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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...[]

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Friday, November 30, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "The Church in France has a long heritage of saints, doctors, martyrs and confessors of the faith. You are the heirs to a history of great human experience and immense spiritual richness. … These origins and this glorious past, always present in our thought and dear to our spirit, nurture great hope in solid and bold faith, allowing us to rise to the challenges of the third millennium and to listen to the hopes of contemporary humanity, to which only God can give a satisfactory answer".

With these words, Benedict XVI received the third group of bishops from the Episcopal Conference of France at the end of their "ad limina" visit. The Pope observed that "the Good News we must announce to mankind in all times and in all languages and cultures, may be summarised in these words: God, creator of mankind, in His son Jesus, has shown us His love for humanity. 'God is love' and pursues the happiness of His creation, of all His children. The pastoral constitution 'Gaudium et spes' asks key questions on human existence, the meaning of life and death, evil, disease and suffering, all present in our world. It recalls that, in His paternal goodness, God brings answers to all these questions and that Christ founded His Church in order to bring those answers to all mankind. This is the reason why one of the gravest problems of our time is the ignorance of religion on the part of many men and women, also among the Catholic faithful".

"This is why the new evangelisation, in which the Church is resolutely engaged, … assumes such importance", the Pope continued. "One of the most formidable obstacles to our pastoral mission is ignorance of the content of faith. Indeed, this is a dual form of ignorance: the ignorance of Jesus Christ as a person and ignorance of the sublime nature of His teachings, of their universal and permanent value in the search for the meaning of life and happiness. In the new generations this ignorance produces an inability to understand history or to recognise themselves as heirs to this tradition, which has shaped European life, society, art and culture".

"The new evangelisation will be effective if it engages deeply with communities and parishes. The signs of vitality and involvement of the laity in French society are already encouraging. … The laity are the face of the world within the Church, and at the same time the face the Church presents to the world". Benedict XVI emphasised, however, that the Church in Europe and in France can no longer remain indifferent to the diminution of vocations and priestly ordinations. ... All available energy must be urgently mobilised so as to bring the voice of the Lord to the young. God calls when and to whom He wishes. Without doubt, Christian families and communities offer particularly fertile ground".

"The young are the hope and future of the Church and the world", continued the Holy Father, emphasising "the importance of Catholic education". "Catholic institutes clearly play a primary role in the great dialogue between faith and culture. The love of truth that shines in them is in itself a great evangeliser. Places of learning and dialogue, as well as centres of research, must be further developed and more ambitious in scope". The Pope praised the initiatives of some French dioceses to encourage greater knowledge of theology among young people who study other disciplines. "Theology is a source of wisdom, joy and wonder that should not be reserved only to seminarians, priests and consecrated persons", he added.

Benedict XVI concluded by mentioning Catholic schools, which "have shaped the Christian and cultural life" of France, and which bear 'historical responsibility'. "A way must be found to place faith at the centre of their educational mission … Education in Christian values provides the key to the culture of your nation. By opening young people to hope and true freedom, such education will continue to be a source of dynamism and creativity. The ardour of the new evangelisation will be our greatest contribution to the flowering of human society and the best answer to the varied challenges we face at the beginning of the third millennium".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is leading a delegation sent by the Holy See to Istanbul to participate in celebrations marking the Feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Holy See and the Patriarchate exchange regular annual visits for the feast days of their respective patrons.

The Holy See delegation to this year's celebration is made up of Cardinal Koch; Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Fr. Andrea Palmieri, an official of the same dicastery, and Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio to Turkey. The group attended a divine liturgy celebrated by Bartholomew I in the patriarchal church of Fanar, then met with the Patriarch and the synodal commission which oversees relations with the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Koch gave Bartholomew I a gift and a message from the Holy Father which was read out at the end of the divine liturgy. He then met with representatives of the local Catholic community and the ecumenical council of the apostolic vicariate of the Catholic Church in Istanbul.

In his message, the Pope explains that this annual exchange of delegations "is testimony to the fraternal bonds which join us together. It is a profound and genuine communion, if still imperfect, which is based not on human motives of courtesy or convenience but rather on our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. … This solid foundation allows us to proceed together confidently on the path to the re-establishment of full communion".

"In our times, the most urgent challenge, about which we have always been in perfect agreement, … is how we must connect the proclamation of God's merciful love for contemporary man, so often distracted and incapable of reflection on the meaning of his own existence, and as such often misled by plans and utopias that can lead only to disillusionment. The Church has only one message, 'God's Gospel', and no method other than its apostolic proclamation, supported and guaranteed by the testimony and sanctity of the life of priests and the people of God. The Lord Jesus told us that 'the harvest is rich', and we must not accept that it may be lost as a result of our weaknesses and divisions", concluded the Holy Father.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Given below is the Holy See's declaration on the majority approval by the General Assembly of the United Nations to the Resolution by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the UN Organisation.

"The Holy See has followed actively the steps which have led to this important decision, while striving to remain neutral between the Parties, and to act in accordance with its particular religious nature and universal mission, and in consideration also of its specific attention to the ethical dimension of international problems.

"The Holy See considers, moreover, that today’s vote should be placed within the context of the efforts of giving a definitive solution, with the support of the international community, to the question already dealt with by Resolution 181 of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 29 November 1947. That document is the juridical basis for the existence of two States, one of which has not been constituted in the successive sixty-five years, while the other has already seen the light.

"On 15 May 2009, while departing from 'Ben Gurion' International Airport, Tel Aviv, at the conclusion of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI expressed the following: No more bloodshed! No more fighting! No more terrorism! No more war! Instead let us break the vicious circle of violence. Let there be lasting peace based on justice, let there be genuine reconciliation and healing. Let it be universally recognized that the State of Israel has the right to exist, and to enjoy peace and security within internationally agreed borders. Let it be likewise acknowledged that the Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign independent homeland, to live with dignity and to travel freely. Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream.

"In the wake of that appeal, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2011, expressed the hope that the competent Bodies of the United Nations would adopt a decision which would help give concrete implementation to that goal.

"Today’s vote manifests the sentiment of the majority of the international community and recognises a more significant presence to Palestinians within the United Nations. At the same time, it is the conviction of the Holy See that this result does not constitute, per se, a sufficient solution to the existing problems in the Region: which, in fact, can only find an adequate response through the effective commitment to building peace and stability, in justice and in the respect for legitimate aspirations, both of the Israelis and of the Palestinians.

"Therefore, the Holy See, at various times, has invited the leaders of the two Peoples to restart the negotiations in good faith and to avoid actions, or the placing of conditions, which would contradict the declarations of goodwill and the sincere search for solutions which could become secure foundations for a lasting peace. Moreover, the Holy See has made a pressing appeal to the International Community to increase its commitment and to encourage its creativity, through the adoption of suitable initiatives which may help to achieve a lasting peace, that respects the rights of Israelis and of Palestinians. Peace needs courageous decisions!

"Considering the outcome of today’s vote of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to encourage the International Community, and in particular the Parties directly concerned, towards concrete action in view of the aforementioned objectives – the Holy See welcomes with favour the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a non-member Observer State of the United Nations. It is a propitious occasion to recall also the common position that the Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation expressed in the Basic Agreement of 15 February 2000, intended to support the recognition of a internationally guaranteed special statute for the City of Jerusalem, and aimed, in particular, to safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, respect for and freedom of access to its Holy Places".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The twenty-third Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" was held from 7 to 28 October. Continuing the theme of the Synod, the topic of new evangelisation for the transmission of Christian faith inspired the work of the second meeting of the twenty-third Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops, which took place on 26 November 2012.

At the beginning of the session, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, spoke about Jesus' missionary mandate: "Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation". This, he said, was "the origin of the proclamation of the Gospel, and retains its validity for the evangelising work of the Church in all times".

"Following the day's agenda, the general secretary gave a full and detailed analysis of the themes which emerged from the Propositions of the recent twenty-third Synodal Assembly. This analysis was followed by a discussion which gave rise to suggestions to present to the Pope in view of the Post-Synodal Exhortation".

"The missionary mandate which the Lord entrusted to the Apostles is now that of the Church in the new evangelisation, which she addresses to the entire human race, involved in a constant process of transformation which takes place in a context of globalisation and a cultural and moral climate of secularisation and agnosticism. This situation presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel.

"The Church carries out this work of proclaiming anew the Gospel through priests and lay faithful. And the Gospel she proclaims involves all humankind and is destined for every person: the baptised, believers who have drifted away from the faith of the Church, non-believers, the indifferent, believers of other Christian confessions, and believers of other religions, in accordance with the mandate of the Risen Lord".

The next meeting will take place on 23 and 24 January 2013.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for December is: "That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities".

His mission intention is: "That Christ may reveal Himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of His Church".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Jullundur, India, as archbishop of Delhi (area 15,420, population 19,633,000, Catholics 110,300, priests 262, religious 1,154), India. He succeeds Archbishop Vincent Michael Concessao, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Binay Kandulna, auxiliary of Ranchi and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Khunti, as bishop of Khunti (area 3,765, population 911,000, Catholics 90,672, priests 75, religious 196).

