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Thursday, June 28, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, in a traditional meeting for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, Benedict XVI received a delegation sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. The Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople traditionally exchange visits for the feasts of their respective patrons.

The delegation, which delivered a message to the Holy Father on behalf of the Patriarch, was made up of His Eminence Emmanuel (Adenakis), metropolitan of France and director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; His Grace Ilias Katre, bishop of Philomelion, U.S.A., and Rev. Paisios Kokkinakis of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Benedict XVI told the group that the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul "gives us an opportunity to thank the Lord for the extraordinary works He has achieved and continues to achieve through the Apostles in the life of the Church. Their preaching, sealed by the witness of martyrdom, is the solid and durable base upon which the Church rests. By remaining faithful to the deposit of faith they have handed down to us, we discover our own shared roots".

"In our meeting - as we entrust to the intercession of the glorious Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul our prayer that the Lord ... may soon grant us that blessed day in which we can share the Eucharistic bread - we thank God for the journey of peace and reconciliation He has caused us to travel together. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican Council II. ... It was during that Council - attended, as you well know, by certain representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as fraternal delegates - that a new and important phase in relations between our Churches began. Let us praise the Lord above all for the rediscovery of the profound brotherhood which unites us, and for the distance covered over these years by the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, also in the hope that it will continue to progress in the current phase".

"As we remember the anniversary of Vatican Council II, I think it right to recall the person and works of the unforgettable Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who, together with Blessed John XXIII and Servant of God Paul VI, moved by that passion for Church unity which arises from faith in Christ the Lord, promoted important initiatives which paved the way to renewed relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Catholic Church. I am profoundly glad that His Holiness Bartholomew I, with renewed faithfulness and fruitful creativity, is continuing along the path laid down by his predecessors Athenagoras and Demetrios, and is known throughout the world for his openness to dialogue among Christians and his commitment to announcing the Gospel in the modern world", the Holy Father concluded.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


- Servant of God Luca Passi, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy (1789-1866).

- Servant of God Francesca de Paula de Jesus, known as Nha Chica, Brazilian laywoman (1808-1895).


- Servants of God Manuel Borras Ferre, auxiliary bishop of Tarragona, Spain, Agapito Modesto (ne Modesto Pamplona Falguera) of the Institute of Brothers of Christian Schools, and 145 companions, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1939.

- Servant of God Giuseppe Puglisi, Italian diocesan priest (1937-1993), killed in hatred of the faith in Palermo, Italy in 1993.

- Servants of God Ermenegildo of the Assumption (ne Ermenegildo Iza y Aregita) and five companions of the Order of the Blessed Trinity, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- Servant of God Victoria de Jesus (nee Francesca Valverde Gonzalez), Spanish religious of the "Instituto Calasancio de Hijas de la Divina Pastora" (1888-1937), killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1937.

- Servant of God Devasahayam (Lazarus) Pillai, Indian layman (1712-1752), killed in hatred of the faith in India in 1752.


- Servant of God Sisto Riario Sforza, Italian archbishop of Naples and cardinal of Holy Roman Church (1810-1877).

- Servant of God Fulton Sheen, American archbishop, and former bishop of Rochester (1895-1979).

- Servant of God Alvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano, Spanish prelate of the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei (1914-1994).

- Servant of God Ludwig Tijssen, Dutch diocesan priest (1865-1929).

- Servant of God Cristobal of St. Catherine (ne: Cristobal Fernando Valladolid), Spanish priest and founder of the Congregation and the Hospital of Jesus of Nazareth in Cordoba (1638-1690).

- Servant of God Marie of the Sacred Heart (nee Marie Josephte Fitzbach), Canadian widow and founder of the Handmaidens of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known as the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec (1806-1885).

- Servant of God Mary Angeline Teresa (nee Bridget Teresa McCrory), founder of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm (1893-1984).

- Servant of God Maria Margit (nee Adelaide Bogner), Hungarian professed nun of the Order of the Visitation (1905-1933).

- Servant of God Ferdinanda Riva, Italian professed sister of the Institute of Daughters of Charity (1920-1956).

On 10 May the Holy Father authorised the Congregation to promulgate the decree concerning the martyrdom of Servant of God Juan Huguet y Cardona, Spanish diocesan priest (1913-1936), killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for July is: "That everyone may have work in safe and secure conditions".

His mission intention is: "That Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to the love of Christ".


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

- Mordechay Levy, ambassador of Israel, on his farewell visit.

- Lamia Mekhemar, ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, on her farewell visit.

- Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Carlo Roberto Maria Redaelli, auxiliary of Milan, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Gorizia (area 1,030, population 186,627, Catholics 181,027, priests 122, permanent deacons 13, religious 309), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Dino De Antoni, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Marcel Damphousse of the clergy of the archdiocese of Saint-Boniface, Canada, rector of the cathedral and member of the diocesan council for economic affairs, as bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall (area 1,290, population 90,100, Catholics 56.042, priests 40, permanent deacons 19, religious 35), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Joseph, Canada in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1991. He studied in Rome and has worked as a parish priest, diocesan director for vocations and chaplain of the local high school.

- Appointed Archbishop Henryk Jozef Nowacki, apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua, as apostolic nuncio to Sweden and Iceland.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service informs it readers that no VIS bulletin will be issued tomorrow Friday 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles and a holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Monday 2 July.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Vatican City, 27 June 2012 (VIS) – Below is the text of the communique released late this morning by the Press Office of the Holy See:

  “This morning there was a meeting of the Board of Superintendence of the Institute for Works of Religion, currently composed of Vice President Dr. Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz, Dr. Carl Albert Anderson, Dr. Antonio Maria Marocco, and Dr. Manuel Soto Serrano.

  Following that meeting, the Board reported to the Commission of Cardinals, presided over by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

  These two meetings were very useful for sharing information and proposals both regarding day to day management as well as the universal criteria of professionalism and experience that are called for in light of the choice of a new president for the Board of Superintendence.

  Pope Benedict XVI is closely following the situation of the Institute for Works of Religion and is being constantly briefed by the Cardinal Secretary of State.”


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Letter to the Philippians which, the Holy Father said, is in some way St. Paul's "spiritual last will and testament", was the theme of his catechesis during the general audience, which was held this morning in the Paul VI Hall.

The Apostle of the Gentiles dictated this Letter from jail, when he felt death approaching, yet nonetheless it closes with an invitation to be joyful. Joy, the Holy Father explained, "is a fundamental characteristic of being Christian. ... But how can one be joyful in the face of an imminent death sentence? From where, or better from whom, does St. Paul draw his peace of mind and the strength and courage to face martyrdom?"

The answer is to be found in the middle of the Letter to the Philippians, in the so-called "carmen Christo" or "Christological hymn", which "summarises the Son of God's divine and human itinerary". It opens with these words: "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus". This, the Pope said, "means not only following Jesus' example, ... but also involving the whole of our lives in His way of thinking and acting".

This hymn to Christ begins by saying that He is "'in the form of God'. Yet Jesus, true God and true man, did not experience this condition ... in order to triumph and to impose His supremacy", but to take "'the form of a slave', the human form marked by suffering, poverty and death. He assimilated Himself fully to mankind, except in sin".

St. Paul continues by outlining the historical context of Jesus' earthly life, up to the cross where He "experienced the greatest degree of humiliation, because crucifixion was the punishment reserved for slaves, and not for the free". Yet it is "in the cross of Christ that man is redeemed and Adam's experience is transformed ". If the first man sought to be like God, "then Jesus, though 'in the form of God', lowered Himself and immersed Himself in the human condition, ... to redeem the Adam within us and to restore to man the dignity he had lost".

"Human logic", Benedict XVI went on, "often seeks realisation in power and domination. ... Man still wants to build the Tower of Babel with his own strength, to reach the heights of God, to be like God. The incarnation and the cross remind us that full realisation lies in conforming our human will to that of the Father, in emptying ourselves ... of selfishness in order to fill ourselves with the love of God and thus to become truly capable of loving one another".

