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Monday, May 3, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today made a pastoral visit to the Italian city of Turin, for the exposition of the Holy Shroud.

  Following a brief meeting with local citizens in the city's Piazza San Carlo, at 10.45 a.m. the Holy Father presided at Mass in the same square.

  In his homily Benedict XVI referred to the difficulties of living a Christian life, in which context he recalled "people who live their lives in truly precarious conditions, because of lack of work, uncertainty about the future, physical and moral suffering. I am thinking of families, of young people, of the elderly who often suffer solitude, of the marginalised, of immigrants", he said.

  The Pope went on, despite these many problems "it is precisely the certainty we receive from faith, the certainty that we are not alone, that God loves each of us without distinction and is close to each with His love, that makes it possible to face, to live and to overcome the burden of daily problems".

  The Pope encouraged families "to experience the Christian dimension of love in simple everyday activities, in family relationships, overcoming division and misunderstandings, in cultivating the faith which makes communion ever stronger".

  "I also wish to encourage the efforts being made, often with difficulty, by those called to administer the public weal", and their "collaboration towards the common good and towards making the city ever more human and inhabitable".

  The Holy Father particularly encouraged young people "never to lose hope, the hope that comes from the risen Christ, from God's victory over sin, hatred and death".

  Turning his attention then to the Holy Shroud of Turin, the Pope highlighted how "in it we see, as if reflected, our own sufferings in the suffering in Christ. ... For this reason the Shroud is a sign of hope. Christ faced the cross in order to place a limit to evil, in order to make us see, in His Easter, the anticipation of the moment in which, for us too, every tear will be wiped away and there will no longer be death, mourning, lamentation or fatigue".

  Benedict XVI concluded by encouraging the faithful of Turin "to remain firm in the faith you have received, the faith that gives meaning to life, that gives the strength to love. Never lose the light of hope in the risen Christ, which is capable of transforming reality and making all things new; in a simple and concrete way in the city, in neighbourhoods, in communities, in families, live the love of God: 'love one another as I have loved you'".

  Following Mass, and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope noted how the Virgin Mary is venerated in Turin as Our Lady of Consolation. "To her I entrust this city and everyone who dwells here", he said. "Mary, watch over families and over the world of work; watch over those who have lost faith and hope; comfort the sick, those in jail and everyone who suffers; Mary Help of Christians, support the young, the elderly, and people in difficulties. Mother of the Church, watch over the pastors and the entire community of believers, that they may be 'salt and light' in the bosom of society".
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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today, the Pope returned to Piazza San Carlo where he met with young people from the archdiocese of Turin and surrounding dioceses. Following a welcome speech by Cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop of Turin, and a greeting from the young people, the Pope delivered his address.

  Recalling how twenty-five years ago John Paul II wrote a Letter for young people focusing on Jesus' meeting with the rich young man who asked Him what me had to do to gain eternal life, Benedict XVI said: "Today it is not easy to talk about eternal life and things everlasting because the mentality of our time tells us that nothing definitive exists; everything changes, and changes quickly. In many cases, 'change' has become a watchword, ... and in this way you young people are also led to think that it is impossible to make definitive choices that commit you for life".

  However, the Pope asked, "is it true that in order to be happy we have to make do with small and fleeting moments of joy, the which, once over, leave bitterness in our hearts? Dear young people, this is not true freedom, happiness cannot be attained in this way. Each of us was created to make, not provisional and reversible choices, but definitive and irrevocable choices which give full meaning to existence. We see this in our own lives: we would like every beautiful experience which fills us with joy never to end. God created us with a view to the 'forever'. In each of our hearts He placed the seed for a life that creates something great and beautiful".

  "In his dialogue with the rich young man, Jesus indicated life's greatest wealth: love. To love God and others with all of ourselves. ... For humans, who are mortal and limited beings, nothing is greater than participating in God's life of love. Today we live in a cultural context that does not favour profound and disinterested human relationships, on the contrary, it often leads us to close in on ourselves, inducing individualism. ... But the hearts of the young are by nature sensitive to true love. Thus, with great trust, I address myself to each of you and say: it is not easy to make something great and beautiful of your lives, it is demanding, but with Christ everything is possible".

