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Thursday, December 30, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in an international congress of the International Federation of "Pueri Cantores", currently being held in Rome.

The Pope addressed the group in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Polish and Ukrainian. "As you use your talents and your faith to sing God's praises, you give voice to the natural desire of every human being to glorify Him, with songs of love", he said. "Yet beautiful music is able to express something of the mystery of God's love for us and ours for Him, as we are reminded by the theme chosen for your Congress: 'Deus Caritas Est'".

"Always remember that your singing is a service. Firstly, it is a service to God, a way of giving Him the praise that is due. It is also a service to your fellow worshippers, helping them to raise their hearts and minds to the Lord in prayer. And it is a service to the whole Church, offering a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy that is the goal of all true worship, when the choirs of angels and saints unite in one unending song of love and praise".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of the Pope's Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors:

The Apostolic See has always raised its voice to exhort all men and women of good will, and especially the leaders of nations, to commit themselves to building - also through just and lasting peace in all parts of the world - the universal city of God, towards which the history of peoples and nations progresses [Benedict XVI, Enc. Let. 'Caritas in veritate' (29 June 2009), 7: AAS 101/2009, 645]. Unfortunately, peace in our time and in an increasingly globalised society is threatened by various causes, among them the inappropriate use of the market and the economy, as well as the terrible destruction of terrorist violence, which causes death, suffering, hatred and social instability.

Quite rightly, the international community is increasingly equipping itself with juridical principles and instruments that enable it to prevent and contrast the phenomena of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Holy See approves this commitment and intends to adopt these rules in its own use of the material resources it needs to carry out its mission, and to carry out the tasks of Vatican City State.

In this context, also in implementation of the Monetary Convention of 17 December 2009 between Vatican City State and the European Union, I have approved for Vatican City State the publication of the Law of 30 December 2010 concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism, which is being promulgated today.

With this Apostolic Letter in the form of "Motu Proprio":

(a) I decree that the abovementioned Law of Vatican City State, and its future modifications, is also valid for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for all Institutions and Entities dependent on the Holy See, when they undertake the activities defined in article 2 of the said Law.

(b) I establish the "Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF), as indicated in article 33 of the Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism, as an Institution connected with the Holy See in accordance with articles 186 and 190-191 of the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", conferring thereon public juridical canonical status and Vatican civil status, and approving its Statute which is attached to this Motu Proprio.

(c) I decree that the "Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF) is to exercise its functions in relation to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and in relation to all the Institutions and Entities mentioned in paragraph (a) above.

(d) I delegate the competent judicial bodies of Vatican City State to exercise their penal jurisdiction - only as concerns the crimes conjectured in the abovementioned Law - in relation to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and in relation to all the Institutions and Entities mentioned in paragraph (a) above.

I order that what has thus been established is to have full and stable validity as of today's date, notwithstanding any dispositions to the contrary, though worthy of special mention.

I decree that this Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio is to be published in the "Acta Apostolicae Sedis".

Published in Rome, from the Apostolic Palace, 30 December of the year 2010, sixth of the Pontificate.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the English-language text of a communique issued by the Secretariat of State regarding the new legislation for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors:

(1) Today, in implementation of the Monetary Convention of 17 December 2009 (2010/C 28/05) between Vatican City State and the European Union, four new Laws were adopted:

- the "Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism";
- the "Law on fraud and counterfeiting of Euro banknotes and coins";
- the "Law concerning the size, specifications, reproductions, substitutions of and withdrawals from use of Euro banknotes and concerning the implementation of measures to be taken against the irregular reproduction of Euro banknotes and the substitution of and withdrawal from use of Euro banknotes";
- the "Law regarding the face, unitary value and technical specifications, as well as the copyright of the designs of the national faces of the Euro coins destined for circulation".

The process of drafting the above-mentioned Laws was conducted with the assistance of the Mixed Committee, established in Art.11 of the Monetary Convention, composed of representatives of Vatican City State and of the European Union. The European Union delegation is composed of representatives of the Commission and of the Republic of Italy as well as representatives of the Central European Bank.

The Law concerning the prevention and countering of money laundering and of the financing of terrorism is published together with this communique, while the others will be published on the website of Vatican City State, at www.vaticanstate.va

(2) The Law concerning the prevention of money laundering and of the financing of terrorism contains the following in a single piece of legislation:

- specification of criminal activities which comprise the laundering of money, self money-laundering, and the so-called "predicate crimes" (that is, the criminal activities which generate incomes, that are subsequently laundered), for which penal fines are foreseen;
- specification of activities with a more administrative content related to international co-operation, but also to prevention, for which pecuniary administrative fines are foreseen.

The above Law is based on the following main obligations:

- "adequate verification" of the counterpart;
- registration and conservation of data concerning ongoing relations and operations;
- reporting of suspicious transactions.

The structure of this Law, while taking into account the specificity of the Vatican legal system into which it is inserted, conforms to the principles and rules in force throughout the European Union and is therefore in conformity with the norms of other nations which have more developed rules in this regard. This is seen in the provisions concerning, among other things, self money-laundering, the controls on cash entering or leaving Vatican City State, the obligations regarding the transfer of funds, and the heavy administrative sanctions that are applicable not only to legal persons and entities but also to the physical persons who act on their behalf, by means of the binding recourse action.

(3) In conformity with what is found in the most recent norms of the European Union, the Law on fraud and counterfeiting responds to the need to adopt a solid network of legal protection of Euro banknotes and coins from counterfeiting. This requires procedures of withdrawal from circulation of counterfeited banknotes and coins, the reinforcing of penal sanctions, as well as various forms of European and international cooperation.

(4) The Laws concerning the Euro banknotes and coins contain the following for those Banknotes and coins:

- norms for the protection of the copyright of the designs;
- rules regarding size, technical characteristics, circulation and substitution;
- the prospective application of administrative pecuniary fines for violation of any of these Laws.

(5) The drafting of the Laws that are adopted today does not involve Vatican City State alone. The Holy See, which is legally distinct from Vatican City State and which directs entities and institutions active in various areas, has adopted as its own the "Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism". The adoption of this Law was accomplished by means of the "Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the area of monetary and financial dealings".

With that Apostolic Letter, which is also published today and signed by the Supreme Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI:

- it is also established that the Law of Vatican City State and its future modifications apply as well to the "Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for each and every institution or entity dependent on the Holy See", among which the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) is included, so as to confirm the latter's firm intention to operate according to principles and criteria which are internationally recognised;
- the Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) is established, an autonomous and independent body with the specific task of preventing and countering the laundering of money and the financing of terrorism with respect to each subject, both legal and physical, entity and institution of whatever nature, of Vatican City State, of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and of all the other institutions and entities dependent on the Holy See;
- the competent judicial authorities of Vatican City State are henceforth delegated to exercise penal jurisdiction in regard to the above-mentioned institutions, in the case of crimes related to money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Apostolic Letter is published on the Holy See's website, at www.vatican.va

(6) The AIF, whose President and members of the Governing Council are appointed by the Pope, is charged with the task of adopting the complex and delicate norms of implementation which are indispensable in ensuring that the subjects of the Holy See and of Vatican City State - from 1 April 2011 - will respect these new and important obligations aimed at countering the laundering of money and the financing of terrorism. On 1 April 2011, the "Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism" will enter into force.

