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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Vatican City, 20 February 2013 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., responding to journalists' questions, commented that the Holy Father is considering the publication of a Motu Proprio in the coming days, obviously before the beginning of the Sede Vacante, to clarify a few particular points regarding the Apostolic Constitution on the conclave that have arisen over the last years.

"I don't know if he will deem it necessary or appropriate," he added, "to elucidate the question of the opening date of the conclave. We will have to see if and when a document is published. It seems to me, for example, the clarification of some details in order to be in complete agreement with another document regarding the conclave, that is, the Ordo Rituum Conclavis. In any case, the question depends on the Pope's judgement and if this document comes about it will be made known through the proper channels."


Vatican City, 20 February 2013 (VIS) – Fourteen texts with an anthropological theme written by Joseph Ratzinger between 1972 and 2005―before being elected Pope―are being published in the volume "Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture (Michigan/Cambridge, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013), edited by David L. Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy. The texts―articles and contributions―address, among others, themes such as humanity between reproduction and creation; Jesus Christ today; the meaning of Sunday; hope, technological security understood as a problem of social ethics; and God in John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope".

As reported by "L'Osservatore Romano", the connecting theme in the Pope's writings is that they been published or re-edited in the American edition of the international Catholic periodical "Communio". This is the second volume dedicated to Joseph Ratzinger's texts, the first of which, "Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: The Unity of the Church" was released in 2010, and was also edited by David L. Schindler. The plan, as Schindler explains in the introductory note in the second volume, is to republish all of Cardinal Ratzinger's articles that appeared in the American edition of "Communio", from its first edition in 1974. Despite the difficulty in clearly establishing the boundaries of their areas, the writings have been grouped into three major categories: Church, anthropology, and theological renewal.

"Communio" is an international journal on theology and culture published quarterly. It was founded in 1972 by various theologians including Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Jean-Luc Marion and Joseph Ratzinger himself.


Vatican City, 20 February 2013 (VIS) – "Governance, Common Good, and Democratic Transitions in Africa" is the title of the Pastoral Letter prepared by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM)the organization gathering all the Catholic bishops of that continent―presented in Accra, Ghana by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and president of SECAM.

The Pastoral Letter, following after Benedict XVI's post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Africae Munus", emphasized that "the Church cannot remain indifferent and isolated in the face of Africa’s socio-political and economic challenges, and notes that "the common good, the respect for human rights, and the promotion of good government are essential elements of the Gospel message."

Recalling the Church's prophetic mission, the text states that "the justice that the prophets demanded is not abstract; it is very practical, down-to-earth actions, which take place to ensure that the weak are protected from abuse, that the poor have what they need, and that the socially disadvantaged are cared for. It means giving to everyone what God has intended for them regardless of any distinction."

The document also comments on the lack of work in many African countries, observing that "The drama of immigration, with a growing number of young people who risk their lives to leave Africa, reflects the depth of the malaise of a continent that is still dragging its feet to provide favourable conditions for the blossoming of her sons and daughters." Also, "the situation of women is another cause for worry. It is SECAM's view that women and men are of equal dignity in their humanity before God, both were created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore we should ensure that all are given the opportunity to play their "specific role in the Church and in society at large."

In regard to good governance in Africa, the bishops of SECAM launched an appeal to all of Africa's political leaders and governments "to see poverty eradication as a priority by using proceeds from the continent's sub-soil natural resources, such as land, and forestry for the development of your countries for the benefit of the whole nation and all its citizens. We implore you not to undermine the fight against corruption. Corruption is a canker destroying our nations."

"The Church," reads the Pastoral Letter, "has been at the heart of all efforts towards better governance. In many countries, during the delicate democratic transitional period of the 1990s, the Church played a clearly visible role of support. Five out of the eight National Transitional Conferences that were organized during this epoch were chaired by Catholic Bishops. This intervention by the Church helped, in many cases, to ensure peaceful democratic transitional processes with a lot of success, through inclusive consultations and dialogue. Many Christians in some volatile situations helped in bringing about peace and reconciliation. The Church has to take her responsibilities in the socio-political domain. She has to be fully involved in the in-depth transformation of our society."


Vatican City, 20 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Fr. Jose Mario Angonese as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Curitiba (area 5,751, population 2,420,151, Catholics 1,790,912, priests 391, permanent deacons 52, religious 1556), Brazil, assigning him the titular see of Giufi. The bishop-elect was born in Unistalda, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a license in Philosophy with a specialization in Psychopedagogy from the philosophy faculty of Canoas, Brazil. He has served in several pastoral and academic roles for the Diocese of Santa Maria, Brazil most recently as pastor of Ressurreicao parish and rector of the archdiocesan major seminary, Sao Jao Maria Vianney.

- appointed Fr. Daniel Miehm as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Hamilton (area 16,824, population 2,064,000, Catholics 580,000, priests 224, permanent deacons 32, religious 376), Canada, assigning him the titular see of Gor. The bishop-elect was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a license in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy. He has served in several pastoral roles for the Diocese of Hamilton, most recently as pastor of the new parish St. Benedict in Milton, Ontario and spiritual assistant of the St. Thomas More Lawyer's Guild.
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