REFLECTING ON THE MYSTERY OF THE DIVINE CALL
VATICAN CITY, 5 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Yesterday afternoon, in keeping with an annual tradition, the Holy Father visited the Major Roman Seminary for the occasion of the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust.
In the major chapel of the seminary, the Pope presided at a "lectio divina" for all seminarians in the diocese of Rome, focusing on the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. (Image source: Radio Vaticana)
Commenting on the word "call" or "vocation" as used by St. Paul, Benedict XVI highlighted how "Christian life begins with a call and is itself always a response, until the end". In this context he affirmed that "the image of the Annunciation to Mary represents much more than that single evangelical episode: ... it contains the whole mystery of Mary, her entire story, her very being. At the same time it speaks of the Church, of her eternal essence, and of each individual believer in Christ, of each Christian soul which receives the call".
"The Lord", he went on, "has called each of us; each is called by name. God is so great that He has time for each of us. He knows me, He knows each of us by name, personally. ... I believe that we must meditate on this mystery again and again: God, the Lord, has called me, He calls me, He knows me and awaits my response as He awaited Mary's response, as He awaited the response of the Apostles".
Turning then to consider the Lord's humility, about which St. Paul speaks in his Letter to the Philippians, the Pope said: "the God Who came down to me, Who was so great as to become my friend and to suffer for me, Who died for me: this is the humility we must learn, the humility of God. It follows that we must always see ourselves in the light of God, so as to appreciate how great it is to be loved by Him and, at the same time, to see our own smallness, our poverty, and thus rightly comport ourselves not as masters but as servants".
After then highlighting how "the call of God is also a call in community, an ecclesial call", the Holy Father explained that "the Holy Spirit creates the body and unites us as a single body. ... In this way we are in union with Christ, accepting the corporeity of His Church, of the Spirit which is incarnated in the body".
"We also have to bear in mind how beautiful it is to be part of a company, ... having friends in heaven and on earth, experiencing the beauty of this body, being happy that the Lord has called us into a single body and given us friends all over the world".
In closing, Benedict XVI reflected on "the importance of always seeking communion in the one Christ, the one God".
"The unity of the Church", he concluded, "is the result of harmony, of a shared commitment to act like Jesus, by virtue of His spirit. ... In order to conserve unity of spirit, it is necessary to mould our own behaviour on the humility, sweetness and magnanimity to which Jesus bore witness in His Passion. Our hands and heart must be tied by that bond of love which He accepted for us, making Himself our servant".
VATICAN CITY, 5 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Dieudonne Watio of Nkongsamba, Cameroon, as bishop of Bafoussam (area 13,000, population 1,917,000, Catholics 333,500, priests 125, religious 216), Cameroon.
- Appointed Bishop Dominic Kimengich, auxiliary of Lodwar, Kenya, as bishop of the same diocese (area 77,000, population 570,000, Catholics 73,585, priests 49, permanent deacons 1, religious 92). He succeeds Bishop Patrick Joseph Harrington S.M.A., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Orvieto-Todi, Italy, presented by Archbishop Giovanni Scanavino O.S.A., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, appointing Archbishop Giovanni Marra, emeritus of Messina - Lipari - Santa Lucia del Mela, Italy, as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same archdiocese.
- Appointed Fr. Jose Luis Mumbiela Sierra, rector of the major inter-diocesan seminary of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, as bishop of the diocese of the Most Holy Trinity in Almaty (area 711,600, population 6,400,000, Catholics 50,000, priests 18, religious 27), Kazakhstan. The bishop-elect was born in Lleida, Spain in 1969 and ordained a priest in 1995. He succeeds Bishop Henry Theophilus Howaniec O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Atanaz Orosz, currently superior of the preparatory year at the central seminary of Budapest, Hungary, as apostolic exarch of Miskolc (Catholics 20,000, priests 31), Hungary. The bishop-elect was born in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1985.
VATICAN CITY, 6 MAR 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.
"This Sunday's Gospel reading", he said, "presents the conclusion to the 'Sermon on the Mount' in which the Lord Jesus, using the parable of the two houses, one built on rock and the other on sand, invites the disciples to listen to His words and put them into practice".
"Jesus is the living Parable of God. ... In all times and places, those who have the grace of knowing Jesus ... remain fascinated by Him, recognising that ... He reveals the true face of God, at the same time revealing us to ourselves ... showing us the solid foundation upon which to build our lives.
"Yet often", the Holy Father added, "man does not build his actions and his life on this identity, preferring the sands of power, of success and of money, thinking that there he will find stability and the response to the irrepressible demand for happiness and fulfilment he carries in his soul. And we", the Pope asked, "upon what do we wish to build our lives? Who can truly respond to the disquiet of the human heart? Christ is the rock of our lives! He is the eternal and definitive word Who ensures we do not fear adversity, difficulty and discomfort".