(7) Experience will help to refine and integrate the new norms concerning the prevention and countering of money-laundering and the financing of terrorism in accordance with the principles and the standards in force in the international community; such need might derive from the Holy See's and Vatican City State's openness to deal with competent international instances in countering both money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

(8) These new Laws are part of the Apostolic See's efforts to build a just and honest social order. At no time may the great principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility be neglected or weakened (cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 36).
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VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a note written by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. on the Pope's Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors. Fr. Lombardi's note is entitled "Transparency , honesty and responsibility".

Today's publication of new laws for Vatican City State, for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for the Institutions and Entities dependent on the Holy See, is an important normative development, but also has far-reaching moral and pastoral significance.

As of today, all organisations associated with the government of the Catholic Church - and with the Church's "support": Vatican City State - have, in a spirit of sincere collaboration, become part of that system of juridical principles and instruments which the international community is creating with the aim of guaranteeing just and honest coexistence in an increasingly globalised world; a world in which, unfortunately, economy and finance is not infrequently a field for illegal activities, such as the recycling of the profits of crime and the financing of terrorism, true threats to justice and peace in the world.

Speaking plainly, the Pope affirms that the "Holy See approves such a commitment" on the part of the international community, "and intends to adopt the rules" the community uses "to prevent and combat" these terrible phenomena.

Illegal activities have always shown an extraordinary ability to infiltrate and contaminate the world of economy and finance, but their growth at the international level, and the use of new technology, have made them increasingly insidious and capable of concealment. Thus, by way of protection, it has become vital to create mutual control and information networks among the authorities charged with contrasting such activities.

It would be ingenuous to imagine that the perverse intelligence of the people who control illegal activities would not seek to exploit certain weak spots which sometimes exist in the international systems that defend and oversee legality, in order to penetrate and violate them. For this reason international solidarity is of vital importance in order to safeguard those systems, and it is right and understandable that national watchdogs and the competent international organisations (the Council of Europe and, in particular, FATF the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering) should look favourably upon the States and organisations which offer the requested guarantees, and impose greater limitations on those which fail to conform.

Naturally, this also holds true for Vatican City and for those ecclesiastical organisations which undertake economic and financial activities.

Thus the new norms respond both to the need to conserve the effectiveness of the organisations that work in the economic and financial sector at the service of the Catholic Church in the world and, – more importantly - to the moral requirement of "transparency, honesty and responsibility", which must always be observed in the social and economic field (Caritas in Veritate, 36).

The implementation of the new norms will certainly require great commitment. A new Financial Information Authority must be set up, new obligations must be respected, new functions exercised. But this cannot but be of benefit to the Church. Vatican organisations will be less vulnerable in the face of the continuous risks that inevitably arise in the handling of money. Those errors which so quickly become the cause of "scandal" for public opinion and the faithful will be avoided. In the final analysis the Church will be more "credible" before the members of the international community, and this is of vital importance for her evangelical mission. Today, 30 December 2010, the Pope has signed a document of a type a little unusual for him, but one of great courage and of great moral and spiritual significance. This is a good way to conclude the year: with a step towards transparency and credibility!
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VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for January 2011 is: "That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society".

His mission intention is: "That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel".


VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and the Holy See for the months of September to December 2010.


2: Holy Father receives in audience Shimon Peres, president of Israel.

3: Publication of the Holy Father's Message for the twenty-sixth World Youth Day, entitled: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith". World Youth Day is due to be celebrated in the Spanish capital Madrid during the month of August 2011.

5: Pastoral visit of the Holy Father to the Italian town of Carpineto Romano to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the birth there of Pope Leo XIII (Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci).

8: At the end of his general audience, the Holy Father Benedict XVI greets Jose Maria Pereira Neves, prime minister of Cape Verde.

10: Holy Father receives in audience Pal Schmitt, president of the Republic of Hungary.

10: Benedict XVI receives a group of prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast region 3) at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

13: Beatification in Granada, Spain, of Servant of God Leopoldo Sanchez Marquez de Alpandeire (ne Francesco), Spanish professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins.

13: Holy Father receives Letters of Credence of Walter Jurgen Schmid, the new ambassador of Germany to the Holy See.

16-19: Apostolic trip to the United Kingdom for the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

20: Vatican Apostolic Library reopens following three years of restoration work.

24: Presentation of Benedict XVI's Letter for the Seventh World Meeting of Families, due to be held in the Italian city of Milan from 30 May to 2 June 2012 on the theme: "The Family: Work and Rest".

29: Publication of the theme chosen by the Pope for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications: "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age". His Message for the Day will be published on 24 January 2011, feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of journalists.


3: Pastoral visit of the Holy Father to Palermo, Italy, for a regional ecclesial meeting of families and young people.

4: Benedict XVI receives a group of prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (North region 1 and Northeast region) at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

7: Holy Father receives Letters of Credence of Fernando Zegers Santa Cruz, the new ambassador of Chile to the Holy See.

8: Holy Father receives in audience Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France.

8-9: Congress in the Vatican to mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

9: Holy Father receives in audience Ivo Josipovic, president of the Republic of Croatia.

10: The Holy Father Benedict XVI presides at a concelebration of the Eucharist with Synod Fathers for the solemn opening of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul".

15: Benedict XVI sends a Message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nation's Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), for the occasion of World Food Day.

16: Holy Father receives in audience Bronislaw Komorowski, president of the Republic of Poland.

17: In St. Peter's Square, Holy Father canonises Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk (1433-1489); Andre Bessette (ne Alfred) (1845-1937); Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (nee Juana Josefa) (1845-1912); Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen) (1842-1909); Giulia Salzano (1846-1929), and Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), (1458-1524).

18: Holy Father receives Letters of Credence of Cesar Mauricio Velasquez Ossa, the new ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See, and of Manuel Roberto Lopez Becerra, the new ambassador of El Salvador to the Holy See.

18: Publication of the "Letter to Seminarians", written by the Pope to mark the end of the Year for Priests.

21: Holy Father receives Letters of Credence of Han Hong-soon, the new ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See, and of Bogadan Tataru-Cazaban, the new ambassador of Romania to the Holy See.

22: Benedict XVI receives Letters of Credence of Luis Dositeo Latorre Tapia, the new ambassador of Ecuador to the Holy See; of Maja Marija Lovrencic Svetek, the new ambassador of Slovenia to the Holy See, and of Manuel Tomas Fernandes Pereira, the new ambassador of Portugal to the Holy See.

25: Holy Father receives in audience James Alix Michel, president of the Republic of the Seychelles.

26: Presentation of the Pope's Message for the ninety-seventh World Day of Migrants and Refugees which is due to be celebrated on 16 January 2011.

28: Benedict XVI receives a group of prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast region 5) at the end of their "ad limina" visit.


6-7: Apostolic trip to the Spanish cities of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona.

9: Message from the Pope to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), for that institution's sixty-second general assembly, being held in Assisi, Italy.

11: Presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Verbum Domini" of Benedict XVI, on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

16: Press conference to present the Vatican Television Centre's new high-definition outside-broadcasting equipment.

20: Third ordinary public consistory of Benedict XVI's pontificate, during which he creates twenty-four new cardinals.

22: Message from the Pope to Fr. Hermann Geissler F.S.O., director of the International Centre of Newman Friends, for a symposium organised by the group on the theme: "The Primacy of God in the Life and Writings of Blessed John Henry Newman".

22: Death at the age of 90 of Cardinal Urbano Navarrete S.J., dean of St. Pontian.

23: Press conference to present a new book entitled: "Light of the World. The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. A conversation of Benedict XVI with Peter Seewald", published by the Vatican Publishing House.