The Pope then noted that, in the second part of the Christological hymn, the subject changes: no longer Christ but God the Father. "He Who abased Himself by taking on the form of a slave, is exalted and raised above all things by the Father, Who gives Him the name of 'Kyrios', 'Lord'. ... The Jesus Who is exalted is the Jesus of the Last Supper Who ... bends to wash the feet of the Apostles. ... It is important to remember this always during our prayers and our lives".

"This hymn in the Letter to the Philippians contains two important indications for our own prayers. The first is the invocation of 'Lord' addressed to Jesus Christ Who, ... amidst so many 'dominators' who seek to rule, remains the one Lord of our lives. ... Therefore it is important to maintain a scale of values in which the first place belongs to God".

"The second indication is prostration, ... the 'bending of every knee in heaven and on earth', ... the adoration that all creatures owe to God. Genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament or kneeling in prayer express the attitude of adoration before God. ... When we kneel before the Lord we confess our faith in Him, we recognise that He is the one Lord of our lives".

"At the beginning of this catechesis we asked ourselves how St. Paul could be joyful when faced with the risk of imminent martyrdom", the Holy Father concluded. "This was possible only because the Apostle never removed his gaze from Christ".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today issued a note explaining the new form of the rite for imposing the pallium on metropolitan archbishops, which takes place annually on 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles.

"Things will remain substantially the same", the note reads, "but this year, following a logic of development in continuity, it has been decided simply to move the rite itself, and it will now take place before the Eucharistic celebration.

"The modification has been approved by the Holy Father and is motivated by the following reasons:

"1. To make the rite shorter. The list of new metropolitan archbishops will be read out immediately before the entry of the opening procession and the singing of 'Tu es Petrus', and it will not be part of the celebration. The rite of the palliums will take place as soon as the Holy Father reaches the altar.

"2. To ensure that the Eucharistic celebration is not 'interrupted' by a relatively long rite (the number of metropolitan archbishops now stands at around forty-five each year), which could make attentive and focused participation in the Mass more difficult.

"3. To make the rite of imposing the pallium more in keeping with the 'Cerimoniale Episcoporum', and to avoid the possibility that, by coming after the homily (as happened in the past), it may be thought of as a Sacramental rite. Indeed, the rites which take place during a Eucharistic celebration following the homily are normally Sacramental rites: Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick. The imposition of the pallium, on the other hand, is not Sacramental in nature".

The following metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium in this year's ceremony:

- Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany.

- Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico.

- Archbishop Francesco Moraglia, patriarch of Venice, Italy.

- Archbishop Alfredo Horacio Zecca of Tucuman, Argentina.

- Archbishop Mario Alberto Molina Palma O.A.R. of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapan, Guatemala.

- Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, U.S.A.

- Archbishop Luc Cyr of Sherbrooke, Canada.

- Archbishop Salvador Pineiro Garcia-Calderon of Ayacucho or Huamanga, Peru.

- Archbishop Francesco Panfilo S.D.B. of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

- Archbishop Ulises Antonio Gutierrez Reyes O. de M. of Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela.

- Archbishop Stanisław Budzik of Lublin, Poland.

- Archbishop Wilson Tadeu Jonck S.C.I. of Florianopolis, Brazil.

- Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Canada.

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

- Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario C.S.C. of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

- Archbishop Wiktor Pawel Skworc of Katowice, Poland.

- Archbishop Jose F. Advincula of Capiz, Philippines.

- Archbishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto, Italy.

- Archbishop Jose Francisco Rezende Dias of Niteroi, Brazil.

- Archbishop Esmeraldo Barreto de Farias of Porto Velho, Brazil.

- Archbishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Natal, Brazil.

- Archbishop Joseph Harris C.S.Sp. of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

- Archbishop Waclaw Depo of Czestochowa, Poland.

- Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, Zambia.

- Archbishop Pascal Wintzer of Poitiers, France.

- Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, India.

- Archbishop William Charles Skurla of Pittsburgh of the Byzantines, U.S.A.

- Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan.

- Archbishop Romulo Geolina Valles of Davao, Philippines.

- Archbishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Campinas, Brazil.

- Archbishop Timothy Costelloe S.D.B. of Perth, Australia.

- Archbishop Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho of Teresina, Brazil.

- Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, India.

- Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari, Italy.

- Archbishop John F. Du of Palo, Philippines.

- Archbishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto of Uberaba, Brazil.

- Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal, Canada.

- Archbishop William Edward Lori of Baltimore, U.S.A.

- Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia.

- Archbishop Jesus Carlos Cabrero Romero of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

- Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung of Seoul, Korea.

- Archbishop Benedito Roberto C.S.Sp. of Malanje, Angola.

- Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos, Nigeria.

- Archbishop Samuel Joseph Aquila of Denver, U.S.A.

The following two archbishops will receive the pallium in their metropolitan sees:

- Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye of Kumasi, Ghana.

- Archbishop Valery Vienneau of Moncton, Canada.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Jose Eudes Campos do Nascimento of the clergy of the archdiocese of Mariana, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Santa Efigenia" in Ouro Preto and episcopal vicar, as bishop of Leopoldina (area 8,491, population 595,000, Catholics 416,000, priests 63, religious 20), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Barbacena, Brazil in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1995. He has worked in the pastoral care of youth and as spiritual director of the local major seminary.

- Appointed Bishop Eduardo Carmona Ortega C.O.R.C. of Puerto Escondido, Mexico, as bishop of Parral (area 43,674, population 323,000, Catholics 293,000, priests 52, permanent deacons 10, religious 70), Mexico.

- Appointed Msgr. Peter Brignall, vicar general of the diocese of Wrexham, Wales, as bishop of the same diocese (area 8,361, population 715,000, Catholics 38,706, priests 60, permanent deacons 10, religious 140). The bishop-elect was born in London, England in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1978. He has worked as a pastor in a number of parishes, and as chaplain in universities and hospitals. He succeeds Bishop Edwin Regan, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Sergio de Deus Borges of the clergy of the diocese of Cornelio Procopio, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Imaculada Conceicao" in Jataizinho and president of the interdiocesan ecclesiastical tribunal of Londrina, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Paulo (area 1,645, population 7,685,000, Catholics 5,611,000, priests 867, permanent deacons 4, religious 273), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Alfredo Wagner, Brazil in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1993. He studied in Rome, and among his other functions, is professor and director of studies at the theological institute of Londrina.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Vatican City, 26 June 2012 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today the Holy Father departed by helicopter from the Vatican to fly to the Italian region of Emilia Romagna which, beginning on 20 May, has been affected by a series of earthquakes that have left many dead and hundreds of injured. The tremors have forced thousands of people to abandon their homes, destroyed historic buildings and seriously damaged the infrastructure and economy of the entire area.

The Pope's helicopter landed at 10.30 a.m. at the sports ground of San Marino di Carpi where he was welcomed by Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi and by Franco Gabrielli, head of the Italian Civil Protection Department. The Pontiff then boarded a minibus to travel to Rovereto di Novi where he made a brief visit to the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria which partially collapsed during the earthquake killing the pastor Fr. Ivan Martini. Subsequently the Holy Father boarded a Jeep from which he greeted the faithful while being driven to the central square of Rovereto di Novi where, in the presence of the archbishops and bishops of the affected areas (Bologna, Carpi, Modena, Mantua, Ferrara and Reggio Emilia) he delivered his address.

Ample extracts from the Holy Father's words are given below:

"Ever since the beginning of the earthquake which affected you I have been close to you with my prayers and concern. But when I saw that the trial had become more arduous, I felt the impelling need to come among you in person, and I thank the Lord for having enabled me to do so. Thus I greet all of you who are gathered here, as with my mind and heart I embrace all the villages and all the people affected by the earthquake, especially the families and communities mourning their dead. May the Lord welcome them into His peace".

"I was aware that, apart from suffering the material consequences, your spirits were also being sorely tried by the continuation of the seismic activity, including even strong tremors, and by the loss of certain symbolic buildings in your towns and villages, in particular many churches. Here in Rovereto di Novi in the collapse of a church - which I have just visited - Fr. Ivan Martini lost his life. Paying homage to his memory, I address a special greeting to you, dear priests, and to all confreres who, as has happened at other difficult moments in the history of these lands, are showing their generous love for the people of God.

