BENEDICT XVI: SIXTY YEARS OF MEMORIES, GRATITUDE AND HOPE
VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2011 (VIS) - At the end of a luncheon today, offered by the College of Cardinals to the Pope to mark the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College, congratulated the Holy Father and, in the name of all those present, gave him an offering for the poor of Rome, the Pope's own diocese, "in view", he said, "of the urgent needs of so many Romans, as well as of numerous immigrants and refugees". (image source: Radio Vaticana)
The Holy Father, having thanked the cardinals for their gift, made some remarks. "This is a moment of gratitude for the Lord's guidance; for everything He has given me and forgiven me over these years", he said. "Yet it is also a moment to remember. In 1951 the world was completely different: there was no television, there was no internet, there were no computers, there were no mobile phones. The world from which we come truly seems prehistoric. Above all, our cities were in ruins, the economy destroyed, there was great material and spiritual poverty. Yet there was also a great energy and a will to rebuild this country and to renew ... the community on the foundation of our faith".
"Then came Vatican Council II where all the hopes we had seemed to come true. This was followed by the cultural revolution of 1968, difficult years during which the ship of the Lord appeared to be taking on water, almost about to sink. Nonetheless the Lord, Who seemed then to be sleeping, was present and He led us forward. Those were the unforgettable years in which I worked alongside Blessed Pope John Paul II. Finally, came the unexpected day of 19 April 2005 when the Lord called me to a new task and, only by virtue of His strength, abandoning myself to Him, was I able at that moment to say 'yes'.
"Over these sixty years nearly everything has changed; but the Lord's faithfulness has remained", the Holy Father added in conclusion. "He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. This is our certainty, which shows us the way to the future. The time to remember, the time of gratitude, is also the time of hope".
VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father greeted faithful from the Italian diocese of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti, which is currently celebrating its diocesan synod. The group was accompanied by their bishop, Msgr. Mario Paciello.
"A synod is an event which gives us concrete experience of being the 'People of God', of being Church, a pilgrim community travelling in history towards its eschatological fulfilment in God", said the Pope. "This means we must recognise that the Church does not of herself possess the vital principle: she depends on Christ, of Whom she is the effective sign and instrument. In her relationship with the Lord Jesus lies her deepest identity: that of being a gift of God to humankind, which prolongs the presence and salvific work of the Son through the Holy Spirit. In this perspective we can see that the Church is essentially a mystery of love at the service of humanity, with a view to its sanctification. ... Being Church has its source and its true meaning in the communion of love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: the Blessed Trinity is not only the model, but generates and moulds the Church as a mystery of communion".
The Holy Father continued: "We must begin from this truth, always and anew, in order to achieve a more intense understanding and experience of being Church: 'People of God. 'Body of Christ', 'Communion'. Otherwise we run the risk of reducing things to a horizontal dimension which perverts the identity of the Church and the announcement of the faith. The Church is not a social or philanthropic organisation, like many others that exist: she is the Community of God, she is a community which believes and loves, which adores the Lord Jesus and opens her 'veils' at the breath of the Holy Spirit; thus she is a community capable of evangelisation".
"Many men and women of our time need to encounter the Lord, or to rediscover the beauty of the God Who is close, the God Who in Jesus Christ reveals His face as Father and calls us to recognise the meaning and value of life. The current moment of history is marked by lights and shadows. We are witnessing complex forms of behaviour: closure, narcissism, desire to possess and consume, sentiments and affections divorced from responsibility. There are many reasons for this disorientation which finds expression in profound existential unease, but underlying everything is the negation of the transcendent dimension of man and of the basic relationship with God. For this reason its is vital for Christian communities to promote valid and compelling itineraries of faith".
VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met in the Vatican from 30 June to 1 July, under the presidency of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.
A communique published today explains that the Holy See consolidated financial statements for 2010, presented to the cardinals during the meeting by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, closed with a surplus of 9,848,124 euro, the difference between an income of 245,195,561 euro and outgoings of 235,347,437 euro.
