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Monday, January 31, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received priests and seminarians of the Pontifical Ethiopian College in a meeting to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Justin de Jacobis (1800-1860), patron of that institution.

  St. Justin "was a worthy son of St. Vincent de Paul who put the principle of 'being everything for everyone' into exemplary practice, especially in his service to the people of Abyssinia. At the age of thirty-eight he was sent by Cardinal Franzoni, then prefect of the Propaganda Fide, as a missionary to Ethiopia, ... where he founded a seminary called the "College of Mary Immaculate".

  "He learned the local language, championed the centuries-old liturgical tradition of the rites of those communities, as well as working effectively towards ecumenism", said the Pope. "His particular passion for education, especially the formation of priests, means that he can justly be considered as the patron of your college. Indeed, this worthy institution still welcomes priests and candidates to the priesthood, supporting them in their theological, spiritual and pastoral preparations".

  The Holy Father called on the priests, when returning to their communities of origin or assisting their compatriots abroad, "to arouse in everyone a love for God and the Church, following the example of St. Justin de Jacobis. He crowned his fruitful contribution to the religious and civil life of the Abyssinian peoples with the gift of his own life, silently restored to God after much suffering and persecution. He was beatified by Venerable Pius XII on 25 June 1939 and canonised by Servant of God Paul VI on 26 October 1975.

  "The way of sanctity also lies open to you, dear priests and seminarians", Pope Benedict added. "Sanctity lies at the very heart of the ecclesial mystery; it is the vocation to which we are all called. Saints are not some exterior ornamentation of the Church; rather, they are like the flowers of a tree which testify to the endless vitality of the lymph flowing through it. It is good to see the Church like this, in ascension towards the fullness of the 'Vir perfectus'; in continual, demanding, progressive maturation; dynamically driven towards complete fulfilment in Christ".

  Benedict XVI concluded by encouraging the members of the Pontifical Ethiopian College "to live this important period of your formation, in the shadow of the dome of St. Peter's, with joy and dedication. Walk resolutely along the path of sanctity. You are a sign of hope, especially for the Church in your countries of origin. I am certain that the experience of communion you have experienced here in Rome will also help you to make a precious contribution to growth and peaceful coexistence in your own beloved nations".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a video message of the Holy Father to students, staff and alumni of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, for the four-hundredth anniversary of its foundation.

  Speaking English the Pope gratefully recalls "the many clergy, religious and laity who, at Santo Tomas, have handed down to generations of Filipinos the faith, knowledge and wisdom to be found in the religious and secular sciences".

  "In particular", he adds, "I salute the memory of your founder, Bishop Miguel de Benavides, and the great commitment of the Dominicans who have guided the institution through the many challenges of the past four centuries. As you know, the University of Santo Tomas is the oldest institution of Catholic higher education in the Far East and it continues to play a very important role in the Church throughout the region.

  "I am confident", the Holy Father concludes, "that, keeping in mind the faith and reason that are always part of a truly integrated approach to education, your university will continue to contribute to the intellectual, spiritual and cultural enrichment of the Philippines and beyond".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has written a message for the fifty-eighth World Leprosy Day, which falls on 30 January. The message is entitled: "Uniting our efforts for a better expression of justice and love towards leprosy sufferers".

  This World Day, Archbishop Zimowski writes, is an opportunity "to reiterate our gratitude for the commitment of millions of workers, professionals and volunteers from the fields of healthcare, society, politics and the media, who have helped and continue to help leprosy sufferers". In this context, he expresses particular thanks to the Raoul Follereau Association, which is soon to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary.

  "The lethal impact of leprosy", he continues, "has been considerably reduced following the development of effective pharmacological treatments. Yet it continues to provoke suffering, disability and social exclusion, causing ignorance, inequality and discrimination to prosper which, in their turn, promote the spread of the disease. ... There is still a serious lack of structures, both for early diagnosis of the infection, and for the social and professional rehabilitation of people who have been cured but remain mutilated by Hansen's disease. We must promote a more widespread education of communities and peoples, so that they understand that those who have been cured no longer represent any threat of infection to others and must be helped to reinsert themselves into society".

  Quoting from the Pope's Message for the twenty-fifth international conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Archbishop Zimowski notes how, "also in the field of healthcare - which is an integral part of individual life and of the common good - it is important to establish true distributive justice which guarantees everyone adequate care on the basis of objective needs. Consequently, the world of healthcare cannot divorce itself from moral rules, which must govern it in order to ensure it does not become inhuman".

  On the eve of World Leprosy Day, the president of the pontifical council also mentions the efforts made by people within the Church "who, in many cases, committed themselves even unto the sacrifice of their own lives for the victims of Hansen's disease", in which context he mentioned the Canadian Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger, the Belgian St. Damian de Veuster and the Polish Blessed Jan Beyzym.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square, including young people from Catholic Action in the diocese of Rome who traditionally dedicate the month of January to their "Caravan of Peace" initiative. After the Angelus, a boy and girl from Catholic Action joined the Holy Father at his window to release two white doves as a sign of peace.

  Before the Marian prayer the Pope commented on this Sunday's reading from the Gospel, in which St. Matthew recounts Jesus' first pubic address to the multitudes on the hills around Lake Galilee, known as the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, in which He describes as blessed the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the merciful, the pure in heart and the persecuted.

  "The Beatitudes", said the Pope, are a new programme for life, to free ourselves from the false values of the world and open ourselves to true goodness, now and in the future. When, in fact, God consoles, when He satisfies hunger for justice or dries the tears of the afflicted, this means that, apart from rewarding each person in material terms, He opens the Kingdom of Heaven. The Beatitudes are the transposition of the cross and the resurrection into the lives of the disciples. They reflect the life of the Son of God Who allowed himself to be persecuted and despised, even unto being sentenced to death, so that mankind might receive salvation".

  "For this reason the Church does not fear poverty, humiliation or persecution in a society often attracted by material wellbeing and worldly power", the Holy Father said.

  After praying the Angelus he recalled how this Sunday also marks World Leprosy Day, which was instituted in the 1950s by Raoul Follereau and is recognised by the United Nations. "Leprosy, though in regression, unfortunately still affects many people who live in conditions of dire poverty. To all leprosy sufferers, I give assurances of my prayers, which I extend to the people who assist them and to those who, in various ways, are committed to eradicating Hansen's disease".

  He then addressed some remarks to the people of various Far Eastern States, who are currently celebrating the new lunar year. "To all those great peoples, my heartfelt best wishes for serenity and prosperity", he said.

  Finally the Pope noted that today also marks the International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land. "I join the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Custos of the Holy Land", he said, "in inviting everyone to pray to the Lord that hearts and minds may converge on authentic projects of peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei.
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VATICAN CITY, 31 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Mauro Maria Morfino S.D.B., professor of Holy Scripture at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia, as bishop of Alghero-Bosa (area 2,012, population 106,300, Catholics 105,650, priests 87, permanent deacons 7, religious 176), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Arborea, Italy in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986.

