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Monday, November 5, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to the new head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Holiness Abna Tawadros. He has been chosen as the new Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Mark, replacing His Holiness Shenouda III, who died in March.

In his English-language message Benedict XVI speaks of his joy at hearing the news of the election. "I am confident", he writes, "that, like your renowned predecessor Pope Shenouda III, you will be a genuine spiritual father for your people and an effective partner with all your fellow-citizens in building the new Egypt in peace and harmony, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East. In these challenging times it is important for all Christians to bear witness to the love and fellowship that binds them together, mindful of the prayer offered by our Lord at the Last Supper: that all may be one, so that the world may believe".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That bishops, priests, and all ministers of the Gospel may bear courageous witness of fidelity to the crucified and risen Lord".

His mission intention is: "That the pilgrim Church on earth may shine as a light to the nations".


Vatican City, 4 November 2012 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope commented on today's Gospel, which presents the teaching of Jesus on the “greatest commandment”, the commandment to love. This, he said, has two facets: love for God and love for neighbour. “The saints, all of whom we have recently celebrated on a single feast day, are precisely those who, trusting in the grace of God, endeavour to live according to this fundamental law. In effect, the commandment to love is put into practice fully by those who live in a profound relationship with God, just as children become capable of love beginning with a good relationship with their parents. ... Love is not a command – it is a gift, something which God enables us to know and experience, in order that like a seed, it might germinate and grow within us too, and develop within our lives”.

If the love of God lays down deep roots within a person, “he is able to love even those who do not merit it, just as God loves us. A father and a mother do not love their children only when they deserve it: they love them always, even though they let them know when they make mistakes. From God we learn to wish well, and never ill, upon others. We learn to look upon others not only with our own eyes, but also with the gaze of God, which is the gaze of Jesus Christ, ... which looks beyond appearances to man's deepest expectations: the desire to be listened to, to receive attention; in short, the desire for love. But this occurs also in reverse: by opening myself to others, accepting and reaching out to them, ... I open also myself to knowledge of God, to the knowledge that He exists and is good”.

Love for God and love for neighbour are “inseparable and have a reciprocal relationship. Jesus invented neither the one nor the other, but showed that they are, fundamentally, a single commandment. He did so not only through words, but above all by example: the very Person of Jesus Himself and His mystery incarnate the unity of love for God and neighbour, like the two arms of the Cross, vertical and horizontal. In the Eucharist He gives us this dual love, in giving Himself to us as, nourished by this bread, we love each other just as He loved us”.


Vatican City, 3 November 2012 (VIS) – This morning in St. Peter's Basilica the Holy Father presided at Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during the course of last year. The Pope recalled, in particular, Cardinals John Patrick Foley, Anthony Bevilacqua, Jose Sanchez, Ignace Moussa Daoud, Luis Aponte Martinez, Rodolfo Quezeda Toruno, Eugenio de Araujo Sales, Paul Shan Kuo-Hsi, Carlo Maria Martini and Fortunato Baldelli.

Extracts from his homily are given below:

“Burial places constitute a sort of assembly, where the living can encounter the deceased and consolidate the ties of a communion which death was not able to break. And here in Rome, in those unique cemeteries, the catacombs, we are aware as in no other place of the profound links with ancient Christianity, which we experience as close to us.

“When we enter the Roman catacombs – or the cemeteries of our cities and towns – it is as if we cross an intangible threshold and enter into communication with those whose past is there, a past made up of joy and pain, defeat and hope. This occurs because death concerns humanity today exactly as it did then; and even if many things from the past have become foreign to us, death has remained the same”.

“But how can we Christians respond to the question of death? We respond with our faith in God, with a firm hope based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus death opens the way to life, eternal life, which is not infinite repetition of the present, but something completely new. Faith tells us that the true immortality to which we aspire is not an idea, a concept, but rather a relationship of full communion with the living God: it means abiding in His hands, in His love, and in Him becoming at one with all our brothers and sisters whom He created and redeemed. ... This is life which reaches fullness in God; a life that we can now only glimpse just as we catch sight of a clear sky through the fog”.

“The pastors we remember today served the Church with faith and love, at times facing difficult challenges in order to ensure the flock entrusted to their care received the necessary care and attention. In the variety of their respective gifts and tasks, they showed perseverance and vigilance, wisdom and zealous dedication to the Kingdom of God, offering a valuable contribution in the period following Vatican Council II, a time of renewal throughout the Church”.

The Eucharistic banquet they attended, first as the faithful and then, daily, as ministers, foretells most eloquently what the Lord promised in the Sermon on the Mount: the possession of the Kingdom of Heaven, participation in the banquet of the heavenly Jerusalem. Let us pray that this might be accomplished for everyone. Our prayer is nourished by the firm hope that 'does not disappoint', because it is guaranteed by Christ Who chose to experience death in order to triumph over it through the prodigious event of the Resurrection”.


Vatican City, 3 November 2012 (VIS) – Made public today was the letter – written in Latin and dated 12 October – in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the archdiocese of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the fourth centenary of the evangelisation of the Bengal territory, which will be celebrated on 9 and 10 November.

The cardinal will be accompanied by a mission composed of Fr. Abel B. Rozarios and Fr. Adam Pereira C.S.C.


Vatican City, 3 November 2012 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, as is traditional on All Souls' Day, the Holy Father went down to the Vatican Grottoes to pray privately for the Popes buried there, and for all deceased.


