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Monday, October 24, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience bishops and priests who have been participating in the sixth international congress of military ordinaries, and in the third international training course on human rights for military chaplains. These initiatives have been promoted by the Congregation for Bishops and by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution "Spirituali militum curae", promulgated by Blessed John Paul II whose liturgical memory falls today.

The purpose of that Apostolic Constitution, the Pope explained, was "to give military ordinaries the chance to foster appropriate and well-organised pastoral care for an important part of the People of God: military men and women, and their families. ... This involves forming Christians who possess profound faith, who practice their religion with conviction, and who are authentic witnesses of Christ in their own environments. To achieve this, it is important for military bishops and chaplains to be aware of their responsibility to announce the Gospel and administer the Sacraments wherever the military and their families are present. ... Clearly, priests involved in this ministry must have a solid human and spiritual formation, constant concern for their own interior lives and, at the same time, a readiness to listen and enter into dialogue, so as to understand the individual and joint difficulties faced by the people entrusted to their care".

"The Church", the Pope went on, "wishes to offer the military and their families all means of salvation, providing not just ordinary pastoral care, but also the specific help they need to carry out their mission in a spirit of Christian charity. The military life of a Christian must, in fact, be seen in the light of the first and greatest of the Commandments, that of love for God and for neighbour, because Christians in the military are called to create a fusion whereby they can be soldiers for love, achieving the 'ministerium pacis inter arma'.

"I am thinking in particular", he added "of soldiers who practice charity by saving victims of earthquakes and floods, or by helping refugees, placing their courage and skills at the service of the weakest. I am thinking of soldiers who, at risk of their own lives, practice charity by removing mines in areas which were once theatres of war, or soldiers on peace missions who patrol cities and territories to ensure that their brothers do not kill one another. There are many men and women in uniform, full of faith in Jesus, who love truth and wish to foster peace and, as true disciples of Christ, serve their country by defending fundamental human rights"

Benedict XVI concluded by asking those present, and the priests and deacons who help them, to promote "a general renewal of hearts, which is a precondition for that universal peace to which all the world aspires".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Bavarian State Opera gave a concert in honour of Benedict XVI. The programme included the Ninth Symphony and the "Te Deum" by Anton Bruckner, played by the Bavarian State Orchestra and the "Audi Jugendchorakademie", conducted respectively by Kent Nagano and Martin Steidler.

At the end of the performance the Pope rose to thank the musicians. Listening to Bruckner's music, he said, "is like finding oneself in a great cathedral, surrounded by its imposing structures which arouse emotion and lift us to the heights. There is however an element that lies at the foundations of Bruckner's music, both the symphonic and the sacred: the simple, solid, genuine faith he conserved throughout his life".

"The great conductor Bruno Walter used to say that 'Mahler always sought after God, while Bruckner had found Him'. The symphony we have just heard has a very specific title: 'Dem lieben Gott' (To the Beloved God), almost as if he wished to dedicate and entrust the last and most mature fruit of his art to the One in Whom he had always believed, the One Who had become his only true interlocutor in the last stage of his life", the Holy Father said.

"Bruckner asked this beloved God to let him enter His mystery, ... to let him praise the Lord in heaven as he had on earth with his music. 'Te Deum laudamus, Te Dominum confitemur'; this great work we have just heard - written at one sitting then reworked over fifteen years as if reconsidering how better to thank and praise God - sums up the faith of this great musician", Pope Benedict concluded. "It is also a reminder for us to open our horizons and think of eternal life, not so as to escape the present, though burdened with problems and difficulties, but to experience it more intensely, bringing a little light, hope and love into the reality in which we live".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2011 (VIS) - In view of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to take place in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October 2012 on the theme "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith", the Holy Father appointed:

- Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, U.S.A., as relator general.

- Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre, archbishop of Montpellier, France, as special secretary.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France, as members of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See.

- Appointed Cardinal Joachim Meisner archbishop of Cologne, Germany, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the eighth centenary of the birth of St. Agnes of Bohemia, due to take place in the cathedral of Prague, Czech Republic, on 12 November.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Dhaka, Bangladesh, presented by Archbishop Paulinus Costa, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D'Rosario C.S.C.

