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Saturday, January 7, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - "It is with great joy that I announce my intention to hold a concistory on 18 February, in which I will appoint twenty-two new members of the College of Cardinals". With these words, addressed to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus, Benedict XVI today announced the fourth consistory of his pontificate.

  "As is well known", he explained, "cardinals have the task of helping Peter's Successor carry out his mission to confirm people in the faith and to be the source and foundation of the Church's unity and communion". The new cardinals "come from various parts of the world and perform various ministries in the service of the Holy See, in direct contact with the faithful as fathers and pastors of particular Churches".

  Eighteen of the new cardinals, being under the age of eighty, will be electors. Their names are:

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

 - Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, penitentiary major.

 - Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major.

 - Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

 - Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

 - Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

 - Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

 - Archbishop Edwin Frederick O'Brien, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

 - Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

 - Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

 - Major Archbishop George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India.

 - Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada.

 - Archbishop Dominik Jaroslav Duka, O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic.

 - Archbishop Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht, Holland.

 - Archbishop Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy.

 - Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of New York, U.S.A.

 - Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin, Germany.

 - Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, China.

  The Holy Father also pronounced the names of four new cardinals who, being over the age of eighty, are ineligible to vote in a future conclave. "I have", the Pope said, "decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal a venerable prelate who serves as pastor and father of a Church, and three worthy priests who have distinguished themselves for their dedication and service". They are:

 - Major Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians, Romania.

 - Fr. Julien Ries, priest of the diocese of Namur and professor emeritus of religious history at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

 - Fr. Prosper Grech, O.S.A., professor emeritus of several Roman universities and consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Fr. Karl Josef Becker, S.J., professor emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian University and for many years consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  In closing the Pope invited the faithful to pray for the new cardinals, "asking the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to intercede that they may always bear courageous and dedicated witness of their love for Christ and His Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. today, the Pope presided at Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. During the ceremony he conferred episcopal ordination upon archbishops-elect Msgr. Charles John Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, and Msgr. Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio to Georgia and Armenia. The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the two new archbishops.

  In his homily the Holy Father reflected on today's Gospel reading, the narrative of the Magi who came from the East to Bethlehem to adore the Baby Jesus, which he compared with the mission of bishops in the Church.

  "The wise men from the East ... open up the path of the gentiles to Christ. During this holy Mass, I will ordain two priests to the episcopate, I will consecrate them as shepherds of God's people. According to the words of Jesus, part of a shepherd's task is to go ahead of the flock. So, allowing for all the differences in vocation and mission, we may well look to these figures, the first gentiles to find the pathway to Christ, for indications concerning the task of bishops".

  The Magi "were, as we might say, men of science, but not simply in the sense that they were searching for a wide range of knowledge: they wanted something more. ... They were men with restless hearts, not satisfied with the superficial and the ordinary. They were men in search ... of God, ... watchful men, capable of reading God's signs, His soft and penetrating language. But they were also courageous, yet humble: we can imagine them having to endure a certain amount of mockery for setting off to find the King of the Jews, at the cost of so much effort. For them it mattered little what this or that person, what even influential and clever people thought and said about them. For them it was a question of truth itself, not human opinion. Hence they took upon themselves the sacrifices and the effort of a long and uncertain journey. Their humble courage was what enabled them to bend down before the child of poor people and to recognise in Him the promised King, the One they had set out, on both their outward and their inward journey, to seek and to know".

  "How can we fail to recognise in all this certain essential elements of episcopal ministry? The bishop too must be a man of restless heart, not satisfied with the ordinary things of this world, but inwardly driven by his heart's unrest to draw ever closer to God, to seek His face, to recognise Him more and more, to be able to love Him more and more. The bishop too must be a man of watchful heart, who recognises the gentle language of God and understands how to distinguish truth from mere appearance. The bishop too must be filled with the courage of humility, not asking what prevailing opinion says about him, but following the criterion of God's truth and taking his stand accordingly. ... He must be able to go ahead and mark out the path, ... in the footsteps of Him who went ahead of us all because He is the true shepherd: ... Jesus Christ. And he must have the humility to bend down before the God Who made Himself so tangible and so simple that He contradicts our foolish pride in its reluctance to see God so close and so small.

  "The liturgy of episcopal ordination interprets the essential features of this ministry in eight questions addressed to the candidates. ... These questions direct the will and mark out the path to be followed. Here I shall briefly cite just a few of the most important words of this presentation, where we find explicit mention of the elements we have just considered in connection with the wise men of today's feast. ... Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, going ahead and leading, guarding the sacred heritage of our faith, showing mercy and charity to the needy and the poor, thus mirroring God's merciful love for us, and finally, praying without ceasing: these are the fundamental features of the episcopal ministry. Praying without ceasing means: never losing contact with God, letting ourselves be constantly touched by Him in the depths of our hearts. ... Only someone who actually knows God can lead others to God".

