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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2010 (VIS) - During his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 7,000 faithful, Benedict XVI focused his catechesis on St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), declared a Doctor of the Church by Paul VI and co-patroness of Europe by John Paul II.

  At the age of sixteen she became a Dominican Tertiary, dedicating herself to prayer, penance and works of charity, especially towards the sick. "As fame of her sanctity spread", the Pope explained, "she became intensely active in the spiritual counselling of many categories of peoples: nobles, politicians, artists, common people, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, and even Pope Gregory XI who at that time resided in Avignon and whom Catherine energetically and effectively encouraged to return to Rome. She also travelled widely to promote interior reform of the Church and peace among States". She expounded her doctrine in three works: the "Treatise on Divine Providence", her "Letters" and a collection of "Prayers".

  Catherine was also a great mystic. Particularly famous are her visions of her exchanging hearts with Christ, and of the Virgin presenting her the Baby Jesus Who gives her a ring. "The living centre of Catherine's religiosity and of all authentic spirituality", the Holy Father explained, "is Christocentrism. For her, Christ was as a bridegroom with whom she maintained a relationship of intimacy, communion and fidelity. ... Like the saint of Siena, all believers feel the need to conform themselves to the sentiments of Christ's Heart, in order to love God and neighbour as Christ Himself loves. And, indeed, we can all allow our hearts to be transformed and learn to love like Christ through familiarity with Him, nourished by prayer, mediation upon the Word of God and the Sacraments, especially ... Holy Communion".

  "Around her strong and genuine personality an authentic spiritual family came into being of people attracted by the moral authority of this young woman. ... Many placed themselves at her service, considering it a privilege to be spiritually guided by Catherine. They called her 'mother' because, as spiritual children, from her they drew nourishment for the spirit. Today too the Church receives great benefit from the spiritual maternity of many consecrated and lay women, who nurture the idea of God in people's souls, strengthen their faith and orient Christian life towards ever higher peaks".

  Another characteristic of Catherine's spirituality is associated with her "gift of tears, expression of a delicate and profound sensitivity capable of emotion and tenderness", said the Holy Father. "Many saints have had the gift of tears, renewing the emotion of Jesus Himself Who did not hold back or hide His tears before the grave of his friend Lazarus and the pain of Martha and Mary, or the sight of Jerusalem during His last days on earth. For Catherine, the tears of the saints mix with the Blood of Christ", said the Pope.

  Finally he recalled how Catherine of Siena, "though aware of the human failings of the clergy, always had the greatest reverence for them, because through the Sacraments and the Word they dispense the salvific power of the Blood of Christ. The saint invited holy ministers, even the Pope whom which called 'sweet Christ on earth', to remain faithful to their responsibilities, moved always and only by her profound and constant love for the Church". From her, Benedict XVI concluded, "we learn the most sublime science: that of knowing and loving Jesus Christ and His Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2010 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father went to the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, where he presided at the rites of "Ultima Commendatio" and "Valedictio" at the end of the funeral Mass for Cardinal Urbano Navarrete S.J., who died on 22 November at the age of 90. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

  In his homily, the Holy Father described the late Spanish cardinal as a "master of justice. The meticulous study and impassioned teaching of canon law were the central element of his life. Educating the young generations in true justice, the justice of Christ, the justice of the Gospel, was the ministry Cardinal Navarrete accomplished over the course of his life".

  The Pope then went on to recall how Cardinal Navarrete was, "in particular, an expert on marriage law". He was dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and rector of the university itself. Pope Benedict also highlighted the cardinal's "interest in important ecclesial events, such as the diocesan synod of Rome and Vatican Council II, his competent scholarly contributions to the revision of the Code of Canon Law and his fruitful collaboration with various dicasteries of the Roman Curia as a highly-esteemed consultant".

  Cardinal Navarrete "used to say that three fundamental principles guided him in his studies: great love for the past and for tradition; ... sensitivity towards the problems, needs and challenges of the present where God has placed us and, finally, the capacity to look and open oneself to the future, not with fear but with hope, the hope that comes from faith. This profoundly Christian vision guided his efforts for God, for the Church and for man in his teaching and his works".

