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Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - During his general audience this morning Benedict XVI, continuing his catecheses on the subject of Catholic faith, began by posing certain important questions: "Is the nature of faith merely personal and individual? ... Do I live my faith alone?", he asked.

"Certainly, the act of faith is an eminently personal act", he told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. "It is something which happens in the most intimate depths of my being and causes a change of direction, a personal conversion. ... But the fact that I believe is not the result of solitary reflection, ... it is the fruit of a relationship, a dialogue ... with Jesus which causes me to emerge from my 'I' ... and to open myself to the love of God the Father. It is like a rebirth in which I discover that I am united not only to Jesus but also to all those who have walked and continue to walk along His path. And this new birth, which begins with Baptism, continues throughout the course of a person's life.

"I cannot construct my personal faith in a private dialogue with Jesus", the Pope added, "because faith is given to me by God through a believing community which is the Church. And faith makes me part of a multitude of believers bound by a communion which is not merely sociological, but rooted in the eternal love of God. ... The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this very clearly: 'Believing is an ecclesial act. The Church's faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers'".

At the beginning of Christian history, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, "the nascent Church received the strength to accomplish the mission entrusted to her by the risen Lord: that of spreading the Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God, to the ends of the earth, and thus leading all men and women to meet Him, to the faith which saves. ... Thus began the journey of the Church, the community which carries this message though time and space, the community which is the People of God", whose members "do not belong to a particular social or ethnic group but are men and women from all nations and cultures. They are a 'catholic' people who speak new languages, who are open to welcoming everyone, beyond all confines, who break down all barriers".

"Ever since the beginning, then, the Church has been the place of faith, the place where faith is transmitted. ... The life of the Church, the announcement of the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments form an unbroken chain which has come down to us and which we call Tradition. This gives us the guarantee that what we believe is Christ's original message, as preached by the Apostles. ... It is in the ecclesial community that personal faith grows and matures".

In this context the Pope explained how, in the New Testament, the word "saints" is used to refer to Christians as a whole. "Certainly", he said, "not all of them had the qualities necessary to be declared saints by the Church". The name "saint" meant that "those who had faith ... in the risen Christ were called to become a point of reference for all the others, and to bring them into contact with the Person and Message of Jesus Who revealed the face of the living God. ... This also holds true for us. A Christian who allows himself to be guided and moulded by the faith of the Church, despite his weaknesses, limitations and difficulties, becomes a window open to the light of the living God, receiving this light and transmitting it to the world".

"The tendency, so widespread today, to relegate the faith to the private sphere contradicts its very nature. ... We need the Church in order for our faith to be confirmed and to experience the gifts of God together . ... In a world in which individualism seems to regulate dealings between people, making them ever more fragile, the faith calls us to be People of God, to be Church, bearers of the love and communion of God for the entire human race", the Holy Father concluded.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding", said the Holy Father at the end of his catechesis during today's general audience.

Turning then to address Polish pilgrims, he noted that, "in the context of the month of the Rosary which is now coming to an end, and of All Saints' Day which we will celebrate tomorrow, let us thank God for the Year of Faith, and for the Synod of Bishops with the guidance it has given us vis-a-vis the new evangelisation".

Finally the Holy Father greeted rectors of Catholic universities, who are currently meeting in Rome, and expressed the hope that their pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles would reinforce their "sense of belonging to the Church".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Peter Parapullil, vicar general of the diocese of Jhansi, India, as bishop of the same diocese (area 29,418, population 8,233,914, Catholics 3,936, priests 54, religious 236). The bishop-elect was born in Perumanoor, India in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He studied in India and in Rome and has, among other roles, been active in pastoral care in parishes and missions, as well as working as procurator and rector of the Shrine of St. Jude in Jhansi. He succeeds Bishop Frederick D'Souza, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Pedro Vazquez Villalobos, vicar general of the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico, as bishop of Puerto Escondido (area 13,221, population 496,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 45, religious 53), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Huisquilco, Mexico in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975. He has been active in pastoral care and is a member of presbyteral council and the college of consultors.

- Appointed Fr. Robert Herman Flock Bever of the clergy of the diocese of La Crosse, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of "La Santa Cruz" and formator of young clergy in the Bolivian archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cochabamba (area 32,306, population 1,668,000, Catholics 1,534,000, priests 307, permanent deacons 28, religious 1,295), Bolivia The bishop-elect was born in Sparta, U.S.A., in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982. He has worked in pastoral care, first in his American diocese then in Bolivia after moving there as a "fidei donum" priest in 1988.

- Appointed Fr. Rene Leigue Cesari of the clergy of the archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, pastor of the parish of "Nuestra Senora de Fatima" and director of studies at the major seminary of "San Lorenzo", as auxiliary of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (area 50,000, population 2,338,000, Catholics 1,842,000, priests 197, permanent deacons 5, religious 773). The bishop-elect was born in the "Comunidad Nuevo Horizonte", Bolivia in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1999. He has served as pastor in a number of different parishes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Vatican City, 30 October 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers in the Sistine Chapel at 6 p.m. tomorrow, 31 October, to commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of the ceiling painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.

Pope Julius II, who entrusted the decoration of the vault (1100 square metres) to the sculptor of the Pieta, celebrated the completion of the work with the solemn rite of Vespers on All Saints' Day, 31 October 1512.


Vatican City, 30 October 2012 (VIS) - A Mass is due to be celebrated this afternoon in Venice to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani, who was patriarch of that city from 1969 to 1978. The pontificate of John Paul I, who became known as "the Smiling Pope", lasted only 33 days from 26 August to 28 September 1978. The process for his beatification began in 2003.

The Venetian commemoration will consist of a Mass at 6 p.m. in Saint Mark's Basilica, presided by Patriarch Francesco Moraglia, who will concelebrate with bishops of the Triveneto Episcopal Conference. This will be followed at 8.30 p.m. by a concert of religious music organised by the Procurator of Saint Mark's Basilica, the Polish Institute in Rome and the "Capella Cracoviensis" of Krakow. During the intervals, there will be readings of texts by John Paul I.

The programme of the concert will be dedicated to two of the most important exponents of the Venetian school of the seventeenth century: Giovanni Gabrieli, composer, organist and choir master of Saint Mark's Basilica, the four-hundredth anniversary of whose death falls this year, and Mikolak Zielenski, composer, organist and choir master linked to the Collegiate of Lowicz, see of the Polish primate.


Vatican City, 30 October 2012 (VIS) - "The Holy See and Croatia: twenty years of intense relations” was the theme of a conference held yesterday in the Vatican to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia.

Speaking at the event Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, recalled that “in the year 879, in the same month of June in which modern Croatia annually celebrates its independence, Pope John VIII addressed a letter to Prince Branimir informing him that he had raised prayers to the Lord in order that 'principatum terrenum, quem habes, prospere et securiter reggere possis'. … These strong ties between Croatia and the Holy See have not diminished over the centuries. On several occasions throughout history, and in difficult circumstances, Croatians have demonstrated their fidelity to the Gospel and to Peter's Successor”.

He remarked, “During Croatia's millennium-long history, the last twenty years have been among the most difficult and, at the same time, crucial for its future, especially those immediately following its independence. However the challenges persist, and today Croatians must ask themselves about the values upon which they intend to build their lives as individuals, and the life of the nation as a whole”.

“Although the Church and the political community work at different levels and are independent from one other, both serve the same people who are, at one and the same time, faithful members of the Church and citizens of the State. This means that there is ample space for dialogue and co-operation, in the service of the dignity of all men and women. At the heart of mutual co-operation, in fact, lies our shared commitment to the common good and to the promotion of spiritual and moral values, which give Croatian society its solid foundations.

"I wish to conclude by expressing the hope that the Republic of Croatia will continue to progress in both material and, above all, spiritual terms”, said the archbishop. "In particular I hope that, when Croatia's aspiration to full integration into the European Union is achieved, the country will reinforce its identity and thus act as leaven bringing good to other States”.


Vatican City, 30 October 2012 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli on 20 September at the age of 77.

- Bishop Patrick Augustine Kalilombe, emeritus of Lilongwe, Malawi on 23 September at the age of 79.

- Bishop Michel Kuehn, emeritus of Chartres, France on 18 September at the age of 88.

- Bishop Albert Henry Ottenweller, emeritus of Steubenville, USA on 23 September at the age of 96.