- Appointed Fr. Angel Francisco Caraballo Fermin of the clergy of the diocese of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, pastor of the Parish of "Santisimos Pedro y Pablo" at Puerto Ordaz, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Maracaibo (area 11,365, population 2,259,000, Catholics 2,096,000, priests 135, permanent deacons 16, religious 303), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Puerto Ordaz in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1991. He studied in Spain and in Rome and, among other things, has served as professor of Canon Law at the major seminary of "El Buen Pastor" in Ciudad Bolivar, and as vicar general and judicial vicar of his diocese.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Vatican City, 29 November 2012 (VIS) – Benedict XVI is now present on Twitter. All related information will be reported on Monday 3 December at a press conference to be held in the Holy See Press Office, with the participation of Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the same dicastery, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, Professor Gian Maria Vian, editor of “L'Osservatore Romano”, and Greg Burke, Media Advisor to the Secretariat of State.

The Pope has already used the 140 character “tweet” format when, in June 2011, he launched the Vatican information portal www.news.va., with the words: “Dear friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI”.


Vatican City, 29 November 2012 (VIS) – The meeting of the “Caritas in Veritate” Commission of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), held in Rome on the theme of “A Pastoral of Communion for a Renewed Evangelisation” concluded today with  the presentation of a “road map” by the Section for pastoral care of migrants.

The conference was held over three days, from 27 to 29 November, during which more than forty bishops and national directors for the pastoral care of migrants from the CCEE discussed the role of the Church in Europe in this field. “The economic crisis affects the weak and migrants above all. Those who are forced to migrate due to poverty are the first to suffer the consequences of the crisis and become even more vulnerable”, explained Fr. Duarte da Cunha, secretary general of the CCEE. “The pastoral care of the Church, which aims to evangelise but also to create communities, is called upon to assist in integration, to reinforce links, and to accompany and support both those who are left behind, such as children left by parents who emigrate in search of work, and those who leave”.

The meeting of the Commission was opened by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, president of the “Migration” section of “Caritas in Veritate”, Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi of Trieste, Italy, president of the same Commission, and Bishop Paolo Schiavon, auxiliary of Rome and president of the “Migrantes” Foundation. 

The themes considered during the conference included “Witnessing ecclesiastical communion for a new evangelisation”, presented by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation; “Communion and pastoral care: an outlook from the Eastern Catholic Churches”, presented by Archbishop Cyril Vasil S.J., secretary for the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; “Guidelines for a pastoral theology of communion regarding migrations” by Fr. Fabio Baggio, Director of the Scalibrini International Migration Institute, and “New evangelisation and human mobility”, by Msgr. Giancarlo Perego, director-general of the “Migrantes” Foundation.

“In this time of economic crisis, social assistance, pastoral care and evangelisation cannot be separated”, Fr. Duarte da Cunha continued. “Charity, political lobbying, proclamation and celebration of the faith are a unified commitment and the only path of action, especially for those who assist and support the reception and integration of migrants in Europe”.


29 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr Radoslaw Zmitrowicz O.M.I., superior of the Delegation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ukraine, as auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Kamyanets-Podilskyi (area 47,100, population 2,982,200, Catholics 250,000, priests 158, religious 306), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Gdansk, Poland in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989. He carried out a pastoral mission in Turkmenistan from 1997 to 2000, and has fulfilled a number of pastoral roles in Ukraine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "How do we speak to God in our times? How can we communicate the Gospel to open the way to its salvific truth?" The Holy Father offered an answer to these questions in his catechesis during today's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

"In Jesus of Nazareth", the Pope said, "we encounter the face of God, descended from Heaven to immerse Himself in the world of mankind and to teach 'the art of living', the road to happiness; to free us from sin and to make us true children of God".

He continued, "speaking about God means, first and foremost, being clear about what we must bring to the men and women of our time. God has spoken to us, … not an abstract or hypothetical God, but a real God, a God Who exists, Who entered history and remains present in history: the God of Jesus Christ ... as a response to the fundamental question of why and how to live. Therefore, speaking about God requires a continual growth in faith, familiarity with Jesus and His Gospel, a profound knowledge of God and strong passion for His plan for salvation, without giving in to the temptations of success. … We must not fear the humility of taking small steps, trusting in the leaven that makes the dough rise slowly and mysteriously. In speaking about God, in the work of evangelisation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must return to the simplicity and essential nature of proclamation: the concrete Good News of God Who cares about us, the love of God which Jesus Christ brought close to us, even unto the Cross, and which in the Resurrection opens us to life without end, to eternal life".

The Pope explained that for St. Paul, communicating the faith did not mean "showing himself, but rather saying openly and publicly what he had seen and heard in his encounter with Christ, and how much his life had been transformed by that encounter. … The Apostle was not satisfied with merely proclaiming the words, but committed his entire existence to the great work of faith. … To speak about God, we must make space for Him, confident that He acts upon our weakness. We must make space for Him without fear, with simplicity and joy, in the profound conviction that the more we place Him - and not ourselves - at the centre of our lives, the more fruitful our communication will be. ... This also holds true for Christian communities. They are called to communicate the transforming action of God's grace, overcoming individualism, closure, selfishness and indifference, bringing the love of God to daily relationships. We must must act to ensure ... we always announce Christ, not ourselves".

"At this point", the Holy Father continued, we must ask ourselves "how Jesus Christ Himself communicated. Jesus … spoke about His Father (Whom He called 'Abba') and about the Kingdom of God, looking with compassion on the discomforts and difficulties of human existence. … From the Gospel we see how Jesus was interested in every human situation He encountered, He immersed Himself in the lives of the men and women of His time, with complete trust in the help of the Father. … In Him, proclamation and life were entwined: Jesus acted and taught, always taking as a starting point His intimate relationship with God the Father. This approach gives fundamental indications to Christians: living in faith and charity is a way of speaking about God in our times, because it demonstrates the credibility of what we say in words through a life lived in Christ. We must take care to grasp the signs of our times, and thereby to identify the potential, the desires and the obstacles we encounter in contemporary culture, in particular the desire for authenticity, the yearning for transcendence, the sensibility for protecting creation. And we must communicate without fear the answer offered by faith in God".

"Speaking about God, therefore, means enabling others to understand through words and acts that God is not a competitor in our existence but rather its true guarantor, the guarantor of the greatness of the human person. Thus we return to the beginning: speaking about God means communicating, with power and simplicity, through words and the life we lead, that which is essential: the God of Jesus Christ, the God Who showed us a love so great that He took on human flesh, died and rose again for us; the God Who asks us to follow Him and to allow ourselves to be transformed by His immense love in order to renew our lives and our relationships; the God Who gave us the Church, to allow us to journey together and, through the Word and the Sacraments, to renew the entire City of Man so that it might become the City of God", concluded the Pope.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "World AIDS Day, a United Nations initiative intended to draw attention to a disease that has caused millions of deaths and tragic human suffering, will fall on 1 December", said the Pope following his catechesis at this morning's general audience. "HIV/AIDS particularly affects the poorest regions of the world, where there is very limited access to effective medicines. My thoughts turn in particular to the large number of children who contract the virus from their mothers each year, despite the treatments which exist to prevent its transmission. I encourage the many initiatives that, within the scope of the ecclesial mission, have been taken in order to eradicate this scourge".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, gave an address at the inaugural ceremony of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in Vienna, Austria, yesterday. The centre is an independent organisation, recognised by the United Nations and founded by Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain, to which the Holy See adheres in the role of Founding Observer.

"It is my privilege to bring to this assembly the greetings of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, as well as his prayerful wishes for the success of the activity of this Dialogue Centre", said Cardinal Tauran.

"We are being watched", he continued. "Everyone is expecting from the initiative of His Majesty King Abdullah, supported by the governments of Austria and Spain, with the assistance of the Holy See as founding observer, honesty, vision and credibility.

"This Centre presents another opportunity for open dialogue on many issues, including those related to fundamental human rights, in particular religious freedom in all its aspects, for everybody, for every community, everywhere. In this regard, you will understand that the Holy See is particularly attentive to the fate of Christian communities in countries where such a freedom is not adequately guaranteed. Information, new initiatives, aspirations, and perhaps also failures will be brought to our attention. It then will be the task of the centre - and when possible with the cooperation of other organisations - to verify their authenticity and to act consequently, in order that our contemporaries not be deprived of the light and the resources that religion offers for the happiness of every human being.

"Believers have to work for and to support all that favours the human person in his material, moral and religious aspirations. So three attitudes are required: respect of the other in his/her specificity; mutual objective knowledge of the religious tradition of each other, particularly through education; and collaboration in order that our pilgrimage towards the Truth be realised in freedom and serenity.

"Concluding and quoting Pope Benedict XVI, I would like to assure you of the cooperation of the Catholic Church: 'By her presence, her prayer and her various works of mercy, especially in education and health care, she wishes to give her best to everyone. She wants to be close to those who are in need, near to those who search for God'.

"It is in this spirit of brotherhood and friendship that we have to work!", the cardinal concluded.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The following prelates died recently:

- Bishop Aloysius Balina of Shinyanga, Tanzania, on 6 November at the age of 67.

- Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers S.V.D., emeritus of Saint John's-Basseterre, Antigua, on 6 November at the age of 102.

- Bishop Alfons Demming, auxiliary of Munster, Germany, on 31 October at the age of 84.

- Bishop Michel Hrynchyshyn C.SS.R., apostolic exarch for Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine rite resident in France, on 12 November at the age of 83.

- Bishop Luiz Eugenio Perez, emeritus of Jaboticabal, Brazil, on 14 November at the age of 84.

- Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, apostolic nuncio, on 31 October at the age of 75.

- Bishop Patrick Francis Sheehan O.S.A., emeritus of Kano, Nigeria, on 8 November at the age of 80.

- Bishop Patrick Ronald Cooney, emeritus of Gaylord, U.S.A., on 15 October at the age of 78.

- Bishop Rene-Marie Ehouzou C.I.M., of Porto Novo, Benin, on 17 October at the age of 68.

- Bishop Eduardo Herrera Riera, emeritus of Carora, Venezuela, on 27 October at the age of 85.

- Archbishop Henry Ernest Karlen C.M.M., emeritus of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on 28 October at the age of 90.

- Bishop Felix Eugenio Mkhori, emeritus of Lilongwe, Malawi, on 27 October at the age of 81.

- Archbishop George Riashi, emeritus of Tripoli of Lebanon of the Greek-Melkites, Lebanon, on 28 October at the age of 78.

- Bishop Odorico Leovigildo O.F.M., apostolic vicar of Requena, Peru, on 14 October at the age of 100.

- Bishop Jose Agostinhi Sartori O.F.M., emeritus of Palmas-Francisco Beltrao, Brazil, on 6 June at the age of 83.

- Bishop Jean-Pierre Urkia M.E.P., apostolic vicar of Pakse, Laos, on 21 December 2011, at the age of 92.

- Bishop Joseph B. Willigers M.H.M., emeritus of Jinja, Uganda, on 30 September at the age of 81.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall the Holy Father received the new cardinals created in the consistory of Saturday 24 November, and their families.

The Pope noted how the consistory had been characterised by "moments of intense prayer and deep communion, experienced in the awareness that it was an event concerning the entire universal Church, called upon to be a sign of hope for all peoples".

Then, speaking in English, he stated that "whether in the offices of the Roman Curia or in their ministry in the local Churches throughout the world, cardinals are called to share in a special way the Pope's solicitude for the universal Church".

He then addressed the new cardinal, Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, expressing his wish to encourage "the life and the presence of Christians in the Middle East, where they should be able to live their faith freely", and he made a fresh appeal for peace in the region. "The Church encourages every effort to promote peace in the world and in the Middle East - peace that will be effective only if it is based on authentic respect for others", he said.

He then spoke in Spanish to Colombian faithful and the new cardinal, Ruben Salazar Gomez, archbishop of Bogota, encouraging them to "move forward in peace and harmony along the paths of justice, reconciliation and solidarity".

Finally, in Italian, he invited the cardinals to pursue their "spiritual and apostolic mission, looking always to Christ", and to strengthen their "love for the Church. We can learn this love from the saints, who are the truest fulfilment of the Church: they loved her and, allowing themselves to be modelled by Christ, dedicated their lives fully to ensuring that all mankind be illuminated by the light of Christ that shines from the face of the Church".


Vatican City, 25 November 2012 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today in St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at the concelebration of the Eucharist with the six new cardinals created in yesterday's consistory. At the beginning of Mass, Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of the papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, greeted the Pope on behalf of all the new cardinals.

Following are some extracts from the homily given by Holy Father:

"In this final Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to celebrate the Lord Jesus as King of the Universe. She calls us to look to the future, or more properly into the depths, to the ultimate goal of history, which will be the definitive and eternal kingdom of Christ. ... In the Gospel passage which we have just heard … Pilate asks Jesus, 'Are you the King of the Jews?' In reply to this question, Jesus clarifies the nature of His kingship and His Messiahship itself, which is not worldly power but a love which serves".

"Jesus clearly had no political ambitions. After the multiplication of the loaves, the people, enthralled by the miracle, wanted to take Him away and make Him their king, in order to overthrow the power of Rome and thus establish a new political kingdom which would be considered the long-awaited kingdom of God. But Jesus knows that God’s kingdom is of a completely different kind; it is not built on arms and violence. The multiplication of the loaves itself becomes both the sign that He is the Messiah and a watershed in His activity: henceforth the path to the Cross becomes ever clearer; there, in the supreme act of love, the promised kingdom, the kingdom of God, will shine forth. … Jesus … does not wish to be defended by arms, but ... to establish His kingdom not by armed conflict, but by the apparent weakness of life-giving love. The kingdom of God is a kingdom utterly different from earthly kingdoms.

"That is why, faced with a defenceless, weak and humiliated man, as Jesus was, a man of power like Pilate is taken aback. ... So he asks an apparently odd question: 'So you are a king?' ... But Jesus answers in the affirmative: 'You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice'. Jesus speaks of kings and kingship, yet He is not referring to power but to truth. … Jesus came to reveal and bring a new kingship, that of God; He came to bear witness to the truth of a God Who is love, Who wants to establish a kingdom of justice, love and peace. Whoever is open to love hears this testimony and accepts it with faith, to enter the kingdom of God.

"We find this same perspective in the first reading we heard. The prophet Daniel foretells the power of a mysterious personage set between heaven and earth. … This vision of the prophet, a messianic vision, is made clear and brought to fulfilment in Christ: the power of the true Messiah, the power which will never pass away or be destroyed, is not the power of the kingdoms of the earth which rise and fall, but the power of truth and love".

"In the second reading, the author of the Book of Revelation states that we too share in Christ’s kingship. … Here too it is clear that we are speaking of a kingdom based on a relationship with God, with truth, and not a political kingdom. By His sacrifice, Jesus has opened for us the path to a profound relationship with God: in Him we have become true adopted children and thus sharers in His kingship over the world. To be disciples of Jesus, then, means not letting ourselves be allured by the worldly logic of power, but bringing into the world the light of truth and God’s love. ... It is a pressing invitation addressed to each and all: to be converted ever anew to the kingdom of God, to the lordship of God, of Truth".

"To you, dear and venerable Brother Cardinals - I think in particular of those created yesterday - is entrusted this demanding responsibility: to bear witness to the kingdom of God, to the truth. This means working to bring out ever more clearly the priority of God and His will over the interests of the world and its powers. Become imitators of Jesus, who, before Pilate, in the humiliating scene described by the Gospel, manifested His glory: that of loving to the utmost, giving His own life for those whom He loves. This is the revelation of the kingdom of Jesus".


Vatican City, 25 November 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, following his concelebration of the Eucharist with the new cardinals, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to recite the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope began by recalling that the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which closes the liturgical year, "summarises the mystery of Jesus, 'first born from the dead and the ruler of all the powers of the earth'".

"The entire mission of Jesus and the content of His message consists in proclaiming the Kingdom of God and establishing it among men through signs and wonders", the Pope said. "But, as Vatican Council II observes, 'the Kingdom is first manifested in the very person of Christ', a kingdom He founded through His death on the cross and resurrection, by which He is revealed as the eternal Lord, Messiah and Priest. This Kingdom of Christ has been entrusted to the Church, which is the 'seed' and 'beginning' and has the task of proclaiming it and spreading it among all the nations with the power of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the determined time the Lord will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father and present to Him all those who have lived according to the commandment of love. ... We are all called to extend the salvific work of God, converting to the Gospel and committing ourselves to serving the King Who came not to be served but to serve and give testimony to the truth".

Benedict XVI then invited those present to pray for the six new cardinals, created yesterday, so that "the Holy Spirit may strengthen them in faith and in charity and fill them with His gifts in order that they live their new responsibility as a further commitment to Christ and His Kingdom".

"May the Virgin help all of us to live this present time awaiting the Lord’s return, imploring God, 'Thy Kingdom come', and fulfilling those works of light that bring us ever closer to heaven, aware that, through the troubling vicissitudes of history, God continues to build His Kingdom of love", the Pope concluded.

Following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI mentioned the fact that Maria Troncatti was beatified yesterday in Macas, Ecuador. The new blessed was a religious of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and born in Val Camonica, Italy; she served as a nurse during the World War I, after which she went to Ecuador where she "dedicated herself fully to the service of the people of the forest, evangelisation and human development".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience thirteen prelates of the Episcopal Conference of France, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Jean Pierre Batut and Patrick Le Gal.

- Bishop Yves Boivineau of Annecy.

- Archbishop Philippe Ballot of Chambery, Saint-Jean-de Maurienne et Tarantaise.

- Bishop Jean-Christophe Lagleize of Valence.

- Bishop Francois Blondel of Viviers.

- Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre of Montpellier, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Claude-Joseph Azema.

- Bishop Alain Planet of Carcassonne et Narbonne.

- Bishop Francois Jacolin of Mende.

- Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes.

