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Monday, June 18, 2012


Vatican City, 18 June 2012 (VIS) - A video message from Benedict XVI, transmitted at the end of a Mass attended by thousands of people in Dublin yesterday evening, brought to a close the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress. The Congress - which was held in the Irish capital over the course of last week on the theme: "The Eucharist. Communion with Christ and with One Another" - coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and the choice of theme was associated with that anniversary, as the Holy Father explained in his message, extracts of which are given below.

"From the earliest times the notion of 'koinonia' or 'communio' has been at the core of the Church’s understanding of herself, her relationship to Christ her founder, and the Sacraments she celebrates, above all the Eucharist. Through our Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ’s death, reborn into the great family of the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ; through Confirmation we receive the seal of the Holy Spirit; and by our sharing in the Eucharist, we come into communion with Christ and each other visibly here on earth. We also receive the pledge of eternal life to come.

"The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Vatican Council II, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of His brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and “active participation” has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal. In a changed world, increasingly fixated on material things, we must learn to recognise anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord, which alone can give breadth and depth to our life.

"The Eucharist is the worship of the whole Church, but it also requires the full engagement of each individual Christian in the Church’s mission; it contains a call to be the holy people of God, but also one to individual holiness; it is to be celebrated with great joy and simplicity, but also as worthily and reverently as possible; it invites us to repent of our sins, but also to forgive our brothers and sisters; it binds us together in the Spirit, but it also commands us in the same Spirit to bring the good news of salvation to others.

"Moreover, the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, His body and blood given in the new and eternal covenant for the forgiveness of sins and the transformation of the world. Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores. You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and His blessed Mother to many, many others. Your forebears in the Church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives, how to preach the joy that comes from the Gospel, how to promote the importance of belonging to the universal Church in communion with the See of Peter, and how to pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations. Our Catholic faith, imbued with a radical sense of God’s presence, caught up in the beauty of His creation all around us, and purified through personal penance and awareness of God’s forgiveness, is a legacy that is surely perfected and nourished when regularly placed on the Lord’s altar at the sacrifice of the Mass.

"Thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care. Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to His goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s message. How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the Sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit. The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask Him to touch us deeply. May He who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating his Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us His breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to His love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth.

"My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that the Congress will be for each of you a spiritually fruitful experience of communion with Christ and his Church. At the same time, I would like to invite you to join me in praying for God’s blessing upon the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2016 in the city of Cebu! To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering".


Vatican City, 17 June 2012 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. The Pope commented on the two brief parables in today's Gospel reading: that of the seed which grows while the farmer sleeps, and that of the mustard seed. "Through these images taken from the world of agriculture", he explained, "the Lord presents the mystery of the Word and the Kingdom of God, and indicates the reasons for our hope and our commitment.

"In the first parable, the focus is on the dynamism of the seed which, scattered on the ground, sprouts and grows by itself, whether the farmer sleeps or is awake. ... What supports the farmer in his daily efforts is his trust in the power of the seed and in the goodness of the earth. This parable recalls the mystery ... of God's fruitful work in history. He is Lord of the Kingdom, and man is His humble collaborator who contemplates and is gladdened by the divine creative act, and patiently awaits its fruits. ... Now is the time to sow, and the growth of the seed is guaranteed by the Lord. All Christians, then, know that they must do everything they can, but that the final result depends upon God: this knowledge sustains them in their daily trials, especially in moments of difficulty".

The Holy Father went on to note that the second parable mentions a specific plant, "the mustard seed, which is considered to be the smallest of all seeds". Nonetheless, "despite its diminutive size it is full of life and, when it splits, a shoot is born which is capable of breaking the earth ... and growing until it 'becomes the greatest of all shrubs'. ... Such is the Kingdom of God: small in human terms, ... being made up of those who do not trust in their own strength but in that of God's love, of those who are unimportant in the eyes of the world, yet through them the power of Christ breaks forth and transforms that which is apparently insignificant.