26: Press conference to present the new "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI".

27: Benedict XVI receives Letters of Credence of Hidekazu Yamaguchi, the new Japanese ambassador to the Holy See.

29: Benedict XVI receives prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

30: Holy Father sends a message to participants in the funeral of Manuela Campagni, one of the "Memores Domini" who serve in his Vatican apartments, who died in a traffic accident on 24 November.


2: Benedict XVI receives Letters of Credence of Gabor Gyorivanyi, the new Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See.

2: Death at the age of 80 of Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop emeritus of Naples, Italy.

3: Benedict XVI receives Letters of Credence of Fernando F. Sanchez Campos, the new ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See.

6: Holy Father receives in audience Viktor Orban, prime minister of the Republic of Hungary.

10: Holy Father receives in audience Dalia Grybauskaite, president of the Republic of Lithuania.

12: Holy Father visits the Roman parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe, where he celebrates Mass.

16: Benedict XVI receives Letters of Credence of five new ambassadors to the Holy See: Suresh Prasad Pradhan of Nepal; Royson Mabuku Mukwena of Zambia; Miquel Angel Canturri Montanya of Andorra, Vivianne Fock Tave of Seychelles, and Boubacar Sidiki Toure of Mali.

16: Presentation of the Holy Father's Message for the forty-fourth World Day of Peace. The Day falls on 1 January 2011 and has as its theme: "Religious Freedom. The Path to Peace".

16: Holy Father presides at Vespers in the Vatican Basilica with students of Roman universities.

17: Benedict XVI receives Letters of Credence of Francesco Maria Greco, the new Italian ambassador to the Holy See.

18: Holy Father visits the Vatican Apostolic Library to mark its reopening following three years of restoration work.

18: Publication of the Holy Father's Message for the nineteenth World Day of the Sick which will be held, as is traditional, on 11 February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

30: Publication of the Holy Father's "Motu Proprio" om the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Julian Ruiz Martorell, vicar general of the archdiocese of Zaragoza, Spain, as bishop of Huesca (area 4,728, population 85,500, Catholics 84,500, priests 97, religious 243), Spain, and of Jaca (area 5,896, population 49,425, Catholics 48,541, priests 57, permanent deacons 2, religious 79), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Cuenca, Spain in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1981.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The staff of the Vatican Information Service wishes all its readers a Happy New Year. The next VIS bulletin will be transmitted on Monday, 3 January 2011.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during today's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 8,000 people, to St. Catherine of Bologna (1413-1463).

Born to a noble family in the Italian city of Bologna, at the age of ten she moved to Ferrara where she entered the court of Niccolo III d'Este as a maid of honour. There she received a very careful education which would later serve her during her monastic life when "she used the cultural and artistic knowledge acquired over those years to great advantage", the Pope said.

In 1427, at the age of fourteen, she left the court to dedicate herself to religious life in a community of young women. Two years later the leader of this group founded an Augustinian convent, but Catherine and a number of others preferred Franciscan spirituality and transformed the community into Poor Clares.

The saint "made great spiritual progress in this new phase of her life, though she also had to face great trails", the Pope explained. "She experienced the night of the spirit, tormented even by the temptation of disbelief in the Eucharist. After much suffering, the Lord consoled her. In a vision He gave her the clear awareness of the real Eucharistic presence". In another vision God revealed the forgiveness of her sins, giving Catherine a "powerful experience of divine mercy".

In 1431 the saint had yet another vision, this time of the Final Judgement, which led her "to intensify her prayers and penance for the salvation of sinners. Satan continued to assail her as she increasingly entrusted herself to the Lord and the Virgin Mary. In her writings, Catherine left us essential notes on this mysterious struggle, from which, by the grace of God, she emerged victorious".

These notes are contained in her one written work, the "Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons" in which Catherine teaches that to combat evil it is necessary: "(1) to be careful always to do good; (2) to believe that we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves; (3) to trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves; (4) to meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus' life, especially His passion and death; (5) to remember that we must die; (6) to keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds, (7) to be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions".

"In her convent Catherine, though used to the court of Ferrara, ... performed even the most humble tasks with love and ready obedience", said the Holy Father, recalling also that, out of obedience, the saint "accepted the job of mistress of novices, although she felt she was incapable of carrying out the role". In the same spirit she agreed to move to Bologna as abbess of a new monastery though she would have preferred to end her days in Ferrara.

Catherine died on 9 March 1463 and was canonised by Pope Clement XI in 1712. "With her words and life", Benedict XVI concluded, "she strongly invites us always to allow ourselves to be guided by God, to do His will every day even if it does not always correspond to our own plans, and to trust in His Providence which never abandons us. In this perspective, St. Catherine also invites us to rediscover the value of the virtue of obedience".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 21 December, in which he appoints Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee Year of the Church in Vietnam, called to mark the 350th anniversary of the creation of the first two apostolic vicariates in the country, and the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy. The celebrations are due to take place at the Marian shrine of LaVang from 4 to 6 January 2011.

The cardinal will be accompanied by Fr. Antoine Duong Quynh, chancellor of the archdiocese of Hue, Vietnam, and rector of the cathedral of Phu Cam in Hue; and by Fr. Francois Xavier Vu Phan Long O.F.M., secretary of the biblical commission of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father received Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio to India and to Nepal.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- As members of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Archbishop Douglas Young S.V.D. of Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea; Msgr. Manfred Ertl, currently consultor of the same dicastery; Laurence de la Brosse, president of the "Association Internationale des Charites"; Fr. Simon T. Faddoul, president of Caritas Lebanon; Michael Thio Yauw Beng, president of the "Societe de Saint Vincent de Paul ‑ Conseil General International"; Roberto H. Tarazona Ponte, "Asistente de la Oficina de Asesoria Pastoral de Caritas" in Peru; Henrietta T. de Villa, currently consultor of the same dicastery, and Carlos Augusto de Oliveira Camargo, currently consultor of the same dicastery.

- As consultors of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Fr. Paolo Asolan, professor at the "Redemptor Hominis" Pontifical Institute of Rome's Pontifical Lateran University; Fr. Silverio Nieto Nunez, director of the "Servicio Juridico Civil" of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, and Paolo Luca Beccegato, head of the international unit of Caritas Italy.

- As members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

- As members of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches: His Beatitude Cardinal Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, and Cardinal Kurt Koch.

- As members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland; Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka; Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B.; Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, and Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

- As members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints: Cardinal Francesco Monterisi; Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary; Cardinal Paolo Sardi, vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church and patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

- As a member of the Congregation for Bishops: Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.

- As members of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Cardinal Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, archbishop emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia; Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

- As members of the Congregation for the Clergy: Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, U.S.A., and Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz.

- As a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life: Cardinal Paolo Sardi.

- As a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.

- As a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity: Cardinal Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy; Cardinal Robert Sarah, and Cardinal Paolo Sardi.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, and Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B.

- As a member of the presidential committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Cardinal Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, archbishop emeritus Quito, Ecuador.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, and Cardinal Robert Sarah.

- As a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Cardinal Medardo Joseph Mazombwe.

- As a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: His Beatitude Cardinal Antonios Naguib.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, and Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue: Cardinal Kurt Koch, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications: Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.

- As a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.

- As a counsellor of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America: Cardinal Francesco Monterisi.

- As members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America: Cardinal Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga; Cardinal Paolo Romeo, and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis.

- Msgr. Marcello Bartolucci, under secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as secretary of the same congregation, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Bastia Umbra, Italy in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1968.

