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Saturday, February 23, 2013


Vatican City, 23 February 2013 (VIS) – At the conclusion of this year's spiritual exercises, Benedict XVI thanked the members of the Curia who had accompanied him in these days and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravisi, who led the retreat. The Pope referred to his preaching, the theme of which was “The Art of Believing, the Art of Praying” as “'beautiful' walks through the universe of faith, and the universe of the Psalms.”

I was reminded of the fact,” Benedict XVI said, “that the medieval theologians have translated the word 'logos' not only as 'verbum', but also as 'ars'. 'Verbum' and 'ars' are interchangeable. Only in the two together does the entire meaning of the word 'logos' appear for medieval theologians. The 'Logos' is not simply a mathematical reasoning, the 'Logos' has a heart. The 'Logos' is also love. Truth is beautiful. Truth and beauty go together. Beauty is the seal of truth.”

And yet you, starting from the Psalms and from our everyday experience, have also strongly emphasized that the 'very beautiful' of the sixth day—expressed by the creator—is always challenged in this world by evil, suffering, and corruption. It almost seems that evil wants to permanently mar creation, to contradict God and to make His truth and His beauty unrecognisable. In a world that is also so marked by evil, the 'Logos', eternal beauty and eternal 'ars', should appear as the 'caput cruentatum'. The incarnate Son, the incarnate 'Logos' is crowned with a crown of thorns and, nevertheless, just that way, in this suffering figure of the Son of God, we begin to see the most profound beauty of our Creator and Redeemer. In the silence of the 'dark night' we can still hear the Word. Believing is nothing other than, in the darkness of the world, touching the hand of God and thus, in silence, listening to the Word, seeing Love.”

Benedict XVI again thanked Cardinal Ravasi, expressing his wish to “take other 'walks' in this mysterious universe of the faith and to always be more capable of praying, proclaiming, and being witnesses to the truth, which is beauty and which is love.”

In conclusion, dear friends,” he finished, “I would like to thank all of you and not only for this week, but for these past eight years that you have carried with me—with great skill, affection, love and faith—the weight of the Petrine ministry. This gratitude remains with me and, even if this 'exterior', 'visible' communion—as Cardinal Ravasi said—is now ending, our spiritual closeness remains, the deep communion in prayer. We go forward with this certainty, certain of God's victory, certain of the truth of beauty and love.”


Vatican City, 23 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning at 11:30am, the Holy Father received the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano accompanied by his wife, in a farewell audience. The meeting was particularly warm and cordial, given the mutual respect and familiarity of the two eminent men.

President Napolitano expressed, not only the gratitude of the Italian people for his closeness in so many crucial moments and for his elevated religious and moral teaching, but also their affection, which will continue to accompany him in the coming years.

The Pope, for his part, again expressed his gratitude to the president and his wife for their friendship and best wishes for the good of Italy, particularly in these days and at this moment of demanding decisions.


Vatican City, 23 February 2013 (VIS) – Benedict XVI, in an apostolic letter, thanked Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, for his preaching during the Lenten retreat.

You have offered us,” the Holy Father writes, “a fascinating journey through the Psalms, following a double path: ascending and descending. The Psalms, in fact, are fundamentally oriented toward the face of God, toward the mystery in which the human mind gets lost, but the very Word of God allows us to see according to the different profiles in which God reveals himself. At the same time, in the light that shine from the face of God, praying the Psalms allows us to see the face of humanity, to recognize the truth of human joy and sorrow, human anguish and hope.”

In this way, … the Word of God, mediated by the ancient and ever-new 'ars orandi' of the Jewish people and the Church, has allowed us to renew the 'ars credendi': a need that is highlighted by the Year of Faith and is even more necessary in this particular moment that I, personally, and the Apostolic See are living. Peter's successor and his collaborators are called to give the Church and the world a clear testimony of faith, and this is only possible thanks to a deep and abiding immersion in dialogue with God. Many today are asking: Who will show us what is good? We can answer, those who reflect God's light and face with their lives.”


Vatican City, 23 February 2013 (VIS) – The freedom of the College of Cardinals, which, by law, is responsible for providing for the election of the Roman Pontiff, has always been strongly defended by the Holy See as the guarantee of a choice based solely on deliberations directed toward the good of the Church.

Over the course of the centuries, Cardinals have had to face many forms of pressures, exerted upon individual electors or upon the College of Cardinals itself, that sought to influence their decisions, following a political or worldly logic.

If in the past the so-called powers, i.e., States, sought to influence the election of the Pope, today there is an attempt to do this through public opinion, which is often based on judgements that do not capture the typically spiritual aspect of this moment that the Church is living.

It is deplorable that, as we draw closer to the moment that the Conclave will begin and the Cardinal electors will be held—in conscience and before God—to freely express their choice, there is a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable, or even completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.

Now as never before, Catholics are focusing on what is essential: praying for Pope Benedict, praying that the Holy Spirit might enlighten the College of Cardinals, and praying for the future Pope, confident that the future of the barque of Peter is in God's hands.


Vatican City, 23 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- appointed Fr. Pietro Lagnese as bishop of Ischia (area 46, population 58,800, Catholics 55,400, priests 42, permanent deacons 10, religious 46), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Vitulazio, Campania, Italy in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1986. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral and administrative roles, most recently as pastor of Santa Maria dell’Agnena in Vitulazio, Italy.

- appointed Bishop Dagoberto Sosa Arriaga as bishop of Tlapa (area 6,990, population 506,000, Catholics 473,000, priests 50, religious 77), Mexico. Bishop Dagoberto, titular of Gummi in Byzacena, was previously auxiliary of Puebla de los Angeles, Puebla, Mexico.

- appointed Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Archbishop Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzaran, of Yucatan, Mexico, as members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

- appointed as members of the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters of the Virtuosi al Pantheon: in the class of architects: Dr. Mario Botta, Dr. Maria Antonietta Crippa, and Dr. Lorenzo Bartolini Salimbeni; in the class of painters and filmmakers: Pedro Cano; in the class of sculptors: Giuseppe Ducrot, Mimmo Paladino, and Ugo Riva; and in the class of writers and poets: Laura Bosio, Luca Doninelli, and Vincenzo Cerami.
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