- Bishop Michael Vincent Pascal Rowland, emeritus of Dundee, South Africa on 23 September at the age of 83.

- Archbishop Bruno Schettino of Capua, Italy on 21 September at the age of 71.

- Bishop Roman Danylak, apostolic administrator emeritus "sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Toronto of the Ukrainians, Canada, on 7 October at the age of 81.

- Archbishop Antonio Maria Mucciolo, emeritus of Botucatu, Brazil, on 29 September at the age of 89.

- Bishop Jose Rodrigues de Souza, emeritus of Juazeiro, Brazil, on 9 September at the age of 86.


Vatican City, 30 October 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Rodolfo Beltran, apostolic vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe, Philippines, as bishop of San Fernando de La Union (area 1,493, population 775,000, Catholics 667,000, priests 42, permanent deacons 5, religious 122), Philippines.

- Appointed Bishop Guillermo Martin Abanto Guzman, auxiliary of Lima, Peru, as military ordinary of Peru.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Zoran Milanovic, prime minister of the Republic of Croatia. The prime minister subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions enabled a productive exchange of opinions on the challenges the country finds itself having to face during the current economic crisis, as well as on issues of mutual interest within the framework of bilateral relations. On this subject, mention was made of a conference to be held this afternoon marking the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations. As regards the well-known case of Dajla, the two parties agreed to resolve the question as soon as possible, in the spirit of traditional friendship between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia.

Finally, the Holy See reiterated its support for Croatia's legitimate aspirations to full European integration, and consideration was given to the regional situation, with particular reference to the situation of Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, presented the Pope's Message for the ninety-ninth World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which falls on 13 January 2013 and will have as its theme: "Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope".

"Today the phenomenon of migration is striking for the vast number of people involved", said Cardinal Veglio. "Suffice it, for example, to read the International Organisation for Migration's World Migration Report 2011, which estimates a total of 214 million international migrants". To these must be added internally displaced persons, who numbered around 740 million in 2010. "Adding the two figures together, we see that nearly one billion human beings, a seventh of the global population, is today experiencing some form of migration", the cardinal said.

"On their existential pilgrimage towards a better future, migrants carry with them feelings of faith and hope, even if they are not yet aware exactly what they are searching for. To say that they are trying only to improve their economic or social situation would be to over simplify the issue. ... It is true that not all migrants - even if they have a profound faith that, in migrating, God will be at their side - consider their journey as a movement towards God; i.e., a journey animated by faith. Nonetheless, it is precisely the people who do not yet know that they can discover God Who stretches out his hand to them, who may experience (and especially in countries of ancient Christian tradition) the genuine goodness of many ecclesial institutions who welcome and help them.

"It is, in fact, here in the immense context of migration", the president of the pontifical council added, "that the Church is called to show her maternal solicitude without distinction. In his message, the Holy Father identifies two channels for activity, which are not parallel but complementary. On the one hand is the more tangible element which, we could say, is more easily identifiable by the mass media and takes form in 'the creation of programmes aimed at meeting emergencies'. ... This is the most immediate form of attention. ... The second element, more laborious and less 'media friendly' because it often requires a change of mentality, is: ... supporting and accompanying the integration of migrants into their new socio-cultural surroundings".

Cardinal Veglio then went on to point out that the message for this World Day is being presented soon after the Pope's journey to Lebanon. "Thus", he said, "our gaze can turn specifically to the countries of the Middle East where the presence of Christian migrants, among believers of other religions, has a significant role in creating the very special identity of that region. ... And this is true not only of the Middle East, but of the entire world. The phenomenon of migration obliges us to encounter different lifestyles and different cultures, stimulating the creation of new relationships".

"The Church plays an important role in the process of integration", the cardinal concluded. "She does this by accentuating the centrality and dignity of the person, emphasising the protection of minorities and appreciation for their cultures; the contribution of migration to universal peace; the ecclesial and missionary dimension of migration, and the importance of dialogue and encounter within civil society, the ecclesial community and different confessions and religions. Moreover, in her efforts to resolve the human, social and religious problems of emigration, the Church does not fail to give this increasingly significant phenomenon a distinctly humanist and Christian imprint".

Archbishop Kalathiparambil focused his remarks on the issue of refugees, highlighting the growing difficulties they face in seeking asylum. He made particular mention of the restrictive measures imposed by certain States "to hinder access to their territories", such as "the requirement of visas, sanctions applied to transporters, and lists of safe countries of origin. These measures", he said, "have encouraged the activities of smugglers and traffickers, and led to dangerous sea crossings during which far too many human lives have already been lost".

The archbishop went on: "All this comes about despite the international community's obligation to protect refugees and asylum seekers, out of respect for the Declaration and the spirit of human rights, refugees' rights and international humanitarian law. Access to requesting asylum comes first and foremost; this also includes such primary needs as food, shelter, clothing and medical assistance, but also the right to work and free movement. It cannot be over emphasised that asylum seekers find themselves having to travel beyond the frontiers of their own countries, and it is their right not to possess valid travel or identity documents".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Migrations: Pilgrimage of Faith and Hope" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is celebrated every year on 13 January. The text of the English-language version of the Message, given below, is dated from the Vatican, 12 October 2012.

"The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the Pastoral Constitution 'Gaudium et Spes', recalled that 'the Church goes forward together with humanity'; therefore 'the joys and the hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts'. The Servant of God Paul VI echoed these words when he called the Church an 'expert in humanity' , as did Blessed John Paul II when he stated that the human person is 'the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission... the way traced out by Christ himself'. In the footsteps of my predecessors, I sought to emphasise in my Encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate' that 'the whole Church, in all her being and acting - when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity - is engaged in promoting integral human development'. I was thinking also of the millions of men and women who, for various reasons, have known the experience of migration. Migration is in fact 'a striking phenomenon because of the sheer numbers of people involved, the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community', for 'every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance'.

"For this reason, I have chosen to dedicate the 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme 'Migrations: pilgrimage of faith and hope', in conjunction with the celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution 'Exsul Familia', and at a time when the whole Church is celebrating the Year of Faith, taking up with enthusiasm the challenge of the new evangelisation.

"Faith and hope are inseparable in the hearts of many migrants, who deeply desire a better life and not infrequently try to leave behind the 'hopelessness' of an unpromising future. During their journey many of them are sustained by the deep trust that God never abandons his children; this certainty makes the pain of their uprooting and separation more tolerable and even gives them the hope of eventually returning to their country of origin. Faith and hope are often among the possessions which emigrants carry with them, knowing that with them, 'we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey'.

"In the vast sector of migration, the Church shows her maternal concern in a variety of ways. On the one hand, she witnesses the immense poverty and suffering entailed in migration, leading often to painful and tragic situations. This inspires the creation of programmes aimed at meeting emergencies through the generous help of individuals and groups, volunteer associations and movements, parochial and diocesan organisations in cooperation with all people of good will. The Church also works to highlight the positive aspects, the potential and the resources which migrations offer. Along these lines, programmes and centres of welcome have been established to help and sustain the full integration of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees into a new social and cultural context, without neglecting the religious dimension, fundamental for every person’s life. Indeed, it is to this dimension that the Church, by virtue of the mission entrusted to her by Christ, must devote special attention and care: this is her most important and specific task. For Christians coming from various parts of the world, attention to the religious dimension also entails ecumenical dialogue and the care of new communities, while for the Catholic faithful it involves, among other things, establishing new pastoral structures and showing esteem for the various rites, so as to foster full participation in the life of the local ecclesial community. Human promotion goes side by side with spiritual communion, which opens the way 'to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the only Saviour of the world'. The Church always offers a precious gift when she guides people to an encounter with Christ, which opens the way to a stable and trustworthy hope.

