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

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

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Monday, June 30, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Stanislaw Tillich, minister-president of the Free State of Saxony, Germany, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India.

 - Nevine Simaika Halim Abdalla, ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, on her farewell visit.

  On Saturday, 28 June, he received in separate audiences:

 - Giovanni Alemanno, mayor of Rome.

 - Leonida L. Vera, ambassador of the Philippines on her farewell visit.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20080630 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received 40 metropolitan archbishops accompanied by members of their families. The archbishops yesterday received the pallium during a Eucharistic celebration held in the Vatican basilica.

  The Holy Father greeted each of the metropolitan archbishops in their respective languages. Then, addressing them as a group, he affirmed that "the image of an organic body applied to the Church is one of the powerful and characteristic elements of the doctrine of St. Paul. In this Jubilee Year dedicated to him, I wish to entrust each of you to his celestial protection. May the Apostle of the Gentiles help each of you to make the communities entrusted to your care grow in unity and mission, in harmonious and co-ordinated pastoral activity, animated by constant apostolic zeal".

  "The condition of service for all pastors is love for Christ, which must come before everything", said the Pope. He then recalled Jesus' question to Peter: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" saying "may it ever resound in our hearts and stimulate our ever fresh and passionate response: 'Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you'. It is from this love for Christ that the mission to 'feed my sheep' arises, a mission that may be summarised above all in His own testimony: ... 'follow me'".
AC/.../METROPOLITAN ARCHBISHOPS                VIS 20080630 (240)


VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were 40 new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he imposed the pallium. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was also present at the ceremony.

  The Pope and Bartholomew I entered St. Peter's Square together, preceded by an Orthodox and a Latin deacon bearing the Gospel.

  Following the reading of the Gospel in Latin and Greek the Holy Father presented the Ecumenical Patriarch to the assembly, after which each of them pronounced a homily.

  In his homily Benedict XVI spoke of the two Apostles, patrons saints of Rome. "Through their martyrdom", he said, "through their faith and their love, the two Apostles show where true hope lies. They founded a new kind of city, one that must be formed ever and anew in the midst of the old human city which is threatened by the opposing forces of sin and human selfishness".

  "We could say that their martyrdom was, in the deepest sense, like giving a fraternal embrace. They died for the one Christ and, in the witness for which they gave their lives, they became one single entity. In the New Testament we can, so to say, follow the development of that embrace, the creation of unity in witness and in the mission".

  The Pope highlighted the fact that although Paul "usually went only to places in which the Gospel had not already been announced, Rome was an exception. There he found a Church the faith of which was the talk of the world. Going to Rome was part of the universality of his mission as an envoy to all peoples, ... it was an expression of the catholicity of his mission. Rome must make the faith visible to the whole world, it must be a place of encounter in the one faith".

  Turning to consider Peter, the Holy Father recalled how "he left the presidency of the Christian-Judaic Church to James the Less in order to dedicate himself to his true mission, the ministry for the unity of the one Church of God made up of Jews and pagans".

  "The perpetual mission of Peter", he went on, is "to ensure the Church never becomes identified with a single nation, with a single culture or a single State. That she always remains the Church of everyone. That she unites humankind beyond all frontiers and, amidst the division of this world, brings God's peace, the reconciliatory power of His love".

  Addressing the archbishops who were about to receive the pallium, the Holy Father told them that the gesture of imposing it upon their shoulders "reminds us of the shepherd who takes the lost sheep across his back, the sheep that cannot find its way home, and brings it back to the fold. In this sheep the Fathers of the Church saw the image of the entire human race, of all human nature, which is lost and no longer knows the way home"; and the Pastor that brings it home "is the eternal Word of God Himself". Yet nonetheless, God "also wants men 'to carry' alongside Him. Being a pastor of the Church of Christ means sharing in this task".

  In this way, he said, "the pallium becomes a symbol of our love for Christ the Shepherd, and of our loving together with Him. ... It becomes a symbol of the call 'to love them all' with the power of Christ ... that they might find Him and, in Him, themselves".

  Benedict XVI concluded his homily by expressing the view that the pallium "speaks to us of the catholicity of the Church, of the universal communion of Pastor and flock, just as it is a reference to apostolicity, to communion with the faith of the Apostles upon which the Church is founded".

  At the end of the Mass and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father pointed out that since this year the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul falls on a Sunday, "the entire Church, and not just the Church of Rome, celebrates it solemnly".

  "Of course", said the Pope referring to the Pauline Year which he officially inaugurated yesterday, "its focal point will be Rome, in particular the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls and the place of the saint's martyrdom at the Three Fountains. But it will involve the entire Church, beginning with Tarsus where Paul was born, and the other Pauline sites ... in what is now Turkey, as well as the Holy Land and the island of Malta where the Apostle arrived after having been shipwrecked and sowed the fertile seed of the Gospel.

  "The truth is", he added, "that the horizon of the Pauline year cannot but be universal, because St. Paul was, par excellence, the Apostle to those who were 'far off' from the Jews and who 'by the blood of Christ' were 'brought near'. Hence, even today, in a world that has become 'smaller' but where many have still not met the Lord Jesus, the Jubilee of St. Paul invites all Christians to become missionaries of the Gospel".

  "As the liturgy says, the charisms of the two great Apostles are complementary in the edification of the one People of God, and Christians cannot render valid witness of Christ if they are not united among themselves".

  Benedict XVI concluded by inviting everyone to pray "for these great intentions: the Pauline Year, evangelisation, communion in the Church and full unity among all Christians, entrusting them to the celestial intercession of Most Holy Mary Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles".
HML/STS PETER PAUL/BARTHOLOMEW I                VIS 20080630 (960)


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of first Vespers for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, which also marked the opening of the Pauline Year. Among those participating in the ceremony were the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and representatives from other Churches and Christian communities.

  The Holy Father, Bartholomew I, delegates from other Christian confessions, and monks from the abbey of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls walked in procession to the portico of the basilica where, before the statue of the saint, the Pope lit a candle from a brazier which will remain burning for the entire Pauline year. After the Pope the ecumenical patriarch and the representative of the primate of the Anglican communion also lit candles. The procession then entered the basilica through the Pauline Door.

  "We are gathered around the tomb of St. Paul, who was born 2000 years ago in Tarsus in Cilicia, in modern-day Turkey", said the Pope in his homily. "For us, Paul is not a figure of the past whom we recall with veneration. He is also our master, the Apostle and announcer of Jesus Christ to us too. Hence we are gathered here not to reflect upon a past history which has been left irrevocably behind. Paul wishes to speak to us today". Thus, the Pope explained, the Pauline Year serves "to listen to him and to learn from him, as from a master, the faith and the truth in which the reasons for the unity of Christ's disciples are rooted".

  "It is of great joy to me", said the Holy Father, "that the opening of the Pauline year should have a particularly ecumenical character, thanks to the presence of many delegates and representatives of Churches and ecclesial communities, whom I welcome with all my heart". They include "the Patriarch Bartholomew I, ... fraternal delegates of Churches that have especially close ties to the Apostle Paul (Jerusalem, Antioch, Cyprus, Greece) and that form the geographical setting of the Apostle's life before his arrival in Rome, ... and brethren from various Churches and ecclesial communities of East and West".

  "We are gathered here to ask ourselves about the great Apostle of the Gentiles. We ask ourselves not just who Paul was, but above all who he is. ... His faith was the experience of being loved by Jesus Christ with an entirely personal love; it was an awareness of the fact that Christ faced death not for some unidentified cause, but for love of him - of Paul - and that, being Risen, He loves him still. Christ gave Himself for him. ... His faith was not a theory, an opinion on God and on the world, His faith was the impact of God's love on his heart. And so this faith was love for Jesus Christ".

  The Holy Father then recalled how many people see Paul as "combative" noting that, "in fact, there was no lack of disputes on the Apostle's path. He did not seek superficial harmony. ... The truth was too great for him to be disposed to sacrifice it in the name of exterior success. The truth he experienced in his encounter with the Risen One was, for him, well worth struggle, persecution and suffering. But his deepest motivations were the fact that he was loved by Jesus Christ and his desire to transmit this love to others. ... Only on this basis can the fundamental concepts of his message be understood".