  "Experience this meeting with Christ's love in a strong personal relationship with Him; experience this in the Church and primarily in the Sacraments", Benedict XVI exhorted the young people. "Christ's love for the young man of the Gospel is the same as that He has for each of you. It is not a love confined to the past, it is not an illusion, it is not reserved for the few. ... May each of you feel yourselves to be a 'living part' of the Church, unafraid, involved in the work of evangelisation ... with your brothers and sisters in the faith, and in communion with pastors, avoiding individualist tendencies even in the life of faith, in order deeply to absorb the beauty of being part of the great mosaic that is the Church of Christ".

  The Holy Father gave the example of Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati, the twentieth anniversary of whose beatification falls this month. He "put his Christian formation into practice with great commitment, giving a simple and effective witness of his faith", said the Pope recalling how Blessed Frassati's motto was "live, don't just get by". In this context, he invited his audience "to discover that it is worthwhile committing yourselves for God and with God, responding to His call in all your choices, the fundamental and the mundane, even when there is a price to pay".

  "May the Holy Shroud", he concluded, "be an invitation for you to inscribe the face of God's love into your hearts, in order to become, in your own lives and among your peers, a credible expression of the face of Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his meeting with some 20,000 young people, the Holy Father travelled by car to the cathedral of Turin where he venerated the Holy Shroud which is on public display from 10 April to 23 May.

  The Pope was received by the pastor and the canons of the metropolitan chapter. He paused in adoration before the Eucharist in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament before moving on to the high altar where he venerated the Holy Shroud.

  The Holy Father then read out a special mediation entitled "The Mystery of the Holy Shroud", which is the subtitle of the main theme of the exposition: "Passio Christi - Passio hominis".

  "The Holy Shroud", said the Pope, "is the icon of this mystery. ... It is, in fact, a burial cloth which covered the body of crucified man, corresponding in every detail to what the Gospels tell us about Jesus. ... Easter Saturday is the day in which God is hidden. ... In our time, and especially having traversed the last century, humankind has become particularly receptive to the mystery of Easter Saturday. The concealment of God is part of the spirituality of modern man, essentially, almost unconsciously, like an ever-expanding emptiness in the heart. ... Following the two world Wars, the concentration camps, the gulags, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, our age has increasingly become an Easter Saturday. The darkness of that day is a call to everyone who questions themselves about life, particularly to us as believers. We too are involved in this darkness.

  "Yet nonetheless the death of the Son of God, of Jesus of Nazareth, has an opposing aspect, one that is completely positive, a source of consolation and of hope", the Holy Father added. "And this leads me to think that the Holy Shroud is like a photograph, which has both a 'positive' and a 'negative'. This is, in fact, true: the darkest mystery of the faith is at the same time the brightest sign of a limitless hope. Easter Saturday is the 'no-man's-land' between death and resurrection, but then the One entered this 'no-man's-land', and crossed it with the signs of His Passion for mankind".

  "In that 'time-beyond-time' Jesus Christ 'descended to Hades'. ... God-made-man reached the point of entering into the extreme and absolute solitude of man, where no ray of love reaches, where total abandonment reigns, where there is no word of comfort: 'Hades'. Jesus Christ, by dwelling in death, crossed the threshold of this ultimate solitude in order to lead us to cross it with Him. ... Human beings live because they are loved and can love. And if love has penetrated even into the place of death, then life has arrived there too. In the hour of extreme solitude we will never be alone: 'Passio Christi - Passio hominis'.

  "This is the mystery of the Holy Shroud! It was from there, from the darkness of the death of the Son of God, that the light of a new hope shone forth: the light of the Resurrection. And I feel that, looking at this sacred cloth with the eyes of faith, something of this light is perceptible. ... The power of the Shroud is this: from the face of this 'Man of suffering' who bears on himself the passion of men of all times and places, including our passions, sufferings, difficulties and sins, ... there emerges a solemn majesty, a paradoxical lordship".

  "How does the Holy Shroud speak?" Pope Benedict asked. "It speaks with blood, and blood is life. The Shroud is an icon written in blood; the blood of man who has been whipped, crowned with thorns, crucified and wounded in the right side. The image on the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Each trace of blood speaks of love and of life. ... It is like a spring murmuring in silence, and we can perceive it, hear it, in the silence of Easter Saturday".