  "The shining truth of faith in eternal life comforts us each time we bid our final farewell to a deceased confrere. Cardinal Urbano Navarrete, spiritual son of St. Ignatius of Loyola, ... loved Christ and lived in intimate union with Him, especially in his prolonged periods of prayer". As a child, his own parents "created a climate of profound Christian faith in their family, favouring in their six children - of whom three became Jesuits and two nuns - the courage to bear witness to their faith, not putting anything before the love of Christ and doing everything for the greater glory of God".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following English-language communique concerning an episcopal ordination at Chengde in the province of Hebei, Mainland China:

  "With regard to the episcopal ordination of Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai, which took place last Saturday 20 November, information has been gathered about what happened and it is now possible to state clearly the following.

  "(1) The Holy Father received the news with deep regret, because the abovementioned episcopal ordination was conferred without the apostolic mandate and, therefore, constitutes a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline (cf. Letter of Benedict XVI to the Church in China, 2007, n. 9).

  "(2) It is known that, in recent days, various bishops were subjected to pressures and restrictions on their freedom of movement, with the aim of forcing them to participate and confer the episcopal ordination. Such constraints, carried out by Chinese government and security authorities, constitute a grave violation of freedom of religion and conscience. The Holy See intends to carry out a detailed evaluation of what has happened, including consideration of the aspect of validity and the canonical position of the bishops involved.

  "(3) In any case, this has painful repercussions, in the first case, for Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai who, because of this episcopal ordination, finds himself in a most serious canonical condition before the Church in China and the universal Church, exposing himself also to the severe sanctions envisaged, in particular, by canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law.

  "(4) This ordination not only does not contribute to the good of the Catholics of Chengde, but places them in a very delicate and difficult condition, also from the canonical point of view, and humiliates them, because the Chinese civil authorities wish to impose on them a pastor who is not in full communion, either with the Holy Father or with the other bishops throughout the world.

  "(5) Several times, during this current year, the Holy See has communicated clearly to the Chinese authorities its opposition to the episcopal ordination of Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai. In spite of this, the said authorities decided to proceed unilaterally, to the detriment of the atmosphere of respect that had been created with great effort with the Holy See and with the Catholic Church through the recent episcopal ordinations. This claim to place themselves above the bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community does not correspond to Catholic doctrine; it offends the Holy Father, the Church in China and the universal Church, and further complicates the present pastoral difficulties.

  "(6) Pope Benedict XVI, in the above-mentioned Letter of 2007, expressed the Holy See's willingness to engage in a respectful and constructive dialogue with the authorities of the People's Republic of China, with the aim of overcoming the difficulties and normalising relations. In reaffirming this willingness, the Holy See notes with regret that the authorities allow the leadership of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, under the influence of Mr. Liu Bainian, to adopt attitudes that gravely damage the Catholic Church and hamper the aforesaid dialogue.

  "(7) The Catholics of the entire world are following with particular attention the troubled journey of the Church in China: the spiritual solidarity with which they accompany the vicissitudes of their Chinese brothers and sisters becomes a fervent prayer to the Lord of history, so that He may be close to them, increase their hope and fortitude, and give them consolation in moments of trial".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Cacador, Brazil presented by Bishop Luiz Carlos Eccel, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Joao Mamede Filho O.F.M. Conv., auxiliary of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as bishop of Umuarama (area 13,200, population 413,000, Catholics 316,000, priests 64, permanent deacons 6, religious 76), Brazil.

 - Appointed Fr. Pedro Cunha Cruz of the clergy of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Santa Rita" and director of the "Joao Paulo II" Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy in Rio de Janeiro; Fr. Nelson Francelino Ferreira, also of the clergy of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, pastor of the parish of "Nossa Senhora da Gloria"; and Fr. Paulo Cesar Costa of the clergy of the diocese of Valenca, Brazil, rector of the "Paulo VI" Seminary at Nova Iguacu and director of the department of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, as auxiliaries of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro (area 1,261, population 6,095,000, Catholics 3,699,000, priests 619, permanent deacons 104, religious 1,366). Bishop-elect Cruz was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1990. Bishop-elect Ferreira was born in Sape, Brazil in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1990. Bishop-elect Costa was born in Valenca in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1992.
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