"Where migrants and refugees are concerned, the Church and her various agencies ought to avoid offering charitable services alone; they are also called to promote real integration in a society where all are active members and responsible for one another’s welfare, generously offering a creative contribution and rightfully sharing in the same rights and duties. Emigrants bring with them a sense of trust and hope which has inspired and sustained their search for better opportunities in life. Yet they do not seek simply to improve their financial, social and political condition. It is true that the experience of migration often begins in fear, especially when persecutions and violence are its cause, and in the trauma of having to leave behind family and possessions which had in some way ensured survival. But suffering, great losses and at times a sense of disorientation before an uncertain future do not destroy the dream of being able to build, with hope and courage, a new life in a new country. Indeed, migrants trust that they will encounter acceptance, solidarity and help, that they will meet people who sympathise with the distress and tragedy experienced by others, recognise the values and resources the latter have to offer, and are open to sharing humanly and materially with the needy and disadvantaged. It is important to realise that 'the reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty'. Migrants and refugees can experience, along with difficulties, new, welcoming relationships which enable them to enrich their new countries with their professional skills, their social and cultural heritage and, not infrequently, their witness of faith, which can bring new energy and life to communities of ancient Christian tradition, and invite others to encounter Christ and to come to know the Church.

"Certainly every state has the right to regulate migration and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person. The right of persons to migrate - as the Council’s Constitution 'Gaudium et Spes', No. 65, recalled - is numbered among the fundamental human rights, allowing persons to settle wherever they consider best for the realisation of their abilities, aspirations and plans. In the current social and political context, however, even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate, that is, to remain in one’s homeland; as Blessed John Paul II stated: 'It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country. However this rights become effective only if the factors that urge people to emigrate are constantly kept under control'. Today in fact we can see that many migrations are the result of economic instability, the lack of essential goods, natural disasters, wars and social unrest. Instead of a pilgrimage filled with trust, faith and hope, migration then becomes an ordeal undertaken for the sake of survival, where men and women appear more as victims than as agents responsible for the decision to migrate. As a result, while some migrants attain a satisfactory social status and a dignified level of life through proper integration into their new social setting, many others are living at the margins, frequently exploited and deprived of their fundamental rights, or engaged in forms of behaviour harmful to their host society. The process of integration entails rights and duties, attention and concern for the dignified existence of migrants; it also calls for attention on the part of migrants to the values offered by the society to which they now belong.

"In this regard, we must not overlook the question of irregular migration, an issue all the more pressing when it takes the form of human trafficking and exploitation, particularly of women and children. These crimes must be clearly condemned and prosecuted, while an orderly migration policy which does not end up in a hermetic sealing of borders, more severe sanctions against irregular migrants and the adoption of measures meant to discourage new entries, could at least limit for many migrants the danger of falling prey to such forms of human trafficking. There is an urgent need for structured multilateral interventions for the development of the countries of departure, effective countermeasures aimed at eliminating human trafficking, comprehensive programmes regulating legal entry, and a greater openness to considering individual cases calling for humanitarian protection more than political asylum. In addition to suitable legislation, there is a need for a patient and persevering effort to form minds and consciences. In all this, it is important to strengthen and develop understanding and cooperation between ecclesial and other institutions devoted to promoting the integral development of the human person. In the Christian vision, social and humanitarian commitment draws its strength from fidelity to the Gospel, in the knowledge that 'to follow Christ, the perfect man, is to become more human oneself'.

"Dear brothers and sisters who yourselves are migrants, may this World Day help you renew your trust and hope in the Lord who is always at our side! Take every opportunity to encounter him and to see his face in the acts of kindness you receive during your pilgrimage of migration. Rejoice, for the Lord is near, and with him you will be able to overcome obstacles and difficulties, treasuring the experiences of openness and acceptance that many people offer you. For 'life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way'.

"I entrust each of you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sign of sure hope and consolation, our 'guiding star', who with her maternal presence is close to us at every moment of our life. To all I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing".


Vatican City, 28 October 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at a celebration of the Eucharist with Synod Fathers for the closure of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which began on 7 October and has been examining the theme: "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith". Extracts from the Holy Father's homily are given below.

"The whole of Mark’s Gospel is a journey of faith, which develops gradually under Jesus’ tutelage. The disciples are the first actors on this journey of discovery, but there are also other characters who play an important role, and Bartimaeus is one of them. His is the last miraculous healing that Jesus performs before His passion, and it is no accident that it should be that of a blind person, someone whose eyes have lost the light. We know from other texts too that the state of blindness has great significance in the Gospels. It represents man who needs God’s light, the light of faith, if he is to know reality truly and to walk the path of life. It is essential to acknowledge one’s blindness, one’s need for this light, otherwise one could remain blind for ever.

"Bartimaeus, then, at that strategic point of Mark’s account, is presented as a model. He was not blind from birth, but lost his sight. He represents man who has lost the light and knows it, but has not lost hope: he knows how to seize the opportunity to encounter Jesus and he entrusts himself to Him for healing. ... And when Jesus calls him and asks what he wants from Him, he replies: 'Master, let me receive my sight!' ... In the encounter with Christ, lived with faith, Bartimaeus regains the light he had lost, and with it the fullness of his dignity: he gets back onto his feet and resumes the journey, which from that moment has a guide, Jesus, and a path, the same that Jesus is travelling".

"St. Augustine, in one of his writings, makes a striking comment. ... 'Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, had fallen from some position of great prosperity, and was now regarded as an object of the most notorious and the most remarkable wretchedness, because, in addition to being blind, he had also to sit begging'. ... This interpretation ... invites us to reflect on the fact that our lives contain precious riches that we can lose, and I am not speaking of material riches. From this perspective, Bartimaeus could represent those who live in regions that were evangelised long ago, where the light of faith has grown dim and people have drifted away from God, no longer considering Him relevant for their lives. These people have therefore lost a precious treasure, they have “fallen” from a lofty dignity - not financially or in terms of earthly power, but in a Christian sense - their lives have lost a secure and sound direction and they have become, often unconsciously, beggars for the meaning of existence. They are the many in need of a new evangelisation, that is, a new encounter with Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, Who can open their eyes afresh and teach them the path".

"The new evangelisation applies to the whole of Church life. ... I would like here to highlight three pastoral themes that have emerged from the Synod. The first concerns the Sacraments of Christian initiation. It has been reaffirmed that appropriate catechesis must accompany preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The importance of Confession, the Sacrament of God’s mercy, has also been emphasised. ... In fact it has often been said that the real protagonists of the new evangelisation are the saints: they speak a language intelligible to all through the example of their lives and their works of charity.

"Secondly, the new evangelisation is essentially linked to the 'Missio ad Gentes'. The Church’s task is to evangelise, to proclaim the message of salvation to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ. During the Synod, it was emphasised that there are still many regions in Africa, Asia and Oceania whose inhabitants await with lively expectation, sometimes without being fully aware of it, the first proclamation of the Gospel. So we must ask the Holy Spirit to arouse in the Church a new missionary dynamism, whose protagonists are, in particular, pastoral workers and the lay faithful".

"A third aspect concerns the baptised whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism. ... Such people are found in all continents, especially in the most secularised countries. The Church is particularly concerned that they should encounter Jesus Christ anew, rediscover the joy of faith and return to religious practice in the community of the faithful. Besides traditional and perennially valid pastoral methods, the Church seeks to adopt new ones, developing new language attuned to the different world cultures, proposing the truth of Christ with an attitude of dialogue and friendship rooted in God Who is Love".

"Bartimaeus, on regaining his sight from Jesus, joined the crowd of disciples, which must certainly have included others like him, who had been healed by the Master. New evangelisers are like that: people who have had the experience of being healed by God, through Jesus Christ. ... Let us put away, then, all blindness to the truth, all ignorance and, removing the darkness that obscures our vision like fog before the eyes, let us contemplate the true God".


Vatican City, 28 October 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, after presiding at Mass for the closure of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope began by mentioning the Synod. "For three weeks", he said, "we have discussed the realities of new evangelisation for the transmission of Christian faith. The entire Church was represented and, therefore, involved in this activity which, with God's grace, will not fail to bring forth fruit. First and foremost, however, a Synod is always a time of strong ecclesial communion and for this reason, together with you, I wish to thank God Who has once again allowed us to experience the beauty of being Church, and of being Church today in this world, as it is, in the midst of this humanity with all its weariness and its hopes".

The Holy Father then went on to refer to the "significant fact" that the Synod coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and with the beginning of the Year of Faith. "Turning our minds back to Blessed John XXIII, to Servant of God Paul VI, and to the period of the Council ... helped us to recognise that new evangelisation is not an invention of our own, but a dynamic that began to develop in the Church in the 1950s, when it became clear that even countries of ancient Christian tradition had become, so to speak, 'mission lands'. Thus emerged the need for a renewed announcement of the Gospel in secularised societies, in the dual certainty that, on the one hand, only He, Jesus Christ, is the true novelty that responds to the needs of man at all times and, on the other that His message needs to be suitably transmitted in changing social and cultural environments".