  Focusing then on one of Paul's "keywords: freedom", the Pope explained that "Paul, as a man loved by God, was free. ... This love was the 'law' of his life and, thus, it was the freedom of his life". Paul "spoke and acted moved by the responsibility of love. Freedom and responsibility are inseparably united. ... Those who love Christ as Paul loved Him can truly do as they please, because their love is united to the will of Christ and thus to the will of God; because their will is anchored in truth and because their will is not simply their own will - the decisions of an autonomous 'I' - but is integrated into the freedom of God".

  The Pope then went on to consider Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, when the Risen Christ proclaimed "I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting". By "persecuting the Church", said Benedict XVI, "Paul was persecuting Jesus" Who "identifies Himself with the Church as one single subject". This exclamation which transformed Saul's life "contains the entire doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ. Christ has not withdrawn to heaven, leaving a group of followers on earth to pursue 'His cause'. the Church is not an association that seeks to promote a particular cause" but "the person of Jesus Christ Who, even when Risen remained as 'flesh'. ... He has a body. He is personally present in His Church".

  "Through all this we glimpse the Eucharistic mystery, in which Christ continually gives His Body and makes us His Body", said the Pope and, noting with regret the laceration of this Body, asked Christ to overcome all divisions so that union "may once again become reality".

  Finally, the Holy Father recalled Paul's words to Timothy shortly before his heath: "Join with me in suffering for the Gospel". The Pope went on to note that the "duty of announcement and the call to suffer for Christ are inseparable. ... In a world where lies are so powerful, truth is paid with suffering. Those who wish to avoid suffering, to keep it away, keep away life itself and its greatness; they cannot be servants of truth or servants of the faith. ... Where there is nothing worth suffering for, life itself loses value. The Eucharist - the focus of our being Christian - is founded on Jesus' sacrifice for us, it was born of the suffering of love".

  "It is of this self-giving love that we live. It gives us the courage and the strength to suffer with Christ and for Him in this world, knowing that this is the way our lives become great, and mature, and true".
HML/INAUGURATION PAULINE YEAR/...            VIS 20080630 (1050)


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of the Republic of Portugal, who subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with States, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

  "During the cordial discussions", the text reads, "attention turned to various questions of common interest, concerning the current situation of the country. Highlighting the good relations that exist between the Catholic Church and Portugal, attention dwelt on the implementation of the 2004 Concordat.

  "The discussions also touched on certain current aspects of international affairs, with particular reference to Europe and to Portugal's commitment towards certain African and Asian countries".


VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2008 (VIS) - In the Vatican at midday today, the Holy Father received His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, who has come to Rome to participate in the opening of the Pauline Year and in the celebration of Mass for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

  In his remarks, Benedict XVI spoke of his happiness at learning that the patriarch had also called a Pauline Year to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles. "This happy coincidence", he said, "highlights the roots of our shared Christian vocation and the significant harmony of feelings and of pastoral commitment we are experiencing. For this I give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who guides our path to unity with the strength of His Spirit.

  "St. Paul", the Pope added, "reminds us that full communion between all Christians has its foundation in 'one Lord, one faith, one Baptism'. ... To the Christians of Corinth, among whom discord had arisen, St. Paul did not hesitate to make a strong call for them all to remain in agreement, for there to be no divisions among them, and for them to unite in the same mind and purpose".

  The Holy Father noted how in our world, with its "persistent divisions and conflicts, men and women feel a growing need for certainty and peace. However, at the same time, they remain lost, as if ensnared by a certain form of hedonist and relativist culture which throws doubt upon the very existence of truth. The Apostle's guidance in this matter is extremely helpful in encouraging efforts aimed at seeking full unity among Christians, which is so necessary in order to offer humankind of the third millennium an ever more resplendent witness of Christ, Way, Truth and Life. Only in Christ and in His Gospel can humanity find the answer to its deepest hopes".

  "May the Pauline Year", he concluded, "help Christian people to renew their ecumenical commitment, and may there be an intensification of joint efforts on the journey to the full communion of all Christ's disciples. And as part of that journey, your presence here today is certainly an encouraging sign".
AC/PAULINE YEAR UNITY/BARTHOLOMEW I                VIS 20080630 (380)


VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Juan del Rio Martin of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, as military ordinary archbishop for Spain. The archbishop-elect was born in Ayamonte, Spain in 1948, he was ordained a priest in 1974 and consecrated a bishop in 2000.

 - Accepted the resignation from the diocese of Wabag, Papua New Guinea, presented by Bishop Hermann Raich S.V.D., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Arnold Orowae.

  On Saturday, 28 June, it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Bishop Anthony Muheria of Embu, Kenya as bishop of Kitui (area 36,246, population 1,128,000, Catholics 250,000, priests 61, religious 119), Kenya.

 - Appointed Bishop Jozef Wrobel S.C.I. of Helsinki, Finland, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Lublin (area 9,108, population 1,069,136, Catholics 1,039,879, priests 1,314, religious 903), Poland.

 - Appointed Fr. Basilio Athai, rector of the major seminary of St. Michael in the archdiocese of Taunggyi, Myanmar, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 26,850, population 1,540,000, Catholics 7,450, priests 33, religious 92). The bishop-elect was born in Kyekadaw, Myanmar in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1984.
NER:RE:NEA/.../...                            VIS 20080630 (200)

Friday, June 27, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome, and archpriest of the papal basilica of St. John Lateran. He succeeds Cardinal Camillo Ruini, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke of Saint Louis, U.S.A., as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Essen, Germany, presented by Bishop Franz Grave, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Ludger Schepers of the clergy of Essen, Germany, pastor and dean of Duisburg, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 1,877, population 2,602,494, Catholics 919,948, priests 589, permanent deacons 77, religious 580). The bishop-elect was born in Oberhausen, Germany in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1979.
NA:RE:NEA/.../...                            VIS 20080627 (170)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., bishop of Hong Kong, China, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon, on their "ad limina" visit.

 - Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macao, China, on his "ad limina" visit.

 - Two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Honduras, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Luis Sole Fa C.M. of Trujillo

    - Bishop Jean Louis Giasson P.M.E. of Yoro.

 - Ahmed Hamid Elfaki Hamid, ambassador of Sudan, on his farewell visit.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
AL:AP/.../...                                VIS 20080627 (120)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received the bishops of the Chinese dioceses of Hong Kong and Macao, on the occasion of their "ad limina" visit.

  These two particular Churches, said the Holy Father, are "called to be witnesses to Christ, to look forward in hope and to announce the Gospel facing up to the new challenges that the people of Hong Kong and Macao must embrace".

  He pointed out the need for "an adequate ongoing formation of the clergy" highlighting how this "is an intrinsic requirement of the gift and sacramental ministry received; and it proves necessary in every age. It is particularly urgent today, not only because of rapid changes in the social and cultural conditions of individuals and peoples among whom the priestly ministry is exercised, but also because of that 'new evangelisation' which constitutes the essential and pressing task of the Church".

  "Catholic schools offer an important contribution to the intellectual, spiritual and moral formation of the new generations. This crucial aspect of personal growth is what motivates Catholic parents, and those from other religious traditions, to seek out Catholic schools".

  "The Catholic schools of your two dioceses have given significant impulse to the social development and cultural growth of your people. Today these educational centres face new difficulties; be assured that I am with you, and I encourage you to ensure that this important service will never fall by the wayside".

  The Holy Father thanked the bishops "for the affection and devotion you have shown to the Holy See in different ways. As I congratulate you on the many achievements of your well-organised diocesan communities, I encourage you to even greater commitment in the search for adequate means of presenting the Christian message of love in a more comprehensible way to the world in which you live", he said.

  "I also encourage your dioceses to continue your contribution to the life of the Church in mainland China, both by offering personnel for formation purposes and by supporting initiatives in the field of human promotion and assistance". In this context the Pope expressed his recognition for "the invaluable service" of "the charitable organisation Caritas of both dioceses".