  Having concluded his meditation, Benedict XVI greeted cloistered nuns from various orders present in the diocese, and members of the committee of the Holy Shroud. He then moved on to the Little House of Divine Providence where, at 6.30 p.m. in the church of Cottolengo, he met with sick people.
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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 6.30 p.m. today the Pope met with sick people in the church of the Little House of Divine Providence, founded in 1832 in the suburbs of Turin by St. Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo (1786-1842).

  "This meeting of ours", said the Holy Father at the beginning of his remarks, "tones in well with my pilgrimage to the Holy Shroud, in which we can read all the drama of suffering but also, in the light of Christ's Resurrection, the full meaning this has for the redemption of the world".

  Speaking of St. Giuseppe Cottolengo Benedict noted that, "though traversing dramatic moments in his life, he always faced events with serene trust. Attentive to perceiving the signs of God's paternity, he recognised the Lord's presence and mercy in all situations and, in the poor, saw the most familiar image of His greatness".

  "From the very beginning, the basic foundation of his work was the exercise of Christian charity towards everyone, which enabled him to recognise great dignity in all men and women, even those on the margins of society. ... Thus for this saint, taking on the burden of so much human suffering meant creating close, familiar and spontaneous relationships, founding structures capable of expressing such closeness with a family-like atmosphere that still continues today".

  The Pope assured the sick people that they have an important mission. "Living your sufferings in union with the crucified and risen Christ, you participate in the mystery of His suffering for the salvation of the world", he said. "Offering our pain to God through Christ, we can share in the victory of good over evil, because God makes our offering, our act of love, fruitful".

  And he went on: "This house is one of the fruits born from the cross and resurrection of Christ, and it shows that suffering, evil and death do not have the last word, because life can arise again from death and suffering".

  "In this place", the Holy Father concluded, "we can better understand that, if the passion of man was assumed by Christ in His Passion, nothing will be lost. The message of this solemn exposition of the Holy Shroud ('Passio Christi - Passio hominis') is particularly evident here".

  His visit over, and having greeted a number of the sick people present in the church of Cottolengo, the Pope made his way to Turin airport where, at 8 p.m., he boarded his return flight to Rome. Having landed at Ciampino airport, he then travelled back to the Vatican by helicopter.
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VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:

  1. On 30 April and 1 May, the cardinal secretary of State chaired a meeting at the Vatican with the five bishops in charge of the apostolic visitation of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ (Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput O.F.M. Cap. of Denver; Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello S.D.B., of Concepcion, Chile; Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alexandria, Italy; and Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi M.Sp.S, of Tepic, Mexico). The meeting was also attended by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the substitute of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

  The Holy Father was present at one of the sessions, at which the visitors presented a summary of their reports, which had already been previously delivered.

  During the visitation more than 1,000 Legionaries were interviewed, and hundreds of written testimonies examined. The visitors went to almost all the religious houses and many of the apostolic works run by the congregation. They heard, orally or in writing, the opinion of many diocesan bishops of the countries in which the congregation works. The visitors also met many members of the "Regnum Christi" Movement - although it was not the subject of the visitation - especially consecrated men and women. They have also received a great amount of correspondence from lay people and family members of those involved in the movement.

  The five visitators spoke of the warm welcome they received and of the constructive spirit of co-operation shown by the congregation and the individual religious. Though each visitator acted independently, they came to substantial agreement and a shared viewpoint in their assessments. They testified to having met a great number of exemplary religious who are honest and talented, many of them young, who seek Christ with genuine zeal and are offering their entire lives to spread the Kingdom of God.

  2. The apostolic visit was able to ascertain that the behaviour of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion, such as to require a process of in-depth revision.

  The very serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment. The great majority of Legionaries were unaware of this life, above all because of the system of relationships created by Fr. Maciel, who had skilfully managed to build up alibis, to gain the trust, confidence and silence of those around him, and to strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

  Not infrequently, the lamentable discrediting and dismissal of whoever doubted the correctness of his behaviour, coupled with the misguided conviction of not wanting to harm the good the Legion was doing, created a defence mechanism around Fr. Maciel that rendered him untouchable for a long time and made it very difficult to know his real life.

  3. The sincere zeal of most Legionaries, which emerged in the visits to the houses of the congregation and to many of its widely-appreciated apostolic works, has in the past led many people to believe that the allegations, which gradually became more insistent and widespread, could not have been anything other than calumnies.

  Thus, discovering and coming to know the truth about the founder has caused the members of the Legion surprise, bewilderment and deep pain, as the visitators have made clear.

