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

Friday, May 23, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, separating it from the ecclesiastical province of Kuching and raising the diocese of Kota Kinabalu to the status of metropolitan archdiocese with the suffragan dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan . He appointed Bishop John Lee Hiong Fun-Yit Yaw of Kota Kinabalu as first metropolitan archbishop of Kota Kinabalu. The archbishop-elect was born in Kota Kinabalu in 1933, he was ordained a priest in 1964 and consecrated a bishop in 1987.

  On Thursday 22 May, it was made public that he gave his assent to the canonical election carried out by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church of Fr. Taras Senkiv O.M., spiritual director of the major seminary of Ivano-Frankivsk, as auxiliary of Stryj of the Ukrainians (area 4,100, population 418,000, Catholics 372,307, priests 212, permanent deacons 2, religious 63), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Bilobozhytsia, Ukraine in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1982.
ECE:NER:NEA/.../LEE:SENKIV                    VIS 20080523 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20080523 (40)


VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced four beatification ceremonies due to take place over coming days:

  Marta Wiecka, virgin, Polish professed sister of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. At 11 a.m. on Saturday 24 May in Lviv, Ukraine.

  Servant of God Maria Giuseppina di Gesu Crocefisso Catanea (nee Giuseppina), virgin, Italian professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. At 5 p.m. on Sunday 1 June in the cathedral of Naples, Italy.

  James Ghazir Haddad (ne Khalil), Lebanese professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Lebanon. At 10 a.m. on Sunday 22 June in the Centre Ville of Beirut, Lebanon.

  Josepha (nee Hendrina Stenmanns), virgin, German religious and co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit At 10.30 a.m. on Sunday 29 June in Steyl Telegen, Netherlands.
OCL/BEATIFICATIONS/...                        VIS 20080523 (170)


VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Today, in a homily he pronounced in St. Peter's Basilica following a Mass for the soul of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, Benedict XVI recalled the figure of the late prelate, dean emeritus of the College of Cardinals, who died on 13 May at the age of 86.

  The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and by other members of the college.

  "The truth, of which the Word of God powerfully reminds us, is that nothing and no-one, not even death, can resist the omnipotence of His faithful and merciful love. This is our faith, founded on Christ's resurrection; this is the constant assurance which the Lord repeats, today as always".

  "It is in this perspective of faith and hope in the resurrection that we recall the venerable Cardinal Bernardin Gantin" who "to the end dedicated himself with affable willingness to the service of God and his fellows, maintaining faith in the motto he chose at the moment of his episcopal ordination: 'In tuo sancto servitio'".

  The Holy Father spoke of the character of the cardinal, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, which he described as "a marvellous blend of the characteristics of the African soul with those of the Christian spirit, of African culture and identify with evangelical values. He was the first African prelate to occupy roles of great responsibility in the Roman Curia".

  Benedict XVI then went on to speak of the experiences he had shared with Cardinal Gantin "which enabled me to gain ever greater appreciation of his prudent wisdom, as well as his solid faith and sincere adherence to Christ and to His Vicar on earth, the Pope. Fifty-seven years of priesthood, 51 years of episcopate and 31 as cardinal: this is the summary of a life spent for the Church".

  The Pope enumerated the various stages of the cardinal's life: his priestly ordination in 1951; his consecration as bishop in 1957 at the age of just 34; the period he spent as archbishop of Cotonou, capital of his native country of Benin, when he was the first metropolitan of Africa. In 1971, called by Pope Paul VI, he came to Rome as adjunct secretary to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. A few years later he became secretary of that Congregation and, in 1976, also became president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace". Paul VI made him a cardinal in 1977, and in 1984 John Paul II appointed him as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

  "This friend and brother of ours to whom we today pay homage", said Benedict XVI, "was permeated with love for Christ ... which made him affable and ready to listen and talk to everyone". Christ's love "encouraged him to look, as he used to say, always to the essentials of the life that lasts, without losing himself in the side issues which quickly pass". It "made him see his role in the various offices of the Curia as a service devoid of human ambitions".