- Bishop Andre Marceau of Perpignan-Elne.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - In St. Peter's Basilica at 11 a.m. today, Benedict XVI celebrated an ordinary public consistory for the creation of six new cardinals: James Michael Harvey, Bechara Boutros Rai O.M.M., Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Ruben Salazar Gomez and Luis Antonio G. Tagle. Following the new appointments the College of Cardinals will be composed of 211 members of whom 120, being under the age of eighty, are eligible to vote in a conclave for the election of a new Pope.

After the opening prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Father pronounced his homily, following which he solemnly pronounced the the formula of creation of the new cardinals, their names and the diaconate or presbyteral order to which they have been assigned. The new cardinals then recited the Creed and swore their faithfulness and obedience to the Pope and his successors.

Each new cardinal then knelt before the Pope to received his biretta. The Pope said "you must be ready to conduct yourselves with fortitude, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and well-being of the people of God". He then also consigned to them a ring, saying, "Know that with the love of the Prince of the Apostles your love for the Church is reinforced", and he assigned to each one a titular or diaconate church in Rome as a sign of their participation in the Holy Father's pastoral care of Rome. The Pope then handed over the Bull of Creation as cardinal, assigned the title or diaconate and exchanged an embrace of peace with the new members of the College of Cardinals. The cardinals also exchanged such a sign among themselves. The rite concluded with the Prayer of the Faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.

Extracts from Benedict XVI's homily are given below:

"'I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church'. … These words, which the new Cardinals are soon to proclaim in the course of their solemn profession of faith, come from the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed, the synthesis of the Church’s faith that each of us receives at baptism. Only by professing and preserving this rule of truth intact can we be authentic disciples of the Lord. In this consistory, I would like to reflect in particular on the meaning of the word 'catholic', a word which indicates an essential feature of the Church and her mission. … What makes the Church catholic is the fact that Christ in His saving mission embraces all humanity. While during His earthly life Jesus’ mission was limited to the Jewish people, 'to the lost sheep of the house of Israel' from the beginning it was meant to bring the light of the Gospel to all peoples and lead all nations into the kingdom of God".

"This universalist perspective can be seen, among other things, from the way Jesus applied to Himself not only the title 'Son of David', but also 'Son of Man'. … Jesus takes up this rich and complex expression and refers it to Himself in order to manifest the true character of His Messianism: a mission directed to the whole man and to every man, transcending all ethnic, national and religious particularities. And it is actually by following Jesus, by allowing oneself to be drawn into His humanity and hence into communion with God, that one enters this new kingdom proclaimed and anticipated by the Church, a kingdom that conquers fragmentation and dispersal.

"Jesus sends His Church not to a single group, then, but to the whole human race, and thus He unites it, in faith, in one people, in order to save it. … This universal character emerges clearly on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fills the first Christian community with His presence, so that the Gospel may spread to all nations, causing the one People of God to grow in all peoples. … From that day, in the 'power of the Holy Spirit', according to Jesus’ promise, the Church proclaims the dead and risen Lord 'in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth'. The Church’s universal mission does not arise from below, but descends from above, from the Holy Spirit: from the beginning it seeks to express itself in every culture so as to form the one People of God. Rather than beginning as a local community that slowly grows and spreads outwards, it is directed towards a universal horizon, towards the whole: universality is inscribed within it.

"'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation'; 'make disciples of all nations'. With these words, Jesus sends the Apostles to all creation, so that God’s saving action may reach everywhere ... and giving them both a promise and a task: He promises that they will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and He confers upon them the task of bearing witness to Him all over the world, transcending the cultural and religious confines within which they were accustomed to think and live, so as to open themselves to the universal Kingdom of God. At the beginning of the Church’s journey, the Apostles and disciples set off without any human security, purely in the strength of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel and the faith. This is the yeast that spreads round the world, enters into different events and into a wide range of cultural and social contexts, while remaining a single Church. Around the Apostles, Christian communities spring up, but these are 'the' Church which is always the same, one and universal, whether in Jerusalem, Antioch, or Rome".

"Situated within the context and the perspective of the Church’s unity and universality is the College of Cardinals: it presents a variety of faces, because it expresses the face of the universal Church. In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents. She is the Church of Pentecost: amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Given below are the names of the six new cardinals created by Pope Benedict XVI in this morning's consistory, and the titular or diaconate churches assigned to each:

- Cardinal James Michael Harvey, diaconate of San Pio V a Villa Carpegna.

- Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai O.M.M.

- Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, title of San Gregorio VII.

- Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, title of San Saturnino.

- Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, title of San Gerardo Maiella.

- Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, title of San Felice da Cantalice a Centocelle.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

- Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of Los Angeles, U.S.A., as members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

- Fr. William Crean of the clergy of the diocese of Kerry, Ireland, pastor of Cahersiveen and vicar forane, as bishop of Cloyne (area 3,440, population 164,500, Catholics 161,600, priests 118, religious 203), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Tralee, Ireland in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1976. He studied in Ireland and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and has held a number of pastoral roles.

- Msgr. Krzysztof Jakub Wetkowski of the clergy of the archdiocese of Gniezno, Poland, vicar general, as auxiliary of Gniezno (area 8,122, population 669,431, Catholics 651,692, priests 539, religious 328). The bishop-elect was born in Gniezno in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1988. Among other posts he has worked as professor of canon law, master of ceremonies of the cathedral and judge of the metropolitan tribunal.

- Fr. Michael John Zielinski O.S.B. Oliv, as bureau chief at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

- Fr. Edmondo Caruana O. Carm., official of the Vatican Publishing House, as bureau chief of the editorial office of the same organisation.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Ever since the dawn of Christianity, the maritime world has been an effective vehicle for evangelisation. The Apostles and disciples of Jesus were able to go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, partly thanks to maritime navigation; the journeys of St. Paul provide just one example. In this way they undertook their mission to spread the Word of God to 'the ends of the earth'".

With these words Benedict XVI this morning greeted participants in the twenty-third World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The congress focused on themes such as the proclamation of the Gospel to the increasing number of seafarers belonging to the Oriental Churches, assistance to non-Christians and non-believers, and the intensification of ecumenical and inter-religious collaboration.

"Today too the Church sails across the seas to bring the Gospel to all nations, and your presence in ports throughout the world, your daily visits to ships docked in these ports and the fraternal welcome you give to the crews whilst in port are a visible sign of your concern for those who are not able to receive ordinary pastoral care. Nowadays the world of seafaring, with its continual movement of people, must take account of the complex effects of globalisation and, unfortunately, has to face situations of injustice, especially when crews are subject to restrictions on disembarkation, abandoned along with the vessels on which they work, face the threat of piracy at sea or suffer the consequences of illegal fishing. The vulnerability of seafarers, fishermen and sailors must encourage even greater concern on the part of the Church and stimulate the maternal care that, through you, she shows to those you meet in ports and on board ships, or assist during long periods at sea".

Benedict XVI then turned his attention to those who work in the fishing sector and their families, emphasising that more than other groups they have to "face the difficulties of the present time and the uncertainty of a future threatened by the negative effects of climate change and the excessive exploitation of resources. I guarantee the Church will remain close to fishermen who seek dignified and safe working conditions, safeguarding the value of the family and the environment and defending the dignity of each individual".

Finally, citing the Vatican Council II decree "Ad gentes" on the missionary activity of the Church, the Pope encouraged those who work "on the front line of the evangelisation of many men and women of various nationalities in your ports" to be "faithful apostles to the mission of proclaiming the Gospel" and to "show the caring face of the Church who welcomes and draws close also to this group of the People of God", responding "without hesitation to seafarers, who await you on board, in the hope that you may fulfil the deepest longings of their souls and that they may become an active part of the community".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The "King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue" (KAICIID) will be inaugurated on Monday 26 November in Vienna. Its name refers to the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia and has three "founder States": the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Austria and the Kingdom of Spain. The Holy See has accepted the invitation to participate as a "founding observer" and a high level Vatican delegation will attend the inauguration ceremony.

Some questions have been raised regarding the motives and the meaning of the Holy See's adherence to this initiative. The Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. has offered the following clarifications:

"The centre, which will be inaugurated in Vienna on Monday, is a new institution the purpose of which is to foster dialogue among religions and cultures. This goal is to be regarded favourably with a view to fostering understanding and peaceful coexistence among populations, a matter of fundamental urgency for humanity today and in the future. The King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and the Holy Father discussed these aims during their meeting on 6 November 2007 in Vatican City.

"It is important to note that the new centre is not a proprietary institution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but rather an independent international organisation recognised by the United Nations and founded by three States, two of which have centuries-old Christian traditions. It therefore provides an opportunity and space for dialogue, and it is right that the Holy See should avail herself of the opportunity to be present, in order to offer her experience and trusted expertise in the field of inter-religious dialogue. The status of founding observer is most apt to guarantee just such a presence, respecting the nature of the Holy See and permitting the Holy See to express her specific concerns and expectations.

