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Friday, June 21, 2013


Vatican City, 21 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, as part of the Year of Faith, the Holy Father received the pontifical representatives. After an introduction by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., the Holy Father addressed the nuncios with “simple thoughts” and informal words “close to his heart” regarding what he called some “existential” aspects of the labour they carry out.

Your lives,” the Pope said, “are nomadic. Every three or four years … you change your place, move from one continent to another, one country to another, one reality of Church to another, often very different one. You always have your suitcase in hand. … This entails … mortification, the sacrifice of stripping yourselves of things, friends, ties, and always beginning anew. This isn't easy.”

Francis recalled the words that, then-substitute of the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Montini, used on 25 April 1951 to describe the figure of the pontifical representative: “one who is truly aware of bearing Christ with him”. With this, the Pope clarified that “the goods and perspectives of this world end up disappointing, they push and are never satisfied. The Lord is the good that does not disappoint.”

The Pope didn't forget to mention that this “nomadic” life holds the danger, even for men of the Church, to give in to what he called—using an expression from the theologian Henri de Lubac—“spiritual worldliness”. “Giving in to the spirit of the world, which leads one to act for personal realization and not for the glory of God in that kind of 'bourgeoisie of spirit and life' that urges one to get comfortable, to seek a calm and easy life.”

We are shepherds and we must never forget this! Dear pontifical representatives, you are Christ's presence, you are a priestly presence, as pastors. … Always do everything with profound love! Even in dealing with the civil authorities and colleagues: always seek the good, the good in everyone, the good of the Church, and of every person.”

The Holy Father wanted to conclude his address by highlighting one of the principal and most delicate tasks of the representatives, to look for episcopal appointments: “be attentive,” he told them, “that the candidates are Pastors who are close to the people, fathers and brothers; that they are gentle, patient, and merciful; that they love poverty, interior poverty as freedom for the Lord and exterior poverty as simplicity and austerity of life; that they don't have the mindset of 'princes'. Be attentive that they aren't ambitious, that they don't seek the episcopate—'volentes nolumus'—and that they are spouses of a Church without constantly seeking another. That they are capable of 'keeping an eye on' the flock that will be entrusted to them, that is, of caring for everything that keeps it united; of being 'vigilant' over it; of being attentive to dangers that threaten it; but above all that they are capable of 'keeping an eye over' the flock; of keeping watch; of tending hope, that there is sun and light in their hearts; of sustaining with love and patience the plans that God has for his people.”


Vatican City, 21 June 2013 (VIS) – At 11:30 this morning in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the activities of the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI", in particular, its symposium “The Gospels: History and Christology. The Research of Joseph Ratzinger”, which will be held at the Pontifical Lateran University from 24 to 26 October of this year. The names of the candidates selected by its academic committee for the Foundation's annual prize, which will be conferred on 26 October, were also announced.

Benedict XVI instituted the Foundation on 1 March, 2010, in response to the desire expressed by many scholars over the years. One of the areas of competency of the academic committee is precisely to establish the criteria of excellence for the creation and assignment of prizes to scholars who have distinguished themselves in the areas of publication and/or academic research. The Foundation's aim is to place the question of God at the heart of academic reflection. With the Ratzinger Prize, one of the Foundation's three main activities, it hopes to call attention to this subject. Its two principal activities are awarding scholarships to those pursuing doctorates in Theology and organizing conferences of high academic standard.

Speakers at the conference included: Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Foundation's academic committee; Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, O.P., president of the symposium's organizing committee; Msgr. Luis Romera, vice president of the symposium's organizing committee; and Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, the Foundation's president.

The recipients of this year's Ratzinger Prize are the English Biblical scholar Richard A. Burridge, dean of King's College London and minister in the Anglican Communion—the first non-Catholic to receive the award—and the German lay theologian Christian Schaller, professor of Dogmatic Theology and deputy director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute of Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger.

Richard Burridge today,” said Cardinal Ruini, “is definitely an eminent figure in the field of Biblical studies and not only of the English language. In particular, he has made a great contribution in that decisive area of the historical and theological recognition of the Gospels' inseparable connection to Jesus of Nazareth.” Christian Schaller will also be awarded the Ratzinger Prize, “not only for his contribution to theological studies but also in recognition of the role he is carrying out in the publication of Joseph Ratzinger's complete works. This publication is of primary importance for the future of studies inspired by the thought of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, which is the main purpose of our Foundation.”

Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, the Foundation's president, outlined some details regarding the upcoming symposium to be held at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University. It will be the Foundation's third conference. The first—“Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace”—was held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2011. The second—“What Makes Man Man”—was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year.

This year's symposium, “The Gospels: History and Christology”, starting from Joseph Ratzinger's research, will focus on the major themes of his trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth and will last three days. The first day will address the issue of the Jesus of the Gospels, considering them as texts. After a summary of the historical research on the Jesus of the New Testament over the last centuries, the contribution of papyrology to the study of those texts will be analysed along with the definition of the literary genre of the Gospels in comparison to Greco-Roman biographies and their historical significance. Professors participating in the first day include: Dr. Bernardo Estrada (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome); Dr. Juan Chapa (University of Navarra, Spain); Dr. Richard Burridge (King's College, London); and Dr. Yves Simoens (Pontifical Biblical Institute and Gregorian University, Rome).

The second day will be dedicated to the figure of Jesus presented in the Gospels and the theology they contain, also in relation to other New Testament writings. First the reliability of the Gospel text will be analysed, with the purpose of discovering who Jesus really was. Then the historical figure that emerges from the Gospels and Pauline witness will be outlined. Finally, the impact of the Gospels in Early Christianity and the theology of the Fathers will be examined. Speakers on the second day will include: Dr. Klaus Berger (University of Heidelberg, Germany); Dr. John P. Meier (University of Notre Dame, USA); Dr. Antonio Pitta (Pontifical Lateran University, Rome); and Cardinal Prosper Grech (Pontifical Lateran University and Augustinianum, Rome).

Joseph Ratzinger's proposal of “Jesus of Nazareth” will be the key theme of the third day. Professor Thomas Soding (University of Bochum, Germany) and Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will discuss the importance of Ratzinger's research on exegesis, theology, and methodology. The symposium will also address two specific areas: the figure of Jesus in the Gospel passages relating his infancy and the Last Supper. Professors Dr. Armand Puig I Tarrech (dean of the Theological Faculty of Catalonia, Barcelona) and Dr. Ermenegildo Manicardi (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome) will coordinate the presentations of the various experts in these areas.


Vatican City, 21 June 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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