  "In Cardinal Gantin's pastoral ministry there emerges a constant love for the Eucharist, source of individual sanctity and of solid ecclesial communion, which has its visible foundation in Peter's Successor. And it was in this very basilica, celebrating his last Mass before leaving Rome, that he highlighted the unity the Eucharist creates in the Church. In his homily he quoted the famous phrase of the African bishop St. Cyprian of Carthage: ... 'From here the one faith shines out through the world; from here arises the unity of the priesthood'. This", the Pope concluded, "could be the message we draw from Cardinal Gantin, as his spiritual testament".
HML/MASS/GANTIN                        VIS 20080523 (640)


VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received participants in a congress promoted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who have been meeting to reflect upon the identity and mission of communications faculties in Catholic universities.

  "It is self-evident that at the heart of any serious reflection on the nature and purpose of human communications there must be an engagement with questions of truth. ... The art of communication is by its nature linked to an ethical value, to the virtues that are the foundation of morality. In the light of that definition, I encourage you, as educators, to nourish and reward that passion for truth and goodness that is always strong in the young".

  Benedict XVI exhorted his listeners "to promote truth in information, bringing our peers to reflect upon events, with the aim of being educators of human beings and builders of a better world. It is also necessary to promote justice and solidarity, and at all times to respect the value and dignity of individuals, who have the right not to be injured in matters concerning their private life".

  "It would be a tragedy for the future of humanity if the new instruments of communication, which allow us to share knowledge and information more rapidly and efficiently, were not to be accessible to people who are already socially and economically marginalised"; or if such instruments were "used to increase the distance that separates those people from the new networks being developed at the service of social life, information and learning".

  "It would also be a serious matter", said the Holy Father "if the globalising tendency in the world of communications were to weaken or eliminate traditional customs and local cultures, especially those that have managed to strengthen family and social values, love, solidarity and respect for life". In this context, he expressed his appreciation to religious communities which, "despite the high financial cost and the vast human resources required, have opened Catholic universities in developing countries".

  Recalling how, during the course of the congress, attention had turned to the matter of the identity of Catholic universities and schools, the Pope pointed out that "such identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students; it is above all a question of conviction, of truly believing that only in the mystery of the Word made flesh does the mystery of man become clear".

  "As experts in the theory and practice of communication, and as educators who are training a new generation of communicators, yours is a privileged role, not only in your students' lives, but also in the mission of your local Churches ... to make the Good News of God's love known to everyone".
AC/COMMUNICATION FACULTIES/...                VIS 20080523 (470)


VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Albania, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his address to them the Holy Father recalled how, "following the dark night of the communist dictatorship", the Church in Albania "was providentially able to recover, thanks also to the apostolic strength" of Servant of God John Paul II who visited the country in 1993, "reconstituting the Catholic hierarchy for the good of believers and of the Albanian people".

  The Pope told the prelates "to promote in your actions and initiatives that unity which must express the basic and life-giving mystery of the one Body of Christ, in communion with Peter's Successor. ... The shared responsibility of bishops" is essential "in order to face the problems and difficulties of the Church in Albania", he said.

  "I encourage you all to evangelical prudence", he went on, "while maintaining an attitude of authentic charity and recalling that the ecclesial cannons are a means to the orderly promotion of communion in Christ and the higher good of the one flock of the Redeemer. This concerns evangelising and catechistic activity and may also be expressed through commitment in the social field". In this context, Pope Benedict mentioned healthcare, education, and factors "which favour positive collaboration among the various elements of society and their respective religious traditions".

  Faced with the phenomenon of emigration, both within and outside the country, the Pope highlighted the need to engage in dialogue with bishops from other countries, "in order to offer necessary and urgent pastoral assistance. I understand the difficulties of a lack of clergy. I am also aware of the generosity of many of your priests, who work in precarious situations, committed to offering their ministry to the Catholic faithful of Albanian origin in foreign lands".