  On Saturday 29 January it was made public that he appointed

 - Fr. Eusebio Hernandez Sola O.A.R., bureau chief at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as bishop of Tarazona (area 4,514, population 91,414, Catholics 74,201, priests 94, religious 115), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Carcar, Spain in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1968.

 - As members of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State: Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

 - As members of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Archbishop Cyril Vasil S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Bishop Antoine Audo S.J. of Aleppo of the Chaldeans, Syria; Bishop John Charles Wester of Salt Lake City, U.S.A.; Bishop Luigi Negri of San Marino-Montefeltro, Italy, and Bishop Guerino Di Tora, auxiliary of Rome.

 - As consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Msgr. Jacques Harel, national consultant for the Apostolate of the Sea in Mauritius; Fr. Maurizio Pettena C.S., director of the office for migrants of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference; Paolo Morozzo Della Rocca, professor of the faculty of jurisprudence at the University of Urbino, Italy; Christopher Hein, director of the Italian Council for Refugees, and Laura Zanfrini, professor of the faculty of sociology at the Sacred Heart Catholic University in Milan, Italy.

 - Msgr. Robert Golebiowski, notary of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, as substitute defender of the bond at the same tribunal.
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Friday, January 28, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received thirty members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

  The commission was founded in 2003 as the result of an initiative by the ecclesial authorities of the family of Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  The first phase of dialogue, between 2003 and 2009, "resulted in the common text entitled 'Nature, Constitution and Mission of the Church'", said the Holy Father. "The document outlined aspects of fundamental ecclesiological principles that we share and identified issues requiring deeper reflection in successive phases of the dialogue. We can only be grateful that after almost fifteen hundred years of separation we still find agreement about the sacramental nature of the Church, about apostolic succession in priestly service and about the impelling need to bear witness to the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the world.

  "In the second phase, the Commission has reflected from an historical perspective on the ways in which the Churches expressed their communion down the ages", the Pope added continuing his English-language remarks to the group. "During the meeting this week you are deepening your study of the communion and communication that existed between the Churches until the mid-fifth century of Christian history, as well as the role played by monasticism in the life of the early Church.

  "We must be confident that your theological reflection will lead our Churches not only to understand each other more deeply, but resolutely to continue our journey decisively towards the full communion to which we are called by the will of Christ", he said.

  "Many of you come from regions where Christian individuals and communities face trials and difficulties that are a cause of deep concern for us all", Benedict XVI concluded. "All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in order to serve the cause of peace and justice. May the intercession and example of the many martyrs and saints, who have given courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen you and your Christian communities".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

 - Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

 - Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, apostolic nuncio, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Francis Martin-Xavier Campbell, ambassador of Great Britain, on his farewell visit.

 - Suprapto Martosetomo, ambassador of Indonesia, on his farewell visit.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2011 (VIS) - On 24 and 25 March, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the president of which is Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, will launch a new permanent Vatican structure to be known as the "Courtyard of the Gentiles", the aim of which is to promote dialogue and encounter between believers and non-believers.

  According to a communique released by the council, the launch will involve three colloquia on the themes of "religion, enlightenment and common reason". They will be held on 24 March at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, on the morning of 25 March at the Sorbonne University and on the afternoon of the same day at the "Institut de France". The colloquia will be followed by a round table discussion at the "College des Bernardins".

  On the evening of 25 March a celebration will be organised on the forecourt of the cathedral of Notre Dame with the theme: "Into the Courtyard of the Unknown". The event is open to everyone. especially young people, and will involve artistic creations, music, drama, lights, meeting and reflection. Exceptionally, the cathedral will remain open for those who wish to participate in a prayer vigil and shared meditation.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At 11.30 a.m. on Thursday 3 February, the presentation will take place of Benedict XVI's Message for the nineteenth World Day of the Sick. The Day itself falls on 11 February.

  The press conference will also be used to present a seminar on the theme "Catholic healthcare associations and the culture of life", due to be held on 5 February at Rome's St. Pius X Auditorium to mark the end of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

  The press conference will be presented by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Bishop Jose Luis Redrado Marchite O.H. and Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu Mate Musivi, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, and by Rosa Merola, consultor of the pontifical council and psychologist at Rome's Rebibbia prison.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, the Pope presided at the celebration of Vespers to mark the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

  In his homily the Holy Father recalled how this year "the theme suggested for our meditations came from the Christian communities of Jerusalem. ... The Christians of the Holy City invite us to renew and strengthen our commitment to rebuild full unity by meditating on the model of life followed by the first disciples of Christ gathered in Jerusalem. 'They devoted themselves', we read in the Acts of the Apostles, 'to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers'".

  "The Apostles' teaching, fraternal communion, breaking bread and prayer were the tangible elements of the life of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, united by the action of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, these are the essential traits of all Christian communities in all times and places. We could, in other words, say that they represent the fundamental aspects of the unity of the visible Body of the Church".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how "over the course of the last few decades, the ecumenical movement, 'fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit', has made important progress. ... Nonetheless, we are well aware that we are still far from the unity for which Christ prayed", he said. "The unity to which Christ, through His Spirit, calls the Church, cannot be realised only at the level of organisational structures but is forged at a more profound level, in 'confessing the one faith, celebrating divine worship in common, and keeping the fraternal harmony of the family of God'.

  "Efforts to re-establish unity among divided Christians cannot", the Pope added, "be reduced only to recognising our reciprocal differences and to achieving peaceful coexistence. What we long for is that unity for which Christ Himself prayed, and which by its nature becomes manifest in the communion of faith, of the Sacraments and of the ministry. The journey to this unity must be perceived as a moral imperative, a response to a specific call from the Lord. For this reason it is important to overcome the temptation to despondency and pessimism, which is a lack of faith in the power of the Holy Spirit".

  The Holy Father continued: "We must passionately continue the journey towards this goal, through serious and rigorous dialogue to develop our shared theological, liturgical and spiritual heritage; through reciprocal knowledge; through the ecumenical formation of new generations and, above all, through conversion of heart and prayer".

  Referring then to today's Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, he recalled how "in his long missionary journeys Paul, as he roamed through various cities and regions, never forgot his bond of communion with the Church of Jerusalem. Collections to support the Christians of that community ... occupied an important place in Paul's concerns. He considered it not only as a work of charity but as a sign and guarantee of unity and communion between the Churches he founded and that original community in the Holy City, a sign of the unity of the one Church of Christ".

  Finally, Benedict XVI addressed a special greeting to "our brothers and sisters from other Churches and ecclesial communities", including "members of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Ancient Churches of the East, who are meeting in Rome during these days. We entrust the success of your meeting to the Lord, that it may be another step forward towards our longed-for unity". He also addressed a special greeting to representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany, "who have come to Rome, with the bishop of the Church of Bavaria".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2011 (VIS) - During this morning's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 3,000 people, Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431), whom he described as "one of the 'strong women' who, at the end of the Middle Ages, fearlessly brought the splendid light of the Gospel into the complex events of history".

