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Thursday, December 20, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI addressed a group of young people from Catholic Action Italy who

"We know who this maker is: He is God, who has shown His face to us. God created us, He made us in His image, and above all He gave us the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, as a child - we will soon worship him on the feast of the Nativity - who grew up, as you have, and followed the paths of our world so as to communicate to us the love of God, which brings beauty and happiness to our lives, rendering them full of goodness and generosity.

"Certainly, you also search the creator of your joy", the Pope continued. "There are many people who bring you happiness, but there is also a great friend who is the creator of the joy of all, and with Whom our hearts are filled with a joy that surpasses all other, and which lasts throughout our lives: this friend is Jesus. ... The more you get to know Him and to enter into dialogue with Him, the greater the happiness you will feel in your hearts, and the more  able you will be to overcome the minor disappointments you sometimes feel within.

"You are also in search of a guide in love. ... We all need to love others and to feel that someone accepts and loves us in return. To feel loved is necessary for life, but it is equally important to be able to love others, to bring beauty to the lives of all, including our peers who find themselves in difficult situations. Jesus showed us through the example of His life that God loves all without discrimination, and wants all of us to live in happiness".

"Finally, you are without doubt in search of a bringer of peace, the need for whom the world so keenly feels. Often men believe they are able to build peace by themselves, but it is important to understand that it is only God who can bring us true and durable peace. If we learn how to listen to Him, if we make space for Him in our lives, God clears away the selfishness that often pollutes the relationships between people and nations, and gives rise to the desire for reconciliation, forgiveness and peace, even in those with the most hardened of hearts".

"If you wish to help each other to find the great Creator of life, joy, love and peace, you will discover that He is never far from you, but rather, is very close to us: He is the God who came to us as the child Jesus Christ!" concluded the Holy Father.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The "Financial Times" daily newspaper has today published an article by Benedict XVI entitled "A time for Christians to engage with the world". According to an introductory note from the Holy See Press Office, "The Pope's article for the Financial Times originates from a request from the editorial office of the Financial Times itself which, taking as a cue the recent publication of the Pope's book on Jesus' infancy, asked for his comments on the occasion of Christmas. Despite the unusual nature of the request, the Holy Father accepted willingly.

"It is perhaps appropriate to recall the Pope's willingness to respond to other unusual requests in the past, such as the interview given for the BBC, again at Christmas a few months after his visit to the United Kingdom, or the television interview for the programme 'A sua immagine' produced by the RAI, the Italian state broadcasting company, to mark the occasion of Good Friday. These too have been opportunities to speak about Jesus Christ and to bring his message to a wide forum at salient moments during the Christian liturgical year".

Below is the full text of the Pope's article:

A time for Christians to engage with the world
"'Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,' was the response of Jesus when asked about paying taxes. His questioners, of course, were laying a trap for him. They wanted to force Him to take sides in the highly-charged political debate about Roman rule in the land of Israel. Yet there was more at stake here: if Jesus really was the long-awaited Messiah, then surely He would oppose the Roman overlords. So the question was calculated to expose Him either as a threat to the regime, or a fraud.

"Jesus’ answer deftly moves the argument to a higher plane, gently cautioning against both the politicisation of religion and the deification of temporal power, along with the relentless pursuit of wealth. His audience needed to be reminded that the Messiah was not Caesar, and Caesar was not God. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish was of an altogether higher order. As He told Pontius Pilate, 'My kingship is not of this world.'

"The Christmas stories in the New Testament are intended to convey a similar message. Jesus was born during a “census of the whole world” taken by Caesar Augustus, the Emperor renowned for bringing the Pax Romana to all the lands under Roman rule. Yet this infant, born in an obscure and far-flung corner of the Empire, was to offer the world a far greater peace, truly universal in scope and transcending all limitations of space and time.

"Jesus is presented to us as King David’s heir, but the liberation He brought to His people was not about holding hostile armies at bay; it was about conquering sin and death forever.

"The birth of Christ challenges us to reassess our priorities, our values, our very way of life. While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience. At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?

"Christmas can be the time in which we learn to read the Gospel, to get to know Jesus not only as the Child in the manger, but as the one in Whom we recognize God made Man.

"It is in the Gospel that Christians find inspiration for their daily lives and their involvement in worldly affairs – be it in the Houses of Parliament or the Stock Exchange. Christians shouldn’t shun the world; they should engage with it. But their involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology.