"As you all know, we priests (as well as religious and no small number of lay people) daily pray the 'Breviary' which contains the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church which marks the hours of the day. We pray the Psalms in an order which is the same for the entire Catholic Church. Why am I telling you this? Because in recent days I came across this expression in Psalm 46: 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble'".

"These words seem to contrast with the fear we inevitably feel following an experience such as the one you have just been through; that is an immediate reaction, which can become more profound if the phenomenon is prolonged. However, the Psalm does not in fact refer to that kind of fear; and the confidence it expresses in not that of supermen untouched by normal feelings. The confidence expressed is that of the faith. Yes we may feel fear and anguish - even Jesus did - but above all is the certainty that God is with us. ... His Love is as solid as a rock. We see this Love in the crucified Christ; at one and the same time a sign of suffering and of love. This is the revelation of God Love, Who remained united to us even unto extreme abasement.

"On this rock, with this firm hope, we can build, we can rebuild. Italy was rebuilt on the postwar ruins, and not just material ruins, thanks also to help received, but above all thanks to the faith of so many people animated by a spirit of genuine solidarity, by the will to give a future to their families, a future of freedom and peace. You are a people whom all Italians respect for your humanity and sociability, for hard work and cordiality. These qualities have been dealt a harsh blow by the current situation, but this must not and cannot affect your identity as a people, your history and your culture. Remain faithful to your vocation as a fraternal and united people, and face everything with patience and determination, rejecting the temptations which are unfortunately always associated with such moments of weakness and need.

"The situation you are going through has highlighted an aspect which I hope will remain at the forefront of your minds: You are not and you will not be alone! Over these days, amidst so much destruction and pain, you have seen and felt how numerous people have expressed closeness, solidarity and affection through so many signs and concrete forms of assistance. My presence among you is intended to be another such sign of love and hope. Looking at you lands I have been profoundly moved by the sight of so many wounds, but I have also seen many hands extended to cure those wounds with you. I have seen that life restarts with force and courage, and that is the most beautiful and lustrous sign of all.

"From here I wish to launch an appeal to the institutions, and to all citizens, despite the difficulties of the current time, to be like the Good Samaritan of the Bible who did not walk by indifferent to the one in need, but lovingly tended him, helped him, remained at his side and took full responsibility for the other's needs. The Church is close and will remain close with her prayers and with the concrete help of her organisations, especially Caritas, which will also undertake to rebuild the social fibre of parish communities".

Having completed his address, the Holy Father greeted the civil and religious authorities present. He then returned to the sports ground of San Marino di Carpi where his helicopter took off at midday, arriving in Rome shortly after 1.30 p.m.


Vatican City, 26 June 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of an English-language note issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Fatih concerning the appointment of Archbishop Augustine Di Noia as vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei":

"Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P., to the post of vice president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'. The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father’s pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter. The president of the commission is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William J. Levada.

"The Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' was established in 1988 by Blessed John Paul II to facilitate 'full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Archbishop Lefebvre' and to promote the pastoral care of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church. In 2009, the Pontifical Commission was structurally linked to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to address the doctrinal issues in the ongoing dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.

"As a respected Dominican theologian, Archbishop Di Noia has devoted much attention to these doctrinal issues, as well as to the priority of the hermeneutic of continuity and reform in the right interpretation of Vatican Council II - a critically important area in the dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity. Under the guidance of Cardinal Levada, with the assistance of Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission, this dialogue has been ongoing over the past three years.

"Previously, Archbishop Di Noia served as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments where, together with the prefect, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, he oversaw the reorganisation of the dicastery and the preparation of a new 'Regolamento' following the directions of Pope Benedict’s 'motu proprio' of 30 August 2011, 'Quaerit Semper'. Archbishop Di Noia’s experience and continued association with the Congregation for Divine Worship will facilitate the development of certain desired liturgical provisions in the celebration of the 1962 'Missale Romanum'.

"In addition, the broad respect that Archbishop Di Noia enjoys in the Jewish community will help in addressing some issues that have arisen in the area of Catholic-Jewish relations as the journey towards the reconciliation of traditionalist communities has progressed".


Vatican City, 26 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Merlo-Moreno, Argentina, presented by Bishop Fernando Maria Bargallo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Bishop Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaretto, emeritus of the diocese of San Isidro, Argentina, as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Merlo-Moreno.

- Appointed Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church.

- Appointed Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. He succeeds Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

- Appointed Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

- Appointed Bishop Protase Rugambwa of Kigoma, Tanzania, as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and president of the Pontifical Missionary Works, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. He succeeds Archbishop Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, whose resignation from the same offices the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Krzysztof Jozef Nykiel, official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary. The bishop-elect was born in Osjakow, Poland in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1990. He studied in Rome and has also served as an official of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. He succeeds Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Vatican City, 25 June 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present the document "Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry". The conference was presented by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski; Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., and Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, respectively prefect, secretary and under secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The cardinal explained that the document had been requested during the plenary of the congregation in 2005. Preparation began in 2008 on the basis of replies and suggestions from the various episcopal conferences, and the final text was approved by the Holy Father on 25 March 2012, twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores dabo vobis".

The document is divided into three parts, of which the first examines the current situation of priestly vocations in the world today, and the relevant forms of pastoral care. Part two analyses the identity of the ministerial priesthood, while part three makes some suggestions for the pastoral care of vocations. The key to understanding the text, the cardinal said, lies in the idea that "fostering vocations to the priesthood is a constant challenge for the Church".

Part one of the document identifies three factors which hinder vocational pastoral care, evident above all in Churches of ancient Christian tradition in the west: falling birthrates and the crisis in families, the spread of a secularised mentality, and the difficult conditions in which priests live and exercise their ministry.

"In the light of those difficulties", said Cardinal Grocholewski, the document "lays down the conditions necessary to ensure that the grace of the call finds fertile terrain in the Church, and openness among young people to the priestly vocation". This includes "creating a fruitful soil for Christian life in the ecclesial community; ... the irreplaceable function of prayer; ... the importance of integrated pastoral care; ... a new drive to evangelisation and the mission; ... the central role of the family; ... a coherent and joyful witness of life on the part of priests; ... the educational effectiveness of voluntary work; ... and the importance of schools and universities".

For his part Archbishop Brugues explained that part two of the document covers certain specific elements which, he said, "must be highlighted, precisely because they are being threatened or put in the shade and set aside by the well-known difficulties in Church life and by contemporary culture. This risks provoking dangerous deviations in the value of vocations to priestly ministry".

These elements include "a tendency towards the progressive transformation of the priesthood into a profession". This can be associated with "the danger of exaggerated activism, an increasing individualism which not infrequently closes priests in a perverse and depressing solitude, and the confusion of roles in the Church which comes about when we lose the sense of distinction between roles and responsibilities, and not everyone comes together to collaborate in the one mission entrusted to the People of God".

Part two also emphasises the fact that priestly ministry is to be understood "in the framework of a dialogue of love between God and man which, though it exists in all Christian vocations, assumes the characteristic of a call to a typical, stable and demanding relationship with Jesus Himself, the one model of the priesthood in the New Testament. ... This new and specific relationship with Jesus causes the person called to enter into an equally new and specific relationship with the Christian community".

Finally, part three of the document focuses on certain aspects of formation for the priestly ministry. These include "a profound experience of community life in order to avoid new forms of clericalism; ... complete integration and emotional maturity; ... intense and obedient participation in the ecclesiastical context, with concrete love for one's own particular Church; ... generous openness to the universal dimensions of the mission; ... the decisive role of those who accompany vocations and ... the presentation of exemplary figures of priests".

The conference ended with some words from Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, who explained how the text "reiterates the fact that a fruitful terrain for vocations is a Christian community which listens to the Word, prays with the liturgy, and demonstrates charity. The document calls the entire Church trustingly to redouble her efforts to educate people to welcome the call of God to priestly ministry, which still today we believe is spread by His Providence and adapted to the needs of the Church and of the evangelisation of the world".