  Benedict XVI concluded by saying: "I hope and pray to the Lord that the day will soon come when your brother bishops from mainland China come to Rome on pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, as a sign of communion with the Successor of Peter and the Universal Church".
AL/.../CHINESE BISHOPS                        VIS 20080627 (430)


VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received 400 representatives from the Vicariate of Rome for a ceremony marking the retirement from office of the vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, and the appointment of his successor, Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

  "The closing years of last century, and the first years of the new were a truly extraordinary time", said the Pope, "and all the more so for people who, like us, had the good fortune to experience them alongside a true giant of the faith and of the mission of the Church, my venerated predecessor".

  Collaborating closely with John Paul II, "we were 'drawn along' by his exceptional spiritual strength, rooted in prayer, in profound union with the Lord Jesus Christ and in filial intimacy with His Most Holy Mother. John Paul II's missionary charisma had ... a decisive influence on his pontificate, in particular on the period of preparation for the Jubilee 2000. And this was directly evident in the diocese of Rome, the Pope's own diocese, thanks to the constant commitment of the cardinal vicar and his collaborators".

  As an example of such commitment Benedict XVI mentioned "the Rome Citizens' Mission and the 'Dialogues in the Cathedral', manifestations of a Church which, at the very moment in which she was gaining a greater awareness of her own diocesan identity, ... opened herself ... to a missionary mentality ... destined to last not just the length of a season, but ... to become permanent".

  The Pope explained how Cardinal Ruini, who was appointed vicar of Rome in 1991, showed great concern for the mission, a concern "backed up by an outstanding capacity for theological and philosophical reflection. ... The apostolate, especially in our own time, must be constantly nourished by thought in order to explain the significance of gestures and actions which otherwise lapse into sterile activism", he said.

  Referring to fields in which Cardinal Ruini and the then Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had worked together, the Pope recalled the diocesan ecclesial conferences "called to respond to the most urgent pastoral questions, while taking account of the social and cultural context of the city".

  The Holy Father also mentioned the "cultural project", an initiative of the Italian Church which calls attention "to the Church's place in society; in other words the desire of the Christian community - responding to the mission of its Lord - to be present among men and women, and in history, with a plan for mankind, family and social relationships, inspired by the Word of God and expressed through dialogue with the culture of the time.

  "In this, dear cardinal", the Pope added, "you have given an example that goes beyond the initiatives of the moment, an example of commitment to 'thinking the faith' in absolute conformity to the Magisterium of the Church, with careful attention to the teachings of the bishop of Rome and, at the same time, while constantly listening to the questions that arise from contemporary culture and from the problems of modern society".

  In closing, Benedict XVI greeted Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the new vicar of the diocese of Rome and until now prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Welcoming him to his new office, the Pope said "I entrust it to you bearing in mind the pastoral experience you gained first as auxiliary in the great archdiocese of Naples, then as bishop of Albano, to which experiences you add proven gifts of wisdom and cordiality".
AC/VICARIATE ROME/RUINI:VALLINI                VIS 20080627 (600)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, Taiwan, as a member of the Special Council for Asia of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

 - Johan Ickx, official of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, as a consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
NA/.../HUNG:ICKX                            VIS 20080626 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of Firmin Mboutsou, the new ambassador of Gabon to the Holy See. In his address to the diplomat the Pontiff highlighted the good relations that have existed between the Holy See and that African State for 40 years.

  "The Church contributes", said the Holy Father, "and wishes to contribute ever more to educating men, women and children, without distinction, respecting people and their cultures, and transmitting to each the spiritual and moral values indispensable for human development. In the same way, over her long history, she participates in healthcare education". In this context, the Pope expressed the hope that, through agreement, Gabon "may fully recognise and support this charitable service" which "will have beneficial effects on religious presence and on the dynamism of structures in the fields of social work and healthcare".

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to agreements concerning education signed in 2001, expressing his hope that they "become established at the diocesan level, as concerns education at all levels, especially that of higher education. The Church", he said, "wishes to maintain and develop quality teaching", and this "requires the support of the authorities and of the various services of the State".

  Speaking of the "organisation of pastoral care in the armed forces" in Gabon, the Pope stressed the importance of the military "being able to form Christian communities under the guidance of a pastor capable of recognising and respecting the special status of the military world".

  The Holy Father invited the "authorities and men and women of good will, especially on the beloved continent of Africa, to commit themselves ever more intensely to building a peaceful, fraternal and united world".

  "Without justice", he said, "without fighting all forms of corruption, without respecting the rules of law, true peace is impossible and citizens will clearly find it difficult to put faith in their leaders. Indeed, without respect for the freedom of each individual, it is not possible to speak of peace". In this context, the Pope indicated that the Church is ready to provide collaboration and support for "all those people whose primary concern is to build a society respectful of the most elemental rights of human beings".

  Benedict XI concluded by highlighting how "the future is often seen in relation to purely economic questions, which lie at the origin of numerous conflicts. The inhabitants of the country must be the primary beneficiaries of the nation's natural wealth, and do everything possible to protect the planet, leaving future generations a truly inhabitable world capable of feeding all its people".


VATICAN CITY, 26 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Honduras, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  "The Honduran people", the Pope told the prelates, "is characterised by a profound religious spirit which finds expression, among other things, in the numerous and deep-rooted practices of popular devotion. These practices, duly purified of elements alien to the faith, must become a practical instrument for announcing the Gospel. On the other hand, as happens elsewhere, the spread of secularism and the proselytism of sects represent a source of confusion for many faithful, also provoking the loss of a sense of belonging to the Church".

  "An awareness of the enormous difficulties hindering your pastoral mission, far from discouraging you, should serve as a stimulus for a bold and far-reaching effort of evangelisation, founded - rather than on the effectiveness of material means and human plans - on the power of the Word of God, faithfully accepted, humbly experienced and trustingly announced", said Benedict XVI to the bishops

  He then went on to highlight the "priceless" help of priests in the "vital task of announcing the Good News". And he invited the prelates to ensure their seminaries always have "the best formators and the most appropriate material resources, so that future priests may garner that human and spiritual ... maturity which the faithful need and have the right to expect from their pastors". He also recalled how, "despite the recent increase in vocations, the shortage of priests" is "rightly one of your chief concerns".

  "One field deserving of particular attention", the Pope continued, "is that of marriage and the family, the solidity and stability of which is such a benefit to the Church and society. In this respect, it is right to recognise the important step taken by including an explicit recognition of marriage in your country's Constitution, although you well know it is not enough to possess good legislation if then we do not undertake the necessary cultural and catechetical labours that highlight "the truth and beauty of marriage, a perpetual alliance of life and love between a man and a woman".

  "Alongside the announcement of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments, the service of charity forms an essential part of the Church's mission", said Pope Benedict. Hence "bishops, as successors of the Apostles", must be "the foremost leaders of this service of charity in the particular Churches".

  "I well know how you are affected by the poverty in which so many of your fellow citizens live, and by the increase in violence, emigration, environmental destruction, corruption and shortcomings in education, alongside other serious problems. As ministers of the Good Shepherd you have - through word and deed - worked intensely to assist the needy. I exhort you", the Holy Father concluded, "to continue through your ministry to show the merciful face of God, strengthening the network of charity in your diocesan and parish communities with particular concern for the sick, the elderly and the imprisoned".
AL/.../HONDURAS                            VIS 20080626 (520)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Honduras, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Tomas Andres Mauro Muldoon O.F.M. of Juticalpa.

    - Bishop Angel Garachana Perez C.M.F. of San Pedro Sula, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Romulo Emiliani Sanchez C.M.F.

    - Bishop Luis Alfonso Santos Villeda S.D.B. of Santa Rosa de Copan.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20080625 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration yesterday afternoon:

  "The tragic affair of the disappearance of young Emanuela Orlandi (in 1983) has again become a focus of attention for the Italian media world.

  "This has come about in a striking way, with the widespread journalistic disclosure of confidential information, information that remains completely unverified and that proceeds from a witness of extremely dubious credibility.

  "This serves only to renew the immense pain of the Orlandi family, while showing no respect and humanity towards people who have already suffered so much.

  "It also serves to spread defamatory and groundless accusations against Archbishop Marcinkus, who died some time ago and cannot defend himself.