"Christians fight poverty out of a recognition of the supreme dignity of every human being, created in God’s image and destined for eternal life. Christians work for more equitable sharing of the earth’s resources out of a belief that, as stewards of God’s creation, we have a duty to care for the weakest and most vulnerable. Christians oppose greed and exploitation out of a conviction that generosity and selfless love, as taught and lived by Jesus of Nazareth, are the way that leads to fullness of life. Christian belief in the transcendent destiny of every human being gives urgency to the task of promoting peace and justice for all.

"Because these goals are shared by so many, much fruitful cooperation is possible between Christians and others. Yet Christians render to Caesar only what belongs to Caesar, not what belongs to God. Christians have at times throughout history been unable to comply with demands made by Caesar. From the Emperor cult of ancient Rome to the totalitarian regimes of the last century, Caesar has tried to take the place of God. When Christians refuse to bow down before the false gods proposed today, it is not because of an antiquated world-view. Rather, it is because they are free from the constraints of ideology and inspired by such a noble vision of human destiny that they cannot collude with anything that undermines it.

"In Italy, many crib scenes feature the ruins of ancient Roman buildings in the background. This shows that the birth of the child Jesus marks the end of the old order, the pagan world, in which Caesar’s claims went virtually unchallenged. Now there is a new king, who relies not on the force of arms, but on the power of love. He brings hope to all those who, like himself, live on the margins of society. He brings hope to all who are vulnerable to the changing fortunes of a precarious world. From the manger, Christ calls us to live as citizens of his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that all people of good will can help to build here on earth".


Vatican City, Vatican City,  (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


- Blessed Antonio Primaldo e Compagni, killed in 1480 in Otranto, Italy.

- Blessed Laura Montoya, Colombian foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and of St. Catherine of Siena (1874-1949).

- Blessed Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, Mexican co-foundress of the Handmaids of St. Margaret Mary and of the Poor (1878-1963).

- Venerable Servant of God Antonio Franco, Italian bishop of Santa Lucia del Mela (1585-1626).

- Venerable Servant of God Jose Gabriele del Rosario Brochero,  Argentinian priest (1840-1914).

- Venerable Servant of God Cristobal of St. Catherine (ne: Cristobal Fernando Valladolid), Spanish priest and founder of the Congregation and the Hospital of Jesus of Nazareth in Cordoba (1638-1690).

- Venerable Servant of God Sofia Czeska-Maciejowska, Polish foundress of the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1584-1650).

- Venerable Servant of God Margherita Lucia Szewczyk, Polish foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God - Seraphic Sisters (1584-1650).


- Servant of God Miroslav Bulesic, Croatian priest, killed in hatred of the faith in 1947.

- Servant of God José Javier Gorosterratzu, Spanish, and five companions of the Congregation of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1938.

- Servants of God Fr. Riccardo Gil Barcelon and Antonio Arrue Peiro, Postulant, of the Congregation of the Small Work of Divine Providence, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- Servant of God Manuel de la Sagrada Familia, (ne Manuel Sanz Dominguez), Spanish professed monk and Reformer of the Order of San Girolamo, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- Servant of God Maria di Monserrat (nee Giuseppa Pilar Garcia y Solanas) and eight companions, Spanish professed nun, along with Lucrezia Garcia y Solanas, laywoman, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- Servant of God Melchora de la Adoración Cortés Bueno, Spanish, and fourteen companions of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1937.


- Servant of God Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini, Italian, Supreme Pontiff (1897-1978).

- Servant of God Francesco Saverio Petagna, bishop of Castellamare di Stabia, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts (1812-1878).

- Servant of God Juan José Santiago Bonal Cortada, Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Anne (1769-1829).

- Servant of God Fr. Louis-Marie Baudouin, French priest, (1765-1835).

- Servant of God Marcelina de San José (nee Luisa Aveledo), foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver, Venezualan (1874-1959).

- Servant of God Claudia Russo, Italian foundress of the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1889-1964).

- Servant of God Maria Francisca de las Llagas (nee Rosa Elena Cornejo), Ecuadorean  foundress of the Congregation of Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate (1874 -1964).

- Servant of God Clara Ludmilla Szczesna, Polish cofoundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1863-1916).

- Servant of God Consuelo (nee Joaquina Maria Mercedes Barceló y Pagés), Spanish cofoundress of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation (1857-1940).


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience  Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

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