  The life of Joan of Arc, who was born into a prosperous peasant family, took place in the context of the conflict between France and England known as the Hundred Years War. At the age of thirteen, "through the 'voice' of St. Michael the Archangel, Joan felt herself called by the Lord to intensify her Christian life and to act personally to free her people".

  She made a vow of virginity and redoubled her prayers, participating in sacramental life with renewed energy. "This young French peasant girl's compassion and commitment in the face of her people's suffering were made even more intense through her mystical relationship with God. One of the most original aspects of her sanctity was this bond between mystical experience and political mission". said Benedict XVI.

  Joan's activities began in early 1429 when, overcoming all obstacles, she managed to meet with the French Dauphin, the future King Charles VII. He had her examined by theologians of the University of Poitiers who "delivered a positive judgment, they discovered nothing bad in her, and found her to be a good Christian".

  On 22 March of that year Joan dictated a letter to the King of England and his men, who were laying siege to the city of Orleans. "Hers was a proposal of authentic and just peace between two Christian peoples, in the light of the names of Jesus and Mary", said the Holy Father. But the offer was rejected and Joan had to fight for the liberation of the city. Another culminating moment of her endeavours came on 17 July 1429 when King Charles was crowned in Reims.

  Joan's passion began on 23 May 1430 when she fell into the hands of her enemies at Compiegne and was taken to the city of Rouen. There a long and dramatic trial was held which concluded with her being condemned to death on 30 May 1431.

  The trial was presided by two ecclesiastical judges, Bishop Pierre Cauchon and the inquisitor Jean le Maistre, but in fact it was conducted by a group of theologians from the University of Paris. These "French ecclesiastics, having made political choices opposed to those of Joan, were predisposed to hold negative views of her person and mission. The trial was a dark page in the history of sanctity, but also a shining page in the mystery of the Church which is, ... 'at the same time holy and always in need of being purified'".

  "Unlike the saintly theologians who illuminated the University of Paris, such as St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas and Blessed Duns Scotus, ... the judges were theologians who lacked the charity and humility to see the work of God in this young girl. Jesus' words come to mind, according to which the mysteries of God are revealed to those who have the hearts of children, but hidden from the wise and intelligent. Thus Joan's judges were radically incapable of understanding her, of seeing the beauty of her soul", the Pope said.

  Joan died at the stake on 30 May 1431, holding a crucifix in her hands and invoking the name of Jesus. Twenty-five years later a trial of nullification, instituted by Pope Callixtus III, "concluded with a solemn sentence nullifying the condemnation and ... highlighting Joan of Arc's innocence and perfect faithfulness to the Church. Much later, in 1920, she was canonised by Pope Benedict XV".

  "The Name of Jesus invoked by this saint in the last instants of her earthly life was as the continual breath of her soul, ... the centre of her entire life", the Holy Father explained. "This saint understood that Love embraces all things of God and man, of heaven and earth, of the Church and the world. ... Liberating her people was an act of human justice, which Joan performed in charity, for love of Jesus, hers is a beautiful example of sanctity for lay people involved in political life, especially in the most difficult situations".

  "Joan saw in Jesus all the reality of the Church, the 'Church triumphant' in heaven and the 'Church militant' on earth. In her own words, 'Our Lord and the Church are one'. This affirmation ... takes on a truly heroic aspect in the context of the trial, in the face of her judges, men of the Church who persecuted and condemned her".

  "With her shining witness St. Joan of Arc invites us to the highest degree of Christian life, making prayer the motif of our days, having complete trust in achieving the will of God whatever it may be, living in charity without favouritisms or limitations, and finding in the Love of Jesus, as she did, a profound love for His Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, presented by Bishop Assis Lopes, upon having reached the age limit.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations due to be presided by the Holy Father between February and April.


Wednesday 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.

Saturday 5: At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass and episcopal ordination.

Monday 21: At midday in the Concistory Hall, concistory for certain causes of canonisation.


Wednesday 9: 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.

Sunday 13: First Sunday of Lent. At 6 p.m. in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, beginning of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.

Saturday 19: At 9 a.m. in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel, conclusion of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.

Sunday 20: Second Sunday of Lent. At 9 am, Mass and dedication of the new Roman parish of "San Corbiniano all'Infernetto - Casal Palocco".


Sunday 17. Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

Thursday 21. 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 22. 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 23. Holy Saturday. At 9 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Easter vigil.

Sunday 24. 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.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message for the eighty-fifth World Mission Day, which falls this year on Sunday 23 October. The theme of the document is: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you".

  The call to take the Gospel to everyone, "with the same enthusiasm as the early Christians", as the Venerable John Paul II wrote in the Jubilee Year 2000, "resounds every year in the celebration of World Mission Day", says Benedict XVI in his Message.

  "The announcement of the Gospel is destined for everyone", the Pope writes. The Church "exists to evangelise", he says. "Her activity, in conformity with the word of Christ and under the influence of His grace and charity, becomes fully and truly present in all individuals and all peoples in order to lead them to faith in Christ.

  "This task has lost none of its urgency", he adds. "We cannot rest easy at the thought that, after two thousand, there are people who still do not know Christ, who have not yet heard His message of salvation.

  "What is more, there are growing numbers of people who, though having received the Gospel announcement, have forgotten or abandoned it and no longer identify themselves in the Church; and many environments, even in traditionally Christian societies, are reluctant to open themselves to the word of faith. A cultural shift is taking place, which also draws nourishment from globalisation, from new schools of thought and from the prevailing relativism; a shift which leads to mentalities and lifestyles that ignore the Evangelical message as if God did not exist, and which exalt the search for wellbeing, easy earnings, career and success as the goal of life, even at the expense of moral values".

  The Holy Father recalls how "the universal mission always involves everyone and everything. The Gospel is not the exclusive prerogative of those who received it, but a gift to be shared, a piece of good news to be passed on. This gift-commitment is entrusted not just to the few, but to all baptised people".

  "Evangelisation", he writes, "is a complex process and includes various elements. Among these, missionary activity has always given particular attention to solidarity, ... sustaining the institutions necessary to establish and consolidate the Church, ... and contributing to improving the living conditions of people in countries most affected by problems of poverty, malnutrition especially among children, disease, and lack of healthcare and education services. This too is part of the mission of the Church. In announcing the Gospel, she embraces human life in the fullest sense of the term".

  The Pope continues his Message: "It is unacceptable, as Servant of God Paul VI said, for evangelisation to overlook questions associated with human development, justice, and liberation from all forms of oppression, though obviously while respecting the autonomy of the political sphere. Ignoring the temporal problems of humanity would mean 'forgetting the Gospel lesson of love for our suffering and needy neighbours'. It would not be in keeping with Jesus' own behaviour Who 'went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness'.

  "Thus, by responsible participation in the mission of Christ, Christians become builders of the peace and solidarity that Christ gives us, and they collaborate in achieving God's plan of salvation for all humankind", Benedict XVI concluded. "May World Mission Day revive in everyone the desire to 'go out' to meet humankind, bringing Christ to everyone".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. has sent a telegram of condolence, in the Holy Father's name, to Dimitry Anatolevich Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, in the wake of yesterday's bomb attack at Domodedovo airport in Moscow, which left many people dead and injured.

