Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2011 (VIS) - During today's general audience, celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI reflected on his recent apostolic trip to Germany, defining it as "a great feast of the faith" during which he had seen "how it is God Who gives our lives their deepest meaning, their true fullness".

The Pope recalled the various stages of his journey, beginning with his visit to Berlin where, before the Federal Parliament, he had "expounded on the foundations of law and the rule of law; that is, the measure for all laws inscribed by the Creator into the very heart of His creation". After addressing the Bundestag, he had gone on to meet members of the German Jewish community with whom, "having recalled our shared roots of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we highlighted the fruits that have thus far emerged from dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism in Germany". In his subsequent meeting with members of the Muslim community, the Pope had reflected on "the importance of religious freedom for the peaceful development of humankind".

Benedict XVI then went on to speak of his satisfaction at seeing such large numbers of people in attendance at the Mass he had celebrated at the Olympic stadium in Berlin. On that occasion he had dedicated his homily "to the importance union with Christ has for our personal lives as believers and for our being Church, His mystical body".

The Holy Father had then gone on to visit the region of Thuringia, cradle of the Protestant Reformation. Hence, said Pope Benedict, "the particular ecumenical emphasis of that second stage of my journey". In Thuringia he had met with members of the German Evangelical Church Council in the city of Erfurt, where Martin Luther had joined the Augustinian order and been ordained a priest. In the former Augustinian convent of Erfurt "we again saw how important our combined witness of faith in Jesus Christ is in today's world. ... We need to make joint efforts on the journey towards full unity", however "only Christ can give us that unity, and we will become increasingly united to Him in the extent to which we return to Him and allow ourselves to be transformed by Him".

The Pope also mentioned the Vespers he had celebrated at the Marian shrine of Etzelsbach, located on "a strip of land that has always remained Catholic through the vicissitudes of history, and the inhabitants of which courageously opposed the dictatorships of Nazism and Communism". During Mass the following day in the Cathedral Square of Erfurt, the Pope had spoken about the patron saints of Thuringia - Elizabeth, Boniface and Kilian - highlighting "the shining example of the faithful who bore witness to the Gospel under totalitarian regimes. I invited the faithful to be saints today, worthy witnesses of Christ, and to contribute to building our society", he said.

The Pope went on: "I had a moving encounter with Msgr. Hermann Scheipers, the last living priest to have survived to concentration camp of Dachau. At Erfurt I also had the opportunity to meet some victims of sexual abuse by clergy, to whom I spoke of my regret and my participation in their suffering".

The last stage of the Pope's apostolic trip took him to the archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau. There he had presided at a prayer vigil with young people, where "I was happy to see that the faith in my German homeland has a young face, that it is alive and has a future", he said. "I told them that the Pope trusts in the active collaboration of the young. With the grace of Christ they can bring the fire of God's love into the world".

Another outstanding moment of his visit was his meeting with seminarians. "I wanted to show those young men the beauty and greatness of their divine call, and to offer them some help to continue their journey joyfully and in profound communion with Christ", the Pope said. Referring then to his encounter with representatives from the Orthodox Churches, the Pope laid emphasis on "the shared duty to be a leavening for the renewal of our society".

Mass celebrated at the airport of Freiburg im Breisgau gave Benedict XVI "the opportunity to thank everyone involved in various areas of ecclesial life, especially the many volunteers who collaborate in charitable initiatives. It is thanks to them that the German Church is able to offer such great assistance to the universal Church, particularly in the mission lands. I reminded them that their precious service will be fruitful as long as it derives from an authentic and living faith, in union with the bishops and the Pope, in union with the Church. Finally, before my return, I addressed a thousand Catholics active in the Church and society, to whom I proposed certain points for reflection on Church activity in a secularised society, on the call to be free from material and political burdens in order to be more transparent to God".

"This apostolic trip to Germany", Pope Benedict concluded, "provided me with an opportunity to meet the faithful of my own homeland, to confirm them in faith, hope and love, to share with them the joy of being Catholic. But my message was also addressed to the German people as a whole, inviting them to look to the future with trust. It is certain that 'where God is, there is a future'".
AG/ VIS 20110928 (930)


VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, yesterday delivered an address at the Italian embassy to the Holy See in the course of a ceremony called to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. The event was attended by the president of the Italian Senate, the president of the Constitutional Court, a number of ministers and other public authorities.

Archbishop Becciu recalled how Benedict XVI had sent a message for the anniversary of unification to Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, and had presided at a prayer for Italy at the papal basilica of St. Mary Major. "The Church in Italy", said the archbishop, "has dedicated her energies with great conviction to affirming ... the vitality of that spirit of loyal collaboration for the promotion of man and the good of the country which characterises relations between the Church and the political community in Italy".

In this context Archbishop Becciu referred to the Lateran Pacts of 1929 and to their 1984 revision which, as the Pope wrote in his message to President Napolitano, "are clear indications of dialogue between the Holy See and Italy, ... and of the harmonious and supportive collaboration between the Church and the political community, in support of the individual and the common good".

"The Italian experience of relations between Church and State, each in its distinct field and with fruitful mutual collaboration, could profitably be shared with other countries", the archbishop concluded.
SS/ VIS 20110928 (260)


VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Wilson Tadeu Jonck S.C.I. of Tubarao, Brazil as metropolitan archbishop of Florianopolis (area 7,862, population 1,478,000, Catholics 1,153,000, priests 191, permanent deacons 112, religious 575), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Vidal Ramos, Brazil in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1977. He has worked as seminary director, formator, parochial vicar and later pastor, and professor of philosophy. He has also served as a member of the regional council of his religious order. He was ordained a bishop in 2003.

- Bishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, as coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 50,000, population 2,291,000, Catholics 1,805,000, priests 194, permanent deacons 6, religious 789). The archbishop-elect was born in Clusone, Italy in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1971. He served as a chaplain to Italian migrants in Switzerland before moving to Bolivia where he worked as parochial vicar and later pastor. He has held a number of offices in the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, and was ordained a bishop in 1999.
NER/ VIS 20110928 (190)
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service