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Monday, October 8, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The passion for announcing Christ to the world and the knowledge that God acts in the Church were the two key themes of the brief remarks addressed this morning by Benedict XVI to the Synod Fathers at the opening of the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is to examine the subject of new evangelisation.

The Pope explained how the question as to whether God is real is as urgent today as it was in the past. With the Gospel God broke His silence, He spoke to us and entered into history. Jesus is His Word, the God Who showed that He loved us, Who suffered with us even unto death, then rose again.

This, the Holy Father went on, is the Church’s response to that great question. Yet there is another question: how to communicate this truth to the men and women of our time, that they might learn of salvation? "We cannot make the Church", he said, "we can only make known what He did. The Church did not begin with our actions but with the actions and word of God".

Having recalled how the Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, while gathered in prayer in the Upper Room, Benedict XVI went on: "The fact, then, that each synodal assembly begins with prayer is no mere formality; rather, it is evidence of our awareness that the initiative is always God's: we may implore it, but the Church can only cooperate with God".

Having achieved this awareness, the second step is "confession"; that is, bearing witness even in dangerous situations. It is precisely such witness in moments of difficulty that is a guarantee of credibility, because it implies a readiness to give our lives for that in which we believe.

Yet, confession requires a visible form, a 'clothing'. This, the Pope explained, is charity; the most powerful force, which must burn in the hearts of Christians. Faith, he concluded, must become a flame of love within us, a flame which burns in our lives and is propagated to our neighbours. This is the essence of evangelisation.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office in response to an article which appeared in the Italian daily "Il Messaggero", concerning alleged irregularities in the Fabric of St. Peter's, which administers the Vatican Basilica.

"Regarding an article which appeared in 'Il Messaggero' on 8 October 2012, entitled 'The Fabric of St. Peter's: combing through the accounts', the Holy See Press Office having duly acquired the relevant information, states:

"(1) There is no pending dossier lying on the desk of the Secretary of State concerning the accounts of the Fabric of St. Peter's.

"(2) All the accounts of the Fabric of St. Peter's have been submitted for examination by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and have always been approved by the Secretariat of State.

"(3) The article in question is entirely misinformed".


Vatican City, 7 October 2012 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI proclaimed St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Universal Church. He then went on to preside at a Eucharistic celebration during which he inaugurated the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the theme of which is "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith". The Mass was concelebrated by the Synod of Fathers and by the presidents of the German and Spanish episcopal conferences.

"Evangelisation always has as its starting and finishing points Jesus Christ, the Son of God", said the Pope in his homily. "And the Crucified One is the supremely distinctive sign of he who announces the Gospel: a sign of love and peace, a call to conversion and reconciliation".

"The Church exists to evangelise", he went on. "Faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ’s command, His disciples went out to the whole world to announce the Good News, spreading Christian communities everywhere. With time, these became well organised Churches with many faithful. ... Even in our own times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the Church a new effort to announce the Good News, a pastoral and spiritual dynamism which found a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Such renewed evangelical dynamism produces a beneficent influence on the two specific 'branches' developed by it, that is, on the one hand the 'Missio ad Gentes' or announcement of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and His message of salvation, and on the other the new evangelisation, directed principally at those who, though baptised, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to Christian life.

"The Synodal Assembly which opens today is dedicated to this new evangelisation, to help these people encounter the Lord, Who alone fills existence with deep meaning and peace; and to favour the rediscovery of the faith, that source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life".

The Holy Father then turned his attention to the theme of marriage, which was the subject of today's Gospel and first reading, noting that it "deserves special attention", because "it invites us to be more aware of a reality, already well known but not fully appreciated: that matrimony is a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today, especially the de- Christianised world. The union of a man and a woman, their becoming 'one flesh' in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which in our days has become greater because unfortunately, for various reasons, marriage, in precisely the oldest regions evangelised, is going through a profound crisis. And it is not by chance. Marriage is linked to faith, but not in a general way. Marriage, as a union of faithful and indissoluble love, is based upon the grace that comes from the Triune God, Who in Christ loved us with a faithful love, even to the Cross. ... There is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage. And, as the Church has said and witnessed for a long time now, marriage is called to be not only an object but a subject of the new evangelisation".

