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Thursday, February 16, 2012


Vatican City, 16 February 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father visited the Major Seminary of Rome for the occasion of the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust, which falls on Saturday. The Holy Father visited the chapel before going on to meet with auxiliary bishops of Rome, superiors of diocesan seminaries and 190 seminarians.

Following the reading of the Gospel, Benedict XVI pronounced a "lectio divina" on the passage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans in which the Apostle invites the faithful not to conform to this world but to transform themselves and renew their minds in order to discern the will of God, "the good and acceptable and perfect".

"We can reflect upon the Church today", he said in his off-the-cuff remarks. "There is much talk about the Church of Rome, many things are said. Let us hope that people also talk about our faith. Let us pray to God that it may be so".

The Pope then went on to refer to the force of evil which, in today's world, also emerges "in two great powers which are good and useful in themselves but easily open to abuse: the power of finance and the power of the media. Both are necessary, both are useful, but so subject to misuse that they often go against their true goals".

Today "we see how the world of finance can dominate mankind. Possession and appearance dominate and enslave the world. ... Finance is no longer a tool to promote well being and to support the life of man, but a force that oppresses him, one which almost has to be worshipped". The Pontiff called on his audience not to conform to this power. "Be non conformists. What counts is not possession but existence", he said. Christians must not bow to this power, but use it as "as a means, with the freedom of the children of God".

Turning then to consider the question of public opinion, Benedict XVI highlighted how "we have a great need of information, knowledge about the truth of the world; but there is a power of appearance which in the end counts even more than reality itself". Appearance "overlies the truth and becomes more important. Man no longer pursues the truth but wants above all to appear". Here too "there is a Christian non conformism. ... We want not appearance but truth, and this will give us true freedom".

"Christian non conformism redeems us and restores us to truth. Let us pray to the Lord that He may help us to be free in this non conformism, which is not against the world but is authentic love for the world".


Vatican City, 16 February 2012 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican Benedict XVI received participants in the Second Symposium of European and African Bishops, which began on 13 February and is examining the theme of "Evangelisation today: pastoral communion and cooperation between Africa and Europe". The event will come to an end tomorrow with a pilgrimage to the Italian shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppello.

"For the Church in Europe", the Pope said, "the encounter with the Church in Africa is always a moment of grace, because of the hope and joy with which ecclesial communities in Africa live and communicate their faith. ... Moreover, it is a pleasure to see how the Church in Africa, though experiencing so many difficulties and having such need of peace and reconciliation, is open to sharing her faith".

In the relationship between the two Churches, bishops must "take account of the fundamental bond between faith and charity, because these two aspects illuminate one another in their truth. Charity favours openness towards modern men and women in their concrete reality, in order to bring them to Christ and His love for each individual and each family, especially those who are poor and alone".

The Holy Father also turned his attention to the difficulties facing the prelates, including religious indifference "which causes many people to live as if God did not exist, or to make do with a vague religiosity incapable of measuring up against the question of truth or the requirement to be coherent". In the same context he also mentioned "the influence of a secularised environment often hostile to Christian faith" and "hedonism which has helped to make the crisis of values penetrate into daily life". Another symptom of "serious social malaise is the spread of pornography and prostitution". However, "these things must not discourage you", he told the bishops. "Rather, they should be a reason for renewed commitment and hope; the hope that arises from the awareness that ... the risen Christ is always with us".

Benedict XVI reiterated the central role the family plays in pastoral care, because it is "the firmest guarantee for the renewal of society. The family conserves usages, traditions, customs and rites impregnated with faith, and is fertile terrain in which vocations can flower". In this context he invited the participants in the symposium "to pay particular attention to the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

"The family is also the forge of youth", the Pope added. "Europe and Africa have need of young people who are generous, who can take responsibility for their own future. At the same time, all the institutions must be aware that young people are the keys to the future and that everything must be done to ensure their journey is not hindered by uncertainty and darkness".

"The cultural dimension is also important in the formation of young people", the Holy Father went on. "The Church respects all discoveries of truth, because all truth comes from God, but she knows that the gaze of faith fixed upon Christ opens man's mind and heart to the First Truth, which is God. Thus culture nourished by faith leads to authentic humanisation, while false cultures end up by leading to dehumanisation: we have seen sad examples of this in Europe and in Africa".

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks: "Your symposium has given you the chance to reflect upon the problems of the Church on the two continents. Certainly there is no lack of difficulties, and some of them are great; yet they are also proof that the Church is alive, that she is growing and is unafraid to carry out her evangelising mission. To do this, she needs the prayer and commitment of all the faithful. ... As pastors, however, you have a particular responsibility. ... The moral authority and the prestige that uphold the exercise of your juridical power can only come from the holiness of your life".


Vatican City, 16 February 2012 (VIS) - The Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met in the Vatican on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 February under the presidency of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Governorate of Vatican City State, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and Vatican Radio. Reports were read out concerning the consolidated budget of the Holy See and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and the gathering was addressed by Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

According to a communique released this morning, the cardinals present intervened, "expressing their pleasure at the forecast results but not failing to make known their concern at the prevailing general crises, which has not spared even the general economic system of the Vatican. This is evident above all as regards the Holy See, which receives indispensable subsidisation from the free offerings of the faithful. The members of the Council expressed their profound gratitude for the support the faithful give, often anonymously, to the universal ministry of the Holy Father, and exhorted them to continue this good work. Moreover, it was recognised that there is an ongoing commitment to improve the administration of the goods and resources of the Holy See".


Vatican City, 16 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Budiarman Barar, the new ambassador of Indonesia to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- Daniel Edgardo Ramada Piendibene, the new ambassador of Uruguay to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Argentina.

- Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany.


Vatican City, 16 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Luciano Russo as apostolic nuncio to Rwanda.

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