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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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