"The image of the seed was particularly dear to Jesus", the Pope added in conclusion, "because it well express the mystery of the Kingdom of God. In today's two parables it represents 'growth' and 'contrast': the growth that comes about thanks to the dynamism intrinsic to the seed itself, and the contrast that exists between the smallness of the seed and the greatness it produces. The message is clear: the Kingdom of God, though it requires our collaboration, is above all a gift of God, a grace which precedes man and his works. Our weak strength, apparently impotent before the problems of the world, if united to that of God fears no obstacles, because the victory of the Lord is certain".


Vatican City, 17 June 2012 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope made some remarks about World Refugee Day, an initiative promoted by the United Nations which is celebrated on 20 June. "It seeks to draw the attention of the international community to the situation of so many people, especially families, who are forced to flee their own lands because threatened by armed conflict and serious forms of violence", the Holy Father said. "I assure these severely tried brothers and sisters of the Holy See's prayers and constant solicitude, at the same time expressing the hope that their rights may always be respected and that they may soon be able to be reunited with their loved ones".

The Pope went on: "Today in Ireland marks the closing celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress which, over the last week, has made Dublin the city of the Eucharist, as many people gathered in prayer in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus chose to remain among us in the mystery of the Eucharist, to bring us into communion with Him and with one another", he said.

Finally the Holy Father mentioned Cecilia Eusepi, who will be beatified this afternoon in the Italian town of Nepi. "She wanted to become a missionary, but was forced to abandon her convent due to illness" and died at the age of eighteen. "Her faith was unshakeable, and she showed a great capacity to sacrifice herself for the salvation of souls".


Vatican City, 16 June 2012 (VIS) - In a communique made public today the International Theological Commission announces that it has updated its webpage. The page is to be found on the Vatican website (www.vatican.va) under the section dedicated to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The International Theological Commission, established by Paul VI in 1969, assists the Holy See, and in particular the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in examining the most important and pressing doctrinal issues. It is made up of theologians from various schools and nations, who stand out for their depth of knowledge and their fidelity to Church Magisterium. The members of the Commission - who number no more than thirty - are appointed by the Holy Father for a period of five years, at the suggestion of the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and after consulting episcopal conferences. Over the course of its history the Commission has, with the approval of its president, published twenty-five documents.

The new webpage opens with a brief historical overview of the institution (Profile), followed by the provisional Statutes of 12 July 1969 and the definitive Statues of 6 August 1982 (Statutes). The page also contains a listing of members of the Commission (List of the Members).

The most important part of the page is the collection of the twenty-five documents published by the Commission. Most of them are in seven languages - French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Latin and Polish - although some are also available in Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Russian and Czech. This collection is due to expand as new language versions of the texts are produced (Published Documents).

The webpage contains information about collected editions of the documents in various languages, as well as a list of papal addresses made to the members of the Commission (Pontifical Speeches). A further section (Documents) includes various contributions relative to the work and publications of the Commission, especially comments and clarifications.

The Commission hopes that the renewed webpage may help and stimulate consultation of documents, first and foremost by pastors, theologians, priests and consecrated persons, as well as students and other faithful throughout the world, particularly in places where it is not easy to access publications of those texts.


Vatican City, 18 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Eduardo Gutierrez Saenz de Buruaga, the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana, Cuba.

- Ten prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio.

- Bishop Jose Figueroa Gomez of Granada en Colombia.

- Bishop Francisco Antonio Nieto Sua of San Jose del Guaviare.

- Bishop Antonio Bayter Abud M.X.Y., apostolic vicar of Inirida.

- Msgr. Damian E. Chavarria Carvajal, pro apostolic vicar of Mitu.

- Bishop Jose de Jesus Quintero Diaz, apostolic vicar of Leticia.

- Bishop Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar, apostolic vicar of Puerto Carreno.

- Msgr. Oswaldo Jaramillo Osorio, pro apostolic vicar of Puerto Gaitan.