The intense efforts of the Synod Fathers led to "a commitment to the spiritual renewal of the Church in order to spiritually renew the secularised world. Such renewal will come about with the rediscovery of Jesus Christ, of His truth and His grace, of His 'face', at once human and divine, upon which shines the transcendent mystery of God".

After praying the Angelus, the Pope launched an appeal for Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas, devastated by a hurricane which recently struck the Caribbean region leaving numerous dead and forcing many people to flee their homes. "I wish to give assurances of my closeness, and of my concern for those who have been struck by this natural disaster", he said. "At the same time, I invite everyone to pray and show solidarity in order to alleviate the suffering of the victims' families, and to help the many thousands who have suffered damage".

The Holy Father concluded by mentioning the inhabitants of the Italian regions of Basilicata and Calabria, which have been affected by a series of earthquakes in recent days.


Vatican City, 27 October 2012 (VIS) - During the twenty-second and final General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops, during which the participants voted on the final list of propositions, Benedict XVI addressed some brief remarks to the Synod Fathers.

"In the context of the discussion of the Synod of Bishops on 'The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith', and as the conclusion of a period of reflection on the themes of seminaries and catechesis, ... I have decided to transfer jurisdiction for seminaries from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy, and jurisdiction for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation", the Pope announced.

"The relative documents - in the form of an Apostolic Letter 'Motu Proprio' defining the respective fields of competence - will follow", he said. "We pray to the Lord that He may accompany these three dicasteries of the Roman Curia in their important mission, with the collaboration of the entire Church.

"Since I am already speaking", the Holy Father added, "I would also like to express my cordial best wishes to the new cardinals. I chose to call this little consistory in order to complete the consistory of February, within the context of new evangelisation. It is a gesture towards the universality of the Church, showing that the Church is the Church of all peoples, that she speaks all languages, that she is always the Church of Pentecost; not the Church of one continent, but the universal Church. My intention was to express this universality of the Church. It will also be a fine expression of this Synod. I have found it truly edifying consoling and encouraging to see here the mirror of the universal Church, with her suffering, threats, dangers and joys, her experiences of the Lord's presence, even in difficult situations.

"We have seen how even today the Church lives and grows. ... And even if she faces headwinds yet does she feel above all the breath of the Holy Spirit, which helps us and shows us the right way. Thus, with renewed enthusiasm, I believe, we are on our journey and can thank God for having given us this truly catholic meeting", the Pope concluded.


VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - The following English-language declaration was issued this morning by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

"The Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' takes this occasion to announce that, in its most recent official communication (6 September 2012), the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X has indicated that additional time for reflection and study is needed on their part as they prepare their response to the Holy See’s latest initiatives.

"The current stage in the ongoing discussions between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity follows three years of doctrinal and theological dialogues during which a joint commission met eight times to study and discuss, among other matters, some disputed issues in the interpretation of certain documents of Vatican Council II. Once these doctrinal dialogues were concluded, it became possible to proceed to a phase of discussion more directly focused on the greatly desired reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter.

"Other critical steps in this positive process of gradual reintegration had already been taken by the Holy See in 2007 with the extension of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Universal Church by the Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' and in 2009 with the lifting of the excommunications. Just a few months ago, a culminating point along this difficult path was reached when, on 13 June 2012, the Pontifical Commission presented to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X a doctrinal declaration together with a proposal for the canonical normalisation of its status within the Catholic Church.

"At the present time, the Holy See is awaiting the official response of the superiors of the Priestly Fraternity to these two documents. After thirty years of separation, it is understandable that time is needed to absorb the significance of these recent developments. As Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI seeks to foster and preserve the unity of the Church by realising the long hoped-for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter - a dramatic manifestation of the 'munus Petrinum' in action - patience, serenity, perseverance and trust are needed".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil as a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

- Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue: Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Japan; Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman O.C.D. of Baghdad of the Latins, Iraq; Archbishop Daniel J. Bohan of Regina, Canada; Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation; Bishop Michel Dubost C.I.M. of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes, France; Bishop Angelito R. Lampon O.M.I., apostolic vicar of Jolo, Philippines; Bishop Francesco Biasin of Barra do Pirai-Volta Redonda, Brazil; Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand; Bishop Sebastian Francis Shah O.F.M., auxiliary of Lahore, Pakistan; Bishop Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria, coadjutor of El-Obeid, Sudan; Bishop Tomo Vuksic, military ordinary of Bosnia Herzegovina, and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria.

- Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and president of Caritas Internationalis; Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil; Archbishop Paolo Pezzi F.S.C.B. of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow; Bishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi S.V.D. of Niigata, Japan, and vice president for Asia of Caritas Internationalis; Msgr. Peter Neher, president of "Deutscher Caritasverband" (Germany); Fr. Francesco Antonio Soddu, national director of Caritas Italy; Baron Johannes Nepomuk Heereman Von Zuydtwyck, executive director of Aid to the Church in Need; Carolyn Y. Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services - U.S.C.C.(U.S.A), Maritza Sanchez Abiyud, director of Caritas Cuba.

- Appointed Michel Roy, secretary of Caritas Internationalis, as consultor of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

- Appointed Fr. Pasquale Cascio of the clergy of the diocese of Teggiano - Policastro, Italy, pastor and professor of Sacred Scripture, as archbishop of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi - Conza - Nusco - Bisaccia (area 1,290, population 84,000, Catholics 83,400, priests 65, permanent deacons 5, religious 101), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Castelcivita, Italy in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983. He has worked in pastoral care and in teaching.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Brindisi - Ostuni, Italy, presented by Archbishop Rocco Talucci, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Ramon Alberto Rolon Guespa of the clergy of the archdiocese of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia, rector of the the major archdiocesan seminary of "Santo Tomas de Aquino", as bishop of Monteria (area 14,500, population 1,647,000, Catholics 1,565,000, priests 107, religious 185), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Arboledas, Colombia in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1984. He has served as pastor in a number of parishes.

- Appointed Bishop Ryszard Kasyna, auxiliary of Gdansk, Poland, as bishop of Pelplin (area 12,890, population 780,800, Catholics 731,000, priests 588, permanent deacons 1, religious 298), Poland.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pemba, Mozambique, presented by Bishop Ernesto Maguengue, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Fr. Fernando Domingos Costa C.P. as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same diocese.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Vatican Museums in collaboration with the Polish television station TBA have produced a documentary film entitled "Art and Faith. 'Via Pulchtitudinis'", marking the 500th anniversary of the conclusion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Yesterday evening Benedict XVI attended a screening of the film in the Synod Hall and, at the end of the showing, pronounced some brief remarks in which he noted that, although this was not the first time the Vatican Museums had sought to highlight the bond between art and faith using the artistic heritage of the pontifical galleries, this documentary was special because it coincided with the Year of Faith.

"For many people", he said, "a visit to the Vatican Museums during their stay in Rome represents their deepest and sometimes only contact with the Holy See. Therefore, is it a good opportunity to learn about the Christian message. We could say that the artistic heritage of Vatican City constitutes a kind of great 'parable' through which the Pope speaks to men and women from all over the world - and therefore from many cultural and religious backgrounds - people who perchance never read a papal address or homily. ... The language of art is a language of parables, possessing a special kind of universal openness. The 'Via Pulchtitudinis' can open people’s minds and hearts to the eternal, raising them to the heights of God.

"I greatly appreciated the fact that the film makes repeated reference to the efforts of Roman Pontiffs to conserve and cherish artistic heritage, and to their efforts in modern times to renew the Church’s dialogue with artists", the Holy Father added. "The collection of modern religious art in the Vatican Museums is living proof of the fruitfulness of that dialogue. Indeed, ... the entire great structure of the Vatican Museums ... possesses a dimension which we could define as 'evangelising'".

On this subject the Holy Father recalled "the great sensibility to the dialogue between art and faith" shown by Blessed John Paul II. "Art and faith are two words which have accompanied the Church and the Holy See for 2000 years, two words which, today too, we must adopt in our efforts to announce the Gospel of God, Who is infinite Beauty and Love, to the men and women of our time".

Finally, the Pope expressed the hope that the documentary film would "arouse in many people the desire for a better understanding of that faith which is capable of inspiring so many works of art".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the final Message of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was presented. The synodal assembly is taking place from 7 to 28 October and is examining the theme: "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith".