  "Our heart is restless for God and remains so, even if every effort is made today, by means of most effective anaesthetising methods, to deliver people from this unrest. But not only are we restless for God: God's heart is restless for us. God is waiting for us. He is looking for us. He knows no rest either, until He finds us. ... That is why He set out on the path towards us, to Bethlehem, to Calvary, from Jerusalem to Galilee and on to the very ends of the earth. God ... looks out for people willing to 'catch' His unrest, His passion for us, people who carry within them the searching of their own hearts. ... This was the task of the Apostles: to receive God's unrest for man and then to bring God Himself to man. And this is your task as successors of the Apostles".

  "The wise men followed the star. ... The wise men from the East, ... like all the saints, have themselves gradually become constellations of God that mark out the path. ... The saints are stars of God, by whom we let ourselves be led to Him for Whom our whole being longs. ... As you are ordained bishops, you too are called to be stars of God for men, leading them along the path towards the true light, towards Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below. During his remarks he announced a forthcoming consistory, due to be held on 18 February, for the creation of twenty-two new cardinals.

  Introducing the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI explained that the Epiphany "is an ancient feast, which ... highlights the mystery of Christ's manifestation to all peoples, represented by the Magi who came to adore the newborn King of the Jews in Bethlehem, as the Gospel of St. Matthew says".

  "The entire period of Christmas and Epiphany is characterised by the theme of light", the Pope explained. "Jesus is the sun which rose on the horizon of humankind to illuminate the individual life of each one of us and guide us, all together, towards the goal of our pilgrimage, towards the land of freedom and peace in which we will forever live in full communion, with God and among ourselves".

  The announcement of this mystery of salvation was entrusted by Christ to His Church. "The world, with all its resources, is unable to give humanity the light to guide it on its journey. This is clear also in our own day, when Western society seems to have lost direction and is feeling its way forward. Yet the Church, thanks to the Word of God, sees beyond these shadows. She does not possess technical solutions but she has her gaze turned to the final destination offering the light of the Gospel to all men and women of good will, of whatever nation or culture".

  After the Angelus prayer, the Pope expressed his congratulations to the Eastern Churches which, in accordance with the Julian calendar, will celebrate Christmas tomorrow. "May each family and each community be filled with the light and peace of Christ the Saviour", he said.

  He also recalled the fact that the Epiphany coincides with the Day of Missionary Children. "Dear children and young people", he said, "may your hearts, like the heart of Jesus, be open to the world. Yet also remain attentive to those who live near you and be ready to extend a hand to them".

  Finally the Pope addressed greetings in a number of languages to the pilgrims gathered below his window. Speaking to Polish faithful he said: "To your prayers I entrust a countryman of yours [Marek Solczynski], a new nuncio who received episcopal ordination this morning".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a Note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith containing pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith. Summarised extracts of the English-language version are given below.

 "With the Apostolic Letter of 11 October 2011, 'Porta fidei', Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith. This Year will begin on 11 October 2012, … and will conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King".

  "The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with the anniversaries of two great events which have marked the life of the Church in our days: the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, … and the twentieth of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church".

Recommendations for the Universal Church

 - The main ecclesial event will be the thirteenth General Assembly of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops, on "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" to be held in October. It is during the Synod that the Year of Faith will begin.

 - Encouraging pilgrimages of the faithful to the See of Peter and to the Holy Land.

 - Inviting the faithful to recognise the special role of Mary in the mystery of salvation, to love her and follow her as a model of faith and virtue.

 - Holding symposia, conferences and large gatherings to encourage encounters with authentic witness to the faith and to promote understanding of the contents of Catholic doctrine, especially the teachings of Vatican Council II.

 - Deepening knowledge of the primary documents of Vatican Council II and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is especially true for candidates for priesthood, novices in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as for those in a period of discernment for joining an Ecclesial Association or Movement.

 - More attentive reception of the homilies, catechesis, addresses and other speeches and documents of the Holy Father.

 - Planning ecumenical initiatives aimed at the restoration of unity among all Christians. In particular, there will be a solemn ecumenical celebration in which all of the baptised will reaffirm their faith in Christ.

 - A Secretariat to coordinate all of the different initiatives of the Year of Faith will be established within the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. The Secretariat will also open a dedicated website.

 - At the conclusion of the Year, on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, there will be a Eucharist celebrated by the Holy Father, in which a solemn renewal of the profession of faith will take place.

Recommendations for episcopal conferences

 - Dedicating a day of study to the topic of faith, its personal witness and its transmission to new generations.