  Benedict XVI expresses "profound suffering and firm condemnation at this serious act of violence", and his desire "to transmit his sentiments of spiritual closeness and deep condolence to the relatives of the victims".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Ildo Augusto Dos Santos Lopes Fortes, "fidei donum" priest, chancellor of the diocese of Mindelo, Cape Verde, and pastor of the parish of "Sao Vincente", as bishop of Mindelo (area 2,230, population 166,000, Catholics 149,230, priests 19, religious 58). The bishop-elect was born in Sal, Cape Verde in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1992.
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Monday, January 24, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 22 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the dean, judges, promoters of justice, defenders of the bond, officials and lawyers of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, for the occasion of the inauguration of the judicial year.

  In his address the Holy Father examined the juridical aspect of marriage which, he said, "is inherent to the pastoral activity of preparation for and admission to marriage".

  The Pope highlighted how "there is only one marriage, which is, by its fundamental nature, a real juridical bond between a man and a woman. It is upon this bond that authentic married life and love rests. ... The juridical aspect is intrinsically linked to the essence of marriage".

  "It is in this light that the right to get married, or the 'ius connubii', should be seen", he said. "It is not some subjective pretext which must be fulfilled by pastors through a mere formal and independent recognition of the effective existence of a union. The right to contract marriage presupposes that the parties can and do intend to celebrate it properly; that is, in the truth of its essence, as taught by the Church. No-one has the right to a marriage ceremony; 'ius connubii' refers to the right to celebrate an authentic marriage".

  "It must never be forgotten that the immediate objective of preparation [for matrimony] is that of promoting the free celebration of a true marriage; in other words, creating a bond of justice and love between the spouses; a bond which possesses the characteristics of unity and indissolubility, which is ordered for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of their children and which, among the baptised, represents one of the Sacraments of the New Covenant. This does not mean that some extrinsic ideological message is addressed to the couple, nor that a cultural model is imposed upon them. Rather, they are put in a position in which they are able to discover the truth of the natural inclinations and capacity for commitment which are inscribed in their man-woman relationship. This is the foundation of the law as an essential component of matrimonial relations: it is rooted in the natural potential of the spouses and actualised by their consensual [reciprocal] donation".

  The Holy Father then turned his attention to "the means of ascertaining whether the project of the betrothed is truly directed at marriage", foremost among them "the pre-matrimonial examination. The aim of this", he said, "is principally juridical: to ascertain that nothing stands in the way of the valid and legal celebration of the marriage. Juridical, however, does not mean formulaic, as if it were some bureaucratic routine consisting in the compilation of a form on the basis of ritual questions. Rather, it is a unique pastoral opportunity, ... as the pastor seeks to lead the parties to a serious examination of the truth about themselves and about their human and Christian vocation to marriage. In this sense dialogue, always conducted separately with each of the two fiances (though without undervaluing the importance of other interviews with them as a couple) requires a climate of complete sincerity in which emphasis should be given to the fact that the betrothed are those who are most interested, and most obliged in conscience, to celebrate a valid marriage".

  "With the various means available for careful preparation and verification, it is possible to develop effective pastoral activities aimed at avoiding the nullification of marriages. Every effort must be made, insofar as possible, to break the vicious circle which often arises between automatic admission to marriage without adequate preparation or a serious examination of the requirements laid down for its celebration, and a juridical declaration, sometimes equally automatic but of an opposing tendency, in which the marriage is considered null only on the basis of the ascertainment of its failure".

  In this context, Benedict XVI highlighted the need for the necessary training in basic aspects of canon law "for all pastoral workers, especially those who operate in the field of the pastoral care of families".

  The work of ecclesiastical tribunals must "transmit a univocal message concerning the essential aspects of marriage, in harmony with the Magisterium and with canon law, speaking with a single voice", said the Pope. Referring then to "causes concerning consensual incapacity", he pointed out that, "unfortunately, many incorrect positions still remain, such as that of identifying the discretion of judgement required for marriage with the prudence it is to be hoped people will show in deciding to wed. This confuses a question of capacity with another question which is unrelated to validity, rather it concerns the degree of practical wisdom with which a decision - but in any case an authentically matrimonial decision - was taken. And the misunderstanding would be even more serious if we were to attribute invalidating power to imprudent choices made during married life.

  "Regarding nullity through exclusion of the essential properties of marriage, there must be a serious commitment to ensure that juridical pronouncements reflect the truth of marriage, the same truth which must illuminate the moment of admission to wedded state", the Holy Father added. In this context, he made particular mention of "the exclusion of 'bonum coniugum'" which, he said, seems to involve the danger "of seeking reasons for nullity in forms of behaviour which are not related to the constitution of the conjugal tie but to its realisation in life".

  The Pope went on: "It is important to resist the temptation of transforming simple shortcomings the spouses may show during their married life into defects of consent. In fact, true exclusion only comes about when the ordering of marriage towards the good of the spouses is ... excluded by a positive act of the will".

  Finally, the Pope returned to the question of the relationship between law and pastoral care. "In all sectors", he said, "and especially in the field of marriage and the family, it is important to encourage ... profound harmony between pastoral care and the juridical sphere, which will certainly prove fruitful in the service we offer to those who are approaching marriage".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below.

  In his remarks he reflected on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place annually from 18 to 25 January and the theme of which this year is drawn from the Acts of the Apostles: "one in the Apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer". The Pope pointed out that "it is highly significant that this theme should have been proposed by the Churches and Christian communities of Jerusalem, meeting in ecumenical spirit. We know how many trials our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and the Middle East have to face. Their service is ... strengthened by a witness which, in some cases, even goes so far as the sacrifice of their lives. And so, while we joyfully welcome the points for reflection suggested by the communities living in Jerusalem, we gather close around them and this becomes another factor of communion for us all.

  "Today too", he added, "in order to live in the world as a sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of unity among men, we Christians must base our lives on these four pillars: life founded on the faith of the Apostles transmitted through the living Tradition of the Church, fraternal communion, the Eucharist and prayer. Only in this way, remaining firmly united to Christ, can the Church carry out her mission effectively, despite the limits and shortcomings of her members, despite her divisions".

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to this Sunday's Gospel reading in which St. Paul, concerned about disagreements in the Christian community of Corinth, poses the question: "Has Christ been divided?" By saying this, the Pope explained, the Apostle is affirming that "any division in the Church is an offence to Christ. At the same time he is saying that it is in Christ, the one Head and Lord, that we can become united by the endless power of His grace".

  "A serious commitment to convert to Christ is the way that leads the Church - at a time that God will decide - to full visible unity. One sign of this are the ecumenical meetings taking place throughout the world over these days", he concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a group from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany, who have come to Rome for the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

  Addressing the group in German, the Holy Father recalled how dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans began fifty years ago and how, despite the fact that theological differences persist in certain fundamental fields, great progress has been made towards unity, and the foundations laid for a spirituality and communion experienced in the faith.

