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Monday, February 18, 2013


Vatican City, 17 February 2013 (VIS) – At 6:00pm today, the first day of Lent, the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, which the Holy Father participates in, began in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. The Lenten exercises will conclude on Saturday morning, 23 February. This year the meditations are led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

During the retreat all papal audiences are suspended, including the weekly general audience of Wednesday, 20 February.


Vatican City, 17 February 2013 (VIS) – More than one hundred and fifty thousand people attended Benedict XVI's second-to-last Angelus in St. Peter's Square today. The Pope, who appeared at the window of his study at noon, focuses his Sunday meditation on Lent, "a time of conversion and penitence in preparation for Easter."

"The Church, who is mother and teacher," he said, "calls on all of her members to renew their spirit, to reorient themselves toward God, renouncing pride and selfishness in order to live in love. In this Year of Faith, Lent is a favourable time to rediscover faith in God as the fundamental criterion of our lives and the life of the Church. This always implies a struggle, spiritual combat, because the spirit of evil, naturally, opposes our sanctification and tries to turn us from God's path. … Jesus, after having received 'investiture' as the Messiah―'anointed' by the Spirit―at his Baptism in the Jordan, was led by the same Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. On beginning his public ministry, Jesus had to unmask and reject the false images of the Messiah proposed to him by the tempter. But these temptations are also the false images of humanity that have always harassed our consciences, disguising themselves as convenient and effective, even good proposals."

"The core of these temptations," Benedict XVI explained, "always consists in instumentalizing God for our own interests, giving more importance to success or material goods. The tempter is sly: he doesn't push us directly toward evil, but toward a false good, making us believe that power and that which satisfies our basic needs are the true realities. In this way, God becomes secondary; He is reduced to a means, becomes unreal, no longer counts, disappears. In the final analysis, faith is what is at stake in temptation because God is at stake. In the decisive moments of our lives, but on closer inspection in every moment, we are faced with a choice: do we want to follow the 'I' or God? Do we want to seek out selfish interests or the true Good, that which is truly good?"

"As the Church Fathers teach us, temptation forms part of Jesus' 'descent' into our human condition, into the abyss of sin and its consequences. It is a descent that Jesus follows to its very end, even to death on the cross and the hell of extreme distance from God. … As St. Augustine teaches, Jesus has taken temptation from us in order to give us victory over it. Therefore we too have no fear of facing the battle against the spirit of evil. What is important is that we face it with him, with Christ the Victor," the pontiff concluded.

After the Marian prayer the Pope thanked everyone for their prayers and affection, which he has felt in these days. "I ask," he said, "that you continue to pray for me and for the next Pope, as well as for the spiritual exercises that I will begin with the members of the Roman Curia this afternoon." He also greeted the "beloved city of Rome", seeing that among those filling St. Peter's Square there was a delegation from the municipality headed by the mayor.


Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon at 6:00pm, the Pope received Senator Mario Monti, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, in a private farewell audience that, according to a communique published today, was both particularly cordial and intense.

Prime Minister Monti expressed once again the gratitude and affection of the Italian people for the Holy Father's high-minded religious and moral teaching, for his attention to social problems, and for sharing the hopes of Italy and Europe.


Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in audience Mr. Otto Fernando Perez Molina, president of the Republic of Guatemala. President Perez Molina then met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial relations between the Holy See and Guatemala were evident during the talks, as well as the appreciation for the Church's unique contribution in that country's development, especially in the areas of education, the promotion of human and spiritual values, and social and charitable activity. The latter has been particularly evident during, among other situations, the recent earthquake that affected the Guatemalan people.

Later in the conversations, the need to continue working together in solving social problems of poverty, drug trafficking, organized crime, and emigration was agreed upon and, in conclusion, talk also turned to the importance of the defence of human life from the moment of conception.


Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father renewed, for a five-year period, the Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).

The new oversight commission is composed of: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State (president of the commission); Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India; and Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), who takes the place of Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Financial Information Authority (AIF).


Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Mr. Otto Perez Molina, president of the Republic of Guatemala, with his wife and entourage,

- thirteen prelates from the Lombardy region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, with auxiliaries:
Bishop Erminio De Scalzi, titular of Arbanum,
Bishop Luigi Stucchi, titular of Horrea,
Bishop Mario Enrico Delpini, titular of Stephaniacum, as well as:
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop emeritus of Milan and apostolic administrator of Vigevano, and
Bishop Giovanni Giudici of Pavia,
Bishop Dante Lafranconi of Cremona,
Bishop Luciano Monari of Brescia,
Bishop Giuseppe Merisi of Lodi,
Bishop Diego Coletti of Como,
Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo,
Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Crema,
Bishop Roberto Busti of Mantova, and

- Senator Mario Monti, prime minister of the Republic of Italy.


Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed:

Fr. Wieslaw Krotki, O.M.I., as bishop of Churchill-Baie d'Hudson (area 2,300,000, population 32,090, Catholics 8,570, priests 10, religious 2), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Istebna, now in the Silesia Province of southern Poland in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1990. Immediately after ordination for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Obra, Poland, he was sent to the missions in the Great North of Canada where he has served in several roles for the order and to various missions. From 1999 to 2005 he was superior of the Oblate Delegation of Hudson Bay and, since 2001, has been a missionary to the Inuit community of Igloolik. He succeeds Bishop Reynald Rouleau, O.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Fr. Titus Joseph Mdoe as auxiliary bishop of Dar-es-Salaam (area 40,000, population 5,329,000, Catholics 1,618,000, priests 262, religious 712), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Lushoto, Tanga, Tanzania in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in several pastoral and administrative roles for the Diocese of Tanga, Tanzania, and from 2010 has been the deputy principal for Administration and Finance at Stella Maris Mtwara University College constituency of St. Augustine University in the Diocese of Mtwara, Tanzania. The Holy Father has assigned him the Titular See of Bahanna.

Archbishop Aldo Cavalli as apostolic nuncio to Malta. Archbishop Cavalli, titular of Vibo Valentia, was previously apostolic nuncio to Colombia.
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