- Fr. Boguslaw Turek C.S.M.A., bureau chief of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as under secretary of the same congregation.

- Msgr. Celso Morga Iruzubieta of the clergy of the diocese of Calahorra y La Calzada - Logrono, Spain, under secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, as secretary of the same congregation, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1972.

- Msgr. Serge Poitras of the clergy of the diocese of Chicoutimi, Canada, official of the Congregation for Bishops, as adjunct under secretary of the same congregation.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 24 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the transcript of a Christmas message delivered this morning by Benedict XVI on the BBC Radio 4 programme "Thought for the Day":

"Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.

"God is always faithful to His promises, but He often surprises us in the way He fulfils them. The Child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - He was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that He brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of His shameful death on the Cross. And while He was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, He was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us He took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and He opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for His goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: He gives us hope, He brings us life.

"Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales, and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days. I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful and joyful Christmas. May God bless all of you!"
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VATICAN CITY, 24 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Pope tonight celebrated Midnight Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord.

In the course of the Eucharistic celebration, following the reading of the Gospel, the Holy Father delivered his homily.

"'You are my son, this day I have begotten you'. With this passage from Psalm 2 the Church begins the liturgy of this holy night. She knows that this passage originally formed part of the coronation rite of the kings of Israel. The king, who in himself is a man like others, becomes the 'Son of God' through being called and installed in his office. It is a kind of adoption by God, a decisive act by which He grants a new existence to this man, drawing him into His own being".

"Installation in the office of king is like a second birth. As one newly born through God's personal choice, as a child born of God, the king embodies hope. On his shoulders the future rests. He is the bearer of the promise of peace. On that night in Bethlehem this prophetic saying came true. ... Yes indeed, now it really is a child on whose shoulders government is laid. In Him the new kingship appears that God establishes in the world. ... In the weakness of infancy, He is the mighty God and He shows us God's own might in contrast to the self-asserting powers of this world.

"Truly, the words of Israel's coronation rite were only ever rites of hope which looked ahead to a distant future that God would bestow. None of the kings who were greeted in this way lived up to the sublime content of these words. ... Thus the fulfilment of the prophecy, which began that night in Bethlehem, is both infinitely greater and in worldly terms smaller than the prophecy itself might lead one to imagine. ... The infinite distance between God and man is overcome. ... He has truly 'come down', He has come into the world, He has become one of us, in order to draw all of us to Himself. ... He has truly built islands of peace in the world-encompassing breadth of the holy Eucharist. Wherever it is celebrated, an island of peace arises, of God's own peace. This Child has ignited the light of goodness in men and has given them strength to overcome the tyranny of might. This child builds His kingdom in every generation from within, from the heart.

"But at the same time it is true that the 'rod of his oppressor' is not yet broken, the boots of warriors continue to tramp and the 'garment rolled in blood' still remains. So part of this night is simply joy at God's closeness. We are grateful that God gives Himself into our hands as a Child, begging as it were for our love, implanting His peace in our hearts. But this joy is also a prayer: Lord, make your promise come fully true. Break the rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end. Fulfil the prophecy that 'of peace there will be no end'. We thank you for your goodness, but we also ask you to show forth your power. Establish the dominion of your truth and your love in the world, the 'kingdom of righteousness, love and peace'.

"'Mary gave birth to her first-born son'. ... In the language which developed within the sacred Scripture of the Old Covenant, 'first-born' does not mean the first of a series of children. The word 'first-born' is a title of honour, quite independently of whether other brothers and sisters follow. ... The first-born belongs to God in a special way, and is as it were destined for sacrifice. In Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross this destiny of the first-born is fulfilled in a unique way. In His person He brings humanity before God and unites man with God in such a way that God becomes all in all. ... Man can be the image of God because Jesus is both God and man, the true image of God and of man". Furthermore, "He is the first-born from the dead. In the resurrection He has broken down the wall of death for all of us. He has opened up to man the dimension of eternal life in fellowship with God. ... Now He really is the first of a series of brothers and sisters: the first, that is, who opens up for us the possibility of communing with God. He creates true brotherhood - not the kind defiled by sin as in the case of Cain and Abel, or Romulus and Remus - but the new brotherhood in which we are God's own family".

"At the end of the Christmas Gospel, we are told that a great heavenly host of angels praised God and said: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!'. The Church has extended this song of praise, which the angels sang in response to the event of the holy night, into a hymn of joy at God's glory. ... The appearing of beauty, of the beautiful, makes us happy without our having to ask what use it can serve. ... But the angels' message on that holy night also spoke of men: 'Peace among men with whom he is pleased'. The Latin translation of the angels' song that we use in the liturgy, taken from St. Jerome, is slightly different: 'peace to men of good will'. ... It would be a false interpretation to see this exclusively as the action of God, as if He had not called man to a free response of love. But it would be equally mistaken to adopt a moralising interpretation as if man were so to speak able to redeem himself by his good will. Both elements belong together: grace and freedom, God's prior love for us, without which we could not love Him, and the response that He awaits from us. We cannot divide up into independent entities the interplay of grace and freedom, or the interplay of call and response. The two are inseparably woven together".

"St. Luke does not say that the angels sang. He states quite soberly: the heavenly host praised God and said: 'Glory to God in the highest'. But men have always known that the speech of angels is different from human speech, and that above all on this night of joyful proclamation it was in song that they extolled God's heavenly glory. ... At this hour, full of thankfulness, we join in the singing of all the centuries, singing that unites heaven and earth, angels and men".
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VATICAN CITY, 25 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, the Holy Father pronounced his traditional Christmas Message from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, and imparted the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

Extracts of the Message are given below:

"Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; He came to dwell among us. God is not distant: He is 'Emmanuel', God-with-us. He is no stranger: He has a face, the face of Jesus.

"This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope. First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth!

"'The Word became flesh'. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love".

"God does not change; He is Love. ... Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in Bethlehem, and so it is today. The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history".

"And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love? Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence".

"The proclamation of Christmas is also a light for all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity. 'Emmanuel', God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace. We know that His Kingdom is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy to work for true development would flag: the impulse to work together for the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbour, in the peaceful struggle for justice. Belief in the God who desired to share in our history constantly encourages us in our own commitment to that history, for all its contradictions. It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the One born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement.

"May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence. May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East; may it bring them comfort and hope for the future and bring the leaders of nations to show them effective solidarity. May it also be so for those in Haiti who still suffer in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic. May the same hold true not only for those in Colombia and Venezuela, but also in Guatemala and Costa Rica, who recently suffered natural disasters.

"May the birth of the Saviour open horizons of lasting peace and authentic progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Cote d'Ivoire; may it promote political and social stability in Madagascar; may it bring security and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and in Pakistan; may it encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

"May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope. May the love of 'God-with-us' grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all".

Following his Message, the Pope extended Christmas greetings in sixty-five languages and imparted his blessing "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world).
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VATICAN CITY, 26 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the first Sunday after Christmas and Feast of the Holy Family, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

"In the poor grotto of Bethlehem", the Pope said, "a bright light shone forth, a reflection of the profound mystery which surrounded that Child, and which Mary and Joseph guarded in their hearts. ... Indeed, in their most intimate depths they conserved the words of the angel's announcement to Mary: 'the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God'".

"The birth of any child brings with it something of this mystery. Parents know this well as they receive their offspring as a gift, and often talk of it as such. ... Human beings experience procreation not merely as reproductive act; they perceive its richness, they are intuitively aware that every human creature who enters into the world is a 'sign' par excellence of the Creator and Father in heaven.