  At the present time, the Pope remarked, some people feel that the goal of full and visible unity among Christians seems to be getting further away. In this context he noted that he shared the concern of many Christians that the fruits of ecumenical efforts are not sufficiently visible. Nonetheless, he went on, ecumenical dialogue under the guidance of the Holy Spirit continues to be a fundamental instrument for overcoming obstacles, and he reaffirmed the important contribution of theological debate to help understand outstanding questions.

  Benedict XVI also spoke of the need for a shared position on questions concerning the defence and dignity of human beings, and on the great issues that regard the family, marriage and sexuality.

  Finally, he pointed out that 2017 will mark the five-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Martin Luther's 'Theses', which gave rise to the division between Catholics and Lutherans. In this context, he insisted that for both sides the commemoration should be characterised not by triumphalism but by an ecumenism which highlights the shared faith in the One and Triune God. That date will also be an opportunity to reflect on the causes of division and to undertake a purification of heart. At the same time, the Pope continued, it will be an occasion to evaluate the 1500 years that preceded the Reform, the patrimony of which is shared by both Catholics and Lutherans.

  The Holy Father concluded by calling for prayers to the Holy Spirit for help in continuing the journey towards unity, without resting on the laurels of what has already been achieved.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent a telegram of condolence to Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, for the death of Tullia Zevi, author, journalist and former president of the Union, who died on Saturday at the age of 91.

  "Having learned the news of the death of Tullia Zevi", the telegram reads, "the Supreme Pontiff spiritually participates in the mourning of her relatives and of the Jewish communities in Italy. He gives assurances of his prayers and recalls her exalted moral profile and authoritative contribution to the development of values of democracy, peace and freedom in Italian society, and to sincere and profound dialogue between Jews and Christians".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the Message for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications was presented. Its theme this year is: "Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age".

  Participating in today's press conference were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Msgr. Paul Tighe, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Angelo Scelzo, respectively president, secretary, adjunct secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

  Archbishop Celli affirmed that "this year's Message has its starting point in a reality that is becoming increasingly evident today: the fact that an authentic cultural transformation is taking place as new technologies alter not only the way we communicate, but communication itself".

  "The new technologies", he continued, "offer mankind great opportunities to come together, overcoming the limitations of distance and of culture of origin. They create the possibility to form new friendships, despite the inevitable risks".

  "The new relational opportunities offered by modern technology highlight how today it is possible not only to exchange information, but to share a world view, to share hopes and ideals", the archbishop said.

  "The Pope links three human aspects which are very important in modern life: digital communications, image of self and coherence of life. Communicational dynamics in the digital world create new ways to construct personal identity, and its is here that the Holy Father makes a call for coherence and authenticity".

  The Message, Archbishop Celli concluded, "speaks of a 'Christian way' of being present" in the digital world. "This is what makes the title of the Message meaningful, in the sense that the Christian testimony of Catholic professionals cannot be limited to simply dealing with religious topics, but is called to reveal itself in the form of concrete personal witness. Living a life that conforms to the Gospel is itself a form of proclamation, an explicit form of communication which makes the proclamation credible. More than ever, the requirement of making the Gospel known in all its integrity must become a distinctive sign of the digital age".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications, which will be celebrated on 5 June and has as its theme: "Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age". The Message is dated 24 January, Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

  Excerpts from the English-language version of the Message are given below:

  "New technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.

  "New horizons are now open that were until recently unimaginable; they stir our wonder at the possibilities offered by these new media and, at the same time, urgently demand a serious reflection on the significance of communication in the digital age. This is particularly evident when we are confronted with the extraordinary potential of the internet and the complexity of its uses. As with every other fruit of human ingenuity, the new communications technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.

  "In the digital world, transmitting information increasingly means making it known within a social network where knowledge is shared in the context of personal exchanges. The clear distinction between the producer and consumer of information is relativised and communication appears not only as an exchange of data, but also as a form of sharing. ... On the other hand, this is contrasted with the limits typical of digital communication: the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one's interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence".

  "Ever greater involvement in the public digital forum, created by the so-called social networks, helps to establish new forms of interpersonal relations, influences self-awareness and therefore inevitably poses questions not only of how to act properly, but also about the authenticity of one's own being. .... In the search for sharing, for 'friends', there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself.

  "The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships. This is a great opportunity, but it also requires greater attention to and awareness of possible risks. Who is my 'neighbour' in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world 'other' than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives".

  "To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one's own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it.".

  "We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its 'popularity' or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction.

  "The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!

  "I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God".

  "The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when He joined the disciples on the way to Emmaus".

  "In the final analysis, the truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks. Believers who bear witness to their most profound convictions greatly help prevent the web from becoming an instrument which depersonalises people, attempts to manipulate them emotionally or allows those who are powerful to monopolise the opinions of others. On the contrary, believers encourage everyone to keep alive the eternal human questions which testify to our desire for transcendence and our longing for authentic forms of life, truly worthy of being lived. It is precisely this uniquely human spiritual yearning which inspires our quest for truth and for communion and which impels us to communicate with integrity and honesty.

  "I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world. I repeat my invitation to them for the next World Youth Day in Madrid, where the new technologies are contributing greatly to the preparations".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The following English-language communique was released at midday today:

  "From 16 to 22 January a colloquium was held at St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore, India, in which a delegation from the Holy See met with twenty-eight members of the Bishops' Conference of India and twenty-six theologians from various parts of the country. The delegation of the Holy See was led by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assisted by Archbishop Luis Ladaria S.J., secretary of the congregation, Msgr. Charles Scicluna, promoter of justice, and three officials.

  "The members of the Indian episcopate who participated in the colloquium represented the three Ritual 'sui iuris' Churches in India, led by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India".

  "In the first part of the colloquium, theologians addressed questions such as the specific role of the theologian in the Church, theological methodology in the East and in the West, inculturation, Jesus Christ as the one Saviour of all people, the relationship between the Church of Christ and other religions, the Christian concept of authentic human liberation, the role of the faith community (the 'sensus fideliu,'), and the distinctiveness of Christian prayer and spirituality".

  "The second part of the colloquium was organised for bishops and the representatives of the Holy See. These days were devoted to various questions relating to the specific role and responsibility of bishops in the Church, such as the bishop as teacher of the faith, the functioning of the Doctrinal Commission of the Bishops' Conference, the formation of future priests and members of religious congregations, and the correct adjudication of the more serious canonical delicts".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

  On Saturday 22 January he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

 - Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
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VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Mate Uzinic of the clergy of the archdiocese of Split-Makarska, Croatia, rector of the major seminary, as bishop of Dubrovnik (area 1,368, population 87,300, Catholics 76,800, priests 85, religious 247), Croatia. The bishop-elect was born in Dubrava, Croatia in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1993.

 - Bishop Victor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid, auxiliary of Medellin, Colombia, as bishop of Malaga-Soata (area 7,466, population 177,600, Catholics 167,500, priests 63, religious 87), Colombia.