- Appointed Fr. Piotr Greger of the clergy of the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, Poland, vice director of the St. John Cantius Theological Institute, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 3,000, population 770,000, Catholics 681,000, priests 633, religious 646). The bishop-elect was born in Tychy, Poland in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1989. He has worked as vice pastor and pastor in parishes of the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, and serves as the bishop's permanent delegate on the council of the "St. Edwige Foundation" at the Pontifical University of Krakow. He is also a member of the association of Polish theologians and a canon of the cathedral.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2011 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica, and canonised the following three 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), and Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, Spanish foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of St. Joseph (1837-1905).

In the homily he pronounced following the rite of canonisation, the Pope first recalled how today marks World Mission Day, which annually seeks "to reawaken energy and commitment for the mission". He then went on to describe the characteristics of the three new saints who, he said, "allowed themselves to be transformed by divine love, around which they moulded their entire lives. In different situations and with different charisms, they loved the Lord with all their heart, and their neighbours as themselves, becoming an example to all believers".

The Holy Father explained how the motto of St. Guido Maria Conforti, "Caritas Christi urget nos" (Christ's Charity impels us), "sums up the programme of the missionary institute ... he founded: a religious family entirely dedicated to evangelisation, under the protection of the great apostle of the East, St. Francis Xavier". In his episcopal mission this new saint "dedicated his every effort to the good of the souls entrusted to his care, especially those who had abandoned the way of the Lord. His life was marked by many trials, some of them serious", but "in all circumstances, even amidst the most mortifying failures, he was able to recognise the plan of God Who guided him to build His Kingdom, particularly by self-denial and daily acceptance of divine will. ... He was the first to practise and bear witness to what he taught his missionaries: that perfection consists in doing God's will, following the model of the crucified Christ".

Speaking of St. Luigi Guanella, the Pope highlighted how "he practised the Gospel of Charity, which is 'the great commandment', with great courage and determination". He was "companion and teacher to the poorest and the weakest, their comfort and relief. Love of God made him desire the good of the people in his care, in the tangible reality of everyday life". Don Guanella, as he is known in Italy, "cultivated in his heart the hope that all human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, ... may draw out and give the best of themselves to others. ... In his witness, so charged with humanity and concern for the weakest, we see a glowing sign of the presence and benevolent action of God", the Holy Father said.

"From her beginnings", St. Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, "was able to unite her daily activities with adherence to Christ. She worked from childhood, not just as a way to avoid being a burden to others, but also a means to be free to realise her own vocation. This gave her the chance to attract and form other women who recognised God and heard His loving call in the world of work, discerning and realising their own life project. Thus the Sisters Servants of St. Joseph came into being, in the midst of that evangelical humility and simplicity which sees the home of Nazareth as a school of Christian life. ...We entrust ourselves to her intercession and plead to God for all workers, especially those who undertake the most humble and sometimes insufficiently appreciated tasks, so that, in the midst of their daily cares, they may discover the friendly hand of God and bear witness to His love, transforming their fatigue into a hymn of praise to the Creator".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass for the canonisation of Guido Maria Conforti, Luigi Guanella and Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, the Pope prayed the Angelus from the atrium of the Vatican Basilica, with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"May the example and intercession of these shining figures encourage everyone to a renewed commitment to live their faith in Christ to the full, and to bear witness to that faith in the various areas of society", he said.

Turning then to address Polish pilgrims, he recalled how on 22 October, "together with the diocese of Rome and the Church in Poland, we celebrated the liturgical memory of Blessed John Paul II". Finally, he invoked the Blessed Virgin to intercede for "the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world: a pilgrimage to Assisi twenty-five years after the pilgrimage called by Blessed John Paul II".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received members of the John Paul II Foundation, who are currently celebrating their institution's thirtieth anniversary.

Speaking English, Benedict XVI addressed a special greeting to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former secretary of Blessed John Paul II, and to the promoters and the current president of the foundation. He then went on to recall how its goal is to conserve and develop the spiritual heritage of John Paul II in order to transmit it to future generations. Through its "Centre for the Documentation and Study of the Pontificate of John Paul II", the foundation "not only collects archives, bibliographical material and museum items, but also promotes publications, exhibitions, congresses and other scientific and cultural events, in order to disseminate the teaching and the pastoral and humanitarian activity of the Blessed Pontiff".