"How important it is, then", the Holy Father added, "for each child coming into the world to be welcomed into the warmth of a family! Exterior comforts are not important. Jesus was born in a stable and His first cradle was a manger, but the love of Mary and Joseph made Him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved. This is what children need: the love of a father and mother. This is what gives them a sense of security and, as they grow, enables them to discover the meaning of life. The Holy Family of Nazareth had to suffer many trials, such as... the 'massacre of the innocents', which forced Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt. But, trusting in divine Providence, they found their stability and ensured Jesus had a serene infancy and a solid education".

"The Holy Family was certainly unique and unrepeatable", the Pope concluded, "but at the same time it is a 'life model' for all families because Jesus, true man, chose to be born in a human family and, by doing so, blessed and consecrated that institution. And so we entrust all families to Mary and Joseph, that they may not be discouraged in the face of trials and difficulties but always cultivate conjugal love and dedicate themselves faithfully to the service of life and education".

After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father launched a fresh appeal for peace, hope and reconciliation.

"Over this Christmas period, the desire and calls for the gift of peace have become more intense. Yet our world continues to be marked by violence, especially against the disciples of Christ. I learned with great sadness of the attack on a Catholic church in the Philippines during the celebration of the Christmas liturgy, as well as attacks against Christian churches in Nigeria. The earth has also been stained with blood in other parts of the world, such as Pakistan. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of this absurd violence, and I once again reiterate my appeal to abandon the path of hatred in order to find peaceful solutions to conflicts and bring security and tranquillity to those dear people. On this day in which we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, who underwent the dramatic experience of having to flee into Egypt because of the murderous fury of Herod, let us remember all those, especially families, who are forced to abandon their homes because of war, violence and intolerance. I invite you, therefore, to join me in praying fervently that the Lord may touch people's hearts and bring hope, reconciliation and peace".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today offered a luncheon to people assisted by the various Roman communities of the Missionaries of Charity, in order to mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

The lunch, which took place in the atrium of the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, was attended by 350 people from various welcome centres, and by 150 religious, including Missionaries of Charity, Contemplative Brothers, priests and seminarians.

Following some words of greeting by Sr. Mary Prema Pierick, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Pope arose to address the assembly. "May the light of the Baby Jesus, of the Son of God made man, illuminate our lives to transform them into light, as we see happen particularly in the lives of saints", he said. In this context, he also recalled the witness of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, which he defined as "a reflection of the light of God's love. Celebrating a hundred years since her birth is a cause for gratitude and reflection, for a renewed and joyful commitment to serve the Lord and our brothers and sisters, especially the most needy".

"Blessed Teresa of Calcutta", the Holy Father said, "showed charity to everyone without distinction, but with a preference for the poor and abandoned: a luminous sign of God's paternity and goodness. In all people she was able to recognise the face of Christ, Whom she loved with her entire being. She continued to encounter the Christ she adored and received in the Eucharist in the streets and lanes of the city, becoming a living 'image' of Jesus Who pours the grace of merciful love onto man's wounds.

"To those who ask why Mother Teresa became as famous as she did, the answer is simple: because she lived humbly and discretely for and in the love of God. She herself said that her greatest prize was to love Jesus and serve Him in the poor. Her diminutive figure, her hands joined in prayer or caressing the sick, a leper, the dying, a child, was the visible sign of an existence transformed by God. In the night of human pain she made the light of divine Love shine and helped many hearts to find the peace which only God can give.

"We thank the Lord", Benedict XVI added, "because in Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we all see how our lives can change when we meet Jesus; how they can become a reflection of the light of God for other people. To so many men and women who experienced poverty and suffering, she gave the consolation and certainty that God never abandons anyone, ever. Her mission continues through those who, here as elsewhere in the world, live the charism of being missionaries of charity.

"We are very grateful, dear sisters and brothers, for your humble and discreet presence, hidden to the eyes of mankind but extraordinary and precious to the heart of God. Your life witness shows man - who often searches for illusory happiness - where true joy is to be found: in sharing, in giving, in loving with the same gratuitousness as God, which breaks all the logic of human selfishness".

The Holy Father concluded his remarks with assurances of his prayers. "Know that the Pope loves you", he said, "and carries you in his heart, gathering you all together in a paternal embrace".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Gabriel Sayaogo of the clergy of the diocese of Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso, vicar general, as bishop of Manga (area 9,870, population 574,622, Catholics 107,104, priests 16, religious 21), Burkina Faso. The bishop-elect was born in Niessega, Burkina Faso in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1991. He succeeds Bishop Wenceslas Compaore, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

On Monday 27 December it was made public that the Holy Father appointed Fr. Ferenc Palanki of the clergy of the diocese of Vac, Hungary, spiritual director of the minor seminary, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Eger (area 11,500, population 1,264,000, Catholics 692,000, priests 209, permanent deacons 14, religious 57), Hungary. The bishop-elect was born in Balassagyarmat, Hungary in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 23 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The websites of Vatican Radio (www.radiovaticana.org) and of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (www.pccs.va), as well as the website www.pope2you.net, in close collaboration with the Vatican Television Centre (CTV) and through an agreement with Telecom Italia, will be offering a new service for the Christmas holiday period: live coverage of the liturgical celebrations presided by the Holy Father.

  The Pope's celebrations - Midnight Mass on 24 December, his Christmas Message and "Urbi et Orbi" blessing at midday on 25 December, and Mass for the World Day of Peace on 1 January - will be transmitted in live audio/video linkup with commentary in six languages: Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The Midnight Mass will also have commentary in Chinese, and the Mass of 1 January in Arabic.

  The service has been made possible thanks to Telecom Italia's technology platform "Content Delivery Network", which enables rapid and effective distribution of multimedia content, making it accessible to computers and iPhones all over the world.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop William Slattery O.F.M., of Kokstad, South Africa, as metropolitan archbishop of Pretoria (area 16,579, population 6,102,000, Catholics 206,200, priests 109, permanent deacons 11, religious 273), South Africa, and as the country's military ordinary. The archbishop-elect was born in Portlaoise, Ireland in 1943 he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 1994.

 - Msgr. Abel Gabuza, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Pretoria, South Africa, as bishop of Kimberley (area 123,083, population 1,968,000, Catholics 121,050, priests 40, permanent deacons 4, religious 25), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Alexandra, South Africa in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Fr. Savio Hon Tai-Fai S.D.B., professor of theology at the seminary of Hong Kong, China, member of the International Theological Commission and academic ordinary at the Pontifical Academy of Theology, as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, at the same time raising him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Hong King in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 23 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service wishes its readers a very happy and holy Christmas. During the Christmas holiday there will be no VIS bulletin on Friday 24 December or on Monday 27 December. The next bulletin will be transmitted on Tuesday 28 December.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 22 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the English-language text of a Note published yesterday afternoon by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, entitled: "On the trivialisation of sexuality. Regarding certain interpretations of 'Light of the World'".

"Following the publication of the interview-book 'Light of the World' by Benedict XVI, a number of erroneous interpretations have emerged which have caused confusion concerning the position of the Catholic Church regarding certain questions of sexual morality. The thought of the Pope has been repeatedly manipulated for ends and interests which are entirely foreign to the meaning of his words - a meaning which is evident to anyone who reads the entire chapters in which human sexuality is treated. The intention of the Holy Father is clear: to rediscover the beauty of the divine gift of human sexuality and, in this way, to avoid the cheapening of sexuality which is common today.

