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Friday, January 25, 2013


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The commission was instituted ten years ago as a initiative of the ecclesial authorities of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The commission has dedicated this week to exploring "more fully the communion and communication which existed between the Churches in the first five centuries of Christian history", Benedict XVI said, expressing his hope that "relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches will continue to develop in a fraternal spirit of cooperation, particularly through the growth of a theological dialogue capable of helping all the Lord’s followers to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel."

"Many of you," he concluded, "come from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God’s plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord’s will. May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints, who throughout the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us."


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – 'Ministrorum institutio' is the title of the Motu Proprio by which the Holy Father modifies the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus', (John Paul II, 1988) and transfers the competency for seminaries from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy. Following are ample extracts from the document.

"The formation of sacred ministers was one of the main concerns of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, who wrote that, 'fully aware that the desired renewal of the whole Church depends to a great extent on the ministry of its priests, [the Council] proclaims the extreme importance of priestly training'. In this context, canon 232 of the Code of Canon Law claims 'the duty and the proper and exclusive right' of the formation of those who are designated for the sacred ministries―that by regulation takes place in seminaries―as belonging to the Church."

"The first body of a universal character entrusted with the foundation, government, and administration of seminaries … was the Congregatio Seminariorum instituted by Benedict XIII in the constitution 'Creditae Nobis' (1725). Over time that organisation became defunct and the seminaries continued to receive the Holy See's particular consideration through the Sacred Congregation of the Council (which today is the Congregation for the Clergy) or also through the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars and, from 1906, only by means of the latter."

"With the Apostolic Constitution 'Sapienti consilio' (1908), St. Pius X reserved jurisdiction over seminaries to the Sacred Consistorial Congregation. … With the Motu Proprio 'Seminaria clericorum' (1915), Benedict XV … created a new dicastery that took the name 'Sacra Congregatio de Seminariis et Studiorum Universitatibus'. The Holy Father explained his decision as due to concern for the increasing amount of issues and the importance of the office. … The new dicastery ... was adopted by the Code of Canon Law of 1917."

"It is significant to note that, during the drafting of the new Code, there was discussion regarding the possibility of maintaining the same provision but, in the end, it seemed more appropriate to premise the entire norm as an introduction to the part that dealt with the clergy. Thus the rules and directives regarding seminaries were included … under the apt title of 'The Formation of Clerics'. … The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council again recalled that 'major seminaries are necessary for priestly formation' … Therefore, according to the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law of 1983, seminaries fall under the sphere of the 'formation of clerics' that, to be true and effective, must seal permanent formation with seminary formation …"

"As my venerated predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, affirmed in the Apostolic Exhortation 'Pastores dabo vobis' (1992) … 'It is particularly important to be aware of and to respect the intrinsic link between formation before ordination to the priesthood and formation after ordination. Should there be a break in continuity, or worse a complete difference between these two phases of formation, there would be serious and immediate repercussions on pastoral work and fraternal communion among priests, especially those in different age groups'."

"I find it opportune, therefore, to assign the promotion and governance of everything regarding the formation, the life, and the ministry of priests and deacons to the Congregation for the Clergy: from the pastoral care for vocations and the selection of candidates for Holy Ordersincluding their personal, spiritual, doctrinal, and pastoral formation in seminaries and special centres for permanent deacons―to their permanent formation―including living conditions and procedures for exercising their ministry and their welfare and social assistance."


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – With the Motu Proprio “Fides per doctrinam” that was signed 16 January and published today, the Holy Father modifies the apostolic constitution "Pastor bonus", transferring responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation. Following are ample extracts from the document.

"Faith," the Pope writes, "needs to be supported by doctrine that is capable of illuminating the minds and hearts of believers. This particular historical moment in which we are living, marked among other things by a dramatic crisis of faith, requires an awareness that is able to respond to the high expectations that arise in the hearts of believers when facing the new questions that challenge the world and the Church. Understanding faith, therefore, always requires that its content be expressed in a new language, one capable of presenting the living hope of believers to those inquiring into its purpose."

"On the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, while the Church continues to reflect on the richness of the teaching contained its documents and to find new ways of putting it into practice, it is possible to see the long path travelled over these decades in the area of catechesis. It has been a path, however, that in the years following the Council has not been without mistakes, even serious ones, both in method and in content. All of this has brought about profound reflection and led to the development of post-conciliar documents that represent a new wealth in catechesis."