Pope Benedict also laid emphasis on "one task of great human and cultural value, explicitly desired by John Paul II and undertaken by the foundation: that of assisting the 'formation of the clergy and the laity, especially those from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe'. Every year, students arrive in Lublin, Warsaw and Krakow from countries which, in former times, suffered the ideological oppression of the communist regime, in order to pursue studies in the various branches of science, so as to live new experiences, to encounter different spiritual traditions, and to broaden their cultural horizons. Then they return to their own countries, enriching the various sectors of social, economic, cultural, political and ecclesial life. More than 900 graduates is a precious gift for those nations. ... I hope that this work will continue, develop and bear abundant fruits".

The Holy Father concluded by noting that one primary accomplishment of the foundation has been the "spiritual union of thousands of people in various continents, who not only support it materially but constitute the Circles of Friends, communities of formation based on the teaching and the example of Blessed John Paul II. ... They discern the needs of the present, they look to the future with solicitude and confidence, and they commit themselves to imbue the world more deeply with the spirit of solidarity and fraternity. Let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Holy Spirit Who unites, enlightens and inspires you".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present a note from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace entitled: "Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority". The document was presented by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and by Leonardo Becchetti, professor of political economy at the Roman University of "Tor Vergata".

Cardinal Turkson mentioned the sixth summit meeting of heads of government of the G-20 nations, due to take place in Cannes, France, on 3 and 4 November to discuss issues related to finance and the global economy. "The Holy Father and the Holy See", he said, "are following these matters with particular concern, constantly calling not just for 'joint action', but for 'examination of every facet of the problem: social, economic, cultural and spiritual'. It is in this spirit of discernment that the Holy See, with the note of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, wishes to make a contribution which might be useful to the deliberations of the G-20 meeting".

Bishop Toso explained that the aim of the note is "suggest possible paths to follow, in line with the most recent social Magisterium, for the implementation of financial and monetary policies ... that are effective and representative at a global level, and which seek the authentic human development of all individuals and peoples".

The Church does not wish to enter into the technical issues behind the current economic crisis, but remains within the ambit of her religious and ethical functions. Thus she highlights not just the moral causes of the crisis but, more specifically, the ideological causes. Old ideologies have been replaced by new ones, "neo-liberalist, neo-utilitarian, and technocratic which, by reducing the common good to economic, financial and technical questions, place the future of democratic institutions themselves at risk".

Bishop Toso spoke of the need to overcome these ideologies by "a new global humanism, open to transcendence, ... an ethic of brotherhood and solidarity, and by subordinating economy and finance to politics, which is responsible for the common good".

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, drawing from the social Magisterium of recent Pontiffs particularly John XXIII and Benedict XVI, proposes "that globalisation be regulated by a global public authority", Bishop Toso explained. The council also suggests the reform of current international institutions. They "must become an expression of free and shared agreement among peoples; more representative, and with greater levels of participation and legitimacy. ... They must be 'super partes', at the service of the universal good, capable of offering effective guidance and, at the same time, of allowing each country to express and pursue its own common good, according to the principle of subsidiarity and in the context of the global common good. Only in this way will international institutions manage to favour effective monetary and financial systems; in other words, free and stable markets regulated by an appropriate legal framework and working towards sustainable development and social progress for everyone".

This global authority "must see its power to lead and to deicide - and to impose penalties on the basis of the law - as a form of service to the various members States, a way of ensuring that they possess efficient markets".

To this end, Bishop Toso concluded, "it is necessary to restore the primacy of ethics and, therewith, the primacy of politics, which is responsible for the common good".
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VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences five bishops from the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Jose de Queiros Alves C.SS.R. of Huambo.

- Archbishop Damiao Antonio Franklin of Luanda, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Anastacio Kahango O.F.M. Cap., and by Cardinal Alexandre do Nascimento, archbishop emeritus.

- Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi C.S.Sp. of Lubango.

On Saturday 22 October he received in separate audiences:

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

- Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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