  "We in no way wish to interfere with the duties of the magistrates in their rigorous verification of facts and responsibilities. But at the same time, we cannot but express our extreme regret and reproof at methods of information that owe more to sensationalism than to the requirements of seriousness and of professional ethics".


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Given below is a list of the metropolitan archbishops who will receive the pallium from Benedict XVI in the course of a Eucharistic celebration due to be held in the Vatican Basilica on June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles:

 - Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya.

 - His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

 - Archbishop Michel Christian Cartatéguy S.M.A. of Niamey, Niger.

 - Archbishop Edwin Frederick O'Brien of Baltimore, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Francisco Perez Gonzalez of Pamplona and Tudela, Spain.

 - Archbishop Lorenzo Voltolini Esti of Portoviejo, Ecuador.

 - Archbishop Paolo Pezzi F.S.C.B. of Mother of God in Moscow, Russia.

 - Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus.

 - Archbishop Andres Stanovnik O.F.M. Cap. of Corrientes, Argentina.

 - Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax, Canada.

 - Archbishop Martin William Currie of Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

 - Archbishop Mauro Aparecido dos Santos of Cascavel, Brazil.

 - Archbishop Giancarlo Maria Bregantini C.S.S. of Campobasso-Boiano, Italy.

 - Archbishop John Hung Shan-Chuan S.V.D. of Taipei, Taiwan.

 - Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna, Nigeria.

 - Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany.

 - Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio, Colombia.

 - Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

 - Archbishop Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht, Netherlands.

 - Archbishop Antonio Jose Lopez Castillo of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

 - Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke S.P.S. of Benin City, Nigeria.

 - Archbishop Agustin Roberto Radrizzani S.D.B. of Mercedes-Lujan, Argentina.

 - Archbishop Jose Francisco Sanches Alves of Evora, Portugal.

 - Archbishop Jan Babjak, S.J. of Presov for Catholics of Byzantine rite, Slovakia.

 - Archbishop Giovanni Paolo Benotto of Pisa, Italy.

 - Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky of Bratislava, Slovakia.

 - Archbishop Robert Rivas, O.P. of Castries Santa Lucia.

 - Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento, Italy.

 - Archbishop Louis Kebreau, S.D.B. of Cap Haitien, Haiti.

 - Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

 - Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille, France.

 - Archbishop John Ribat, M.S.C. of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

 - Archbishop Thomas Kwaku Mensah of Kumasi, Ghana.

 - Archbishop Thomas John Rodi of Mobile, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Donald James Reece of Kingston in Jamaica, Jamaica.

 - Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz of Gdansk, Poland.

 - Archbishop Peter J. Kairo of Nyeri, Kenya.

 - Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop John Lee Hiong Fun-Yit Yaw of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

 - Archbishop Luis Gonzaga Silva Pepeu O.F.M. Cap. of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil.

 - Archbishop Marin Srakic of Djakovo-Osijek, Croatia.

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

 - Archbishop William D'Souza, S.J. of Patna, India.

 - Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leona.


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2008 (VIS) - In a Message published today, Benedict XVI expresses his appreciation for the first Malayalam-language version of the "Osservatore Romano", which is the translation of the English-language weekly edition of that newspaper.

  "The publication", writes the Pope in his English-language Message, "is a highly significant event in the life of the Church in India, since it will keep the over six million Catholics in Kerala State fully informed about the ministry of the Pope and the work of the Holy See and strengthen the bonds of faith and ecclesial communion linking the Catholic community to the See of Peter.

  "I willingly take this occasion to offer my prayerful good wishes for this important undertaking, together with my heartfelt thanks to the directors of the Carmel International Publishing House and to all those who in any way have contributed to its realisation.

  "It is my hope that this new translation of the English edition, which now takes its place alongside the other language editions of the 'Osservatore Romano', will prove a valuable source of instruction and enrichment in the faith, an incentive to ever greater fraternity and co-operation within Kerala's richly diverse Catholic community, and an indispensable aid to the continuing work of evangelisation".
BXVI-MESS/OSSERVATORE ROMANO/...            VIS 20080625 (220)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Before today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI blessed a marble statue of St. Luigi Orione which has been positioned in an external niche in the back wall of the Vatican Basilica.

  St. Luigi Orione (1872-1940), an Italian priest, was the founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence which gained approval in 1903. In 1908, following an earthquake that devastated parts of Sicily and Calabria, he spent three years in those areas caring for victims, especially orphans. After the First World War Don Orione's Work expanded, with the foundation of colleges and of educational and assistance organisations. Missionary activity began in Brazil in 1913.

  John Paul II beatified Don Orione on 26 October 1980, and proclaimed him a saint on 16 May 2004. His feast day falls on 12 March.

  At the close of the general audience, the Holy Father greeted "with great affection", the members of the Orione Family and expressed his hope that the unveiling of the statue of their founder "will constitute for all his spiritual children a renewed stimulus to continue along the path indicated by St. Luigi Orione, especially in bringing to Peter's Successor - as he himself said - 'the small, the humble, the poor workers, and the rejects of life who are most dear to Christ, and the real treasures of the Church of Jesus Christ'".
AG/BLESSING STATUE/LUIGI ORIONE                VIS 20080625 (250)


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2008 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 14,000 people, the Pope dedicated his remarks to St. Maximus the Confessor, a monk who was born in the sixth century.

  The Holy Father highlighted how this saint "is another great Father of the Eastern Church", upon whom "Christian Tradition has conferred the title of 'Confessor' for the dauntless courage with which he bore witness (confessed), also through suffering, to the integrity of his faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true man, Saviour of the world".

  The Confessor was born in Palestine around the year 580, said Benedict XVI. "From Jerusalem, Maximus moved to Constantinople then, because of the barbarian invasions, he took refuge in Africa where he distinguished himself for his great courage in the defence of orthodoxy. ... He did not accept the attenuation of Christ's humanity".

  The Pope then explained how St. Maximus came to Rome and "took an active role in the 649 Lateran Council which had been called by Pope Martin I to defend the two natures of Christ against an imperial edict which - 'pro bono pacis' - prohibited discussion on the matter". Nonetheless, Maximus remained steadfast in his view that "it is impossible to affirm that Christ has just one nature". For this reason he and two of his followers "were subjected to a terrible trial". Accused of heresy, the saint was condemned "to have his tongue and his right hand cut off, the two organs through which, in speech and writing, Maximus had combated the erroneous doctrine of the one nature of Christ. Finally the saintly monk was exiled to Colchis on the Black Sea where, exhausted by his sufferings, he died at the age of 82 on 13 August 662".

  "St. Maximus' thought was never limited to theology and speculation, ... because his focus was always the real situation of the world, and its salvation. ... To man, created in His image and likeness, God has entrusted the mission of unifying the cosmos".

  "The life and thought of Maximus were strongly illuminated by an immense courage in testifying to the integral truth of Christ, without reduction or compromise", said the Pope. Thus it is clear "how we must live in order to fulfil our vocation. We must live united to God in order to remain united to one another and the universe".

  The Holy Father continued: "The universal 'yes' of Christ also shows us the correct arrangement of all other values, ... such as tolerance, freedom and dialogue. Tolerance that does not know how to distinguish between good and evil would become chaotic and self-destructive. In the same way, freedom that does not respect the freedom of others and does not find a shared measure for our respective freedoms would become anarchy and destroy authority. Dialogue that does not know what to dialogue about becomes mere empty chatter". In this context, the Pope pointed out that such values "remain true values only if they have a point of reference that unites them and gives them genuine authenticity. This point of reference is the synthesis between God and the cosmos, it is the figure of Christ in Whom we learn the truth about ourselves, and thus we also learn how to position all other values because we discover their true significance".

  "And so", he concluded, "Christ shows us that the cosmos must become liturgy, glory of God, and that adoration is the beginning of the true transformation, the true renewal, of the world".
AG/ST. MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR/...                VIS 20080625 (610)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Charles Albert Buswell, emeritus of Pueblo, U.S.A., on 14 June at the age of 94.

 - Bishop John Choi Jae-son, former bishop of Pusan, Korea, on 3 June at the age of 96.