"May the Word of God permeate all our life, thoughts and actions", the Pope concluded, exhorting everyone "to make space for the Word of God every day" because it helps "to protect us from superficial activism, which may fill a moment of pride but which in the end leaves us empty and dissatisfied".
VATICAN CITY, 6 MAR 2011 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope stated that he is "following with great concern the tensions which are currently being manifested in various countries of Africa and Asia.
"I ask the Lord Jesus that the moving sacrifice of the life of the Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti may arouse in people's consciences the courage and commitment to defend the religious freedom of all men and, in this way, to promote their equal dignity.
"My thoughts also turn to Libya where recent clashes have left many dead and created a growing humanitarian crisis. To all the victims, and to all those who find themselves in harrowing situations, I give assurances of my closeness and prayers, while at the same time invoking aid and assistance for everyone affected".
VATICAN CITY, 7 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today announced that Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Financial Information Authority, has appointed Francesco De Pasquale as director of the same institution. The new director has, since 1990, been a member of the Italian delegation to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (GAFI).
VATICAN CITY, 7 MAR 2011 (VIS) - Given below are extracts of a Vatican Radio interview with Marcello Condemi, associate professor of economic law at Rome's G. Marconi University and a Bank of Italy expert on money laundering.
Question: Some two months have passed since 30 December 2010, when the Holy See issued new laws concerning money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and published the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" signed by the Supreme Pontiff. Since then what important moves have been made, within the Holy See, to implement those dispositions?
Answer: "Within a very brief time the Pope identified and appointed the members of the administrative council of the Financial Information Authority. ... The people who make up the council, first and foremost Cardinal Attilio Nicora a figure well-known for his abilities, were appointed by an act of the Supreme Pontiff on 19 January; that is, just twenty days after the publication of the anti-money laundering law.
"This has enabled the authority - while waiting for law CXXVII concerning money laundering to come into effect, something due to take place on 1 April - to begin working in view of the delicate tasks that await it. Firstly, it has established a headquarters, which by the terms of the Statute is in Vatican City State, and specifically in Palazzo San Carlo. Furthermore, it is reviewing the bodies which, by virtue of their typological or organisational characteristics, are believed, in accordance with article two of the law, to be subject to the anti-money laundering norms therein contained.
"All this has been done using the professional qualities and great willingness of the members of the administrative council, though without failing to attend to the effective organisational structure of the authority through acquisition of the necessary professional resources. In this context, we must emphasise the selection ... of the director who has taken office today and who, in keeping with the Statute, has responsibility for 'the operational activities of the Authority'; in other words, for making the decisions and strategic goals adopted by the administrative council operational. This appointment has gone to an important professional figure who for many years has concerned himself with, among other things, the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism. The new director has, since 1990, been a member of the Italian delegation to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (GAFI) and is an expert in evaluating the degree to which the norms of the Statute conform to international anti-money laundering standards".
Q: In an interview you gave on 30 December, you highlighted the Holy See's determination to continue to adapt its legislation to international norms concerning money laundering, Have steps also been made in this direction?
A: "First of all, I would like to highlight that the anti-money laundering legislation published on 30 December represents a solid legal foundation for prevention and countering, something which has been recognised by various authorities. Suffice to mention the introduction of the crime of self-money laundering which cannot fail to produce important results also as concerns identifying any suspect operations. ... I would also point out that the Holy See, in communicating with MONEYVAL (an office of the Council of Europe linked to GAFI), has reiterated its determination to continue the journey it has begun and has expressed its readiness formally to adhere to the international organisations charged with countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and to the methods with which they work".
Q: In view of the proximity of 1 April do you believe the authority is capable of collecting and processing any suspect operations it may learn about, thus beginning its co-operation with other authorities?
A: "The authority is working hard towards this goal so that, on 1 April, it will be in a position to collect any suspect operations it may learn about, process them according to law and send them, if the necessary legal requirements exist, to the judicial authorities of Vatican City State".
VATICAN CITY, 7 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
On Saturday 5 March he received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Singapore and East Timor, apostolic delegate to Malaysia and to Brunei, and non-residential pontifical representative for Vietnam.
- Six prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Guillermo V. Afable of Digos.
- Bishop Patricio H. Alo of Mati.
- Bishop Wilfredo D. Manlapaz of Tagum.
- Bishop Angelito R. Lampon O.M.I., apostolic vicar of Jolo.
- Bishop Warlito I. Cajandig, apostolic vicar of Calapan.
- Bishop Antonio Palang S.V.D., apostolic vicar of San Jose in Mindoro.