"The Council's teachings and the subsequent Magisterium, as interpreters of the Church's great tradition in this field, have connected the Catechism ever more closely to the process of evangelisation. The Catechism, therefore, represents a significant step in the daily life of the Church, announcing and communicating the Word of God in a living and effective manner, so that it might reach all and that believers might be trained and educated in Christ to build His body, which is the Church."

"In the Apostolic Letter, formulated as a Motu Proprio, 'Ubicumque et sempter' of 21 September, 2010, I instituted the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation to pursue 'its own ends both by encouraging reflection on topics of the new evangelisation, and by identifying and promoting suitable ways and means to accomplish it'. In particular, I wanted to assign the task of promoting 'the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an essential and complete formulation of the content of the faith for the people of our time' to the new dicastery."

"Given all this, I believe it opportune that that dicastery assume as part of its institutional tasks the one of caring for, on behalf of the Roman Pontiff, the relevant instrument of evangelisation that the Catechism, along with catechetical teaching in all its diverse forms, represents for the Church in order to bring about a more organic and effective pastoral outreach. This new pontifical council will be able to provide the local churches and the diocesan bishops an appropriate service in this area."

"Accepting the agreement proposed by the heads of the dicasteries concerned, therefore, I have decided to transfer the competency for catechesis that the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus' had entrusted to the Congregation for the Clergy on 28 June 1988, to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, with the same jurisdiction in the matter as previously exercised by the Congregation as required by canon law."


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – This Sunday, 27 January, will mark the 60th World Day for the Fight Against Leprosy. For the occasion, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, has published a message entitled: "A Fitting Occasion for Intensifying the Service of Charity". In the text of the document the archbishop notes that Hansen's disease is "a malady that is as old as it is grave when we consider the suffering, the social exclusion and the poverty that [it] involves".

"According to the most recent data of the WHO," the message states, "about 220,000 peoplemen, women and childrencontracted leprosy in 2011 and many of these new cases were diagnosed when the disease was at an advanced stage. These data demonstrate the continuationnotwithstanding the praiseworthy action of international and national, governmental and non-governmental, institutions, such as the WHO and the Raoul Follereau Foundation and the Sasakawa Foundationof a still insufficient level of access to centres that offer diagnoses and of a lack of education as regards prevention in communities that run the risk of contagion, as well as the need for specifically designed medico-hygienic initiatives. All of this is fundamental in the case of leprosy, which by now does not lead to death if it is suitably treated, as it is the case, to a greater extent, of the other ‘neglected diseases’ ... These are pathologies that constitute authentic scourges in some parts of the world but which do not receive sufficient attention from the international community; amongst these pathologies we find dengue fever, sleeping sickness, bilharziosis, onchocerciasis, leishmaniasis, and trachoma."

"In the face of such a health-care emergency, in the light of the Year of Faith as well, and with the wish to commit ourselves increasingly intensely, as Catholics, to carrying out what Jesus requested by his commandment ‘Euntes docete et curate infirmos’ and by our baptism, I wish to renew my invitation to work to ensure that this Sixtieth World Leprosy Day constitutes a new ‘fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us’."

"An equally important role should also be played by all those people who are victims of leprosy, who are called to cooperate in the establishment of a more inclusive and just society that will allow the integration of those people who have been cured of leprosy; in spreading and promoting its forms of diagnosis and treatment; in stressing the need to receive therapies so as to be cured, thereby contributing to a weakening of the disease; and in distributing those medico-hygienic criteria that are indispensable to hindering its further propagation in the contexts to which they belong."

"As a Christian, a person who has been afflicted by leprosy also has the possibility of living his or her condition in a perspective of faith, ‘finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love’, praying and offering up his or her suffering for the good of the Church and humanity. In awareness that what has been emphasised is certainly not easy, and requires charity towards themselves and their neighbours, hope, courage, patience and determination, I would like to observe, employing the words of St. Paul, that none of us ‘received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear’: we have ‘received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!"’. And, ‘if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him’. Even in the most adverse situations, a Christian is certain that ‘nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’," concludes the text.


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and

- Mr. Nikolay Sadchikov, ambassador of the Russian Federation, on his farewell visit.


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kalookan, Philippines presented by Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Bishop Buenaventura Malayo Famadico as bishop of San Pablo (area 1,203, population 2,821,000, Catholics 2,466,000, priests 172, religious 508), Philippines. Bishop Famadico was born in 1956 in Banton, Romblon, Philippines, was ordained to the priesthood in 1983, and received episcopal ordination in 2002. He was previously bishop of Gumaca, Philippines from 2003. He succeeds Bishop Leo M. Drona, S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of San Pablo the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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