 - Bishop Robert Francis Vasa of Baker, U.S.A., as coadjutor bishop of Santa Rosa in California (area 30,320, population 898,000, Catholics 167,945, priests 101, permanent deacons 35, religious 87), U.S.A.

  On Saturday 22 January it was made public that he appointed Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, apostolic nuncio, as vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church for a period of three years.
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Friday, January 21, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 21 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace, following a centuries-old tradition, Benedict XVI blessed several lambs whose wool will be used to make the palliums bestowed on new metropolitan archbishops on the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

  In a 1978 document, "Inter Eximia Episcopalis," Pope Paul VI restricted use of the pallium to the Pope and to metropolitan archbishops. In 1984 John Paul II decreed that the pallium would be conferred on the metropolitans on 29 June.

  The custom of blessing the lambs takes place every year on the 21 January liturgical memory of St. Agnes, a virgin who suffered martyrdom about the year 305 and whose symbol is a lamb. She is buried in the basilica named after her on the Via Nomentana in Rome, and it is there that the lambs are taken after the papal blessing.

  The lambs are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains and the palliums are made by the Sisters of St. Cecelia from the newly-shorn wool.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received directors and officers of the Police Headquarters in Rome.

  The Pope began his address by referring to the current age, marked, he said, "by profound changes" which "sometimes generate feelings of insecurity, primarily due to the precarious social and economic situation, but sharpened also by a certain diminution in the perception of ethical principles, principles which are the foundation of law and of the individual moral behaviour which gives strength to that law".

  He went on: "Our world, with all its new hopes and possibilities, is at the same time affected by the impression that moral consensus is breaking down and that, as a consequence, the basic structures of coexistence are no longer able to function fully. Thus, many people are tempted to think that the forces mobilised to defend civil society are, in the end, destined to fail. Faced with this temptation we - Christians in particular - have the responsibility to rediscover a new resolve in professing our faith and doing good".

  The Pope highlighted how "in our day great importance is given to the subjective dimension of existence", noting that this involves "a serious risk because modern thought has developed a reductive view of conscience, according to which there are no objective references in determining what has value and what is true; rather, each individual provides his own measure through his own intuitions and experiences, each possesses his own truth and his own morals. The most evident consequence is that religion and morals tend to be confined to the subjective and private sphere; and faith with its values and its modes of behaviour no longer merits a place in public and civil life. Thus, if on the one hand society gives great importance to pluralism and tolerance, on the other religion tends to become progressively marginalised, considered irrelevant and, in a certain sense, foreign to the public sphere, almost as if it had to limit its influence on the life of man.

  "Yet on the contrary", he added, "for us as Christians the true meaning of 'conscience' is man's capacity to recognise truth and, even more so, the possibility he has to hear its call, to seek it and to find it".

  "The new challenges emerging on our horizon impose the need for a renewed encounter between God and man. May society and public institutions rediscover their 'soul', their spiritual and moral roots, so as to give a new consistency to their ethical and juridical reference values, and hence to their practical actions. ... The provision of religious and spiritual services which, in accordance with current norms, State and Church ensure is offered to the Police, bears witness to the perennial fruitfulness of this encounter".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks: "The unique vocation of the city of Rome requires that today you, as public officials, should show a good example of positive and profitable interaction between a healthy secularism and the Christian faith. ... Always consider man as an end in himslef, so that everyone may live in an authentically human way. As the bishop of this city of ours, I would like to invite you to read and mediate upon the Word of God, in order to find therein the source and criterion of inspiration for all your actions".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter, written in Latin and dated 28 December 2010, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the foundation of the "Santo Tomas" Pontifical University in Manila, Philippines, due to take place on 28 January 2011.

  Also made public were the names of the members of the mission that will accompany Cardinal Grocholewski on his mission. They are Fr. Isidro C. Abano O.P., executive director of the committee for the fourth centenary of the "Santo Tomas" University, and Fr. Lorenz Moises J. Festin, dean of studies at the philosophy department of the "San Carlos" Seminary in Manila.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

 - Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

 - Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

 - Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2011 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is taking place from 18 to 25 January and during which "all those who believe in Christ are invited to come together in prayer, so as to bear witness to the profound ties that unite them and to invoke the gift of full communion".

  The Holy Father remarked on "the providential fact that prayer is at the centre of the journey to unity. This", he said, "reminds us once again that unity cannot be a product of mere human efforts, is its above all a gift of God. ... We do not 'construct' unity, God 'constructs' it, it comes from Him, from the mystery of the Trinity".

  Benedict recalled how the theme chosen for this year's Week of Prayer "refers to the experience of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, as described in the Acts of the Apostles: 'They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers'".

  This quotation identifies "four characteristics defining the first Christian community of Jerusalem", he said, "which still act as pillars for the life of all Christian communities, and constitute the solid foundation on which to continue to construct the visible unity of the Church".

  Commenting on the first of these characteristics, the Pope noted that, "even today, the community of believers recognises the norms of its own faith in that reference to the teaching of the Apostles. All efforts to build unity among Christians must, then, involve increasing faithfulness to the 'depositum fidei' handed down to us by the Apostles".

  The Holy Father then turned to the second element, "fraternal communion, ... the most tangible expression of unity between disciples and the Lord, especially for the outside world. ... The history of the ecumenical movement has been marked by difficulties and doubts, but it is also a history of fraternity, of co-operation and of human and spiritual sharing, which has significantly altered relations among believers in the Lord Jesus. We are all committed to continuing this journey".

  On the subject of the third characteristic, "the breaking of bread", the Holy Father noted that "communion in Christ's sacrifice is the pinnacle of our union with God and, therefore, it also represents the completeness of the unity of Christ's disciples, full communion". In this context he noted also how "the impossibility of sharing the same Eucharist ... also gives a penitential dimension to our prayers. This must be a reason for ever more generous commitment on everyone's part so that, having removed the obstacles to full communion, the day may come when it will be possible to gather around the table of the Lord, together breaking the Eucharistic bread and drinking from the same chalice.

  "Finally", he added, "prayer was the fourth characteristic of the early Church in Jerusalem ... Prayer also means opening ourselves to the fraternity that stems from our being children of the one heavenly Father; it means being ready for forgiveness and reconciliation".

  "Like the first Christian community of Jerusalem, on the basis of what we already share we must offer a powerful witness - well-founded spiritually and well-supported by reason - of the one God Who revealed Himself and speaks to us in Christ, in order to be bring a message which guides and illuminates the path of modern man, who often lacks clear points of reference. It is important, then, to increase our mutual love every day, striving to overcome the barriers that still exist between Christians, in the knowledge that true inner unity does exist among people who follow the Lord. We must collaborate as much as possible, working together on outstanding questions and, above all, aware that we need the Lord's help on this journey. He must still help us a lot because without Him, alone, without 'abiding in Him', we can do nothing".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience the Holy Father greeted members of the Italian association "Figli in paradiso: ali tra cielo e terra" (Children in paradise: wings between heaven and earth) which brings together members of families in which children have died. "Do not let yourselves be overcome with desolation and despair", the Pope said. "Rather, transform your suffering into hope, as Mary did at the foot of the cross".