Participating in today’s press conference were Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy and president of the Commission for the Message; Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre of Montpellier, France, special secretary, and Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Manila, Philippines, secretary of the Commission for the Message.

An English-language summary of the text, issued by the Synod, is given below.

"At the beginning of the document, the bishops recalled the evangelical passage from John which tells about the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well: this is the image of contemporary man with an empty vessel, who is thirsting and is nostalgic for God, and to whom the Church must turn to make the Lord present to him. And just like the Samaritan woman, who encounters Jesus, he can but become a witness of the proclamation of salvation and hope of the Gospel.

"Looking specifically at the context of new evangelisation, the Synod therefore reminds of the necessity to revive faith, which risks being made obscure in the context of today's cultures, also faced with the weakening of the faith by many baptised persons. The encounter with the Lord, which reveals God as love, can only come about in the Church, as the form of receptive community and experience of communion; from this, then, Christians become its witnesses also in other places. However, the Church reasserts that to evangelise one must be evangelised first of all, and sends out a plea - starting with herself - for conversion, because the weaknesses of Jesus' disciples weigh upon the credibility of the mission. Conscious of the fact that the Lord is the guide of history, and therefore that evil will not have the last word, the bishops invite Christians to overcome fear with faith and to look at the world with serene courage because, while full of contradictions and challenges, this is still the world God loves. Therefore no pessimism: globalisation, secularisation and the new scenarios of society, migration, even with the difficulties and suffering they entail, must be seen as opportunities for evangelisation, Because this is not a question of finding new strategies as if the Gospel was to be spread like a market product, but rediscovering the ways in which individuals come close to Jesus.

"The Message looks at the family as the natural place for evangelisation and reasserts that it should be supported by the Church, by politics and by society. Within the family, the special role of women is underlined and there is a reminder about the painful situation of divorced and remarried persons: while reconfirming the discipline which regards access to the Sacraments, it is reasserted that they are in no way abandoned by the Lord, and that the Church is the welcoming house for all. The Message also mentions consecrated life, witness of the ultra-earthly sense of human existence, and parishes as centres for evangelisation; it recalls the importance of permanent formation for priests and religious men and women and invites the laity (movements and new ecclesial realities) to evangelise, remaining in communion with the Church. New evangelisation finds welcome cooperation with other Churches and ecclesial communities, they too moved by the same spirit of proclamation of the Gospel. Special attention is focused on young persons in a perspective of listening and dialogue, to redeem and not mortify their enthusiasm.

"The Message then looks at dialogue, seen in many ways: with culture, which needs a new alliance between faith and reason; with education; with science which, when it does not close man in materialism, becomes an ally for the humanisation of life; with art; with the word of economy and work; with the ill and suffering; with politics, where an uninterested and transparent involvement towards the common good is asked for; with other religions. In particular, the Synod emphasises that inter-religious dialogue contributes to peace, refutes fundamentalism and denounces any violence against believers. The Message recalls the possibilities offered by the Year of Faith, by the memory of Vatican Council II and by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Finally, it indicates two expressions of a life of faith, which are especially meaningful for new evangelisation: contemplation, where silence allows for the better reception of the Word of God, and service to the poor, in the view of recognising Christ in their faces.

"In the last part, the Message looks at the Church in the various regions of the world and addresses a word of encouragement for the proclamation of the Gospel to each of them: to the Eastern Churches wishing to be able to practise faith in conditions of peace and religious freedom; to the African Church asking to develop evangelisation in the encounter of ancient and new cultures, calling then upon governments to cease conflicts and violence. The Christians of North America, who live in a culture with many expressions distant from the Gospel, must look towards conversion, to being open to welcoming immigrants and refugees. Latin America is invited to live the permanent mission to face today's challenges such as poverty, violence, even the new conditions of religious pluralism. The Church in Asia, even while being a small minority, often placed at the edges of society and persecuted, is encouraged and exhorted to the steadfastness of faith. Europe, marked by an even aggressive secularisation and wounded by past regimes, has nevertheless created a humanistic culture capable of giving a face to the dignity of man and to the building of the common good; today's difficulties therefore must not dishearten European Christians, but must be perceived as a challenge. Oceania is asked to feel once again the involvement of preaching the Gospel. Finally, the Message closes with trust in Mary, the Star of New Evangelisation".

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Demetris Christofias, president of the Republic of Cyprus. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The discussions, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, served to highlight the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Cyprus. Consideration was also given to issues of mutual interest, in particular the importance of dialogue and of respect for human rights, including the right to religious freedom.

"Since the Republic of Cyprus holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, the parties also turned their attention to the situation in Europe. Finally, the hope was expressed that initiatives for dialogue and peace between the sides in conflict in the Middle East would achieve a positive outcome, with the contribution of the international community".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Secretariat of State.

"The sentence in the trial of Paolo Gabriele, which has now become final, puts a full stop to the end of a sad affair which has had very painful consequences.

"A personal offence was done to the Holy Father; the right to privacy of the many people who, by virtue of their office, addressed themselves to him was violated; the Holy See and a number of her institutions suffered prejudice; communications between the bishops of the world and the Holy See were hindered, and scandal was caused among the community of the faithful. Finally, for a period of many months the serenity of the working community which daily serves the Successor of Peter was disturbed.

"The accused admitted his guilt at the end of a judicial process which took place transparently and justly, and with full respect for the rights of the defence. The trial was able to ascertain the facts, showing that Mr Gabriele had carried our his criminal plans not at the instigation or incitement of third parties, but on the basis of his own personal convictions, which can in no way be shared. Various conjectures about the existence of plots or the involvement of other people have, in the light of the sentence, been shown to be false.

"Now that the sentence is final, Mr Gabriele will have to serve the prison term imposed upon him. He also faces a procedure for dismissal, as laid down in the Regulations of the Roman Curia.

"As regards the term of imprisonment, the possibility of pardon still remains which, as has been reiterated on a number of occasions, is a sovereign act on the part of the Holy Father. It does, however, reasonably presuppose repentance on the part of the accused, and a sincere request for pardon to the Supreme Pontiff and those who have been unjustly offended.

"In relation to the harm caused, the term inflicted appears both lenient and just, a fact due to the the specific nature of the legislative system from which it arises".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Since no appeals have been filed against the sentence passed on Paolo Gabriele on 6 October, that sentence has become final. Therefore, by mandate of the president of the Tribunal, the promoter of justice this morning ordered the guilty party be imprisoned, in enactment of the sentence. The order will be carried out during the course of the day", reads a declaration made today by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Three thousand knights and ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (a tenth of the the total membership) will make a pilgrimage to Rome in 2013 for the Year of Faith. The event, which is due to take place from 13 to 15 September, will coincide with the general assembly of the Order and will conclude with a celebration of the Eucharist presided by the Holy Father in St. Peter's Basilica.

The Grand Magisterium of the Order held its autumnal session in Rome yesterday evening, under the presidency of Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, grand master of the Order. During the meeting attention turned, apart from to the pilgrimage, to the statutory commitments of the Order in the Holy Land, and in particular those concerning the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins and grand prior of the Order, illustrated a number of projects in the field of education, He recalled how more than 18,000 students (around 2,500 in Israel, 5,700 in Palestine and 10,000 in Jordan), of whom 61 per cent are Christian, frequent the forty-two primary and secondary schools funded by contributions from the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

The patriarch also made reference to the religious and political situation, and to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, expressing his concern at the growth in fundamentalism in the region. He also noted how the importance of the Holy Land had been confirmed in two important events which took place this year: The World Congress of Families in Milan, Italy, which had focused on the Holy Family of Nazareth, and the International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin, Ireland which had dedicated particular attention to the Cenacle in Jerusalem.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, apostolic nuncio to Thailand and Cambodia, and apostolic delegate to Laos and Myanmar.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez, auxiliary of Texcoco, Mexico, as bishop of Valle de Chalco (area 1,237, population 2,634,000, Catholics 1,321,000, priests 89, religious 94), Mexico.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The faith, its meaning and significance in the modern world, were the main themes of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his weekly general audience held this morning in St. Peter's Square. "In our time", the Pope said, "we need a renewed education in the faith. Certainly this must include a knowledge of its truths and of the events of salvation, but above all it must arise from an authentic encounter with God in Jesus Christ".

