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Monday, February 14, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father received priests and seminarians of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, which is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. The group was accompanied Msgr. Massimo Camisaca, founder and president of the fraternity, and by Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.

  "This moment brings to mind my long friendship with Msgr. Luigi Giussani", said the Pope, "and stands as testimony to the fecundity of his charism. On this occasion I would like to respond to two questions which our meeting today raises in my mind: What is the place of the ordained priesthood in the life of the Church? What is the place of fraternal life in the experience of priests?

  "The Christian priesthood is not an end unto itself. It was established by Jesus for the birth and life of the Church. ... The glory and joy of the priesthood is to serve Christ and His mystical Body. ... The presence of priestly vocations is a sure sign of the authenticity and vitality of a Christian community. God calls at all times, also to the priesthood. There is no true and fruitful growth in the Church without an authentic priestly presence to support and nourish it".

  In this context the Pope expressed his gratitude "to everyone who dedicates their energy to the formation of priests and to the reform of priestly life. Like the rest of the Church, in fact, the priesthood also needs continual renewal, rediscovering the most essential traits of its being in the life of Jesus". Such renewal requires "profound education in meditation and prayer", as well as "a study of theology which enables Christian truths to be discovered in a way that associates them to the life of the individual and the community".

  Going on then to refer to the importance of the shared life, the Holy Father explained that it is not simply "a strategy to respond to the lack of priests. Nor is it, per se, merely a stay against man's solitude and weakness. All this can also exist, of course, but only if the fraternal life is understood and experienced as a journey in which to immerse oneself in the reality of communion. ... No priest administers things which belong to him; rather, with his brethren he participates in a sacramental gift which comes directly from Jesus".

  "Living with other people means accepting the need for one's own continual conversion. Above all it means discovering the beauty of such a journey, the joy of humility, of penance, but also of conversation, of mutual forgiveness, of reciprocal support".

  Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting the importance "of abiding with Jesus in order to be able to abide with other people. This is the heart of the mission. In the company of Christ and of his brothers each priest can find the energy necessary to take care of mankind, to shoulder the spiritual and material needs he encounters, to teach - with ever-new words dictated by love - the eternal truths of the faith for which our contemporaries also thirst".
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VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted:

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Monrovia, Liberia, presented by Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Lewis Zeigler.

 - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Poitiers, France, presented by Archbishop Albert Rouet, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Friday 11 February it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Bishop John Barwa S.V.D. of Rourkela, India, as archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (area 32,440, population 12,047,000, Catholics 63,700, priests 120, religious 300), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Gaibira, India in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1985 and consecrated a bishop in 2006. He succeeds Archbishop Raphael Cheenath S.V.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Likoula (area 66,044, population 167,000, Catholics 45,000, priests 8, religious 29), Republic of Congo, to the rank of diocese with the same territorial configuration as before, giving it the name of Impfondo. He appointed Fr. Jean Gardin C.S.Sp., apostolic perfect of Likoula, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Pois, France in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1969.

 - Appointed Fr. Victor Abagna Mossa, pastoral care worker among Congolese residents in the diocese of Namur, Belgium, as bishop of Owando (area 113,250, population 570,000, Catholics 397,064, priests 62, permanent deacons 1, religious 56), Republic of Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Makoua, Republic of Congo in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1974.
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VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Commenting on today's Gospel reading (the continuation of the "Sermon on the Mount"), the Pope noted how, "following the 'Beatitudes', which are His programme for life, Jesus proclaims the new Law, His 'Torah' as our Jewish brothers call it. Indeed, the Messiah, at His coming, was also to bring the definitive revelation of the Law, and this is precisely what Jesus says: 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil'. Then, turning to His disciples, He adds: 'Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'. But", the Pope asked, "in what does this 'fullness' of Christ's Law, this 'higher' justice He requires, consist?

  "Jesus explains it by a series of antitheses between the ancient commandments and His way of re-presenting them", Pope Benedict added. "He begins each phase with: 'You have heard that it was said ...', then affirms: 'But I say to you'. ... This way of speaking made a great impression on the people ... because that 'I say to you' meant that He was claiming the authority of God, source of Law, for Himself. The novelty of Jesus consists, essentially, in the fact that He 'fills' the commandments with the love of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in Him. And we, through faith in Christ, can open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, which makes us capable of experiencing divine love.

  "Thus each precept becomes true as a requirement of love, and they all come together in one single commandment: love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself. 'Love is the fulfilling of the law', St. Paul writes".

  "Faced with this requirement", the Holy Father went on, "the pitiful case of the four Roma children, who died last week on the outskirts of this city when their shack burned down, forces us to face the question whether a more united and fraternal society, more coherent in charity, in other words, more Christian, would not have been able to avoid this tragic event. And this also holds true for many other painful episodes, more or less well-known, which happen every day in our cities and countries".

  "Perhaps it is no mere chance that Jesus' first great discourse is called the 'Sermon on the Mount'", the Holy Father concluded. "Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Laws of God and bring them to the Chosen People. Jesus is God's own Son Who came down from heaven in order to bring us to heaven, to bring us to the heights of God, along the way of love. Indeed, He Himself is this way and all we have to do is to follow Him so as to put God's will into practice and enter His Kingdom of eternal life".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2011 (VIS) - In the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace at midday on Monday 21 February, the Holy Father will preside at an ordinary public consistory for the canonisation of the following blesseds:

 - Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop-bishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).

 - Luigi Guanella, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and of the Institute of the Daughters of Our Lady of Providence (1842-1915).

 - Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro, Spanish foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of St. Joseph (1837-1905).
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VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Four prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop John F. Du of Dumaguete.

    - Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas S.D.B. of Maasin.

    - Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso of Tagbilaran.

    - Bishop Angel N. Lagdameo of Jaro.

 - Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain.

  On Saturday 12 February, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu, Philippines, accompanied by former Auxiliary Bishop Antonio R. Ranola, on their "ad limina" visit.

 - Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to Great Britain.
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