"The Catholic Church is present among the various religions and religious communities on the Board of Directors, which is defined as the motor of the Centre's initiatives, and she will be represented from the outset by Fr. Miguel Ayuso Guixot M.I.I.C., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. This will constitute an important opportunity to present the vision of the Church in matters of dialogue, the human person and vocation, ethics and religion, social relations, justice and peace in a prominent cultural and international context. This has certainly taken place, and continues to do so, in many contexts and on many different occasions, but the variety and pluralism of today's world necessitate a multiplicity of directions and opportunities in which the active and proactive role of the Church may be developed whenever possible.

"Naturally, the Holy See, as a founding observer, will make every effort to express her concerns regarding the effective respect for the basic rights of Christians living in countries with a Muslim majority, in order to promote authentic and integral religious freedom. The new centre in Vienna will offer a suitable space in which these concerns may be raised and heard, and in which appropriate solutions may be found to problems as they arise".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Michel Sleiman, president of the Republic of Lebanon.

- Eight prelates of the Episcopal Conference of France, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Pascal Roland of Belley-Ars.

- Bishop Guy de Kerimel of Grenoble-Vienne.

- Bishop Dominque Lebrun of Saint-Etienne.

- Archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco, Principality of Monaco.

- Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont.

- Bishop Henri Brincard of Le Puy-en-Velay.

- Bishop Bruno Grua of Saint-Flour.

- Fr. Jean-Pierre Millet, diocesan administrator of Moulins.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Jacek Pyl O.M.I., pastor of the parish of St. Michael the Archangel at Tyvriv in the diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, Ukraine, as auxiliary of the diocese of Odessa-Simferopol (area 113,363, population 10,052,000, Catholics 18,211, priests 52, religious 65), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Garwolin, Poland in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1988. He has served as master of novices for his order in Poland, and as superior of the delegation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ukraine.

- Archbishop James Michael Harvey, prefect of the Pontifical Household as archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service will transmit a special bulletin tomorrow for the consistory during which the Holy Father will create six new members of the College of Cardinals.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience President Michel Joseph Martelly of the Republic of Haiti, who 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 focused on the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Haiti. Particular attention was given to the special contribution offered by the Church through her educational, social and charitable institutions, especially following the earthquake that affected the population of Haiti and in the subsequent reconstruction. The discussions concluded with emphasis on the importance of continuing collaboration for the harmonious development of Haitian society.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received participants in the seventeenth Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison Administration.

Speaking English, the Holy Father observed that "matters of criminal justice are continually being brought to the attention of the public and of governments, especially at a time when economic and social inequalities and increasing individualism are feeding the roots of criminality. There is a tendency, though, to limit the debate to the legislative aspect of the question of crime and punishment or to the judicial process. … Less attention is given to the way custodial sentences are carried out. In this regard, alongside the parameter of 'justice', another essential element is respect for human dignity and human rights. Yet this too, while indispensable and unfortunately still far from being observed in many countries, is not enough to safeguard fully the rights of the individual.

"A concrete commitment is needed, not just a statement of principle, in order to bring about the offender’s effective re-education, which is required both for the sake of his own dignity and with a view to his reintegration into society. … If human justice in this area is to look to divine justice and be shaped by that higher vision, the re-educational purpose of the sentence must be regarded not as an ancillary or secondary aspect of the penal system, but rather as its culminating and defining feature.

"In order to 'practise justice', it is not enough that those found guilty of crimes be simply punished: it is necessary that in punishing them, everything possible be done to correct and improve them. When this does not happen, justice is not done in an integral sense. In any event, it is important to avoid giving rise to a situation where imprisonment that fails in its re-educational role becomes counter-educational and paradoxically reinforces rather than overcomes the tendency to commit crime and the threat posed to society by the individual".

The Pope underlined how prison directors and their collaborators in the judicial and social fields can make "a significant contribution, together with all those responsible for the administration of justice in society, towards promoting this 'more genuine' justice that is 'open to the liberating power of love' and is tied to human dignity. … Contact with offenders paying the price for what they have done and the commitment needed to restore dignity and hope to people who in many cases have already suffered marginalisation and scorn call to mind the mission of Christ Himself, Who came to call not the just, but sinners, the privileged recipients of divine mercy".

The Holy Father continued, "Everyone is called to become his brother’s keeper, transcending the homicidal indifference of Cain. You in particular are asked to take custody of people who, in prison conditions, are at greater risk of losing their sense of life’s meaning and the value of personal dignity, yielding instead to discouragement and despair. Profound respect for persons, commitment to the rehabilitation of prisoners, fostering a genuinely educational community: these things are all the more urgent, in view of the growing number of 'foreign prisoners', whose circumstances are often difficult and precarious".

"Particularly important in this regard is the promotion of forms of evangelisation and spiritual care, capable of drawing out the most noble and profound side of the prisoner, awakening his enthusiasm for life and his desire for beauty, so characteristic of people who discover anew that they bear within them the indelible image of God", the Holy Father concluded.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Aula Magna of the Palazzo San Pio X, the Pontifical Academies held their seventeenth public session on the theme "Pulchritudinis fidei testis: the artist, like the Church, is a witness to the beauty of faith". The session was opened by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B read out a message from Benedict XVI to the participants.

In the text the Pope confirms "the desire of the Church to rediscover the joy of common reflection and concerted action, with the aim of restoring the theme of beauty as the focus of attention within ecclesial communities, civil society and the world of culture".

Beauty, continues the Pope, "should be confirmed and expressed in all forms of art, without however detracting from the experience of faith; rather it should freely and openly confront faith in order to draw inspiration and to find subject matter. The beauty of faith, indeed, is never an obstacle to the creation of artistic beauty, as it constitutes in a sense its vital lymph and its ultimate horizon. Indeed, true artists, defined in the Vatican Council II Message to Artists as 'guardians of beauty in the world', by virtue of their special aesthetic sensibility and intuition, are capable of grasping and assimilating the true beauty of faith more deeply than others, and thus expressing and communicating it in their own language.

"In this respect, we can therefore consider the artist as an important witness to the beauty of faith. He is able to participate, through his own specific and original contribution, to the vocation and mission of the Church, especially when, through various forms of artistic expression, he wishes to or is requested to create works of art directly linked to faith and worship, or to the liturgical activity of the Church".

In the Year of Faith, the Pope invites all Christian artists and all those who engage in dialogue with faith to ensure that their artistic development becomes a "complete journey involving all dimensions of human existence, in order to witness more effectively the beauty of faith in Jesus Christ, the image of the glory of God Who illuminates the history of humanity".

The session concluded with the awarding of the pontifical academies annual prize, dedicated this year to the arts and with special emphasis on the fields of painting and sculpture. The prizewinners were the Polish sculptor Anna Gulak and the Spanish painter David Ribes Lopez, while the pontifical medal was presented to the Italian sculptor Jacopo Cardillo.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience four prelates from the Episcopal Conference of France, on their 'ad limina' visit.

- Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon.

- Bishop Benoit Riviere of Autun.

- Bishop Thierry Brac de la Perriere of Nevers.

- Archbishop Yves Patenotre of Sens.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "As the Year of Faith progresses we carry in our hearts the hope of rediscovering our joy at believing and our enthusiasm for communicating the truth of faith to all. … This leads us to discover that our encounter with God brings value to, perfects and elevates that which is true, good and beautiful in mankind", said the Pope in his catechesis during today's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

Faith, he explained, "means knowing God as Love, thanks to His own love. The love of God … opens our eyes and allows us to know all reality beyond the limited horizons of individualism and subjectivism which distort our awareness".

Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to the rationality of faith in God, emphasising that the Catholic tradition "has always rejected the so-called principle of 'fideism', that is, the will to believe against reason. … Indeed, although a mystery, God is not absurd. … If, in contemplating the mystery, reason sees only darkness, this is not because the mystery contains no light, rather because it contains too much. Just as when we turn our eyes directly to the sun, we see only shadow - who would say that the sun is not bright? Faith allows us to look at the 'sun' that is God, because it welcomes His revelation in history. … God has sought mankind and made Himself known, bringing Himself to the limits of human reason".

"At the same time, God, with His grace, illuminates reason and opens up new horizons, immeasurable and infinite. Therefore, faith is a continuous stimulus to seek, never to cease or acquiesce in the inexhaustible search for truth and reality. … Intellect and faith are not foreign or antagonistic to divine Revelation, they are both prerequisites for understanding its meaning, for receiving its authentic message, for approaching the threshold of the mystery. … The Catholic faith is therefore rational and also nurtures trust in human reason. … Knowledge of faith, furthermore, is not contrary to reason. … In the irresistible desire for truth, only a harmonious relationship between faith and reason can show the correct path to God and to self-fulfilment".

"A correct relationship between science and faith is also based on this fruitful interaction between comprehension and belief. Scientific research leads to the knowledge of new truths regarding mankind and the cosmos. The true good of mankind, accessible through faith, indicates the direction his path of discovery must follow. Therefore, it is important to encourage, for example, research which serves life and seeks to combat disease. Investigations into the secrets of our planet and the universe are also important for this reason, in the knowledge that man is placed at the peak of creation, not not in order exploit it senselessly, but rather to protect it and render it inhabitable.