"Some interpretations have presented the words of the Pope as a contradiction of the traditional moral teaching of the Church. This hypothesis has been welcomed by some as a positive change and lamented by others as a cause of concern - as if his statements represented a break with the doctrine concerning contraception and with the Church's stance in the fight against AIDS. In reality, the words of the Pope - which specifically concern a gravely disordered type of human behaviour, namely prostitution (cf. Light of the World, pp. 117-119) - do not signify a change in Catholic moral teaching or in the pastoral practice of the Church.

"As is clear from an attentive reading of the pages in question, the Holy Father was talking neither about conjugal morality nor about the moral norm concerning contraception. This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarised succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter 'Humanae vitae', when he wrote that 'also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation - whether as an end or as a means'. The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead - and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) - humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.

"On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution 'Gaudium et spes', n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition - and indeed not only of the Christian tradition - to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: 'Flee from fornication' (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.

"In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment - because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute 'the real or moral solution' to the problem of AIDS and also that 'the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality' in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom 'with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality'. This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father's previous statement that this is 'not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection'.

"Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the 'lesser evil'. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter 'Veritatis splendor', n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say - as some people have claimed - that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another - even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.

"In conclusion, in the battle against AIDS, the Catholic faithful and the agencies of the Catholic Church should be close to those affected, should care for the sick and should encourage all people to live abstinence before and fidelity within marriage. In this regard it is also important to condemn any behaviour which cheapens sexuality because, as the Pope says, such behaviour is the reason why so many people no longer see in sexuality an expression of their love: 'This is why the fight against the banalisation of sexuality is also part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being' (Light of the World, p. 119).
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VATICAN CITY, 22 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At this final general audience before Christmas, "with trepidation and wonder we approach the 'place' where everything began for us and for our salvation, where everything was fulfilled, where the expectations of the world and of the human heart came together", said the Pope in his catechesis during today's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

"Joyful expectation, so characteristic of the days leading up to Christmas, is certainly the prevalent attitude among Christians who wish to draw fruit from the renewed encounter with the One Who came to live among us: Christ Jesus, the Son of God made man", said the Holy Father. "We find this attitude - and make it our own - in those who first welcomed the coming of the Messiah: Zachariah and Elisabeth, the shepherds, the simple folk, and especially Mary and Joseph".

"The entire Old Testament constitutes a single great promise which was to be fulfilled with the coming of a saviour", the Pope explained. "And thus, along with the hope of the characters of Sacred Scripture, over the centuries our own hope also finds its place and meaning, the hope we are experiencing over these days, the hope that keeps us alert for the entire duration of our lives. All human existence, in fact, is animated by this profound sentiment, by the longing that the truest, the most beautiful, the greatest things we have seen and felt in our minds and hearts, may come towards us, taking concrete form before our eyes".

"The Saviour", Pope Benedict went on, "comes to incapacitate the work of evil, the things that still keep us distant from God, restoring us to our ancient splendour and our original paternity. ... His coming, then, can have no other aim than that of teaching us to see and love events, the world and everything that surrounds us, with the eyes of God Himself. The Word, by becoming a Child, helps us to understand the way God acts, that we too may be capable of allowing ourselves to be transformed by His goodness and infinite mercy.

"In the night of the world, let us still allow ourselves to be surprised and illuminated by this coming, by the Star which, rising in the East, has inundated the universe with joy", the Pope added. "Let us purify our minds and our lives from everything that contrasts with this coming - thoughts, words, attitudes and actions - spurring ourselves on to do good and to help bring peace and justice to our world for all men and women, and thus to walk towards the Lord".

Benedict XVI concluded his catechesis by speaking about nativity scenes, which he described as "a characteristic sign of this Christmas period. ... The nativity scene is an expression of our hope, but also a way of giving thanks to the One Who, in poverty and simplicity, chose to share our human condition", he said. "I joy at the fact that the tradition of preparing nativity scenes remains alive in homes and in the places where people work and meet, indeed that it is being rediscovered. May this genuine testimony of Christian faith still provide all men and women of good will with a moving symbol of the Father's infinite love for us all. May the hearts of children and adults still feel wonder and surprise as they behold it".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 DEC 2010 (VIS) - According to a note published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, at 6 p.m. on Saturday 1 January 2011 Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will take possession of the diaconate of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Corso Rinascimento 27, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Mario Marquez O.F.M. Cap., auxiliary of Vitoria, Brazil, as bishop of Joacaba (area 10,283, population 326,000, Catholics 244,000, priests 38, permanent deacons 1, religious 54), Brazil.

- Fr. Agenor Girardi M.S.C., pastor of the parish of "Sao Jose" in the diocese of Palmas - Francisco Beltrao, Brazil, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Porto Alegre (area 13,753, population 3,227,700, Catholics 2,401,782, priests 353, permanent deacons 46, religious 1,750), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Orleans, Brazil in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1982.

- Fr. Jose Carlos Chacorowski C.M., director of the Daughters of Charity in the province of Amazonia, Brazil, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Luis do Maranhao (area 13,112, population 1,309,000, Catholics 943,000, priests 76, permanent deacons 1, religious 249), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1980.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pasig, Philippines, presented by Bishop Francisco C. San Diego, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop of Naples, Italy, on 2 December at the age of 80.

 - Bishop Michael Bunluen Mansap, emeritus of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, on 2 December at the age of 81.

 - Bishop Bernard Patrick Devlin, emeritus of Gibraltar, on 15 December at the age of 89.

 - Bishop Ambrosio Echebarria Arriota, emeritus of Barbastro-Monzon, Spain, on 6 December at the age of 88.

 - Bishop Jose dos Santos Garcia S.M.P., emeritus of Pemba, Mozambique,, on 11 December at the age of 97.

 - Bishop Raymond Philip Kalisz S.V.D., emeritus of Wewak, Papua New Guinea, on 12 December at the age of 83.

 - Bishop Ferenc Keszthelyi O. Cist., emeritus of Vac, Hungary, on 6 December at the age of 82.

 - Archbishop-bishop Julio Tavares Rebimbas, emeritus of Porto, Portugal, on 6 December at the age of 88.

 - Bishop John Thomas Steinbock of Fresno, U.S.A., on 5 December at the age of 73.

 - Bishop George Otto Wirz, former auxiliary of Madison, U.S.A., on 23 November at the age of 81.
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Monday, December 20, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message for the nineteenth World Day of the Sick which will be held, as is traditional, on 11 February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

  The Pope begins his Message by recalling his pastoral visit to the Italian city of Turin last May where, he writes, "I had the opportunity to pause in reflection and prayer before the Holy Shroud, before that suffering face which invites us to meditate upon the One Who took upon Himself the passion of mankind in all times and places, including our own sufferings, difficulties and sins".

  Having noted that "suffering remains charged with mystery, and is difficult for us to accept and to bear", Benedict XVI mentions the case of the Apostle Thomas, who struggled to believe in the redemptive passion but, "faced with Christ showing His wounds, his reaction was transformed into a moving profession of faith: 'my Lord and my God'".

  It is, the Pope goes on to explain, "through the wounds of Christ that, with the eyes of hope, we can see the evils afflicting humanity. ... God, Truth and Love personified, wished to suffer for us and with us. He became man in order to suffer with man, to suffer truly in flesh and blood. Hence in all human suffering we are joined by One Who shares and carries that suffering with us; all suffering contains 'con-solatio', the consolation of God's compassionate love, and so the star of hope rises".