 - Promoting the republication in paperback and economical editions of the documents of Vatican Council II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, and their wider distribution using modern technologies.

 - Translating the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church into languages which lack a translation. Also, encouraging initiatives of charitable support to enable translations into the local languages of mission countries, where the local Churches cannot afford the expense.

 - Promoting television and radio transmissions, films and publications focusing on the faith and on Vatican Council II. This should be done using the new styles of communication, especially on the popular level.

 - Disseminating knowledge of local saints and blesseds, the authentic witnesses of the faith.

 - Maximising the catechetical potential of local artistic patrimony, possibly with ecumenical cooperation.

 - Educators in centres of theological studies, seminaries and Catholic universities should be encouraged to demonstrate the relevance within their various disciplines of the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 - Preparing pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature, with the help of theologians and authors, to help the faithful respond to the questions which arise in difficult contexts, including the challenge of sects and problems related to secularism.

 - Examining local catechisms and various catechetical supplements in use in the particular Churches to ensure their complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and preparing new ones in case of need.

 - Ensuring that the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are present in the "Ratio" of formation for future priests, and in the curriculum of their theological studies.

Recommendations at the diocesan level

 - It is hoped that each particular Church will celebrate the opening and the solemn conclusion of the Year of Faith.

 - Organising a study day in each diocese on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, particularly for priests, consecrated persons and catechists.

 - Each bishop could devote a pastoral letter to the topic of faith, keeping in mind the specific pastoral circumstances of his faithful, reminding them of the importance of Vatican Council II and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 - Organising catechetical events, especially for young people and those seeking the meaning of life, helping them to discover the beauty of ecclesial faith.

 - Reviewing the reception of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the life and mission of dioceses, particularly in the realm of catechesis.

 - Focusing the continuing education of the clergy on the documents of Vatican Council II and on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 - Organising penitential celebrations in which all can ask for God's forgiveness, especially for sins against faith.

 - Renewing creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities.

 - Promoting encounters with non-believers who sincerely search for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world, taking as an example the dialogues of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

 - Paying greater attention to Catholic schools, which are a perfect place to offer students a living witness to the Lord and to nurture their faith, using such instruments as the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and "Youcat".

Recommendations for parishes, communities, associations and movements

 - All of the faithful are invited to read closely and meditate upon Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter, "Porta fidei".

 - Intensifying the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, in which the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness.

 - Priests should devote greater attention to the study of the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, apply this to their pastoral care and offer cycles of homilies on the faith or on certain specific aspects.

 - Catechists should hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and guide groups of faithful towards a deeper common understanding thereof.

 - Parishes can help to distribute the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other resources appropriate for families - the primary setting for the transmission of the faith - for example, during the blessing of homes, the Baptism of adults, Confirmation and Marriage.

 - Promoting missions and other popular programmes in parishes and in the workplace, to help the faithful rediscover the gift of baptismal faith and the task of giving witness.

 - Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life are asked to work towards the new evangelisation, each according to their proper charism.

 - Contemplative communities should pray specifically for the renewal of the faith among the People of God, and for a new impulse for its transmission to the young.

 - Associations and Ecclesial Movements are invited to promote specific initiatives, through the contribution of their proper charism.

 - All of the faithful should try to communicate their own experience of faith and charity to their brothers and sisters of other religions, believers and non-believers. In this way, it is hoped that the entire Christian people will begin a kind of mission towards those with whom they live and work.

  The Note concludes by stating that "the recommendations provided here have the goal of inviting all of the members of the Church to work so that this Year may be a special time in which we, as Christians, may share that which is most dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

 - Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome.

 - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

 - Archbishop Charles John Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Archbishop Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio to Georgia and Armenia, accompanied by members of his family.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Henry Aruna of the clergy of Kenema, Sierra Leone, secretary general of the Inter-territorial Catholic Bishops' Conference of The Gambia and Sierra Leone, as bishop of Makeni (area 36,100, population 1,800,000, Catholics 50,000, priests 59, religious 43), Sierra Leone. The bishop-elect was born in Kenema in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1993. He studied in Liberia, Rome and Sierra Leone and has worked in pastoral care and education. He succeeds Bishop George Biguzzi S.X., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. John Oballa Owaa, rector and professor of the national major seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Nairobi, Kenya, as bishop of Ngong (area 47,000, population 1,011,000, Catholics 83,247, priests 53, religious 183), Kenya. The bishop-elect was born in Kisumu, Kenya in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986. He studied in Kenya and in Rome where he also worked as an official of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

 - Appointed Fr. Serge Thomas Bonino O.P., secretary general of the International Theological Commission, as a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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