 - Bishop Maurizio Galli, emeritus of Fidenza, Italy, on 1 June at the age of 71.

 - Bishop Victor Kindo of Jashpur, India, on 12 June at the age of 61.

 - Archbishop Elmar Maria Kredel, emeritus of Bamberg, Germany, on 10 June at the age of 86.
.../DEATHS/...                                VIS 20080624 (100)


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pamiers, France, presented by Bishop Marcel Perrier, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Santiago Olivera, vicar general of the diocese of Moron, Argentina, as bishop of Cruz del Eje (area 22,187, population 159,500, Catholics 148,400, priests 32, permanent deacons 1, religious 68), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1984. He succeeds Bishop Omar Felix Colome, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Mario Aurelio Poli, auxiliary of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as bishop of Santa Rosa (area 143,440, population 325,626, Catholics 260,205, priests 41, religious 78), Argentina. He succeeds Bishop Rinaldo Fidel Bredice, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India, and Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as presidents delegate of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 26 October on the theme: "The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church".
RE:NER:NA/.../...                            VIS 20080624 (250)


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences five prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Honduras, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle C.M.F. and Darwin Rudy Andino Ramirez C.R.S.

    - Bishop Guido Plante P.M.E. of Choluteca.

    - Bishop Roberto Camilleri Azzopardi O.F.M. of Comayagua.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20080624 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that the Holy Father Benedict XVI will celebrate the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m. on 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is also due to participate in the ceremony.

  The Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy Father will pronounce the homily; together they will recite the profession of faith and impart the blessing. The Pope will concelebrate Mass with the new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he will impose the pallium during the course of the ceremony.

Monday, June 23, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

 - Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari, apostolic nuncio to Uruguay.

  On Saturday 21 June, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal James Francis Stafford, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, accompanied by Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20080623 (110)


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2008 (VIS) - On 29 May, at the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Manila, Archbishop Edward J. Adams, apostolic nuncio to that country, and Albert G. Romulo, foreign minister of the Republic of the Philippines, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of the Philippines concurring the cultural patrimony of the Catholic Church. The agreement itself was signed on 17 April 2007.

  The signing ceremony was attended, on behalf of the Church, by Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, and by Bishop Julito B. Cortes, auxiliary of Cebu and president of the Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

  For the Philippine State, the event was attended by Carmen Padilla, head of the national commission for UNESCO; Emelita V. Almosara, counsellor of the National Historical Institute, and Angel Bautista, head curator of the cultural property section of the National Museum.

  The agreement come into force on the day of the exchange of the instruments of ratification.


VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2008 (VIS) - A communique released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 6 p.m. on Saturday 28 June, eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at first Vespers for the inauguration of the Pauline Year. The ceremony will be attended by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and by representatives of other Churches and Christian communities.
OCL/PAULINE YEAR/...                        VIS 20080623 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2008 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope recalled victims of the typhoon Fengshen in the Philippines, and mentioned the beatification of the Lebanese friar Fr. Yaaqub (ne Khalil Haddad).

  "It was with great anguish that this morning I learnt of the wreck of a ferry in the Philippines, struck by the typhoon Fengshen which has swept across that area", he said. "As I give assurances of my spiritual closeness to the people of the islands struck by the typhoon, I raise a special prayer to the Lord for the victims of this latest maritime tragedy, in which so many children were also involved".

  The Holy Father then went on to recall that "today in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, Yaaqub (ne Khalil Haddad), priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Lebanon, was proclaimed a blessed. In expressing my congratulations to his spiritual daughters, I trust with all my heart that the intercession of Blessed Abuna Yaaqub, together with that of the other Lebanese saints, may enable that beloved and martyred country, which has undergone too much suffering, to finally progress towards a stable peace".
ANG/SHIPWRECK BEATIFICATION/...                VIS 20080623 (220)


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "In today's Gospel", he said, "we find two invitations from Jesus: on the one hand, 'to have no fear' of men, and on the other 'to fear' God. Thus we are stimulated to reflect on the difference that exists between human fears and fear of God. Fear is a natural aspect of life. From childhood we experience forms of fear that then reveal themselves as imaginary and disappear; later other fears emerge which have specific roots in reality, these must be faced and overcome with human commitment and trust in God.

  "But", the Pope added, "there exists - and above all today - a deeper form of fear, an existential fear, which sometimes spills over into anguish. It is born of a sense of emptiness, associated with a certain culture that is permeated with widespread theoretical and practical nihilism. Faced with the broad ... panorama of human fears, the Word of God is clear: those who 'fear' God 'are not afraid'. Fear of God, which Scripture defines as 'the beginning of true hope', means to have faith in Him, and sacred respect for His authority over life and over the world".

  "Those who fear God are serene even amidst the storms because God, as Jesus revealed to us, is a Father full of mercy and goodness. Those who love Him are not afraid. ... Believers, then, are afraid of nothing, because they know they are in the hands of God, they know that evil and the irrational will not have the last word, but that the one Lord of the world and of life is Christ, the Word of God incarnate".

  Finally, the Pope turned his attention to St. Paul who, "strong in the presence of Christ and comforted by His love, did not even fear martyrdom". Then, recalling that on 28 June he will inaugurate a Jubilee Year commemorating the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Holy Father concluded: "May this great spiritual and pastoral event also arouse in us a renewed faith in Jesus Christ Who calls us to announce and bear witness to His Gospel, without fear".
ANG/FEAR OF GOD/...                        VIS 20080623 (400)


VATICAN CITY, 22 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today announced that the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place in 2012 in Dublin, capital of Ireland.

  The Pope made the announcement during his homily, transmitted by satellite from the Vatican to thousands of faithful gathered on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, for the closing Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, held in that Canadian city from 15 to 22 June. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, pontifical legate and president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

  Commenting on the theme of the congress - "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world" - the Holy Father said: "The Eucharist is our most precious treasure. ... It is the Sacrament par excellence ... It contains all the mystery of our salvation, it is the source and the summit of the activity and the life of the Church".

  "It is, then", he continued, "particularly important that pastors and faithful should always seek a more profound understanding of this great Sacrament. Each will thus be able to strengthen his faith and better achieve his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling the fecundity of the Eucharist for his personal life, and for the life of the Church and the world".

  "Participation in the Eucharist", said Pope Benedict, "does not distance us from our fellow man; quite the contrary, being the most exalted expression of God's love, it calls us to commit ourselves alongside our brothers and sisters to facing the challenges of the present and to making the planet a pleasant place to live. To this end, we must struggle tirelessly so that all people may be respected from conception to natural death, that our rich societies may welcome the poorest and restore their dignity, that everyone may feed themselves and their family, and that peace and justice may shine out on all continents".

  The Pope, who had been speaking French, then pronounced a few words in English: "I sincerely hope that this Congress will serve as an appeal to all the faithful to make a similar commitment to a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis, so that they themselves will gain a genuine Eucharistic awareness and will in turn teach children and young people to recognise the central mystery of faith and build their lives around it".

  After encouraging pastors and faithful "to renew their concern for their preparation for receiving the Eucharist", the Pope said that "despite our weakness and our sin, Christ wishes to dwell within us. ... For this reason we must do everything possible to receive Him with a pure heart, ever seeking to regain - through the Sacrament of Confession - the purity that sin has blemished".

  Benedict XVI pointed out that "sin, and especially grave sin, opposes the action of Eucharistic grace in us. ... People who because of their situation cannot take communion, will find strength and salvific effectiveness in a unity of desire and in participation in Mass", he said.

  "The Eucharist is not a meal among friends. It is a mystery of alliance", said the Pope. "We are called to enter this mystery of alliance, conforming our everyday lives to the gift received in the Eucharist".

  The Pope called on people to ask God for new priests for the Church, and to pass this invitation on to the young, "that they may joyfully and fearlessly respond to Christ. They will not be disillusioned. May families be the birthplace and the cradle of vocations".

  Before concluding his remarks, the Holy Father called on everyone "to join me in praying for the success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin".


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins, presented by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Fouad Twal.