  Referring then to the next World Youth Day, due to be held in Madrid, Spain, in August 2011, the Pope addresses himself to young people "who are undergoing the experience of sickness. Often the Passion, the Cross of Jesus, scares us because it seems to be the negation of life", he writes. "In fact, the opposite is true! The Cross is God's 'yes' to mankind. ... Only He is capable of freeing the world from evil, and of bringing His Kingdom of justice, peace and love, to which we all aspire".

  The Pope also expresses his affection for all sick people, whom he tells of his "participation in the sufferings and hopes you experience every day, in union with the crucified and risen Christ, that He may bring peace and healing to your hearts. With Him, may the Virgin Mary also watch over you, the Virgin whom we trustingly invoke as 'Health for the Sick' and 'Consoler of the Suffering'".

  At the end of his Message, the Pope calls on the authorities "to dedicate ever greater energy to healthcare structures capable of bring help and support to the suffering, especially the poor and needy". He also greets "the bishops and priests, consecrated persons, seminarians, healthcare workers, volunteers, and everyone who lovingly dedicates themselves to cure and alleviate the wounds of their suffering brothers and sisters, in hospitals, care homes and families. Always be aware that in the face of the sick you see the Face of faces: the Face of Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI made a visit to the Vatican Apostolic Library to mark its recent reopening following three years of restoration. The Pope had last visited the library in June 2007 shortly before the rebuilding work began.

  On his arrival he was welcomed by Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, and by Msgr. Cesare Pasini and Ambrogio Maria Piazzoni, respectively prefect and vice prefect of the library, who accompanied him on his tour, in the company of members of the Library Council. Following a brief prayer to bless the newly restored areas, the Pope was shown the results of the refurbishment then taken through each of the rooms and halls of the library. At the end of his visit, Benedict XVI expressed his thanks to those who work in the library and reiterated the importance the institution has for the Apostolic See and for the Universal Church. He concluded the visit by imparting his apostolic blessing.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee Year of the Church in Vietnam, called to mark the 350th anniversary of the creation of the first two apostolic vicariates in the country, and the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy. The celebrations are due to take place at the Marian shrine of LaVang from 4 to 6 January 2011.

 - Appointed Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation and to Uzbekistan, as apostolic nuncio to Great Britain.

 - Appointed Bishop Joseph Karikkassery, auxiliary of Verapoly, India, as bishop of Kottapuram (area 3,300, population 3,333,467, Catholics 89,569, priests 137, religious 330), India.

 - Appointed Fr. Santiago Gomez Sierra, dean of the cathedral chapter in Cordoba, Spain, as auxiliary of Seville (area 14,036, population 1,875,462, Catholics 1,865,000, priests 691, permanent deacons 43, religious 2,839), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Madridejos, Spain in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1982.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, fourth Sunday of Advent, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Today's reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew, he said, "recounts the birth of Jesus from the point of view of St. Joseph. He was engaged to Mary who, 'before they lived together, ... was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit'".

  In the text "St. Joseph is presented as a 'righteous man', faithful to God's laws and ready to do His will. For this reason he is admitted into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord, appearing to him in a dream, tells him: 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins'. Thus Joseph abandons his plan to repudiate Mary secretly, and takes her to him because now his eyes see in her the work of God".

  Despite having suffered some anguish, "Joseph acted 'as the angel of the Lord commanded him', certain he was doing the right thing. By giving the name of 'Jesus' to that Child Who upholds the entire universe, he entered the ranks of the humble and faithful servants, similar to the angels and the prophets, similar to the martyrs and the Apostles. ... St. Joseph announced the prodigies of the Lord, bearing witness to Mary's virginity and to God's gratuitous action, and protecting the earthly life of the Messiah. Thus we venerate Jesus' legal father because in him we see the emergence of the new man, who looks with trust and courage to the future, who does not follow his own plans but entrusts himself entirely to the infinite mercy of the One Who fulfils the prophecies, the One Who opens the time of salvation".

  The Pope concluded his remarks by entrusting "all pastors" to St. Joseph, universal patron of the Church, "encouraging them", he said, "quietly to present Christ's words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world. ... Let us trustingly invoke the Virgin Mary, full of grace 'adorned by God', that, during the Christmas which will soon be upon us, our eyes may open and see Jesus, and our hearts may joy at this incredible encounter of love".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Today in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father held his traditional meeting with the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and members of the Roman Curia and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in order to exchange Christmas greetings.

  Recalling the principal events of the past twelve months, the Pope noted how "with great joy we began the Year for Priests and, thanks to God, were able to conclude it with much gratitude, though it was very different to how we had imagined. Among us as priests and among the laity, also and especially the young, a renewed awareness arose of the great gift of the priesthood of the Catholic Church, which was entrusted to us by the Lord. One again we came to understand how beautiful it is that human beings are authorised to pronounce the name of God and, with complete authority, the word of forgiveness, and thus that they are able to change the world, to change life. How beautiful it is that human beings are authorised to pronounce the words of consecration. ... How beautiful it is to be able to remain, with the strength of Lord, close to mankind in his joys and sorrows".

  "Thus our shock was even greater when, precisely in this year and in a dimension that we could not imagine, we became aware of the abuse of minors committed by priests who distort the Sacrament into its antithesis: under the veil of the sacred they inflicted profound harm on human beings in their infancy, causing damages that lasts a lifetime.

  "In this context", the Pope added, "a vision of St. Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, who disturbingly describes what we experienced this year".

  "In St. Hildegard's vision the face of the Church was soiled with dust, and this is how we saw it. Her vestments were torn, and the fault was of priests. Just as she saw and expressed her vision, so have we lived this year. We must humbly accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair, as much as possible, the injustice committed. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our announcement, in our entire way of determining Christian existence, that such a thing could happen.

  "We must discover a new resolve to be faithful and good. We must be capable of penance. We must strive to do everything possible, when preparing people for the priesthood, to ensure such a thing can never happen again. This is also the place to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone working to help victims, to restore their trust in the Church and their capacity to believe in her message.

  "In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always encountered people who, with great dedication, remain close to those who are suffering or have been damaged. This is also an occasion to thank the many good priests who humbly and faithfully transmit the Lord's goodness and who, amidst so much devastation, are witnesses of the beauty of the priesthood, a beauty which has not been lost".

  The Holy Father went on: "We are aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our consequent responsibility. Yet we cannot remain silent concerning the context of our time in which we see these events taking place. There is a market for child pornography which, in some way, seems to be increasingly considered by society as something normal. The psychological devastation of children in whom human beings are reduced to the level of a market commodity, is a frightening sign of the times".

  In this context, the Holy Father mentioned the problem of drugs, "which with increasing strength extends its tentacles to the entire world. ... All pleasure becomes insufficient and excess under the delusion of intoxication turns into violence that rends entire regions. And all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom, in which precisely man's freedom is undermined and in the end completely cancelled.

  "To oppose these forces we must look at their ideological foundations. In the 1970s it was theorised that paedophilia was entirely consistent with man and with children. This, however, was part of a basic perversion of the concept of 'ethos'" in which "nothing is good or bad in itself, everything depends on the circumstances and on the intended goal. ... Morality was replaced with a calculation of consequences, and by this process ceased to exist. The effects of these theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical 'Veritatis splendor', indicated with prophetic force the great rational tradition of Christian 'ethos' as the essential and permanent foundations for moral action. Today this text must once again be placed at the centre as a way to form consciences".