Before then going on to refer to the newly proclaimed Doctors of the Church, the Pope reminded the faithful that "one of the important ideas of the renewed impulse that Vatican Council II gave to evangelisation is that of the universal call to holiness, which in itself concerns all Christians. The saints are the true actors in evangelisation in all its expressions. ... Holiness is not confined by cultural, social, political or religious barriers. Its language, that of love and truth, is understandable to all people of good will and it draws them to Jesus Christ, the inexhaustible source of new life.

"At this point", he added, "let us pause for a moment to appreciate the two saints who today have been added to the elect number of Doctors of the Church. St. John of Avila lived in the sixteenth century. A profound expert on the Sacred Scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of the Sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a fruitful reform of the Church.

"St. Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the twelfth century, offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognised spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation, and was learned in medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she maintained a great and faithful love for Christ and the Church.

"This summary of the ideal in Christian life, expressed in the call to holiness, draws us to look with humility at the fragility, even sin, of many Christians, as individuals and communities, which is a great obstacle to evangelisation and to recognising the force of God that, in faith, meets human weakness. Thus, we cannot speak about the new evangelisation without a sincere desire for conversion".

Benedict XVI concluded by entrusting the work of the Synod "to God, sustained by the communion of saints, invoking in particular the intercession of great evangelisers, among whom, with much affection, we ought to number Blessed John Paul II, whose long pontificate was an example of the new evangelisation".


Vatican City, 7 October 2012 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus this morning, Benedict XVI recalled that the traditional annual "supplication", in which thousands of faithful around the world participate, is taking place today at the Italian shrine of Pompei, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.

"As we too spiritually unite ourselves to that choral invocation, I would like to invite everyone to cherish the Rosary during the forthcoming Year of Faith. With the Rosary, in fact, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, the model of faith, in meditating upon the mysteries of Christ, and day after day we are helped to assimilate the Gospel so that it can shape our lives. Therefore, in the wake of my predecessors, and in particular Blessed John Paul II who ten years ago gave us his Apostolic Letter 'Rosarium Virginis Mariae', I invite people to pray the Rosary individually, in the family and in the community, placing themselves in the school of Mary who leads us to Christ, the living centre of our faith".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Tribunal of Vatican City State today delivered the following sentence in the trial of Paolo Gabriele, who is accused of aggravated theft.

The accused Paolo Gabriele is declared "guilty of the offence under article 404 paragraph 1/1 of the Criminal Code, for abusing the trust inherent in relationships deriving from his professional responsibilities, and stealing items which - by virtue of those relationships and on the basis of the trust placed in him - were left unattended and in full view.

"For this reason the Tribunal sentences him to prison for a period of three years.

"Pursuant to article 26 of the Law of 21 June 1969, in view of the accused's lack of a criminal record, his record of service in the period prior to the facts in question, the subjective (though mistaken) belief identified by the accused as the motive for his conduct, as well as his own statement of his awareness of having betrayed the trust of the Holy Father, the Tribunal reduces the sentence to imprisonment for one (1) year and six (6) months, and orders the guilty party to defray the costs of the trial.

"Signed: Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president; Paolo Papanti-Pelletier; Venerando Marano, and Raffaele Ottaviano, substitute registrar".


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

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

- Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Sandomierz, Poland, presented by Bishop Edward Frankowski, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna of the clergy of Malta, Malta, promoter of justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Malta (area 246, population 412,970, Catholics 388,970, priests 671, religious 1,291). The bishop-elect was born in Toronto, Canada in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986. Having studied in Malta and in Rome, he worked as defender of the bond and promoter of justice at the metropolitan tribunal of Malta. He was also active in education and in the pastoral care of various parishes.

- Appointed Archbishop Henryk Jozef Nowacki, apostolic nuncio to Sweden and Iceland, also as apostolic nuncio to Denmark.

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