"The 2010 statement", reads the communique, "notwithstanding elements of uncertainty and instability due to the world economic-financial situation, would appear to reinforce the positive tendency that emerged in the financial year 2009 which, moreover, had already absorbed the negative effects deriving from the great financial crisis of 2008".
The outgoings are due above all to the ordinary and extraordinary expenses of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See, which in 2010 employed 2,806 people, as compared with the 2,762 employees in 2009.
The meeting also examined the consolidated financial statements of the Governorate of Vatican City State for 2010, which show a surplus of 21,043,000 euro, the difference between an income of 255,890,112 euro and outgoings of 234,847,011 euro. "This result has been achieved", the communique explains, "thanks to the excellent performance of the Vatican Museums (in particular the increased number of visitors, a countertendency with respect to the crisis in the world tourism sector) and the recovery of the financial markets". A total of 1,876 people work under the jurisdiction of the Governorate.
As usual the financial statements have been submitted for verification and certification.
The communique highlights how "the Governorate, the administration of which is independent from the Holy See and from other institutions, supervises the economic requirements and territorial administration of the State, supplying the necessary support structures to the Apostolic See and its activities. In particular, the Governorate is responsible for the maintenance and conservation of what can rightly be considered as one of humanity's most important historical and artistic treasures".
Finally the consolidated financial statements of Peter's Pence were also presented. This fund consists of offers made to the Holy Father by the particular Churches, especially for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, and contributions by institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, foundations and various members of the faithful. In 2010 a total of 67,704,416 U.S. dollars was raised, a decrease with respect to last year. "The largest contributions came from Catholics in the United States, Italy and France. Particularly significant, considering the number of Catholics, were the contributions from Korea and Japan".
Bishops, depending on their resources and in keeping with canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law, donated 27,362,258 U.S. dollars, which also represents a decrease with respect to last year.
The communique concludes by noting that the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) donated some 55 million euros for the activities of the Holy Father.
VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi, Italy, presented by Bishop Luciano Bux, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Rainer Maria Woelki, auxiliary of Cologne, Germany, as metropolitan archbishop of Berlin (area 31,200, population 5,811,175, Catholics 393,079, priests 402, permanent deacons 30, religious 738), Germany.
- Appointed Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president emeritus of the Pontifical council for Justice and Peace, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the abbey of Santissima Trinita di Cava, Italy, due to take place on 4 September.
- Appointed Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to the twenty-fifth Italian National Eucharistic Congress, due to take place in the city of Ancona from 3 to 11 September.
- Appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Jubilee year marking the 600th anniversary of the "Eucharistic miracle of Ludbreg", due to take place at the shrine of Ludbreg in the diocese of Varazdin, Croatia, on 4 September.
VATICAN CITY, 3 JUL 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
"In today's Gospel the Lord Jesus repeats these words, which we know so well but which never fail to move us: 'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest'. ... When Jesus travelled the roads of Galilee announcing the Kingdom of God and healing many sick people, He felt compassion for the crowds because they were tired and exhausted, like sheep without a shepherd", the Pope said.
"Jesus' gaze seems to rest upon us today, upon our world", he explained. "Today too it rests upon so many people who are oppressed by difficult living conditions, people without valid signposts to help them find a meaning and a goal in life. Exhausted multitudes in the poorest countries are tried by want; and even in richer nations there are many men and women who are dissatisfied, even sick with depression. We think of the many displaced people and refugees, of those who migrate at risk of their lives. Christ's gaze rests upon all these people; or rather it rests on each single child of the Father Who is in heaven, and says: 'Come to me, all of you'.
"Jesus promises that He will give 'rest' to everyone", the Pope added, "but He imposes a condition: 'Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart'. What is this 'yoke', which is light rather than burdensome, which lifts up rather than weighing down? The 'yoke' of Christ is the law of love, it is His commandment which He left to His disciples".