  Benedict XVI then turned his attention to the Synod of the Churches of the Middle East which began when he consigned the "Instrumentum laboris" during his apostolic trip to Cyprus in June. "Even if full communion is not yet granted to us", said the Pope referring to the Orthodox Church, "we have nevertheless established with joy that the basic form of the ancient Church unites us profoundly with one another: the sacramental office of bishops as the bearer of apostolic tradition, the reading of Scripture according to the hermeneutic of the 'Regula fidei', the understanding of Scripture in its manifold unity centred on Christ, developed under divine inspiration, and finally, our faith in the central place of the Eucharist in the Church's life".

  "We witnessed impressive manifestations of the rich Christian culture of the Christian East. But we also saw the problems. ... The wrongs and the deep wounds of the past were all too evident, but so too was the desire for the peace and communion that had existed before. Everyone knows that violence does not bring progress; indeed, it gave rise to the present situation. Only in a spirit of compromise and mutual understanding can unity be re-established. To prepare the people for this attitude of peace is an essential task of pastoral ministry.

  "During the Synod itself", he added, "our gaze was extended over the whole of the Middle East, where the followers of different religions - as well as a variety of traditions and distinct rites - live together. ... In the turmoil of recent years, the tradition of peaceful coexistence has been shattered ... with the result that we witness with increasing alarm acts of violence in which there is no longer any respect for what the other holds sacred. ... In the present situation, Christians are the most oppressed and tormented minority. For centuries they lived peacefully together with their Jewish and Muslim neighbours. During the Synod we listened to wise words from the Counsellor of the Mufti of the Republic of Lebanon against acts of violence targeting Christians. He said: when Christians are wounded, we ourselves are wounded. Unfortunately, though, this and similar voices of reason, for which we are profoundly grateful, are too weak. Here too we come up against an unholy alliance between greed for profit and ideological blindness.

  "On the basis of the spirit of faith and its rationality", the Pope went on, "the Synod developed a grand concept of dialogue, forgiveness and mutual acceptance, a concept that we now want to proclaim to the world. The human being is one, and humanity is one. Whatever damage is done to another in any one place, ends up by damaging everyone. Thus the words ... of the Synod must be a clarion call, addressed to all people with political or religious responsibility, to put a stop to Christianophobia; to rise up in defence of refugees and all who are suffering, and to revitalise the spirit of reconciliation".

  The Holy Father also dwelt on his apostolic trip to the United Kingdom in September, during which he beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, focusing his remarks on "two points that are connected with the theme of the responsibility of Christians at this time and with the Church's task to proclaim the Gospel".

  On the subject of his meeting with the world of culture at Westminster Hall in London, the Pope noted how "Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by purely instrumental rationality. ... In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake".

  On the subject of Cardinal Newman, the Holy Father highlighted the blessed's conversion to a "faith in the living God" in which he recognised that "God and the soul, man's spiritual identity, constitute what is genuinely real, what counts. ... Where such a conversion takes place, it is not just a person's theory that changes: the fundamental shape of life changes. We are all in constant need of such conversion: then we are on the right path.

  "The driving force that impelled Newman along the path of conversion was conscience", meaning "man's capacity for truth: the capacity to recognise precisely in the decision-making areas of his life - religion and morals - a truth, the truth. At the same time, conscience - man's capacity to recognise truth - thereby imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it. ... The path of Newman's conversions is a path of conscience - not a path of self-asserting subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was gradually opening up to him".

  Finally, the Holy Father also made brief mention of his trips to Malta, Portugal and Spain where, he said, "it once again became evident that the faith is not a thing of the past, but an encounter with the God Who lives and acts now".
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Friday, December 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday at 5 p.m., in keeping with a pre-Christmas tradition of meeting with university students, the Holy Father presided at Vespers in the Vatican Basilica with students from Roman universities.

  "The God of Abraham", he said in his homily, "revealed Himself, He showed His face and came to dwell in our flesh, in Jesus the Son of Mary - true God and true man - Whom we will meet once again at the Manger in Bethlehem. To return there, to that humble and cramped place, is not simply a mental journey; it is a path we are called to follow by experiencing the closeness of God here and now, and His action which renews and sustains our lives".

  "The road to the Manger of Bethlehem is a journey of inner liberation, an experience of profound freedom, because it encourages us to emerge from ourselves and to move towards God, Who has come close to us. ... He wishes to infuse courage into our lives, especially when we are tired and weary, when we need to rediscover the serenity of the journey and joyfully to feel that we are pilgrims on our way to eternity. ... The Child we will find between Mary and Joseph is the Logos-Love, the Word which can give full consistency to our lives. ... In Bethlehem, the today of God and the today of man meet, and together they begin a journey of dialogue and intense communion.

 "Dear friends", the Holy Father added, "you who are following the fascinating and demanding journey of research and cultural endeavour, the Incarnate Word asks you to share with Him the patience 'to build'. Building your lives, building society, is not an undertaking that can be achieved by distracted and superficial minds and hearts. ... In our own time we feel the need for a new class of intellectuals capable of interpreting social and cultural dynamics, and of proposing solutions that are not abstract, but concrete and realistic. Universities are called to play this vital role, in which the Church will provide her committed and effective support".

  The Roman university community - which is made up of State, private, Catholic and Pontifical institutions - must, said Benedict XVI, "play an important historical role: that of overcoming the misunderstandings and prejudices which at times hinder the development of authentic culture. Working together, especially with faculties of theology, Roman universities can show that it is possible to implement a new dialogue and new collaboration between Christian faith and the various fields of knowledge, without confusion or separation but sharing the same aspiration to serve man in his entirety".

  At the end of the ceremony, an African university delegation consigned the image of "Maria Sedes Sapientiae" to a delegation of Spanish students. The image will be taken on pilgrimage to all Spanish universities in preparation for World Youth Day, due to be held in the Spanish capital Madrid in August next year.

Read original text in italian

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VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, Italy, for opening of the archdiocese's Jubilee Year which began recently and is due to last for all of 2011.

  Naples, the Pope writes, "has a rich religious heritage, and this calls for coherence of faith and courage of witness. In keeping with this opulent tradition, Christian sanctity has flowered abundantly, finding expression in famous figures who left profound traces in the Church and in society. These shining examples have handed down the responsibility to continue the history of faith and charity in your land, showing the same vigour and apostolic drive as they did.

  "Of course", the Holy Father adds, "today's social and cultural context is very different from the past and, although we may joy in the Lord for the genuine and persisting faith of so many Christians, it is painful to note the spread of a secularised view of life and the emergence of evils afflicting the body public, which is threatened by individualism.

  "In this atmosphere, negative and deviant models also exercise their influence, having a strong impact on family and social life, especially on the new generations. Thus I wish to reiterate the urgent need for the human and Christian formation of children and young people, because they are seriously exposed to the risks of deviancy".

  "Christians are called to work for truth and to bear courageous witness to the Gospel in all areas of life. Each individual can and must strive to ensure that spiritual and ethical values, translated into life choices, make a decisive contribution to the creation of a more just and fraternal society. To this end we must work to create ... relationships of authentic charity which give concrete expression to solidarity and service, so as to provide alternative life examples that are accessible to all and, at the same time, emblematic".

  The Holy Father concludes his message: "In this way we will reinforce the awareness that today, as always, the seed of the Kingdom of God is present and active. A seed of the future, capable, if welcomed personally and generously, of transforming even the most difficult situations and of renewing the heart and countenance of Naples".
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