  "Among your priorities, may the promotion of vocations always be a primary concern. On this the future of the Church in Albania depends".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by congratulating the prelates on the agreements signed recently with the Republic of Albania. "I trust that these provisions may help towards the spiritual reconstruction of the country, given the positive role the Church plays in society", he said.
AL/.../ALBANIA                            VIS 20080523 (390)


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message for the 97th "Deutscher Katholikentag" ecclesial meeting, which was inaugurated yesterday in the German city of Osnabruck. The event, attended by some 50,000 people, is due to come to an end on Sunday.

  Commenting on the theme chosen for the meeting - "He brought me out into a broad place" - the Pope writes that "no small number of people today ... are afraid that the faith may limit their lives, that they may be constrained in the web of the Church's commandments and teachings, and that they will no longer be free to move in the 'broad space' of modern life and thought".

  However, "only when our lives have reached the heart of God will they have found that 'broad space' for which we were created. A life without God does not become freer and broader. Human beings are destined for the infinite", he explains.

  "The heart that has opened itself to God", writes Benedict XVI, has become "generous and broad in its turn". Such a one does not need to seek happiness and success "or to give weight to the opinions of others". He is "free and generous, open to the call of God" and "can give all of himself faithfully because he knows - wherever he goes - that he is safe in God's hands".

  "We trust that the meeting with God, in His word and in the celebration of the Eucharist, may open our hearts and transform us into gushing fonts of faith for others".

  The Holy Father particularly asks the lay faithful to ensure "that the future not be moulded exclusively by others; intervene with imagination and persuasive ability in the debates of the present time. ... Using the Gospel as your parameter, participate actively in the political and social life of your country. As lay Catholics, dare to participate in creating the future, in unison with priests and bishops!"

  In closing his Message, the Pope addresses the young people present at the meeting, telling them that he hopes to see many of them at World Youth Day, due to be held in Sydney, Australia in July.


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2008 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on the square in front of Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

  In his homily, the Pope spoke of the significance of today's Solemnity through the three fundamental gestures of the celebration. Firstly "our coming together around the altar of the Lord to be together in His presence", secondly "the procession, walking with the Lord", and finally "kneeling before the Lord in adoration".

  Explaining the first of these gestures, the Holy Father quoted St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians, where it is written that "there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus'. ... In these words", said the Pope, "we feel the truth and the power of the Christian revolution, the most profound revolution in human history, which we may experience in the Eucharist where people of different ages, sexes, social conditions and political ideas come together in the presence of the Lord. The Eucharist can never be a private matter. ... The Eucharist is public worship, which has nothing esoteric or exclusive about it. ... We remain united, over and above our differences, ... we open to one another in order to become a single thing in Him".

  Concerning the second of these gestures, that of "walking with the Lord", Benedict XVI affirmed that "with the gift of Himself in the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus ... raises us up again ... and puts us on the journey with the power of this Bread of life. ... The procession of Corpus Christi teaches us that the Eucharist wants to free us from all distress and discomfort ... so that we can resume the journey with the strength God gives us in Jesus Christ".

  "Without the God-with-us, the God Who is near, how can we sustain the pilgrimage of life, either individually or as a society or a family of peoples?" asked the Pope. "The Eucharist is the Sacrament of the God Who does not leave us to journey alone, but puts Himself at our side and shows us the way. Indeed, it is not enough to keep going, it is important to see where we are going! Progress is not enough if there are no criteria of reference".

  Finally, the third element of Corpus Christi, that of "kneeling in adoration before the Lord", is "the most valuable and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and today, ... it is a profession of freedom: those who bow to Jesus cannot and must not prostrate themselves before any earthly power, however strong", said the Pope.

  As Christians "we prostrate ourselves before God, Who first bowed down towards man ... to save him and give him life, Who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet. Adoring the Body of Christ means believing that there, in that piece of bread, Christ is truly present and gives real meaning to life, to the vast universe as to the smallest of creatures, to the whole of human history as to the briefest of lives".

  Following Mass, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic procession that passed along Rome's Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the way, thousands of faithful prayed and sang, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. An open vehicle transported the Sacrament in a mostrance, before which the Holy Father prayed.
HML/CORPUS CHRISTI/...                        VIS 20080523 (610)

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service