"In this way, faith does not enter into conflict with science but co-operates with it, offering fundamental criteria to ensure it promotes universal good, and asking only that science desist from those initiatives that, in opposition to God's original plan, may produce effects which turn against man himself. Another reason for which it is rational to believe is this: if science is a valuable ally of faith in our understanding of God's plan for the universe, faith also directs scientific progress towards the good and truth of mankind, remaining faithful to that original plan.

"This is why it is vital for man to open himself to faith, and to know God and His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ. The Gospel establishes a new humanism, an authentic 'grammar' of humankind and reality", the Holy Father concluded. "It is rational to believe, as it is our very existence that is at stake".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "I am following with grave concern the escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip", said the Pope during his greetings following today's general audience. "Along with my prayers for the victims and for those who suffer, it is my duty to emphasise once again that hatred and violence are not the solutions to these problems. Furthermore, I endorse the initiatives and efforts of those who are working to promote a ceasefire and negotiations. I also encourage the authorities of both parties to make courageous decisions in favour of peace and to bring an end to a dispute which has negative repercussions throughout the whole of the Middle East, a region riven by excessive conflict and in need of peace and reconciliation".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Following his catechesis at this morning's general audience, the Pope mentioned that today, the liturgical memory of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple, is also "pro orantibus Day", in which the Church shows her support for cloistered religious communities.

"I would like to express my closeness, and that of the entire ecclesial community, to the religious called by the Lord to the contemplative life, and renew my invitation to all Christians to ensure that monasteries receive the necessary spiritual and material support. We owe this to those who consecrate themselves fully to praying for the Church and for the world!"


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Catholic and Muslim Cooperation in promoting justice in the contemporary world" was the theme of the eighth Colloquium of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation (ICRO). The meeting was held in Rome from 19 to 21 November under the joint presidency of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and of Mohammad Bagher Korramshad, president of the ICRO.

A communique released today explains how the theme was divided into four subheadings "from the point of view of Catholics and of Shi'i Muslims: (1) The concept of justice; (2) Justice for the human person; (3) Justice for the different constituents of society, and (4) Justice for the entire human family. The English-language communique goes on: "Both sides expressed their awareness of and concern for current challenges, including the economic crisis, the environmental issue, the weakening of the family as a basic institution of society and threats to world peace. The participants, recognising both areas of commonality and difference, focused on common ground and shared values:

"1. The belief we share in the One God Who created all things gives each of us a holistic understanding of justice. The various spheres of its application are inter-related: personal, communitarian, social, political, economic, cultural and judicial.

"2. Justice as a virtue based on human dignity requires the right exercise of reason and the illumination of God. Recognition of, and respect for, freedom of conscience, inter alia, are conditions of justice in our societies.

"3. The dynamic nature of the concept of justice allows it to be adapted to meet the new challenges of the contemporary world.

"4. The responsibility of religious leaders, institutions and, indeed, every believer to denounce injustice and oppression in all their forms and to promote justice all around the world. We believe that our religions possess resources which can inspire people to work to make justice and peace a reality.

"5. The demand that, for the sake of the promotion of justice in today’s world, Muslims and Christians continue to deepen their understanding of one another through ongoing dialogue and cooperation.

"6. The need to take the fruits of our meeting and communicate them to the people of our respective communities and societies so that they can have a real effect in the world.

"The participants were pleased and honoured to be received at the end of the meeting by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who greeted and encouraged them to continue on the path of an authentic and fruitful dialogue. The next Colloquium, preceded by a preparatory meeting,will take place in Tehran, Iran, in two years".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Yesterday the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Archbishop George Antonysamy, apostolic nuncio in Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone, as archbishop of Madras and Mylapore (area 3,160, population 8,222,000, Catholics 327,329, priests 326, religious 1,782), India. He succeeds Archbishop Malayappan Chinappa S.D.B, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Msgr. Lorenzo Piva and Msgr. Camillus Nimalan Johnpillai, officials of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as bureau chiefs of the same congregation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "L'infanzia di Gesu" ("The Infancy Narratives"), the third volume of Benedict XVI's trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth, will be available in Italian bookshops tomorrow, 21 November. The book, published in Italy by Rizzoli and the Vatican Publishing House, will be released simultaneously in several languages (Italian, German, Croatian, French, English, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish) and in fifty countries; the worldwide print run of the first edition will be more than a million copies. In the coming months, the book will be translated into twenty languages for publication in seventy-two countries.

This morning, in the Vatican's Sala Pio X, the book was presented to the press. The speakers were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Maria Clara Bingemer, professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House; Paolo Mieli, president of Rizzoli (RCS) Publications, and Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office.

The book, defined by its author as a "small antechamber" to the trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth, is 176 pages long and comprises four chapters, an Epilogue and a brief Foreword. A summary of the book is given below:

"The first chapter is dedicated to the genealogies of the Saviour in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which are very different, although both have the same theological and symbolic meaning: the placing of Jesus in history and his true origin as a new beginning of world history.

"The theme of chapter two is the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist and that of Jesus. Rereading the dialogue between Mary and the Archangel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph Ratzinger explains that, through a woman, God 'seeks to enter the world anew'. In order to liberate man from sin, he writes, quoting Bernard of Clairvaux, God needs 'free obedience' to his will. 'In creating freedom, he made himself in a certain sense dependent upon man. His power is tied to the unenforceable yes of a human being'. Thus, only thanks to Mary's assent can the history of salvation begin.

"Chapter three is centred on the event in Bethlehem and the historical context of the birth of Jesus, the Roman Empire under Augustus, which extends from East to West and whose universal dimension allows for the entry into the world of 'a universal Saviour'; 'it is indeed the fullness of time'. The single elements of the story of the birth are dense with meaning: the poverty in which 'he who is truly the first-born of all that is' chooses to reveal himself, and therefore 'the cosmic glory' that envelopes the manger; God's special love for the poor, which manifests itself in the annunciation to the shepherds; and the words of the Gloria, whose translation is controversial.

"The fourth chapter is dedicated to the three Magi, who saw the star of the 'King of the Jews' and who had come to adore the child, and to the flight into Egypt. Here the figures of the 'magoi', reconstructed through a rich range of historical, linguistic and scientific information, are outlined as a fascinating emblem of the inner unrest and search for truth of the human spirit.

"Finally, the Epilogue, with the story - according to the Gospel of Luke - of the last episode in the childhood of Jesus, the last account we have of him before the beginning of his public ministry with his baptism in the Jordan. It is the episode of the three days during the Passover pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, in which twelve-year-old Jesus leaves Mary and Joseph and stays in the Temple to discuss with the rabbis. Jesus, who was growing 'in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man', manifests himself in his nature as true God and, at the same time, true man, who 'thought and learned in human fashion'".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience staff of the publishers of the book "L'infanzia di Gesu" bu Joseph Ratzinger - -Benedict XVI.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Gonzalo Alonso Calzada Guerrero, rector of the major seminary of Celaya, Mexico as auxiliary bishop of Antequera (area 33,648, population 1,477,000, Catholics 1,180,000, priests 183, permanent deacons 24, religious 258), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in San Luis de la Paz, Mexico in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1989. He studied Holy Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and has served in numerous pastoral roles.

- Bishop Marian Chovanec, auxiliary of Nitra, Slovakia as bishop of Banska Bystrica (area 6,750, population 614,800, Catholics 400,500, priests 172, permanent deacons 2, religious 406), Slovakia.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Thomas Boni Yayi, president of the Republic of Benin. The president 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.

During the cordial discussions pleasure was expressed at the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Benin, with particular reference to the Holy Father's apostolic visit there last year. Mention was also made of the positive contribution that the Catholic Church makes to development in the country.

Attention then turned to the question of the value of local cultures in Africa, and to the important role the Church has in educating people in peace and reconciliation. Finally consideration was given to certain regional challenges currently affecting the continent, which are of particular interest to the head of State in his role as president of the African Union.


Vatican City, 18 November 2012 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to recite the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He commented on this Sunday's Gospel, focusing on Jesus' words about the end of time, often considered one of the most difficult texts in the Gospel.

"This difficulty derives from both the content and the language", explained Benedict XVI. "It describes a future that exceeds our own categories of comprehension, and Jesus therefore uses images and words from the Old Testament, but above all, He introduces a new centre, Himself, the mystery of His person, His death and His resurrection. … It is Jesus Himself who connects present and future; the ancient words of the prophets finally find a point of reference in the Nazarene Messiah: He is the true foundation which, amid the world's disorder, remains firm and stable".

"We know that in the Bible the Word of God is the origin of creation. All of creation, starting from the heavenly bodies - the sun, the moon and heavens - obey the Word of God, and exist inasmuch as they are 'called into being' by the Word. This creative power of the Divine Word is concentrated in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, and passes through His human words, the true 'firmament' that guides man's thoughts and actions on earth. Therefore, Jesus does not describe the end of the world, and when He uses apocalyptic images, He does not act as a 'seer'. On the contrary, He wishes to ensure that His disciples in every age remain unmoved by dates and predictions, and gives them instead a more profound understanding, showing them the right path to take, now and in the future, towards eternal life. Everything changes, the Lord reminds us, but the Word of God does not change, and before it each of us is responsible for our own actions. It is on this basis that we will be judged".