Vatican City, 24 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning, Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, Benedict XVI made his customary Sunday appearance at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

"With the exception of the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist is the only saint for whom the liturgy celebrates the day of birth", said the Pope. "This is because his birth is closely connected to the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. From the womb, in fact, John was the precursor of Jesus. His prodigious conception was announced by the Angel to Mary as a sign that 'nothing will be impossible with God'. ... The four Gospels give great importance to the figure of John the Baptist as the prophet who concluded the Old Testament, then opened the New by indicating Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. And indeed Jesus would speak of John in these terms: 'This is the one about whom it is written: See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you'".

"John's father Zechariah", the Holy Father went on, "was a priest of the Old Testament order. He did not immediately believe in such unexpected paternity and was therefore made mute until the day of the child's circumcision". On that day, "moved by the Holy Spirit, Zechariah spoke thus of his son's mission: 'And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins'.

"All this happened thirty years later", Pope Benedict added, "when John began performing baptisms in the River Jordan, calling people to prepare themselves, by that act of penance, to the imminent coming of the Messiah, which God had revealed to him during the period he spent in the wilderness of Judea. For this reason he is called 'Baptist'; in other words 'Baptiser'. When one day Jesus Himself came from Nazareth to be baptised, John at first refused, then consented; he saw the Holy Spirit come to rest upon Jesus, and heard the voice of the heavenly Father proclaiming His Son".

Yet the Baptist's mission was not yet complete. "Shortly afterwards he was asked to precede Jesus also in violent death. John was decapitated in the prisons of King Herod, thus bearing compete witness to the Lamb of God Whom he had been the first to recognise and announce".


Vatican City, 24 June 2012 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father recalled the fact that today in Italy marks the Day of the Pope’s Charity and he thanked parish communities, families and faithful for their "constant and generous support which goes to help so many of our bothers and sisters in difficulty".

In this context he also reminded the faithful that he will make a brief visit to areas recently affected by earthquakes in northern Italy. "I would like this to be", he said, "a sign of the solidarity of the entire Church, and therefore I invite everyone to accompany me with their prayers".

Finally, he also had words of greeting for Polish faithful who, with the archbishop of Poznan, the Oratorian Fathers and pilgrims at the shrine of the Mother of God in Gostyn, are celebrating the five hundredth anniversary of its foundation. "Let us thank God", the Pope said, "for the grace which that place has showered upon generations of faithful through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. May her protection accompany you always".


Vatican City, 23 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Bologna Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI presided at a meeting of heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia.


Vatican City, 24 June 2012 (VIS) - Fr. Lombardi has provided journalists with information about meetings the Pope held on Saturday 23 June, first with heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and subsequently with Cardinals George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Camillo Ruini, vicar general emeritus of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, and Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

"In the context of the circumstances that have arisen following the publication of reserved documents, the Holy Father is seeking to deepen his knowledge of the situation through continuous dialogue with those people who share with him the responsibility for governing the Church", Fr. Lombardi said.

"Last Saturday, as has already been made public, he became more fully informed on the course of the investigations in a meeting with the Commission of Cardinals responsible for conducting them, led by Cardinal Julian Herranz.

"This morning he is participating in the meeting with heads of dicasteries which, as is customary, is focusing on the issue of coordinating the work of the Roman Curia, something which is particularly important and urgent today in order to bear effective witness to the spirit of union which animates it.

"In the afternoon he has chosen to meet with a number of members of the College of Cardinals who, by virtue of their vast and varied experience serving the Church, not only in Rome but also internationally, may profitably exchange ideas and suggestions with the Holy Father in order to help re-establish that climate of serenity and trust in the service of the Roman Curia.

"Naturally the Holy Father will, over coming days, continue his discussions and reflections, also taking advantage of the fact that many pastors have come to Rome for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, which is an extraordinary opportunity for the community of the universal Church to feel united to the Pope in prayer, service, and the witness of faith for mankind in our time".


Vatican City, 24 June 2012 (VIS) - The American journalist Gregory Burke, who is currently Rome correspondent for Fox News, will shortly take up the post of "communications advisor" to the Secretariat of State, according to an announcement made by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.

"This new figure", Fr. Lombardi explained, "will have the task of dealing with communications issues in the work of the Secretariat of State, and will oversee relations with the Holy See Press Office and other media institutions of the Holy See".


Vatican City, 25 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Fra' Matthew Festing, prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, accompanied by an entourage.

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Cardinal Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, archbishop military ordinary emeritus of Spain.

On Saturday 23 June he received in audience: Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general emeritus of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, and Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.


Vatican City, 25 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Pius Riana Prapdi, vicar general of the archdiocese of Semarang, Indonesia, as bishop of Ketapang (area 34,600, population 543,314, Catholics 101,593, priests 30, religious 91), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in Painiai, Indonesia in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1995. He studied in Rome and has worked, among other things, in pastoral care and as director of diocesan Caritas. He succeeds Bishop Blasius Pujaraharja, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

On Saturday 23 June it was made public that he:

- Gave his consent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Church of Bishop Jean-Abdo Arbach B.C., apostolic exarch for faithful of Greek-Melkite rite resident in Argentina, as metropolitan archbishop of Homs, Hama and Yabroud (Catholics 30,000, priests 19, permanent deacons 1, religious 29), Syria.

- Appointed Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin, apostolic nuncio in Kenya and permanent observer to the United Nations Environment and Human Settlements Programs (UNEP and UN-Habitat), as apostolic nuncio to the European Union.

- Appointed as members of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See: Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India, and Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Vatican City, 22 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received a first group of prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. The Pontiff began his remarks by praising them for their "initiatives aimed at fomenting a renewed and fruitful movement of evangelisation", at the same time he noted that "Colombia is not immune to the consequences of neglecting God".

"While years ago there was a recognisable and unified social fabric in which reference to the faith and the inspirations of faith was broadly accepted, today in vast areas of society this no longer seems to be the case, due to the crisis in spiritual and moral values which has had a negative effect on many of your fellow citizens", the Holy Father told the prelates. And he invited them to contrast this state of affairs by following "with tenacity and perseverance" the guidelines of the Episcopal Conference's Global Plan (2012 - 2020), and by taking advantage of the reflections to emerge from the forthcoming Synod of Bishops and the Year of Faith".

"Growing religious pluralism", he went on, "calls for serious consideration. The increasingly active presence of Pentecostal and Evangelical communities, not only in Colombia but also in many other regions of Latin America, cannot be ignored or underestimated. In this sense, the people of God are clearly called to purification and the revitalisation of their faith, ... because 'often sincere people who leave our Church do not do so as a result of what non-Catholic groups believe, but fundamentally as a result of their own lived experience; for reasons not of doctrine but of life; not for strictly dogmatic, but for pastoral reasons; not due to theological problems, but to methodological problems of our Church'. What is important, then, is to become better believers ... so that no one may feel marginalised or excluded".

Benedict XVI told his audience that they should not fail "to identify the factors which hinder equitable development in Colombia, seeking to reach out to those whom iniquitous violence deprives of their freedom". You must, he told the prelates, "increase measures and programmes to accompany ... and assist people facing difficulties, especially the victims of natural disasters, the poor, peasants, the sick and the afflicted. ... Nor must you neglect those forced to emigrate from their homeland because they have lost their job or have difficulty finding employment, people whose fundamental rights are trampled underfoot and are forced to abandon home and family under the threat of terror and criminality, or those who have fallen into the barbarous networks of drugs or arms dealing. I wish to encourage you to continue your generous and fraternal service, which is not the result of any human calculation, but is born of love for God and neighbour: the source whence the Church draws the strength she needs to carry out her task".

"Dear brothers in the episcopate", the Holy Father concluded, "in order that the Light from on high may still make the Church's prophetic and charitable efforts in Colombia fruitful, continue to help the faithful to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, ... to meditate assiduously upon the Word of God and to participate ... in the Sacraments, celebrated in accordance with canonical norms and liturgical texts. All this will help towards an appropriate process of Christian initiation, inviting everyone to conversion and sanctity, and helping towards much-need ecclesial renewal".


Vatican City, 22 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Pope received a delegation from the Italian agricultural organisation "Coldiretti", which is currently celebrating its national congress on the theme "Family agriculture for sustainable development".