"Today, along with many signs of goodness, a spiritual desert is spreading around us. ... Even the ideas of progress and well-being are revealing their shadows and, despite the great discoveries of science and progress of technology, mankind today does not seem to have become freer. ... Many forms of exploitation, violence and injustice persist. ... Moreover, there are growing numbers of people who seem disorientated and who, in their search to go beyond a purely horizontal vision of reality, are ready to believe everything and the opposite of everything. In this context, certain fundamental questions arise: ... What meaning does life have? Do men and women, we and coming generations, have a future? What awaits us beyond the threshold of death?"

From these questions, the Pope explained, it is clear that "scientific knowledge, though important for the life of man, is not of itself enough. We need not only material bread, we need love, meaning and hope. We need a sure foundation ... which gives our lives true significance even in moments of crisis and darkness, even in daily difficulties. This is what the faith gives us. It means entrusting ourselves confidently to the 'You? that is God, the which gives me certainty: a certainty different but no less solid than that which comes from exact calculations and science. The faith is not a mere intellectual assent on man's part to the specific truths about God, it is an act by which I freely entrust myself to God Who is a Father and Who loves me, ... Who gives me hope and inspires my trust.

"Of course", the Pope added, "such adherence to God is not without content. Through it we are aware that God showed Himself to us in Christ. ... With the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, God descended to the depths of our human condition in order to draw it to Himself, to raise it to His heights. Faith means believing in this love of God, which does not diminish in the face of the corruption of man, in the face of evil and death; on the contrary, it is capable of transforming all forms of slavery, giving them the possibility of salvation".

"This possibility of salvation through faith is a gift which God gives to all mankind. I believe we should meditate more often - during our daily lives often marked by problems and dramatic situations - on the fact that Christian belief means abandoning oneself trustingly to the profound meaning which upholds me and the world, the meaning which we cannot give to ourselves but only receive as a gift, and which is the foundation upon which we can live without fear. We must be capable of announcing this liberating and reassuring certainty of the faith with words, and showing it with our Christian lives".

"Underpinning our journey of faith is Baptism, the Sacrament which gives us the Holy Spirit, makes us children of God in Christ, and marks our entry into the community of faith, into the Church. A person does not believe alone, without God's grace, nor do we believe by ourselves, but together with our brothers and sisters. From Baptism on all believers are called to re-live this confession of the faith and to make it their own, together with their brethren".

The Holy Father concluded: "The faith is a gift of God but it is also a profoundly free and human act. ... It does not run counter to our freedom or our reason. ... Believing means entrusting oneself in all freedom and joy to God's providential plan for history, as did the Patriarch Abraham, as did Mary of Nazareth".

In his greetings at the end of his audience, the Pope recalled how "last Monday we celebrated the memory of Blessed John Paul II, who remains alive among us". In this context, he invited young people "to learn to face life with his ardour and enthusiasm", and the sick "to carry the cross of suffering joyfully, as he himself taught us".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - At the end of his general audience today, the Pope announced that he has called a consistory to take place on 24 November, during which he will appoint six new cardinals.

"It is with great joy", he said, "that I announce my intention to hold a consistory on 24 November, in which I will appoint six new members of the College of Cardinals. Cardinals have the task of helping Peter's Successor carry out his mission to confirm people in the faith and to be the source and foundation of the Church's unity and communion".

The Holy Father then read out the names of the new cardinals. They are:

- Archbishop James Michael Harvey, prefect of the Pontifical Household who, Benedict XVI said, "I intend to appoint as archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls".

- His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon.

- His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India.

- Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria.

- Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia.

- Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Manila, Philippines.

"As you have heard", the Pope concluded, "the new cardinals carry out their ministry at the service of the Holy See or as fathers and pastors of particular Churches in various parts of the world. I invite everyone to pray for them, asking for the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin May that they may always love Christ and His Church with courage and commitment".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy See and the Republic of Lithuania have, by means of "notes verbale", given notification of the completion of the procedures required to bring into force the Agreement on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education, which was signed in Vilnius on 8 June.

In this way the Agreement, which establishes rules, procedures and instruments guaranteeing the recognition of higher education, came into effect on 23 October, pursuant to its own article 8 paragraph 2.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Francesco Monterisi as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. today addressed the Synodal assembly on the subject of the recent decision to send a delegation of Synod Fathers to Damascus, Syria.

"Speaking before this assembly last Tuesday", he said, "I announced the Holy Father's decision to send a delegation to Damascus to express his solidarity and that of the Synod with the people of Syria who, unfortunately, have for some time been experiencing a tragic situation of suffering. The intention was also to express our spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters in that country, and to encourage those committed to seeking a solution respectful of the rights and duties of all.

"The initiative raised wide interest and received a positive welcome, not only in Rome and Syria, but also at the international level.

"First of all I wish to tell you that we have continued to study the issue and to prepare the visit, despite the tragic episodes that have taken place in the region over recent days.

"As is well known, there is a strong desire to express the closeness of the Holy See and the universal Church by means of a delegation, which will travel to Damascus at the time and in the manner which will be announced after they have been defined in the light of the contacts and preparations currently under way. Given the gravity of the situation, the visit will be postponed, probably until after the conclusion of the Synod, and the composition of the delegation will be modified, also due to other commitments on the part of its members.

"The contribution of the personal offerings of the Synod Fathers, and those of the Holy See, will be sent to Syria as a gesture of fraternal solidarity with the entire population.

"Above all we continue in our commitment to prayer, which is always heard by the Lord and which I invite you to join with renewed confidence".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Made public today was the full text of the sentence issued by the Tribunal of Vatican City State on 6 October, in which Paolo Gabriele was declared guilty of aggravated theft.

On 6 October Paolo Gabriele had been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of three years although, in view of his "lack of a criminal record, his record of service in the period prior to the facts in question, the subjective (though mistaken) belief identified by the accused as the motive for his conduct, as well as his own statement of his awareness of having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, the Tribunal reduced the sentence to imprisonment for one (1) year and six (6) months, and ordered the guilty party to defray the costs of the trial".

In a briefing held this morning Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. explained some aspects of the sentence. He began by noting that it focused on the offence of stealing documents, and in particular the originals of documents, and took no account of other objects such as a nugget of gold, a cheque in the Holy Father's name and a sixteenth-century copy of "The Aeneid", because there were doubts about the way in which the search during which they were found had been carried out, and Gabriele's guilt was not proven.

Fr. Lombardi also explained that a psychiatric examination had excluded the possibility that the accused might have had some mental condition which had made him unaware of his responsibility for his actions. The Tribunal had also, he said, been careful to define the juridical terms of the offence of theft; i.e., the removal and appropriation of an object without the consent of its owner with the intent of obtaining some benefit. Thus the offence involved was theft and not embezzlement, although the sentence notes that the benefit Gabriele sought to gain was not economic in nature, but intellectual and moral.

Another question that arose was whether Gabriele had acted at the "suggestion" of a third party; a term that had been interpreted to include complicity or influence. The accused himself affirmed that the word did not mean collaboration with other people, but the influence of the surrounding environment which had led him to the conviction that he was acting for the good of the Holy Father and the Church.

The Holy See Press Office Director noted that the aggravating circumstances lay in the fact that the theft had involved abuse of trust and the publication of reserved documents, while the attenuating circumstances were the absence of a criminal record and Gabriele's own moral conviction.

On the subject of the punishment, Fr. Lombardi pointed out that the Tribunal had based its sentence on the penalties established for such offences in the Criminal Code. The promoter of justice had requested that Gabriele be given a lifetime ban on holding public office but, as the final sentence was of eighteen months, the Penal Code contains no provision for such a measure and the ban on public office was thus of limited duration. Nonetheless, in view of the gravity of the offence, it had been decided not to suspend the sentence conditionally.

Finally the director of the Holy See Press Office announced that Paolo Gabriele currently remains under house arrest, because until the publication of the full text of the sentence the promoter of justice before the Tribunal of Vatican City State, Giovanni Giacobbe, was unable to file an appeal. If he did not now do so within the set deadline the sentence would be put into effect. In this case the accused would have to serve his term in prison inside the Vatican, because there was no relevant convention with the Italian State. The possibility remains, however, that the Holy Father will pardon Gabriele although, since it would be a personal decision, it is not clear if and when he will do so.