The Holy Father continued: "The true remedy for humanity's wounds - both material wounds such as hunger and injustice, and mental and moral wounds caused by a false wellbeing - is a life rule based on brotherly love, which has its source in the love of God. For this reason we must abandon the paths of arrogance, of violence used to attain positions of ever greater power, to ensure success at all costs.
"We must also abandon that aggressive approach towards the environment which dominated past centuries, and adopt a reasonable 'mildness'. Above all, in human, interpersonal and social relationships, what can ensure a future worthy of man is the rule of respect and non-violence; that is, the power of truth against all abuse".
After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father recalled today's beatification of Janos Scheffler, bishop of the Romanian diocese of Satu Mare, who died a martyr's death in 1952. "May his witness always support the faith of those who remember him with affection and of the new generations", he said.
Finally, he announced that within the next few days he will travel to Castelgandolfo, where he will spend the summer.
VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father inaugurated an exhibition entitled: "The splendour of truth, the beauty of charity: Homage of sixty artists to Benedict XVI for the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood".
The idea to hold the exhibition arose from the Pope's meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel on 21 November 2009. The artists participating in this initiative, most of them Italian, represent different categories: painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, literature, poetry, music, cinema and jewellery design.
In his address the Holy Father noted that "the Church and artists are meeting and speaking together again, underlining the need for a discussion which wishes to become, and must become, increasingly intense and intricate. The aim of this is to offer the culture (or rather the cultures) of our time an eloquent example of fruitful and effective dialogue aimed at making this world of ours more human and more beautiful".
"I would like to renew a friendly and impassioned appeal to all artists", he said. "Never separate artistic creativity from truth and charity, never seek beauty distant from truth and charity, but with your genius and creative drive always seek courageously after truth and bear witness to charity. Make the truth shine forth in your works, ensuring that their beauty arouses in the eyes and hearts of the people who admire them the desire and the need to make life, each individual life, more beautiful and true, enriching it with that treasure which never runs out, which makes life a masterpiece and each man an extraordinary artist: charity, love. May the Holy Spirit, architect of all that is beautiful in the world, illuminate you and guide you towards the definitive and ultimate Beauty".
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by thanking the artists for "bringing into the world a ray of that Beauty which is God".
VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following English-language communique concerning the episcopal ordination of Fr. Paul Lei Shiyin, which took place on Wednesday 29 June and was conferred without the apostolic mandate.
"Fr. Lei Shiyin, ordained without the papal mandate and hence illegitimately, has no authority to govern the diocesan Catholic community, and the Holy See does not recognise him as the bishop of the diocese of Leshan. The effects of the sanction which he has incurred through violation of the norm of canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law remain in place.
"Fr. Lei Shiyin had been informed, for some time, that he was unacceptable to the Holy See as an episcopal candidate for proven and very grave reasons.
"The consecrating bishops have exposed themselves to the grave canonical sanctions laid down by the law of the Church (in particular, canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law; cf. Declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of 6 June 2011).
"An episcopal ordination without papal mandate is directly opposed to the spiritual role of the Supreme Pontiff and damages the unity of the Church. The Leshan ordination was a unilateral act which sows division and unfortunately produces rifts and tensions in the Catholic community in China. The survival and development of the Church can only take place in union with him to whom the Church herself is entrusted in the first place, and not without his consent as, however, occurred in Leshan. If it is desired that the Church in China be Catholic, the Church's doctrine and discipline must be respected.
"The Leshan episcopal ordination has deeply saddened the Holy Father, who wishes to send to the beloved faithful in China a word of encouragement and hope, inviting them to prayer and unity".
VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, perfect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
- Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.
On Saturday 2 July, he received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, accompanied by Bishop Gianfranco Girotti O.F.M. Conv., regent of the penitentiary.
On the afternoon of Friday 1 July he received in audience Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany.