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Monday, November 12, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father visited the Sant Egidio Community's "Viva gli Anziani" rest home for the elderly in Rome. In a brief address to the residents he said that he came among them "as Bishop of Rome, but also as an elderly person visiting his peers. I well know the difficulties and limitations of age, and am aware that for many people these difficulties are aggravated by the economic crisis".

"At times", he continued, "at a certain age, one turns to the past with regret for the loss of youth, its energy and plans for the future. At times our perspective is veiled with sadness, as we consider this phase as the twilight of life. This morning, ideally addressing all the elderly and aware of the difficulties that our age brings, I would like to say to you with profound conviction: it is good to be elderly! At every age it is necessary to know how to discover the presence and the blessing of the Lord, and the richness that this brings. We must not allow ourselves to be imprisoned by sadness! We have received the gift of long life. To live is beautiful, even at our age and despite infirmities or limitations. Let our faces always reflect the joy of being loved by God, and never sadness".

The Holy Father recalled that in the Bible, "longevity is considered as a blessing from God; today this blessing is widespread and must be seen as a gift to appreciate and value. Yet often society, dominated by the logic of efficiency and profit, does not welcome it as such; on the contrary, it often rejects it, considering the elderly as unproductive and useless". However, the Pope observed, the elderly are a source of wisdom and "a great resource. The quality of a society, of a civilisation, may also be judged by how it treats its elderly and by the place reserved for them in communal life. To give space to the elderly is to give space to life!"

Benedict XVI's visit forms a part of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Among Generations, and in this context he affirmed that the elderly "are of value to society, above all for the young. There can be no true human education and growth without fruitful contact with the elderly, because their very existence is like an open book in which younger generations may find valuable guidance for their own journey through life".

"At our age", he observed, "we often experience the need for the assistance of others, and this also happens to the Pope. ... I would like to invite you to see in this too a gift from the Lord. It is a grace to be supported and accompanied, to receive the affection of others! This is important in every phase of life: no one can live alone and without help; humans are relational beings. … Never be discouraged: you are valuable to society, even in suffering and sickness. And this phase of life is a gift that also allows us to deepen our relationship with God. The example of Blessed Pope John Paul II was and remains illuminating to all. Do not forget that, among the valuable resources you have, there is the essential gift of prayer".

"The prayer of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps in a more incisive way than is achieved by the efforts of many. I would like, today, to entrust to your prayer the good of the Church and peace in the world. The Pope loves you and counts on you all! Know that you are loved by God, and bring to our society, often so individualistic and intent upon efficiency, a ray of God's love".


Vatican City, 11 November 2012 (VIS) - At midday, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his studio to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He commented on this Sunday's liturgy of the Word, which presents two widows as examples of faith: one in the First Book of Kings, the other in the Gospel of Mark.

"Both these women are very poor, and it is precisely in this condition that they demonstrate their great faith in God. The first widow appears in the cycle of narratives on the prophet Elijah. During a period of famine he receives an order from the Lord to go to Sidon, therefore outside Israel and in pagan territory. There he encounters a widow and asks her for some water to drink and a little bread. The woman answers that all she has is a handful of flour and a drop of oil, but since the prophet insists and promises her that, if she listens to him, she will no longer lack flour and oil, she grants his request and is rewarded. The second widow, from the Gospel, is noticed by Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem, in the treasury where the people offer contributions. Jesus sees that this woman throws two coins into the chest and then calls the disciples to Him, explaining that her offering is greater than that given by the rich as, while they gave what was superfluous to them, she gave all she had to live on".

These two biblical episodes offer us "valuable teaching on faith", said the Pope. "The faith is presented as the interior attitude of one who bases his or her own life on God, on the Word, and who confides fully in Him. To be a widow, in ancient times, constituted in itself a condition of grave need. Thus, in the Bible, widows and orphans are people of whom God takes particular care; although they have lost their means of subsistence on earth, God remains as their Spouse or their Father. However, the Scriptures state that the objective condition of need, in this case the fact of being a widow, is not enough: God always asks us to adhere willingly to faith, which is expressed as love for Him and for one's neighbour. No one is so poor that they are unable to give something. And indeed, both these widows show their faith in an act of charity: one towards the prophet and the other in giving alms. They therefore demonstrate the indivisible unity of faith and charity, which is like that between love for God and love for neighbour".

The Pope concluded by recalling the words of St. Leo the Great, "No act of kindness is meaningless before God, no mercy is fruitless".


Vatican City, 11 November 2012 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled how yesterday in Spoleto, Italy, Maria Luisa Prosperi, an Italian abbess of the Benedictine convent of Trevi who lived in the nineteenth century, was declared a blessed. "Let us praise God for this His daughter, who chose to dedicate her life to the Passion of Christ", he said.

Going on then to refer to the Day of Thanksgiving, which is being celebrated today in Italy, he observed: "In the context of the Year of Faith, the theme of this Day - 'Trust in the Lord and do good, so you will live in the land' - reminds us of the need for a lifestyle rooted in the faith so that, with a grateful heart, we may recognise the creative and provident hand of God which nourishes His children. My greetings and best wishes to all who work in agriculture".

The Holy Father also had words for Polish pilgrims. "The Feast of Independence which is being celebrated today in Poland, commemorates the faith of your forefathers, your history and the strength of spirit of recent generations. On these foundations build the prosperity of your nation. Today, moreover, I support the prayers which - at the initiative of the Aid to the Church in Need - you are offering for Christians in Egypt on this Day of Solidarity with the Persecuted Church".

Finally, the Pope greeted participants in a congress on Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, which has been held over recent days at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "Sacred music can support faith and contribute to new evangelisation", said the Pope to members of the "Santa Cecilia" Italian musical association gathered in Rome.

In his address to the group, Benedict XVI, noting that this event coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II and the proclamation of the Year of Faith, spoke at length about the teachings of the Conciliar Constitution on the liturgy, and in particular the part referring to sacred music.

He said, "on the subject of the faith, our thoughts naturally tend towards St. Augustine, … and the important role in his conversion played by psalms and hymns in the liturgies presided by St. Ambrose. If indeed faith is born of listening to the Word of God - listening not only with the senses, but also allowing the passage from the senses to the mind and the heart - there is no doubt that music and above all song are able to confer greater communicative power to psalms and canticles. Among the charisms of St. Ambrose was a notable musical capacity and sensibility and, following his consecration as bishop of Milan, he dedicated this gift to the service of faith and evangelisation".

Benedict XVI observed that "the Constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium', in accordance with the tradition of the Church, teaches that 'sacred song united to the words ... forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy'. Why 'necessary' and 'integral'? Certainly not for purely aesthetic reasons, in a superficial sense, but because by virtue of beauty, it contributes to nurturing and expressing faith, and therefore to the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful, which are the aims of sacred music. Music … is not solely an accessory to or external embellishment of the liturgy, but is itself liturgy".

Referring to the relationship between sacred song and new evangelisation, the Pope remarked that the Conciliar Constitution on the liturgy reminds us of "the importance of sacred music in the 'missio ad gentes' and exhorts us to give due recognition to traditional forms of music. But it is precisely in countries of ancient evangelisation … that sacred music, with its great tradition belonging to our western culture can, and indeed does, have an important role to play in encouraging the rediscovery of God, a renewed approach to the Christian message and the mysteries of faith".

The Pope recalled the example of the poet Paul Claudel, whose conversion occurred while he listened to the 'Magnificat' during Christmas Vespers at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. "But, such illustrious cases aside, let us consider how many hearts have been deeply touched by listening to sacred music, and how many, like Claudel, have been newly drawn to God by the beauty of liturgical music". Benedict XVI urged the members of the association to "make efforts to improve the quality of liturgical song, to recover and promote the great musical tradition of the Church, that finds two of its most exalted expressions in Gregorian chant and polyphony".

"The active participation of all the People of God in the liturgy cannot consist only of speaking, but also of listening, welcoming the Word with the senses and the spirit, and this is true also of sacred music".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - By the Motu Proprio "Latina lingua" published today, Benedict XVI has established the Pontifical Academy for Latin, which will be part of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The new academy will be directed by a president assisted by a secretary, to be appointed by the Pope, and will comprise an academic council. It will supersede the foundation "Latinitas", established by Paul VI with the Chirograph "Romani Sermonis" of 30 June 1976.

"The Latin language", says the Pope in his Motu Proprio, "has always been held in high regard by the Catholic Church and the Roman pontiffs, who have promoted the knowledge and diffusion of the language by making it their own, able to universally transmit the message of the Gospel, as was authoritatively confirmed by my predecessor Blessed John XXIII in the Apostolic Constitution 'Veterum sapientia'.

"Since the Pentecost the Church has spoken and prayed in all languages known to humanity; however, the Christian communities of the first centuries made extensive use of Greek and Latin, languages of universal communication in the world in which they lived, thanks to which the novelty of the Word of Christ encountered the heritage of Hellenistic-Roman culture. After the fall of the western Roman empire the Church of Rome not only continued to use Latin, but in a certain sense also became its custodian and promoter in the theological and liturgical fields, as well as in education and the transmission of knowledge.

"In our times too, knowledge of Latin language and culture remains as necessary as ever for the study of the sources of numerous ecclesiastical disciplines including, among others, theology, liturgy, Patristics and canon law, as confirmed by Vatican Council II. Furthermore, the 'editio typica' of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, the most important documents of the pontifical Magisterium and the most solemn Acts of the Roman pontiffs are written in Latin, precisely to emphasise the universal nature of the Church.

"However, in contemporary culture, within the context of a generalised deterioration in humanistic studies, we see the danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin, which may also be detected in the philosophical and theological studies of future priests. On the other hand, in our world in which science and technology are so prominent, we also find renewed interest in the Latin language and culture, and not only in those continents with Greco-Roman cultural roots. This interest seems particularly significant inasmuch as it is present not only in academic and institutional environments, but also involves young people and scholars from very different nations and traditions.

"There is therefore an apparent pressing need to encourage commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, in the ecclesial environment as well as in the world of culture at large. To give prominence and resonance to this effort, it is important to adopt teaching methods adapted to contemporary conditions, and to promote a network of relationships between academic institutions and among scholars with the aim of promoting the rich and varied heritage of Latin civilisation".

The Holy Father concludes by saying that, "in order to contribute to the achievement of these aims, and following in the wake of my venerated predecessors, with the present Motu Proprio I today establish the Pontifical Academy for Latin".

By this Motu Proprio the Pope approves the statute of the new academy "ad experimentum" for a five-year period.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has sent a message to the new Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion, the Right Reverend Justin Welby. Writing on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and of his own dicastery, the cardinal expresses his "congratulations and warmest best wishes.

"Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion are a hugely important part of the ecumenical call for all Christians to seek greater fidelity to the Lord’s will, so clearly expressed in his prayer to the Father at the Last Supper 'that all may be one'. For almost fifty years, as you are well aware, there has been a formal theological dialogue which continues to seek a deeper understanding of the great heritage shared by Anglicans and Catholics, as well as the points of divergence which still impede fully restored ecclesial communion. During that same time, relations between succeeding Popes and Archbishops of Canterbury have been marked by numerous meetings which have expressed intense spiritual and human friendship, and a shared concern for our Gospel witness and service to the human family.

"I am certain that under your leadership those excellent relations will continue to bear fruit, and I look forward to meeting you personally, and to future opportunities to share our common commitment to the cause of Christian Unity, 'so that the world may believe'.