 - Appointed Msgr. Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu, nunciature counsellor to the apostolic nunciature in Indonesia, as under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
RE:NA/.../SABBAH:TWAL:THANYA-ANAN                VIS 20080623 (80)


VATICAN CITY, 21 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a Letter to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, to mark the 25th anniversary of his consecration as bishop. The Letter was read out during a solemn Eucharistic concelebration presided by Cardinal Ruini in the Roman basilica of St. John Lateran.

  In his Letter, which is dated 19 June, the Pope thanks the cardinal for his "commitment to serving the Church of Rome" since January 1991 when he was appointed vicar general of the diocese.

  Benedict XVI recalls certain episodes during "these years of episcopate in the direct service of the Bishop of Rome", such as "the planning and celebration of the Citizens' Mission in preparation for the Great Jubilee 2000", the culminating moment of which "was the 20th World Youth Day".

  "Over the years", the Pope continues in his Letter to the cardinal, "you have accompanied 484 diocesan priests to ordination and have supported, through various initiatives, the building of 57 new parish churches".

  The Holy Father thanks Cardinal Ruini "for all you have done for priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, lay groups and all the people of God in the diocese of Rome", and he notes how the diocese "has grown in communion and in an awareness of the urgency of the mission". In this context the Pope adds: "I must express my personal recognition for the dedication with which, over these years, you introduced me into the complex realities of this beloved Church".

  "Thank you for having backed my call for a serious commit to education and for having, on numerous occasions, brought so many faithful to St. Peter's Square to listen to, support and encourage the ministry of the Roman Pontiff".

  Benedict XVI concludes his Letter by telling Cardinal Ruini - who from 1991 to 2007 was also president of the Italian Episcopal Conference - that "in all these circumstances you have shown exemplary faithfulness to your episcopal motto 'Veritas liberabit nos'. In name of this Truth, which is Christ Himself, you continually dedicated your energies for the sake of the People of God who are in Rome".

Friday, June 20, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, accompanied by Fr. Edmund D. Power OS.B., abbot of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

 - Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte O.F.M. of Trujillo, Peru.

 - Three prelates from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Anthony Theodore Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi.

    - Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan.

    - Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam O.M.I., apostolic prefect of Quetta.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AP:AL/.../...                                VIS 20080620 (120)


VATICAN CITY, 20 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican the Holy Father received participants in a symposium entitled: "The identity and mission of Catholic radio today". The symposium was organised by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is presided by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.

  "As you work in Catholic radio stations you are at the service of the Word", the Pope told the more than 100 delegates from 50 countries. "The words that you broadcast each day are an echo of that eternal Word which became flesh. ... The Incarnation took place in a distant village, far away from the noisy imperial cities of antiquity. Today, even though you make use of modern communication technologies, the words which you broadcast are also humble, and sometimes it may seem to you that they are completely lost amidst the competition of other noisy and more powerful mass media.

  "But do not be disheartened!" he added. "The words which you transmit reach countless people, some of whom are alone and for whom your word comes as a consoling gift, some of whom are curious and are intrigued by what they hear, some of whom never attend church because they belong to different religions or to no religion at all, and others still who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, yet through your service first come to hear the words of salvation. This work of patient sowing, carried on day after day, hour after hour, is your way of co-operating in the apostolic mission".

  "If the many forms and types of communication may be seen as a gift from God to help individuals and all humankind to develop, then radio, through which you exercise your apostolate, brings words and music to people in order to inform and to entertain, to announce and to denounce, but always respecting the truth and with the clear aim of educating in truth and hope. Jesus Christ gives us the Truth about man and the truth for man and, on the basis of that truth, a hope for the present and future of humanity in the world".

  The Holy Father went on to express the view that "radio, due to its association with the word, participates in the mission and visibility of the Church, but it also creates a new way of living, of being and of making the Church; this brings with it various ecclesiological and pastoral challenges. It is important to make the Word of God attractive, giving it consistency through your transmissions so as to touch the hearts of the men and women of our time, and to participate in transforming the lives of our contemporaries".

  "What exhilarating prospects your commitment and your work open up!" the Holy Father exclaimed. "Even now, your networks can be a small but real echo in the world of the network of friendship that the presence of the risen Christ, the God-with-us, inaugurated between heaven and earth and among mankind of all continents and epochs. In this way your work will become a full part of the mission of the Church, which I invite you to love deeply. By helping the heart of each person to open to Christ, you will help the world to open to hope and to that civilisation of truth and love which is the most eloquent result of His presence among us".
AC/CATHOLIC RADIOS/...                        VIS 20080620 (580)


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the new diocese of Kribi (area 11,208, population 150,000, Catholics 77,115, priests 27, religious 8) Cameroon, with territory taken from the diocese of Ebolowa-Kribi, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Yaounde. He appointed Msgr. Joseph Befe Ateba, vicar general of Yauonde, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Nkoabe, Cameroon in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987.

 - Appointed Msgr. Luis Mariano Montemayor, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio to Senegal and Cape Verde, and apostolic delegate to Mauritania, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1985.

 - Appointed Msgr. Enrico Adriano Rosa, notary of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, as defender of the bond of the same tribunal.
ECE:NER:NN:NA/.../ATEBA:MONTEMAYOR:ROSA                VIS 20080619 (160)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences two prelates from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha of Lahore.

    - Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, Pakistan.
AL/.../...                                VIS 20080619 (50)


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "This morning Joseph Kabila Kabange, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was received in audience by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in the apostolic palace. The president and his minister for foreign affairs subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The discussions focused on the political and social situation in the country, with particular reference to the eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. The importance of respecting human rights was reiterated, in order to put an end to the suffering of the civilian population and build a more just and united society. Regional aspects of the question were also considered, with the hope being expressed that the forthcoming implementation of the 'Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region' may mark a decisive turning point in the promotion of the peace and wellbeing of all inhabitants of the area.

  "Concerning the future of the country, particular emphasis was given to the importance of the education and formation of the young, for whom the Church is always ready to make her specific contribution.

  "Other topics of joint interest were also examined, such as the importance of dialogue and collaboration, also in resolving the problem of the restoration of certain properties of the Church which were nationalised several decades ago.

  "President Kabila invited the Holy Father to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo".
OP/AUDIENCE/KABILA                        VIS 20080619 (270)


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the annual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), to whom he indicated that the "everyday life and the special mission" of the Eastern Churches, "especially at the ecumenical and the inter-religious level, must be supported by the entire Catholic Church".

  The Pope spoke of ROACO's concern for religious communities in Armenia and Georgia "which were among the first to receive the light of Christ", affirming that "by living humbly and fraternally with other Christian Churches, and by generously serving the poor, these Catholic communities, small though they are, can express in a very practical manner the communion of love proper to the universal Catholic Church".

  Benedict XVI then described his continuing apprehension for the difficult situation of Christians in Iraq, recalling the figure of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul of the Chaldeans, who died in tragic circumstances after being kidnapped on 29 February this year.

  Turning his attention to Lebanon, the Holy Father spoke of his "gratitude and relief" at the fact that the country has apparently "found the path of dialogue and understanding", and he reiterated his hope that "Lebanon may respond decisively to her vocation to be - for the Middle East and the entire world - a sign of the real possibility for peaceful and constructive coexistence between human beings". He then went on to mention Fr. Jacques Ghazir Haddad who will be beatified next Sunday in Beirut, speaking of his hope that the example of the new blessed "may touch the hearts of young Lebanese, showing them the sweetness of an evangelical life at the service of the poor and the weak, and bringing them to become faithful witnesses of the Catholic faith in the Arab world".

  Finally, Pope Benedict recalled a recent visit by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and by some of his collaborators in the Roman Curia, to the Latin- and Eastern-rite communities in the Holy Land. The "cause" of these communites, said the Pope, "is vital for the entire Church. I share their trials and their hopes and fervently pray that I may be able to visit them in person, just as I pray that certain signs of peace, which I greet with immense hope, may soon be put into effect.