"Society, the economy and work are not exclusively secular environments", the Pope said, "even less so are they alien to the Christian message. They are, rather, spaces to be fecundated with the spiritual richness of the Gospel. The Church, in fact, is never indifferent to people's quality of life and working conditions; she feels the need to care for man in the contexts in which he lives and produces, that these may increasingly become places that are authentically human and humanising".

"It is in Coldiretti that Catholic teaching on social ethics has found one its most fertile 'laboratories', thanks to the intuition and far-sighted wisdom of its founder, Paolo Bonomi. ... Now it is up to you, remaining faithful to the values you have acquired, to enter into a courageous dialogue with a changing society. ... Each of you in his or her own role must commit yourselves to support the legitimate interests of the categories you represent, ... in order to bring out the most noble and salient aspects of the human person: a sense of duty, a capacity for sharing and sacrifice, solidarity, and observing the just requirement for rest and corporeal (and, even more so, spiritual) regeneration".

The Holy Father invited the members of Coldiretti to continue their evangelical witness,"highlighting the values which make working activity a valuable instrument in the creation of a more just and human form of coexistence. I am thinking of respect for the person, the search for the common good, honesty and transparency in the supply of services, food security, protecting the environment and the landscape, and the promotion of a spirit of solidarity".

The uncertainty generated by the enduring economic and financial crisis means that people in the agriculture and fisheries sector are facing "a series of difficult challenges which you are called to face as Christians, by cultivating a renewed and profound sense of responsibility and showing your capacity for solidarity and sharing", the Pope said. "Considering that at the roots of current economic difficulties there lies a moral crisis, you must work with solicitude to ensure that ethical requirements maintain their primacy over everything else".

"It is on this ethical terrain that families, schools, trade unions and all other political, cultural and civic institutions must play an important role of collaboration, ... especially as regards young people. The young are full of ideas and hopes, and generously seek to build themselves a future. From adults they expect worthwhile examples and serious proposals. We must not delude them".


Vatican City, 22 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. delivered the opening address at the eighth International AIDS Conference, being held at the San Gallicano Institute in Rome under the title: "Long live mothers and children".

In his remarks the cardinal noted that maternal mortality in Africa is, to a large extent, associated with AIDS. "We can no longer tolerate the death of so many mothers", he said. "We cannot think of thousands of children as a lost generation. Nothing is lost; Africa has sufficient resources; it is the continent of hope. Thus we need to make a joint effort ... to protect women in their role as mothers".

"The Church, which is present in countries where the pandemic exists, is extremely concerned at this tragedy of our times. It is a tragedy which swallows many human lives, weakens entire societies, burns up the future. We must do more. The more the infection spreads among women, who are the mainstay of families and communities, the greater the risk of social breakdown in many countries. The sickness of women, of children, of men, becomes the sickness of a whole society".

The Cardinal then recalled how thirty per cent of HIV/AIDS treatment centres in the world are Catholic. Church activities in this field, he said, include "awareness raising campaigns; prevention and health education programmes; support for orphans; distribution of medicines and food; home help; hospitals, centres and communities for the assistance of AIDS sufferers; collaboration with governments; assistance in jails; catechism courses; help systems over the internet, and the creation of support groups for the sick".

"I would", the secretary of State said, "like to make an appeal to the international community, to States and to donors: let us ensure that AIDS sufferers are given prompt, free and effective treatment. Access to treatment should be universal. Let us do this beginning with mothers and children. Here, in the name of the Holy Father, I speak for so many suffering voices, for so many sick people who have no voice: let us not waste time, but invest in the necessary resources. ... Studies by the World Health Organisation confirm that ... universal access to treatment is possible, scientifically proven and economically viable. It is not a utopia, it is possible. ... Yet we cannot conceive of universal access to treatment without taking account of the weakness - especially the economic weakness - of the majority of African people. What is needed is free access to treatment".


Vatican City, 22 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Vatican City, 21 June 2012 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants in the annual general meeting of the Reunion of Organisations for Aid to the Oriental Churches (ROACO).

In his remarks to the group Benedict XVI mentioned the social and economic crisis which, "due to the global dimension it has taken on, does not spare the more economically developed parts of the world and, even more worryingly, also affects the most disadvantaged areas". Above all in the East, "homeland to ancient Christian traditions", this process "generates insecurity and instability also at the ecclesial level, and in the ecumenical and inter-religious fields. These factors nourish endemic wounds of history and make dialogue, peace, coexistence among peoples and authentic respect for human rights even more fragile, especially the right to religious freedom for individuals and communities".

In this year's meeting, representatives form the Holy Land were joined by prelates from the Syro-Malabar Church in India, the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine, the apostolic nuncio to Syria and the president of Caritas in Syria.

"This", the Holy Father said, "is an occasion to reaffirm my closeness to the great suffering of our brothers and sister in Syria, in particular the young innocents and those most defenceless. May our prayers, our commitment and our concrete fraternity in Christ ... help them not to lose the light of hope at this moment of darkness; and may God give wisdom of heart to those in positions of responsibility, that all violence and bloodshed may cease".

The Pope went on: "May the international community spare no effort to help Syria emerge from its current situation of violence and crisis, which has already gone on a long time and risks becoming a generalised conflict which would have highly negative consequences for the country and the entire region. I also make an urgent and heartfelt appeal that, in the face of the dire need of the population, the necessary humanitarian assistance be guaranteed, also to the many people who have had to abandon their homes, some of whom have taken shelter in neighbouring countries. Human life is a precious gift which must always be protected".

In closing Benedict XVI called on the members of ROACO to be "eloquent signs of the charity that pours from Christ’s heart" and to "present the Church to the world in her most authentic identity and mission". He concluded by expressing the hope that the Virgin would give them hope and watch over his own forthcoming trip to Lebanon.


Vatican City, 21 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning 21 June 2012 the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Filip Vujanovic, president of Montenegro. 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 principal reason for the visit was to exchange the instruments of ratification of the Basic Agreement between the Holy See and Montenegro, something the cardinal secretary of State and the president of Montenegro duly did at the end of their meeting. With that exchange the Agreement comes into force, pursuant to article 21.

"The Agreement was signed in 2011 and is the result of the excellent relations between the Holy See and Montenegro, which have been established ever since the country gained its independence. The document recognises the juridical status of the Catholic Church and her principal institutions in civil society, her liberty and independence in apostolic activity and in regulating matters that specifically concern the Church, as well as freedom of worship, and freedom of action in the fields of culture, education, pastoral care and charity.

"During the cordial discussions it was noted that the Agreement represents a positive development in the consolidation of the rule of law and democratic principles, upon which Montenegro wishes to base its future. Moreover, a fruitful exchange of opinions took place on current international issues and the regional situation. with particular appreciation being expressed for the way in which the Holy See is following Montenegro's journey towards full European integration. Finally the parties stated their desire to keep the spirit of collaboration alive through constructive dialogue on areas of mutual interest for the Church and State".


Vatican City, 21 June 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office for the presentation of the Year of Faith which is due to last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. The conference was presented by Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively president and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

Archbishop Fisichella also presented the website and logo of the Year of Faith, and outlined the calendar of events due to take place in Rome during that period.

"In his Apostolic Letter 'Porta fidei' Benedict XVI speaks ... of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ", the archbishop said. "For this reason he called the Year of Faith, which will also coincide with two anniversaries: the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ... The Year of Faith aims, above all, to support the faith of believers who, in their daily trials, never cease to entrust to entrust their lives to the Lord Jesus, with courage and conviction. Their precious testimony, which does not make the news, ... is what enables the Church to present herself to the world today, as she did in the past, supported by the strength of the faith and the enthusiasm of ordinary people.

"The Year of Faith", Archbishop Fisichella added, "falls into a broader context which is characterised by a generalised crisis that also touches the faith. ... The crisis of faith is a dramatic expression of an anthropological crisis which has abandoned man to his own devices. We must overcome the spiritual poverty affecting so many of our contemporaries who do no longer perceive the absence of God from their lives as a void that needs to be filled. The Year of Faith, then, is an opportunity which the Christian community offers to the many people who feel nostalgia for God and who desire to rediscover Him".