"Please accept the assurance of my earnest prayers for you and your family as you prepare for a new phase in your dedicated service of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning the Tribunal of Vatican City State published its ruling in the trial against Claudio Sciarpelletti, the computer technician employed by the Secretariat of State implicated in the "Vatileaks" case.

The Tribunal, pursuant to Article 225 of the Penal Code, ruled that the defendant was "guilty of the offence of assisting in the elusion of the investigations by the Authorities" and "therefore sentences him to prison for four months".

"Pursuant to Article 26 of the Law of 21 June 1969, in view of the accused's service record and lack of previous convictions, the Tribunal reduces the sentence to imprisonment for two (2) months". Pursuant to Article 90 of the same law, the Tribunal "orders the suspension of the sentence for a period of five years, according to the conditions of law". In the light of Article 427 of the Penal Code, the Tribunal orders the suspension of "mention of the sentence on the record of previous offences until such time as the accused commits further offence".

"Pursuant to Articles 39 of the Penal Code and 429 of the Code of Penal Procedure", the Tribunal "orders Claudio Sciarpelletti to defray the costs of the trial and reimburses him the sum of one thousand euros he had deposited as bail".

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


Vatican City,  (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter, written in Latin and dated 10 October, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo O.F.M., archbishop emeritus of Seville, Spain, as his special envoy to concluding celebrations for the fifth centenary of the arrival of the first bishop of Puerto Rico, Don Alonso Manso O.F.M. The event is due to take place in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 19 November.

The Cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Elias Salvador Morales Rodriguez, rector of the major seminary and judicial vicar of the diocese of Ponce, and Msgr. Mario Alberto Guijarro de Corzo, paster of the parish of the "Martires de Verona" in San Juan de Puerto Rico.


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

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

- Archbishop Richard William Smith of Edmonton, Canada, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada, accompanied by Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau and Msgr. Patrick Powers, respectively vice president and secretary general.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu, chief of protocol at the Secretariat of State, as apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua. The bishop-elect was born in Ntigha, Nigeria in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1984. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1994 and has served, among other places, in Ghana, Paraguay and Algeria.

On Saturday 10 November the Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Paul Poupard, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as his special envoy to the concluding celebrations of the Jubilee Year dedicated to the Venerable Servant of God Pauline Jaricot on the 150th anniversary of her death, and the fiftieth anniversary of her Decree of heroic virtue, to be held in Lyons, France, on 9 January 2013.

- Appointed Bishop Carlos Maria Franzini of Rafaela, Argentina as bishop of Mendoza (area 63,839, population 1,226,000, Catholics 1,042,000, priests 165, permanent deacons 54, religious 276), Argentina. He succeeds Bishop Jose Maria Arancibia, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Serge Poitras, under secretary for the Congregation of Bishops, as bishop of Timmins (area 26,200, population 89,300, Catholics 48,900, priests 24, permanent deacons 7, religious 20), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Jonquiere, Quebec in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1973. He obtained a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University in 1988 and in 2000 became a collaborator in the apostolic nunciature in Ottawa.

- Appointed Fr. P. Quesnel Alphonse S.M.M., of the clergy of the diocese Port-au-Prince, Haiti, pastor of the parish of "Saint-Louis, Roi di France", as auxiliary bishop of the same diocese (area 5,500, population 4,110,000, Catholics 2,960,000, priests 274, permanent deacons 1, religious 1,635). The bishop-elect was born in Port-au-Prince in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1977. He has served in various pastoral offices in the archdiocese of Cap-Haitien and the dioceses of Port-de-Paix and Port-au-Prince.

- Appointed Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, apostolic nuncio to Malta and Libya, as prelate of Pompei, Italy, and pontifical delegate for the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary.

- Appointed Ivano Dionigi and Fr. Roberto Spataro S.D.B., respectively, as president and secretary of the Pontifical Academy for Latin.

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