"Natural disasters occur in our times too, as, unfortunately, do wars and violence. We too need a stable foundation for our lives and our hopes, especially in view of the relativism that surrounds us. May the Virgin Mary help us to find this stable centre in the person of Christ and His Word", the Pope concluded.

Following the Angelus, in his greetings in several languages the Pope mentioned the fact that Maria Crescencia Perez (1897-1932) had been beatified yesterday in Pergamino, Argentina. She was a religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Orchard and was known as "an example of gentleness inspired by faith. We give thanks to God for her witness", Benedict XVI said.


Vatican City, 18 November 2012 (VIS) - His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, recently elected as the one hundred and eighteenth patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, was enthroned today at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. The ceremony was attended by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who brought a letter from the Holy Father.

In the text, Benedict XVI expresses his hope that the Almighty may grant "abundant spiritual gifts to strengthen you in your new ministry, as you guide the clergy and laity along the paths of holiness, for the good of your people and the peace and harmony of the whole of society".

The Holy Father mentions Tawadros II's predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, his interest in improving relations with other Christian Churches, and his concern that this might "reinforce our hope that one day all the followers of Christ will find themselves united in that love and reconciliation which the Lord so earnestly desires".

He adds, "I pray that the Holy Spirit will sustain you in your ministry, so that the flock entrusted to your care may experience the teaching of the Good Shepherd. May they be blessed with the serenity to offer their valuable contribution to the good of society and the well-being of all their fellow-citizens".

The Pope concludes, "I pray too that the relations between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church will continue to grow closer, not only in a fraternal spirit of collaboration, but also through a deepening of the theological dialogue that will enable us to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Your nation has a long and rich Christian history that cannot be ignored or diminished, which bears eloquent witness to truth", said the Pope in his address to prelates from the Episcopal Conference of France on their five-yearly ad limina visit.

"The Year of Faith helps us to grow in confidence in the intrinsic strength and richness of the evangelical message", observed the Pope. "How many times have we seen that it is precisely the words of faith, those simple and direct words filled with the wisdom of the Divine Word, that best touch our hearts and minds, and best illuminate our decisions? … The Divine Word contains those words, basic convictions and ways of thinking which alone are able to bring hope to the world.

"In society's key debates, the voice of the Church must make itself heard ceaselessly and with determination. This must be achieved with full respect for the French tradition regarding the distinction between the respective spheres of competence of Church and State. It is precisely in this context that the harmony between faith and reason gives you special reassurance: the message of Christ and His Church is not merely a religious identity that demands to be respected as such; it carries also the wisdom that permits us to provide concrete answers to the pressing and sometimes troubling questions of our times. In continuing to exercise the prophetic dimension of your ministry, as you do at present, you bring to these debates the indispensable word of truth, which frees our hearts and opens them to hope".

The Pope went on to praise the many French intellectuals, believers and non-believers, who "are aware of the enormous challenges of our age, where the Christian message is an irreplaceable point of reference", and recalled the vitality of religious and especially monastic communities which "enrich the whole of society, not only the Church" in France. He also mentioned the liturgy and its "contribution to the civilising work" of the Church, emphasising how "respect for its established norms expresses love and fidelity to the faith of the Church. The beauty of her celebrations, far more than innovations and subjective adjustments, constitutes a durable and effective form of evangelisation".

Benedict XVI also turned his attention to the question of transmitting the faith to the young generations. "You are well aware of the challenges in that field", he told the bishops. These challenges include "family and social difficulties associated with the transmission of received faith, those associated with a faith adopted by people as they enter adulthood, or with a break in transmission as when several generations drift away from living faith. There is also the enormous challenge of living in a society which does not always share the teachings of Christ and at times ridicules and marginalises the Church in the attempt to confine her to an exclusively private sphere. To face these immense challenges, the Church needs credible witnesses".

"While remaining aware of the importance of example, you must also find the necessary words and gestures to encourage the faithful to incarnate the 'unity of life'", continued the Pope. "They must feel involved in their faith, that it represents liberation and not a burden, that its coherence is a source of joy and fruitfulness. This also applies to their observance of the moral teaching of the Church, for example in demonstrating the courage to adhere to their Christian convictions - devoid of arrogance but with respect - in the various environments in which they live. In this context, those who are engaged in public life bear special responsibility. Along with bishops, they must be wary of planned legislation which threatens marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of life from conception to death, and the correct guidance of bioethics in harmony with magisterial documents. It is necessary, more than ever, for Christians to follow the path of the common good and to deepen their awareness of the social doctrine of the Church".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI addressed the participants in a conference being held by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) on the theme of "The Hospital, setting for evangelisation: a human and spiritual mission". The Church, he told them, "turns to those who experience pain with a spirit of brotherly participation, inspired by the Spirit of the One Who, through the power of love, restored meaning and dignity to the mystery of suffering.

"With the same sense of hope, the Church also reaches out to healthcare workers and volunteers", the Pope continued. "Yours is a unique mission which requires study, sensitivity and experience. However, for those who choose to work in the world of suffering, experiencing their activity as a 'human and spiritual mission', an additional competence is required, beyond academic qualifications. This is the 'Christian science of suffering', described by the Council as 'the only truth capable of answering the mystery of suffering. … Christ did not do away with suffering. He did not even wish to unveil to us entirely the mystery of suffering. He took suffering upon Himself and this is enough to make you understand all its value'.

"Be experts in this 'Christian science of suffering!' The fact that you are Catholic ... gives you greater responsibility in society and in the Church. … This is a commitment of new evangelisation also in times of economic crisis in which resources are withdrawn from healthcare. Precisely in this context, hospitals and health centres must rethink their role in order to ensure that healthcare remains a universal right to be guaranteed and defended, rather than becoming a mere commodity subject to market laws, and thus a privilege reserved to the few. We must never forget the special attention due to the dignity of the suffering, applying the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity also in the field of healthcare policy".

"It is to be hoped that the language of the 'Christian science of suffering' - of which compassion, solidarity, sharing, abnegation, selflessness and self-giving are a part - becomes the universal lexicon of those who work in the field of healthcare", the Pope emphasised. "From this point of view, hospitals are to be considered as an important location for evangelisation, because where the Church 'is the bearer of the presence of God' she also becomes an 'instrument for the true humanisation of man and the world'. Only by clearly focusing medical and healthcare activities on the well-being of man at his most fragile and defenceless, of man who searches for meaning in the unfathomable mystery of pain, can we conceive of hospitals as a place in which care is a mission and not merely an occupation".

The Holy Father concluded by addressing the sick: "Your silent testimony is an effective sign and instrument of evangelisation for those who assist you and for your families, in the certainty that 'no tear, neither of those who are suffering nor of those who are close to them, is lost before God'".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Benedict XVI addressed a message to the participants in the Portuguese session of the Courtyard of Gentiles, which is being held in Guimaraes and Braga, Portugal, on 16 and 17 November, on the theme of "The value of life".

"Awareness of the sacredness of life … is part of the moral heritage of humankind", writes the Pope. "We are not the chance product of evolution; rather, each of us is the fruit of God's will: He loves us. … God loves every person who, therefore, is unconditionally deserving of life. 'The blood of Christ, while it reveals the grandeur of the Father's love, shows how precious man is in God's eyes, and how priceless the value of his life is'".

"However, in the modern age, man has sought to subtract himself from the creating and redeeming gaze of the Father, looking only to himself and not to divine Power. … In a building without windows, it is man who has to provide air and light; yet even in such a self-constructed world, man seeks God's 'resources', which are thereby transformed into our own products. … We must reopen the windows, look anew upon the vastness of the world, the sky and the earth, and learn to use them in the correct way. The value of life becomes evident only if God exists; therefore it would be good if non-believers could live 'as if God existed'. While they may not have 'the strength to believe', they should live on the basis of this hypothesis. … So many problems exist, but they will not be resolved unless God is placed at the centre … once more visible in the world and crucial to our lives".

"He who opens himself to God does not distance himself from the world and man, but instead finds brothers: in God, the walls that separate us are broken down, we all become brothers, each a part of the other", the Pope concludes.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that Cardinal Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, will take possession of the title of Santi Marcellino e Pietro in Via Labicana 1, Rome, at 7 p.m. on Sunday 25 November.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Ten prelates of the Episcopal Conference of France on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Andre Lacrampe of Besancon.

- Bishop Claude Schockert of Belfort-Montbeliard.

- Bishop Jean-Louis Papin of Nancy.

- Bishop Vincent Jordy of Saint-Claude.

- Bishop Jean-Paul Mathieu of Saint-Die.

- Bishop Francois Maupu of Verdun.

- Archbishop Jean-Pierre Grallet O.F.M. of Strasbourg, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Dollman.

- Bishop Pierre Raffin O.P. of Metz.

- Fr. Daniel Ducasse, diocesan administrator of Pontoise.