The programme of events for the Year "touches the daily life of all believers and the ordinary pastoral care of the Christian community, in order to rediscover that genuine missionary spirit which we need in order to give life to the new evangelisation". In this context, the archbishop announced that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has approved the formula for a special "Mass for New Evangelisation". This, he said, is a sign that during the Year of Faith "priority will be given to prayer, and especially to the Eucharist as source and summit of all Christian life".

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation then went on to present the logo of the Year of Faith in which the image of a ship symbolises the Church. The mast of the vessel is a cross with full-blown sails which form the monogram of Christ (IHS) and in the background is a sun representing the Eucharist. The website of the event (www.annusfidei.va) is available in various languages and can be consulted by smartphone and tablet. The Year also has an official hymn entitled: "Credo, Domine, adauge nobis fidem". A multilingual pastoral guide entitled "Living the Year of Faith" is due to be published in early September and pilgrims will receive an image of the Christ from the cathedral of Cefalu in Sicily, with the Creed written on the back.

Finally Archbishop Fisichella turned his attention to the most important events of the Year of Faith, those to be celebrated in Rome in the presence of the Holy Father: They include the opening, which "will take place in St. Peter's Square on Thursday 11 October, fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II. There will be a solemn Eucharistic celebration concelebrated by the Synod Fathers, the presidents of the world's episcopal conferences and by Council Fathers who are still alive".

Sunday 21 October will see the canonisation of seven martyrs: Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Kateri Tekakwitha, Maria Anna Cope, and Anna Schaffer. On 25 January 2013, during the traditional ecumenical celebration at the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, participants will pray that, "through their joint profession of the Symbol, Christians ... may not forget the path of unity". On 28 April the Holy Father will impart the Sacrament of Confirmation to a group of young people, while 5 May will be dedicated to expressions of popular piety.

On 18 May, the eve of Pentecost, Catholic movements, both old and new, will gather in St. Peter's Square. On 2 June, Corpus Christi, the Blessed Sacrament will be adored at the same time all over the world. Sunday 16 June will be dedicated to the Gospel of Life. On 7 July seminarians and novices from all over the world will conclude their pilgrimage by gathering in St. Peter's Square. The 29 September will be dedicated to catechists on the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and 13 October will focus on the presence of Mary in the Church. Finally, the closing celebration of the Year of Faith will take place on 24 November 2013.

The Year of Faith will also include a number of cultural events including an exhibition on St. Peter to be held at Castel Sant'Angelo from 7 February 2013 to 1 May 2013 and a concert in St. Peter's Square on 22 June 2013.


Vatican City, 21 June 2012 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 7 p.m. on Saturday 30 June Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany, will take possession of the title of St. John Mary Vianney in Via Lentini 6, Rome.


Vatican City, 21 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Vatican City, 20 June 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI continued his ongoing series of catecheses on the subject of prayer in the Letters of St. Paul.

"Our prayers are often a request for help in our hour of need", he said. "That is natural because we need help, the help of other people and of God. We must also bear in mind that the prayer Christ taught us, the Our Father, is just such a petition. With that prayer the Lord teaches us our priorities. Yet, although it is natural to ask for things in prayer, that is not the only reason to pray. There is also cause to give thanks, ... because we receive so many good things from God. Thus prayer should also be praise and, if we open our hearts, we come to realise that, despite all problems, creation is beautiful and good".

In chapter one of his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul praises God "because 'he has made known to us the mystery of his will'. ... For believers 'mystery' does not so much mean the unknown as the merciful will of God, His plan of love which was fully revealed in Jesus Christ and offers us the chance 'to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth ... and depth' of that love". The unknown mystery of God has been revealed and it is that God, ever since the beginning and for all eternity, loves us.

The Pope noted how the Apostle reflects on the reasons for praising God by presenting the fundamental elements and the various stages of the divine plan. "Firstly we must bless God the Father because He ... called us into existence, He called us to sanctity, ... and we have been in His plan and His thoughts forever. ... The vocation to sanctity and communion with God is part of His eternal plan, a plan which stretches over history and which includes all the men and women of the world, because the call is universal. God excludes no one, His plan is exclusively a plan of love. ... The Apostle highlights the gratuitous nature of this marvellous design for humankind", the Holy Father said.

At the heart of prayer of praise St. Paul shows us the form in which the Father's plan of salvation is realised in Christ. "Christ's sacrifice on the cross was the unique and unrepeatable event by which the Father demonstrated ... His love for us, not just in words, but in concrete terms. God is so tangible that His love entered history, it became man to experience life and sensation in this world. So tangible is His love that it shares not only in our life, but also in our suffering and in our death. The sacrifice of the cross makes us 'the property of God'. The blood of Christ ... washes us of all evil and removes us from the slavery of sin and death".

Finally the divine blessing closes with a reference to the Holy Spirit which has been suffused in our hearts. "Redemption is not yet concluded. ... It will reach fullness when those whom God has acquired will be completely saved. We are all journeying towards redemption. ... God wants us to be free, He wants our 'yes' to be free. We travel this road of redemption together with Christ and thus redemption is fulfilled".

"In prayer we learn to see the signs of this merciful plan in the journey of the Church", the Holy Father concluded. "Thus do we grow in the love of God, opening the door for the Blessed Trinity to come and dwell among us, bringing us light and warmth and guiding our lives. ... Prayer generates men and women not animated by egoism, desire to posses and thirst for power, but by gratuitousness, the desire to love and serve. In other words, they are animated by God, and only in this way can we bring light into the darkness of the world".


Vatican City, 20 June 2012 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, after having delivered greetings in various languages, Benedict XVI launched an appeal for an end to attacks which have taken place recently in Nigeria, and which have been particularly aimed against the Christian community there. "I appeal to leaders for an immediate end to the killing of so many innocents", he said. "It is my hope that the various components of Nigerian society will collaborate so as not to start down the path of revenge, and that all citizens will cooperate in building a peaceful and reconciled society, in which everyone's right freely to profess their faith is fully protected".


Vatican City, 20 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"Today 20 June, following his general audience, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Valdis Dombrovskis, prime minister of the Republic of Latvia. 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.

"During their cordial discussions the parties highlighted the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Latvia, and the valuable contribution the Catholic Church makes to society, in particular on questions concerning the family and the promotion of a humanism open to spiritual and transcendental values.

"The conversation also focused on questions of mutual interest, with particularly emphasis on the serious economic and financial crisis which is affecting the lives of European peoples".


Vatican City, 20 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Liepaja, Latvia, presented by Bishop Vilhelms Lapelis O.P., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Vatican City, 19 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today announced that on Tuesday 26 June Benedict XVI will visit areas in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna recently affected by an earthquake. The Holy Father is scheduled to arrive by helicopter at the sports ground of San Marino di Carpi at around 10 a.m. where he will be welcomed by the head of the Italian Civil Protection Department. He will then travel to Rovereto di Novi, crossing the "red zone" and visiting the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria which was seriously damaged by the earth tremor. Following a greeting from the president of the region of Emilia Romagna, the Pope will make an address to the local people. He is due to return to the Vatican at around  1.15 p.m.


Vatican City, 19 June 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present the "Instumentum laboris" of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is due to be held in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October on the theme: "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith". The document was presented by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and Bishop Fortunato Frezza, respectively secretary general and under secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

The Synod Fathers, Archbishop Eterovic said, "will reflect upon the transmission of Christian faith, one of the great challenges facing the Church which will be examined in the context of new evangelisation. ... The work of the Synod will be enriched by its association with the Year of Faith", which begins on 11 October.

The secretary general of the Synod explained that the "Instumentum laboris" includes a preface, an introduction, four chapters and a conclusion. The Introduction brings together the views of episcopal conferences, which concur "on the need for new tools and new forms of expression to make the Word of God more understandable in the life of modern man. The Synod will hopefully be an opportunity to discuss and compare points of view and practical experiences, to be shared in order to provide encouragement to pastors and particular Churches".