Vatican City, 1 November 2012 (VIS) – The Solemnity of All Saints encourages us to reflect “on the dual horizon of humanity, symbolically expressed in the words 'earth' and 'heaven': the earth represents the path of history, while heaven represents eternity, the fullness of life in God”, said the Pope to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square at midday to pray the Angelus.

“This feast reminds us of the Church in its dual dimension: the Church on its journey through time and the Church  which celebrates an eternal feast, the heavenly Jerusalem. These two dimensions are united by the 'communion of saints', which begins here on earth and is completed in heaven. On earth, the Church represents the beginning of this mystery of communion which unites humanity, a mystery centred entirely upon Jesus Christ: it was He Who introduced this new dynamism into humankind, a movement that brings us towards God, and at the same time towards unity, towards profound peace. ... Being Christian, belonging to the Church, means opening to this communion, just as a seed opens within the earth, dying and germinating, reaching up towards heaven”.

The saints – those proclaimed as such by the Church, but also all those known only to God, whom we also celebrate today – have experienced this dynamism intensely. Christ presented Himself to each one of them in a very personal way, thanks to His Spirit which works through the Word and the Sacraments. Indeed, being united with Christ in the Church, does not nullify personality, but rather opens it out and transforms it through the force of love, giving it an eternal dimension, already here on earth. In essence, it means conforming to the image of the Son of God, fulfilling the plan of God Who created man in His image and likeness. But entering into Christ also opens us to communion with other members of the mystic Body that is the Church, a communion that is perfect in 'heaven' where there is no isolation, competition or separation”.

In the saints we see “the victory of love over egoism and death: we see that following Christ leads to life, to eternal life, and gives meaning to the present, ... filling it with love and hope. Only faith in eternal life can enable us to love history and the present, but without attachment, with the freedom of the pilgrim who loves the earth because his heart belongs to heaven. May the Virgin Mary give us the grace to believe firmly in eternal life and to enter into true communion with our beloved deceased”.


Vatican City, 31 October 2012 (VIS) – This afternoon Benedict XVI presided at the first Vespers of the Solemnity of All Saints in the Sistine Chapel. The ceremony was intended to repeat a gesture of Pope Julius II who, on this day in 1512, inaugurated the chapel following the completion of the ceiling decoration by Michelangelo.

"Why", the Pope asked, "are we recalling this artistic-historical event with a liturgical celebration? Firstly, because the Sistine Chapel is, by its nature, a place of liturgy, the 'Cappella magna' of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Furthermore, because the works of art that decorate it, especially the cycle of frescoes, find in the liturgy their living environment, the context in which they best express all their beauty, their richness and their fullness of meaning. … In brief, the Sistine Chapel, contemplated in prayer, becomes even more beautiful, more authentic; it is revealed in all its richness”.

Referring to Giorgio Vasari, who defined the Sistine Chapel as the light of art that illuminates the world, the Pope noted that "the light comes not only from the skilful use of colour, or from the movement that animates Michelangelo's masterpiece, but from the idea that permeates the great vault: it is the light of God which illuminates these frescoes, and indeed the entire chapel; … that light whose power conquers chaos and obscurity, bringing light through creation and redemption. The Sistine Chapel narrates this story of light, of liberation, of salvation; it speaks of God's relationship with humanity.

"With Michelangelo's work of genius, our gaze is drawn to the message of the Prophets, to the pagan Sybils awaiting Christ, and finally to the origin of all: 'In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth'. With a unique expressive intensity, the great artist depicted God the Creator, His action, His power, to show that the world is not the product of obscurity, of chance or of the absurd, but that it derives from intelligence, freedom and from a supreme act of love. In that encounter between the hand of God and the hand of Adam, we perceive the contact between heaven and earth; in Adam God enters into a new relationship with His creation, and man is in direct contact with God, is called by Him, and is the image and likeness of God.

"To pray this evening in the Sistine Chapel, enveloped in the history of God's journey with man, admirably represented in the frescoes above and around us, is an invitation to worship", concluded the Holy Father.


Vatican City, 5 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Francis C. Okeke, the new ambassador of Nigeria to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- John Anthony Gerard McCarthy, the new ambassador of Australia to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- German Cardona Gutierrez, the new ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- Miguel Humberto Diaz, ambassador of the United States of America, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.

On Friday 2 November the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland.


Vatican City, 5 November 2012 (VIS) The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Carmelo Pellegrino, relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as promoter of the faith of the same dicastery.

On Saturday 3 November it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as his special envoy to the concluding celebration for the five-hundredth anniversary of the archdiocese of Ljubjuana, Slovenia, which will take place on Sunday 9 December.

- Appointed Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, as almoner of His Holiness, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop elect was born in Trieste, Italy in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1977. He has served as an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1987 . He succeeds Archbishop Felix del Blanco Prieto, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Pius Thomas D'Souza, chancellor of the diocese of Bareilly, India, as bishop of the diocese of Ajmer (area 146,681, population 17,595,585, Catholics 9,190, priests 43, religious 423), India. The bishop-elect was born in Mangalore, India in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982. He studied in India and Rome, and, among other things, has worked as professor of philosophy at St. Joseph's regional seminary in Allahabad. He succeeds Bishop Ignatius Menezes, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

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