  "I appeal to the leaders of nations", he added, "that the Middle East - in particular the Holy Land, Lebanon and Iraq - may be offered its longed-for peace and social stability, while respecting the fundamental rights of the person, including that of real religious freedom. Peace", the Pope concluded, "is the only way to face the serious problem of displaced people and refugees and to halt immigration, especially Christian immigration which affects the Oriental Churches so deeply. I entrust these wishes to Blessed John XXIII, a sincere friend of the East and the Pope of 'Pacem in terris'".
AC/.../ROACO                            VIS 20080619 (510)


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  "The seeds of the Gospel, sown in your region by zealous missionaries in the sixteenth century", said the Pope in his English-language talk, "continue to grow despite conditions that sometimes hinder their capacity to take root".

  He asked the prelates "to assure your clergy of my spiritual closeness to them as they carry out [their] task", then went on to indicate that "the centrality of the Eucharist, both through the worthy celebration of the Lord's Supper and in silent adoration of the Sacrament, should be especially apparent in the lives of priests and bishops. This will lead the laity to follow your example and come to a deeper appreciation for the Lord's abiding presence among them", he said.

  The Eucharist "reorients the way Christians think, speak and act in the world and makes present the salvific meaning of Christ's death and resurrection, thus renewing history and vivifying all creation. The breaking of the bread reminds us again and again that the absurdity of violence never has the last word, for Christ has conquered sin and death through His glorious resurrection".

  "Eucharistic spirituality", said the Holy Father, "embraces every aspect of the Christian life. This is evident in the emerging vitality of ecclesial movements within your dioceses. ... By exhorting the members of these movements and all the faithful to listen attentively to the word of God and to cultivate a habit of daily prayer, may your people foster genuine fellowship and create ever expanding networks of charitable solicitude for their neighbours".

  "The 'theologate' in Karachi, the programme of philosophy in Lahore and your minor seminaries are vital institutions for the future of the Church in Pakistan", said the Holy Father. "Never doubt", he told the Pakistani prelates, "that your investment of human and material resources will ensure a solid formation for your candidates for the priesthood.

  "Generous collaborators", he added, "are also to be found among members of religious orders who can help to enhance programmes of priestly formation and strengthen bonds of co-operation between religious and diocesan clergy.

  "Of particular urgency at the present time is the task of preparing these men - and indeed all catechists and lay leaders - to become effective promoters of inter-religious dialogue. They share a responsibility with all Christians in Pakistan to foster understanding and trust with members of other religions by constructing peaceful forums for open conversation".

  The Pope also recalled how other Catholic institutions such as "hospitals, schools, social and charitable agencies ... continue to serve the common good of the Pakistani people" by responding "to the concrete needs of others".

  In this context, the Pope concluded by encouraging the bishops "to build on the noble example of service to neighbour etched in the history of these institutions. Priests, religious and the lay faithful in your dioceses, by caring for the sick, helping young people grow in knowledge and virtue, and meeting the needs of the poor, reveal the human face of God's love for each and every person".
AL/.../PAKISTAN                            VIS 20080619 (540)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Gerard Johannes Nicolaus de Korte, auxiliary of Utrecht, Netherlands, as bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden (area 9,205, population 1,704,000, Catholics 120,300, priests 51, permanent deacons 3, religious 47), Netherlands.

 - Re-established the diocese of Srijem, Serbia, previously united "in persona Episcopi" to the diocese of Djakovo, Croatia. He appointed Bishop Djuro Gasparovic, auxiliary of Djakovo with special responsibility for Srijem, as bishop of Srijem. He also decreed that the ordinary of Srijem become a member of the International Episcopal Conference of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

 - Erected the ecclesiastical province of Djakovo-Osijek, elevating the diocese of Djakovo-Osijek to the status of metropolitan Church (its previous name of Djakovo-Bosna being changed to that of Djakovo-Osijek) and assigning it as suffragans the dioceses of Pozega, Croatia, and Srijem, Serbia, which until now have been part of the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb-Croatia-Slavonia. He appointed Bishop Marin Srakic of Djakovo and Srijem, as the first archbishop of the new archdiocese. The archbishop-elect was born in Ivanonci, Croatia in 1937, he was ordained a priest in 1960 and consecrated a bishop in 1990.

 - Changed the name of the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb-Croatia-Slavonia to the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb, with Zagreb as its metropolitan see and having the suffragans of Varazdin and Krizevci.
NER:ECE/.../DE KORTE:GASPAROVIC:SRAKIC        VIS 20080618 (230)


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, which was celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope addressed some remarks to participants in the International Eucharistic Congress being held in Quebec, Canada, from 15 to 22 June on the theme: "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world".

  "I am spiritually present at this most solemn ecclesial meeting", he said, "and I trust it will be a time rich in prayer, reflection and contemplation of the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, for the Christian communities of Canada and for the Universal Church. May it also be a propitious moment in which to reaffirm the Church's faith in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by expressing the hope that the congress "may revive in believers - not just in Canada but in many other nations in the world - an awareness of the evangelical and spiritual values that have forged their identity".
AG/EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS CANADA/...            VIS 20080618 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 18 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to St. Isidore of Seville, who lived from 560 to 636 and whom the Council of Toledo in 653 defined as the "Glory of the Catholic Church". The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by 11,000 people.

  Isidore was a friend of Pope Gregory the Great and younger brother to St. Leander, bishop of Seville, whom he succeeded in that episcopal see, the Pope explained, recalling how during that period "the Visigoths, barbarians and followers of Arianism, had invaded the Iberian peninsula and occupied territories once part of the Roman empire. These lands had to be won over to Catholicism".

  The saint, under his brother's guidance, became disciplined and studious. Their house had a large library of pagan and Christian works, and hence Isidore's writings "reveal an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical pagan culture as well as a profound understanding of Christian culture".

  "In his personal life Isidore experienced a permanent interior conflict ... between a desire for solitude to dedicate himself exclusively to meditating upon the Word of God, and the need to show charity towards his fellow man for whose salvation, as bishop, he felt responsible".

  This Doctor of the Church, who as a young man also suffered exile, "was pervaded with great apostolic zeal: he experienced the exhilaration of contributing to the formation of a people that had finally found its unity, both politically and religiously, with the providential conversion from Arianism to Catholicism of the heir to the Visigoth throne, Hermenegild.

  "However we must not undervalue", the Holy Father added, "the enormous difficulties in responding adequately to such serious problems as relations with heretics and with the Jews; an entire series of problems that seem very real even today, especially if we consider events in certain regions, in which we almost seem to see the re-emergence of situations very similar to those on the Iberian peninsula in the sixth century".

  In St. Isidore, said Pope Benedict, "we have to admire ... his concern not to neglect the fruits that human experience had produced, in the history of his homeland and of the entire world. Isidore would not have wanted to lose anything of mankind's achievements in ancient times, pagan, Jewish or Christian". At the same time the saint, "in discussing theological problems, showed he understood their complexity and often proposed solutions that encapsulated and expressed the complete Christian truth".

  With the "realism of a true pastor", Isidore of Seville proposed a fusion of contemplative and active life, inspired by the example of Christ Who "offered us an example of the active life when, during the day, He ... performed miracles in the city, but showed us the contemplative life when He retired to the mountain and spent the night there in prayer. ... Just as we must love God through contemplation, so we must love others through action".

  "This, I believe, is the summary of a life that sought contemplation of God, dialogue with God in prayer and the reading of Holy Scripture, and action in the service of the human community. This", the Holy Father concluded, "is the lesson that the great bishop of Seville leaves to us, Christians of today who are called to bear witness to Christ at the beginning of a new millennium".
AG/ISIDORE OF SEVILLE/...                    VIS 20080618 (570)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Emmanuel Delmas of the clergy of Cahors, France, vicar general, as bishop of Angers (area 7,217, population 732,942, Catholics 549,706, priests 394, permanent deacons 30, religious 1,605), France. The bishop-elect was born in Figeac, France in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Appointed Bishop Salvatore Fisichella, auxiliary of Rome and rector of the city's Pontifical Lateran University, as president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Lodi, Italy in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1976 and consecrated a bishop in 1998. He succeeds Bishop Elio Sgreccia, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
NER:NA/.../DELMAS:FISICHELLA:SGRECCIA                    VIS 20080617 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique today, concerning the visit of a delegation of the Holy See to Vietnam.

