, population 10,634,000, Catholics 5,622, priests 32, religious 230), India. The bishop-elect was born in Chulne of the Vasai diocese in 1961 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. He has a bachelor's degree in history and economics from Bombay University and a diploma in social development and community building from the Coady Institute in Nova Scotia, Canada. He has served as pastor of several parishes. The diocese of Amravati has been vacant since 11 November 2010, when Bishop Daniel Lourdes was appointed to the diocese of Nashik, India.

- Appointed Msgr. Philip Anthony Egan of the clergy of the diocese of Shrewsbury, as bishop of Portsmouth (area 6,339, population 2,524,000, Catholics 192,000, priests 189, permanent deacons 43, religious 363), England. The bishop-elect was born in Altrincham in the diocese of Chester in 1955 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1984. After graduate studies in theology at Boston College in the United States, he served as professor of fundamental theology and academic dean at St. Mary's College, Oscott in Birmingham, England. In 2008 he became pastor of Our Lady and St. Christopher in Stockport and, in 2010, vicar general of the diocese of Shrewsbury. He succeeds Bishop Crispian Hollis, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Portsmouth the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Vatican City, 10 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta, O. Cist., of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the death of Cardinal Eugenio Araujo Sales, archbishop emeritus of the same archdiocese. Cardinal Araujo Sales, who had a "long life dedicated to the Church in Brazil", died late last night at the age of 91.

In the text of his telegram Benedict XVI recalls the cardinal's three decades as archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and his almost seventy years of priesthood, which were distinguished for "showing to all the path of truth in charity and service".


Vatican City, 10 July 2012 (VIS) - Following is the communique released this morning on the episcopal ordination of the Reverend Joseph Yue Fusheng in Harbin and the Reverend Thaddeus Ma Daqin as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Shanghai.

"With regard to the episcopal ordination of the Reverend Joseph Yue Fusheng, which took place in Harbin (Province of Heilongjiang) on Friday 6 July 2012, the following is stated:

1) The Reverend Joseph Yue Fusheng, ordained without pontifical mandate and hence illicitly, has automatically incurred the sanctions laid down by canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Consequently, the Holy See does not recognize him as Bishop of the Apostolic Administration of Harbin, and he lacks the authority to govern the priests and the Catholic community in the Province of Heilongjiang.

The Reverend Yue Fusheng had been informed some time ago that he could not be approved by the Holy See as an episcopal candidate, and on several occasions he had been asked not to accept episcopal ordination without the pontifical mandate.

2) The Bishops who took part in the illicit episcopal ordination and have exposed themselves to the sanctions laid down by the law of the Church, must give an account to the Holy See of their participation in that religious ceremony.

3) Appreciation is due to those priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who prayed and fasted for a change of heart in the Reverend Yue Fusheng, for the holiness of the Bishops and for the unity of the Church in China, particularly in the Apostolic Administration of Harbin.

4) All Catholics in China, pastors, priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful, are called to defend and safeguard that which pertains to the doctrine and tradition of the Church. Even amid the present difficulties, they look to the future with faith, comforted by the certainty that the Church is founded on the rock of Peter and his Successors.

5) The Apostolic See, trusting in the concrete willingness of the Government Authorities of China to dialogue with the Holy See, hopes that the said authorities will not encourage gestures contrary to such dialogue. Chinese Catholics also wish to see practical steps taken in this direction, the first among which is the avoidance of illicit celebrations and episcopal ordinations without pontifical mandate that cause division and bring suffering to the Catholic communities in China and the universal Church.

The ordination of the Reverend Thaddeus Ma Daqin as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Shanghai on Saturday 7 July 2012 is encouraging and is to be welcomed. The presence of a bishop who is not in communion with the Holy Father was inappropriate and shows a lack of consideration for a lawful episcopal ordination".


Vatican City, 10 July 2012 (VIS) - "A wonderful memory, perhaps my fondest memory of the entire council." With these words yesterday, the Holy Father recalled his time at the center of the Divine Word Missionaries in Nemi 47 years ago when he was one of the young expert theologians charged with preparing the decree on the Church's missionary activity for Vatican Council II.

Benedict XVI thanked the Society of the Divine Word for having given him the possibility to return to the "Ad Gentes" Center after more than four decades and to recall that, at the time of the Council, he was living "in the center of Rome, at the Santa Maria del Anima seminary, with all the noise [of the city], which is also nice. But being here in the green countryside, having this glimpse of nature and also this fresh air, was beautiful in itself. Then there was the companionship of so many great theologians, with the important and wonderful task of preparing the decree on missions".

Benedict XVI's meeting with the 150 participants of the Society of the Divine Word's general chapter as well as members of the community's mother house in Rome was very warm. The Holy Father recalled that the order's superior general at the time was Fr. Johannes Schutte. "He had suffered greatly in China where he was convicted and expelled from the country. He was full of missionary zeal, of the need to bring a new impetus to the missionary spirit and I was alongside him. I was a very young and not very important theologian;I didn't know why they had invited me but, for me, it was a great gift".

"Fulton Sheen was also there, fascinating us with his afternoon speeches, and Father Congar, and the great missionaries of Leuven. It was a spiritual enrichment for me, a great gift. The decree was not very controversial. There was this controversy, which I have never really understood, between the schools of Leuven and Munster: was the main scope of the mission the 'implantatio Ecclesiae' or the 'Evangelii' announcement? But everything converged in the one spirit of the need to bring the light of the Word of God, the light of God's love, to the world and to give new joy to this proclamation".

"Thus in those days was born a good and beautiful decree that was accepted almost unanimously by all the Council Fathers. It was complemented very well for me by 'Lumen Gentium' because in it we find a Trinitarian ecclesiology that begins, above all, from the classical idea of the 'bonum diffusivum sui', the good that carries with it the need to communicate, to give itself, a good that cannot be locked within itself. The good, this same good, is essentially 'communicatio'. This is already apparent in the Trinitarian mystery, as God is in Himself, and is spread throughout salvation history and in our need to give others the good that we have received".

"Remembering all this I have often thought of those days in Nemi, which were an essential part of the experience of the Council for me. I am pleased to see your society flourishing - your father general has spoken of six thousand members in many countries and nations. Clearly, missionary zeal is still alive and it lives only if there is the Gospel's joy, if we experience the good that comes from God and that wants to and must communicate itself. Thank you for your missionary zeal".

In closing, the Holy Father wished the Verbites all the blessings of the Lord and "much inspiration" during their chapter general. "May the same inspiring power of the Holy Spirit that accompanied us almost visibly in those days be again present among you and help you to find the path for your society as well as for the Gospel mission 'ad gentes' for the following years. Thank you all and may the Lord bless you. Pray for me as I pray for you".
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service