The full text of the sentence is available (in Italian) here.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, has issued a decree ruling that the first hearing in the trial of Claudio Sciarpelletti is to take place at 9 a.m. on 5 November. Sciarpelletti, who is accused of complicity, was sent for trial by the examining magistrate on 13 August, but his trial was separated from that of Paolo Gabriele by a ruling issued during the course of the court hearing of 29 September.

The hearing will take place in the audience hall of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, and the judicial bench will be composed of Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president, and Paolo Papanti-Pelletier and Venerando Marano, judges.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi today made the following statement.

"The announced mission to Syria by representatives of the Holy See and the Synod of Bishops is still in the course of being studied and prepared, in order to be put into effect as soon as possible, and to respond effectively to its intended aims of solidarity, peace and reconciliation despite the very serious incidents that have taken place in the region recently".


Vatican City, 21 October 2012 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Square, some eighty thousand people participated in a papal Mass for the canonisation of seven new saints: Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (1838-1896); Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist and martyr (1654-1672); Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord (1841-1913); Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching (1848-1911); Marianne Cope, nee Barbara, German-American religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse U.S.A. (1838-1918); Kateri Tekakwitha, American laywoman (1656-1680), and Anna Schaeffer, German laywoman (1882-1925).

In his homily, the Holy Father drew attention to the "happy coincidence" between the current assembly of the Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation World Mission Sunday which falls today, and the readings during today's Mass which, he said, show us "how to be evangelisers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following His same way of life. This is true both for the mission 'ad Gentes' and for the new evangelisation in places with ancient Christian roots.

"The Son of Man came to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many", the Pope added. "These words were the existential blueprint of the seven blessed men and women that the Church solemnly enrols this morning in the glorious ranks of the saints. ... They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose a life of service following the Lord. Holiness always rises up in the Church from the well-spring of the mystery of redemption. ... Today’s canonisation is an eloquent confirmation of this mysterious salvific truth".

The Holy Father then turned his attention to the life and example of each of the new saints, beginning with Jacques Berthieu. Born in France in 1838, he was "a tireless pastor on the island of Sainte Marie, then in Madagascar, he struggled against injustice while bringing succour to the poor and sick. ... He made himself all things to all men, drawing from prayer and his love of the sacred heart of Jesus the human and priestly force to face martyrdom in 1896. ... May the life of this evangeliser be an encouragement and a model for priests that, like him, they will be men of God! May his example aid the many Christians of today persecuted for their faith! In this Year of Faith, may his intercession bring forth many fruits for Madagascar and Africa".

Pedro Calungsod was born around 1654 in the Visayas region of the Philippines. In 1668, he and other young catechists accompanied Father Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands to evangelise the Chamorro people. "Life there was hard and the missionaries also faced persecution arising from envy and slander", the Pope explained. "Pedro, however, displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechise his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel. Uppermost was his desire to win souls for Christ, and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom. ... May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God".

The Italian priest Giovanni Battista Piamarta "was a great apostle of charity and of young people. He raised awareness of the need for a cultural and social presence of Catholicism in the modern world. ... Animated by unshakable faith in divine providence and by a profound spirit of sacrifice, ... when he was overburdened with work, he increased the length of his encounter, heart to heart, with the Lord, ... to gain spiritual fortitude and so return to gaining people’s hearts".

The educational work of the Spanish religious Maria del Carmen Salles y Barangueras, which she "entrusted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, continues to bear abundant fruit among young people through the generous dedication of her daughters who, like her, entrust themselves to God for Whom all is possible", the Holy Father said.

Marianne Cope "willingly embraced a call to care for the lepers of Hawaii after many others had refused". Later, on the island of Molokai, she nursed Father Damien and, following his death, continued his work among those stricken with leprosy. "At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm".

"Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today’s New York state in 1656 to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother. ... She was baptised at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, took refuge in the St. Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people although renouncing their religious convictions, until her death at the age of twenty-four. ... Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other. May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. St. Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America. May God bless the first nations".

The young German Anna Schaeffer from Mindelstetten suffered a serious accident which left her with incurable burns on her legs and forced her to be bed-ridden for the rest of her life. "Her sickbed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service", said Benedict XVI. "May her intercession strengthen the Christian hospice movement in its beneficial activity".

"These new saints, different in origin, language, nationality and social condition, are united among themselves and with the whole People of God in the mystery of salvation of Christ the Redeemer. ... May the witness of ... their lives generously spent for love of Christ, speak today to the whole Church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world", the Holy Father concluded.

Before praying the Angelus, the Pope invoked Mary Queen of all saints, recalling how the French Marian shrine of Lourdes is currently suffering the consequences of the flooding of the Gave River. He went on: "Today too we entrust to the protection of the Virgin Mary missionary men and women - priests, religious and lay people - who spread the good seed of the Gospel all over the world. We pray also for the Synod of Bishops which is meeting during these weeks to examine the challenge of the new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI conferred the "Ratzinger Prize" upon two scholars of theology. The award was established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI".

The prize winners this year are the French historian Remi Brague, and the American scholar of patrology and theology Fr. Brian Edward Daley S.J.

Following some introductory remarks from Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, and the presentation of the two winners by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the foundation's academic committee, the Holy Father addressed some words to those present.

The winners, he said, "are experts deeply involved in two questions which are vital for the Church in our time: ecumenism and relations with other religions. Fr. Daley, by studying the Fathers of the Church, has entered into the best school for understating and loving the Church, one and undivided though in the richness of her different traditions". Remi Brague "is a great scholar of the philosophy of religions, in particular that of Judaism and Islam in the Middle Ages. Now, fifty years after the opening of Vatican Council II, I would like to join them in re-examining two conciliar documents: the Declaration 'Nostra aetate' on non-Christian religions, and the Decree 'Unitatis redintegratio' on ecumenism. To these, however, I would add another document which has proved to be immensely important: the Declaration 'Dignitatis humanae' on religious freedom".

Benedict XVI went on to recall that both prize winners "are university professors, deeply committed to teaching". This, he said, "highlights an important aspect of coherence" in the activity of the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI" which, apart from the prize, also grants bursaries to doctorate students of theology and organises academic conferences.

"People such as Fr. Daley and Professor Brague are exemplary figures for the transmission of a knowledge with brings together science and wisdom, academic rigour and a passion for man, that he may discover the 'art of living'. We need people who, through an illuminated and coherent faith, make God close and credible to mankind today. ... We need people whose intellect has been illuminated by the light of God, so that they can speak to the minds and hearts of others".

The Holy Father concluded: "Working in the Lord's vineyard, where He calls us, so that the men and women of our time may discover or rediscover the true 'art of living': this was also one of the great passions of Vatican Council II, and is more urgent than ever in the context of current efforts towards new evangelisation".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent a telegram to His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, for yesterday’s bomb blast in Beirut which left eight dead and many injured.

"Having learned of the terrible attack in Beirut, which caused so many victims", the telegram reads, "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI unites himself in prayer with the pain of the mourning families, and with the sadness of all Lebanese. Commending the victims to the all merciful God, and imploring Him to welcome them into His light, the Holy Father expresses his profound closeness to the injured and their families, asking the Lord to help and console them in their time of trial. As he did during his apostolic trip to Lebanon, the Holy Father again condemns the violence which causes so much suffering, and asks God to give the gift of peace and reconciliation to Lebanon and the entire region. With all his heart, His Holiness invokes abundance of divine blessings upon the mourning families and all Lebanese".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

- Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Machala, Ecuador, presented by Bishop Luis Antonio Sanchez Armijos S.D.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Saturday 20 October it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Domenico Caliandro of Nardo-Gallipoli, Italy, as archbishop of Brindisi-Ostuni (area 1,253, population 285,396, Catholics 282,396, priests 165, permanent deacons 12, religious 233), Italy.

- Appointed Msgr. Guido Gallese of the clergy of the archdiocese of Genoa, Italy, director of the diocesan office for universities and head of youth pastoral care, as bishop of Alessandria (area 740, population 163,100, Catholics 151,200, priests 96, permanent deacons 9, religious 207), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Genoa in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1990. Among other things he has worked as vice rector of the local archdiocesan seminary, and has been involved in pastoral care in a number of parishes.