  "The Holy See delegation - made up of Msgr. Pietro Parolin under-secretary for Relations with States; Msgr. Luis Mariano Montemayor, nunciature counsellor at the Secretariat of State, and Msgr. Barnabe Nguyen Van Phuong, bureau chief at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples - visited Vietnam from 9 to 15 June, and returned to Rome yesterday. ... Their programme involved a series of meetings with the government authorities, both at central and local level, and with the Catholic community".

  "The working sessions with the government's Office for Religious Affairs, presided by Nguyen The Doanh, enabled discussions to be held, in a frank and cordial atmosphere, on various aspects of the life and activity of the Church in the country, particularly as concerns episcopal appointments, the gradual restoration of formerly-nationalised property to Church use, the application of norms on religious freedom, the contribution of Catholics to human promotion, the spread of a culture of solidarity towards the weakest sectors of the population, and the moral education of future generations.

  "The delegation was received by Pham Gia Khiem, deputy-prime minister and minister for foreign affairs, with whom views were exchanged on the current international situation with reference, above all, to the seat as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council that Vietnam will occupy for the first time this July. ... Attention also turned to the hoped-for normalisation of bilateral relations, with a view to which it is expected that the Working Group - charged with defining times and means - will begin its work as soon as possible".

  "The delegation then met with Nguyen The Thao, president of the Popular Committee of Hanoi, and with the vice-presidents of the Popular Committees of the provinces of Lam Dong, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri. With the former, mention was made, among other things, of the events that involved numerous faithful from the archdiocese at the end of last year and the beginning of 2008. In this context, consideration was given (as it has been on various other occasions) to the importance of continuing to pacify the situation, avoiding measures that may create contrary effects, and to maintain dialogue between interested parties in the search for adequate solutions that take into account the needs of justice, of charity and of the common good. ... The delegation expressed its gratitude to the local authorities of the province of Quang Tri for their decision to return the land around the Marian shrine of La Vang to Church use, and for their will to face, along with the archdiocese of Hue, the outstanding problems for the effective implementation of the decision".

  "A particularly moving moment was the visit and Mass at the Marian shrine of La Vang. The delegation, ... along with participants from the archdiocese of Hue from other dioceses in Vietnam and from abroad, prayed that that place, so dear to Vietnamese Catholics and venerated even by non-Catholics, may become ever more a centre of unity and reconciliation for all the inhabitants of that beloved country, without ethnic, religious or political distinction".
OP/VIETNAM VISIT/PAROLIN                    VIS 20080617 (550)


VATICAN CITY, 17 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present two initiatives to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Servant of God Pope Pius XII: a congress on his Magisterium and a photographic exhibition.

  Participating in the conference were bishop Salvatore Fisichella, rector of Rome's Pontifical Lateran University; Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda S.J., rector of Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University; Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, and Giovanni Morello, president of the Foundation for the Artistic Patrimony and Activity of the Church.

  Referring to Pius XII and the years of his pontificate (1939-1958), Bishop Fisichella highlighted the Pontiff's "great stature, especially in spiritual terms, but also intellectually and diplomatically".

  "Various different historical situations of great significance came together in the life of Pius XII", he said: "the genocide of the Jews, the communist occupation of various Christian nations, the Cold War, new advances of science, and the innovations of certain schools of theology".

  Bishop Fisichella pointed out that, although many aspects of the pontificate have already been studied, "what remains largely unknown is Pius XII's influence on Vatican Council II". In this context, he mentioned the 43 Encyclicals "which marked his pontificate, and the many discourses in which he examined the most controversial questions of his time.

  "In this Magisterium", Bishop Fisichella added, "it is easy to identify certain particular traits which we may summarise in three points: firstly the promotion of doctrine, the definition of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950 being particularly memorable; ... secondly defending doctrine and indicating errors", such as in the Encyclical "Humani generis" of 1950 where Pope Pius examines "the serious problem of theological relativism. ... Finally", said Bishop Fischella, "Pius XII never failed to make his voice heard clearly and explicitly when circumstances required it".

  Fr. Ghirlanda spoke of the congress to mark the anniversary of the Pontiff's death, which is due to take place at the Gregorian and Lateran Universities from 6 to 8 November. Pius XII himself, Fr. Ghirlanda noted, studied at the Gregorian University and at the Pontifical Athenaeum of the Roman Seminary of Sant'Apollinare which later became the Lateran University.

  The congress, which will be attended by professors from both universities, is scheduled to be held over two days. "The first day", Fr. Ghirlanda explained, "will be dedicated to four introductory lectures on the general views of Pius XII and the cultural and historical context in which that great Pontiff developed his Magisterium". The themes will include: "the development of biblical studies, evangelisation, religious freedom and Church-State relations, and the social communications media".

  The morning of the second day will focus on "Pius XII's teaching in the fields of ecclesiology, liturgy and the role of the laity. The afternoon will be dedicated to his vision of relations between the Church and the world, Mariology, medicine and morals and, finally, questions of canon law".

  "Another commemorative event", said Msgr. Brandmuller, "will be the photographic exhibition entitled "Pius XII: the Man and the Pontificate", which will illustrate the life of this great and exceptional Pontiff who was already an object of admiration among his contemporaries. It has been sought", explained the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, "to reconstruct Eugenio Pacelli's life from boyhood to death, using images (many of them unpublished), as well as documents, personal objects, gifts and clothes: his formation at the Pontifical Roman Athenaeums, his training for a diplomatic career at the Secretariat of State; his mission to Germany (first in Bavaria then in Berlin); his return to the Vatican as secretary of State and, finally, his election to the Pontifical throne".

  For his part, Giovanni Morello recalled that the exhibition - which is due to be held in the Charlemagne Wing off St. Peter's Square from 21 October 2008 to 6 January 2009 - will follow the Pontiff's life "through contemporary photographs, many of them supplied by the photographic service of the 'Osservatore Romano', documents and personal effects, loaned both by the Pacelli family and by the 'Famiglia Spirituale Opera'".

  "The exhibition begins with the birth of the future Pope (in Rome on 2 March 1876) and follows his youthful and scholastic activities up to the moment of his priestly ordination on 2 April 1899", Morello explained. The young priest soon entered the service of the Holy See; he was consecrated a bishop by Pope Benedict XV in the Sistine Chapel on 13 May 1917 then appointed as nuncio, first in Bavaria (1917-1924) and subsequently in Berlin (1925-1929), at a crucial moment in German history.

  On 16 December 1929 Pius XI made him a cardinal and soon afterwards appointed him as secretary of State. The young cardinal thus became the Pope's main collaborator as evinced, said Morello, "by the corrections and notes Cardinal Pacelli made in preparing some of the most important documents, including the famous Encyclical 'Mit brennender Sorge'. During this period, Cardinal Pacelli made many journeys abroad; he was the first secretary of State, after many centuries, to travel as papal legate". Among the countries he visited were: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, United States and France.

  The exhibition will also cover the events of Pius XII's pontificate, particularly the Second World War, and the Holy See's humanitarian efforts in support of individuals and peoples, including the people of Rome.

  "The exhibition, apart from its historical and documentary aspects", said the president of the Foundation for the Artistic Patrimony and Activity of the Church, "is also of great artistic interest. Indeed, not everyone is aware that the first nucleus of the modern art collection in the Vatican Museums, later expanded during the pontificate of Paul VI, dates back to an initiative of Pius XII. ... Ten works from this original nucleus will be on display, including paintings by Carra, De Chirico, De Pisis, Morandi, Rouault, Sironi and Utrillo, as well as a number of sketches presented for the competition for the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica for the Holy Year 1950.

  "The artistic side of the exhibition is enriched by the presence of various valuable 'gifts' given to Pius XII during his pontificate, such as the 'Peace' offered by Luigi Einaudi, president of the Italian Republic; the precious desk service by Giovanni Valadier, a gift from the city authorities in 1956, and a small table clock given to the Pope by the first personal representative of the U.S. president. All these items used to be kept the Vatican Apostolic Library and are now held in the Vatican Museums. ... They will be on display with the vestments and other objects used by Pius XII, which today are conserved in the Pontifical Liturgical Treasury".
OP/PIUS XII/...                            VIS 20080617 (1140)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service