Tuesday, September 14, 2010
VATICAN: POPE SPEAKS ON BLESSED LEOPOLD
VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - After praying the Angelus today the Pope recalled how Br. Leopoldo Sanchez Marquez de Alpandeire (ne Francesco), was beatified this morning in the Spanish city of Granada.
"The life of this simple and austere Capuchin religious", he said, "is a hymn to humility and to trust in God, as well as a shining example of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I invite everyone, following the example of this new blessed, to serve the Lord with a sincere heart, that we may experience the immense love He has for us, which makes it possible to love all mankind without exception".
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LETTERS OF CREDENCE OF NEW GERMAN AMBASSADOR
VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received the Letters of Credence of Walter Jurgen Schmid, the new ambassador of Germany to the Holy See.
The Pope began by mentioning Fr. Gerhard Hirschfelder, a martyr priest who died under the Nazi regime and who is due to be beatified in Munster on 19 September. He also referred to the beatifications of four other priests and the commemoration of an Evangelical pastor, scheduled for 2011.
"Contemplating these martyrs", said Benedict XVI, "it emerges ever more clearly how certain men, on the basis of their Christian convictions, are ready to give their lives for the faith, for the right to exercise their beliefs freely and for freedom of speech, for peace and human dignity".
However, he went on, "many men tend to show an overriding inclination towards more permissive religious convictions. The personal God of Christianity, Who reveals Himself in the Bible, is replaced by a supreme being, mysterious and undefined, who has only a vague relation with the personal life of human beings.
"These ideas are increasingly animating discussion within society, especially as regards the areas of justice and lawmaking", the Pope added. "If, however, one abandons faith in a personal God, then an alternative 'god' arises, one who does not know, does not feel and does not speak". ... If God does not have His own will, then good and bad end up being indistinguishable. ... Man thus loses the moral and spiritual energy necessary for the overall development of the person. Social activity is increasingly dominated by private interest or by power calculations, to the detriment of society".
"The Church", the Holy Father explained, "looks with concern at the growing attempts to eliminate the Christian concept of marriage and the family from the conscience of society. Marriage is the lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is always open to the transmission of human life". In this context he identified the need for a "culture of the person", using an expression of John Paul II. Moreover, he continued, "the success of marriages depends upon us all and on the personal culture of each individual citizen. In this sense, the Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that involve a re-evaluation of alternative models of marriage and family life. They contribute to a weakening of the principles of natural law, and thus to the relativisation of all legislation and confusion about values in society".
Going on then to address the question of "new possibilities" in biotechnology and medicine, the Pope laid emphasis on "our duty to study how these methods can help man, and where they involve manipulation of man, the violation of his integrity and dignity. We cannot reject these developments, but we must remain highly vigilant. Once we have begun to distinguish (and this often already happens in the mother's womb) between a life that is worthy to be lived and one which is unworthy, then no other phase of existence will be spared, particularly old age and infirmity".
The Holy Father concluded by highlighting how "the construction of a human society requires faithfulness to truth". In this context he mentioned certain phenomena related to the communications media. "Being in ever-greater competition with one another", he said, they "feel impelled to attract as much attention as possible. Moreover, in general it is contrast that makes news, even if this goes against the truth of the story. The question becomes particularly problematic when authority figures take up public stances on the matter, without being able to verify all aspects adequately. The intention of the federal government to look into these cases is to be welcomed".
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BISHOPS: CUSTODIANS OF THE CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2010 (VIS) - A hundred and twenty recently-appointed bishops from various countries, currently participating in an annual congress promoted by the Congregation for Bishops, were received today by the Holy Father who began his remarks to them by greeting Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., the new prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
In his address to them the Pope referred to the "important custom" of new bishops making a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter, "who conformed himself to Christ, Teacher and Shepherd, until death and death on the cross". And he quoted Jesus' words from the Gospel of St. John: "The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep".
Thus, the Holy Father went on, "the mission of the bishop cannot be understood with a mindset of efficiency and effectiveness in which attention is primarily focused on what has to be done; rather, it is important to concentrate on the ontological dimension, which acts as foundation for the functional level. The bishop, in fact, by the authority of Christ with which he is invested, when he sits on the Cathedra is 'above' and 'in front of' the community, in that he is 'for' the community towards which his pastoral solicitude is directed".
Reflecting then on the words used when consigning the ring during episcopal consecrations - "Take this ring, the seal of your fidelity. With integrity of faith and purity of life protect the bride of God, His Holy Church" - Benedict explained: "The concept of 'protecting' does not only mean conserving what has already been established (though this must not be lacking); rather, in its essence it also includes the dynamic aspect: a perpetual and concrete tendency towards perfection, in complete harmony with, and continually adapting to, the new requirements that arise with the development and progress of that living organism which is the community.
"The bishop has responsibility for the good of his diocese, but also for that of society", the Pope added. "He is called to be 'strong and determined, just and serene' in order to be able exercise that wise discernment of people, facts and events which is required of him in his duty to be 'father, brother and friend' along the Christian and human journey".
And Pope Benedict concluded: "The ministry of the bishop - who is not a mere governor or bureaucrat, or a simple moderator or organiser of diocesan life - is part of a profound perspective that is not simply human, administrative or sociological, but a perspective of faith. It is paternity and fraternity in Christ that enable the bishop to create a climate of trust, acceptance and affection, but also of frankness and justice".
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CELEBRATIONS TO BE PRESIDED BY POPE: OCTOBER-NOVEMBER
VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations to be presided by the Holy Father in the months of October and November:
- Sunday 3: Pastoral visit to Palermo, Italy, for the occasion of the regional meeting of families and young people.
- Sunday 10: At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, opening of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops.
- Sunday 17: At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, canonisation of the following blesseds: Stanislao Soltys (Kazimierczyk), Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (nee Juana Josefa), Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Giulia Salzano and Battista da Varano (nee Camilla).
- Sunday 24: At 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, conclusion of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops.
- Thursday 4: At 11.30 a.m. at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for cardinals and bishops who died over the course of the year.
- Saturday 6 - Sunday 7: Apostolic trip to the Spanish cities of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona.
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REOPENING OF THE VATICAN APOSTOLIC LIBRARY
VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Following three years of restoration work, the Vatican Apostolic Library is due to reopen its doors on 20 September. The announcement was made in a press conference, held this morning in the Sistine Hall of the Vatican Museums and presented by Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church; Msgr. Cesare Pasini, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library; Pier Carlo Cuscianna, director of Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Giovanni Giavazzi, president of the "Italcementi" Foundation, and Gennaro Guala, also of "Italcementi", the company which undertook the restoration work.
The wing in which the collections are kept was in need of structural repair work including strengthening the floor which was showing signs of subsiding, bringing large areas of the building into line with safety norms, and moving a number of sectors in order to rationalise access to the works.
During the course of the press conference it was announced that an exhibition entitled "Knowing the Vatican Apostolic Library: a story open to the future" will open in the Vatican's Charlemagne Wing on 10 November. It was further announced that a congress will be held from 11 to 13 November on the theme: "The Vatican Apostolic Library as a place of research and an institution at the service of scholars".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
On Saturday 11 September he received in audience Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany.