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Friday, January 15, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Participants in the annual plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prefect of which is Cardinal William Joseph Levada, were received this morning by the Holy Father. In his address to them he highlighted the fact that their dicastery "participates in the ministry of unity" which is primarily entrusted to the Pope through his "commitment to doctrinal fidelity.

  "Unity", he added, "is first and foremost unity of faith, upheld by the sacred tradition of which Peter's Successor is the primary custodian and defender. ... This is an indispensable service upon which depends the effectiveness of the Church's evangelising activity unto the end of time.

  "The Bishop of Rome", the Pope explained, "must constantly proclaim that ... Jesus is Lord". The Roman Pontiff's "potestas docendi" requires "obedience to the faith, so that the Truth that is Christ may continue to shine forth in all its grandeur, ... and that there may be a single flock gathered around a single Shepherd".

  The goal of a shared witness of faith among all Christians "represents, then, a priority for the Church in all periods of history. ... In this spirit, I trust particularly in your dicastery's commitment to overcoming the doctrinal problems that still persist in achieving the full communion of the Society of St. Pius X with the Church".

  Benedict XVI then went on to thank the members of the congregation for their efforts towards "the full integration of groups and individuals of former Anglican faithful into the life of the Catholic Church, in accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus'. The faithful adherence of these groups to the truth received from Christ and presented in the Magisterium of the Church is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement", he said, "rather, it reveals the ultimate aim thereof, which is the realisation of the full and visible communion of the disciples of the Lord".

  The Pope then turned his attention to the Instruction "Dignitas Personae" concerning certain bioethical questions, which was published by the congregation in 2008. "It represents", he said, "a new milestone in the announcement of the Gospel, in full continuity with the Instruction 'Donum vitae' published by the dicastery in 1987. In such delicate and pressing questions as those that concern procreation and the new therapeutic advances involving the manipulation of the embryo and the human genetic patrimony, ... the Magisterium of the Church seeks to offer its own contribution to the formation of consciences, not only the consciences of believers but of everyone who seeks the truth and is willing to listen to arguments that arise not only from the faith, but also from reason itself".

  "Christian faith also makes its truthful contribution in the field of ethics and philosophy, not supplying prefabricated solutions to real problems such as biomedical research and experimentation, put presenting moral standpoints within which human reason can seek and find appropriate solutions", said the Pope.

  And he went on: "There are, in fact, certain aspects of Christian revelation that throw light on the problems of bioethics. ... These aspects, inscribed in the heart of man, are also understandable in rational terms as elements of natural moral law, and may find acceptance even among people who do not recognise themselves in the Christian faith".

  "Rooted in human nature and accessible to all creatures possessing reason, natural moral law constitutes the foundation for opening a dialogue with all men and women who seek the truth and, more generally, with civil and secular society", said Pope Benedict. And he concluded: "This law, inscribed in the heart of all human beings, touches an essential aspect of legal theory and appeals to legislators' consciences and sense of responsibility".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The following communique was released yesterday afternoon:

  "In the hours following the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the Holy Father made an appeal far the mobilisation of spiritual and material assistance, declaring that 'the Catholic Church will not fail to move immediately, through her charitable institutions, to meet the most immediate needs of the population'.
  "As with other tragedies, Catholics are already being zealous in providing tangible aid. Several Catholic agencies are at work and are sending manpower, which is especially urgent. The Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', in direct contact with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international humanitarian agency of the bishops of the United States, has asked it to co-ordinate the relief efforts at this stage. The 300 plus on-the-ground personnel, who have long been active in Haiti, and the past experience, expertise and resources of CRS will enable prompt and effective co-ordination of the Church's efforts, which, in the words of Pope Benedict, must be generous and concrete to meet the pressing needs of our Haitian brothers and sisters".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Below is the calendar of liturgical celebrations due to be presided over by the Holy Father between February and April.


- Tuesday 2. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Consecrated Life. At 5.30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Vespers with members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.

- Wednesday 17. Ash Wednesday. At 4.30 p.m. in the basilica of Sant'Anselmo, "statio" and penitential procession. At 5 p.m. in the basilica of Santa Sabina, blessing and imposition of the ashes.

- Friday 19. At 11 a.m. in the Concistory Hall, concistory for certain causes of canonisation.

- Sunday 21. First Sunday of Lent. At 6 p.m. in the Apostolic Palace's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel, beginning of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.

- Saturday 27. At 9 a.m. in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel, conclusion of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.


- Sunday 7. Third Sunday of Lent. Pastoral visit to the Roman parish of St. John of the Cross. At 9 a.m., celebration of the Eucharist.

- Thursday 25. At 8.30 p.m. in St. Peter's Square. Meeting with young people of Rome and Lazio in preparation for World Youth Day.

- Sunday 28. Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

- Monday 29. At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II.


- Thursday 1. Holy Thursday. At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Chrism Mass. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, beginning of the Easter Triduum with the Mass of the Last Supper.

- Friday 2. Good Friday. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of the Lord's Passion. At 9.15 p.m. at the Colosseum, Way of the Cross.

- Saturday 3. Holy Saturday. At 9 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Easter vigil.

- Sunday 4. Easter Sunday. Mass in St. Peter's Square at 10.15 a.m. At midday, from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

- Saturday 17-Sunday 18: Apostolic trip to Malta.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today made it known that at 11 a.m. on Saturday 23 January, in the parochial basilica of Santa Maria en Mataro in the archdiocese of Barcelona, Spain, the beatification will take place of Servant of God Josep Samso i Elias, priest and martyr.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria.

 - Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cattenoz of Avignon, France.

 - Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany.

 - Fr. Philippe Dupont O.S.B., abbot of the abbey of Saint-Pierre of Solesmes, France.
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