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Friday, January 18, 2013


Vatican City, 18 January 2013 (VIS) – Today, the French and German Bishops' Conferences published a joint declaration marking the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, signed on 22 January 1963 by General Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to seal the reconciliation between the two opposing nations after the Second World War. On 8 July 1962, both heads of state attended a Mass of reconciliation in the French cathedral of Rheims.

The declaration stressed the friendship between the two peoples and, reflecting on the peace gained at such a high price, extended a call for understanding in facing Europe's present and future.

"Simultaneously, the Elysee Treaty," the text reads, "was the height of the reconciliation between the two enemy nations and the starting point for the deepening of friendly relations through political and social contact at all levels. As bishops, we warmly embrace everything gained in the signing of the 'Treaty of Friendship'. Today, Franco-German friendship seems obvious and neither politicians nor citizens have a feeling for the exceptional nature of these relations. And yet, the friendship between our two countries and peoples is now more important than ever for overcoming the current crisis and for shaping the future of Europe. …"

"The crisis has revealed irresponsible behaviour in various areas and has sorely tested the solidarity between the European countries. Solidarity and responsibility must be more closely connected to the future of Europe. In this regard, the Franco-German reconciliation remains an example of political responsibility and solidarity."

At the Mass of reconciliation in the cathedral of Rheims, Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle "symbolized the awareness that politics is built upon foundations that it cannot build itself. Love for one's enemies is a strong Gospel demand that the two statesmen were capable of carrying out. Since then, the European Union has brought peace and prosperity to its countries. With the economic crisis, however, we see that contempt and mistrust between the European nations are reappearing: the rejection of foreigners, the absence of solidarity. The global economy and the cultural and religious mixture have given rise to other enemies. All over Europe, populist movements advocating withdrawal into self interests are flourishing. The economic crisis reveals a moral crisis, where the meaning of life no longer forms part of relationship with others or the demands of justice."

France and Germany "can and must return to the history of their reconciliation and friendship in order to face the consequences of our current problems. We can also draw inspiration from the past in order to help the European Union establish long-term, solid political structures and an authentic social market economy. We must act to ensure that the respect for human dignity, the common good, and the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity always guide European integration."

The Church also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty as "an opportunity to recall, particularly for the youngest generations, that reconciliation is not an empty word but an actual path."


Vatican City, 18 January 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and

six prelates from the Basilicata region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Agostino Superbo of Potenza-Muro Lucano-Marsico Nuovo,
- Archbishop Salvatore Ligorio of Matera-Irsina,
- Archbishop Giovanni Ricchiuti of Acerenza,
- Bishop Francescantonio Nole, O.F.M. Conv., of Tursi-Lagonegro
- Bishop Gianfranco Todisco, P.O.C.R., of Melfi-Rapolla-Venosa, and
- Bishop Vincenzo Carmine Orofino of Tricarico.

This afternoon he is scheduled to receive Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, accompanied by Bishop Krzysztof Jozef Nykiel, regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.


Vatican City, 18 January 2013 (VIS) – The Synod of Bishops of the Coptic Catholic Church meeting in Cairo, Egypt, from 12 – 16 January, having consulted the Holy Father, accepted the resignation from office presented by His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, in accordance with canon 126 para. 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches

On 15 January, the same synod canonically elected His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak as Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts and the Holy Father granted the "Ecclesiastica Communio" requested of him by His Beatitude in accordance with canon 76 para. 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Born in 1955 in Beni Shiqeir in the Eparchy of Asyut, Egypt, ordained to the priesthood in 1980, and ordained to the episcopate in 2002, the patriarch-elect was previously bishop of Minya (Ermopoli Maggiore: Minieh, Coptic), Egypt.


Vatican City, 18 January 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father:

- appointed Bishop Heiner Koch as bishop of the diocese of Dresden-Meissen (area 17,000, population 4,271,000, Catholics 139,890, priests 241, permanent deacons 11, religious 208), Germany. Bishop Koch, titular of Ros Cré, was born in 1954 in Dusseldorf, Germany, was ordained to the priesthood in 1980, and received episcopal ordination in 2006. Bishop Koch was previously auxiliary of Köln (Cologne), Germany.

- appointed Fr. André Gueye as bishop of the diocese of Thies (area 9,055, population 2,436,000, Catholics 52,641, priests 72, religious 146), Senegal. The bishop-elect was born in 1967 in Thies and was ordained to the priesthood in 1992. Fr. Gueye previously taught philosophy at the St. Jean Marie Vianney Major Seminary of Brin in the diocese of Ziguinchor, Senegal.

- appointed Msgr. Eamon Martin as coadjutor archbishop of the metropolitan archdiocese of Armagh (area 2,550, population 333,758, Catholics 227,120, priests 187, religious 391), Ireland. The bishop-elect, previously diocesan administrator of the diocese of Derry since 2010, was born in 1961 in Derry, Ireland, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1987. Msgr. Martin was appointed chaplain to His Holiness in 2011.

- elevated the apostolic exarchate for Ukrainian faithful of the Byzantine rite resident in Great Britain, to the rank of eparchy with the title "Holy Family of London". He appointed Bishop Hlib Borys Sviatoslav Lonchyna, M.S.U., as first bishop of the new eparchy. Bishop Lonchyna, previously apostolic exarch of Great Britain (Ukrainian) and titular of Bareta, was born in 1954 in Steubenville, Ohio, USA, was ordained to the priesthood in 1977, and received episcopal ordination in 2002.
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