- Appointed Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti, auxiliary of Genoa, Italy, as bishop of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato (area 881, population 223,535, Catholics 220,921, priests 141, permanent deacons 22, religious 152), Italy.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - A relic of Blessed John Paul II will be transported to the French shrine of Lourdes during a pilgrimage organised by UNITALSI (Italian National Union for Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines). The pilgrimage is to take place from 21 to 27 October.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has granted UNITALSI permission to take a reliquary containing blood of John Paul II, so that it can be seen and venerated by pilgrims from all over the world.

Speaking on Vatican Radio Salvatore Pagliuccia, president of UNITALSI, noted that we currently are in the Year of Faith, and the Synod of Bishops is meeting to examine the question of new evangelisation, "a theme very close to John Paul II's heart". That Pope's "influence is still felt in the Church and among the faithful", he said. Thus, "the presence of the reliquary of the blessed on the pilgrimage is a very significant sign, because it represents the presence of his ideas and his sentiments, above all the presence of the love which, as man and as pastor, he gave to people, to the faithful, and in particular to the sick and those with disabilities".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The eleventh edition of the International Festival of Sacred Music and Art - which takes place during the autumn in Rome's patriarchal basilicas and in the Vatican - is to be dedicated to the Year of Faith.

The festival serves to promote the activities of the "Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra", an organisation presided by Hans-Albert Courtial which has the mission of restoring the artistic treasures contained in the patriarchal basilicas, and ensuring that sacred music continues to be played there.

This year's programme includes seven concerts due to take place between 2 and 13 November. The first will be the Requiem Mass of Giovanni Sgambati to be performed by the Roman "Sinfonietta" Orchestra in the basilica of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the same basilica on Wednesday 7 November the Orchestra of Rome's "Teatro dell'Opera" will play Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. On 11 November a private concert will take place in the Vatican at which the Sistine Chapel Choir will sing the "Missa Anno Santo", composed by the Pope's brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger. On the same day in the basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, the Johann-Rosenmuller-Ensemble will perform Claudio Monteverdi's "Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary". On 12 November a concert will take place in the papal basilica of St. Mary Major with a performance of "Polyphony of the Roman School" by the Sistine Chapel Choir, and "Six Centuries of Catholic Choral Music from the British Isles" by the Westminster Cathedral Choir. On 13 November, the Westminster Cathedral Choir conducted by Martin Baker will sing during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Comastri. Also on 13 November, the festival will come to an end with a concert at the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at which the Wiener Philharmoniker Chamber Orchestra will play a programme of music by Mozart.

Commenting on the coming festival Cardinal Comastri, who is honorary president of the "Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra", said: "This a music born of the faith, and thus a music which also attracts to the faith. All art in the Church is, in fact, nothing other than an expression of inner beauty translated into exterior forms".


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

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Made public today was a letter, written in Latin and dated 3 October, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, archbishop emeritus of Quito, Ecuador, as his special papal envoy to celebrations marking the 475th anniversary of the first diocese of South America, now the archdiocese of Cuzco, Peru, due to take place from 24 to 28 October.

In his letter the Pope recalls that the celebrations will coincide with the International Marian Eucharistic Congress and, quoting from Blessed John Paul II's Encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia", he notes that "Mary can guide us towards this most holy Sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, today received the Letters of Credence of Carl-Henri Guiteau, as ambassador of Haiti to the Holy See.

On 6 July 2009, Mr Guiteau presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father, as envoy extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Haiti to the Holy See.


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

- Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin C.SS.R., secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as archbishop of Indianapolis (area 35,768, population 2,595,000, Catholics 246,000, priests 236, religious 715), U.S.A.

- Fr. Paul Terrio of the clergy of the archdiocese of Edmonton, Canada, pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Villeneuve and archdiocesan director for vocations, as bishop of Saint Paul in Alberta (area 155,916, population 131,500, Catholics 57,635, priests 30, permanent deacons 10, religious 29), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Montreal, Canada in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1970. He has worked in pastoral care in a number of parishes, as professor at Montreal College and as formator at the Saint Joseph Seminary of Edmonton.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI began a new series of catecheses which will cover the period of the Year of Faith. The Year, he said, is intended "to renew our enthusiasm at believing in Jesus Christ, ... to revive the joy of walking along the path He showed us, and to bear concrete witness to the transforming power of the faith".

With his catecheses over coming months the Holy Father hopes to help people understand that the faith "is not something extraneous and distant from real life, but the very heart thereof. Faith in a God Who is love and Who came close to mankind by taking human flesh and giving Himself on the cross to save us and open the doors of heaven for us, is a luminous sign that only in love does man's true fullness lie", he said. "Where there is domination, possession and exploitation, ... man is impoverished, degraded and disfigured. Christian faith, industrious in charity and strong in hope, does not limit life but makes it human".

"God has revealed Himself with words and actions throughout the long history of His friendship with man. ... He came forth of heaven to enter the world of men as a man, that we might meet and hear Him; and from Jerusalem the announcement of the Gospel of salvation has spread to the ends of the earth. The Church, born of Christ’s side, has become the herald of a new hope. ... Yet, from the very beginning, the problem of the 'rule of faith' arose; in other words, the faithfulness of believers to the truth of the Gospel ... to the salvific truth about God and man to be safeguarded and handed down".

The essential formula of the faith, the Pope explained, is to be found in the Creed, in the Profession of the Faith, whence develops "the moral life of Christians, which there has its foundation and its justification. ... It is the Church’s duty to transmit the faith, to communicate the Gospel, so that Christian truths may become a light guiding the new cultural transformations, and Christians may be able to give reasons for the hope that is in them.

"We are living today in a society that has changed profoundly, even with respect to the recent past, a society in continuous flux", the Holy Father added. "The process of secularisation and a widespread nihilist mentality, in which everything is relative, have left a strong imprint on the collective mentality. ... And while individualism and relativism seem to dominate the hearts of so many of our contemporaneous, it cannot be said that believers remain completely immune from these dangers. ... Surveys carried out on all the continents in preparation for the current Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation have revealed some of these dangers: the faith lived passively or privately, the rejection of education in the faith, the rupture between faith and life".

Benedict XVI went on: "Christians today often do not even know the central core of their Catholic faith, the Creed, thus leaving the way open to certain forms of syncretism and religious relativism, with no clarity about which truths must be believed and the salvific uniqueness of Christianity. ... We must go back to God, to the God of Jesus Christ, we must rediscover the message of the Gospel and cause it to enter more deeply into our minds and our daily lives.

"In these catecheses during the Year of Faith I would like to help people make this journey, in order to regain and understand the central truths of faith about God, man, the Church, and all social and cosmic reality, by reflecting upon the affirmations contained in the Creed. And I hope to make it clear that these contents or truths of the faith are directly related to our life experience. They require a conversion of existence capable of giving rise to a new way of believing in God".

Among his greetings at the end of his catechesis the Pope addressed Polish pilgrims. "Yesterday", he told them, "on the anniversary of the election of John Paul II to the See of Peter, we remembered him as a great guide in the faith, who introduced the Church into the third millennium".

Finally, in Italian, he had words of greeting for representatives of the "Acting all together for the Dignity of the Fourth World" Movement, who were in St. Peter's Square to mark the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. "I encourage you in your commitment to protect the dignity and rights of people forced to suffer the scourge of poverty, against which humankind must struggle without cease", said Benedict XVI.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - During yesterday afternoon's session of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. announced that the Holy Father will shortly be sending a delegation to Damascus, Syria, to express, in the name of the Pope and the entire Church, "fraternal solidarity with the entire population, with a personal offering from the Synod Fathers as well as from the Holy See". The delegation will also express "spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters" and encourage "all those involved in seeking an agreement respectful of the rights and duties of all, with particular attention to the demands of humanitarian law".

We cannot, Cardinal Bertone said, "be mere spectators of a tragedy such as the one that is unfolding in Syria. In the certainty that the only possible solution to the crisis is a political solution, and bearing in mind the immense suffering of the population, the fate of displaced persons, and the future of that nation, it has been suggested that our synodal assembly express its solidarity. ... It is expected that once the necessary formalities have been carried out with the apostolic nuncio and the local authorities, the delegation will make its way to Damascus next week. In the meantime time we pray that reason and compassion might prevail".

"The delegation will be made up of the following Synod Fathers: Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A.; Bishop Fabio Suescun Mutis, military ordinary of Colombia, and Bishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Phat Diem, Vietnam. Also on the delegation will be Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Msgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Secretariat of State.

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