The first of the four chapters, entitled "Jesus Christ the Good News of God to Humanity", reiterates "the central nucleus of Christian faith, of which many people are unaware, and presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Good News for modern man. ... New evangelisation is an expression of the internal dynamism of Christianity, which wishes to make men and women of good will know the 'depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge' of the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ; it is not a weary response to the crisis of faith and the challenges facing the Church in the modern world".

Chapter two is entitled: "Time for a New Evangelisation". It focuses chiefly on "identifying the challenges evangelisation currently faces", and on "describing the new evangelisation. ... The new challenges to evangelisation in the contemporary world are described in various different scenarios. The Church is called to discern those scenarios, so 'that they might be turned into places for proclaiming the Gospel and experiencing the Church'. ...The work of new evangelisation aims at a renewal of the ordinary pastoral activity of particular Churches while, at the same time, seeking to arouse a new sensibility towards people who have left the Church. This requires a measure of evangelical creativity and boldness". The archbishop pointed out that almost all the responses received when preparing the document "highlighted the lack of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. This requires, among other things, strong pastoral care of vocations", he said.

Turning then to consider Chapter three, "Transmitting the Faith", Archbishop Eterovic noted that "the purpose of new evangelisation is the transmission of faith. The Church transmits the faith from which she herself lives, and all Christians are called to make their contribution. ... The obstacles to the faith can be within the Church (faith lived passively or privately, refusal to be educated in one's faith, separation between life and faith) or outside Christian life altogether (secularisation, nihilism consumerism, hedonism). ... The Year of Faith is a pressing appeal to conversion so that, transformed by grace, each individual Christian and each community may produce abundant fruits. This may include ecumenical commitment, the search for truth, inter-religious dialogue, and the courage to denounce infidelity and scandals within the Christian community".

The last chapter of the "Instrumentum laboris" is entitled "Revivifying Pastoral Activity" and focuses on "the transmission of faith ... by again emphasising the instruments developed through Tradition - in particular the first proclamation, Christian initiation and education - while seeking to adapt them to current cultural and social circumstances. ... From a theological point of view, we must better understand the sequence of the Sacraments of Christian initiation, which culminates in the Eucharist, and reflect on models to be translated into deeply meaningful pastoral practices".

The Conclusion of the document reaffirms that "new evangelisation means giving the reason for our faith, communicating the Logos of hope to a world which seeks salvation".

Monday, June 18, 2012


Vatican City, 18 June 2012 (VIS) - A video message from Benedict XVI, transmitted at the end of a Mass attended by thousands of people in Dublin yesterday evening, brought to a close the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress. The Congress - which was held in the Irish capital over the course of last week on the theme: "The Eucharist. Communion with Christ and with One Another" - coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and the choice of theme was associated with that anniversary, as the Holy Father explained in his message, extracts of which are given below.

"From the earliest times the notion of 'koinonia' or 'communio' has been at the core of the Church’s understanding of herself, her relationship to Christ her founder, and the Sacraments she celebrates, above all the Eucharist. Through our Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ’s death, reborn into the great family of the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ; through Confirmation we receive the seal of the Holy Spirit; and by our sharing in the Eucharist, we come into communion with Christ and each other visibly here on earth. We also receive the pledge of eternal life to come.

"The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Vatican Council II, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of His brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and “active participation” has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal. In a changed world, increasingly fixated on material things, we must learn to recognise anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord, which alone can give breadth and depth to our life.

"The Eucharist is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others.

"Moreover, the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, His body and blood given in the new and eternal covenant for the forgiveness of sins and the transformation of the world. Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores. You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and His blessed Mother to many, many others. Your forebears in the Church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives, how to preach the joy that comes from the Gospel, how to promote the importance of belonging to the universal Church in communion with the See of Peter, and how to pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations. Our Catholic faith, imbued with a radical sense of God’s presence, caught up in the beauty of His creation all around us, and purified through personal penance and awareness of God’s forgiveness, is a legacy that is surely perfected and nourished when regularly placed on the Lord’s altar at the sacrifice of the Mass.

"Thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care. Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to His goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s message. How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the Sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit. The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask Him to touch us deeply. May He who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating his Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us His breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to His love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth.

"My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that the Congress will be for each of you a spiritually fruitful experience of communion with Christ and his Church. At the same time, I would like to invite you to join me in praying for God’s blessing upon the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2016 in the city of Cebu! To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering".


Vatican City, 17 June 2012 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. The Pope commented on the two brief parables in today's Gospel reading: that of the seed which grows while the farmer sleeps, and that of the mustard seed. "Through these images taken from the world of agriculture", he explained, "the Lord presents the mystery of the Word and the Kingdom of God, and indicates the reasons for our hope and our commitment.

"In the first parable, the focus is on the dynamism of the seed which, scattered on the ground, sprouts and grows by itself, whether the farmer sleeps or is awake. ... What supports the farmer in his daily efforts is his trust in the power of the seed and in the goodness of the earth. This parable recalls the mystery ... of God's fruitful work in history. He is Lord of the Kingdom, and man is His humble collaborator who contemplates and is gladdened by the divine creative act, and patiently awaits its fruits. ... Now is the time to sow, and the growth of the seed is guaranteed by the Lord. All Christians, then, know that they must do everything they can, but that the final result depends upon God: this knowledge sustains them in their daily trials, especially in moments of difficulty".

The Holy Father went on to note that the second parable mentions a specific plant, "the mustard seed, which is considered to be the smallest of all seeds". Nonetheless, "despite its diminutive size it is full of life and, when it splits, a shoot is born which is capable of breaking the earth ... and growing until it 'becomes the greatest of all shrubs'. ... Such is the Kingdom of God: small in human terms, ... being made up of those who do not trust in their own strength but in that of God's love, of those who are unimportant in the eyes of the world, yet through them the power of Christ breaks forth and transforms that which is apparently insignificant.

"The image of the seed was particularly dear to Jesus", the Pope added in conclusion, "because it well express the mystery of the Kingdom of God. In today's two parables it represents 'growth' and 'contrast': the growth that comes about thanks to the dynamism intrinsic to the seed itself, and the contrast that exists between the smallness of the seed and the greatness it produces. The message is clear: the Kingdom of God, though it requires our collaboration, is above all a gift of God, a grace which precedes man and his works. Our weak strength, apparently impotent before the problems of the world, if united to that of God fears no obstacles, because the victory of the Lord is certain".


Vatican City, 17 June 2012 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope made some remarks about World Refugee Day, an initiative promoted by the United Nations which is celebrated on 20 June. "It seeks to draw the attention of the international community to the situation of so many people, especially families, who are forced to flee their own lands because threatened by armed conflict and serious forms of violence", the Holy Father said. "I assure these severely tried brothers and sisters of the Holy See's prayers and constant solicitude, at the same time expressing the hope that their rights may always be respected and that they may soon be able to be reunited with their loved ones".

The Pope went on: "Today in Ireland marks the closing celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress which, over the last week, has made Dublin the city of the Eucharist, as many people gathered in prayer in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus chose to remain among us in the mystery of the Eucharist, to bring us into communion with Him and with one another", he said.

Finally the Holy Father mentioned Cecilia Eusepi, who will be beatified this afternoon in the Italian town of Nepi. "She wanted to become a missionary, but was forced to abandon her convent due to illness" and died at the age of eighteen. "Her faith was unshakeable, and she showed a great capacity to sacrifice herself for the salvation of souls".


Vatican City, 16 June 2012 (VIS) - In a communique made public today the International Theological Commission announces that it has updated its webpage. The page is to be found on the Vatican website (www.vatican.va) under the section dedicated to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The International Theological Commission, established by Paul VI in 1969, assists the Holy See, and in particular the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in examining the most important and pressing doctrinal issues. It is made up of theologians from various schools and nations, who stand out for their depth of knowledge and their fidelity to Church Magisterium. The members of the Commission - who number no more than thirty - are appointed by the Holy Father for a period of five years, at the suggestion of the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and after consulting episcopal conferences. Over the course of its history the Commission has, with the approval of its president, published twenty-five documents.