  He also encouraged young people "to calculate risks and to act at all times with prudence and a sense of responsibility, especially when driving a motor vehicle, in order to protect your own lives and those of others". Addressing the priests who spiritually accompany the bereaved families, Benedict XVI encouraged them to continue their generous service, giving assurances of his prayers "for all young people who have lost their lives".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pecs, Hungary, presented by Bishop Mihaly Mayer, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Bishop Andras Veres of Szombathely, Hungary, as apostolic administrator of that ecclesiastical circumscription.

 - Appointed Fr. Luiz Gonzaga Fechio of the clergy of the diocese of Sao Carlos, Brazil, pastor of the parish of "Santos Anjos", as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Belo Horizonte (area 7,240, population 4,717,968, Catholics 3,302,578, priests 542, religious 2,106), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Matao, Brazil in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Appointed Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), also as president of the administrative council of the newly-established Financial Information Authority.

 - Appointed as members of the administrative council of the Financial Information Authority: Claudio Bianchi, former professor of accounting at Rome's "La Sapienza" University: Marcello Condemi, associate professor of economic law at Rome's G. Marconi University; Giuseppe Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, rector of Rome's LUMSA University, and Cesare Testa, former president of the Central Institute for the Sustenance of the Clergy.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every year from 18 to 25 January, begins today.

  The theme chosen for 2011 is: "One in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer" (cf. Acts 2:42).

  The materials for the week of prayer and for the rest of 2011 have been jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

  Each day of the Week will have a different theme:

18 January: The Church in Jerusalem.

19 January: Many Members in One Body.

20 January: Devotion to the Apostles' Teaching Unites Us.

21 January: Sharing, an Expression of Our Unity.

22 January: Breaking the Bread in Hope.

23 January: Empowered to Action in Prayer.

24 January: Living in Resurrection Faith.

25 January: Called for the Service of Reconciliation.

  Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is the month of January, in the southern hemisphere this coincides with the holidays so Churches sometimes seek other periods such as, for example, around the time of Pentecost, which is also a symbolically significant date for the unity of the Church, and was suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926.

  In the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At 11.30 a.m. on Monday 24 January Benedict XVI's Message for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications will be presented in the Holy See Press Office. The theme of the Message is "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age".

  The press conference will be presided by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Msgr. Paul Tighe, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Angelo Scelzo, respectively president, secretary, adjunct secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
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Monday, January 17, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, the country's patron saint.

  "Every year", said the Pope, addressing the group in German, "this meeting bears witness to the friendship and co-operation that exist between Lutherans and Catholics and, in general, among all Christians in your country".

  "Although the goal of the ecumenical movement - complete unity in the faith - has not yet been reached", dialogue has produced many points of agreement, Benedict XVI noted. Among these he highlighted the declaration "on the doctrine of justification in the life of the Church", and gave assurances that further study of this theme will contribute, among other things, "to a shared viewpoint on the nature of the episcopal office".

  "At the same time", he went on, "we are all aware that the ecumenical journey has, in some ways, become more difficult and challenging. In this light, your annual pilgrimage to Rome for the Feast of St. Henry is an important event and a stimulus to our efforts. It helps us to look back with joy at the goals we have achieved and forward to the future with the desire for responsible compromise".

  "In view of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", the Pope concluded, "let us ask the Spirit of Truth to impel us to ever greater love and fraternity".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received members of the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican in a traditional meeting that takes place every year in January for the exchange of New Year greetings.

  The Pope expressed his appreciation for "the commitment and professionalism with which the officers of the Italian State Police, almost like 'guardian angels', watch over the Vatican day and night, guaranteeing the necessary security and placing themselves at the service of pilgrims".

  "May your presence at the heart of Christianity, where throngs of faithful constantly arrive to meet Peter's Successor and to visit the tombs of the Apostles, bring each of you to stimulate the spiritual dimension of your own life and the commitment to deepen your own Christian faith, bearing joyful witness to that faith with a coherent conduct".
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that:

 - At 6.30 p.m. on Saturday 22 January Cardinal Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo, Italy, will take possession of the title of St. Mary Hodegetria of the Sicilians, Via del Tritone 82, Rome.

 - At 6 p.m. on Saturday 22 January Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, will take possession of the title of St. Mary "Regina Pacis" at Ostia Mare, Piazza Regina Pacis 13, Rome.

 - At 11 a.m. on Sunday 23 January Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, will take possession of the diaconate of St. George in Velabro, Via del Velabro 19, Rome.

 - At 11.30 a.m. on Sunday 23 January Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", will take possession of the diaconate of St. John Bosco in Via Tuscolana, Viale dei Salesiani 9, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, archbishop emeritus of Valencia, Spain.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the new diocese of Bo (area 16,208, population 1.092.657, Catholics 50,000, priests 34, religious 49) Sierra Leone, by dividing the current archdiocese of Freetown and Bo, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Freetown. He appointed Fr. Charles Allieu Matthew Campbell of the clergy of the archdiocese of Freetown and Bo, spiritual director of St. Paul's Major Seminary in Freetown, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Njala, Sierra Leone in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - Appointed Bishop Angelo Spinillo of Teggiano-Policastro, Italy, as bishop of Aversa (area 361, population 566,680, Catholics 549,070, priests 210, permanent deacons 24, religious 458), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop-Bishop Mario Milano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Benjamin Phiri of the clergy of the diocese of Chipata, Zambia, currently rector of the national major theological seminary of St. Dominic in Lusaka, as auxiliary of Chipata (area 69,106, population 1,487,000, Catholics 379,834, priests 60, religious 175). The bishop-elect was born in Chongololo, Zambia in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986.

 - Appointed Werner Arber, professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, as president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

 - Appointed Rev. Keith Newton as first ordinary of the new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the territory of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. Rev. Newton was born in Liverpool, England in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1976 for the Anglican diocese of Chelmsford. In March 2002 he was ordained as suffragan bishop of Richborough.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which "invites us to reflect on the experience of many men, women and families who leave their own country in search of better living conditions", Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope recalled how, although migration is "at times voluntary, at others it is, unfortunately, imposed by war or persecution and, as we know, it often comes about in dramatic circumstances. It was for this reason that, sixty years ago, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees was founded. On the Feast of the Holy Family, immediately after Christmas, we recalled how even Jesus' parents had to flee their land and take refuge in Egypt to save the life of their child. The Messiah, the Son of God, was also a refugee", he said.

  The Holy Father noted how "the experience of migration has always existed within the Church. Sometimes, unfortunately, Christians feel obliged to take the anguished decision to leave their land, thus impoverishing the countries in which their ancestors lived. However, the voluntary movement of Christians for various reasons, from one city to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another, is an opportunity to increase the missionary dynamism of the Word of God, and to ensure that the witness of faith circulates more freely in the mystical Body of Christ, traversing peoples and cultures, and reaching new frontiers, new environments".