- Archbishop Guido Pozzo, almoner of His Holiness.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Nil Yuriy Lushchak O.F.M., professor of philosophy in the major seminary of Uzhorod, Ukraine, as auxiliary of the eparchy of Mukachevo of the Byzantine rite (Catholics 58,000, priests 39, permanent deacons 1, religious 72), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Uzhorod in 1973 and ordained a priest in 1996. He has worked in pastoral service in various parishes within the eparchy of Mukachevo.

On Saturday 17 November it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Msgr. Henryk Ciereszko of the clergy of Bialystok, Poland, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 5,550, population 515,400, Catholics 455,400, priests 393, religious 202). The bishop-elect was born in Hermanowka, Poland in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981. He obtained his doctorate from the Catholic University of Lublin and is currently a teacher in the Seminary of Bialystok, a promoter of justice at the metropolitan tribunal and a member of the presbyteral council.

- Bishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni, auxiliary of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, Italy, as archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia (area 1,185, population 223,130, Catholics 200,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 6, religious 255), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Verucchi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, apostolic nuncio to El Salvador and Belize, as apostolic nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Montenegro.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alassane Ouattara, president of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire. The president 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 discussions emphasised the cordial relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, as well as the convergence of opinions on the contribution the Church makes for the good of the entire country, encouraging peace and promoting human rights, dialogue and national reconciliation, as the only way to favour unity and development. Emphasis was also given to the fruitful collaboration between Church and State in the sectors of healthcare and education, among others. The hope was expressed that the negotiations for an agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire would soon be concluded.

Mention was also made of various regional challenges Africa is currently facing, which are of particular concern to Mr. Ouattara in his role as president of the Economic Community of West African States.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Go and make disciples of all nations!" is the title of the Holy Father's Message for the twenty-eighth World Youth Day 2013, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July 2013. Some excerpts from the English language version of the text are given below:

"Before all else, I invite you once more to take part in this important event. The celebrated statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking that beautiful Brazilian city will be an eloquent symbol for us. Christ’s open arms are a sign of his willingness to embrace all those who come to him, and his heart represents his immense love for everyone and for each of you. Let yourselves be drawn to Christ! Experience this encounter along with all the other young people who will converge on Rio for the next World Youth Day! Accept Christ’s love and you will be the witnesses so needed by our world".

1. A pressing call

"History shows how many young people, by their generous gift of self, made a great contribution to the Kingdom of God and the development of this world by proclaiming the Gospel. Filled with enthusiasm, they brought the Good News of God’s Love made manifest in Christ; they used the means and possibilities then available, which were far inferior to those we have today. … Many young people today seriously question whether life is something good, and have a hard time finding their way. More generally, however, young people look at the difficulties of our world and ask themselves: is there anything I can do? The light of faith illumines this darkness. It helps us to understand that every human life is priceless because each of us is the fruit of God’s love. God loves everyone, even those who have fallen away from him or disregard him. God waits patiently. Indeed, God gave his Son to die and rise again in order to free us radically from evil.

"The Church, in continuing this mission of evangelisation, is also counting on you. … You are the first missionaries among your contemporaries! At the end of the Second Vatican Council – whose fiftieth anniversary we are celebrating this year – the Servant of God Paul VI consigned a message to the youth of the world. … It concluded with the words: 'Build with enthusiasm a better world than what we have today!' This invitation remains timely. We are passing through a very particular period of history. Technical advances have given us unprecedented possibilities for interaction between people and nations. But the globalisation of these relationships will be positive and help the world to grow in humanity only if it is founded on love rather than on materialism. Love is the only thing that can fill hearts and bring people together. God is love. When we forget God, we lose hope and become unable to love others. That is why it is so necessary to testify to God’s presence so that others can experience it. The salvation of humanity depends on this, as well as the salvation of each of us".

2. Become Christ's disciples

"This missionary vocation comes to you for another reason as well, and that is because it is necessary for our personal journey in faith. ... When you proclaim the Gospel, you yourselves grow as you become more deeply rooted in Christ and mature as Christians. Missionary commitment is an essential dimension of faith. We cannot be true believers if we do not evangelise".

"What does it mean to be a missionary? Above all, it means being a disciple of Christ. It means listening ever anew to the invitation to follow him and look to him. … I encourage you to think of the gifts you have received from God so that you can pass them on to others in turn. Learn to reread your personal history. Be conscious of the wonderful legacy passed down to you from previous generations. ... Let us never forget that we are links in a great chain of men and women who have transmitted the truth of the faith and who depend on us to pass it on to others. Being a missionary presupposes knowledge of this legacy, which is the faith of the Church. It is necessary to know what you believe in, so that you can proclaim it".

3. Go forth!

"Jesus sent his disciples forth on mission with this command: "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptised will be saved". To evangelise means to bring the Good News of salvation to others and to let them know that this Good News is a person: Jesus Christ. … The more we know Christ, the more we want to talk about him. The more we speak with Christ, the more we want to speak about him. The more we are won over by Christ, the more we want to draw others to him. … It is the Spirit of love, therefore, who is the driving force behind our mission. The Spirit impels us to go out from ourselves and to "go forth" to evangelise. Dear young people, allow yourselves to be led on by the power of God’s love. Let that love overcome the tendency to remain enclosed in your own world with your own problems and your own habits".

4. Gather all nations

"The risen Christ sent his disciples forth to bear witness to his saving presence before all the nations, because God in his superabundant love wants everyone to be saved and no one to be lost. … Open your eyes and look around you. ...The 'nations' that we are invited to reach out to are not only other countries in the world. They are also the different areas of our lives, such as our families, communities, places of study and work, groups of friends and places where we spend our free time. The joyful proclamation of the Gospel is meant for all the areas of our lives, without exception".

"I would like to emphasise two areas where your missionary commitment is all the more necessary. ... The first is the field of social communications, particularly the world of the internet. ... It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelisation of this ‘digital continent’. … The second area is that of travel and migration. Nowadays more and more young people travel, sometimes for their studies or work, and at other times for pleasure. I am also thinking of the movements of migration which involve millions of people, very often young, who go to other regions or countries for financial or social reasons. Here too we can find providential opportunities for sharing the Gospel".

5. Make disciples!

"Proclaiming Christ is not only a matter of words, but something which involves one’s whole life and translates into signs of love. It is the love that Christ has poured into our hearts which makes us evangelisers. Consequently, our love must become more and more like Christ’s own love. We should always be prepared, like the Good Samaritan, to be attentive to those we meet, to listen, to be understanding and to help. In this way we can lead those who are searching for the truth and for meaning in life to God’s house, the Church, where hope and salvation abide. ... The main way that we have to "make disciples" is through Baptism and catechesis. This means leading the people we are evangelising to encounter the living Christ above all in his word and in the sacraments. In this way they can believe in him, they can come to know God and to live in his grace. … Ask the Holy Spirit for help. The Spirit will show you the way to know and love Christ even more fully, and to be creative in spreading the Gospel".

6. Firm in the faith

"Whenever you feel inadequate, incapable and weak in proclaiming and witnessing to the faith, do not be afraid. evangelisation is not our initiative, and it does not depend on our talents. It is a faithful and obedient response to God’s call and so it is not based on our power but on God’s. … For this reason, I encourage you to make prayer and the sacraments your foundation. Authentic evangelisation is born of prayer and sustained by prayer. We must first speak with God in order to be able to speak about God. ... Find in the Eucharist the wellspring of your life of faith and Christian witness. … Approach the sacrament of Reconciliation frequently. ... Make an effort to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation … Confirmation is, like the Eucharist, a sacrament of mission, for it gives us the strength and love of the Holy Spirit to profess fearlessly our faith. I also encourage you to practise Eucharistic adoration".

"If you follow this path, Christ himself will give you the ability to be completely faithful to his word and to bear faithful and courageous witness to him. At times you will be called to give proof of your perseverance, particularly when the word of God is met with rejection or opposition. In certain areas of the world, some of you suffer from the fact that you cannot bear public witness to your faith in Christ due to the lack of religious freedom. Some have already paid with their lives the price of belonging to the Church. I ask you to remain firm in the faith, confident that Christ is at your side in every trial".

7. With the whole Church

"If you are to remain firm in professing the Christian faith wherever you are sent, you need the Church. No one can bear witness to the Gospel alone. Jesus sent forth his disciples on mission together. … Our witness is always given as members of the Christian community, and our mission is made fruitful by the communion lived in the Church. It is by our unity and love for one another that others will recognise us as Christ’s disciples".

8. "Here I am, Lord!"

"I would ask all of you to hear, in the depths of your heart, Jesus’ call to proclaim his Gospel. As the great statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro shows, his heart is open with love for each and every person, and his arms are open wide to reach out to everyone. Be yourselves the heart and arms of Jesus! Go forth and bear witness to his love! Be a new generation of missionaries, impelled by love and openness to all!"

"This call, which I make to the youth of the whole world, has a particular resonance for you, dear young people of Latin America! During the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Bishops, in Aparecida in 2007, the Bishops launched a "continental mission". Young people form a majority of the population in South America and they are an important and precious resource for the Church and society. … Transmit the enthusiasm of your faith to your contemporaries from all over the world!"

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