The new webpage opens with a brief historical overview of the institution (Profile), followed by the provisional Statutes of 12 July 1969 and the definitive Statues of 6 August 1982 (Statutes). The page also contains a listing of members of the Commission (List of the Members).

The most important part of the page is the collection of the twenty-five documents published by the Commission. Most of them are in seven languages - French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Latin and Polish - although some are also available in Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Russian and Czech. This collection is due to expand as new language versions of the texts are produced (Published Documents).

The webpage contains information about collected editions of the documents in various languages, as well as a list of papal addresses made to the members of the Commission (Pontifical Speeches). A further section (Documents) includes various contributions relative to the work and publications of the Commission, especially comments and clarifications.

The Commission hopes that the renewed webpage may help and stimulate consultation of documents, first and foremost by pastors, theologians, priests and consecrated persons, as well as students and other faithful throughout the world, particularly in places where it is not easy to access publications of those texts.


Vatican City, 18 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Eduardo Gutierrez Saenz de Buruaga, the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana, Cuba.

- Ten prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio.

- Bishop Jose Figueroa Gomez of Granada en Colombia.

- Bishop Francisco Antonio Nieto Sua of San Jose del Guaviare.

- Bishop Antonio Bayter Abud M.X.Y., apostolic vicar of Inirida.

- Msgr. Damian E. Chavarria Carvajal, pro apostolic vicar of Mitu.

- Bishop Jose de Jesus Quintero Diaz, apostolic vicar of Leticia.

- Bishop Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar, apostolic vicar of Puerto Carreno.

- Msgr. Oswaldo Jaramillo Osorio, pro apostolic vicar of Puerto Gaitan.

- Bishop Eulises Gonzalez Sanchez, apostolic vicar of San Andres y Providencia.

- Bishop Edgar Hernando Tirado Mazo M.X.Y., apostolic vicar of Tierradentro.

On Saturday 16 June the Holy Father received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Flavio Calle Zapata of Ibague.

- Bishop Pablo Emiro Sales Anteliz of Espinal.

- Bishop Jose Miguel Gomez Rodriguez of Libano-Honda.

- Bishop Froilan Tiberio Casas Ortiz of Neiva.

- Bishop Francisco Javier Munera Correa I.M.C., apostolic vicar of San Vicente - Puerto Leguizamo.

- Msgr. Obed Ramirez Granada, diocesan administrator of Florencia.

- Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".


Vatican City, 16 June 2012 (VIS) - The Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, with the consent of the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church meeting pursuant to canon 85 paragraph 2 (2) of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, has transferred:

- Bishop Camille Zaidan, bishop of the Patriarchal Curia, to the office of archbishop of Antelias of the Maronites (Catholics 156,028, priests 162, religious 353), Lebanon. He succeeds Archbishop Youssef Bechara, who resigned from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese in accordance with canon 210 para. 1-2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- Bishop Francois Eid O.M.M., eparchal vicar of Cairo, Egypt, and of Sudan of the Maronites, to the office of patriarchal procurator before the Holy See, having received prior pontifical assent. Bishop Eid will receive the tile of eparchal bishop emeritus of his former eparchy, under the terms of canon 211 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

The Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church has elected the following archbishops and bishops, all of whom have received prior assent from the Holy Father:

- Fr. Moussa El-Hage O.A.M., superior of the convent of Sts. Sarkis and Bacchus in Edhen and Zghorta, as archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land of the Maronites (Catholics 7,000, priests 11, religious 9), Israel, and as patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem and Palestine (Catholics 504, permanent deacons 1) and Jordan (Catholics 1,500, priests 2). The bishop-elect was born in Antoura, Lebanon in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1980. He studied in Jerusalem and in Rome and has held various offices in his religious order as well as being active in pastoral work and education. He succeeds Archbishop Paul Nabil El-Sayah, who had earlier resigned from the pastoral care of those circumscriptions to take up the office of bishop of the Patriarchal Curia.

- Fr. Paul Rouhana O.L.M., secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, as bishop of the patriarchal vicariate of Sarba, Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Amchit, Lebanon in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982. He studied in Belgium and in France and been active in education at "Saint Esprit" University in Kaslik. He succeeds Bishop Guy-Paul Noujaim, who resigned from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese in accordance with canon 210 para. 1-2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- Fr. Maroun Ammar, rector of the major seminary of Ghazir, as bishop of the patriarchal vicariate of Joubbe, Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Haje, Lebanon in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1983. He has served as pastor in various parishes and is a judge at the Court of Appeal of the Maronite Tribunal of Lebanon. He succeeds Bishop Francis Baissari, who resigned from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese in accordance with canon 210 para. 1-2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- Fr. Joseph Mouawad, vicar general of the eparchy of Jbeil-Byblos, Lebanon, as bishop of the Patriarchal Curia. The bishop-elect was born in Mayfouq, Lebanon in 1970 and ordained a priest in 1995. He studied in Rome and has been active in pastoral work, as well as teaching theology at "La Sagesse" University in Beirut and "Saint Esprit" University in Kaslik.

- Fr. Georges Chihane, patriarchal administrator of Haifa and the Holy Land of the Maronites, Israel, and patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem, Palestine and Jordan, as eparchal vicar of Cairo, Egypt and Sudan of the Maronites (Catholics 5,500, priests 6, religious 3). The bishop-elect was born in Haret Sakhr, Lebanon in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1979. He has served as pastor in various parishes in Lebanon, France and Jordan.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Vatican City, 15 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning the Holy Father received in audience Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, president of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. 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 central theme of the cordial discussions was the role of the United Nations Organisation, and especially of the General Assembly, in conflict resolution. Particular consideration was given to the conflicts currently affecting various regions of the world, especially Africa and the Middle East, and to the serious humanitarian emergencies they provoke.

"Attention then turned to the Catholic Church's contribution to peace and development, and to the importance of cooperation between religions and cultures".


Vatican City, 15 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience twelve prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota.

- Bishop Hector Luis Gutierrez Pabon of Engativa.

- Bishop Luis Antonio Nova Rocha of Facatativa.

- Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Villota S.J. of Fontibon.

- Bishop Hector Julio Lopez Hurtado S.D.B. of Girardot.

- Bishop Daniel Caro Borda of Soacha.

- Bishop Fabio Suescun Mutis, military ordinary.

- Archbishop Ismael Rueda Sierra of Bucaramanga.

- Bishop Camilo Fernando Castrellon Pizano S.D.B. of Barrancabermeja.

- Bishop Victor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid of Malaga-Soata.

- Bishop Carlos German Mesa Ruiz of Socorro y San Gil.

- Bishop Luis Albeiro Cortes Rendon of Velez.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Vatican City, 15 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Valery Vienneau of Bathurst in Canada, Canada, as metropolitan archbishop of Moncton (area 12,000, population 223,000, Catholics 116,400, priests 48, permanent deacons 1, religious 265), Canada. He succeeds Archbishop Andre Richard C.S.C., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Jean-Yves Riocreux of Pontoise, France, as bishop of Basse-Terre et Pointe-a-Pitre (area 1,780, population 460,000, Catholics 384,000, priests 56, permanent deacons 11, religious 183), France (Antilles).

- Appointed Bishop Pascal Roland of Moulins, France, as bishop of Belley-Ars (area 5,554, population 591,365, Catholics 352,600, priests 177, permanent deacons 14, religious 287), France. He succeeds Bishop Guy Bagnard, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Harry Entwistle as the first ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. The Ordinariate was today erected on the territory of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus".

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Vatican City, 14 June 2012 (VIS) - "This morning 14 June the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the Rome-based United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). The director general 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.

"During the cordial discussions great appreciation was expressed for the commitment shown by the Holy See and the Catholic Church to combating hunger and poverty, especially in Africa, and to remedying the worrying situation of world food security", according to a Holy See Press Office communique released today.

"It was then noted that, despite the fact that there are sufficient resources to satisfy the food requirements of the entire planet, persistent economic, social and political obstacles hinder the possibility of meeting those requirements. Finally, the hope was expressed that the rural sector may once again take a leading role in development strategies, that sustainable models of agricultural production and food consumption be promoted, and that greater equity and efficiency be guaranteed in the administration of the food system".

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