  4. From the results of the apostolic visitation the following elements, among others, have become clear:

  a) The need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving its true core, that of the "militia Christi", which characterises the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church and which is not the same as efficiency at any cost.

  b) The need to review the exercise of authority, which must be linked to truth, in order to respect conscience and develop in the light of the Gospel as authentic ecclesial service.

  c) The need to preserve, through appropriate formation, the enthusiasm of the faith of young members, their missionary zeal and their apostolic dynamism. Disillusionment concerning the founder could call into question this vocation and the core of the charism which belongs to and distinguishes the Legionaries of Christ.

  5. The Holy Father wishes to assure all Legionaries and members of the "Regnum Christi" Movement that they will not be abandoned. The Church is firmly resolved to accompany them and help them on the path of purification that awaits them. This will also mean dealing sincerely with all of those who, within and outside the Legion, were victims of sexual abuse and of the power system devised by the founder. They are in the Holy Father's thoughts and prayers at this time, along with his gratitude to those of them who, even in the midst of great difficulties, had the courage and constancy to demand the truth.

  6. The Holy Father, in thanking the visitators for the sensitive task they have accomplished with skill, generosity, and profound pastoral sensitivity, reserves to himself the task of soon instructing how this assistance will be organised, beginning with the appointment of a delegate of his own and a commission to study the Legion's constitutions.

  The Holy Father will send a visitator to the consecrated members of the "Regnum Christi" Movement, who have insistently requested this.

  7. Finally, the Pope renews his encouragement to all the Legionaries of Christ, to their families, and to all the lay people involved in the "Regnum Christi" Movement, during this difficult time for the congregation and for each of them. He urges them not to lose sight of the fact that their vocation, which originates in Christ's call and is driven by the ideal of being witnesses of His love to the world, is a genuine gift from God, a treasure for the Church, and the indestructible foundation upon which each of them can build their own future and that of the Legion.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI delivered the eulogy at the end of the funeral of Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer O.S.B., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who died on 30 April at the age of 98.

  The funeral Mass, celebrated at the altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica, was presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and concelebrated by a number of members of the college.

  "The great and unshakeable hope, resting on the solid rock of God's love, assures us that the life of those who die in Christ 'is not taken away but transformed', and that 'as the abode of this earthly exile is destroyed, an eternal dwelling is being prepared in heaven'. In a time such as our own, in which fear of death leads many people to despair and to the search for illusory consolations, Christians stand our for the fact that they place their security in God, in a Love so great as to be able to renew the whole world".

  During his entire life, Cardinal Mayer "sought to effect what St. Benedict wrote in his 'Rule': May nothing be put before love of Christ", said the Holy Father. He then recalled the various stages in the late cardinal's life, beginning with his work as a professor at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, where he was rector from 1949 until 1966 when the Pontifical Liturgical Institute was founded, "a fundamental point of reference for the preparation of formators in the field of the liturgy".

  The Pope then went on to mention Cardinal Mayer's skills, which led him to occupy many prestigious offices. Pope Paul VI appointed him as secretary of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, consecrating him a bishop in 1972. In his years of service in that dicastery "he promoted the progressive implementation of Vatican Council II's dispositions concerning religious families. In this particular field, in his own capacity as a religious, he showed outstanding ecclesial and human sensitivity", said Pope Benedict.

  In 1984, John Paul II appointed him as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, making him a cardinal in 1985 and shortly afterwards naming him as first president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei". "Also in this new and delicate task, Cardinal Mayer proved himself to be a zealous and faithful servant, seeking to apply the words of his motto: 'The love of Christ has brought us together in unity'".

  The Pope concluded by entrusting the late cardinal to Our Lady of Grace of Altotting, Germany, a shrine near Cardinal Mayer's birthplace.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Elevated the territorial prelature of Ipil (area 4,850, population 654,000, Catholics 429,000, priests 40, religious 53), Philippines, to the rank of diocese, with the same name and territorial configuration as before, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Zamboanga. He appointed Bishop Julius S. Tonel, prelate of Ipil, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed Msgr. Mijo Gorski of the clergy of the archdiocese of Zagreb, Croatia, canon of the cathedral, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 4,246, population 1,237,650, Catholics 1,101,900, priests 562, permanent deacons 7, religious 1,657). The bishop-elect was born in Mihovljan, Croatia in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1977.
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