- Bishop Eulises Gonzalez Sanchez, apostolic vicar of San Andres y Providencia.

- Bishop Edgar Hernando Tirado Mazo M.X.Y., apostolic vicar of Tierradentro.

On Saturday 16 June the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Fernado Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

- Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Flavio Calle Zapata of Ibague.

- Bishop Pablo Emiro Sales Anteliz of Espinal.

- Bishop Jose Miguel Gomez Rodriguez of Libano-Honda.

- Bishop Froilan Tiberio Casas Ortiz of Neiva.

- Bishop Francisco Javier Munera Correa I.M.C., apostolic vicar of San Vicente - Puerto Leguizamo.

- Msgr. Obed Ramirez Granada, diocesan administrator of Florencia.

- Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".


Vatican City, 16 June 2012 (VIS) - The Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, with the consent of the Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church meeting pursuant to canon 85 paragraph 2 (2) of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, has transferred:

- Bishop Camille Zaidan, bishop of the Patriarchal Curia, to the office of archbishop of Antelias of the Maronites (Catholics 156,028, priests 162, religious 353), Lebanon. He succeeds Archbishop Youssef Bechara, who resigned from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese in accordance with canon 210 para. 1-2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- Bishop Francois Eid O.M.M., eparchal vicar of Cairo, Egypt, and of Sudan of the Maronites, to the office of patriarchal procurator before the Holy See, having received prior pontifical assent. Bishop Eid will receive the tile of eparchal bishop emeritus of his former eparchy, under the terms of canon 211 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

The Synod of Bishops of the Maronite Church has elected the following archbishops and bishops, all of whom have received prior assent from the Holy Father:

- Fr. Moussa El-Hage O.A.M., superior of the convent of Sts. Sarkis and Bacchus in Edhen and Zghorta, as archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land of the Maronites (Catholics 7,000, priests 11, religious 9), Israel, and as patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem and Palestine (Catholics 504, permanent deacons 1) and Jordan (Catholics 1,500, priests 2). The bishop-elect was born in Antoura, Lebanon in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1980. He studied in Jerusalem and in Rome and has held various offices in his religious order as well as being active in pastoral work and education. He succeeds Archbishop Paul Nabil El-Sayah, who had earlier resigned from the pastoral care of those circumscriptions to take up the office of bishop of the Patriarchal Curia.

- Fr. Paul Rouhana O.L.M., secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, as bishop of the patriarchal vicariate of Sarba, Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Amchit, Lebanon in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982. He studied in Belgium and in France and been active in education at "Saint Esprit" University in Kaslik. He succeeds Bishop Guy-Paul Noujaim, who resigned from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese in accordance with canon 210 para. 1-2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- Fr. Maroun Ammar, rector of the major seminary of Ghazir, as bishop of the patriarchal vicariate of Joubbe, Lebanon. The bishop-elect was born in Haje, Lebanon in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1983. He has served as pastor in various parishes and is a judge at the Court of Appeal of the Maronite Tribunal of Lebanon. He succeeds Bishop Francis Baissari, who resigned from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese in accordance with canon 210 para. 1-2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

- Fr. Joseph Mouawad, vicar general of the eparchy of Jbeil-Byblos, Lebanon, as bishop of the Patriarchal Curia. The bishop-elect was born in Mayfouq, Lebanon in 1970 and ordained a priest in 1995. He studied in Rome and has been active in pastoral work, as well as teaching theology at "La Sagesse" University in Beirut and "Saint Esprit" University in Kaslik.

- Fr. Georges Chihane, patriarchal administrator of Haifa and the Holy Land of the Maronites, Israel, and patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem, Palestine and Jordan, as eparchal vicar of Cairo, Egypt and Sudan of the Maronites (Catholics 5,500, priests 6, religious 3). The bishop-elect was born in Haret Sakhr, Lebanon in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1979. He has served as pastor in various parishes in Lebanon, France and Jordan.
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