  Benedict XVI then went on to refer to the theme of this year's World Day - "one human family" - which, he said, "indicates the aim, the goal of the great journey of humankind down the centuries: that of forming a single family. A family marked, of course, by the differences that enrich it, but without barriers and in which we recognise one another as brothers. ... For this reason it is vital that Christians, though scattered throughout the world and, consequently, possessing different cultures and traditions, should form a single entity, as the Lord wishes.

  "This", he added, "is the aim of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which will take place from 18 to 25 January. This year it draws inspiration from a passage in the Acts of the Apostles: 'They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers'. The Octave for Christian Unity is preceded, tomorrow, by the Day of Jewish-Christian Dialogue, a highly significant pairing which recalls the importance of the shared roots which unite Jews and Christians".

  After praying the Angelus the Pope said: "On 1 May I will have the joy of proclaiming the Venerable Pope John Paul II, my predecessor, as a blessed. The date chosen is very significant because it will, in fact, be the second Sunday of Easter which he himself dedicated to Divine Mercy and on the eve of which his earthly life came to an end. Those who knew him, those who respected and loved him cannot but share in the Church's joy at this event".

  Finally Benedict XVI gave assurances of his prayers for people in "Australia, Brazil, Philippines and Sri Lanka, who have all recently suffered from devastating floods. May the Lord welcome the souls of the deceased, give strength to the displaced and support the efforts of everyone striving to alleviate the suffering and difficulties".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received members of the Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute in a meeting marking its first centenary. The group was accompanied by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education,.

  The Polish Institute was the result of an initiative by St. Joseph Sebastian Pelczar, then bishop of Przemysl, and its history began during the pontificate of St. Pius X. It was inaugurated on 13 November 1910 by Msgr. Sapieha, who later became cardinal archbishop of Krakow. Throughout its existence the institute has enjoyed the benevolence and support of various Pontiffs, including Servant of God Paul VI and the Venerable John Paul II.

  "The celebration of the first centenary of this important institution", the Pope said, "invites us to a dutiful and respectful recollection of the people who founded it with faith, courage and vigour. At the same time, it is a call to show responsibility to continue its original aims, even today, adapting them as appropriate to new circumstances. Above all, it is necessary to remain committed to keeping the soul of the institute alive: its religious and ecclesial soul, which responds to the providential divine plan of offering Polish priests an appropriate atmosphere for study and fraternity during their period of formation in Rome".

  The Holy Father then went on to encourage the students "to consider yourselves as 'living stones', an important part of a history which today requires a personal and incisive response from you, making your own generous contribution just as the unforgettable primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, did during the course of Vatican Council II. It was here in the Polish Institute that he was able to prepare the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland with that historic message of reconciliation which Polish bishops addressed to the German prelates, and which contained the famous words: 'We forgive and we ask forgiveness'".

  Pope Benedict went on: "The Church needs well-trained priests, rich in the wisdom acquired through friendship with the Lord Jesus, priests who constantly draw from the Eucharistic table and from the endless font of His Gospel. From these two irreplaceable sources, draw continual support and the inspiration necessary for your life and ministry, for a sincere love of Truth; a Truth into which today you are called to delve through study and academic research, and which tomorrow you will share with many.

  "The search for Truth", he added, "for you priests who are enjoying this unique Roman experience, is stimulated and enriched by your proximity to the Apostolic See which has the task of offering specific and universal service to Catholic communion in truth and charity. Remaining close to Peter, in the heart of the Church, means gratefully recognising that we are part of a centuries-old and fruitful history of salvation which, by multiform grace, has touched you and in which you are called to play an active role so that, like a flourishing tree, it may always brings forth its precious fruit".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks: "May your love and devotion for the figure of Peter encourage you generously to serve the communion of the entire Catholic Church, and of your particular Churches, so that, like one great family, everyone may learn to recognise in Jesus, Way, Truth and Life, the face of the merciful Father, Who does not want any of His children to be lost".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall the Pope received Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, initiators of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and Fr. Mario Pezzi. They were accompanied by the itinerant teams responsible for the Way in more than 120 countries, and by a large group of priests, seminarians and families.

  "For more than forty years the Neo-Catechumenal Way has been contributing to the revitalisation and consolidation of Christian initiation in dioceses and parishes, favouring a gradual but radical rediscovery of the riches of Baptism, helping people to savour divine life, the heavenly life which the Lord inaugurated with His incarnation, when He came among us and was born like one of us".

  "Over the last few years the process of drawing up the Statues of the Neo-Catechumenal Way has reached a fruitful conclusion and, following an appropriate experimental period, they received definitive approval in June 2008. Another important step was made in recent days with the approval, by the competent dicasteries of the Holy See, of the 'Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way'.

  "With these seals of ecclesial approval", the Pope added, "the Lord today confirms this precious tool which is the Way and again entrusts it to you so that, in filial obedience to the Holy See and the pastors of the Church, you may contribute with renewed energy and ardour to the radical and joyful rediscovery of the gift of Baptism, and offer your own original contribution to the cause of new evangelisation. The Church has recognised in the Neo-Catechumenal Way a particular gift created by the Holy Spirit. As such it naturally tends to insert itself into the harmony of the ecclesial Body. In this light I exhort you always to seek profound communion with pastors, and with all members of the particular Churches, and of the very different ecclesial contexts in which you are called to work. Fraternal communion between the disciples of Jesus is, in fact, the first and greatest witness to the name of Jesus Christ".

  The Pope expressed his joy at the fact that today he is sending more than 200 Neo-Catechumenal families out to various parts of the world. These families "have with great generosity made themselves available and are leaving on mission, thus joining their efforts to the nearly 600 already operating on the five continents. Dear families", he said, "may the faith you have received as a gift be as a light on the candlestick, capable of showing mankind the way to heaven. With the same sentiments I am sending out thirteen new 'missiones ad gentes'. They will be called to create a new ecclesial presence in highly secularised areas of various countries, or in places where Christ's message has not yet reached".

  Turning then to address priests from various "Redemptoris Mater" diocesan seminaries in Europe, and the more than 2,000 seminarians present, the Holy Father told them "to remain enamoured of Christ and His Church, transmitting to the world the joy of having met the Lord and of being able to serve Him".

  "In any suffering or emptiness you may experience", Benedict told the itinerant catechists, the Neo-Catechumenal communities of Rome and Lazio, and the "communitates in missionem", "feel yourselves united to the suffering of Christ on the cross, and to His desire to reach our many brothers and sisters still distant from faith and truth, to bring them back to the house of the Father".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by inviting his audience to reflect on part three of his Apostolic Constitution "Verbum Domini" which concerns "the Church's mission to proclaim the Word of God to the world", and to "feel themselves as participants in the Lord Jesus' concern for salvation, in the mission He entrusts to the whole Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Irina Bokova, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The director general subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on UNESCO's efforts in the field of education, sciences and culture, which are also of particular interest to the Holy See as it participates actively in the work of the organisation. On this topic, emphasis was given to the need to ensure integral human development, and to the importance of guaranteeing quality education for everyone.

  "Attention also turned to certain aspects of protecting world cultural heritage, and of defending the environment, as well as to the importance of dialogue between cultures".
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