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Thursday, September 29, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his traditional farewells to the local civil and religious authorities prior to returning to the Vatican later this week.

"Over these months", he told his audience, "we have once again had the opportunity to admire the solicitude and generosity of the many people who provide vital assistance to me and my collaborators, as well as to the guests and pilgrims who come here to visit me. For all of this I wish to express my deep recognition to each and every one of you, who have worked to ensure my stay here was peaceful and serene".

"For my part", he concluded, "I will not fail to pray for each of you and for all your intentions, at the same time asking you to remember me in your prayers. May the Lord, rich in goodness and mercy Who never fails to give His aid to those who trust in Him, be your support".

Yesterday afternoon Benedict XVI bid farewell to staff who work at the Pontifical Villas in Castelgandolfo, thanking them for their efforts on his behalf during the period he had spent there.

"Here in this place", he said, "we live in constant contact with nature, and in an atmosphere of silence. I am happy to have this occasion to recall that both these things bring us closer to God: nature, because it is the masterpiece which emerged from the Creator's hands; silence, because it allows us to think and meditate without distraction upon what is essential to our lives. ... In a place like this it is easier to find ourselves, to listen to the inner voice, what I would call the presence of God which gives profound meaning to our lives".

The Pope concluded by thanking the staff of the Pontifical Villas for their prayers. "Christians stand out of their prayers and charity. ... Our relationship with the Lord in prayer nourishes our spirit and allows us to be increasingly generous and open in our charity towards those in need".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday promulgated "Quaerit Semper", an Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" which modifies the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", transferring certain functions of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to a new office established in the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. The office will deal with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of priestly ordination.

Extracts from the document are given below.

"The Holy See has always sought to adapt its structures of government to the pastoral requirements of the various historical periods that have succeeded one another in the life of the Church, modifying the organisation and functions of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia".

"In the current circumstances it seemed fitting that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments should dedicate itself chiefly to giving fresh impetus to promoting sacred liturgy in the Church, in keeping with the renewal promoted by Vatican Council II through the Constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium'.

"Therefore, I believe it is appropriate to transfer the function of dealing with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of priestly ordination to a new office to be created within the Tribunal of the Roman Rota".

Article 1

"Articles 67 and 68 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' are abolished".

Article 2

"Article 126 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' is modified to read as follows:

"1. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota is a court of higher instance at the Apostolic See, usually at the appellate stage, with the purpose of safeguarding rights within the Church; it fosters unity of jurisprudence, and, by virtue of its own decisions, provides assistance to lower tribunals.

"2. An office shall be established in this Tribunal with the task of examining the fact of non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation. It receives all the acts together with the 'votum' of the bishop and the remarks of the defender of the bond, weighs them according to its own special procedure, and, if the case warrants it, submits a petition to the Supreme Pontiff requesting the dispensation.

"3. The same office is also competent to examine cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination, in accordance with universal and specific law, 'congrua congruis referendo'".

Article 3

"The office dealing with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of sacred ordination shall be moderated by the dean of the Roman Rota, with the assistance of officials, commissioners and consultors".

The new norms will come into effect as of 1 October.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, for the Jewish festivities of Rosh Hashanah 5772 (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which fall in the months of September and October.

The Pope sends his cordial greetings to the rabbi and to all the Jewish community of Rome, expressing the hope that "these important feasts may be an occasion for many blessings from on high, and a source of infinite grace. May the desire grow in all of us to promote justice and peace in the world, which has great need of authentic witnesses of truth. May God in His goodness protect the Jewish community and allow us to deepen our friendship, both here in Rome and all over the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is due to make an apostolic trip to Benin from 18 to 20 November, for the signing and publication of the Apostolic Exhortation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

The Holy Father will depart from Rome at 9 a.m. on Friday 18 November, arriving at Cotonou at 3 p.m. Following the welcome ceremony at the airport he will visit the local cathedral.

On Saturday 19 November the Pope will meet with members of the government, representatives of State institutions, the diplomatic corps and leaders of the principal religions at the presidential palace in Cotonou. Later that morning he will visit the grave of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin in the chapel of the Seminary of St. Gall at Ouidah before going on to meet with priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful in the seminary courtyard. He will subsequently visit Ouidah's Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where he will sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

That afternoon Pope Benedict will visit the "Peace and Joy" house, run by the Missionaries of Charity in the parish of St. Rita in Cotonou, and meet with a group of children. At 6.15 p.m. he is due to meet the bishops of Benin at the apostolic nunciature.

On Sunday 20 November, the Pope will celebrate Mass and consign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation to the bishops of Africa at Cotonou's "Stade de l'amitie". He will then have lunch at the apostolic nunciature with members of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops before travelling to the local "Cardinal Bernardin Gantin" airport where, at 4.30 p.m., he will board his return flight to Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Given below is the text of an English-language note released today by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, concerning the publication of the theme for World Communications Day Message 2012.

"The extraordinarily varied nature of the contribution of modern communications to society highlights the need for a value which, on first consideration, might seem to stand in contradistinction to it. Silence, in fact, is the central theme for the next World Communications Day Message: 'Silence and Word: path of evangelisation'. In the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, silence is not presented simply as an antidote to the constant and unstoppable flow of information that characterises society today but rather as a factor that is necessary for its integration. Silence, precisely because it favours habits of discernment and reflection, can in fact be seen primarily as a means of welcoming the word. We ought not to think in terms of a dualism, but of the complementary nature of two elements which when they are held in balance serve to enrich the value of communication and which make it a key factor that can serve the new evangelisation. It is clearly the desire of the Holy Father to associate the theme of the next World Communications Day with the celebration of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops which will have as its own theme: 'The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith'.

"World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by Vatican Council II ('Inter Mirifica' 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2012, 20 May).

"The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24)".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Today, Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, patron of the Corps of the Gendarmerie, a commemorative ceremony will be held on the square in front of the Governorate of Vatican City State. The event will be attended by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and by a number of civil and military authorities of the Italian State.

"The Gendarmerie, in co-ordination with the Swiss Guard, are responsible for the security of the Supreme Pontiff", says a communique on the event released today. "They also function as a police force, control the territory of the State and oversee public order twenty-four hours a day, every day. ... In 2008 Vatican City State became a member of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)".

During this afternoon's ceremony Prince Sforza Ruspoli will give the Gendarmerie a flag which has been in the possession of the Sforza Ruspoli family since 1870. Yesterday, in the course of a private audience with the Holy Father, the prince gave him the flag as a gift in memory of the pontifical troops who fell in the defence of Rome in 1870. It will be put on display in the Historical Museum of the Lateran Palace.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, accompanied by an entourage.

- Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang O.F.M. Cap. of Padang, the Indonesian Episcopal Conference, on his "ad limina" visit.
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